Week 8 crits Steph & Sarah , Jesse & Michelle. 13.03.20
Today I went along to the face to face at Falmouth to join in with two of the crits. The first, with Steph and Sarah, the second with Jesse and Michelle.
The were both really helpful as the one with Steph and Sarah we focussed on sequencing for a potential album, whereas with Jesse and Michelle we focussed on which ranges of my images I should include (individual ones, the constructed, or the traces) , or if I should do a mixture of two or all of these.
I am going to write up Jesse & Michelle’s crit first as although it happened later in the day, I didn’t record the first session with Steph & Sarah , so will write that up when Chris sends me through the recording from that.
JESSE & MICHELLE 1:30pm Friday 13th March 2020.
The size of the images was noted as that they are intimate (they were 4×3 size as for ease and financial reasons I had printed two images per 6×4 and then because I hadn’t planned on going to the crits I printed them at fabulously professional Asda the night before !) This however made me think that I could potentially look at doing a small selection of images of my own children at any exhibition I do, maybe as either small 4×4 light boxes, or as small 5×5 soft backed photo albums
Gem said they reminded her of teaching aids – I found this a really intriguing link that I hadn’t made myself because I had had to get ready for the crits so quickly. I actually really like this link.
Michelle asked whether I was going to be using text with the images , so I then got out the old fashioned script practice pages, and exercise books that I had taken along to show everyone what I wanted to display the images in, and how I was planning on getting the children to annotate the images like in the day to day lives of Albert Hastings. We also discussed the potential of using some of the childrens work photographed and used as backgrounds for some of the pages in the album.
Jesse commented that he liked the idea of the exercise book and the album , and could see there being 3/4 editions, with the same shape format, different colours, with almost a collection of exercise books … ‘this is my English book, this is my maths book’ etc etc , and thinks that could look nice. However, he was also thinking whats the difference between his kids work from school, with photographs taken by his kids TA’s and what I am doing? Or is that even a problem? Is it not? Is that going to be on purpose, deliberate ? That it is a good thing to document that whether it’s school or home education, that lots of it is the same anyway.
I then explained about this body of work being a juxtaposition of how we are working at the moment, in a structured regimented way, and how we wouldn’t work like that normally, and how it is hard, really hard, and this work is about showing that.
I discussed using the national curriculum learning assessment objectives as titles for the work , juxtaposed with our ‘own’ curriculum or learning objectives, such as the boys setting a goal, committing to them, sticking to those goals, etc
Michelle said that the traces are much more intriguing for her. That the images of the kids working could be anywhere. Where as the traces show what it is liked to be schooled at home. She asked if there were more environmental images to show that it is home. It was really interesting to hear this point of view, and helpful to see how other people view the images.
Jesse said they are nice images in & of themselves. However they are quite didactic, and show certain things happening in a set way. Interestingly I think this is a bit wrong in a few of the images. I think in crits we don’t have very long to view images really. The images may look like they could be taken anywhere, or rather I think what is meant by this is any school, however when you look you notice that in one image the child has no shoes on, in another they are wearing pyjamas or a dressing gown, in one they are listening to music whilst working. This goes back to what Steph said about the images repeating themselves. I think it certainly can LOOK like they are repeating themselves, however when you look closely at these details that isn’t what is happening, also when you realise that what YOU may think is being learnt in an image, or rather what is being photographed, isn’t infact what is being photographed, so HOW do I make the viewer see this. For me, this can ONLY be through text. Because if my tutors who are trained to see these things miss them, how are strangers going to see them? Then again, maybe when the title of my work is with the images then it will be a non-question ? Or perhaps when the audience are those that are involved in alternative education are the viewers they will be able to spot those things. This leads onto the question, what about the fine art market though, how do I market these images so that anyone can spot those things. On one hand Jesse and Michelle think the images are too obvious, too literal, but if they aren’t seeing my meaning behind the image, is there a way to make them see that without text, or can it only be done through text ?
They discussed being able to see the space that the children are working in so that they understand what is going on. Michelle said she thought I should step back and take images of their spaces . I found this quite contradictory, on one hand they prefer the images without the children in, but then they like the idea of me doing those images wider. I discuss this in my next CRJ post here … https://www.bambino-art.co.uk/week-8-reshooting-wip-images-14-03-20/
Jesse talked about wanting to see the relationship between all of them , and how it is an interesting thing how they are such varying ages and are with each other a lot as peers, and how that is unusual. I explained that there are a few images with them in in pairs, but the boys are working so relentlessly at the moment that that isn’t something that is happening often. I have included images of them all together, but they didn’t make the shortlist of images, there is one however that I feel fits this so I will show that at the next webinar and see what Sarah thinks of that.
He liked the image of Amelia and Oska playing the history game together.
We then discussed how much I had talked to explain things. I explained how important text was to explain the images. How as photographers we always want our images to speak for themselves , and as much as I want great photographs, I think this body of work, needs the text with it.
Michelle said she thought text would strengthen the more metaphorical images, but would weaken the images of the more illustrative work. This is something I am going to experiment with going forward, maybe annotate the metaphorical images, but leave the more illustrative ones without captions.
Gem said she really liked the trace images as she wasn’t sure what she was looking at so she was drawn into them.
Michelle mentioned looking for the extraordinary and the ordinary .
Jesse mentioned a full screen video projection of the full 12 hour day. We talked about Bodie’s time lapses he has been making. I love the idea of this, but questioned how I would do this, they suggested just uploading to Vimeo or something, my comment though was as much as I really do think that sounds great, no-one is going to watch a 12 hour video of my day (meaning the tutors) to which Jesse commented no he would be doing thatHowever this isn’t the first time something like this has been mentioned to me, Laura Hynd mentioned the same thing last module, so I really think video is something that I should look at exploring further.
we then discussed how ‘tightly in’ the images are, and I discussed how this time is claustrophobic . Michelle then discussed getting that claustrophobia with photographic language instead . Using shorter focal length for example.
Hackney studios by Jenny Lewis was mentioned. Beth Yarnelle Edwards was mentioned, and her early work. So I will look at both of these.
We finished up with Jesse reiterating he really liked the idea of the exercise book, the images just needed to be better than his kids teachers images …. and micelle said this is why the traces are well suited to this project, to differentiate them.
I then asked about whether the kids annotating the images , or the national curriculum images would still work. They agreed that either of these could work. The separation had to come in which body of images I chose.