Assignment 5.

So its finally finished!  its been a very interesting journey, both the course itself and the final assignment.  On the assignment itself you are asked to pick a subject that you are interested in and write your own brief.  To recap here is mine:

One day while looking at old photographs I came across one of myself taken when I was in my twenties. It made me reflect on how much my life, and as a result myself had changed since this image was taken.   It’s not that I did not recognise that person in the photograph but I realise that I am no longer the same person.  I want to use this assignment to explore this feeling. To try to see who I was, who I am and who I will be? To look back and look forward. I want this to be an exploration, a journey.

This brief is really the jumping off point for me.  I realised, by experience,  that to interpret it too literally was to be lead up a creative cul de sac, which happened several times.  I used lots of sources for ideas including other artists, old letters, family photos and the arts in general.  When I was drawing a blank creatively I found what worked best was to keep working through ideas, one by one photographing them and either striking them off the list because they did not fit or reworking them to enable them to fit.  In other words I found that to turn up and work on the project was the best way to complete it rather than waiting for the lightening bolt of inspiration.

Amongst the artists that I looked at for ideas and inspiration were:

Gillian Wearing and I have written a post on her here.

Sophie Calle and I have posted about her here.

Duane Michaels was a big influence.  His way of telling a story through a series of photos, his exploration of the sub conscious, particularly this quote “Photographers are always photographing the package but they would never think to open up the box.  Well I am interested in the contents, because once you start opening up the box, its like a chinese box: there’s always another box inside so its limitless”.

Gregory Crewsdon.  I saw his work for the first time at Les Rencontres D’Arles last year and it blew me away.  Although when I say I came across his work there for the first time that is not strictly true.  I did see him in the genius of photography while I was studying TAOP but at the time photography was a different country for me.  The same is true of Michael’s work.  I saw Crewsdon in a short Youtube video a while back and he described his work as a “collision between the familiar and the strange” and I have to say that is a great description.  Its easy to get wrapped up in the technicality of it and miss that these are great narrative pieces that draw you in because they ask more questions than they answer.  You are never really sure what is being said in the image.

These are the main influences photographically, as well as these I kept a note book and tried as best I could to collect postcards, clippings and any other ideas that struck me in it.  I wrote down my ideas as much as I could and I continue to do that now even if they do not seem to be relevant at the time I may find a use for them later.

I chose to present the work in this format, as a slideshow with audio as it seemed quite cinematic all along and to present 12 still images individually would have had less impact.  The slideshow, I think, shows off the series well as it allows them to flow into each other.  Its a format that I would consider in the future.  I have shot the images in Tungsten white balance to give the series a blue hue as I think it adds an emotional dimension, an extra feeling to the work.  I should also say that I wanted to work in colour for this assignment, I am very comfortable working in black and white as a medium but I wanted to experiment and examine the affects of colour because I want to have this choice open to me for future work.   The soundtrack is a necessary addition as to watch the images and captions without sound would have been difficult.                                                                                 The soundtrack comes from and was assembled in garage band.

Finally I would like to credit my tutor and the the various people involved in the OCA Flickr forum here.  My tutor for his guiding hand that allowed me to develop my own ideas and helped me out of the mire when I was stuck and also for encouraging me and the other students to push our creative boundaries.  The members of the OCA forum who commented on the previous versions of this piece on Flickr which helped me to perfect it.

As Antoine De St-Exupéry once said “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away”.


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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