In the end…

As I look back at my journey through Context and Narrative, I feel the course has pushed me in directions I was not expecting, and what I have taken out of it is not so much connected with the outcome of the assignments and exercises, but more with the process used to create them and how this would shape my future work.

In terms of the outcome, the photographs I have produced for this course all have a lot in common. I have featured as a model for all assignments (other than 4, which was a written essay), and props were used extensively in assignments 1 to 3. All the photographs were also taken in set-up, controlled conditions. Before this course, I have rarely done any of this in my practice; so it was a new experience, but somehow I never felt that it was a finished one. I believe all these images to be not so much as work in progress, but a springboard to new ideas that will undoubtedly derive from the junction of this new way of working, and my traditional practice which has very much focused on found objects and situations until now.

While the pictures bear aesthetic similarities, they way I got there has been different in all assignments and this for me has been the aspect of Context and Narrative that I have enjoyed the most. Assignments 2 and 3 involved a greater degree of self-reflection and forced me to develop ideas in an abstract, non-visual context at first, whereas for assignment 5 I decided to create images inspired by fictional short stories I wrote at that time. How these ideas were translated into the visual realm has not been an easy process for me, to a great extent because I am more used to work in reverse (ie I am more used to translating found visual elements into a narrative), and while I feel that I am more satisfied with the way the reworked version of these assignments turned out, I believe this is an area where I would need to invest more time in the future.

I enjoyed assignment 4 in particular because it compelled me to look into photographs with a level of detail I have not done before, both visually and contextually. Looking into the work of Andreas Gursky for that assignment, as well as other exercises and research points elsewhere in the course, pushed me to explore alternative photographic techniques including digital manipulation.

Another aspect of the course that I found interesting is the amount of research we are encouraged to undertake. This is useful because it pushes us to acquire a good idea of current photographic practices and trends, but at the same time is limiting because the primarily focus is on photography. One piece of advice from my tutor which I would like to practice more going forward is to look and experience other art forms more, including non-visual ones, for inspiration and enjoyment.


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