#Phonar Final Task – “Post-Photographic Portrait” (and Reflection)

This post includes the process and methodology that took place behind the “Post-Photographic Portrait” task. This includes the preparation and research for the task (Listening to Jill Jarman’s piece for Cello, and definitions), planning the task (#phonar themes involved in response, found photographs and audio, and editing), my first draft (including feedback on first draft, reflection on feedback, found audio, and changes in editing), my final video (with feedback and changes), and my final reflection – Each of these sections have been divided by a horizontal line.

 


 

TASK:

The culmination of this module will be the production of a “post-photographic portrait” of Jill Jarmon’s piece for Cello performed by Laura Ritchie.

https://archive.org/details/ResonanceLRitchie16bit

You should source and develop a subject whose story you tell through the production and broadcast of a “A Post-Photographic Portrait”; a phrase that we will investigate and clarify over the course of the module. Your decisions throughout this process should build upon and further develop the work we’ve begun in creative workshop and throughout the lecture series. This process should be evidenced explicitly and succinctly on your blog as well (a 500 word reflective summary would do the trick).

Boom ! Easy-peasy.

Julián Péter – Hi! Bit confused on the latest task. Do we create a “new” post-photographic portrait, or do we transform our previous work?

Jonathan Worth – Here’s a slightly longer answer than the 140 characters twitter allows: Perhaps see the task as a license (should one be needed) to “break out of the frame”. To break out of stills, to use sound, explore multi-point perspective and grapple with non-linear narratives. It’s the chance to make a bigger and more ambitious project than the weekly tasks and now that you’ve established a weekly turnaround of work you should find it easier to build something substantial. Revisit the lectures and interviews, look over your task outputs and then think of something you feel passionate about (love or hate) and craft us a narrative.

 


 

PREPARATION AND RESEARCH FOR TASK:

When this task was released, I automatically knew that I wanted to create something that would allow me to use #phonar to it’s full potential. That is why I have decided to use this task to help me explore ideas and themes that I will be using for my final degree show project where I will be reconnecting with my deceased grandfather through revisiting places within the Lake District that are of personal, memorial significance.

 

Listening to Jill Jarman’s piece for Cello (performed by Laura Richie):

https://archive.org/details/ResonanceLRitchie16bit

To prepare for this task, I decided that the first step to take would be to listen to Jill Jarman‘s piece for Cello performed by Laura Ritchie. After listening to it the first time round I thought that it was all too dramatic for the idea that I had in my mind. However, after listening to it a second time I soon realized that there was a section of 21 seconds (between 0:39 and 1:00) that elicited quite an emotional response from me. I soon realized that this was because I felt that it represented the death of my grandfather through music. I therefore plan on incorporating this section of the music within my final response.

 

Definitions:

After deciding on which part of the Cello music I will be using, I then took a step back and decided to look up definitions for both “post-photographic” and “portrait”:

Post-Photographic Definition:

Most early definitions of post-photography focused on the technological shift that ushered in the post-photographic period. According to these definitions, digital cameras have killed traditional photography. Because it is based on pixels rather than a chemical reaction, digital photography is a completely new medium with its own characteristics. Advocates of this type of definition hold that anyone who uses a digital camera is participating in post-photography regardless of the practices he or she uses. In effect, technology drives the medium.

One of the early proponents of this technological definition was William J. Mitchell. In 1992, Mitchell published a book entitled The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era. In it, he suggested that the “post-photographic era” began in the 1990s with the advent of digital photography. He also predicted that digital technology would produce social and cultural changes that would render traditional photography obsolete (Murray 152). Still, Mitchell’s was a definition based primarily on technology; any cultural or behavioral shifts were merely the logical consequences of this technological change.http://flickr.mattyoder.com/definitions

Portrait Definition:

  • A likeness of a person, especially of the face, as a painting, drawing, or photograph
  • A verbal picture or description, usually of a person

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/portrait

Notes from a first year lecture called “What is a Portrait?”:

What do you think a portrait is?

  • A photograph of a person
  • A representation of a person (for example, shadows)
  • It could be a painting
  • An image that depicts the person
  • It could include an animal
  • Used for identification

What should a portrait include?

  • A person
  • Narrative
  • Personal Insight
  • The essence of someone
  • Identity
  • Body parts – shows it is a human/animal
  • Objects

What should a portrait exclude?

  • The photographers opinion on the person – should try and be a realistic representation of the subject
  • Portrait meanings can change depending on its purpose
  • Depending on the portraits commissioner, the use of the image could change

Portrait definition:

  • “A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.” (Wikipedia)

Does a portrait need to include a face?

  • “No. A portrait does not have to include a face. It does if you are capturing the likeness of someone, which is the classic use of portraiture, but not necessarily if you are attempting to capture or express the essence (whatever that is) of someone. As another person has pointed out, you do have to be able to tell from the image who that person is in some way. If you don’t, then the image becomes general to just people and it’s not a portrait anymore.” (Yahoo! Answers)

 


 

PLANNING OF TASK: 

#Phonar Themes Involved in Response:

After completing this small section of research, I then decided to look back over each of the #phonar sessions to determine the main themes we discussed. After looking through each week’s themes, I then started to notice which ones interested me the most which then allowed me to start putting together an idea for my response for this task. (As previously stated, I am trying to use #phonar to it’s full potential by helping me explore ideas and themes that I will be using for my final degree show project.) Notes on the themes that I am interested in and my ideas can be found below:

  • The digital age
  • Photography for your ears
  • The digital age has allowed more photographs to be supplied by a number of amateur photographers
  • Metaphotographers – somebody who deals with the contextualization of available media
  • The image (has an infinite amount of data) is breaking away from the photograph (a physical artifact)
  • Power rests with us, the photographers, and it is our responsibility to contextualize the story we want to tell
  • Tell the story as it is
  • Photographs can sometimes be less about what actually happened and more about an idea of what happened
  • Allen Feldman – “The event is not what happens, the event is that which can be narrated”
  • Family albums – You still get a lot of information but the person who created the photo album are in control with what they share; they are more personal; people like to buy into memories; Photographs are evidence and memory triggers
  • Family photograph albums are one of the key ways in which family history are retold – but they don’t tell everything, there are things missing from the difficult areas in family life
  • We in some ways need to transport people around us into a world where things happen in a particular way and help them to visualize this world by identifying mechanisms for transporting them

Overall, as briefly mentioned above, I am planning on creating a piece of work that links in to my final degree show project that involves me reconnecting with my Grandpa through visiting places in the Lake District that are of great personal, memorial significance.

As all of #phonar’s theoretical concepts link back to the overarching theme of the digital age, I have decided that for this final piece, my intended target audience will be that of digital natives. I will therefore be creating a digital response to the task.

In response to the theme about “photography for your ears” I have decided that I am going to create an audio-visual video that will be displayed online via Vimeo, my WordPress blog, and linked to Twitter that will incorporate both a section from Jill Jarmon’s “Resonance” and a version of my grandfathers favourite singer.

In response to the next themes that discusses amateur photographers and metaphotographers, for my response I plan on becoming a metaphotographer and incorporating found personal images and online audio (the photos will either have been taken by myself or Grandpa, and I will use online audio that has a Creative Commons licence) that will help to anchor the narrative that I wish to portray throughout my presentation.

Looking at the theme that discusses the breakaway of image from the photograph, I will be scanning in old family photographs (artifacts) to create a digital image as a way of almost challenging this theory through the use of both mediums.

Another theme that interested me was the idea that the power rests with the photographers and it is our responsibility to contextualize the story we want to tell whilst also telling the story as it is. As stated above, I will be using my own personal memories and experiences to create the narrative for this particular task and will therefore be able to adhere to these particular theories.

The next themes that seem to relate are the ideas that suggest that the photographs/events aren’t necessarily about what actually happens, but are more about an idea of what happens or what is chosen to be narrated. For this theme, I will be looking at narrating personal memories. Memories relate to this particular theme as, much like different narratives, over time, events usually fade or alter, and are remembered in snippets due to the fact that the individual will remember more important aspects better than less important aspects. This doesn’t make the memory less true; it just makes it a more personal memory.

Also, at the beginning of Week 5’s session, I thought that Rachael Bint made some very interesting comments about the family albums. She suggested that you still get a lot of information but the person who created the photo album are in control with what they share, as well as the fact that people like to buy into memories, and photographs are evidence and memory triggers. I felt that all of these points were very true and noticed that these theories would not only work well with my final degree show project, but would also, obviously, work well with my response to this task.

In Week 6, whilst listening to an interview by Sara Davidmann, she also mentioned something about family photograph albums. She said that they are one of the key ways in which family history is retold but that they didn’t include everything and there will still be some aspects missing from them. This relates to my project as I am looking back on my family history through my own personal memories allowing me to adapt my family’s history to a more individual viewpoint by only including memories that are personal to me.

Also, in Week 6, in an interview with Shahidul Alam he said “We [photographers] in some way need to transport people around us into a world where things happen in a particular way and help them to visualize this world by identifying the mechanisms for transporting them.” I will be transporting my viewers into my storytelling world by immersing them in a multimedia narrative.

 

So this idea relates to the “post-photographic”, but how does it relate to “portraits”?

  • Some of my images that I will be using will be images that portray the relationship I had with my grandpa before he passed away.
  • However, most of these images are going to be landscape images of the Lake District
  • As you would have seen from my preparation above, some of my first year lectures notes discussed whether a portrait needs to include a face:
    • A portrait does not have to include a face. It does if you are capturing the likeness of someone, which is the classic use of portraiture, but not necessarily if you are attempting to capture or express the essence (whatever that is) of someone. As another person has pointed out, you do have to be able to tell from the image who that person is in some way. If you don’t, then the image becomes general to just people and it’s not a portrait anymore. (Yahoo! Answers)
  • The idea behind this response is to therefore capture and express the essence of my Grandpa and our relationship through exploring the landscape we shared throughout my childhood

 

So to summarize…

For this task I will be creating an audio-visual video that will explore a personal narrative by creating a portrait of the essence surrounding my relationship and reconnection with my deceased Grandpa and the memories I shared with him. I will be using scanned family photographs, as well as found audio, to create an immersive multi-media response that anchors the context of the narrative.

(Note about the video aspect – I have chosen to create a video over other multimedia interaction options as I want to show the specific linear timeline showing my grandfather passing away and me creating an essence of him, after he’d passed, through images of the Lake District. This is done better with video as it offers only one way of viewing whereas interactive maps would have allowed the viewer to create their own non-linear narrative).

 

Found Photographs and Audio:

As stated above, I will be using found photographs from family albums (both physical and digital) that were either taken by myself or by Grandpa as a way of enhancing the reconnecting aspect of the project. I will choose images of us that depict our fading relationship that will also allow the viewer to understand the idea of memories and remembrance. I will also choose images of the Lake District that will be used not only to represent the landscape I feel I reconnect with him through, but that also shows both mine and his love for photography and landscapes (again enhancing the reconnecting concept of the project).

For the found audio, I will obviously be using a section from Jill Jarmon’s piece for Cello, but I also quickly undertook some primary research by speaking to my dad, asking him who Grandpa’s favourite singer was. After swiftly getting a response, I will listen to a number of Nat King Cole songs (who was Grandpa’s favourite singer) and take the time to decide on a song that fits the concept in terms of it’s lyrics, tempo, and overall feel of the music.

The choice of images that I will be contemplating the use of, along with found/given audio, can be seen below:

Images:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Audio:

Nat King Cole – When I Fall In Love (with lyrics) from mft48 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y39N72hN7iQ

(Please note, this video is under the Standard YouTube licence which is Creative Commons. This means that the uploader grants the entire YouTube community the right to reuse and edit the video – this information was found here https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797468?hl=en)

 

Jill Jarman’s piece for Cello (performed by Laura Richie) – https://archive.org/details/ResonanceLRitchie16bit

 

Editing (and Screenshots of Method):

To start off the editing process, I decided to cut down Jill Jarmon’s piece for Cello to the section I required for my work. I then decided to listen to Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall In Love” song to determine where the best place would be to put the section of Jill Jarmon’s Cello peice. After giving it a listen a couple of times, I soon realized that there was an instrumental section towards the beginning of the song that fitted perfectly with it. Once I decided on the location of the Cello piece, I then spent time fading both of the audio clips in and out, and experimenting with their volume as a way of trying to balance them.

Once this audio editing was complete, I then spent time placing the images into the visual presentation, focusing on their relationship and fit with the newly edited audio. I decided to include photographs of Grandpa and I first, as a way of giving the viewer the personal concept behind the video, allowing them to watch the video with the gained understanding that the project was about ideas of memories and remembrance. Then, after Jill Jarmon’s Cello piece (that was described above as representing Grandpa’s death through music), I included a variety of landscape images (scanned and digital) that represent the landscapes as reconnection triggers to my Grandpa, as well as showing both mine and his love for photography and landscapes, enhancing the reconnecting concept of the project (as stated above). I also chose to make this landscape section longer than the portrait section as a way of representing the fact that I remember more about my Grandpa after his death. I then decided that I wanted to end the video with an image of Grandpa, as a way of bringing the project back to the personal, showing that this project has been dedicated to the remembrance of him.

As well as making sure that the images fit with the music and worked well in the two sections (portrait/relationship images and landscape images), they were also ordered depending on whether they could be used to represent different parts of the narrative (for example, a snowy landscape with dazzling light to symbolize the idea of life after death). The landscape photographs were also ordered in terms of their location (grouping together images of Latrigg, for example) as well as their reading (I wanted to depict the idea of a journey and so included images in an example order of walking up a hill, on top of the hill, and walking back down the same hill). These landscape photographs were also alternated (as much as possible) between them being photographs I took and photographs Grandpa took, as a way of enhancing the reconnecting concept of the project. Finally, the image duration differentiated between each image depending on how the transition between the photos fit with the music.

As for the titles, I decided to keep these to a minimum, as I didn’t want them to take away from the visual flow of the video. I therefore chose to include the title of the task followed by the title of the individual project and then, as a way of allowing the viewer to understand the concept of loss quicker whilst also breaking up the sections of images (portrait/relationship and landscape) a title screen with my Grandpa’s born and death date.

 

Screenshots of Editing Method (visual and audio):

First Draft Video

First Draft Audio

 

 


 

TWITTER RESEARCH:

Whilst I was coming up with my idea, I decided to keep my Twitter followers engaged by tweeting about the fact that I was working on this project. In response to this tweet, Mario Pires (@retorta – a “Photographer, Video creator, Igniter!”) told me to have a look at some video portraits that he found on Vimeo. After having a look, I kindly thanked him for his sources and later explained that: “my plan is to actually make a video that explores the portrait “through capturing and expressing an essence of a person””. However, I did like the way that Sergey’s video portrait (the second link) used rugged landscapes to represent the personality of the person within the portrait as I feel like this is something I will be using within my final response. The links to these videos can be found below:

Christine: A Moving Portrait by Mackcanelas – https://vimeo.com/103971193

Video Portrait – Sergey (Sevastopol) by SergeyDiukov – https://vimeo.com/108549231

Nikodem Chabior – Video Portrait by Sarzoza Productions LLC – https://vimeo.com/108773890

 


 

FIRST DRAFT OF TASK:

https://vimeo.com/112746215

Password: phonar5

 


 

FEEDBACK OF FIRST DRAFT AND CHANGES:

Thinking About our “Post-Photographic Portrait” Response:

On Wednesday 12th November 2014, I attended a day of lectures for my #phonar module. Within this session, Jonathan Worth asked us to think about our Post-Photographic Portrait projects and to spend time thinking about the answers to the three questions he gave us that can be found below. These questions challenged our preconceived ideas surrounding our projects and allowed us to identify the depth of the concepts we are exploring.

  • What is the problem that you are looking at?
    The fading of memories of a loved one after they have passed away – as people continue through their life, it is known for people’s memories of particular loved ones to fadeWhat is the solution?
  • For many people, if they take the time to revisit the memories either through places or photographs, they bring these fading memories back to the forefront, which allows them to reconnect with the loved ones through the strengthening of their memories
  • What are you trying to achieve from creating this piece of work?
    I want people to be able to understand and recognize that memories will naturally fade over time but that they can reconnect with the memories by immersing themselves in a particular place or with a particular object – I want to create an immersive piece of work that allows the viewer to not only immerse themselves in the places depicted, but to also immerse themselves in their individual memories and feelings of loss and remembrance

 

Feedback of “Post-Photographic Portrait” Response:

For this feedback session, I presented my first draft of my response to the class in order to receive critical feedback allowing me to change it before the deadline date. Below you can find all of the notes that I took from this session:

  • It is narrating the personal immersive experience of immersing myself in a particular place in order to reconnect with fading memories which is reflected in the immersive output chosen
  • It is a personal project but you don’t want to slip into sentimentality
  • Diane Arbus – “The more specific you are, the more general you’ll be
  • I need to try and create a body of work that is equally immersive for the viewer as it is for me, the photographer
  • False memories – memories degrade over time and it is usually place, objects, and photographs that adapt the memory for it to be remembered
  • Photographs and places act as evidence and triggers

The Video:

  • The audience is taken on a memory journey
  • The portraits show your conscious memory, whereas the “quiet” landscapes are juxtaposed as they symbolize the already fading of the memories into the unconscious
  • It perhaps suggests that the memories are fading but the landscapes symbolize their rediscovery
  • Also suggests that the memories of the person have been replaced with the memories of the landscape – landscapes are the trigger to your memories
  • It is a very reflective piece – it needs to be more objective
    • You need to direct it more towards the audience
    • Use ambient noises – this will help you to recreate the memory with the audio whilst also making it more relatable for the audience
    • Some suggested narrating of remembered memories – others said that this will give me, the photographer, too much power over what the viewer thinks about; let them connect to their own memories
  • Nice timeless song – chosen well as it made them think about how they would feel if they lost their grandparents and it reflects the timelessness of the landscapes and the memories
  • They all empathized with the feeling of loss
  • Text definitely takes away from it – remove the date; don’t give the answers straight away
  • Make the personal aspects within the video clearer – e.g. it is his favourite song, the scanned images are his photographs etc.

 

Reflection of First Draft Feedback:

Looking back over my notes from my first draft feedback session, I feel that it went well, allowing me to walk away with lots of constructive ideas and opinions. The class audience (comprised mainly of my target audience of digital natives) seemed to understand the concept I was looking at (fading memories, reconnection, loss and remembrance) and thought that the video showed this well.

Focusing, now, on individual ideas that were suggested, I have decided to take out the original Nat King Cole song that I used, and replace it with a variety of ambient noises. This will allow the personal project to be directed slightly more towards the audience by enabling them to immerse themselves in the images and loose themselves within their own, individual memories.

I also like the fact that the text within the video (specifically the date) was mentioned as taking away from the overall piece. As stated above, I too do not like giving the audience all of the answers straight away and instead like to allow them time to figure it out in their own time. I will therefore be removing this text aspect from the video.

As mentioned by one of my peers, I will also make sure that the personal aspects within the video (for example the use of some of Grandpa’s photos) will be made clearer through using the description of the video (on Vimeo) as a tool. This will allow the audience to understand why I have chosen to include certain features and will therefore allow them to grasp the concept of the idea without taking away from the actual viewing of the video.

 

Landscape Photographs and Found Audio (Ambient Noises):

After being given the questions by Jonathan Worth that allowed us to identify the depth of the concepts we are exploring within our projects, I realized that the landscape images within my response are no longer going to be used to represent the landscape I feel I reconnect with my grandpa through and the inspiration behind both our love for photography and landscape, but that in fact they will now be used as the anchor to the projects deep concepts of memory and place.

Moving on to the audio, before searching for the ambient noises to include within video, I decided to make the changes to the visual presentation that were suggested in the feedback session. This allowed me to understand the images I had to work with and allowed me to gain inspiration for the ambient noises I needed to find. I then took my time to look at each individual photograph and write a list of ambient noises that I imagined, through linking them to past experiences and fading memories, which would allow me to create a more immersive response. I then spent time simply searching for these pieces of audio online.

The links to the audio can be found below:

Relaxing garden sounds” from Jojikiba – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTlQXmqFGko

Watering the Garden – May 2014” from webcajun – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73-KxcLwy1M

Hilarious toddler laughing!!” from Dustin Hoffman – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUNlb0qViSE

Resonance” by Jill Jarman’s  – piece for Cello (performed by Laura Richie) – https://archive.org/details/ResonanceLRitchie16bit

One Hour of Binaural Beach Sounds for Relaxation” from JustAWhisperingGuy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89sBeJzehiM

Relaxing Nature Sounds: Wind Blowing & Rustling Leaves (Winter Nature Trail Walk – pt.2)” from EZMindBodyHealing (EZMBH) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTDqRGxzPU8

ASMR Sound – Walking through snow.” from Mister Pancake – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxpzerEPdqs

Relaxing Nature Sounds 3 – 60 minutes of Woodland Ambiance – Trickling Stream Sounds & Birds Sounds” from Ephemeral Rift – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDir9-UoPjo

Autumn Wind Sounds: 2 Hour Long Relaxing Nature Sounds for Sleep” from Brad McBride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCcT6LKo5Lw

Nature Sounds-8 Hour Relaxation-Birds Singing-Sound of Gentle Lake Waves Meditation” from Johnnielawson – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NG30BMPqn8

Walking On Gravel Path [SOUND EFFECT]” from Freeify Music – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obLEE0LGlLg

Sounds of the City: Cityscape – 60 minutes” from Brad McBride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXHURaIl7hA

 

(Please note, all of these videos are under the Standard YouTube licence which is Creative Commons. This means that the uploader grants the entire YouTube community the right to reuse and edit the video – this information was found here https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797468?hl=en)

 

Changes to Editing (and Screenshots of Method):

After the first draft feedback session, I obviously had to go over my work and make a number of editing changes. As stated above, I decided to make the changes to the visual aspects of the video first before moving on to editing the audio. These visual changes included removing the title screen that gave Grandpa’s born and death date, and extending some of the portrait photographs of Grandpa and I in order to give the viewer the opportunity to figure out the concept of loss themselves (which is clearly represented through the inclusion of Jill Jarmon’s Cello piece). I also made the decision to remove the end photograph of my Grandpa as a way of decreasing the sentimentalism of the project and allowing the audience to end their viewing being immersed in their own memories and feelings.

As for the audio, once I had found each of the audio pieces that I thought would create more immersive images, I then spent a lot of time editing these together to create different soundscapes for each of the images. This method of editing included figuring out when each audio clip should start and end based on the visual presentation timings, deciding how much of an overlap each of the audio clips should have as the transition between images (scans of my calculations for these can be found below – red pen shows the changes in calculations I made over time), fading in and out of particular clips, and volume control and balance depending on the amount of clips included in one soundscape as well as the linking relationship to their neighboring audio clips. I then, obviously, also had to make sure that these soundscapes fitted with Jill Jarmon’s piece for Cello by experimenting with fading and volume.

 

Scans of Calculations for Editing:

Scan

Scan 1

 

Screenshots of Editing Method (visual and audio):

Final Draft Video

Final Draft Audio

 


 

FINAL VIDEO:

#Phonar “Post-Photographic Portrait” Task from Holly Constantine on Vimeo.

 

Feedback:

Just before the deadline, I chose to ask a couple of my peers to watch this video and to provide me with feedback. Some of the suggestions they gave me, along with how I accommodated them within my response (if I could) can be found below:

  • Jenny Stonely suggested that she understood the concept behind the video and felt that, as a viewer, she was able to reflect and immerse herself in her own memories. However, she also mentioned that, although this was the case, she didn’t feel like I had invited her to
    • After receiving this feedback, I therefore changed the description of the video on Vimeo to include a section where I invite the audience to reflect on their own memories (this way, the video as a piece is not affected, but the idea is still put across to the viewer)
  • Katherine Alcock: It is far better than the first one you showed us. The ambient sounds let the viewer get lost in each image, focusing on different points throughout, whereas I felt the previous edit with the music was a little distracting and the pace felt more directed. Whereas this feels as though you are reading each image at your own pace. For me the first few images are the best, with your grandpa in them but I can see why you have chosen to then move onto landscapes, allowing each viewer to react more personally, rather than it being a reflection simply on your relationship with your grandpa. Great job!
  • Charli-Nicole Collins: “It works so much better with the new soundscape! It really does capture my attention now. I did find myself in the landscapes looking for the source of the sound. If you were to revisit this project in the future it might be interesting to experiment with cinemagraphs?”
    • After receiving this feedback, I loved the idea of experimenting with cinemagraphs. However, after conducting brief research into how to create them (http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/how-to-make-a-cool-cinemagraph-image-in-photoshop) I soon realized that you actually needed film footage and movement (which I don’t have due to the fact that this project is based around the idea of found images). I have therefore had to decide against including this suggestion within my final response. However, now that I have been reminded of this technique, I will be contemplating using it within my Final Major Project.

 


 

REFLECTION:

What was the reason behind this task?

As this is the final major task for the #phonar module, it was given to us to provide us with the opportunity to create a piece of work inspired by some of the main themes we’ve discussed throughout the eight week module (focusing mainly on those that interested us as individuals). In Week 7, Jonathan Worth also provided us with three questions (that we took time answering) in order to allow us to understand what we were trying to gain from this task. As mentioned above, I have therefore used this task to provide my audience with the understanding that although memories may fade over time, by immersing themselves in a particular place or with a particular object, they can reconnect with these fading memories.

Why did I respond to this task in this way?

I therefore decided to respond to this task in this particular way for a number of different reasons. As stated above, I decided to use #phonar to it’s full potential by using this task (and others) to help me explore ideas and themes that I will be using for both my Symposium and Final Major Project where I am looking into reconnecting with my deceased Grandpa through visiting places within the Lake District that are of personal, memorial significance. At the beginning of the planning process, I also stated that I was going to use this opportunity to explore a personal narrative by creating a portrait of the essence surrounding my relationship and reconnection with my Grandpa and the memories I shared with him. I also took the time to identify the #phonar themes that interested me and therefore created a specific response that incorporated all of these interesting concepts (for more information, please see “Planning the Task: #Phonar Themes Involved in Response”). I’ve also, previously stated that my intended target audience is that of the digital natives (as one of the main overarching themes for #phonar was the digital age) and so creating a digital response, that has been shared on numerous sites (including Vimeo, WordPress, and Twitter), has allowed me to appeal to the ever-increasing digital native population. Looking back at the three questions given by Jonathan Worth, I also stated I wanted to create an immersive piece of work that allows the viewer to not only immerse themselves in the places depicted, but to also immerse themselves in their individual memories and feelings of loss and remembrance. As a tool for doing this, I therefore decided to use a video format rather than that of other immersive platforms. This is because, although I wanted the audience to immerse themselves in their own memories, I also wanted the audience to experience a linear narrative showing my Grandpa passing away followed by the reconnecting to fading memories. (This is better portrayed through the use of video rather than other multimedia interactions as these often allow the viewer to create their own non-linear narratives).

Incorporated #Phonar Themes:

As seen above, in “Planning the Task: #Phonar Themes Involved in Response” I took time to discuss a number of different interesting #phonar concepts and how I was planning to incorporate them into my final response. Looking back at these ideas, I realized that I managed to successfully include the majority of them within my project, as planned, but that there were some concepts that were slightly affected after making changes to the video based on the feedback given in class. These affected concepts can be found below:

(If you want to see the concepts that were included successfully, please revisit the “Planning the Task: #Phonar Themes Involved in Response” section above).

  • Photography for your ears
    • Now incorporated by creating an audio visual video that includes ambient noises (instead of a Nat King Cole song) to allow the viewer to immerse themselves in photography
  • Power rests with us, the photographers, and it is our responsibility to contextualize the story we want to tell
  • Tell the story as it is
    • Affected through the changes suggested in the feedback session – I feel that my power as a photographer to tell the story I wanted to tell was affected by trying to aim the project closer to the audience
  • Family albums – You still get a lot of information but the person who created the photo album are in control with what they share; they are more personal; people like to buy into memories
    • Affected through the changes suggested in the feedback session – I feel like I had less control of what I wanted to share, and the project became less personal whilst I was trying to accommodate the feedback suggestions about aiming it more towards the viewer. I also feel that the feedback that was given went against the idea that people like to buy into memories
  • Family photograph albums are one of the key ways in which family history are retold – but they don’t tell everything, there are things missing from the difficult areas in family life
    • I did incorporate a small amount of family history through the inclusion of the images of Grandpa and myself and the landscapes of our usual family holiday destination, but I would have liked to have included more personal, family history through the inclusion of more portrait photographs
  • We in some ways need to transport people around us into a world where things happen in a particular way and help them to visualize this world by identifying mechanisms for transporting them
    • With all this being said about the feedback session affecting some of the concepts I wanted to include, completing the feedback suggestions have actually enhanced this concept by Shahidul Alum within my piece by allowing the viewer to be transported to their own personal memories and feelings.

Did I enjoy this task?

For this task, I really enjoyed the process of compressing all of the themes we discussed throughout #phonar to ones that interested me, and using these as an influence/inspiration to create a piece of work. I also really enjoyed the fact that it challenged and enhanced a number of analytical and practical skills including research, analysis and compression of information, critical thinking, comparison of information, using found resources/metaphotography (images and audio), video editing, and audio editing. However, with all of this being said, although I stated that I wanted to create something that linked to my Symposium and Final Major Project, I don’t think I will be using this particular video technique for either of them. On the other hand, though, this course has made me realize that including audio (especially ambient noises) makes the viewing much more immersive, and so I am considering using this audio aspect (and the suggestion of cinemagraphs from Charli-Nicole Collins) as a part of my Final Major Project.

What would I change about my response?

As with many of my other projects, if I were to revisit this task there are a number of things I would change. As looked at above, the first major problem that I came across was the idea of balancing the personal story and making the project for the audience. Although most of my feedback for my final draft was really positive in the sense of making it appeal more to the audience, I would have liked to try and enhance the personal story behind the project more to balance out what I wanted to gain from the project and what I wanted the audience to gain from the project. I would therefore have liked to include a couple more scanned photographs of my Grandpa and I, at the beginning of the video, as a way of enhancing the personal aspect of the video’s creation (but, as stated before, I don’t own many of them!). Also, although I think that having a longer section focusing on the landscape images represents the projects deeper concept of memory and place and is the main section that allows the immersion of the viewers into their own memories and feelings, I feel that this aspect of the video is almost too long and I therefore feel that the inclusion of couple more images of my Grandpa and I (as stated above) would enhance the sense of the relationship and the feeling of loss and remembrance. As suggested by Charli-Nicole Collins in my final draft feedback, I would also have liked to experiment with the use of cinemagraphs within the video in order to enhance the immersion of the audience within the piece. However, as stated above, this requires film footage and movement, which I currently do not have, meaning that I would have to create them myself, taking away slightly from the idea of becoming a metaphotographer (although this is still present in the use of found audio). With this being said, the process of me gaining footage from these different places would enhance the personal aspect of the video (which is lacking, as stated above) by allowing me to revisit these places of memorial significance, enabling me to reconnect with the landscapes I associate with my deceased Grandpa (an idea I am looking at for my Final Major Project).

Another aspect I would change about the video is the audio. Although I agree that the ambient noises included in the final draft aim this project more towards the audience and create a greater immersive experience, I feel that this has affected the concept of the piece greatly by decreasing the sense of reconnection, loss and remembrance (although it does enhance the idea of memory). I therefore feel that if I were to do this project again, using my own audio recordings would once again enhance these concepts and link back to the fact that it is a personal narrative. However, with this being said, the inclusion of audio from different online sources can be used to represent the target, digital native audience, and can therefore symbolize the diversity of the memories that these ranging sound recordings elicit from the viewer. In this case, I would perhaps experiment with the sounds of the ambient noises and try to make them sound faint or distant as a way if symbolizing the reconnection and remembrance of memories. I would also experiment more with the transitions between the audio clips (as well as the images) as a way of enhancing the fading aspect of the memories; however, considering I am new to the audio software, I feel that I am relatively pleased with how the soundscapes turned out.

Relation to my Symposium and Final Major Project:

As stated above, this project has looked at concepts and theories that I am focusing on for my Symposium presentation based around memories, place, reconnection, loss and remembrance. I have also realized that this project has given me lots of inspiration and ideas to look at for my Final Major Project, including the use of audio (especially ambient noises) and cinemagraphs to create a more immersive (and personal) experience for the audience.

What learning objectives does this task answer?

This task answers all 5 of the learning objectives:

  • Successfully undertake appropriately sophisticated research, analysis and interpretation of information;
  • Identify the key issues involved in creating concepts that effectively communicate a particular message to a specific audience
  • 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.
Advertisements