‘Atlas’. April 2019.


So, the past couple of weeks have been productive in terms of research project development. This is partly due to the Positions & Practices module coming to a close and therefore assignment work relating to our projects had to be clarified, finalised, and submitted. A deadline is always a good focus. But also because it’s getting clearer as I engage with my research just what it is I’m wanting to explore.

I now know that my themes are dual heritage, migration/immigration, and the quest for belonging. Especially important to this in terms of my photography is the way myself (and those I’ve come into contact with for my research) feel like we have a third or ‘hybrid’ identity. One that sits between the countries we have inherited by birth or the places we might have moved from, and the place we currently find ourselves living in. We are always in an in-between state. We exist in the reality of the place we are currently in, but also parts of ourselves are ‘held’ elsewhere which, in turn, influences the perception of the present. I met with a couple of people born in the UK from mixed heritage parents and there is this recognition of being slightly out-of-joint from the immediate world around them, as if there is a veil of otherness that they perceive their lives through. This is fascinating to me, certainly photographically, but also in terms of my motivation for engaging with my practice.

It’s an important subject to those of us who need to express this ‘otherness’, to understand who we are within that – more so perhaps than I’d first anticipated. But then this is the great joy of exploration, of meeting people with similar experiences, even those that have been unexpressed or overlooked. I also think there might be something archetypal in all this, after all humanity has been on the move since it could get up an walk. The nomadic impulse is ever-present. Our desire to meet the ‘other’ in terms of place and people has been the making of much of what is good about the human race.

It’s easy to get overly philosophical but it is important to remember that there is lightness here too. Of course that depends on the reasons one may have originally left a place or home, but what I mean is that, although there are difficulties present, there is also celebration, diversity, humour, and unique experiences.

The whole sketchbook/collage practice (see my Oral Presentation here for more info) has proved extremely useful as both an idea generator and also a medium to express directly into the project in surprising ways. I didn’t envisage that any of the collages would actually be used as images in themselves. But thanks to my tutor Cemre’s encouragement, I saw them in a new way and, rather than dismissing them as ‘means’ to an end, they’ve became important parts of the creative dialogue between images and sequences.

ACTION: Maybe there’s an opportunity now to explore bringing photographic images and collage together in some way? Not montage, but more along the lines of direct collage work on to prints of my own project images and then rephotographed? That would certainly challenge my more ‘traditional’ approach of how I perceive the photographic image. This could also work for the upcoming COHERE project work?

What My Daddy Told Me. April 2019.

There are people appearing for this project as well. Relationships developing in terms of those that are contributing to my thinking but also those that are willing to be subjects for the camera. this is great. A privilege. It has contributed to a rapid widening of my perspective and possibilities for the the project already. It offers me the opportunity to visit unexpected ideas and to reflect back on myself what is important for me, especially in terms of the thematic aspects of the project. For example, one of my subjects recently asked me “What Italian objects do you have around your home?” She is Anglo-Iranian and has many items that display her heritage with some pride whereas I have almost no Italian items in my home (one in fact: a Bialetti stove-top coffee maker). That’s something that is worth examining because it’s not like I’ve dismissed the contribution Italy has had to my character and outlook (far from it in fact). Just goes to show the importance of other perspectives at all times in this work.