MODULE 4: INFORMING CONTEXTS. WEEK 4.

Cropped Images.
Copyright James Bellorini 2020.

This is another post in the sequence that looks at how my work might be presented, it’s context, and the potential for extending the constructed elements of my M.A. practice.

In this I have been influenced by David Campany’s book Photography and Cinema (2008), and two other books that have become backbones of my research over the past year: the Eastman Museum publication A Matter Of Memory (2016), and Hot Mirror by Viviane Sassen (2018). To avoid lengthy posts, I will discuss this research over a couple of related CRJ entries.

It’s safe to say that my research practice has been (and remains) diverse in it’s experimentation and output. This has been a deliberate (though at times confusing) choice and I’ve written about this elsewhere in my CRJ throughout the various modules. This diversity has prompted me to look at ways in which the work might be gathered into a more satisfactory whole. I don’t want to spoon-feed the viewer, but neither do I want the work to be so obscure as to lack communication. I wrote about this here after my findings from the small selection of work I showed at Hull International Photography Festival in 2019. The image relationship and the exploration of narrative/anti-narrative are my potential friends therefore. Indeed, literary storytelling tropes have already come into play in my previous module work-in-progress folio work. In particular, and I’ve mentioned this frequently in my CRJ, using individual images as ‘words’ and then sequencing a number of images to create a visual sentence structure. This has been a really helpful approach when working through my editing process. The HIP Festival work was completely built on this framework.

Throughout this current module, and the research I am doing off the back of it, I’ve become intrigued by less linear more cinematic and impressionistic approaches to narrative and construction.

SOLILOQUY IV.
Sam Taylor-Johnson (nee Wood) 1998-99.

I began this avenue of research (as mentioned in this post) looking at Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Solilioquy series which juxtaposes an individual portrait with a panoramic image or wide-angle sequence placed underneath it. One image is indivisible from the other; and perhaps we are witnessing memory or interior monologue across time and place. This is an interesting and sophisticated visual proposal. It’s also worth mentioning again that my research into Taylor-Johnson (and others including Christian Patterson etc), as well as what I’m discussing in this post, relates to feedback given alongside my Module 3 Sustainable Prospects final marks to find a way to balance my portraiture with my still life/object photography.

In relation to this research I have also been looking at (and playing with) more radical ideas of layout with regards to temporal expression. Led initially by that stalwart of the early twentieth century avant-garde Moholy-Nagy and his montage work ‘Dynamic Of The Metropolis‘ (1925) which utilises bold linear forms, graphic notations, and typeface to lead the viewer across a series of jarring juxtapositions that embody, as Campany explains, ‘the energy of the modern city on the move’. Moholy-Nagy saw this construction as a form of visual film script, one which lacked narrative but explored temporal progression. Interestingly, the Moholy-Nagy Foundation have made a contemporary video version of these ‘scripts’ (listed in the References below).

from DYNAMIC OF THE METROPOLIS.
Lazslo Moholy-Nagy 1925.

This idea of the progression of time is something that interests me in the presentation of my practice, especially in relation to the biomythographical elements it. Though I can’t say that is anywhere near resolving itself yet it is evident in sequences such as this one below and the image at the top of this post:

Wordless Narrative test (after Moholy-Nagy).
Copyright James Bellorini 2020.

REFERENCES AND RESOURCES

BOOKS

Campany, D. 2008. Photography and Cinema. London: Reaktion Books.

Hostetler, L (ed). 2016. A Matter Of Memory – Photography As Object In The Digital Age. New York: Eastman Museum.

Sassen, V. 2018. Hot Mirror. London: Prestel.

VIDEO:

Moholy-Nagy Foundation. 2010. Dynamics of the Metropolis preview. [Short film]. Available at: https://youtu.be/XMSscELfXEk