Positions and Practice Collaborative Project - ‘Double Game’

 A collaborative project with Lasma Poisa, Double Game is a ‘visual conversation’ that was recorded over five consecutive days. Each day, an image would be sent from one participant to the other, requiring a response in the form of a associated photograph. By creating corresponding images that included the same themes, characters and icons, a story with no predetermined narrative was formed over the duration of the collaboration.

Positions and Practice - ‘Photography and the Art of Science’

How has the relationship between photography, science and technology affected how we attribute ideas around knowledge and truth to the photographic image? 

Although art and science often seem in contrast to one another, as noted in the presentation Photography and The Art of Science, photography has always had a closer relationship with science than other art forms. From it’s birth, photography was an act of science, and it has been used since it’s creation to document and observe for scientific purposes. The camera allows us to see things that would not normally be visible with the human eye, allowing us to observe with greater intensity and gain new knowledge about a subject. We have therefore attached the idea of truth and objective representation the photographic image. However, as discussed in relation to last week’s topic, the camera is not autonomous, it has always been a reflection of the photographer’s vision. Further more, the photograph has always been susceptible to manipulation, rendering it as unobjective or unreliable as any other visual art form. When considering the relationship between photography and science, I was reminded of a series I had created some years ago, initially inspired by the dubious art of spirit and aura photography.  

Breath #17, From the Series Breath (2013)

I had discovered, that by breathing on the lens of the camera, and using a specific arrangement of lighting, I was able to render an illumination in my images, a glow that appeared to emanate from my subjects. This series, entitled Breath, aimed to depict the breath of each individual, as I requested that they breath on the lens of the camera to create a filter of condensation, unique to them, before I took their photo. In my images I tried to emulate the style of spirit and aura photography. Unlike these forms of imagery however, I did not manipulate the images in anyway.

As the breath is something that is usually unseen, I was interested in the way that this could be captured by the camera lens. In Richard Morse’s series InfraThe Enclave and Heat Maps, he uses infrared film and thermographic cameras, to depict scenes not visible with the human eye. Both the infrared and thermographic technology Mosse uses were developed by the military to discover camouflaged installations hidden in the landscape. He uses these methods in his photographs to ‘make visible’, or draw attention to, humanitarian disasters that are usually overlooked by the media.

Richard Mosse, Madonna and Child, North Kivu, Eastern Congo (2012)

“Mosse employed this film to document an ongoing conflict situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This humanitarian disaster—in which 5.4 million people have died since 1998—is largely overlooked by the mass media. Frequent massacres, human rights violations, and widespread sexual violence remain unaccounted for. In a kind of advocacy of seeing, The Enclave attempts to cast this forgotten tragedy in a new spectrum of light, to make this forgotten humanitarian disaster visible.” Mosse, R. 2017 The Enclave [Online]. [Accessed 3 October 2017]. Available from: http://www.richardmosse.com/projects/the-enclave

I find Mosse’s work particularly compelling, in the way that it challenges the accepted norms of documentary or war photography. As I aim to move my own practice into a more documentary or photojournalistic realm, it is interesting to see work which challenges the known conventions of the genre, and how powerful the affects can be.

Positions and Practice, Contextual Research – ‘Mirrors / Windows’

What do you make of the mirror and window analogy?
As a practitioner do you identify more closely with one or the other? 

 The concept that photography can perform as a window or a mirror has led to me reanalyze my photographic practice. The vast majority of the work that I have created in recent years has been documentary in style, bordering on the genre of travel photography. I had seen this work as performing as a window rather than a mirror, in that I depicted Japan (the country in which I was living) as it was, without altering the subjects of my photos before shooting. It is true however, the the photographer always crops a larger whole, and that through choosing what to direct my camera towards, and through editing my images, I presented a very specific view of Japan. This I disseminated to viewers living elsewhere. When reevaluating my images of Japan, I thought of the work of Sam Pritchard, a photographer with whom I had collaborated with in 2015 when curating a show of his work. Also from the U.K., Prichard’s work too focuses on Japan, but with an almost contradictory approach to my own. 


Sam Prichard, Scramble Crossing – Shibuya – Tokyo (2014) https://goo.gl/6yPo11 

Sam Prichard. Installation view PHOKUS | Future world Photography, Parades Gallery, 2015. https://goo.gl/1WAivL

Prichard had a fascination with Japanese cityscapes from a young age, and through his work it is clear to see how his photos mirror his own preconceived idea of Japan, as futuristic and technologically advanced.

 “In my photography, I try to create the illusion that it is some kind of digital future world that lives up to my childhood expectation of the place.” (Prichard, S.)  https://goo.gl/2uGmz5

My own work, in stark contrast, depicts Japan as deeply steeped in tradition. Even down to my use of black and white film, it perpetuates the idea that Japan is far from modern or futuristic.

In the lecture Week 1 Presentation 2: Windows On The World, the presenter discusses the photographs of John Thompson, a Scottish photographer whose work documented the people and landscapes of foreign countries. The presenter attributes the popularity of his work to ‘the appetite that existed for information about distant places that viewers were unlikely to ever see for themselves’. I believe that this desire for imagery from distant places so different from ones own is still apparent today. As a photographer, much of my motivation to shoot is driven by an eagerness to fulfill this need for images of elsewhere. In bringing the idea of the photograph as a mirror to the forefront, I feel that I will be more conscious of my own bias when creating imagery of countries or cultures that are not my own. Whilst my work provides windows into the worlds of others, it is clear that my images are also a reflection of my own interests and beliefs. As is highlighted by Sontag in On Photography, “Even when photographers are most concerned with mirroring reality, they are still haunted by tacit imperatives of taste and conscience.”(Sontag, 2005 p.4) Sontag, S. 2005. 

On Photography. [Online]. New York. RosettaBooks LLC. Available from: http://www.lab404.com/375/readings/sontag.pdf  


Introduction After graduating with a BA Hons in Photography from the University of Arts London, I worked as a photography assistant before moving overseas in 2013. I have worked as an educator for the past 4 years, teaching English, art and photography to youth in both Japan and the United States. I spent the last year in Chicago, where instructed photography for GTA Photography Classes and elementary art for the British International School of Chicago. My photographic practice is predominantly documentary in style and I favor working with film and analogue processes. As a photography and art instructor, I am also interested in the nature of arts education. Through obtaining my masters I hope to progress my practice to a professional level, and have the ability to teach photography at post secondary and college level institutions.

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