Week 1 - Strategies of Looking

Segues in time...

After watching this short clip it enabled me to reflect further on the issues which have been holding me back throughout my last modules. 

I am always concerned about just recreating something, or it being unoriginal in relation to the concepts and often because I am surrounded by so many creatives find similarities within our work. But that is the point isn't it? To be inspired by one and other, find common ground and connect with the world around us. 

The beginning of the clip reminded me of the piece I made in between modules called 'Oscillate'. This is a short clip of the trees swaying in the wind, which also reminded me of Bill Viola's slow motion films. During this module I want to experiment further with using moving image/film and aim to create something out of my comfort zone, I want to push the boundaries of my work. Whether it will be successful because of the use of people rather than just the natural world, I am unsure of. The work I am wanting to produce is linked to our connection with nature but also the meditative approach you can take whilst in nature. For the video/film I want create a surreal world we can get lost in, but also remind us that in fact it is actually the real world we are looking at, and the feelings we feel are very real and very powerful.

 

Ed Ruscha Challenge...

For my Ed Ruscha challenge I kept it quite simple and fun taking inspiration from his book 'A few palm trees'. 

In between modules I allowed myself to just photograph nature around me and went back to the idea of taking photographs whilst on my daily walk. I chose to use instax as I'd bought a new instax mini 30 during lock down to record my surroundings quickly and easily. This gave me the idea for the Edward Ruscha work to photograph a tree, or similar once a day during my daily walk. 

The original plan was to turn them into a book similar to Ruscha however I felt they weren't quite finished in time and have decided to continue with this process. How long I will do this for is unclear, but I am enjoying having a record, one shot a day from my walks. 

Once I finish this project later on, I will experiment with putting them all in black and white, as well as scanning them all individually rather than on the grass background to see which works best. 

Repeat Photography...

Looking at the images produced by the various artists during this video I mostly related to the ones which were side by side. During past modules I have experimented with Diptychs to create more of a narrative rather than a comparison like the ones in the video, particularly by Michael Marten. I am interested in his Sea Change series which shows the same place with the tide in or out. The project is based on the ever changing environment that is out of our control. I find this concept inspiring as it links to the notions of us as humans being strongly connected to nature, but actually nature having power over us, and sometimes us not even really realising the impact of nature on us, for example the changes of the moon.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I have explored going back to the same place and photographing it but not using the same composition. During the first module I explored revisiting the same tree over my local park using the tree as a metaphor for my old tutor John who sadly passed away. I experimented with photographing the tree at different times of day, throughout the seasons and using different techniques and formats. Those images could definitely be wrongly viewed because the concept wasn't completely obvious, but most viewers could relate to the growth and change of the tree. 

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/michael-marten-sea-change

Michael Marten 'Sea Change' 2003-2012

Mikaela Rackham 'What's left behind' project 

Rephotography...

In terms of rephotographing an existing image this isn't something I have conciously explored. I know however going to many tourist attractions or places, I would be photographing a place which has been photographed many times before. For example I visit Flatford Mill every year during the Easter Holidays, and although I haven't been able to do that this year I am always photographing the surroundings, particularly the stream which was painted by John Constable. The photographs I have taken of this area were just snapshots taken on a phone which I no longer have. They were not a direct and exact representation or copy of the original painting.

In relation to my current project I am planning on visiting a variety of places such as a forest, fields, beaches.

 

John Constable 'The Mill Stream. Verso: Night Scene with Bridge' c.1810

These places in Suffolk may not necessarily have been created photographically by someone well known, but I am certain they would have been photographed at some point. I like the idea of rephotography in terms of revisiting the same spot, similar to repeat photography, using my own images throughout this model, photographing parts of nature similar to my 'What's left behind' project. 

John Constable 'The Mill Stream. Verso: Night Scene with Bridge'  - https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/constable-the-mill-stream-verso-night-scene-with-bridge-n01816

Activity...

The activity set for this week is something I have already been exploring in my previous work that has continued. I have been photographing the same tree for almost 2 years now. Using various mediums within photography and experimenting with shutter speeds, etc but I have also come back to expired Polaroids. The original image was one of my old tutor John's Polaroids which was given to me when he passed. This kick started my first project during the MA and has continued throughout. The second image was shot during the winter months a similar view of the same tree. 

Mikaela Rackham 'What's left behind - John's Tree' project 

Reflect...

My current practice is to create a series of photographs which resonate with the viewer in terms of our relationship with nature. Exploring how some people are more open to the power of nature and how it impacts us. Thinking about our relationship with nature but also the similarities in terms of growth, movement, and ciaos. 

Both of these methods, repeat or rephotographing are types of photography I have explored in the past and there is an ongoing theme of revisiting particular locations or parts of nature, however moving forward I don't feel these are a type of method I would use to describe my approach. I would describe my current methodology as a kind of meditative approach, immersing myself within nature, collecting items and creating work from those. I know I want to explore the thoughts and feelings of others who have a strong affiliation with nature and record this photographically. I am very interested in creating a book with images accompanied by poetry and also creating a moving image/film, to produce a more immersive and relatable experience for the viewer.

Week 2 - Strategies of Mediation

Activity...

For the activity this week I decided to revisit layering my images. In the past I have experimented with juxtaposing images, collaging, placing images in the centre of another image and lots of double exposure techniques, digitally and on film. 

For this activity I used images I created in between modules. I create a mini series called 'Preservation' which was about preserving or rather altering the beauty of flowers as they dry and decay. I photographed tulips in full bloom, as they wilted and finally created some cyanotypes using the dried tulips. For our activity I have experimented with layering on Photoshop. I placed the cyanotypes on top of the dried tulip photographs and using the blending modes created a type of double exposure. Although I quite liked the outcomes they were busy and needed to be cropped slightly to distort the images further, I also experimented with putting the images in black and white to see how this would combine the images better and give a new feeling to the series overall. 

Reflect...

In regards to whether an image can be finished or not, I think this depends on who is looking at the image, and whether the image is produced as a final finished image. Personally in my work it is very rare that I feel an image is finish, there is always something else I want to try or experiment with, whether that be layering, scanning or using an alternative process to recreate the work, such as SE1 printing I completed in my second module. Also if the viewer or another creative sees potential in moving the image forward, to them the original image is clearly unfinished, or rather has more to be done to it in order to push or even alter the concept. 

In relation to how I would feel if someone appropriated, remixed or recreated my work I am unsure. in my commercial photography I have had this happen where they have put an Instagram filter over the top of the image rather than leaving the image as I had edited it. This bothers me slightly but not enough, I just think that a photographer or artist would be able to see past the filter, or know that a filter was added to the original and it is up the client if they want to "enhance" the image in someway. Another way this happened with my commercial photography was when someone sent one of my images to an "artist" who creates highly digitally editing images creating a sort of character. It was a present for my original client and seeing my images demoralised in a way again didn't feel great, but they were so far removed from what I would create it didn't warrant doing anything about it. If someone were to take my images I have been creating recently and rework them, I would maybe find that a little disheartening, however in the future if they were to be used and altered to create a new concept or idea, I would possibly take it as flattering. 

In term of approaches, I find it fascinating the way in which other photographers and artists archive work into new imagery. I don't see it so much as photography but rather a way of collecting and gathering information to produce a conceptual piece or work. It is recording in a way and therefore is photography, I have in the past used old photographs to create collages with a new meaning. 

Moving forward I will use some of these techniques to experiment with my work, whether that be layering, juxtaposing or possibly framing the work. So far all this module has been able planning and collaborating with the subjects in my images to prepare for the upcoming photo shoots. 

Week 3 - Strategies of Sharing

 

Activity...

Due to work commitments and finishing the last module, I was a little behind on the collaborative project. However I have paired up with Mary on the course as we have similar interests. Although we knew we wouldn't be able to publish or make the zine in time for the end of this module, we came up with an interesting idea. 

Our plan was to create a series of work called 'Just Breathe' which was a collection of photographs whilst out in nature. Due to the current situation, many people have been spending more time in nature and becoming more aware of their surroundings. I know many people who have begun to meditate or do yoga outside which is helping them to become more connected to nature. 

'Just Breathe' would be open to anyone to photograph nature, or their surroundings whilst out on a daily walk. However they would have four words to base their work on. Breathe, Whisper, Wonder and Wander. Responding to each of those words we'd then put together the images in a format under each word to show the various responses. Mary and I have done our four images, and given more time would create the zine with other participants. The collaboration becomes not only with ourselves, but also the words, and nature itself. 

Reflect...

For this module I have definitely decided to collaborate with my subject but also with nature. I have decided to ask the participants to collaborate with me to determine the location of the shoot, style, props, clothing and even produce a collaborative mood board of images. 

As well as this I have asked them during the shoots to collect items around them which they feel drawn to, which I will then use later on in the module to either print with, photograph, scan or use camera less techniques. 

I will also be asking the participants some questions in relation to how they feel whilst out in nature. This will help me to put together their images as a series as well as write poetry relating to their emotions and connection with the earth. The only issue I have with this is making the work look coherent in style because of the differing locations, but that is part of the point of the project. To show how we are all individual but all linked together through nature and our emotions. There is a power higher than us which some people tap into more than others. The work although may look fragmented to begin with, I hope through similar processes and use of the same film and editing style it will come together as a coherent piece of work. 

Week 4 - Strategies of Freedom

Activity...

During this week activity we were asked to use another form of recording or apparatus than our usual type. I thought about how I like to record in the darkroom using photogram techniques or had experimented with cyanotypes and how I could do something similar so I chose to use the computer scanner. 

I gathered the plants and various natural forms I have been collecting throughout lock down and during my shoot this week. I chose to scan the natural forms as they were without any alterations to the background or digital editing. This way they are being purely recorded and could be seen as a way of archiving my findings. 

Using the scanner enabled me to very quickly record the natural forms and produce an image. They are however very bright and white, so I would experiment with using different colour backgrounds and digitally editing the natural forms into sepia and/or black and white as well as taking out some of the saturation slightly to give a softer style.

Given more time for this type of experimentation, not because of the task set, but time in between work and other commitments, I would have liked to have experimented with either lino cutting or wood cut as well as botanical printing. 

Reflect...

I felt this week was really interesting in terms of thinking about how we record and opened up a few more ideas in relation to my experimentation moving forward. I had already planned to collect natural forms from the shoots but was unsure how I would document them. I had the idea of creating more cyanotypes and photo grams but hadn't overly considered scanography. It is such a quick process which can be experimented with in terms of background, movement, etc and has enabled me to think about different ways of recording those objects. I've looked more recently at the work of Zara Carpenter who created similarly to myself a series of prints made from dead flowers during lock down using sun prints and cyanotypes, however on her Instagram, but not published online she has scanned her flowers using a black background which looks more effective and the kind of style I aiming for within my work. 

I always have had the conflict of whether the work I am making is original, but as we know nothing is original anymore, most things have been tried or done before. I think this conflict I have felt throughout the previous modules but have started to let go as it was stopping my natural creative process. I feel the work I produce whether it is similar to someone else doesn't overly matter to me anymore, what matters is what I am trying to say with my work and the originality with myself is what is important. Being true to my concepts and ideas, experimenting without worry or concern, and pushing the work for myself rather than anyone else. 

Moving forward I am certainly going to experiment more with camera-less techniques and use this in my current work, as well as push scanography further. The shoots I have completed so far have been successful but I have looked at the digital files as I feel the need to give it some space and time before looking back at them. I also shot my first two on various films which will give me the time to reflect on the work so far before my next two shoots. 

Week 5 - Three Surfaces

Activity...

This week for our activity we are aiming to plan ahead carefully considering where our projects are heading... which is definitely helpful as the weeks are disappearing fast!

Title of my work

I've had to think broadly about this as there are many aspects to the work but I need to summarise it in one or two words without it sounds too obvious or cliche? I'd say words like connection, nature, entwined, resonate, mythical...

At the moment the word for my entire project I have decided on is 'Interconnection' or possibly 'Interconnected'. 

 

Methods/methodology

Over the last few weeks having time to experiment with work I'd made previous and look at new ideas in terms of the apparatus I use. I am going to continue with this kind of experimentation, using cyanotypes, photograms, sun prints and scanography to record or capture the natural forms collected from the shoots. I have worked closely with the female subjects in that I am collaborating with them to show how they feel in nature and what it means or does for them. I will continue to have an open dialogue with them and ask questions to inform my work. I plan to write at least one poem to go along side the work for each of the individual participants. I am continuing to explore those ideas around nature and what it can do for us and looking at other artist, photographers, philosophers, writers, etc who have explored these themes and ideas. 

Shoots

I am aiming to complete 4 photo shoots in total, but also considering a self portrait shoot if I feel it's needed towards the end of the module. The shoots won't be the end however as I will continue to experiment with the natural forms collected. I am shooting each one of film, Kodak Portra 160 and Ilford 120mm black and white. This will enable me to experiment further and push the work in terms of the outcomes. 

Outcomes

Starting this module I knew I wanted to create a book, although at the moment I don't feel the work is going to be finalised enough because it has so much mileage to warrant creating a book in this module. I could create a small Zine but it wouldn't have the same impact. I am definitely going to produce a video/moving image. During the two shoots I've already completed, I filmed parts of the shoots. I felt this would work better in terms of creating an immersive experience for the viewer and transporting them into the natural and slightly surreal world. I have got an exhibition planned which is at the end of this module to showcase my work, however it starts on the 20th August so past our deadline. Within this exhibition I will display the video/film and some of the images I've produced, both the originals suchs as cyanotypes and prints. I have also considered in the future, more towards FMP, to create an experience outside. Printing my images onto material, or a natural source, so they move within a natural environment alongside nature. 

Results

The aim is produce a video/film which immerses the viewer completely into what they feel is an alternative world  but is actually very real. I want it to become something they can get lost in and become like meditation for them as this is how I often feel in nature. But I also want them to be able to feel open to their own thoughts, feelings and emotions whilst viewing the photographs as well as the video. 

I plan to create 4 'separate' groups of images, all relating to each of the females in the shoot, showing their various connections with nature. Accompanied by the natural form prints which will be produced from each shoot. I am also writing at least one poem to go alongside the work to enhance the meanings, or give a clearer interpretation to the viewer. As stated previously I was considering creating a book for this module, but the work feels as though it has more to be done, until it is really finished and until that point I will hold off on creating a book. 

Research

I think my research has always had similar thematic enquiries throughout the modules. Although I have branched off into Greek Mythology, the Hawstead Panels, etc. It has always returned to nature, stories and our connection not only with these but with ourselves. Throughout the MA I have been shown a wide variety of artists and photographers all of whom have somehow pushed my work or thinking further. Moving forward I now have a clearer and more confident idea of where my research is heading. I was reluctant to just let myself explore the natural world and our connection as it feels like it has been done so many times before. But I haven't explored it before deeply enough and that is what I feel is important, finding similarities within others work now hasn't become a problem but more so like reassurance that what I am exploring does have purpose, and it does matter. 

Landings

The landings exhibition is definitely something I want to get involved in. I think it'll be a brilliant way to share work but also work collaboratively and create a community with my peers. Often I am a little slow in getting involved with the weeks tasks because of work commitments but this is certainly a part of the course I feel is really important and will be really beneficial for us all. I have thought a little about what I would like to submit, however the work is still very much in progress. I am looking forward to sharing some the work more broadly and gaining some feedback from not only my peers and tutors, but the wider community. 

Reflect...

In terms of how much I consider the audience when making my work, it is definitely secondary. I think during this module I have definitely considered the audience a little more, but the work I produce is more about getting out what I am thinking and feeling. It becomes a bit like therapy for me to create work so it isn't always about the viewer or even having it in a gallery or publishing the work. Obviously during the MA I have thought more about the impact of my work on the viewer or how the audience might read the images, and I carefully consider how they are displayed when I do. 

More recently thinking about the viewer and the video I want to create, I think the reasons for this is to try and get the viewer to have a clearer idea of what the work is about, so subconsciously or maybe consciously I am considering it more. 

I think allowing someone to help curate the work and have influence is important, being involved in the webinars and tutorials, it is clear that sometimes the audience actual read the photograph better than I do myself, or they find more common themes than what I can. I would definitely allow a curator to be really involved in the curation of my work, but wouldn't let it fully go. 

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One to One Tutorial...

This week I also had a 1-2-1 with Laura which was really beneficial, although I had only just started to experiment with the two shoots I've done so far it was really great to get some feedback on whether they were conveying the message to the viewer. Laura and I discussed looking at the darker side of nature and the negative impact it can have. She suggested looking at the film 'The Antichrist' so explore the ideas of nature taking over our emotions rather than us becoming connected to it purposely but rather it being instinctive. 

The images I initially showed Laura are from two of the shoots which are a bit more 'nice' and show the delicate and soft side of nature. However the two shoots moving forward are going to be darker and more animalistic in a way. 

We discussed the fine line between it being cute, or too obvious and cliche so to try and find the line between those, which is something I am very cautious of when producing my work. Sometimes the urge for something to look nice comes through rather than it really saying what I want it to. 

Week 6 - Exhibition Guidance

Activity... Landings preparation

Due to other commitments and completing the previous module I haven't had much time to think about the printing and processing of my images. I have considered what I want to submit for the exhibition and mostly this will be the film photographs from each of my shoots. In the past I have experimented with diptychs or typologies to create more of a narrative or juxtaposition which seems to have worked well. I am interested in trying this again and sharing the work with a wider audience to gain their feedback. 

Due to time I am going to create an online exhibition space, purely an online gallery which show cases the work in an order to create an entire narrative or story. I want the gallery to transport the viewer through varying emotions, thoughts and feelings whilst being transported to the natural world. 

If i had more time and were able to get my film images developed quicker, I would have experimented with printing the images onto fabric or similar, then taking them out into a forest or other natural environment and displaying the work. This is something I very interested in moving forward and Landings would have been the perfect opportunity to try it out, however the lack of time is unfortunately only enabling me to produce an online exhibition.

Reflect..

I feel in previous weeks I've spoken about how the audience is secondary when completing my work. However over the last week and thinking about how I will display my exhibition for Landings it has forced me to really think about what I am trying to communicate with the viewer. I think during this week the part that really got me thinking was in the section 'some considerations' and 'who will be looking at your work'. 

Bishop (2005:10) identified four modes of experience which installation art structures for the viewer: work that puts the viewer in a dreamlike environment; work that emphasises a bodily experience; work that demands critical self-reflection from the viewer; and work that positions the viewer as a political subject.

These four modes of experience which Bishop discusses made me think more clearly about what I want my work to communicate. I know I want to create an immersive experience and especially one that 'puts the viewer in a dreamlike environment' but I also want it to 'demand critical self-reflection'. Being out in nature for myself and the participants I am photographing I know becomes a space of self reflection and a dreamlike, meditation process and this is exactly the experience or rather where I want the audiences minds to wonder to. I want them to question the work and in turn question their own thoughts and feelings. 

If I were to think about how to get my audience to contribute to the experience of my work, rather than participate in it, I would begin to think about physical ways they could create an image using natural forms and camera less techniques but when they do this actually be immersed in nature as well as meditation practices. It would become a performance piece, performed by the audience. This would allow a variety of emotions to come through the work and different interpretations. It would slightly seem like a workshop incorporating meditation and process, but actually they would be the work as I and other observed their physical and emotional processes. 

Webinar...

During this weeks webinar I was able to show some of the film photographs from my first shoot. It took almost 2 weeks for the films to be returned which meant I had some time and space to think about the outcomes a little more. The webinar enabled me to look at the work more objectively and it was brilliant gaining some feedback from the ladies (strangely it was an all female webinar) within it. It was very reassuring that the images were working and were saying what I want them to. I felt the black and white photographs were working best however the feedback I got was that the colour ones felt more powerful and inviting, whether I want my images to be inviting or not is another matter. 

It was great to see all of the various pieces of work that have developed so far and I gained so much from seeing others work. Even though the projects are so varied there is always something you can take away from seeing someone else's work. I especially enjoyed the virtual images created by Jas, it is quite far removed from the work I produce but it was really interesting and actually really relevant to the things happening in today's society. For me during lock down I have noticed how more people are coming connected with nature, however for Jas it seemed she was more interested in the very digital world we have had to create to be able to continue to work and develop. I think personally I have wanted to push away from the digital world and retreat to nature, for others it is the opposite and they get lost in a virtual world. I found these ideas and questions which arose when looking at Jas' work really inspiring.

Week 7 - Publication Guidance

This week we are thinking about publications and were firstly asked to take a photograph of our book case of stack of books, then to go onto thinking about which book we prefer. Personally I always prefer a smaller book, A5 or smaller. I find a book to be an intimate experience and because lots of my work touches upon narrative and stories for me a book is a secret and hidden world you enter. 

From my photograph of the bookcase you can see a very large book learning up against it. This is a collaborative book by Damien Hirst and Rankin, the images in the book are beautiful mythical creatures which warrant being largely printed. However the creatures would feel more magical to me if they were small and detailed. I've always enjoyed getting close to artwork and photography, it drawing me in and this is something I'd quite like to explore through publication. Although large prints can have a big impact, the intimacy of smaller print I find fascinating. 

Personal bookcase

For this weeks activity I really had to let go of my perfectionism. The images for this module are still very unfinished and I feel they don't warrant being displayed in a book as yet, although it is something I am hoping to do in the future. So I decided to revisit my in between work which I've been referring back to a lot during this module and create a mini book of my preservation series. 

It was easier to decide the images as there were less of them and I had already refined them previously. Also I have the physical prints of them as they are cyanotypes and sun prints. This enabled me to lay out the images on the floor and look at them objectively. I decided I wanted a mixture, including the remediated/remixed images from one of our activities. To begin with I had all the sun prints, cyanotypes then the experiments. However it felt a little boring as I turned the pages, so I decided to split them up. Initially I had 15 images, but narrowed it down to 9. I chose to leave a blank page opposite to give the images more space. 

Before this module began I bought these tiny letter stamps as I thought I might experiment with adding text to some of my images or writing out the poems this way. However so far they have sat in a draw until this task, they seemed like a good way to let go of my perfectionism with results I would still be happy with, and obviously named the book 'Preservation'. I chose an A5 book an printed my images just smaller than A6 to again give them some space. 

I really enjoyed making this dummy book as it gave me a change to let go of my concerns in relation to finalising images. It allowed me to realise how simply it can be, but also how much more I could do with it. 

I definitely prefer making a physical book compared to digital, however moving forward into my FMP, I certainly want to make more of an album and get it printed, but making smaller dummy books throughout the FMP may be a good way to filter through and refine my work further.

 

In terms of how a book could reach a further or wider audience, I definitely think it has a certain quality to it which particular people enjoy. I know I really enjoy having books with photographers work in. It seems as I've said more personal and intimate, and like having your own gallery of their work in your home. The publication could be exhibited online and as a video similar to the ones we have completed for this task, however I would only do a snippet of the book encouraging the audiences to purchase the book if that's what it is intended for. If the book or publication was to spread a message however I would consider other ways of distributing maybe on a larger scale but a small print such as a Zine. A book for me during this project would be a very intimate and personal space where I would encourage the viewer to get lost in. 

Week 8 - Workshop Guidance

This week is quite an interesting one for me as I am a teacher who teaches art and photography to ages 11-19. I've also more recently been teaching at Norwich University of the Arts once a week on the more studio and technical side of the course. 

Teaching photography to sixth form students always gives me the time and space to reflect on my own work and think about new ideas. Often along with the students I am creating work and together we find new "happy accidents" or come up with new ideas. 

In relation to the format of how I teach, I start with the darkroom basics, we begin with various camera-less techniques, photograms, chemigrams, etc moving onto pinhole cameras. However in each section such as photograms we continuously experiment with toning, layering, scanning, etc. 

I definitely get a sense of achievement when helping students develop their own work, or collaboratively we come up with new ideas on how to push their work. I've also considered in the future running online workshops due to the current situation, but also in the quite distant future once I have my own studio and darkroom space, to offer workshops to disadvantaged children and adults to give them a new set of skills but also enable them to express themselves. I have always enjoyed helping others whether that be through art and photography or another form. As a photographer I have never really ventured into anything political or documentary, and I think this is because I use art and photography as a way of expressing myself and understanding the world around me. We are complex beings and art and photography allows me to understand our existence as well as our influence and impact on other and surrounding world. 

Workshop

If I were to create a new workshop, outside of school, I would take the ideas of using natural forms and our connection with nature. Firstly we would go on a type of 'forest bathing' walk, use meditation to clear the mind and really connect with nature. We would then gather natural forms which have already fallen, nothing would be picked fresh as this is something I don't overly believe in, (unless they are weeds from my garden). 
Using those natural forms we could create a series of photograms in the style of a cyanotypes moving onto sunprints using various light sensitive paper. Following on from this we would scan the natural forms similar to what I have been experimenting with in my own work, and also scan the previous sun prints made. I would give some guideance on photo shop editing and layering before moving onto printing with the natural forms using natural dyes. Lastly we would gather all of the images create and experiment with tinting by hand, dying and collage, reworking the images to create a series of outcomes. 

I would offer the workshop to a wide range of people, putting on the same workshop, however slightly adjusted to suit the age range and ability. I'd definitely offer the workshop to community groups, such as a group in Ipswich called Rock Paper Scissors which offers art sessions to children.

Structure

9am - 9:30am - Introduction 

9:30am - 10:30am - Forest bathing and meditation (collecting resources) 

10:30am - 12pm - Photograms 

12pm - 12:45pm - Lunch 

12:45pm - 1:30pm - Scanography of natural forms and scans of photograms

1:30pm - 2:30pm - Hand tinting and dying  

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Collage

3:30pm - 4pm - Finalising outcomes 

4pm - 5:30pm - Presentation, discussion and mini exhibition

Week 9 - Production 1

A lot of week 8 was spent finalising images for landings. I decided to use mainly film photographs in terms of the females, and the rest of the images are made up of scans, photo grams and a couple of digital ones which can be seen below of the girl in the water at night. Preparing for Landings really forced me to look at my work more objectively but I also put in a couple of images I knew weren't quite working to see if others felt the same.The feedback I've gained so far has been really positive, the work does seem to convey the messages I intended it too, or rather make the viewers think about how they are feeling towards these natural forms and females presented. 

Many people who didn't know my work have said they feel this sense of connection with the figures and the nature and similarities between the positions and poses of the models and the natural forms.

I decided to layout my images as either single images, diptychs or triptychs. If I felt the image worked singularly that was because I used it to bridge the gaps between the different series. For example the single tree merges the sea images and the wood images together a little more clearly. It has also been interesting to see how people react to the 'cute' images compared to the 'darker' and it seems as though the viewers are definitely more connected to the darker and slightly deeper images.

Although unfortunately I wasn't involved in the 'admin' side of Landings, it has felt really good to be part of a creative community. The posters sent over were really simple to use, and everyone involved came together on Instagram to share the work of others and the Landings website. The best part was the evening of the live launch, hearing many of the photographers talk about and celebrate their work was a really great experience for all involved. 

Live Launch

Reflect...

This week I have spent the time gathering together all of the work I've made so far during this module and trying to really look at it objectively focusing on the core message of my work and the intent. I have laid out the work on my dining room table and started to refine the images, as there is a lot! Having shot on two types of film, plus digitally I have overwhelmed myself slightly with the amount of images and how different they all seem to be although with the same theme. 

I've also spent the week trying to finalise my moving image/film. I have really struggled to get it right, and have been very close to giving up. Although I have made a film in the past, it has only really been with still images, merging them together. Working with moving image, although really immerses the viewer I am struggling with what the viewer will take away from it, which at the moment isn't the right message. Due to all of the participants being female and young, I have to be really careful that it isn't just a pretty video and actually it comes back to the core intent which is to explore our varying connections with nature but also the power nature has over us. I am going to continue to work on the video, taking out the females and having more of the scenery and natural forms as the focus, showing maybe just the details of hands interacting with nature. 

My motivation for the work has definitely changed over the last few weeks. The project I aimed to create to begin with started with my interest in why I go to certain places within nature when I am feeling a certain way. It moved quickly onto how others feels and that is where my project really began, however with my upcoming exhibition and after producing Landings, it has forced me to really consider the audience and how they perceive each of the images, what will they take away from it? These are questions I am still answering as I finalise and refine my WIPP. 

Week 10 - Production 2 

During this weeks webinar I was really interested in gaining some more feedback on the work I submitted for the Landings exhibition. As stated previously I had put in the exhibition some images I was unsure of as they were too 'cute', having discussed this with Laura previously, to see if others felt the same, or if they saw something different. 

The feedback from the webinar was great, the images seem to be working well together, some more so than others which has helped me to refine the images further. Although I sometimes feel the images are fragmented due to colouring, this is something which happens within nature and I feel the style of my images is coherent. 

We discussed maybe being a little less of a perfectionist with the images and get a little more rough and experimental. This is something I have certainly been considering and also something I have done in the past. However with the film images taking a lot longer to be returned, it hasn't given me much time to do this. I discussed with the group how I feel the work is only really getting started in terms of the research and the thematic enquiries I am beginning to make, and actually the images I have produced so far are the very early stages of this project, and therefore not quite ready to create a book/album. It was also great to hear that my work has made great progress and leaps from where it had started, this have given me the confidence to keep pushing forward. 

discussing the ideas and concepts of my peers work as well as my own opened up some more areas for research particularly when moving into FMP. Just having a general chat about what happens in other countries in relation to mythical stories and nature really broadens my areas of research. It was also helpful to have views from Dean as heis work is more about the urban landscape so to discuss this contrast but also find similarities in our methodology was really positive. 

One to One tutorial with Sarah...

Also this week I decided to book in a 1-1 with Sarah to discuss her views on my work so far as she was my tutor last term so knows my work well. Again it was great to hear that the work had progressed in the right direction and was getting across the links we have with nature. Sarah suggested removing some of the images due to them looking a little too commercial or 'pretty' which I definitely agree with. Sarah really liked the scanography of the weeds which I digitally edited to be sepia so they worked style wise with some of the other images. Sarah also commented on how she found the juxtaposition of some of the images really interesting particularly the girl with the tree an the plant. This image I wasn't overly sure on if it had worked and was actually a last minute decision to include in the Landings exhibition so it was great to hear this kind of contrast was working well. 

Moving forward Sarah discussed how I could push the work further in terms of my WIPP, and also to still include the film I've been working on. Although I still not quite happy with the piece, I think I may just about be able to complete it to a standard I will be happy with ready to submit for my WIPP. As Sarah discussed all work produced whether successful or not, is still important.

Week 11 - Tutorial 

This week has been about finalising my work and having my last 1-1 with Laura. I have spent the week organising and arranging the music to go with my video piece. My dad is a musician and has worked with me to create a relaxing yet thought provoking piece of music to enhance the narrative of the video. This video will be installed as part of an exhibition which begins on the 20th August show casing all of my work since I started the MA but also my current project. The video piece although works well alongside the images, still feels a little unfinished and could be refined further, however creating a finished video within less than 12 weeks is quite difficult. 

During my 1-1 with Laura we discussed my video piece and she suggested it was slightly too long and slow, so during the rest of this week I have tweaked the video so that the audience remains engaged and doesn't switch off. I also discussed my excitement for this project moving forward. It feels as though this is the path I was supposed to take with my work, and all the work leading up to now has given me the clarity of the areas I wish to continue to explore. The work during this module, although does have some strengths all feels unfinished to me. It feels as though more experimentation needed to happen as well as moving the shoots forward in terms of revisiting locations and thinking even more conceptually about the work. I discussed with Laura how my intent is to create an album or book, to create a narrative and story but also a place where the viewer can get completely lost in, like those stories you used to read as a child. I did consider trying to produce this album during this module, but because of losing my original video piece and having to start again I ran out of time. But also I feel the work isn't quite ready to be finalised into a book.

Week 12 - Show Time

This week we were asked to share a self portrait to show how we are feeling about our project. Although not a direct self portrait, this week I went for an early morning swim in the sea which I haven't done since I was a teenager, although fearful of the open water, I did it and it was so liberating.

 

I shot this image just after my swim, and re photographed it at home. This project has also been about self discovery and beginning to live by the ways of my research, as well as producing a body of work which triggers the viewers imagination and beliefs. 

Module Evaluation

This module have been my favourite so far. The tasks set during the coursework have given me the space and time to really experiment with my work and consider other forms of photographic practice. There has been more space to think, grow and experiment during this module resulting in more ideas being able to flow organically and allow me to become excited about where my project is heading. This module more so than any, I have felt my project has been left open with lots of areas still to research, examine and explore. 

The work created during this module feels influenced heavily by contextual resources and cultural themes as well as my own experiences. Overall I am pleased with the outcome of my work in progress and I am excited to see it all up in my exhibition from the 20th August. The video piece although works well to enhance the narrative within the work, still feels unfinished and as it was my first moving image piece, could be technically better in terms of lighting, composition and overall aesthetic. The images alongside the poetry is my favourite part, I feel the poems give the viewer just enough information without impacting my own thoughts and feelings on their imagination. 

Moving forward into FMP I feel excited and ready to explore lots of areas linked to nature, mythology and cultural story telling, creating worlds where the viewer can get lost within their imagination and lost within themselves. 

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© Mikaela Jade Rackham 

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