More outings for the work

 

This weekend I shared the current edit of the work with two groups; on Saturday with the Thames Valley Group and on Sunday with Forum, a print group I set up over a decade ago.

For both groups I wanted the viewers to have individual experiences of the work, not a coupled sharing where two or more viewers looked at the work at the same time. Similarly I wanted any discussion on the work to take place after the work had been reviewed by all of each group.

Overall I am pleased that most, if not all, of the viewers found in the work an emotional response, but more than that, it evoked differing responses as much as their individual experiences with their own fathers had been. I had contextualized the work similarly in each case, saying only that the work deals with the on-going relationship I have with my deceased father.

There was common accord with readers in evoking memories of their relationships with their fathers, I am very pleased with that, and whilst the TVG spent some time discussing the text, both as a pacing element as much as contextualising the narrative – both as a positive and negative reading of that relationship – it was Forum who also inquired about the artefacts as much as the text. I wonder if it is because of their practiced craft of printing that distinguished the different aesthetics of artefacts over landscapes; inquiring about the deliberate setting of both. I had made that decision, to image the artefacts coldly; full tone renditions and holding nothing back in terms of information. Whereas the landscapes are all muted, deliberately ambiguous, withholding evidence for the viewer.

Additionally the Forum group focused on the interruptive effect of the artefacts, the use of the jewellery to interrupt the flow – add punctuation – and to introduce ‘him’ to the conversation “it is your father”.

One thing that did concern me was one of the texts. Both the groups had at least one viewer discuss that the text about the ha’penny provided a nuanced vision of my father, something that “I had wanted to portray” about him and to some extent, according to one viewer it presented a sentimental narrative – something I hadn’t either expected or craved. I will consider very carefully about editing this text/removing or replacing it.

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8 thoughts on “More outings for the work

  1. I am pleased you had productive feedback at both meetings. Watching you edit slowly over time and respond to the responses you in turn receive is a useful exercise too. Sorry to have missed out on the TV meeting though and your work. I have to pick and choose the number of hours I leave the children carefully. I hope to make the next one.,

    • Thanks Anna. Yes the comments were very welcome. I did wonder about gender – sons of fathers daughters of fathers and so on, but it doesn’t seem to have clouded the responses. Hope you are staying warm down there.

      • With a broken ankle, I can’t do much more! Good thing I had finished my Documentary unit & got it all bagged up before the accident! I am off to London on Friday for the Alec Soth study day armed with crutches and a very large black boot & hope I will make it through the day. Hope you are keeping warm.

      • I think you’ll get a lot out of Soth, I went with Catherine, wonderful images and imagery. Looking forward to your review. Give my regards to Helen and ask her not to walk too fast!

  2. What was instructive for me was how different it seemed to be viewing the small images, alone, in a more enclosed space as opposed to looking at the large prints. I think this did evoke a more personal response – at least for me.

    Regarding the ha’penny, I recognised a different tone. and wondered about this. From my point of view I wouldn’t see this as ‘sentimental’ but offering a faint invitation to consider another narrative. This might be something you want to avoid but it’s there should you want to pursue this in the future.

    • I’m glad your response was as you describe it, that’s helpful. As for the ha’penny text I’m having a lot of misgivings, but will let it settle. I’m also considering taking the work to mother for her to see it.

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