- Potentially different responses to your work:
- Select one new image from your current photographic practice – without any kind of explanatory text – that your peers have not yet seen, and post it this to this forum
- Comment on the photographs of your peers throughout the week / consider what you think is the intended meaning / intent of the photograph. Why?
- Reflect on your peers interpretations of your photograph. Is it in line with your own intent (dominant reading)? Or, do your peers offer a negotiated or even oppositional readings?
- How might you adapt your photographic practice (visually / technically / conceptually) as a response to this feedback?
I chose an image that I presented at the webinar this week, so that I could see what others from the wider cohort in the module thought about it, most of them having never encountered my work, they would be coming at it from a totally new viewpoint, and I thought that would be really interesting to see their readings in that context, against what the people in the webinar had thought of the image, given that they had a background given to them of why I took the image and what it was about for me.
Below is a selection of the responses I got from some of my peers on the forum and my thoughts on their comments. In general, their readings of the image were quite spot, at least in some respect, in a lot of cases. There were many references to someone deciding to just leave everything behind , and go off on an adventure. Wondering where people have gone too.There were lots of comments on the neutrality and sparsity of the room and what that could be a metaphor. I found the comment about it looking like Italy really interesting. My family have been planning a road trip in our campervan around Italy for years, every year something happens and gets in the way, and we end up travelling somewhere else instead. It has become a running joke in our house, when we will eventually get to Italy, so that was interesting. How you can physically create something psychologically and others can see that. Or feel it. I really liked James’ comment about ‘a sense of holding space’ as I feel thats what a lot of the structure of our life and philosophy around education is about, the holding of space for education, the holding of place for family, the holding of place for each other other, and peace. Something that in our fast paced world isn’t always possible for people, and I take great care in making sure that our lives are as slow paced and in the moment as possible. There is a beauty in holding space, that I feel needs to be embraced more in our society. Andy’s interpretation was probably as close to what I was trying to convey as possible, he got straight away that although the image looks very sparse, there are lots of layers of meanings, and complex ones in this image. He got that there was a sense of both hope, vulnerability , and he picked up on the claustrophobia , and the intensity of some things we do as humans in an obsessive and all consuming way, home education is certainly all of these things at the moment, in the final run up to exams for us. I also liked his connection with older classrooms, and the connotations that go with that. I really see our home education, as an amalgamation of what we think are the best parts of both a classical and modern educations. I was really impressed with his reading, as there were a couple of points that he elaborated on in his description and reading, that I hadn’t noticed as much as the creator of the image and that was really interesting to see.
With the muted colors and spare furnishings, this appears to be about capturing the emptiness of this space. I would guess that this is about children, however, as they are not present, i wonder what has happened to them. Are they gone?
In a room stripped back to the bare bones, the only value placed on objects is on the maps. The resonates with me and my need to travel when I was younger.
A journey that has just begun, or an project abandoned.
The open book placed on the chair, the world map and the open doorway from which light in spilling in for me suggests the intention of wanting to travel and explore, of freedom. And of new beginnings and a change of use, suggested by the walls free from paint, perhaps kids flown the nest or in need of a new space?
What I like about this image is that I’m not entirely sure where it is taken/where I am. There is a suggestion that it could be somewhere far away, like the corner of a school in a rural part of the African or South American continent. I know it isn’t because the plug sockets give it away as the UK. But then that only adds to the unsettling sense of place/unplace because, apart from the map, nothing is ‘fixed’ in the image, things are in flux around the map. Even more, as I look further and see the skirting board doesn’t fit and why is the book open? Has someone just left the space? I now get a sense of a holding space or somewhere in-between places. There is also an allegorical layer to this image now. Is this a comment on globalism – that things are coming apart?
This is an image with quite complex meanings. The fresh walls and unfinished tiling suggest new beginnings and possibilities, a home that isn’t yet a home. There’s a sense of hope and good will, but also vulnerability. It’s also slightly claustrophobic: there is no view to the outside despite the daylight and door and window, and there are no living organic things in the shot. It’s a reminder of the intensity of certain types of human activity that can become obsessive and all-consuming. The real window is the map of the world – a timeless image suggesting continuity, connecting with much older classrooms. So is the book of maps, the only suggestion of recent activity. It’s a reminder that, whatever our circumstances, we have both a need and a will to engage with the world beyond what is immediate. It’s a reminder not to get too caught up in things that don’t last, and that fresh beginnings we experience now will one day be a long ago past.
Hilde- This photo reminds me of abroad. The light, soft, the colors of the wall tertiary. The person who was in the room will be right back, away for a moment, the door is still open. What is wrong is the map on the wall; it is way too new (do you know the Bureaucratics series by Jan Banning?
Hi Hilde, no I hadn’t seen that series before, visually they are so interesting, they remind me of a Wes Anderson set a lot of them !
The really ironic thing here is that wall has just been plastered so is brand new, whereas the map I bought about 5 years ago, it used to be really bright but I had it infronnt of a window and it has faded from the light to these beautiful pastel colours, you’re right though, it does look new in this photograph !
I know we all discussed this in the webinar but there is something about the map and the book that make me think of planning for the future. Like plans are being made and this is the beginning of something. Wether these are fantastical or real I don’t know but maps make me think of potential (even though I’m very under travelled).
This week we were asked to choose an advert and discuss it’s intended meaning over it’s meaning to ourselves and the wider audience. I shared the below .
I don’t think I am really clear on the dominant/negotiated/oppositional part here, so if anyone wants to help me out feel free.
EDITED TO ADD 19.02.20 Having now watched all the videos and the intro to the week webinar I have got the understanding of dominant/oppositional/negotiated reading so am adding these below.
However, I am going to share this advert from Dior, for their fragrance ‘Sauvage’ which was faced by Johnny Depp.
The adverts/film was pulled by Dior after the teaser trailer being released, as the trailer was deemed offensive , and guilty of cultural appropriation towards native Americans.
dominant meaning : What was the advert ‘trying’ to achieve, its objective? It was trying to make men think if they bought this perfume they would be as ‘wild’ and at one with nature , & as ‘ruggedly handsome’ as Depp , and lets throw in his cash and his women as well, of course you’ll get that – but only if you smell like him.
What I thought when I first saw the advert ….. WHY is there a wolf in Johnny deeps perfume advert (I didn’t see the advert as below, it was an advertising loop at a shopping centre and slightly different and had a wolf howling in it along with the guitar and tribal dance in a short loop), are they saying he has the spirit of a wolf, is a wolf? It was ridiculous, like a complete parody of a wealthy famous person, that had let all the wealth and fame go to their head, and they hadn’t touched down on earth for years ! The fact the word Sauvage was attached to the perfume was unfathomable, it genuinely looked like someone had created the most awful advert ever and released it as an awful, racist joke. Negotiated reading – This advert was ill advised and the appropriation of Native American culture did nothing to benefit them but was just claimed by the company as a selling point. It still looks silly and self involved on the part Dior and Depp.
Oppositional reading : What did the world (the media) think of it ….. that it was racist , profited of of indigenous peoples culture through cultural appropriation, and was generally a very ill advised campaign, despite it being reportedly made with the help of Native American consultants throughout.
Interestingly here, would there of been such a backlash if they had just released the image and not the video? I think not. Or at least not as strongly perhaps.
fig 3. GQ Middle East.
video, You tube.
Young, Sarah. Sept 2019. Johnny Depp defends Dior Sauvage advert following accusations of cultural appropriation. Independent. Available at https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/johnny-depp-dior-sauvage-advert-cultural-appropriation-native-americans-a9098776.html Accessed 15.02.20
Singh, Maanvi. Aug 2019. Dior perfume ad featuring Johnny Depp criticized over Native American tropes. The guardian. Available at – https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/aug/30/diors-fragrance-ad-draws-criticism-for-featuring-native-american-tropes Accessed 15.02.20
Gq staff, Aug, 2019. Johnny Depp’s Wild Search For The Truth. GQ Middle East . Available at https://www.gqmiddleeast.com/grooming/johnny-depps-wild-search-for-truth-in-the-desert . Accessed 15.02.20
Fig 1, Graham, Rebecca. 2020
Fig 2, Young, Sarah. Sept 2019. Johnny Depp defends Dior Sauvage advert following accusations of cultural appropriation. Independent. Available at https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/johnny-depp-dior-sauvage-advert-cultural-appropriation-native-americans-a9098776.html Accessed 15.02.20
Fig 3. Gq staff, Aug, 2019. Johnny Depp’s Wild Search For The Truth. GQ Middle East . Available at https://www.gqmiddleeast.com/grooming/johnny-depps-wild-search-for-truth-in-the-desert . Accessed 15.02.20
Video. You tube. The guardian. Singh, Maanvi. Aug 2019. Dior perfume ad featuring Johnny Depp criticized over Native American tropes. The guardian. Available at – https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/aug/30/diors-fragrance-ad-draws-criticism-for-featuring-native-american-tropes Accessed 15.02.20