352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Lecture 9 (One-to-One Tutorials with David Moore and Caroline Molloy)

On Wednesday 18th March 2015, I attended another day dedicated to the 352MC Professional photographic Practice or Final Major Project (FMP) module. On this day, we didn’t have any lectures scheduled, and instead were able to book one-to-one appointments with either our main tutors Anthony Luvera and Caroline Molloy, or with one of our guest tutors David Moore, in order to discuss with them the progress of our FMP. I therefore decided to book an appointment with both David Moore and Caroline Molloy, and the notes from both of these sessions (as well as an audio recording of the session with David Moore) can be found below (please note, any descriptions or responses I provided can also be seen below in italics):

 

One-to-One Tutorial with David Moore:

One-to-One Tutorial with David Moore: Discussing the Progress of my FMP from Holly Constantine on Vimeo.

  • To start off the one-to-one session, I simply reminded David Moore of my FMP, this included the fact that:
    • What I am doing is looking in to reconnecting with my Grandpa (who was my inspiration for landscape photography), by revisiting places in the Lake District
    • Last time we spoke, you [David Moore] suggested that instead of going to particular places, to instead actually walk down the paths (that my Grandpa and I walked together) as a way of enhancing the reconnecting aspect of the project
    • So I’ve taken that on board and I have always been interested in this “middle-of-the-road” aesthetic so have decided to take photographs using this compositional methodology
  • So what you’re doing is taking photographs on walks that you have been on, and these photographs are taken of the landscape in front of yourself – why are you doing that?
    • As I’ve said, I’ve always been interested in this particular composition of images, but it’s because I feel that it greatly represents the idea that you’re heading towards a destination – it symbolizes the journey that your mind undergoes when you’re in a particular place, which allows you to travel back to these past, triggered memories
  • What’s the title of this piece?
    • At the moment, the working title is “A Pathway to the Past”, but I don’t know if that’s too cheesy
    • Oh that’s awful, far too cheesy – the title has to relate to him in some way, I think (e.g. “A Walk with my Grandpa”, or something like that)
    • That would be nice because it gives you the opportunity to bring your Grandpa back into the project although he is not actually there
  • I like your photographs Holly (people would probably buy them!), and I like their sort of absoluteness; I like their direction – because you’re walking into them
    • And what this reminds me of, is a piece of work by Paul Graham called “Hypermetropia” which was shown at the Tate Britain during their collection called “Art Now”
      • His project was very similar really
      • He worked in Tokyo in this particular series, and he went to the top of buildings, and he photographed a sort of banal, urban landscape, then walked into the middle of the photograph that he had just taken, and made another photograph from the highest building he could find, and then did the same and kept going
      • So, when the audience engages with this, it challenges the way the audience reads the photograph – because normally we would read an image from left to right (in this country anyway), but when you know more about the photographers intent, it’s a different sort of engagement, and that is an interesting notion to play with
        • And it is this kind of notion that could just take you away from a print on the wall – you could extend your work in a more performative or material sense
        • Because all of these photographs lend to that reading – they are very powerful, you are lead straight into the middle of them (which says a lot about you)
  • These are all medium format aren’t they? Are they 6×5 or 6×7?
    • Yes, they’re 6×7
    • I tried the Mamiya 7 and the Mamiya RB67 but obviously, because the Mamiya RB67 was so heavy, it wasn’t very practical for me to take it on these walks up mountains, and I’m also more confident with the Mamiya 7 as well
  • So what I’m saying as that you’ve already achieved something here – your work is exhibit-able, but you need to write about this
    • That’s actually what I’m going to do, my plan is to use accompanying text in some way
    • I need to experiment with it, but I’m looking into the idea of having slightly faded text that gets stronger after experiencing the landscape photograph
    • What you’re doing here is making a modern piece of work, you’re work does not have to refer to the past in anyway apart from a conceptual sense – If you start to visually describe that stuff through the choice of text aesthetics, it just becomes twee again (that’s my view)
    • It’s a real thing, you don’t have to bring in these affectations – it’s about your Grandfather, it’s about yours and his relationship, it’s about the walks you made with him, that’s the focus of this work
      • An in this sense, it’s a sort of memory piece for you that can actually be shared – that’s the interesting thing about it
      • It links to Roland Barthes’ when he discusses the photo with his mother, he doesn’t want to share it because to other people it will just be a photograph of an old woman
      • But what you’re doing here is that you’re able to allow the audience to participate in that memory – you’re using photography as a mnemonic device for you
  • Have you read any Geoffrey Batchen at all?
    • I have yes, I read his book “Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida” for my Symposium (where I looked into the idea of landscape photographs and landscapes triggering different memories)
    • There’s something there to work with
  • I can’t help but think that you’ve got some time left, I think you’ve achieved this, I think you need to write to see what happens, but I’d also like you to think about alternative strategies to presenting
    • I completely agree, and I’ve actually got a to-do list somewhere about everything I want to do
    • So for experimentation, I’m experimenting with ambient noises to see if it creates a more immersive piece, I’m also having an oral interview with my Dad to discuss different memories that we have of these particular walks
    • I have also collected different materials on my travels (such as rocks and twigs), and I’m going to see if I can bring them in either as an archival aspect in a display case, or through still life photographs that I could put with the landscape images as well
    • And I’m also looking at videos and maybe (if I’ve got time) cinemagraphs
      • You have to make some choices because there’s a lot of stuff there to experiment with
      • With the cinemagraph for example, it means that you would have to retrace your steps and go back to the locations, is that right?
        • Well, I went on a trip this weekend, and it wasn’t very good weather, so I tried to collect as much video and audio data as possible, just to make the most of my time whilst I was on location – so I’ve got the data to do it, I just need to create it
      • See, I think if you go in that direction (of the video/cinemagraphs) that it is an exciting one, and that you could make a single piece that included a whole lot of memory triggers for you, as well as all the other aspects you described (such as interviews with your dad, etc.)
        • See, that’s the thing, I want to experiment with these ideas, and obviously I don’t want to say “no I don’t want to do it”, but I am drawn more to the photography rather than the moving image
      • Well there’s nothing wrong with experimenting at all, but lets stay with that then – if you emphasizing the photographic side of the project in this conversation, then that’s what you stay with, forget about the cinemagraphs and video
      • Just spend time experimenting with the layout of the photographs if that’s the route you want to go down – think about what else you could do
        • Well I was originally thinking about displaying it in a book as, in my Symposium, I came across this artifact called a “Memory Book” which included an image of an object/place/person, next to a piece of writing that described the memory – but then, I’ve just ben contemplating this idea, and I feel that, because I’ve decided to share this story with an audience, that it should be displayed more openly (such as a wall installation) as a way of embracing this sharing aspect
        • So what I’m saying is that the wall installation would be the first point of call, and I want you to see what is beyond that and see what else you can bring to it – there is a conceptual point to this project, you need to think about how you order them (e.g. is there a sequence to them?), there could be a material aspect of the installation
        • The important thing is, is that you explore these strategies out of sincerity and empathy with your ideas – rather than just trying something for the sake of it
        • You should explore this, see if things start to feel “right” for you – bringing in objects or audio, for example
          • The thing with audio is that people don’t really listen to audio in an exhibition unless they have a screen in front of them – and that falls flat for me, it’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t really have a carry to it
  • You’ve got a variety of choices, good, well done
  • Look at Paul Graham’s work and, also, there’s a piece of work by George Miles called “Views of Matlock Bath” (they’re just sort of pictorial landscapes really)
  • Another thing is that because of these walks, is there a way that it could be indexical connection with the actual walks with your grandfather – what is it about the potential of working with text and image with these photographs (not all of them, maybe some of them), but if it is that, where would this text come from?
  • Forget about moving image (for now)
  • You have an exhibition here already – you’re in a very good position

 

 

What to take away from this One-To-One Session:

  • When considering the title, it should relate to my Grandpa in some way
  • I should research into:
    • Paul Graham’s “Hypermetropia” (in “Art Now” at the “Tate Britain”
    • George Miles’ “Views of Matlock Bath”
  • I am making a modern piece of work which doesn’t need to refer to the past in anyway apart from the conceptual sense (i.e. faded text aesthetics will take away from the piece) – I will probably still consider experimenting with this though
  • But what you’re doing here is that you’re able to allow the audience to participate in that memory – you’re using photography as a mnemonic device for you” – Very good quote to use in future!
  • In regards to experimentation, I need to make choices as to what I want to focus on
    • If I’m emphasizing the photographic side of the project in this conversation, then that’s what I should stay with
      • I need to spend time experimenting with the layout of the photographs (if that’s the route I want to go down) and think about what else I could do
    • I need to explore strategies out of sincerity and empathy with your ideas – rather than just trying something for the sake of it
  • I need to consider ways in which to exhibit my work (and accompanying text)
    • Start with a wall installation and then see how I can move beyond this
    • Could I create a performative piece? Include material aspects?
    • Think about how to create an indexical connection to the actual walks I went on with my Grandpa

 

 

One-to-One Tutorial with Caroline Molloy:

To start off the one-to-one session with Caroline Molloy, I had actually prepared a number of different things that I wanted to discuss with her in terms of the logistics of my FMP, including any questions I had about the work ethic I was undergoing. These can be found below, followed by the advice that Caroline gave me (which can be found in regular text)

  • For the research for my 352MC module, because of the opportunity that we have been given to gain feedback from a number of different practitioners, I have actually accumulated a list of 48 different people/resources to look into for my project
    • I’m really worried that I don’t have enough time to look at all 48 of them, but I don’t want to leave any out, in case it comes back in my feedback that I didn’t look at the person I was told to look at – what would you suggest?
    • You should include research within your blog post that changes your thinking
    • You should make reference to everyone that has been given to you, but if you didn’t think that they’re work was very beneficial for you, simply move on
      • But make sure that you write positively about their work (for example, “After looking at X’s work, I really enjoyed this aspect of the project and feel that this section can offer me inspiration towards my FMP”) – don’t say something like “They’re work didn’t help”
    • In relation to the experimentation that I have been suggested to undergo, I will obviously take time to do it, but I just feel that I want to do my work in the way that I want to complete it – but I’m scared that I’ll be marked down if I don’t show a development away from my idea
      • Well if you experiment, you are showing development away from your own idea – just make sure that you reflect on the reasons as to why you want to return to/discard a particular technique, if this is evidenced then that’s fine (JUST GIVE REASONS)
    • I’m also slightly worried that a main part of my feedback that keeps coming back to me is that I should try and deviate away from the personal – I don’t understand how to do this (and I don’t really want to do this, it is my project)
      • You should speak to Kat Alcock as her project is very personal
      • After receiving this feedback, I did have a brief chat with Kat regarding how she has tackled this particular challenge, and she suggested that she experimented with deviating away from the personal (for example, looking at groups of subjects rather than just her family member) and has returned to the personal aspect which has been viewed quite positively
      • She also mentioned that she things that although her project is very personal, her project can also relate to a number of different people because of the topic it documents
      • What I’m going to take away from this, is that I should perhaps experiment with deviating away from the personal (through looking into places as memory triggers with different people), that I should look into the use of text and other accompanying aspects to enhance the contextualization of the piece and therefore the understanding and relatable characteristic from the viewer, and finally, that I should also focus my attention on research into particular practitioners that have successfully created personal projects (for example, Sophie Calle – who is on my list of people to research)
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