Week 4 Project development 19.02.20
All of these images are unedited, straight out of camera.
This top contact sheet shows my shortlisted selection from the images I have taken this week. I was very keen to produce a portrait of myself to go with this body of work for this module, just as I took portraits of the mothers of the families I photographed last module.
I wanted to use the same backdrop of the plaster in the room that the map photo was taken in in week 3, as I like the metaphor the fresh plaster supplies, of both the home educated, and the home educator, being essentially a blank canvas, mouldable , and open to adaptation and improvisation as necessary. a direct antithesis to the rigidity of the mainstream education system.
Whilst I do like some of the non-blurred shots, my original idea was to create a light, pastel, blurred image where you couldn’t see me as such, which was to be symbolic of how I am essentially absorbed into the education, of our children. This is linked to Susan Brights thoughts in her essay ‘MOTHERLODE’ in her book Home truths, where she says “So where is the ‘mother’ in all this, In a way she is dissolved.” (Bright. 2013. pg 23) . Bright is talking of the way a mother-photographer is both absorbed into her images, and absorbed into both her family and her home. All to often in this world, in this day, we are used to seeing feminist depictions of women fighting back against this ‘absorption’ like it is some holy grail of modern motherhood and femininity . But, I AM absorbed into my children, I am absorbed into my home, I am absorbed into their education, I am unapologetic about that, feminism is about accepting each woman, for her own choices and individuality, and embracing the ability of a woman to choose, my choice was, and is, to put myself body and soul into this life that I chose at every turn. Do I sometimes feel like I am seeping into the plaster, sure, daily perhaps, but everyday I make that same choice, and everyday I would make that same choice again and again and again. This choice, gives us a wonderful life, a wonderful connection, and my children a wonderfully unique life tailored to them exactly, but I would never try and say that this choice isn’t ever hard, or exhausting, or some days a little too much, until you’ve had a cup of tea, put your feet up, read a chapter of a good book, or had a hot bath, and started again .
This is what these images were about. Capturing the contemplation, the reflection, the ‘lightness’ that comes with this choice, and the shadows on the walls that do show the difficulties. The natural light framing from the door and window is symbolic of a comfort, and ease, I am not religious at all, but a faith in this choice that you have made, that is in no way connected to a god or to a belief system, but to your own connection to your mothering, that no-one knows better than you, that it is instinctual , this almost inner guiding light that you look too that strengthens the resolve of every choice you have made.
I wanted to capture the protective , contemplative side of me, the vulnerability and the strength in me.
The jumper I chose is quite traditional and homely. Interestingly both of the items of clothing I am wearing are my daughters, I will think more about what this could be read as, but the truth is I was just wearing the jumper because it is warm, and the pyjama bottoms because I asked my daughter t grab me some the night before and she couldn’t find any of mine so she got me some of hers, and I thought aesthetically they would look perfect for this ‘absorption’ into the house, which I believe they do.
I tried playing with the rungs on a chair to create this encaged feeling, that represents the claustrophobia that we are experiences as we battle through the last few months of revision before exams at the moment.
I do feel this works in that it portrays that feeling of claustrophobia and entrapment, but visually I don’t think the ‘bars’ work perhaps , it is too obvious, and crude maybe. I am going to leave them now, and come back to them in a week or two and see how I feel about them then, and also when they are put against the larger body of work , as the message and interpretation in that context can change.
It will be interesting to get feedback at the peer reviews at the face to face next month on the body of work as a whole.
fig 1, Graham, Rebecca. Contact sheet 1. 2020.
These are the final images I chose from the above contact sheet. That I feel are the strongest images.
In image 8936 below I have the cupboard that the camera was standing on in the bottom of the frame. This was a conscious decison as a framing choice, to show that not everything is always in the photograph, that there is always more outside of the image.
Shore talks of this as a ‘passive frame’ in his book the nature of photographs. ”beyond the sub-divisions boundaries, so the photographs structure implies a world continuing beyond it’s edges.” (Shore. 2007. pg 60)
In week 1 I talked of this in my CRJ post saying …… ”It is integral to (the success of my message being translated through) my images, that they do not seem like a closed , boxed off world, this is one of the common misconceptions to do with home educations, and a myth I am not willing to perpetuate, that was are ‘boxed off’ ‘insulated‘ ‘invisible’. This at the moment, is an issue for me to work through. If I take a photograph inside a front room for example HOW do I make that seem like the world doesn’t end with that room?” (Graham, 2020)
I believe I have answered this with the image below, both with the framing and lighting. I have visualised a confined, ‘boxed off’ room, whilst creating a passive frame that “implies a world continuing beyond it’s edges.” (Shore. 2007. pg 60)
“For Freud, the mind is in a constant state of conflict with itself. In his most famous account, he divided the mind into three parts: the id, the ego and the superego . The id is the realm of appetites, wants and passions that do not take ‘no’ for an answer. The superego is connected to morality and social norms, built out of identifications with one’s parents, and can be extremely cruel. The ego faces the task of finding a balance between the demands of the id and the superego.” (Freud.org)
Below are the original contact sheets from the photoshoot, and the notes, thought process, and elimination process that culminated in the above images.
Bright , Susan. 2013. Hometruths, photography and motherhood. London; Art Books, publishing.
Stephen Shore . 2007. The nature of photographs. London; Phaidon.
fig 1, Graham, Rebecca. Contact sheet 1. 2020.
Fig 2, Graham. Rebecca. 2020 H80A8936
Fig 3, Graham. Rebecca. 2020. H80A8963
Fig 4, Graham. Rebecca. 2020 .H80A8996
Fig 5, Graham. Rebecca.2020. H80A9000
Fig 6 Graham, Rebecca . 2020. Contact sheet-1
Fig 7 Graham, Rebecca . 2020. Contact sheet-2
Fig 8 Graham, Rebecca . 2020. Contact sheet-3
Fig 9 Graham, Rebecca . 2020. Contact sheet-4
Fig 10 Graham, Rebecca . 2020. Contact sheet-5
Fig 11 Graham, Rebecca . 2020. Contact sheet-6
Freud.org. What is psychoanalysis. The id, ego and superego. Available at https://www.freud.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/What-is-Psychoanalysis.pdf (Accessed 20.02.20)