Tutorial - AR 29 Sep 14

Ok, I’m going to state all this in the opposite order as to what happened because the tutorial ended with a discussion about my being on the brink of dropping out of the MA. The reasons are all hard to voice, not because I think they’re personal and I want to keep them private, but because I’m not 100% sure of the reasons. One will I guess come from the fact that I’d much rather be dong a Photography MA, not Fine Art. Whilst I do consider myself to be an “artist”, that’s more because I don’t consider myself to be a social documentary photographer, or a fashion photographer, or a portrait photographer. “Artist” feels like it’s all that’s left. I’ll be honest, the Interactive Design Institute Photography MA doesn’t appeal (anyone from education that promotes colour popping on their website should be banned from any form of education, or even photography for that matter). Yes there are perhaps other options... but I am where I am at the moment. I’ve voiced concerns in the past, and I still have those concerns. Is this the right vehicle for me in terms of attaining an MA? It’s different from things I’ve done before in distance learning, something that I’m not unfamiliar with (I have a distance learning BA with OCA, and a distance learning BSc with OU, I even studied it as a subject in itself at one point). I’m not necessarily saying that these differences are good or bad, just that they’re differences and not what I was expecting. Maybe it’s my expectations that are part of the problem? I expected to give a proposal on what I would do and then go off and do it, but that’s not really happened yet. I expected to be able to be creative in my choice of presentation styles, but this is being questioned (I will say now that I will resist Wordpress for as long as I continue to blog). Some of the course elements are not what I would expect. I don’t expect to be able to contribute much in terms of the “making days”, not if I were to go out on a shoot anyway - a medium format camera and mobile internet are not good bedfellows. I don’t really expect to be making random things if they’re not on my “agenda” either - time and my capacity will collude to prevent this anyway. Yes, there’s a mix of things going on that have me in turmoil, which is strange, because whenever I speak to Angela or Caroline, the doubts fade to an extent, but only to return a little later. The fact that I’m even writing this now is indeed positive and would indicate that the doubts have receded a small distance. I have however contacted Lee in the OCA office (although still waiting for a response) and drafted a couple of notification e-mails. Nothing can be taken for granted yet.

This conversation took place at the end of the tutorial time as I did not want it to take up the lions share of the discussion, which it undoubtedly would have done if mentioned first.

Back to the first section of the tutorial then...

Well, that went ok, there was some comment on not being able to see all the detail of the
A Forest image in the Google presentation, which is kind of understandable. I suppose some of it depends on what you’re viewing it on. I could see it, but I also knew it was there.

In discussing the current work, WIllie Doherty was mentioned. I’m not sure if I’ve seen his work before, it sort of rings a bell, but....

Other than that, I suppose I will have to fill in my tutorial report form. If I can actually make head or tail of the scribbled notes I made.

Images for tutorial - AR

OK, some of these are the same as for Caroline’s tutorial, but for the sake of completeness, they’re here again. Others are the same as what I put in the post about Task 1 the other day, but again, for the sake of completeness... And as Angela hasn’t seen any of my other work, there’s a few from last year too.

Speak My Language:

There’s also a video of a rough of the book version below

A Forest:

Shotgun Cartridge

Some Unholy War:

(images used for educational purposes)

Task 1:
(images used for educational purposes)


Tutorial - CW 22 Sep 14

Luckily, my Internet connection had recovered sufficiently to allow the tutorial with Caroline to take place, although the received video quality was pretty fuzzy. Still, we managed to communicate, which is the main thing.

Half an hour isn’t a long time, although it is sufficient. We managed to talk briefly about Task 1, but in more detail about
Some Unholy War and the work I have planned going forward, all of which is related to representations of conflict. A few names came up - David Cotterrell was the first, who was allowed to go out to Iraq/Afghanistan, although his view of what was there will have been very sanitised - the days of the “wild” war journos has been and gone as the government/military have recognised the power of the media, with reporters now embedded in units rather than free to go where they want. I mentioned Broomberg and Chenerin in return, with their piece The Day Nobody Died which is a very alternative take! Steve McQueen may be better known for films such as 12 Years a Slave, but he has also received the Turner Prize (1999) and produced a body of work called Queen and Country commemorating soldiers killed in the war in Iraq.

Steve McQueen,
Queen and Country (2007-2010)

The report has been posted, and now there’s reading to do, photographs to take and preparations to be made for next week’s tutorial with Angela...


Images for tutorial - CW

In preparation for the upcoming tutorial with Caroline, we’ve been requested to upload 5 images onto our G Drive and share. Well, that’s done and these are the 5 images I’ve selected, all of which are from a current project called Some Unholy War.

In order of appearance, they’re from Battle for Haditha, We Were Soldiers, Our World War, and 2 from Black Hawk Down - used for educational purposes)

Why these ones? Specifically, I’m not sure. I guess they appeal to me on some level.

As a series, what I want to explore is on several layers. There’s the romanticisation and glorification of war, certainly in earlier films although perhaps this is changing more and more as audiences evolve - many films are becoming far “grittier”, showing more of the horror. Then there’s something about representations of truth; it would appear that some take these fictional pieces as being historical documents - almost an eyewitness account of the situation, especially as we are now see historical reproductions of vehicles, etc. (in the
Battle of the Bulge from 1965 American post war tanks - the M47 - were used as German Tigers, and the M24 Chaffee as the American M4 Sherman - they look nothing like what they were meant to!). The increasing amount of news or even civilian footage available also has an impact, everything blurs together if we do not pay it enough heed, the blurring then being represented physically within the image. This has been borne from something that I think Paul Graham said about HCB’s “decisive moment”, and it being followed by another (I will have to find this quote again). Whether these images as shown here will be the final object, I’m not sure yet. Sometimes I think there needs to be something, other times I think that there would be a danger of them becoming either contrived, convoluted or reduced somehow. We will see.

I guess there are still some issues regarding the copyright of these, their source material is obviously copyrighted, but then the work is transformative from the original, in terms of media (video > still), they focus the viewer on a finite moment that is perhaps not particularly telling during the film, it reframes the image, sometimes within a different format, but always cropping something away from the original. I don’t see these as entertainment, but as questions... Is this enough? I don’t know, so will they continue...? I don’t know. Ultimately, I don’t know if they’re interesting enough to continue either.

I did see this on twitter though. Does it make a difference?
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 21.50.35BxsbCLJCUAEQQSt.jpg-large

I will be sure to post something after the tutorial, I believe doing so will be mandated.