‘The popular image of the photographer as someone working alone — from the intrepid photojournalist to the introverted artist — is therefore something of a fiction. It is a fiction consecrated by twentieth-century histories of photography — which invariably privilege single authors, even when, as is often the case with professional photography, work is collectively produced.’
from A Collaborative Turn In Contemporary Photography? by Daniel Palmer
This week we’ve been asked to collaborate with other course members to create a micro-project. Total freedom with regards to content and creativity. In the context of the time-frame we’ve had, and the difficulties of communication across different geographic locations, this has been a less that satisfactory process for me.
In my professional practice, I collaborate with many different types of people including designers, stylists, marketing teams, account managers etc. Those collaborations provide different levels of energy, accountability, and expectations. I believe that collaboration is an important part of creativity and output and, no matter the quality of the journey, it is a fruitful process if one is willing to remain open to whatever the process is teaching.
I worked on a curatorial project going by the title Looks Mean Nothing? with two other course members. This looked at how we receive images as viewers and how that might change once we learn their context or information about why they were taken.
A curatorial project was easier to manage in the time open to us. It also eliminated the need to spend time shooting and editing new images at such short notice. So we spent time researching other photographer’s work and images used in social media. The theme was a little opaque at first, regular input (and a deadline) soon clarified the way the project was going to go.
As a curatorial piece of work, it hung together pretty well given the limitations already mentioned. Though I don’t believe that it will inform my own personal work moving forward, it did highlight how important context is to the work we create and my practice in general. In fact, it could be argued that context is now the driving factor in photography and most visual communication.
For me, the biggest thing missing was the time to form solid working relationships: ones that could engender better communication and trust.
A PDF of the project can be downloaded here:
Interestingly, this micro-project made me reassess a micro-project of my own called UNFINISHED BUSINESS. I used one of the images (the top one below) from that project in response to the original material we put together as a group. My project was a meditation on youth and what happens when someone dies young.
Something powerful and personal is beginning to form in the context of identity and nationality via my own personal conflict with my dual heritage. However, the form of the project is not clear to me yet, or even the seed of form. Through discussion this week with other course members and my tutor I believe that I’m seeking the following elements:
- an exploration of ‘between-ness’: limbos, thresholds, borderlines especially where these pertain to the notions of identity
- a sense of heightened reality: the dramatic moment
- the poetic within the moment
- possibly staged or re-created events from memory
- selecting locations and people – almost casting roles within the scenes?
Some technical forms that are still triggering ideas:
- camera obscura
- night-time photography
Got completely enthralled by this in the context of my project work (not my practice necessarily):
SCRAPBOOK & OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
‘KILL YOUR DARLINGS’
Being aware of the lived present.
Being aware of the importance of a similar aesthetic.