#Phonar Session Two Task – “Unphotographable Phiction” (and Reflection)

Task:

Working alone, you should choose one of Michael David Murphy’sUnphotographable” posts and create a multimedia narrative. You should use your own images, new or from your archive and you should create an accompanying soundscape.

http://www.unphotographable.com/

Please upload the pieces by next session to Vimeo and tag it #phonar.

Thanks go to Michael for kindly allowing #phonar to use his work.

 

MY RESPONSE:

Unphotographable: Of a Young Man”:

This is a picture I did not take

of a young man wearing Carhartts, riding a train, talking on his cell-phone to a faraway friend about a photograph (which he held in his hand) that had just been found “inside a book by Isabel Allende” in a second-hand bookstore in Santa Cruz, which was a photo of his faraway friend, standing with a woman in “a woodland setting.” The friend asked questions about the photo, to which Carhartts replied, “her hair’s curlier than yours” and “no, she’s not big boned” while looking at the photograph and trying to jog his friend’s memory (“it’s definitely the East Coast”), which apparently wasn’t taking cues, even though visual proof of a fraction of a second of his life had lived for who knows how long inside a book in a bookstore, and was now travelling by train, north to San Francisco.

Photo Plan – what I visualize:

  • A man (“Carhartts” character) standing by the door of a train, leaning against the wall. Holding his phone up against his (right) ear, looking at the photograph in his (left) hand, with the book tucked under his arm.
  • Want to be able to see the world whizzing by outside to show that he is on a journey
  • Will need to make sure that both the book and photograph are seen by positioning them correctly
  • Will need to get him to tilt his head slightly towards the camera in order to see that he is on the phone

Audio – what I visualize:

  • Audio at the station and on the train to show his journey
  • A woman narrator reading out the script in a soft, motherly voice – as if she is telling a story to children
  • “Carhartts” character reading out the quotes in the script

Required Props:

  • Carhartts – not able to get these
  • Train
  • Mobile phone
  • A book by Isabel Allende
  • A photo of a man standing with a woman in “a woodland setting”

 

Final Video:

#Phonar Week 2 Task – “Unphotographable Phiction” from Holly Constantine on Vimeo.

 

Reflection:

As #Phonar is an abbreviation of Photography and Narrative, they obviously want us to look at using photography as a form of narration and storytelling. This task is therefore introducing us to this concept by allowing us to experiment with illustrating a given narrative through the use of photography and soundscapes (again relating back to #Phonar’s two main themes of the “Digital Age” and “Photography for you Ears”). I also think that this task relates briefly to the idea of Metaphotographers (that I mentioned in this weeks reflection) as it is allowing us to sift through the available “Unphotographable” collection in order to find and choose a piece we want to work with. I feel that this task was also given to us as #Phonar wants us to increase our multimedia skills so that we can become more skilled photographers that have adapted to the ever-changing digital age.

I greatly enjoyed this task, not only because it gave me the opportunity to challenge myself photographically (discussed below) but also because it introduced me to an interesting and inspirational piece of work by Michael David Murphy.

For this task, I chose to respond in this was to allow me to test my photographic skills by trying to recreate the one image that Michael David Murphy described (and from what I have researched, I think I am the only person to have done this). This meant that instead offering the viewer a number of different detailed photos that in turn would spoon-feed them the narrative, I wanted to allow the viewer to search for key aspects within the individual image, whilst listening to the short story, allowing them to continue to gain new knowledge about the same photograph throughout the video.

Although I was happy with the way I interpreted the brief, creating a more individualized response, there are, however, some things that I would change about the response if I were to re-visit it in the future. The first is that I would include more images; although I enjoyed the challenge of create the single storytelling image, whilst looking at the final product, I soon felt that the inclusion of a couple of other photos (such as close-ups of different story props) would have allowed the video to become slightly more dynamic. I would also adjust the volume of the audio as, because I included many different pieces of audio including various train noises and spoken narration, I feel that the balance between them needs improving upon so that each aspect can be heard more clearly.

The response to this task answers learning objectives 1, 3 and 4 (and its reflection answers learning objective 5):

  • Successfully undertake appropriately sophisticated research, analysis and interpretation of information
  • Independently produce a photographic narrative utilizing a range of analytical and practical photographic skills
  • Show evidence of experimentation with a range of narrative forms and media as a creative method for clearly articulating visual themes, stories and concepts
  • Critically evaluate their project work and the editorial decisions made throughout this process and its commercial relevance with respect to their chosen areas of specialism
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