After submitting my last assignment for my OCA course, I received feedback from my tutor on a theoretical study that I wrote on Modernism. I had focused very much on American Modernist photographers and my tutor suggested that I may want to look at Modernism within European photography, suggesting the likes of Aleksandr Rodchenko. Taking this 'on board' I went to visit the Tate Modern exhibition, Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism.
The exhibition gave me a fascinating insight into the Constructivist movement and because it spanned the whole range of Rodchenko's work (as well as Liubov Popova and others, such as Varvara Stepanova (Rodchenko's wife)) it allowed me to place his photography into greater context; showing how his photographic ideas grew out of his experiments with painting/drawing, and his ideas on art, politics and the societal movements that were happening around him. I found his 'mechanical' ideals of artistic construction fascinating, allowing me to compare these constructions to some of the Gestalt theories of image construction/composition that I had studied within my first assignment for this course. Over the past few months I have found myself venturing into more creative, thought-provoking artistic pieces to explore ideas and concepts - mixing photographic media with drawing and other mixed media. This is an area that I will be exploring further; I have a documentary project in mind that will explore parental relationships with their children, which will be developed through photography, drawing, sound and poetry.
All in all, the exhibition allowed me to put an added dimension to the ideas that I had explored through the American Modernist photographers and has inspired me to challenge myself yet further into new areas of project development.
I received my Assignment Two feedback recently and was overjoyed with the response from my tutor, especially as I had really gone out on a limb with my approach to some of the assignment work. There were some really useful comments given, which I always welcome as it forces me to think about my work more critically and pushes me into new areas of development.
I was really pleased that my tutor liked the 'Walks With My Human' (a working title) series of images, depicting the local environment from the viewpoint of my dog. Since the initial assignment work, I have taken this series much further. It has manifested into an investigation into the impact that we have on our environment, both from a 'litter' perspective, and how we interact with the wildlife in terms of control (or not) and countryside management. My dog's sense of smell has brought so many issues to my attention (for example, the amount of litter that is dropped; fly-tipping; how and where animals are culled) and I have tried to depict this within the images that I have taken. I have also spoken to local farmers and country residents on the impact of litter within the countryside and about land management, to put the images into perspective. I intend to do some formal interviews and collate the images into a book and a soundslide show, although this project is long-term (I envisage doing it over 12 months to cover all seasons and compare the effects throughout the year).
I have begun to think of my work in 'deeper' terms; that is, what is the picture actually trying to achieve. I want to tell stories through my images, and to help open up further issues. I have several projects on the go at the moment (aside from my studies) and I have a major project idea that I intend to follow for my final course with the OCA later in the year (Level 3 Photography - Advanced - leading to a BA in Creative Arts); a documentary project looking at the 'Frontline' of poverty and struggle within Britain. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as important as they are for our soldiers, airmen and sailors in terms of attention and the respect they deserve, has often distracted people from the problems that are sat on their own doorsteps - as Martin Parr said to me last year after I posed a question to him at a college talk, '...you don't have to travel to a warzone to be at the Frontline...' He couldn't be more right.