OCA Thames Valley Group Meeting 17th August 2013: (A) Overall View

Thames Valley Group Meeting : 17th August, 2013 in Thatcham

(A) Overall View.

I missed the third meeting and so it was good to meet up with everyone again. Nine of us gathered together, with Sharon our attending tutor, for what proved, as usual to be a very full day.

Portfolio Review

As before I was struck by the sheer variety of work and interests, indeed passions, that absorbed each of us, and how much we could learn from each other. What was also reinforced for me was the importance of expressing our own vision.  I know this is pretty much drummed into us by tutors but I always realise it anew when I see so many different responses to a piece of work.

Interesting aspects and questions raised included:-

  • If photographs have been taken in a particular location is that location the best place to exhibit them and how can/should ‘permissions’ be handled (e.g. release forms)?
  • The contrast between seeing a person and then hearing their voice separately illustrates how the image can deny the reality (reference made by Sharon to Taryn Simon’s work)
  • How attaching one image to another anchors them together and so follows the voice of the artist and his/her intention. What effect does this have on the viewer?
  • How does contextual information in an image inform the reading of that image?
  • Is there an actual difference between female and male landscape photographers?
  • How captions; text and words influence the reading of an image. How they can be used to add information rather than directing it.
  • Much discussion on editing/processing photographs. How far can we go with this? Should there be ‘rules’; do each of us have our own ‘rules’.
  • If I take a photograph of a work of art – whether the whole or a detail, can I call it “my art”.
  • Thinking how taking photographs at the same event, by the same photographer,  can lead to very different outcomes and effects depending on how they are to be used.
  • Using an evocative approach in building a narrative around place and the use of sound. Sharon provided the example of Interval II  the work of Suki Chan, a video that including the murmurations of starlings.

I presented some work I’ve been doing towards Assignment 5 of People & Place and the feedback was very helpful for me in clarifying my emotional response to that environment. I’ll be writing more on this in a subsequent post.

Afternoon Discussion

We didn’t have as much time as I would have liked for the discussion on Martha Rosler’s 1981 Essay In, Around and Afterthoughts. It raised some complicated issues regarding the nature of, intentions and effect of photography, particularly documentary and so, for me, it deserves a separate blog post – to follow.

Conclusion

Everyone had brought work to show and discuss and so this took up much of the day. As I said above, I gain a lot from seeing and discussing other people’s work as well as my own, but concentration can fade after a few hours. The discussion on Martha Rosler’s piece was therefore limited. It raises a lot of complex issues and so I came away thinking I/We had only skimmed the surface and it deserves much deeper analysis and discussion, particularly as we touched upon some wider issues. I have done some more reading on Rosler and the Study Group she belonged to and so now feel much clearer about the issues which is why I’ll be writing a separate post.

I’ve given myself a lot of general questions as well – all of which arose from the morning discussion.  To begin with I’ll be thinking and reading more around the area of Women Landscape Photographers.

19th August 2013

References

Rosler, M ( ) In, Around and Afterthoughts (On Documentary Photography) (1981)  in Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Writings 1975-2001 (2004) MIT Press, London

http://martharosler.net

http://www.sukichan.co.uk/interval2preview.htm

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