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Strategic Choices 2/2

Following on from my previous post on Strategic Choices I decided to explore the micro project I shot before. I felt that the subject, my friend Dave, and the setting, a club that has photographers working in, was probably too familiar to provoke any new or different ideas or work. I didn't want to give up on the experiment and with that in mind, I went out of my comfort zone even more and decided to shoot strangers in a setting that I would never really think to work in. 

A beach vendor kindly allowed me to take my first photograph for the day

A beach vendor kindly allowed me to take my first photograph for the day

I decided to go to Barry Island Beach, a very popular beach where people come and spend sunny days with the family. It's very bright and colourful, both of which are environments I tend not to work in. So from a technical aspect I thought about using circular polarizers and being aware of the direction of where the subjects are looking.

Colour is not something I normally shoot in such a bright way

Colour is not something I normally shoot in such a bright way

Going back to a previous post about how photographers are perceived today I was very weary. Legally anyone has a right to photograph anything and anyone in public. It's a contended issue and one that can stir up a lot of emotions with people feeling like they're somehow being taken advantage of. Pop culture and the media don't help this either. It was with great care that I decided to approach people. In all honesty I think I approached people who I thought would be less hostile and more open, I don't know how but maybe subconsciously.

The distance is very obvious when in big open spaces like beaches.

The distance is very obvious when in big open spaces like beaches.

I walked up and down the beach and promenade and the first thing that stood out to me was the distance. Everybody was in their own little area on the beach or promenade. People don't really want to be close to other people and as I approached I instantly felt that by walking directly towards people and not around them caused a strange tension. I should also add I was walking my puppy, a springer spaniel Coco. I didnt think about that either but it was actually a little ice breaker. Most people like dogs and I had lots of families stop by and ask to pet her. 

It was a happy acident I happened to walk the dog at the same time, I think it was a good ice breaker

It was a happy acident I happened to walk the dog at the same time, I think it was a good ice breaker

The first couple of people I approached where very nice, I walked up and said 'Hi how are you, I'm a photography student and I have been set a project of photographing strangers, would you mind if I took your picture. '. The first family I stopped were great. The mother told me that it was fine and said she also did a Ba in Photography and totally understood. She said that she was sick of people thinking everyone with a camera was a creep or a weirdo. This was a great positive first response. The kids played with the puppy and I took a few pictures of them all. I continued to talk to them as I worked. I think its really interesting that the first person I stopped had this reaction. 

Chris_Chucas_Barry_Island_Micro_Project_04


The second person I asked was a lot more cautious and reserved. I said hello in the same way and after a bit of a pause,  I was asked if I had any ID. I confirmed that I did and also said if you feel uncomfortable or don't want me to that's fine. They said it was ok but worried about their child being in the image. I asked if I could photograph them instead, and they said it was fine. 

©Chris Chucas-7028Bufalo, Bufalo Bar, Sat, Saturday night.jpg
Chris_Chucas_Barry_Island_Micro_Project_05

There were another 2 or 3 reactions similar to this one and then more people had a response of I would but not with the children. I found the whole process not very nice. The positive reactions where great but it was horrible to see people feeling uneasy or not comfortable and that's the last thing I would ever want to do. On the flip side of that we are all in other peoples smart phone images more than ever and I feel that people don't mind that as much. It seems that simply having a professional looking camera makes people very weary of your intentions. 

Chris_Chucas_Barry_Island_Micro_Project_06
Chris_Chucas_Barry_Island_Micro_Project_08

I'm interested in how people read the images, without the anchor or caption or context is it obvious that these people are strangers? What does that say about the photographer and subject relationship? I don't think it is that relevant per say in my practice but I feel it's important to constantly do things that are out of your comfort zone. After looking at my practice so far, I feel it's important to share the power between subject and image maker and possibly audience. In order to do that I feel that a personal and honest approach is needed, I'm not sure how working with this very awkward meeting strangers approach fits in with my practice.

Strategic Choices

Week 7 Strategic Choices 

Photographers have a huge range of skills and techniques that they call upon to make work. In addition to this there are also strategies and methods one can follow in order to produce work. This extra element to the creative process serves as a framework in which work can be produced. In some cases the actual process or framework becomes more central to the idea behind the work or the meaning or intended message.

One such method or strategy that I am fairly new to is 'Psychogeography’ defined as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.”

We can utilize this formulaic and rigid way we use the space by breaking it up with something new and different. One artist who uses not only public spaces but random meetings with complete strangers is Gillian Wearing. 

Gilian Wearing from www.tate.org

It's amazing that Wearing is able to get such honest and personal responses from these strangers. By approaching them in the st and working in this way it seems that it reboots the interaction. We all walk past each other and interact for the most part with social conformity. By approaching strangers and asking them to share something personal with the the artist it is breaking this conformity.

I’m not an expert in these methods but I do find it really interesting how practitioners interact with the environment around them. Sociologists have looked into the effect of the urban environment and how it affects the mood and actions of the people within them. One theory that springs to mind is that of the Broken Window theory, in the most basic form it suggest that urban areas with broken windows, run down buildings and low level disruption including graffiti and vandalism encourages larger scale disruption and with it organised crime. 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/broken-windows-theory

The nature writer Robert MacFarlane describes Psychogeography;

“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide. Unfold a street map ... place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out ... and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textural run-off of the streets; the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation ... Log the data-stream. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch for visual rhythms, coincidences, analogies, family resemblances, the changing moods of the street. Complete the circle and the record ends. Walking makes for content; footage for footage.”
Rober MacFarlane, 'A Road of One’s Own'. 

Times Literary Supplement, 07.10.2005.

One after thought that’s come to me when looking at this exploration or ‘derive’ needed from the participant when making work in a such a way is the subjectivity of it. Each individual will have a previous history with environments of a similar nature, they may have watched news reports or watched films depicting dangerous urban environments. I think it’s a great way to experiment but it is not as independent as one might think. Our personal histories and understanding of the world around us still affects us even subconsciously. 

I see chance as being an element of photography that can be key but not necessarily all the time. It is dependant on the individual. The image maker or author can use this as a tool in their work but it is not necessarily needed in every project. In relation to my own practice I think I would like to expand on the word ’chance’. Chance indicates a spontaneous act out of your control, I would say that by being equipped and ready to capture a moment you increase your chances of said event being captured enormously. The more time you spend trying to capture a spontaneous moment the better you get at doing it, so this increases the ‘chance’ of being successful. I think chance is an important factor, but it's not as magical and out of reach as some might think. Dedication to your craft studying body language and practicing working this way is probably more relevant.

As for experimenting with embracing change or new opportunities I believe that this can be a great way to push yourself and learn. I was set a micro project by a fellow student on the course. I was given a brief to photograph people and an environment that I wouldn't have normally. 

Having a very busy freelancer schedule along with studying has left me with very little time. I had plans to meet a friend for dinner and decided last minute to take my camera along and photograph him in some of the places that we ended up. It was really interesting, after dinner we went out for some drinks. I went to a venue where I work as a photographer. I started taking images of Dave, and before I knew it I was being asked by everyone to take their photograph. When I tried explaining I wasn't working, I realised it was going to be very difficult to communicate in such loud place. I ended up taking everyone’s image. I tried to focus more on Dave but the more I did the more other people forced their way into the shot with him. Does this say anything about the selfie culture we find ourselves in? It’s really interesting how by me holding a camera at the people around completely changed. It made me more approachable, people who would not have spoken to me were now actively trying to get my attention and really wanted me to photograph them?

Dave after Dinner.

Dave after Dinner.


It was also strange to see my friend Dave suddenly be treated differently. Did anyone think he was a celebrity?

Dave after dinner with strangers wanting to be a part of the image.

Dave after dinner with strangers wanting to be a part of the image.

All of this caused by someone holding a ‘professional’ looking camera has me really interested in our relationships with strangers and the public view of the photographer. 

Dave after Dinner

Dave after Dinner

Dave_after_dinner_Chris_Chucas_UK_Falmouth_Ma_Documentary_Photography_03

On Reflection perhaps this is too close to my other practice and by using a friend it's still not out of the normal formula enough to really engage with the concept of disrupting the norm. Also people on a night out probably expect a photographer to be around. I definitely need to look at re attempting this micro project.

Although I feel it hasn't yielded much, it has made me more interested in the perception of the photographer and the reletionship between the subject matter and image maker. I'm going to look at how I can integrate this into my current practice more. 

Although I feel it hasn't yielded much, it has made me more interested in the perception of the photographer and the reletionship between the subject matter and image maker. I'm going to look at how I can integrate this into my current practice more. 

Power and Responsability

Week 5

 

Power and Responsibility

Photography is a powerful means of communication. Photographs have an inherent great power embedded into them, but one might argue the real power is in the curation and context of the image. One prime example of a controversial use of an image is that of Jeff Mitchell’s image of refugees crossing into Croatia. His image was used by UKIP with a strong anti-migrant message.

UKIP PIC.jpg

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jun/22/jeff-mitchells-best-shot-the-column-of-marching-refugees-used-in-ukips-brexit-campaign

Mitchell is a professional photographer documenting what is happening and is working for a photo agency. I think Jeff Mitchell has not done anything ethically wrong here. In his own view he says ‘The people in the photo have been betrayed by Ukip, rather than me personally’, and ‘You have to remain impartial. I’m there to record what happens. I know it sounds simplistic, but you shoot what’s in front of you.’ 

I agree with Mitchell that he has not intentionally gone out of his way to cause harm or damage to these people. UKIP has betrayed these people and is actively trying to stoke up feelings of hate between people. 

 

The balance of power between author subject and audience becomes a very complicated one especially when photo agencies are in the mix. We need to look at the intentions of the picture agencies and clients licensing. I think what UKIP have done is morally and ethically wrong on every level. It’s trying to use fear to divide people and promotes hatred.

 

Do I think Mitchell has wants that? Certainly not ( and we know that is no the case now from his comment in the article)? I kind of agree with his stance in remaining neutral. Unfortunately there are always going to be issues that going to contested with different views we need to keep as much freedom as possible with image makers and question the media appropriating them. Perhaps he could have spoken out against it using new media like twitter but that would might have upset getty. Perhaps the structure is the problem, maybe a photographer approved status on the article? Nothing was technically wrong on his part here, and I think we need to place more blame on to UKIP than anyone else. It’s not an easy situation to fix at all and any big changes usually risk somebody's freedom.

 

In relation to my own practice I don’t like the thought of my work being used in an unethical immoral way, if you work for an agency I don’t think you can control that and that is the main reason I wouldn’t be interested in shooting for an agency.

Taking a closer look at the subject. audience, and author triangle within my own practice. 

The Subject – This is tricky, the subject is; the people and places I am around and also encompasses me. I mentioned before that I place myself in the images as a kind of sacrifice to make it more democratic. I offer myself up the make the balance more equal, we are all the same. I do not hold more power because I am not the only one taking images. 

The image maker or author. 

Again in a fairly democratic way I am the main image maker but there are other’s too. So in that sense I am an author or curator of images that they have taken. This again is a fairer more democratic way of portraying what’s happening. I am experiencing the moment with them as well. I personally feel it’s better to step away from trying to be completely impartial and un biased ( as it’s impossible ) and approach it this way instead. It’s honest at the very least. 

The Audience

In relation to my own practice I’m still looking at who my audience is. At the moment, I envisage the project being a book and or exhibition. So the audience would be anyone that wants to see it and I imagine that a large part of that would be people involved (so bands artists and even people at the shows). This is definitely the least concrete part of the triangle for me and something I need to look at closer.

As for progress with my own work I've been looking at working a little slower. When I say slower I mean In a more directional way. So i'll make contact with the sunbetc and then spend a little time talking about the project and my intentions before going to for a walk and talking more about how they feel about it. I'll place them into whatever I have a available in the local environment. In a more editorial way of working as opposed to the spontaneous candid way of working I've done more of.

 

 

Rethinking Photographers

This week we have been looking at how the wider world see's us as photographers and the effects that has. 

Working as a photographer I have a strange relationship with it's perception, as a wedding photographer I spend a lot of time telling people how i'm not a what they'd expect as a wedding photographer. I even brand it differently with an alias to separate it from the art documentary work. As an events photographer I explain my method in my 'one handed photographer' approach. I am part of the event interacting with people and getting close to what is happening.

Taken by Chris Chucas from CLWB Ifor Bach's Zerox Night

Taken by Chris Chucas from CLWB Ifor Bach's Zerox Night

Taken by Chris Chucas from CLWB Ifor Bach's Zerox Night

Taken by Chris Chucas from CLWB Ifor Bach's Zerox Night

Taken by Chris Chucas from CLWB Ifor Bach's Zerox Night

Taken by Chris Chucas from CLWB Ifor Bach's Zerox Night

It allows me to get very personal candid images that would have not been possible in a more formal setting (in my opinion at least). I think it's fair to say in most areas of professional photography I feel like I'm up against a sea of sceptics full of anti professional feelings. To the lay man it appears to be a lazy whimsical and over priced profession. This is probably due to the huge rise in mass consumption and accessible technology in digital photography. Smart phones, social media apps, and entry level DSLR's have all devalued the professional photographer somewhat. People seem to think that the difference between the professinal and amauter is more of a label and not so much measured in skill or education.

How has this affected my practice...

Working in a professional capacity has been hard to navigate, I am very cautious to how I've marketed myself. Although I work in a few different areas of photography for paid work I separate them. I do this becuase I feel it's important now more then ever to connect to the client. Being personal and connecting with people with shared values is key. In an over saturated market I think the person behind the camera is more important than it used to be. With the art-documentary projects I invest a lot of myself personally into it. I've touched upon it before, but the there is no way we can stay impartial, neutral or independent of the subject where framing. That's why I choose to embrace it. I think it's possible to be part of the work and it adds an extra layer to it, I feel that it would be better to utilize these diaristic and self reflection elements rather than battle against an impossible task of being the 'neutral' or 'impartial' observer.

An Image I shot literally one handed. The mic stand slipped and needed adjusting so I used my other hand. Taken from a DIY Cardiff House show 2016 @Birdskullsband @PipedreamCC

An Image I shot literally one handed. The mic stand slipped and needed adjusting so I used my other hand. Taken from a DIY Cardiff House show 2016 @Birdskullsband @PipedreamCC

Chris Chucas Habits and Mindsets DIY Cardiff House Show with Birdskulls

Everyone was packed into a crowded room and crowd surfing, when it looked like someone was falling I passed my camera of to the person next to me and went to help. They took a shot without being promoted and captured me, I think it's an interesting point with regards to the diaristic elements to the work.

I always imagine people viewing me ' the photographer' in a negative light, perhaps from the way photographers have been portrayed in pop culture and in the media, which is generally in a negative light, often as invaders or stalkers. I feel by sharing the position ( if you can call it that) it democratizes the act and breaks down the barrier of ' us and them'. It's now just 'us'.

The effect a camera has...

Simply having a camera around signifies to other people around that you are intending to take images. I find having a camera around your neck with a strap (DSLR/SLR) instantly puts you as a photographer a step back. I often shoot with the strap wrapped around my writs and by my side. It's not as noticeable and I sometimes prefocus to set distance with an aperture that will capture what I want. I also know how to increase or decrease the flash power (off camera flash) pretty much instinctively to adjust what I need to shoot. I don't think I would get even half the images I select from the edits if I didn't. I think it's really interesting that the very image of a DSLR/SLR camera changes the dynamic between the subject and the viewer. There has been a rise in professional photographers utilizing this and using smartphones with there now fairly impressive sensors to overcome this barrier and get even closer. One notable practioner would be Damon Winter with his 'A Grunts Life' Work.

Damon Winter 'A Grunts LIfe' from www.Poyi.org  http://www.poyi.org/68/17/third_01.php

Damon Winter 'A Grunts LIfe' from www.Poyi.org 

http://www.poyi.org/68/17/third_01.php

 Jocelyn Bain Hogg

Jocelyn Bain Hogg from- www.jocelynbainhogg.eu

Jocelyn Bain Hogg from- www.jocelynbainhogg.eu

Jocelyn Bain Hogg from- www.jocelynbainhogg.eu

Jocelyn Bain Hogg from- www.jocelynbainhogg.eu

I think it's very important to show a world that people don't know especially in your own country.

Taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbZi5MIQtug

He works in a hugely dedicated way, he spends up to 10 years on a single project. He explains that he finds it important to not try and emulate the people you're with. He explains If you're not trying to be them or judge them, after spending a lot of time with them, a mutual trust is made between both of them. I think it's interesting how he managed to gain the trust of these organised crime gangs to the point where they were open and welcoming of him to take these images. It's certainly a testimony of the importance of the photography subject relationship.

Self Reflection

After looking at my approach and the way I've been framing myself amongst the work I think I want to keep it on a similar path. I feel my work relies on the mutual trust and respect between me and the people I work with. I will of course look at experimenting with my techniques but I think the relationship I aim to maintain should be fairly similar to how it is. 

After going on tour with Larkhill (band) I talked in depth about my intentions. I spent a pretty much all day everyday with them, we ate slept and travelled together. I still feel it's about a mutual respect for people and just being yourself. I also had them take images of me to democratize the power amongst us all. 

In the van Larkhill Tour

In the van Larkhill Tour

Ready to get on the road from Plymouth 

Ready to get on the road from Plymouth 

Chris Chucas and Misael Trujillo after the Le Pub Show - Newport

Chris Chucas and Misael Trujillo after the Le Pub Show - Newport

Collaboration Project with Justin Carey

This week we looked at ideas of collaboration. Photography has always been thought of as an individualistic discipline. We often think that there is one person that operates the camera frames the subject and processes the final image. Whilst that might be true for some practitioners, most are collaborating with other people at some point or other. Within my practice as a commercial and a wedding photographer I work along make up artists, hair stylists, art directors, models and more. From our discussions we’ve had it’s become more apparent that we have lots of collaborative relationships as photographers. 

Over the last few years I have been trying to network with other photographers and start a few experimental projects. I’ve never been successful and found that it was particularly hard to get people organised and onboard. I have always been interested in the way in which we interact with each other and how that collaborative process effects and produces the subsequent work. 

It’s also interesting to me with regards to a previous post of the interdisciplinary nature of photography how that could be explored with collaboration and potentially from non photography sources . As I have mentioned I heavily call upon music as research and inspiration within my own practice. I'm fascinated with the visual elements within music, like how album art is produced and the journey both artists take to arrive to that point and the signified attached to it after listening to the music. 

Some Inspirational album art to me....

Bicycle Thieves EP

Bicycle Thieves EP designed by James Alex of Beach Slang, from https://thisisbicyclethieves.bandcamp.com/releases

Bicycle Thieves EP designed by James Alex of Beach Slang, from https://thisisbicyclethieves.bandcamp.com/releases

Boston Manor, Saudade

Joyce Manor, Joyce Manor

Pkew Pkew Pkew, Pkew Pkew Pkew

Pkew Pkew Pkew from https://pkewx3.bandcamp.com/

Pkew Pkew Pkew from https://pkewx3.bandcamp.com/

We were asked to team up in groups to undertake a micro project to experiment with the collaborative process. I had no idea what to expect and had a sense of optimism and excitement with the thoughts of working in a new way.  I paired up with a fellow student, Justin. We decided that we could try not to overthink anything too much and try to work as spontaneouslyand reactively as possible. As a starting point we looked at ideas we’d had on interdisciplinary research from the previous week. After talking about a few points we decided that we would use the Church St in Ruins song from Bangers that I had referenced as a starting point. We had a little talk about some shared themes we’ve been thinking about, these included ideas of mortality and existentialism, and the difference between being alone and loneliness. After a few messages back and forth we came up with the following plan. 

The plan

  • We would both shoot 2 images 

  • Both images are to be taking landscape (for merging purposes)

  • One of our images would be overplayed with the other 

  • The two remaining images would be displayed next to each other as a diptych. 

  • We would edit each other's submitted work 

  • We would shoot our work before viewing the others

 

I decided to shoot my images along the route that I run everyday. I’ve been running 5 kilometres everyday to cope with anxiety, I have always found a strange solace in being out in the dark in the night. I dont find it scary, I actually find it calming and peaceful especially if it's near the sea. It also allows me a good space to reflect on things.

Here are my two images that I shot, both edited by Justin.

Chris Chuca & Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Chris Chuca & Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Chris Chucas & Justin Carey - Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Chris Chucas & Justin Carey - Collaboration Project Falmouth University

I then sent my images to Justin who keeps them unseen before he went out to shoot his images. 

Justin then shot and delivered his images all via dropbox for me. I did some basic editing and then went about putting them together. 

Justin's images edited by me

Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Merging the images

I choose these two images to overlay as I felt they worked better with their composition and the placement of highlights ect. I experimented with how to overlay them. I ended up with placing Justin’s over mine at 50% opacity. I liked how the image of the figure is barely visible as it emphasises the feeling of isolation amongst the busy lights. 

Chris Chucas & Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Chris Chucas & Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

The alternative dyptech

Chris Chucas & Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Chris Chucas & Justin Carey Collaboration Project Falmouth University

Self Reflection

I instantly felt that the overlay image was the stronger of the two. After speaking to Justin he was surprised that I had choosen the two images I did for the overlay but told me he was glad with the choice. It just goes to show that going out of our comfort zone and working in new and different ways can shine light onto new ways of thinking and working. 

Working in a collaboration was defiantly a good experience. Although I work constantly in collaboration with others on other areas of my practice I really want to pursue working with other images makers more. I feel it would be a good journey to take and would help me grow as an image maker. As for my research project I think I will not be collaborating with other images makers in this way mainly because of the accessibility and practically of it. Since this micro project I have been in touch with some of the people I’ve already reached out to for my project. Many of them are song writers and I have set up another micro project to look at how I can combine their lyrics with my images. I look forward to seeing how that works out. 

Interdisciplinary Approaches with Photography

Module 1 : Positions and Practice Week 2

Interdisciplinary Approaches with Photography

This week I’ve been looking at various aspects of interdisciplinary approaches within photography. Photography is a particularly scientific process, but a unique process. It has allowed, not only a historical and scientific record, but has been utilised in an interdisciplinary way as a means of both science and means of expression. The early pioneers of photography were interested in the chemistry and how they could capture the world around them. It’s worth thinking about how these developments have shaped our cultural meanings and values we hold in ‘the photograph’. 

The world was amazed with the detailed record that the photograph could produce and it’s hard to imagine how it literally shocked people who saw it for the first time. With practitioners like Fox Talbot thinking about it as ‘nature's drawing’. Early photographers were driven to capture the world around them.

from www.betterphotography.in

Fox Talbot used a variety of practices, contact printing leafs and natural material along with photographically capturing microscopic images of plant stems and insect wings.  Talbot’s work is an example of interdisciplinary use with science. 

Today photography is used in many disciplines; scientific, forensic, advertising and art, it is everywhere. Our perception of photography has evolved from its naive roots of a truthful record into the complex art and communication tool it is today. Initially, people often accepted the photograph as unquestionable truth, this led to some notable practitioners taking advantage of people.

Photography and the Moving Image...

One interdisciplinary area that has particular relevance to my practice is that between photography and cinema (or moving image). I use moving image and video within my practice a lot. I think of video and stills separately as two standalone tools for different purposes. When I looked at the way that a photograph holds the viewer's attention I noticed how we attribute ideas of the past and mortality with the still image which can lend itself to certain applications. The moving image on the other hand, has a set of characteristics that can be applicated for desired effects. We think of the moving image as ‘present’ and we get a sense of looking in. Perhaps I could explore the merger of the two practices together. What deters me from doing so is the practical implications. What would the end product for my project be? If it did incorporate both disciplines, how would I exhibit them? To have a video and images online could both work, in a gallery setting a video can be displayed alongside stills. Perhaps I could use still images with video (moving image)?

There has been lots famous examples where stills have been used within film. By freezing the image it allows the narrator to break up the linear timeline and refer to a previous time or character. It's also been utilized as a sign of the past and of mortality. Directors have focused the camera on a photograph to signify a deceased character. It's also been used in a way to spare the audience the pain of an unfortunate ending. This is a prime aspect of photography's interdisciplinary nature.

Our Relationship with Photography Knowledge and Truth...

I think that the progression of technology allowing everyone to be able to make images and share them at speed, has watered down a once powerful, less questionable truth that images once held. I think of it like currency, when there are relatively less images in circulation they assume an authority and were often simply accepted as record not expression. As time has progressed and with the advent of Photoshop, the viewer knows that there is a chance the image can be manipulated and therefore question it's legitimacy. This also links in with the global nature of photography, in that the over saturation of images desensitises the viewer. An important factor we should think about, is the cultural and social context in which we consume images. Potentially, would we regard images we saw in a courtroom to be legitimate and question them less than images we see in an advert?

I would say the digital camera has had the most profound effect on photography. It has allowed more people to both create and consume photography than ever before. The rise of photoshop and image manipulation has also made images very untrustworthy and has had a profound effect on how we think of the photograph today compared to perceptions in the past.

My Interdisciplinary influence

Live the Life, Chris Chucas

Live the Life, Chris Chucas

I was challenged by some of the ideas we discussed, especially when questioning interdisciplinary influences. It made me look even closer at how relevant the interdisciplinary influences are. I had a think about how that relates to my practice. We were asked to think of a non photographic discipline to draw from. I chose music, specifically Bangers- Church St in Ruins, it’s relevant for my current project and highlights to me how much I draw creatively from music.

 
 
Needs and Wants, Chris Chucas

Needs and Wants, Chris Chucas

I first heard this song whilst studying in Falmouth doing my Ba, my FMP looked at themes of consumerism. As the project developed I started shooting shopping centers at night when no one was around. I explored mannequins in shop windows and the work was becoming very dark and sombre.

Role Models, Chris Chucas

Role Models, Chris Chucas

I personally connected with this song and took a little solace in someone else's shared view on some topics. Whilst working in Korea, I had a moment when listening to it, looking out of the window at the city lights and similar scenes made me think about how much (if at all) the other art I surround myself with affects my practice.

 

Church St In Ruins, written by Bangers 

 

Hearing the Beach Boys playing on this rainy high-street

makes me chuckle at the amount of surf shops here.

I've tried, there's just no waves in this town.

Just more coffee shops that we could ever hope to drink in

and I don't care how cheap their drinks are,

I'm better off at home.

I kind of find it offensive that everything's for sale,

coupled with the realisation that there's nothing here I need.

It's strange, I don't hate my job and I'm not living on the breadline,

but spending money still seems strange to me.

On the plus side when I'm outside I repeat mantra-like

"The last thing I need is any more things"

 

https://bangersbangers.bandcamp.com/track/church-street-in-ruins (Links to an external site.)

 

Implementing stills into video within my practice

I have realised that I have used the interdisciplinary nature of stills within my own video work. Here is a music video that I shot in which two simultaneous narratives are tied together. The first is a linear narrative which follows a character on a night out, the second we see an image being constructed. The image is made into a jigsaw, piece by piece the image is put together. In another twist the album cover is actually an old photograph where the copyright has expired and become public domain. So an unknown photographer from the early 1900's has contributed to a music video in 2016.

I will look into exploring more into how I can combine my video and still image work together. However, I feel like I can only do this when I’ve honed down what the finished product will be.

The Global Image - Positions and Practice

Module 1 :Positions and Practice

Week 1 : The Global Image

This is my first post for my CRJ ( critical research journal) which is to be kept along with my work for my Ma in Documentary Photography at Falmouth University.

In this first week we have been looking at a few key aspects surrounding photography on a global scale and some of the issues and standpoints that we have to consider as image makers and practitioners.

The single most important challenge that the global nature of photography poses for image makers and consumers, might be an over saturation of content.  I feel that the global nature of photography with the advent of accessible technology, has increased the saturation of images we are all bombarded with everyday. This affects both image makers and viewers. Image makers are more and more desperate to hold the viewer's attention and compete with the masses and masses of competition, particularly on social media. With this over saturation of content, we are desensitised quickly, looking for another image; a better, more exciting, more beautiful, more something. This in turn has a knock on effect with the image makers, who are forced to consider extra editorial decisions when publishing. Now, professional photographers have a new set of considerations to think about with social media. Do I need to look popular to become successful? It has become an ugly and untruthful place, where people are desperately trying to provide evidence of a perfect life, with the perfect home, the perfect diet and lifestyle. We see stories of people deeply affected by this need to keep up and they have themselves described doing so 'a miserable chore' after stopping and reflecting back.

This is an interesting article involving Essena Oneil that outlines some of what I’ve mentioned. Although one must bear in mind that this article was timed around the relaunch of her new business.

From Essena Oneill's Instagram account

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/nov/03/instagram-star-essena-oneill-quits-2d-life-to-reveal-true-story-behind-images

 

In summary I think that this over saturation is one of the main problems with photography today for image makers and image consumers alike. It can be a driving force for change, but more often than not, it causes false expectations of the world and makes people feel that they are not good enough, or their life is bad by comparison. Perhaps this will work itself out and can be put down as a problem that we’ve faced with technology developing so fast, that culturally we’re not capable of catching up as fast? Images lose their instant authenticity that was once assumed and along with clickbait and fake news that goes hand in hand, photography might be at its least credible point in history to the masses. I wonder if practitioners like Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange would have had as much public support in helping their goals for change in today’s world? As for a concept of universalism within photography, I don’t think that will ever exist globally. I mentioned in my previous post of the global image that when considering the diversity of cultures, interpretations and personal histories of every viewer, such a universalism can’t be reached.

There is a popular belief that you can elicit change (on world wide scale) with the power of a photograph. I think that there is power in an image to force change and bring unity.

I would agree, that there is a distinct underlying theme that the photograph is framed in on a specific part of the wider world and also that it can act like a mirror revealing the photographers sensibilities. I’m not sure that we can narrow it down to just these two, but the more I think about it the more I find it difficult to argue the point of it only being the two. I feel that within my own work, I would agree more with the analogy that I reflect what I see in the world through my work. Or my work is a mirror in which I am reflecting parts of myself through. I look at practitioners that I mentioned previously that have made a positive change using their images. 

Lewis Hine's Bibb Girl No 1

Lewis Hine's Bibb Girl No 1

Dorothea Lange - Migrant Mother

Dorothea Lange - Migrant Mother

I was drawn to some of the areas I wanted to explore by the themes of unity and collectiveness. My project looks at a group of people in a small sub culture, built around an ethos of unity and togetherness. These people express themselves through their music. I have been exploring some of the ideas and think that some of the topics that we've discussed have certain areas of relevance with my own work. Particularly in how there seems to be a recurring theme within photography, of the window or the mirror. I feel that a part of me is mirrored in the work that I shoot. I am constantly aware of my inability to be completely nuetral in the situation.

Lewis outside the show - Chris Chucas

Lewis outside the show - Chris Chucas

NOTES

I had knowledge of the origins of photography and the early developments that have helped popularize and democratize photography for the masses. A few key points I found interesting through discussions that were covered.

The rise in popularity of the Daguerreotype

How the French government had proposed to gift the tech to the world

Daguerre attempted to block this

Pioneers such as James Presley Ball and Richard Beard were one of many early practitioners of the rapidly spreading Photography process and it was spreading globally along trade routes at enormous pace.

 

Windows on the World

Photography always frames, always crops into a larger whole

Photography can be the mirror in which the photographer can display their sensibilities

The earliest images ever made all share a theme of a window

Sontag uses her Plato’s cave theory to explain that we never really understand the truth behind the images, especially now that we are oversaturated with so many

America and Europe had photographers documenting industrial projects and shared them with stereoscope cards, this opened up photography on a more global scale at mass production

The role of photography heavy criticised with its biased view anthropological ethnographic portraits. We often forgot that images automatically assumed authenticity and were not questioned as much as they would be today. When looking back at such pieces there is a clear ‘us and them’ approach that has been set by those in power and those looked upon are often portrayed as ‘others; and alien

I looked into how I identify with these analogies within my own work, I would strongly agree that I would identify with the mirror approach, in that my practice is reflective of my view of the world around me

Unity and Change

Some early examples of how photography has made a positive change on the world:

Henry Jackson’s Wyoming's images take credit for the US government making Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Although some feel it was more Hayden's written account that swayed congress

Ansel Adams images of Kings Canyon helped the National Park scheme

Lewis Hine’s work was responsible for legislation change for children and migrants in NY. with the NCLC

NASA astronauts Anders and Bornman took the first colour photograph of the earth and which some think helped the environmental cause

Some speculate that the NASA image and the tv broadcast could be seen as a universalist message of one intercultural message or ideology but under the US and Soviet space race one can also assume it carried themes of superiority and a more antagonistic message

Edward Steichen's Family of  Man- Thought of as universalism of human exhibition Streichen had worked as a curator of propaganda exhibitions before working at the museum. The idea was to counter the antagonistic material of ww2 and cold war material. Mixing up photographers subject ethnic and nationalistic. Heavily criticised