Collecting evidence




half boy wip edit1c2 in case the image above doesn’t show the bleed edge

Something affected me very powerfully during the Thames Valley student meeting on Saturday, it came as comment from Sharon regarding her work and went something like this (and I paraphrase because I can’t remember the exact statement): “mixing the (auto) biographical and fiction serves the narrative equally” – at least that is how I understood it. That the ‘real’ can be combined with stories are perfectly valid when constructing a story, it’s not that I didn’t know this of course, but it still came to me that I had been holding back, not mixing the two and creating a third mixed narrative which is of course how all narratives are constructed.

I have set up another blog to contain all the fictions that I am creating, it’s called “Stories” because that is what they are – purposeful fictions about love and love & loss. This piece is about how I have started to collect evidence, of fictions to develop narratives scores. I have put a call out for unwanted photographs which I intend to curate for images that connect emotionally to the sort of things I want to talk about, or perhaps things that I want to resonate with.

Some of these images have struck chords within me, these last two very much about love lost. And then these:

Taken I am sure for the phenomenological value, these images, by removing them from any other sequence, have taken on new perspectives, re-situated and repurposed. They will need editing, added to, made to make sense of.

An OCA course leader, though one not in my subject of photography, suggested late one evening over a beer that: “one day the penny will drop, it’ll be a moment when you realize that you are thinking as an artist”. The curriculum leader never meant to suggest that starting to think like an artist would be the end of study, more likely that the moment would herald a more purposeful time of study and research. I’m not sure I have had a single moment, more a series of them, like a gradual ‘un-coupling’; a gaining of momentum that is allowing me to release myself from layers of restraint. I feel I am gaining innocence and the last two meetings in Thatcham of the Thames Valley Group have both been significant steps in that journey, and it is a direction of travel that I find very enticing, curious and perhaps slightly dangerous.

Since starting this course I have purposefully developed a (additional) new cohort, purposefully adding artists, other than fellow students, to those around me; entering into discussions about their art, art in general and probably pissing them off with continual questions about strategy and outcome. And one of the key things from this period of study is the notion of narcissism. It must be very easy, and I have surely been guilty of this, to aim arrows at artists and accuse them of making work only to be looked at! Well of course that is what most artists do, it is how they communicate their ideas etc to the world, but the motives for doing so are wide. But I was until very recently, perhaps the end of ‘Documentary’ wary of allowing myself to enter the frame, not physically but emotionally and now I realise that the work I am feeling impelled to create must contain me in each frame for it to have sense of what it is I am trying to do.

The work that I seem drawn to is the personal, artists who are trying to find ways to understand themselves and their reaction to the mess that surrounds them, whether that mess is an expression of their interaction with the world or not! At least I now recognise whose mess I am in……


2 thoughts on “Collecting evidence

  1. Really interesting post John, I am commenting here but is more related to your first assignmnent for contextual studies: You should look at the last Aperture Magazine (winter 2014), about words and photography, and specially at the article about John Cage’ s stories. I felt that the article had been written for you!

    • Thanks Stephanie, yes I have that issue and I thought about the Scott McCloud book you suggested when Soth spoke of the notes between the images, that is a poetic that I can only aspire to!

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