Tuesday, 21 February 2012

More of a Continuum – Initial thoughts on Assignment One

Actually, on reflection, this isn’t a new start, even if it is a new course; it’s very much a continuum from where I’ve got to towards the end of PaP.  The thoughts and feelings I’ve been writing about towards the end of that course are, naturally, present as I begin this one, and may have their opportunity to find expression.  In many ways, the title for this module has something of a technical ring about it, and there is, rightly, a focus on ‘the market’ and professional practice, but there is also the opportunity for self-expression, and so the prospect of exploring some of those more emotional reactions that I’ve been reflecting on back at PaP.

The course starts with an assignment – unusual, but good, at this level.  It is described as a ‘diagnostic’, an opportunity to give your tutor a feel for your work and how best to support you.  I feel inclined to use it as a bit of a diagnostic on myself, actually – ‘Where am I at with this creative malarkey?’ – and, as it happens, the subject matter might give me just the right chance.

The subject is ‘Your own neighbourhood’ and, coincidentally, I did something ‘similar’ for Assignment Four of PaP.  This was the ‘sense of place’ part of the course, a phrase that reappears in the brief for this assignment in PwDP.  The thing is, I chose to use ‘Holmfirth’, where I live, as the subject for that assignment, with all the images made at locations within 10-15 minutes’ walk of home.  But the brief for that assignment was about producing images for a quality travel publication, whereas this has the potential to be more personal.  I was critical of my own outcomes then, for their lack of emotion, and so was my tutor.  Here are the notes relating to that assignment in my previous blog Assignment Four PaP.

I have also criticised myself on several occasions during PaP, for letting the brief restrict me.  The first sentence of this brief says ... “Produce a small portfolio of images that express the character of the neighbourhood or locality where you live”.  Later, it also says ... “You can be as subjective as you wish ...” and “You may choose one particular photographic style or explore different styles ...”.  So, there is the invitation and also the challenge.  I will produce something very different from PaP Assignment Four.  I will try to explore some different styles.  I will try for something with more emotion, something more personal (that’s perhaps a better word to work with) – a ‘personal’ reaction to the locality in which I live.

I can already think of a few photographers whose work I might explore in preparation – Robert Adams, who I have largely ignored up to now (not deliberately!); then Petersen & Engstrom, about whom I’ve already written in PaP – but I saw some works at the New Art Gallery, Walsall, recently – paintings, etchings, drawings – that were also inspirational in this context, and which I’ll write about in my next post on here.

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