#Phonar Session Three Task – “Spoken Narrative” (and Reflection)

Task:

Record a personal story to share with the group.

You should speak your story in person and it’s telling should last approx. 2 minutes (if you prefer to record and publish in advance, that’s fine, otherwise it’s delivered live in session and stays within the closed group).

You should especially consider your choice of story/subject, your audience and your verbal delivery – in terms of your script, language, pace and intonation. No accompanying soundscape.

No pictures. Just a story.

 

Story:

Sunday 19th October 2014. Haystacks, the Lake District.

Squinting against the horizontal rain I glanced up to see that my Dad was scanning the path in front of us with a quizzical look on his face. Thinking that it could be nothing worse than the three-hour trek in the freak weather conditions that we had just endured, I tentatively looked down to the ground to see what had caused the reaction I so rarely saw on his face.

Mud.

Thick, brown, squwelchy mud.

Looking from left to right, we soon realized the extent of the frustrating obstacle that kept us from the warmth of our car. Patience wearing thin as the rain hammered into our backs we silently agreed that we just had to go through it.

Dad decided to go first. Spending a little more than a couple of seconds contemplating different routes, he made his first step. As soon as his foot hit the mud, it quickly started to sink. Flailing his arms he used the momentum from his tall frame to push him forward, quickly and lightly, over the sinking sludge. Landing safely on the other side, with little more than a slightly muddy boot, he span round to look at me, a mischievous grin lighting up his face…

Your turn.

Great.

Spending more than Dad’s couple of seconds looking for a better crossing point I soon felt smug with my obvious path choice. Standing up tall, feeling confident, preparing for my easy crossing, I took my first step.

It is safe to say that I wasn’t prepared.

Opening my eyes to find that I was looking down at the mud, only about a foot away from my face, I tried to determine exactly what had happened. My arms were outstretched distinctively, holding my body away from the horrible brown of the mud. Still confused, I soon noticed a similar texture wrapped around the lower part of my leg.

That’s right, my foot had sunk.

Not just slightly. But the disgusting brown gloop had managed to seep into my walking boots before finding its way half way up my shin.

Letting out a small sigh and a little giggle, I quickly started to clamber away from the muddy area, looking more and more like Golum from Lord of the Rings. As I finally got myself free, I stood up, looked at my dad (who was stifling a chuckle), before glaring at the muddy path I had just clumsily concurred.

It was only then that I realized the naivety of my city-self; this was definitive proof that the Lake District had literally eaten me up and spat me straight back out.

 

Reflection:

For this #Phonar task, I understood the fact that it was given as a way for us to experience and understand the vulnerability that our subjects may feel being used and viewed within our photographs. This task also relates to the main themes I discussed within this weeks weekly reflection, not only by making us return to the simplified way of storytelling (contrasting to the theory that we are being confronted with complexity within storytelling), but also by allowing us to narrate an “idea of what happened” (through creative writing), rather than what actually happened.

I personally thought that this task was the most enjoyable so far due to the fact that it incorporated an aspect of creative writing, which I thoroughly enjoy taking part in. However, I found it relatively difficult to choose a personal story that I was willing to share, which consequently meant that I wasn’t 100% pleased with the story I chose and wrote about, as I thought that it was rather weak in terms of its personal strength. This then led me to choose to share the story within a smaller, detached group.

(This being said, I chose to write about this particular subject as it was fresh in my mind and it loosely related to my final degree show project. I also knew that most people would be writing about more hard-hitting life experiences and therefore thought that this piece would allow me to lighten the mood.)

There are therefore quite a few things that I would change if I were to revisit this task, as I don’t feel like I have used it to it’s fullest potential. In the future, I feel like I would be able to decide on a more personal story that I would be willing to share with the group, which will in turn allow me to present my work in the larger group. I also feel that I focused too much on the writing side of the task rather than the idea about why we were doing it. All of these aspects meant that the level of vulnerability I felt was affected, so by changing these three things, I feel that I will be able to feel the full affect of the vulnerability, allowing me to understand the concept behind the task more.

This task, very slightly, answers the fourth learning objective (and its reflection answers learning objective 5):

  • 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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