The biggest problem with Assignment 1 is that I just didn’t do enough groundwork. I was so excited at the prospect of taking the actual images that I almost entirely bypassed the incredibly important business of research. I had briefly looked at a couple of the practitioners on the suggested list, but had in no way familiarised myself enough with contemporary photographers and their approaches.
I also did not experiment with my ideas prior to settling for my theme. Once I had decided what I wanted to do, I stuck rigidly with it and didn’t allow the project to emerge organically.
I agree with my tutor’s comments that many of my shots do indeed, look like stock pictures. Whilst they are acceptable enough images in their own right, there is nothing in most of them to hold the viewer’s eye for more than a couple of seconds. The first glimpse tells the whole story and then there is nothing more to be taken from them.
I am trying not to be too hard on myself though. I am, after all, a complete beginner at the start of a long journey. And having submitted my first piece of work and received feedback, I actually feel so much more confident now. I know what is required of me, and I am excited, inspired and keen to get on.
I still find the work of Venetia Dearden incredibly compelling. Her images in ‘SomersetStories, Fivepenny Dreams’ remind me so much of the landscape around me and I love the quietness and muted colours in her work.
I also found myself drawn to the work of Keith Arnatt. In his AONB series he photographs beautiful landscapes but includes in them the ugliness of items left behind by man. I like the honesty of this approach and it makes for a far more interesting and thought provoking experience than just looking at a beautiful scene.
I like the humour with which Richard Wentworth in his ‘Making Do and Getting By’ series, captures images of mundane items in unexpected places.
Also on the suggested list of practitioners, I found Tina Barney’s work very engaging, particularly the slight chaos and disorganisation depicted in of her Theater of Manners. Although there were only a couple of images in her Small Town series that I felt were particularly relevant to this assignment, I will definitely be revisiting her for inspiration on future projects.
I think Jodi Taylor is incredibly successful in encapsulating the feeling of childhood nostalgia in her images. And reading about her led me on to Martin Parr’s work which combines reality and humour so successfully.
So, finally, to the reworking of this assignment. Only two of the original images remain. A couple are now included that previously I felt were ‘too messy’ but now I see are way more interesting than the images they replace. For the remaining pictures I have revisited the places I went to the first time round and photographed them in their dormant, winter state. And so the project has moved on to a different, less obvious, but hopefully more interesting phase and also encompasses more than just one season.