Interdisciplinary practice photography ma

Interdisciplinary practice : Photography MA

13.06.2019

{ Falmouth University MA in photography – CRJ }

In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme.

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WEEK TWO : Interdisciplinary practice : Photography MA

This week we have been looking at interdisciplinary practice, critical contexts & influences within our work.

I didn’t expect this to have such a deep effect on me being truthful. I’ve always known the very personal reasons for why I have chosen to do some of my areas of photography work (such as birth photography, which came about as almost a cathartic way of creatively exploring my own birth experiences). But, I discovered things about myself & my work, that I didn’t ever expect too this week. Some of which have had quite an impact on how I want to approach some of the subjects in my work. I’ve decided, that as well as my final project being on alternative education, I would also like to look at my own path to that form of education. Including my path as a woman, a birth photographer, an educator, and a mother. Where do these things come from in my life? Before I started working as a photographer in 2004 , I worked a ‘regular’ job, had children, sent them to school,  wanted the house, the car, the ‘life’. However, somewhere along the lines of our lives, that changed. I changed, or rather, I didn’t change, I ‘became’ what I had always been. Photography, for me was freeing, in every sense of the word.

We had always had ‘hippy’ tendencies, but somewhere along the line, I “became” a creative, I became a breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, mother of four, supporting women on their birth journeys. I became someone who took her children out of school, went travelling around Europe in a camper van, and now here I am, sat in a laundry room, in a camp site in the Lake District, writing a blog for a MA. How did this happen? What junctions in my creative life, and what choices did I make when I came to those junctions, led me here? After all my extensive reading this week, and a lot of photographing both our children, and the general beauty of the Lake District. I have decided that this is something that I really want too, and need to look at further in my work, to really understand where I am coming from, so that, for want of echoing a big cliché, I can understand where I am going.

I’ve been reading quite a few different essays and books whilst we’ve been away this week, and was especially drawn to Roland Barthes concepts of Punctum & Stadium in photographs that he talks about in his Camera Lucida (Punctum being the very subjective part of a photograph that really hits you when you view it, the WOW, whilst the Stadium is essentially the all round , ‘well thats interesting to look at but thats all’, part of an image. Barthes describes the Stadium as a “field of cultural interest” ( Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida . Hill & Wang . 1980 . Pg 94 . )  .

But, how do these relate to my own images, and how they will relate to my images in my MA? The one there is just no controlling, for the eye, heart and soul love, or loathe what they do. The other, however is somewhat easier, the ‘cultural interest’, the philosophy, behind why I am embarking on my chosen photographic research project, is the Stadium.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY ASPECTS OF ART

For the webinar this week we were talking about multidisciplinary art that we have been inspired by, or feel connected too, and the context around our own work. I am sharing a photograph I took at the Andy Warhol retrospective art gallery in Rome in Feb 2019 , (at the Complesso del Vittoriano http://www.ilvittoriano.com/index-en.html ), of some screen prints that Andy Warhol created of Mick Jagger around the time of the legendary “Sticky Fingers” album cover ,  that Warhol created for The Rolling Stones .

I have only played a little with emulsion screen printing during two 8 week courses I did with Dena at Kiwi print studio http://www.kiwiprintstudio.co.uk/p/home_4.html , but it is definitely something I would like to look more at in the future. I had actually seen some of these prints before at the huge Rolling Stones ‘exhibitionism’ at Saatchi gallery, in London, a couple of years ago, & I was definitely as impressed with them the second time as the first time I saw them! It takes some kind of artist to be able to get that type of connection with the camera & subject , and I love how he has used printing & drawing along side them. The top one in particular is a favourite of mine. To me, it is somewhat akin to magazine cuttings, or a ‘mug shot’ , it feels like an intrusion, highlighted by Jaggers stance and eye contact in the photograph.

Mick Jagger. Andy Warhol, Screen print. 1975
Mick Jagger. Andy Warhol, Screen print. 1975

Mick Jagger. Andy Warhol, Screen print. 1975

Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, screen print. 1975

Mick Jagger. Andy Warhol, Screen print. 1975

 

 INFLUENCES OUTSIDE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

For part of our work on our influences outside of photography, I shared this poem, ‘The school boy’ by William Blake. Blake was home educated by his mother for a time, after attending school and before going on to artistic apprenticeships. I love the way that he has captured the joy, sadness, & despair of school, and childhood in this poem. Yes it is a little sad, But thats because, for some children, the simple fact is, that being in a school IS sad. To me, it could also be a metaphor for the passing of childhood into adult hood.

William Blake

Songs of Experience 1794

THE SCHOOL BOY

I love to rise in a summer morn,

When the birds sing on every tree;

The distant huntsman winds his horn,

And the sky-lark sings with me.

O! What sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,

O! it drives all joy away:

Under a cruel eye outworn,

The little ones spend the day

In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,

And spend many an anxious hour,

Nor in my book can I take delight,

Nor sit in learning’s bower,

Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy

Sit in a cage and sing?

How can a child when fears annoy

But droop his tender wing

And forget his youthful spring?

O! father & mother if buds are nip’d,

And blossoms blown away,

And if the tender plants are strip’d

Of their joy in the springing day,

By sorrow and cares dismay,

How shall the summer arise in joy,

Or the summer fruits appear?

Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy

Or bless the mellowing year,

When the blasts of winter appear?

PHOTOGRAPHIC INFLUENCES

One thing I really struggled with this week was admitting to myself that I don’t gain creative inspiration as such, from looking at other photographers works. I can look at them, enjoy them, appreciate them, hang them on my wall, love them even. But do they inspire me to go out and create more images myself….. the simple answer is no. I don’t know why, and I struggled with that this week. Does that make me a ‘sub par’ photographer? Not a true artist? Critically defective in some way, shape or form. I still don’t know the answers to these questions, but what I did discover is some unexpected influences along the way.

Bizarrely one of them was me, past me. My past work. Our past experiences.

I took this image of my daughter this week , and I didn’t realise until looking through the images, how similar it was to one I took of her 6 years ago for a cover shoot for Octopus magazine. It’s uncanny. The environment, the colours, the angles, the whimsical look of complete wonder in her eyes. To me, this photograph is a beautiful testament to alternative education, that 6/7 years later my daughter can still look with awe and wonder upon the natural, and animal worlds that fill her heart with joy. To not loose that spark, that joy, that childhood wonder, is a beautiful thing.

Interdisciplinary practice photography ma

Interdisciplinary practice photography ma

Here is the original photograph taken in Truro, Cornwall in 2012.

Amelia 2012 ; Ma photography

Amelia 2012 ; Ma photography

 

T~F~:

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