A reflection on current practice

The camera is/has been many things to me, but in recent years has become a kind of ‘aide to thought’. Of the images that result from use of my camera, I still find it very difficult to place them into any particular category of photography, and I can’t seem to consign myself to any one project at a time. I am always thinking about the practice element and in project terms I tend to follow up on the ideas that spring on me at the least expected moments as they form steps to understanding, in their own way.

Sometimes I will jot these ideas down for another time, but, if I leave them, the momentum can pass and they can quickly lose that spark of relevance and importance in my mind. The ones that catch me completely absorb me for a time, but I never really know what will happen next. Like junctions, one direction after another after another, and I seem to work in a reactionary way, driven by day to day events and emotions. Projects find a way to the surface when they are ready.

Asked where I am now:

  • I enjoyed the experiments which revealed the camera equipment, reminding us that we are looking at an image and not the thing itself; but despite resulting in just a few images, I felt satisfied with this small exploration. Do I want to go back, to develop it further? I could. I might. At the time I planned to. But for now this test has moved back in its priority.
  • The abstract ‘landscapes’ that formed a series of strange ‘otherworldly’ scenes. I want to leave it there right now. I am satisfied with the outcome of this test. I don’t feel it is something I need to go back to (visually), not in the same way, anyway.   There will be other abstractions, other dreams.
  • The snapshots: There are rather a lot of 35mm films still waiting in canisters. The frames contained within may, or may not, be worth their salt. They are nothing but impulsive shots on cheap film with a cheap pocket camera, but there are some difficult times rolled up in those past films, too. I am ready to see them now (or as soon as I am in a position to have them all processed), but it may take some time. The snapshot remains a part of things, but in a different way, it is a kindlier practice at the moment
  • The landscape and coast:  I almost always have a camera with me on daily walks.  Recently I was engaged with basic lines and forms in ice.  Every day brings something different; this practice is like the travel between ‘junctions’.
  • Boxes – an idea still in my mind so it seems I have to complete this work. It isn’t going to go away.  I know I must do some tests. This week, I was hoping, until another idea bounced in yesterday …
  • Some moving image work relating to photography has sprung to my mind. I must try out this idea and write more about this later. It has taken over my thinking for now.
  • Other projects formerly mentioned.  Still there, not gone away, just waiting in the wings.

In terms of projects, I am not sure it is a good thing to be so impulsive, but I am not sure I can be anything else.

In addition, there must be a thousand books that I’d like to read.  (When I started this course last year I was shocked at the state of my reading, i.e. how quickly I had lost the habit, especially of closer reading. Christmas holidays slipped me back a little once again, but my appetite for books has returned.) Revisiting Peirce’s semiotic theory has been useful; I visited this in my degree which seems so long ago now. I hadn’t (I don’t think) read the 1975 Snyder and Allen essay in full before and I enjoyed reading it.

The calendar of webinars and tutorials is another area to manage. I am trying to keep up engagement online, when these sessions don’t clash with work etc., but I am coming to the conclusion that I am not really very good at webinars. Everyone else seems to handle them so brilliantly, and there is some truly fascinating work taking place by course colleagues. I do like the digital flexibility of listen, speak and/or be seen, that I can choose my level of ‘presence’ according to what is going on in my corner of the world.

To sum up, it has been a busy 2 weeks so far this module. Finding a balance between day job, home life, general ‘juggling’, practical work, notes, blogs, reading, etc. is far from easy.  I often think how wonderful it must be to not have to constantly ‘change hats’.