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.