As I come to considering my assignment submission, I have had to consider what makes me tick as a photographer. I have enjoyed many challenging aspects of ‘Elements of Design’. But, you see, my problem is that if I don’t feel any connection or passion then I can’t shoot for toffee….So, deciding on how to tackle the assignment was tricky.
The options we were given for the assignment are ideal to demonstrate understanding of ‘elements of design’ and I am sure there are many students who will be able to dice up food stuffs or find flowers and produce wonderful work in an afternoon. However, I know that if I spent the next decade on that theme, I would not produce anything pleasing. I think my still life learning log ‘points’ exercise demonstrates perfectly well that still life is not ever going to be something I respond particularly well to, let alone want to submit and assignment for at this time. I enjoy looking at such work and I have been playing for the last few weeks with different ideas but I think that, at this time, I am ‘flogging a dead donkey’.
My enabler is currently unavailable, so landscapes are out of the question.
I have therefore decided to give street detail a go. I had taken ‘street detail’ to mean street furniture. I went out around our local city centre and just couldn’t get a ‘feel’ for lampposts or the like without a human element. I can take technically sound architectural images but not particularly creatively. I noted that one of my tutor’s comments was to show creativity and. I kind of gave up on my first assignment outing and set about shooting for personal merriment but keeping design elements in mind. When I came home I realised that I had a thread/ theme running through some images. Literal and metaphorical but they fell short of the instruction to make the items similar. The theme that had emerged was triggered by a military parade in town that day.
It took a good few days and turmoil to realise that what I was doing was shooting a sad story of some of my veterans I came across in my career during the mid 1990’s. I found this was something I needed to reflect on as my personal voice develops. I think that has been telling that much of my further research has centred around documentary photography.
Still, I couldn’t get around the fact that a bottle of alcohol was not similar to a war memorial.
I sent some images to my tutor but to be fair I was unable, at that point, to articulate what my problem was. I didn’t hear back so I took it that I just needed to sort myself out!! In the end I looked at some other blogs to see how other people had interpreted the assignment brief.
I came to the conclusion that very few street detail assignment submissions had ‘similarity’ beyond that of the fact the image was in a street. The tutor feedback was still positive so I have decided to run with street detail along with an overlapping theme.
In deciding this I have probably made life much harder for myself. My soul will be in this assignment images and that will make taking feedback even harder. However, if I am to maximise the time on this undergraduate journey then I have to be true to myself. It would be pointless applying new knowledge to themes that I am simply not interested in.
I guess this will be a baby step into metaphor/conceptual/ story telling. I have to start somewhere with it and I am hoping for a favourable response.
The desired learning outcomes are still demonstrated in each image and each image will also still work standalone. Some images will be stronger then others but, then, that will be the case for a lot longer yet.