Assignment one: Tutor report

I received my feedback for A1 Shadow and Surface from Robert. I have been reluctant to move too far ahead with my ideas for BoW in order to acknowledge the input.

This assignment was executed only with my smartphone, although I have been carrying out further experiments with my camera in the domestic space. The feedback for the use of the smartphone has been very positive from Robert as in my previous module and his encouragement of the risk element in my work was nice to read. It seems to tap into the impulsiveness of street photography without creating a story. Robert expressed a little concern about me being more interested in form over content, and not to dismiss content but to find a balance. Perhaps I should clarify here a little, it is more that I am not interested in narrative and that abstraction is the direction I am pursuing.

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Reflection: Consolidating the Shadowgram strategy

After aborting a repeat of the experiment of the new strategy for two days due to poor weather, the light conditions briefly improved on the third morning. There is only a one hour window for the light to project on the same wall. To progress the experiment I left the print from the previous session on the wall and waited for the light-shadow to project over it.

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Reflection: Establishing a Shadowgram visual strategy

A shadowgraph is a shadow projected onto a surface that is framed by an optical device. It is largely applied to scientific research using highly sensitive equipment to identify and measure flow patterns. It made me recall the process of the photograms of György Kepes, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy. In my research I didn't come across any artistic applications of the shadowgram function and is a clear differentiation between the methodology of the two processes. However, rather than the more controlled constructive approach of the photogram (see fig. 1.), I find the responsive observational quality of chance more suited to my personal approach.

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Reflection: Genre hopping

I regard genres as a starting point of expectation. But perhaps the specific use of genre as a concept is in a historical context, to acknowledge what has come before. In a similar sense to citations and references, it is a self-awareness for the artist and subsequently the spectator that works of art one has created have origins from elsewhere. In having established a genre it helps to know that the work of art is a continuum of a point of view that has been crafted or explored before in order to expand the spectrum of possibilities.

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Reflection: Conceptual photography

My interpretation of the genre terminology 'conceptual photography' is that of an artistic theory that acts as a framework to which a photograph (or series of) adheres to. Conceptual frameworks have at heart the desire to explore singular ideas; be it to subvert an existing theory or to illustrate a new one. This is in contrast to the desire in other genres to pursue or create narratives. The theory underpins everything and takes precedence over craft and story. Positives for conceptual photography include the evolution of ideas and helps to distill them into a into a concise format to explore, essentially setting ones own boundaries. Conversely it can be perceived as displaced from daily life and narcissistic. Conceptual photography can also court controversy in striving for attention or deliberate provocation. Its place in art history coincides with photography increasingly entering the museum place and thus falls into the realm of "...the machinery of art history and museology,” (Crimp, 1993, p.107). This creates an elitist or hierarchical view that the concepts need intelligence to be understood.

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Reflection: Psychogeography

During my previous module, Documentary 2, the general consensus was to dispense with the notion of an 'objective' discourse and to focus on a more holistic method of analysis. Not only would the artist influence the outcome, but also the circumstances and conditions (such as budget, time, restriction, etc.) around the body of work. This is where I would regard photography to be more aligned with design than art. Psychogeography is something I have used in my practice professionally and academically. During Documentary 2 I utilised being in Japan to reference the Provoke aesthetic for one assignment. While in (a muslim country) Malaysia, I participated in Ramadan and documented the experience. In terms of both conception and execution psychogeography played a major role.

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Reflection: Shadow and Surface

Following the introduction with my tutor for BoW, Robert, I felt compelled to reflect on how my interest in Korean photography can coincide with the progress made during my last module Documentary 2. Robert challenged me to reconsider the influence the course may have had on my practice. The regular theme in my work during Documentary 2 was the physicality and self-reflection of lived experience. By extension Robert suggested to spend time looking into phenomenology.

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