Week 7, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20
Over the past few days I have been working on the first idea I had for creating an image this module. I wrote about the idea and what prompted it in my CRJ post here
I had originally decided on this image when I thought I was going to go for a more constructed type of photography this module, working with constructed scenes and tableaux. On reflection, I decided that as much as I am interested in this work, and it is great to experiment, I need to keep my long term plan in mind within the MA, and that is a far reaching project on alternative education, with very specific things to photograph at very specific times, culminating in an interactive exhibition for families, and a book of all the different spheres of alternative education I am photographing.
Had I followed the path of tableau and constructed scenes, this would of taken me off path, and put me behind on my time line of creating this body of work. I will , after the MA, come back to this idea of creating constructed scenes of alternative education, but not at the moment, and when I have a LOT more money to create whole sets as well, (Natalie Lennard has asked about how she spends a minimum of £2000 a constructed image for her birth undisturbed series on you tube, and Laurie Simmons in Brief encounters talked about how Gregory Crewdson’s images can cost as much as a movie to create, this was unattainable for me financially) so I can do the theme justice. That is why, after a few weeks I went back to my original idea of documentary, I just tweaked it little bit by little bit as I have learnt new things this module, to include things like the banal and the ‘trace’ of the children and their education.
Because this original idea was so strong for me though I really wanted to follow through with this one image, not for my WIP, but just as an experimentation as to the way I work, and the types of images I produce. I think it is still really important to push boundaries, experiment, and play with what you do, if nothing else, just so you know you are following the right path. I actually really enjoyed making ‘the noticed board’ , and loved weaving hidden narratives and puns into my work in a way I never have done before. However, I am , after doing this image, and going through the process, confident that I am working in the correct way, and the correct working process for me, and for the types of imagery I want to produce this module. In that way, completing this image was very helpful, as it confirmed to me that I chose the right path this module, instead of being left wondering at the end if I should have gone with the tableaux idea. I am now 100% happy, and confident that I took the correct path.
Below is the breakdown of the construction of the image . The top one is the final image. In the final image I added the wooden seat as it reminded me of schools, or churches, and that symbolism of an institution. Without it the image was just to bare and boring. I actually don’t ‘like’ the image , even with the bench seat, which does help, it is still too boring , it doesn’t do the theme of what I am discussing justice. It shows a beautified version of what that reward chart looked like in that classroom. The puns show only a fraction of what we felt about the pain that chart caused, how I feel about reward chart systems and the damage that they do ( What’s wrong with sticker charts and rewards systems? Psychology today .) The names set up to show how the rewards chart system reduces children to animals, and ‘nobody’s’ (The name Metis is from the Odyssey, where Odysseus tricks Polyphemus the cyclops by telling him his name is Metis, Metis in greek means wily, cunning resourcefulness, where ME TIS means, no-one / nobody , so this is a way of discussing the fact that this chart reduced my son to a no-one, a nobody, invisible). The ‘noticed board’ title, being much more obvious. Despite the time invested, the success in creating a board that I saw for only half an hour 5 years ago, and textually and visually exploring my ideas and the story behind what happened, and that catalyst to our deregistering our children, I still feel the image doesn’t bring anything to my project in the sense it doesn’t fit. My project is not about the pain that school caused, it is about the hope and joy and freedom that alternative education brought.
Here’s the photographic diary of how the board was made. There were a few hurdles to go through.
Namely choosing colours, using pink and blue to symbolise the pigeon holes that school pushes children into. Adding the purple around the title ‘The noticed board’ to make it stand out more, adding the instructions across the bottom so that people can understand what it is. Choosing the name Metis, and keeping all the other names as A , both as a narrative on how my son was seen as less than the other students, and singled out whilst simultaneously not even been noticed.
Graham, Rebecca. 2020. Week 2 project development/coursework 05.02.20 Available at https://www.bambino-art.co.uk/week-2-project-development-05-02-20/ (Accessed 06.03.20)
Whats wrong with sticker charts and reward systems. march 2019. Available at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/growing-friendships/201903/what-s-wrong-sticker-charts-and-reward-systems (Accessed 06.03.20)
Fig 1, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20
Fig2, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20
Fig3, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20
Fig4, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20
Fig5, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20
Fig6, The noticed board. A constructed narrative 06.03.20