After developing key concepts and conducting theoretical and visual research for my final major project, I think it’s time to take action and start conceptualising and finalising shoot ideas for my final outcomes. Although I feel like I haven’t produced enough research or test shoots this module due to the lockdown taking place which definitely caused a lack of motivation and anxiety of where I could be headed for this module, I do feel confident now that I am able to produce a good body of work for my final shoots going forward. I think sometimes its easy to get lost in trying to produce too much research which could go on forever and ever given the intensity and magnitude of the topic that I could look into, so I am pleased that I was able to refine and take parts from each of these concepts so that I can put my personal interpretation on it. Moving forward, I think it would be important to sit down and look at the time I have left until the deadline so that I am able to set a series of mini deadlines for tasks that need to be completed on time. Producing these shoots on time is definitely the number one priority starting from now as I will then need to consider how I want to exhibit/display this, whilst also working on my portfolio. From having tutorials with Eloise, I think we have established the direction I would like to take for my shoots and the visual identity that goes alongside this (where there is a focus on photography and using digital and analogue processes) so now the next step is to thoroughly plan out and get in touch with any contacts such as make up artists, stylists, photographic studios etc. to see who is available for work during this pandemic. I think at the start of this module, I felt extremely stressed about the logistics of how these shoots were going to take place, however now that I have explored other mediums such as incorporating animation and 3D scanning during this time where I had limited resources, it feels like I now have additional skills which I may have not even thought about as I wouldn’t be trying to adapt to stressful situations. I am now confident that these shoots can go ahead after speaking to some photographic studios that are open for use- so the plan is to combine all of my experimentations and knowledge from the last couple of months to produce these exciting shoots!
Moving on from AD394, I am aim to continue researching key concepts which relate to the idea of distorting our perception of reality. In order to input my own interpretation onto these themes, I think it would be important to find a concept to behind it so that there is a solid foundation that I can build my work around. As the topic of distortion and perception is so broad, I need to figure out how I am able to narrow it down so it will make it easier when it comes to creating my final pieces of work to exhibit and for my portfolio. From the last project, I explored various analogue processes within photography such as using the darkroom, creating cyanotypes and digital manipulation techniques which has allowed me to be open to experimentation moving forward. I think originally I wanted to continue using the darkroom to experiment however due to the situation of being in another national lockdown, I think areas within my statement of intent need to be re-evaluated so I am able to work around the limitations.
For instance, I originally planned to have a series of photographic images which were primarily fashion editorial based where I could base a narrative upon the images which were styled and shot collaboratively within a team. Whilst this may still be possible in the future when lockdown eases, I think the challenges facing the start of this project is to try and be as realistic as possible, as well as adapting my project so that I don’t face as many hardships further down the line. I think one of the most important factors within my work that I still want to push forward with is working with analogue techniques in combination with digital mediums to bridge the gap between the physical elements of analogue, with the digital sphere that we so heavily rely on- this is especially relevant during this pandemic.
How can elements of touch, emotion and our perception of reality be interpreted through a series of processes and imagery? I think the first step within this project is to establish the key themes I will be exploring throughout, which I can then use to develop and experiment visual outputs. It will also be important to consider how this work will be exhibited for the final result.
Merleau-Ponty attempts to reveal the phenomenological structure of perception. He writes that while the “notion of sensation … seems immediate and obvious”, it is in fact confused. Merleau-Ponty asserts that because “traditional analyses” have accepted it, they have “missed the phenomenon of perception.” Merleau-Ponty argues that while sensation could be understood to mean “the way in which I am affected and the experiencing of a state of myself”, there is nothing in experience corresponding to “pure sensation” or “an atom of feeling”. He writes that, “The alleged self-evidence of sensation is not based on any testimony of consciousness, but on widely held prejudice.”
Merleau-Ponty emphasizes the role of the body in human experience. How does Merleau-Ponty’s phenomena translate in photography?
At the start of this project, I had set out my intentions which I believe are quite broad in terms of researching and experimenting. The main theme of exploration that I wanted to establish in this module was the use of creative processes to drive my image making further. Through the focus on perception of reality, I began to take my research into the direction of looking at photographers and artists that explore the idea of creating dream like landscapes in which the viewer can escape into. From then on, I have tried to continue to focus on using digital manipulation techniques as well as analogue processes which I am passionate about, to really try and bridge the gap of these practises. I think overall, I am heading in the right direction and am enjoying the exploration of these techniques through my work. I have found using objects such as mirrors, magnifying glass, glass and lighting to be emphasised in many of my test shoots as a way to distort my imagery. From my first test shoot with Damian, I am looking to move on from using these objects, and perhaps finding new ways to bring a sense of narrative into my work. Whilst these experimental techniques will drive the majority of my imagery, I think it is still lacking a sense of narrative which I wish to bring to my work. Therefore, I will continue with my research, where I am particularly interested in exploring ways in which our perception can be distorted in spaces, and how as an audience or viewer, we can interact or connect with it. I think it would also be interesting to look at ways in how the perception of our bodies can be distorted in a photograph, or in another art form. Our perception of space can be altered in infinite ways, how can I bring this into my photography practice? Looking at the idea of altering time and even the textural qualities of things can be a good starting point to research into.
I am driven and excited to carry on exploring the current themes, and have a studio shoot booked where I will practice and experiment with studio lighting to create dramatic and distorted imagery inspired by the likes of Elizaveta Porodina and Marcus Schaefer. The shoot planned will be primarily be on 120mm black and white film as I will be able to transfer these into the darkroom to start processing my own prints. For the time being, I think its important to carry on with experimenting with new and existing concepts so that I have a body of work to consistently gain new ideas and inspiration from. As I constantly plan shoots, I find myself getting distracted in between and procrastinate. And after speaking to Eloise at my tutorial, I feel motivated to continue to work with perhaps some a new medium so that it generates ideas.