The familiar and the strange.

I have begun work on assignment 5, the final assignment of this course.  I really want this set of images to push me creatively and to make an important body of work to so I have been reading and researching continously since finishing the last assignmnet.  However, I realise that I also need to produce images and work with a camera.  The following quote from Clive White reminds me:

“Photography is a refining process like panning for gold. You pick your stream, then you keep panning until you find what looks like a nugget to take home and test. If it turns out to be gold, in your estimation, you take it to the bank.”

The context here, for me, is that I have neglected to pan recently in the relevant stream.  This is mainly because I have been traveling a lot recently for work and pleasure.  Some of the traveling has been for my own photography however these have been in other areas that I have an interest such as landscape.  Now at last I have had some time to stay at home and have begun re-examine my train of thought that has grown from assignment 4.

Following on from that assignment I have started to think about creating a set of images where I play all of the parts in each image, some using montage and some without any montage at all.  I don’t know why, I just connect with the idea, perhaps because I am interested in my own identity.  Its also about how I feel about myself as a subject in photography.  Recently I found myself looking at old family photographs of myself and felt, sometimes at least,  as if I was looking at a stranger.

How I pass my time alone.

Duane Michaels.

“Photographers are always photographing the package,” he says. “But they would never think to open up the box. Well, I’m interested in the contents, because once you start opening up the box, it’s like a Chinese box, there’s always another box inside – so it’s limitless.”   The quote above is by Duane Michaels.  He is one of the photographers that my tutor pointed me in the direction of and I have chosen it because for me it sums up how I feel about myself as a subject for my own work.  I have several ideas for images and this is the first of them.  I have no idea where the image ideas come from, they just pop into my head, probably because of something I have been reading or looking at.  The above image uses montage, I am playing cards with myself here.

At first I could not understand how to set the context of the image.  Recently my wife returned to Ireland to continue with her studies and I stayed here in France.  Several friends, when they heard this immediately and very kindly were concerned for my welfare and it was this concern that started me thinking.  It is this that I am trying to explore with this image.

Gregory Crewsdon.

I am not sure if I have achieved it though.  To me there is a lack of narrative here.  I know if I came across an image like this by someone else I would pass it by, it would’nt catch my interest and ask me to look again.  I have also been looking at the work of Gregory Crewsdon and in a video I came across on youtube he says of his own work that he likes to explore “the collision between the familiar and the strange” and this is what I want to do to.  The failing of the image above, it seems to me, is that it is all familiar and no strange.


About briancooney123

HOW I GOT HERE Of course, I wasn’t always a full time photographer. I spent a lot of time in the corporate world. I had a job which paid well, but just didn’t excite me. I remember the day when I had had enough. Enough of selling myself short, enough of dreaming too small, enough of doing what others expected of me. I had put away my dreams and told myself I would get back to them later, but somehow there always seemed to be something else that had to get done first. A friend of mine had recommended I take the NLP Business Practitioners course, and although I was really busy, I decided to do it. During that time, I began to imagine the different paths my life could take from here. While I had a hazy picture of what this other life might look like, I had a clear picture of where my current life was going if I didn’t change. It was a scary moment, a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff deciding whether to jump into the great unknown or stay on the cliff, safe but trapped. I jumped. The transition to the life I wanted was challenging The transition to the life I wanted was challenging but I would never go back. After that day I resolved to do what I love, to follow my bliss.  Picking up a camera after several years away, I found that many things had changed, the digital age had arrived. In the intervening years, I was too busy to pay any attention to my photography, and occasionally when I took something I really liked, I would think “how do some photographs seem so captivating and others leave me completely cold?” I knew this is what I was meant to do Somehow though, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about being a photographer. I took many, many courses and I read every book I could get my hands on, I still do. Since then, I have dedicated myself to helping other creative photographers achieve the results they want. And what a journey it has been. Last year I qualified as a coach. My main area of interest is creativity and helping others to express their vision. WHAT I BELIEVE Along the way, I’ve learnt that there are no rules. Experiment, explore, play. My advice is to make your art from your heart, not for the praise or the money.  Lighten up. It’s important to take your photography seriously, but it's a mistake to take yourself too seriously. Finally, you get what you want when you never, ever give up so enjoy every minute of it and just do it!
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One Response to The familiar and the strange.

  1. Paul Sanchez says:

    Very well written post. It will be valuable to anybody who utilizes it, as well as myself. Keep doing what you are doing – for sure i will check out more posts.

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