Surfaces and Strategies, Coursework - Strategies of Freedom

This week, we were asked to reconsider our relationship to our preferred apparatus by creating five images using a method not familiar to us. When initially assigned this task, I was drawn to the the work of Doug Rickard, who use images from Google Street View, and screen grabs from Youtube videos, to create a insight into American culture. This led me to ‘virtually’ explore the locations that I have been photographing on Google Street View. I did find some quiet striking imagery though doing this - and it led me to question my own practice and it’s value. Apart from the quality of the images, some of the images taken automatically by the google street view camera are not that different from photographs that I have taken myself. This realization is further fueling my decision that I need to be approaching my practice in different ways and exploring new means of creating work. 

Google Street View Image. 2nd Street, Kent, Oregon.

Not wanting to simply emulate the methods of other practitioners before me, who have sourced remarkable Google Street View imagery, I also looked to more traditional methods of image making and ‘camera less’ photography. I have been collecting discarded objects in the towns I have been visiting, and wondered if I could somehow incorporate these into this activity. I decided that I would be interesting to use these objects, in particular paper items - such as pages from found books, in a cyanotype process or by painting them with liquid light emulsion. I wondered if perhaps I could create photograms of foliage from my shooting locations, or print my own images onto them from transparencies. Unfortunately, due to the short time frame, I was not able to actualize these ideas this week, so instead I decided to work with digital means to create a similar effect. These images were all made by printing my own images on pages from found books using an inkjet printer.

The results were quite interesting and the printed pages have a tactile quality usually absent from my work created though digital means. Printing upon objects found in the towns that the images were taken in does create a physical connection between the locations, and the resulting work. I am definitely interested in experimenting with liquid light, and have ordered the necessary materials. Also, if I am able to host a workshop with communities in central Oregon, perhaps this would be an interesting activity to facilitate.

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