#Phonar Summer Task 2014
Over our summer break, we were given an introductory letter welcoming us to our third and final year studying photography at Coventry University. Within this letter was information regarding when we would start our final year, a little section to scare us into realizing that “…this is it, the big cahuna, le Grande Depart, the full enchilada. It’s the moment your entire degree has been working towards…”, and a small section giving us a brief description of our summer tasks.
After having what I can only describe as a slight panic attack, I thought it would be best if I started completing the summer tasks in order to prepare myself for “le Grande Depart”.
Below you can find the two tasks we were given and my responses:
(Please note, italics are used either to quote a particular source, or as a way of showing extra information that is not necessarily key to the projects but that may be of interest).
“Spend your summer doing what you love. Think about why it means so much to you and how you can bring that to the class.”
- Spending time with my boyfriend
- Why does this mean so much to me? – Apart from the obvious reasons of why people tend to enjoy spending time with their partner, I thought I’d include reasons that could actually be used in my final year at university. When I spend time with my boyfriend we always have a lot of fun as we often try to experience new places and activities that either one or both of us have never experienced before (see below). We often partake in what I’d like to think of as intellectual conversations, discussing current topics and tasks that we have been given. He relaxes me in times of high stress, builds my confidence, not only personally but professionally, and is often my inspiration and muse for many of my projects
- How can I bring this to the class? – Realistically, I know that next year will (and probably should) cause me high levels of stress, which means that I can use my boyfriends calming influence to relax me during these times. He will be there for me to build my confidence professionally as a photographer, and he is someone outside of the photographic industry (a viewer) that I can bounce my ideas off of to see how they come across, and can expect a truthful response from him. He may also be able to provide me with inspiration for different module tasks and projects.
- Experiencing new places and events (for example, GB Basketball, Duxford Imperial War Museum, etc.)
- Why does this mean so much to me? – As said above, the main reason that I experience new places and events is due to my boyfriend. However, this isn’t the only reason why it means so much to me. Experiencing new things, no matter how big or small they may be, allows me to open my eyes to different things, which not only broadens my knowledge but also offers me more areas that I can draw photographic inspiration from.
- How can I bring this to the class? – Simple. I can bring my broadened knowledge and larger inspirational areas to a number of module tasks and projects.
- Writing and illustrating articles for ePHOTOzine
- Why does this mean so much to me? – After being persuaded by one of my lecturers to follow a more academic writing role, I soon found that I not only enjoyed writing and illustrating a number of articles, but that I also enjoyed the publication of the articles and the sense of pride I received when I saw the finished, online product for a large number of people to enjoy.
- How can I bring this to the class? – I can not only bring my improved writing skills to a number of my modules, but I can also bring the skill of illustrating a piece of work, or telling/anchoring a story through an image to the #phonar (Photographic Narrative) module
- Visiting the South Coast and the Peak District
- Why does this mean so much to me? – Landscapes have always been my main interest in photography, but living in Coventry, a concrete jungle, has meant that I have had to adapt my photography to the more urban environment. Visiting the South Coast and the Peak District re-lit my passion for landscape photography, simply by witnessing it’s complete beauty, and has actually resulted in me thinking of a landscape project for my final Degree Show Project (spoiler!).
- How can I bring this to the class? – As said above, I will hopefully be going back to my photographic roots by creating a landscape project for my final Degree Show piece
- Planning next years summer
- Why does this mean so much to me? – As well as allowing me to get incredibly excited about my plans to travel Europe next summer (with my boyfriend, of course), I am also one of those anal retentive people that actually enjoys planning ahead and feeling 100% in control of any given situation
- How can I bring this to the class? – Not that it has been a problem in previous years, but the organizational skills that I always use will be very beneficial next year when trying to juggle a number of different tasks and projects
- Reading historical fiction
- Why does this mean so much to me? – Although I wouldn’t say that I was very knowledgeable about history, I have always enjoyed reading Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction books. Not only do they relax me, but they also give me a sense of escapism and can also often inspire me to improve upon my own creative writing skills.
- How can I bring this to the class? – In my final year, I may want to include some creative writing within a final piece for a project (hint hint), and reading these books, as stated above, has allowed me to improve upon my writing skills.
“For the first class, bring me a story of your journey to school.”
Analysing the Task – Definitions (from dictionary.com):
- “A narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.”
- “A fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.”
- “A narration of an incident or a series of events or an example of these that is or may be narrated, as an anecdote, joke, etc.”
- “A narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration”
- “A report or account of a matter; statement or allegation”
- “A traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip”
- “A distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling”
- “A period of travel”
- “Passage or progress from one stage to another”
- “An institution where instruction is given, especially to persons under college age”
- “An institution for instruction in a particular skill or field.”
- “A college or university.”
- “A regular course of meetings of a teacher or teachers and students for instruction; program of instruction”
- “A session of such a course”
- “The activity or process of learning under instruction, especially at a school for the young”
- “One’s formal education”
Ideas – Brief Descriptions:
Idea 1 – Runtastic App:
- Taking the task in it’s literal sense – a story of me walking to university
- Use the Runtastic App to record my route to university and take photos along the way
- Focuses on digital media in the digital age and iPhoneography
Idea 2 – Illustrating a Written Story:
- Again, taking the task in it’s literal sense – a story of me walking to university
- Write a creative piece about a specific experience of me walking to university
- Illustrate the story with a single image
- Got inspiration for this from the articles that I wrote over the summer
Idea 3 – Archival Images:
- Taking the task in a more metaphorical sense – looking at the story of my journey through school to university
- Find a number of old photographs of me on my first day at different schools
- Set them out horizontally like a timeline
FINAL IDEA – Runtastic App:
Definitions this idea relates to (from dictionary.com):
- Story – “A report or account of a matter; statement or allegation”
- Journey – “A traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip”; “A distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling”
- School – “A college or university.”
For my final summer task idea, I have decided to go with the idea of portraying my journey to university (in a literal sense) through the use of an app called Runtastic. So…
Why did I choose this Idea?:
- Even though this particular idea takes the task in a more literal sense, after looking through my ideas I thought that this would be a more interesting and unique path to take due to the method of the storytelling
- My response to this summer task will also have a depth to it by incorporating a secondary aspect surrounding theories based on the digital era (as learnt about in Matt Johnston’s first year lectures)
- Being a digital native that has grown to be interested in theories surrounding the digital era, I wanted to take this small opportunity to experiment with using everyday digital technologies to create a response to a photographic task
- I also wanted to explore a digital, visual way of storytelling that seems to be becoming increasingly popular as we advance through the digital age
- Also, after recently acquiring a new iPhone, I wanted to experiment with a newer form of photography, called iPhoneography, as a way of highlighting media changes in the digital era
- Looking at my final idea, I soon realized that it was easy to understand how this response relates to both the “journey” and “school” aspect of the task, but that it was less obvious to see how this response was telling a “story”.
- Looking back at the fact that I wanted to explore digital, visual storytelling, I soon remembered looking at Dave McCandless’ “Information is Beautiful” work during our Digital Media module last year
- Throughout this large project, Dave McCandless focuses on data telling us a story through its visual representation, which is essentially the method I tried to recreate for this project – I am telling a story through visual aspects including maps, statistics, and imagery
My blog post with discussion surrounding Dave McCandless work: https://hollyconstantinephotography.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/digital-media-let-the-dataset-change-your-mindset/
Dave McCandless Website: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net
“Timeline of the Far Future” by Dave McCandless
Final Piece – Method:
- For my piece, I plan on using the Runtastic app on my iPhone to visually show my route/journey to university through its mapping and statistics (distance, duration, and time completed)
- I also plan on illustrating this journey by taking an image on my iPhone to link with the map and the statistics allowing me to add another visual aid that can not only be used to anchor the story, but that also shows the projects link to photography and iPhoneography
- I also plan on taking this image in a square format in order to symbolize the main recognizable feature of a popular image sharing company, Instagram, that has thrived throughout the development of the digital era
- I will also be editing the photograph using the Photoshop Express app that I have downloaded onto my iPhone, again showing how different companies have adapted to the ever-changing digital progression
- I then plan on uploading the route and photo to Twitter in order to show the sharing of information that is key in the digital era
Final Photo Choice:
After editing all of my images using the Photoshop Express app, I then had to decide upon the image that I wanted to use to represent the story of my journey to university.
After very little deliberation I decided upon using the photograph shown below.
I feel like this image greatly encapsulates the atmosphere within the city as I walk through it on my journey to university. This image can be used to represent the city as a whole by focusing on its concrete jungle characteristic and enhancing the brutal reality of the urban environment through the inclusion of the street graffiti. The “eye” graffiti found within this particular image can also be used to represent the fact that within a city as large as Coventry, there are eyes everywhere, watching me as I progress on my journey.
Representations within this Response:
- As always, although it is not necessarily needed for this particular task, I like to explore the representations that can be seen throughout my final piece, adding a greater depth to the project
- The use of digital media to create this response can be used to relate back to the “journey” aspect of the task by representing the journey of continual changes that the digital era undergoes and how digital technologies have quickly increased in accessibility
- Relating back to the “story” aspect of the task, the map that I have included in my final piece can be clearly seen as showing a beginning, middle, and end, the typical layout of a story