1.TOPIC / TREATMENT & AUDIENCE
For this module I have decided to cumulate aspects of a journal I keep as a coping mechanism when I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder. To create images to reflect the emotion that I was feeling. I aim to and then add imagery too them. I never intended explore the themes discussed within my journal and to explore the context of phototherapy to combine both aspects to create the full body of work. This is something that I am passionate to pursue to allow the audience to gain a fuller understanding of seasonal affective disorder as it can be regarded as something that is looked passed.
The main objective is to create images from experiences I have personally been effected by. I wish to keep the information given to the audience, as minimal as I possibly can. I plan to not give away a lot of information so the audience can form their own opinion and to raise there own memories. On the other hand I also don’t want to give away too little as to what my project is about as the contextual background may not be clear enough. I have planned it like this as it gives the viewer time to reflect on events that have happened to them, of which they are reminded of when they view the photographs. The methodology for this project will be to research into photographers who have explored a deep context as well as exploring themes of exploitation. To create a body of work that communicates deep emotion to trigger memory. By defining my practice I am able to explore the therapeutic technique in accordance to how I personally would use it. I can reveal the inner thoughts of someone who suffers with the disorder, allowing me to be able to communicate emotions strongly.
2. SKILLS AND RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS
For a major aspect to my project I need to develop my knowledge of phototherapy as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Although having suffered for 5-6 years it is not something that I have researched into, I understand that it’s depression according to sunlight and that is about it and I live with it. I need to gain a fuller understanding of the disorder although I know that it is not understood in great detail.
The idea of the audience reflecting onto the images is important too me as a journal is a very reflective time for me. It is something that I wanted to audience too feel they could relate too. I will carefully select lines from my journal to portray my trail of thought and the event that was occurring at that particular time. I will look in too the work of photographers who use subjects to tell a narrative and the intimacy of their work. However I decided to take an intimate approach without showing people or faces. I need to develop my skills in using photography to portray a deep personal emotion, as it’s something I’ve not done before. I plan to use the internet to do research as well as personal experience to create the work I envisage.
January 14th – Drafted first proposal
January 21st – Bring image that was taken in October to tutorial with David Moore
February 11th – Have final proposal
March 4th – Respond and reflect on what is to be said in feedback and expand upon it
March 18th – Plan shoots for over Easter
April 15th – Begin to consider finals
April 22nd – Respond to feedback consider what is said
April 29th – Have an edited down version to final prints
May 6th – Tutorial with final aspects coming together
May 13th – Have final work already sent to print if not printed, discuss final aspects to assignments, and finishing touches and blog posts
4. OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES
By the time I complete this module, I intend to of achieved a powerful body of work, which holds the emotion that I have planned to capture. Ultimately I hope the audience connects with their own experiences, and realise that the feeling is universal, and can be explored through photography. Through development and experimentation I hope to develop a project that is photographically strong enough to support this. I hope to of learnt more about putting text and imagery together to create a body of work, as it is something that I have not previously done, and may turn out to be something that is not successful in the practice. I plan that the outcome will be strong, and the images will hold a lot of context as well as being highly aesthetically pleasing.
After completing my final major project, reflection is important to evaluate how the overall project was achieved. The project began when I decided to produce images along side my journal I keep as a coping mechanism. The journal began a few years after being diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The project began by taking images that reflected exactly what was said in the journal. I wanted the audience to recall a memory that reminded them of the text and image along side each other. It was fairly difficult, as I didn’t want to exploit myself and subjects within my journal. This is when I looked further into exploitation within photography, something that I have previously explored during my symposium module. However further research into different areas of photography meant my project took a different turn. It turned into a project that was also being used as therapy to me personally. Phototherapy is something that I had never heard of. Jo Spence was an artist that had taken on this form of therapy to create a body of work, which I found incredibly powerful. I found it fairly difficult to find information about the actual creation of images as therapy as a lot of people refer to phototherapy as therapy using light and this is not the information that was going to inspire my project.
The challenge I found most difficult was basing it on my own experience, instead of previous projects when I have based work on an interest. Creating the work with my life as the context was difficult to compile. I found it difficult to keep reading over my journal, as it contains a lot of scarring experiences, but I needed to feel the emotion when I was creating images, as if I felt no emotion, there would have been nothing to communicate. I initially found it difficult to make appropriate images, and at one stage, I had used image that I had taken in New York. However after reflecting onto the then body of work, I realised that it wasn’t appropriate. I have based my project on portraying emotions, especially through the time of year Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs, so why would images of New York be necessary? I progressed onto creating images from within my university house, as this is where the majority of my six months was spent, and I felt that this was a much stronger way to communicate my emotions.
I decided to use digital techniques to create my work, as these techniques are now being used as therapy. Phototherapy is something that I believe will develop in this generation, as therapy can be created with any type of lens based equipment. My work is something that I would place in between genres of contemporary practice. It sits between documentary and phototherapy, it is a documentation of feelings, as well as being used as a coping mechanism, which is a project that I want to progress with after graduation. I came to this conclusion after trying to define where my work sits within the industry and after conducting research into practitioners such as Jim Goldberg, I realised it wasn’t just a body of documentation.
My methodology enhances my practice, as I have considered the context and where the project’s foundation first developed. This allows the audience to create their own opinion by reading into the image and consider the context that constructed the body of work. Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work ‘Hustlers’ inspired this aspect of my project as the images are aesthetically pleasing, but the contextual background makes the audience reconsider the work. However having aesthetically pleasing images holds the risk of the audience being absorbed by the image instead of the context. As well as this the audience may read the body of work differently to the context on which it has been based, however this may not necessarily be a negative as this is what I wanted, I wanted the audience to be able to have their own memories and thoughts. The context became essential to my practice and how I developed my work, as I knew that having my journal as the initial inspiration that I would never be without a base for my project.
Overall there were a lot of challenges over the course of the module that I have since over come. I found it difficult to create work based within my home but it was important as this represents my mental state at the time of production. I always thought my work would be exhibited in oak frames, but once I had a number of tutorials I realised that this was not the case and aluminium mount was best. To summarise I feel my work is strong within contemporary practice, and this form of therapy will develop in the digital age.
I am so pleased with my final outcome of exhibition prints, I have also created a small portfolio of 4 images, however these are printed on gloss paper, as I was set on gloss and when my metallic ones came it was too late to change.
My final prints were mounted on aluminium. This was something that was fairly last minute as was decided in the last 2-3 weeks of the module. Before I had always planned to frame my work, and I decided on oak frames. This was because as everything was shot within my house, that oak and frames give the extra ‘homely’ feel. However my project isn’t contextually about the home, it’s about why I am always there. Frames became unsuitable for this project and I had no idea what else I was going to do I’d always planned it like that and it changed and I didn’t really like giving up my original idea. It actually benefitted me though, I had a tutorial with tutor Caroline Molloy, and she suggested aluminium mounts. I’d never come across this, so together looked at some pictures and it looks very professional. Excluding a frame from my exhibition I believe has worked to my benefit. Having frames makes the work look a little too perfect, and as the context is actually far from this is as inappropriate. Choosing a display mount without a farm has enhanced this, there is no boundaries around the image and there is nothing to distract the viewer from the image. This is perfect for my project as I don’t want the audience too feel a boundary when reading into the work, I want them to form their own opinions and think about their own lives in these dark moments.
Overall, I feel like my project ‘Dear Diary, it’s october 18th and it’s starting again…’ has been successful. I have researched into many areas and artists to help compile all of the aspects for this final product. If I were to do it again I would exhibit more images, I didn’t this time as my finances were the issue. Therefore if I were to do this again I would save more money, the reason for not enough finances is because framing was going to be a lot cheaper for me. However I still managed to print my three strongest images on aluminium so I can exhibit them. The project has expanded my knowledge about myself, my condition, and different genres of photography, and I look forward to pursuing this further in the future.
During this module I was fortunate enough to take part in a trip to New York. While there we visited Aperture Gallery. I was browsing through the book store when I came across a book called ‘Class Picture, by Dawoud Bey’ Bey was born in 1953 in New York USA, and achieve MFA from Yale University School of Art. Who is now a professor at Columbia College Chicago. What made me look at Bey’s book was the striking portrait photo on the front cover;
I picked up the book to have a look as to what it was about, as I turned over the book I was presented with a series of 12 more portrait images, all of the images appear to be of teenagers/ young adults. I began to look through the book to see what the context of the work was. Each double page spread has a portrait and a biographical statement. Reading into the book I discovered that the book has been created by Bey over the last 15 years. All portraits in the collection are in colour, and the participants within the work are all students across the United States. The book contains a diverse range of students, form different social, ethnic and economic groups. The work was created to challenge stereotypes of young people of this generation. Each portrait has a statement which is biographical for the student shown on the double spread, and were created within 45 minutes. The statements are anything that the student wanted, they range from quite funny statements too deep and personal ones.
This really inspired me at this point in my practice (March 2015) as all the statements that were written were personal to each individual and reminded me of my journal. He created this work with accompanying text so that it revealed something more about the teenagers. It shows that although this generation has been categorised to have certain personality traits, that actually they have complex lives, and as the book communicates adults depict an opinion by the appearance of this generation, and the book delves into the lives to show the difference.
This book relates to my practice because images are created, after being closely linked to personal experience. Bey’s project reminded me of a project that I had already been planning. A project that takes other people’s stories to create images, this is something that I have thought about after graduation, to expand upon this project that I have created, and to publish stories from other accounts.
Overall the work within Bey’s book is incredible, I have never felt so moved by photography before. The text from the students is really quite emotional, as a young adult myself I could relate to a lot of the text. For example at one point during the introduction it explains how the text is given because the students find it hard to express themselves, which I feel relates to phototherapy. This therapeutic technique is used when a sufferer can not express themselves fully and find it incredibly challenging. Class Pictures has been influential because of the statements, it is something that really touched me because there are a lot of young people who have experienced a lot of scarring incidents. This is where my journal first began, and therefore Bey’s work to me is incredible! It is something that has really inspired me as a photographer, and made me passionate to expand my practice in this area.
To create my final body of work I have took a variety of images of things around my room, this is because as previously explained on my blog I spent a lot of time in my house, so I decided to photograph everything within this small area to portray what I see everyday over the 6 months, what I spend most of my time observing.
Some of the images are from New York, and as explained in my reflective report and on my blog they were not appropriate for my practice for this module. However, I feel as if the majority of my other images were not strong enough to include into the body of work either. The ones that worked the least were the ones that had been lit using the lamp that has been specially designed to help people who suffer with seasonal affective disorder. This is because the lamp contains quite a large amount of small led lights that emit hertz, this is why the disorder is around. The sun emits hertz and sunlight provides vitamin D, so therefore the lamp is designed to produce these aspects, to help the person who suffers. I think that the lighting became too harsh, and it looked very artificial and not very aesthetically pleasing at all. The light was uncomfortable too look at and to like objects with. It created a large shadow, and although I wanted to use high contrast, the lamp created too much and it looked awful. As well as this I then dropped the charger off the landing on to tile floor and it broke anyway.
All three of my final exhibition prints are lit naturally, no artificial light was used at all and these were actually stronger. This is because it gave more of a ‘real’ feel it didn’t look staged and set up at all and this is what I wanted. Although I still wanted high contrast images using natural light enabled me to do so. After taking all the images above, I edited it down to a final three to exhibit and a small selection to display in a portfolio box. The portfolio box is not to be displayed at the exhibition but is just for submission. This is because they are part of the series but I don’t feel they are needed to complete the exhibition work. They are images that I will expand upon after my degree as I wanted to continue with this project in the future.
Over the course of the module I have developed the initial idea to my project. I planned and conducted many photo shoots to compile a range of images that express my feelings and emotions during the 6 month that I’m trying to display. Research and experimentation have been something that has greatly influenced the development of my project. My project has been taking many different directions over the module, and this has all contributed too the overall outcome.
The research into phototherapy has developed my project into something more meaningful, before it was photos based on images I had created when I had experienced something and I had made an image that matched the text. After tutorials early on I was advised to not link the text and image directly as it is a little too literal and doesn’t really allow the audience to create so much of an opinion on the situation as they have basically been told what it is. This isn’t exactly what I want to achieve, in the beginning it was but as I developed my project it wasn’t this at all. I wanted to portray my emotion and how they are heightened by s.a.d not by the situations I was facing, although sometimes the situation triggers the extreme difference.
I began to think about how it really does affect me and how my personality does change during this time. I came to the conclusion that a lot of my time is spent in my room, I rarely leave, and there was only really a few occasions that I would need too. To go to uni, to go to work, or to go to the kitchen are the most frequent reasons. This project has made me understand the illness more, and it really did help me cope more. I realised that a body of work based within my room was the best way to represent the issue. With the photos, I have found it difficult to think of how I want it too look, i’ve made images that are aesthetically pleasing so I experimented with defacing the photos. I conducted research into a variety of photographers and made a list of way I could destroy the images. I defaced a few images that had been printed onto standard a4 printer paper, and scratched with a compass, and painted onto images. I did feel that it could of worked but only if it was one image. The defacing was quite over powering because of the text, the text within the journal is very intense. I decided that the best thing for the project was too get rid of the text completely. Allowing my work to stand on it’s own two feet. Before this I had developed the text ti go along side the images many times, from lines from my journal, to words from my journal, to text about my thought and finally to poetry. Then eventually got rid of all of the text, it was far too distracting to go with the body of work and almost gave it too much context.
‘Dear Diary, it’s October 18th and it’s starting again…’ has developed a lot over the module, and it’s been a challenging process to get to the end. Research into a variety of artists has influenced me, the more research I did the more development my project had. My journal has been the basis for the project all along, and therefore I was never completely without an idea, i just came across difficulties to get the work to say what the journal does.
Overall it became difficult to get to the final outcome, but with a combination of all the factors and research explored on my blog and in my research journals I believe that I have created a body of work that is powerful. The emotion I wanted to portray has been shown through the images, and I feel that the body of work communicates the theme and contextual back ground well.
Jim Goldberg is an artist that I considered for inspiration throughout my project as he is known for using a lot of text with his images Goldberg is an American photographer, and his work is very in-depth and he collaborates with neglected and ignored subjects that are outside the mainstream category. He is currently a professor of Art, at California College of Arts and Crafts, and is a member of magnum photos. Goldbeg has got 30 years of exhibiting experience and has made iconic images using text to experiment story telling.
The most influential body of work from him was ‘Raised by Wolves’
Goldberg worked closely with teenagers who had run away from him in the cites of San Francisco as well as Los Angeles. The work is pretty incredible and includes original photos, text, diary entries, snapshots etc. Which can be seen here;
The video is incredibly inspirational, and something that I would like to achieve in the future I had considered taking other peoples journals and experiences to create an expanded body of work. Goldberg’s video holds a lot of information about his subjects and you can hear them speaking. It is a very inspirational video and I would defiantly recommend it.
One of the reason I found it so inspirational is because it is completely based on narratives. It shows the lives and stories of each of these subjects, which is what my work does, exposes a part of my life. The work of Goldberg took him 10 years to complete, and he documents his encounters with the teenagers he met over the decade. He created the work to be presented in many different mediums, which worked very well as I feel that there is now a form that the majority of people will have an interest in, it isn’t just one format which some viewers may not find that captivating. Which is something that I plan to achieve when I take this work further. I feel my work is a cross between photojournalism and documentary, I feel it is an important context, and through my work and others similar it holds the power to inform and teach the audience, just like Goldberg’s work does! Photojournalism actually dates back to 1865, when Alexander Gardener photographed the narrative of The Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators. This is interesting as photojournalism is forever developing now with different contextual backgrounds that photographers feel passionate about and want to raise awareness for. For example in 1855 the Crimean War was the first war to be documented photographically, because again this is something that people need to be aware of and have a better understanding for.
On the other hand documentary photography indicates that the photographer had pre visualised what they wanted to create and what the outcome would communicate. Which is what I believe my work to be, I had always thought about what I wanted my work to communicate. Just like Goldberg there was an outcome planned and his work communicated a topic that he felt passionate enough to pursue for 10 years.
Also Goldberg was a huge influence on my practice when I was planning to use text.
Although I have finally decided to not use text in my final project it is something that will influence me, as I plan to expand this body of work over the next few years to produce a book of journal entries from my personal journal and other text, combining phototherpay documentary and text together.