352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 3 (Practitioner Talk and a Group Tutorial with David Moore, and a Self-Learning Workshop)

On Wednesday 21st January 2015, I attended a day of university dedicated to the 352MC Professional Photographic Practice module. We started the day off with a practitioner talk by our new mentor, David Moore, before splitting into group tutorials that were lead by him, in order to discuss our FMP. After these group tutorials, although they technically signified the end of our university day, I spent time re-learning how to use the Mamiya RB67 and the Mamiya 7 with course peers Lucy BartlettEmma Shea and Jenny Stonely to prepare us for test shoots with the equipment for the development of our FMP’s. Below you can find all the notes from today:

DAVID MOORE:

David Moore Practitioner Talk:

http://davidmoore.uk.com

  • The work you’re making now is real work – you may publish it in the future, it needs to reflect you, your personality, and the area you want to go into
  • Photographer on sabbatical (taking a break from teaching on the MA course at Central Saint Martins College, London)
  • Graduated from West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham, in 1988
    • There were many contradicting opinions and advice given to him throughout his university years
    • One of his tutors was Victor Burgin – I have researched him for my Symposium essay
  • Look back at some of the work over the years – is there one that you want to go back to?
  • He is interested in the representational and post-representational side of photography
    • We never put any faith in documentary truth – we’ve always understood photographs as opinions rather than fact (they are subjective)
    • Representation is flawed
    • Journalism is an unreliable recording

 

  • “The Velvet Arena” (1994)
    • He went to London and observing social patterns
    • Create a momentum that turned perspectives around by observing social power
    • It’s a modernist and essential response to power
    • Adopted the role of a society photographer
    • Tried to create spectacle from power – perhaps unfairly as he often had no idea who he was photographing (but you can barely recognize the person

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  • He looked for ways where his photography could be useful for society
  • “The Commons” (2004)
    • Approached the House of Commons to see if he could make work
    • Impossible notions should be approached with optimism
    • Had to observe, not the politics, but the institution itself through visual metaphors
    • Always envisaged it in book form – but also wanted to bring in other context
    • Hansard – the daily transcript of what is said in parliament during the day
      • Included text within his work (the text was slightly edited to make it more generic)
      • This could link well to my FMP as I am looking at including text within my work
    • Quite fetishistic as he is looking at tiny details
    • The book was carefully considered throughout the process

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  • “The Last Things” (2008)
    • Wanted to further this idea of state observation
    • Invited to make work about an environment that isn’t really existing – it was an environment that was live and on standby
    • This place has never been seen or photographed
    • Progressed through a security hierarchy
    • He saw it as a prescient document – documenting something that will/could happen
    • He was asked to digitally remove room numbers and writing to protect the environment he was photographing – he saw that it was another reflection on the institution: it was very secure and private
    • It is physically the biggest book publication he’s made with 65 images included within it

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  • “28 Days” (2009)
    • Lower security footing
    • Paddington Green High Security Police Station – where you will be held if you’re arrested under charges of terrorism
    • Had 2-3 days to make this work
    • It’s one of the photographers tasks to separate themselves from neoliberalism and the state – think about being politically useful

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  • “Pictures from the Real World” (1987-1988)
    • Was his degree show for his BA in Farnham
    • Decided to publish this work in 2013
    • Makes documentary observations of people lives
    • Scanned in old negatives and worked on the edits
    • Aware of the stereotypical representation of the working class – his work showed a harder representation than what was already known
    • Only 18 photographs in this book – it was all edited by himself
    • His intentions was to see how the media observed things and playing against the stereotypes
    • There was a term around at the time called the “concerned photographer”

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  • Use your own moral sense to become involved in something
  • It’s not about the subject or the participant, projects should be about yourself
  • Photography isn’t dead, it’s far from it
  • Mentioned Geoffrey Batchen – I have also researched him for my Symposium essay
  • What is it that you want to do? – Do it!

 

Group Tutorial with David Moore:

General Suggestions:

  • Look into Iain Sinclair – he is a writer and filmmaker who looks at Psychological Geographies
    • This could be useful to look at for my FMP as I am looking at different geographies and their psychological association to self
  • Work freely – go to the locations and just work, see where it takes you
    • This obviously also relates to my FMP as it involves visiting a location and creating work
    • This is therefore a suggestion on how we should work
  • Establish what your question is – this is the beginning of your project
  • Archives are contestable spaces – anyone can interpret them differently
    • Examples of Archives
      • Mohini Chandra’s “Album Pacifica
      • PARC – Photographic Archive Research Centre
      • Sara Davidmann “ To Be Destroyed
    • Modify your proposal every time you change your idea

 

Personal FMP Idea Feedback:

  • The fact that you’re looking at memory, geography and revisiting makes a very purposeful photographic project
  • Some people to look at include Paul Seawright and Joel Sternfeld’s “On this Site” as both revisit a very precise place looking at a particular history
  • An idea is to attempt to re-photograph some of Grandpa’s photographs – this will address the photographic side of the project rather than focusing on the idea of personal memory
    • This will allow you to explore the actual space that your grandfather has travelled – however, he doesn’t know if I have enough archival images to do this successfully
    • Looking at this idea, look into “Reconstructing the View” by Mark Klett and Bryon Wolfe
      • I’m already planning on looking at these within my research for my FMP
    • You need to remember that you may be looking at the past in this project, but you are creating a modern-day project
      • Blurred pictorial techniques can be used to represent the past but you are not revisiting the past, you are revisiting present places associated with the past
    • All of these suggestions are just a starting point – your project is a process and you will adapt through development

 

SELF-LEARNING:

Re-Learning the Mamiya RB67 and Mamiya 7:

In our self-learning session, Lucy, Emma, Jenny, and me went to the library to go through how to use the Mamiya RB67 and the Mamiya 7. Throughout this session, we spent time re-reading some notes that I had on them (from a previous technical tutorial in the first year of my university course), as well as the manual for the Mamiya RB67, before watching YouTube tutorials and practicing what we had learnt. Below you can find the PDF of the notes we looked at, the two YouTube tutorials we watched, and some condensed notes I’m planning on taking to different test shoots with the equipment:

PDF of Previous Notes – Mamiya 7, Mamiya RB67 and Nikon Scanner

Mamiya RB67 Manual – Mamiya RB67 Manual

Mamiya RB67:

  • Leave the depth of field on infinity m (metre)
  • Shutter speed
  • Aperture
  • Wind-up mirror latch then wind-up film latch
  • Take out plate before taking shot
  • When loading film:
    • Empty spool goes the side of the wind-up (the right)
    • Black side of the film faces out
    • Match the arrow on the film to the small arrow in the camera

 

Mamiya 7:

  • White dot = ON
  • Aperture
  • ISO small section of dial (lift dial and turn to change)
  • Shutter speed main section of dial (push button and turn to change)
  • When loading film:
    • Make sure the dark slide (“pacman” icon) is closed
    • Empty spool goes the side of the wind-up (the right)
  • Release dark slide to shoot (open “pacman”)

 

Both Cameras:

  • ISO of film is what you need to set the ISO to on the light metre (for test shoots you are using Black and White film with an ISO of 125)
  • Double exposures – experiment with underexposing each image slightly (by about 1 or 2 marks)

 

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