Six Week Project Crit (Week 5)

This week was my final crit session before the hand in, feeling confident with my project I explained to my tutor Leah who was taking the crit how my project has taken shape over the course of the six weeks weeks and where I am at the moment in regards to the deadline. Using the same sideshow from my previous crit with Gemma I showed the rate of deterioration from two weeks ago as well as the new accelerant ones I shot the just last week. While explaining my project and the ideas and meanings behind it I wasn’t met with much resistance until the end when Leah told me her thoughts about the meaning of my project.

As you probably may already know the idea that I’ve been currently working on surroundings these deteriorating projects is the loss of identify:

“…what I find fascinating is the loss of identity especially now as people around me are qualifying and are either in full time jobs or floating through life trying to work out where they fit in. I feel the loss of identity is a common universal theme are their are many cases where a person would question who they are? where they are in their life? and where they belong? Its often these pivotal moments in life which cause these questions to arise in the first place. Such as leaving education and entering the real world, stuck in dead end or repetitive jobs, religion, any form of trauma either mental or physical, midlife crisis, health, growing old.”

-Flypostering: Portrait Alteration – November 5, 2012

Leah felt that the meaning was too generic, a tad boring, and possibly a bit forced. Although the feedback sounds harsh, Leah did sympathise with me. These six week projects don’t allow much room for maneuver when experimenting with ideas and meanings so it is a common problem for students. However she felt identity is always linked with portraiture, that its the obvious and that I should look at something more interesting and broader such as materiality. As I’m looking at the methods of flypostering my images and photographing deterioration materiality does happen to fit quite nicely into my project.

To help me out and get a better understanding of materiality and how I can write about in regards to my project Leah did give me some reading material (Technically I was given these at the beginning of the project when Nigel noticed the “Aura”  vibe to my project, it just so happens that I am still working my way through them) such as “Analogue” by Tot Taylor, “Analogue” by Tacita Dean, “Photography’s New Materiality?” by Harriet Riches, Sandra Plummer and Duncan Wooldridge, and “The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. In regards to other photographers Leah insisted that I should also look at Sam Taylor-Wood and her short film “Still Life” (2001) as the film deals with decay and deterioration. As well as any other artist / photographer I can find on the internet who also deals with these themes.

Now with plenty of research to be getting on with the rest of the week will be spent reading and writing as I try to get my head around materiality, decay and how it ties in with my project. Although I liked my Identity meaning I understand where Leah is coming from, as I want to get the best possible results for this project to set me in good stead for my FMP I am prepared to go the extra mile and research and explore different ideas. Placing identity to the side for now I still would like to explore people, maybe groups of people, society, human nature for example as I am rather insistent in keeping with portraiture. I’m not entirely sure still but I want to keep following my gut feeling. I do admit materiality is an interesting idea especially in regard to flypostering. Hopefully I can find a way where I connect the ideas and methods of materiality and tie them within my portrait!

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~ by stuartmatthewsphotography on November 7, 2012.

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