#Phonar – Transformative storytelling.

Using only found images (ie images from family albums and local library archives, not published in magazines) research and construct a photo-artefact/story that weaves a narrative linking the people depicted within.

As this task was set in session 4, I waited a while before I got round to doing it as I needed to return home to get some photos from our family albums. I knew we had a huge box of prints from over 30 years showing both me and my brother’s growing up, and personal projects my Dad has worked on. I had while to think about what narrative I wanted to create through this task, however I was struggling to think of what I could base it on. However after listening to Aaron Huey’s talk in session 7, I followed him on Twitter, where I noticed he had tweeted an article about a 4 year old’s portraits of America –  I decided to take a look to discover this was an article about his son, Hawkeye Huey, and the photographs he takes whilst on mini assignments created by Aaron. I thought this was such a lovely idea as Aaron explains how “I thought it would be fun to see if we could both do something on a road trip that I would also enjoy, I wanted it to be art based, and since I am looking through a camera so often that seemed a good vehicle for collaborative exploration. Our first with cameras, into the desert, was not about photography, it was about connecting as a father and son.”  Even at such a young age, Hawkeye is already producing interesting images. This encouragement from his father made me think of how I have grown up watching my Dad photograph and how I now also help with his photography business. As I grew up, not only did I pose for a lot of his pictures I also used the camera to take a lot of my own – I dread to think how much money was spent on film for me to take random pictures! I even remember my brother buying me my very first camera if I did well on sport’s day in primary school. Even as I have grown older, at school I would always be the one taking the pictures. I would always be the one capturing the memories and uploading them to Facebook the next day. With this, I decided to structure my narrative about how I have grown up taking pictures, showing the progression into the images I produce today whilst studying photography.

By returning home I was able to trawl through the huge box of photographs to pick out the ones I had taken. As I started looking through them, both my parents were also interested to look through them and remember the times they were taken. My Mum commented about how nice it was to have physical prints and how all the pictures we have on my Dad’s computer, no one ever really bothers to look at them. I found it really interesting to hear this after the discussion we had previously had during the session about losing that preciousness of making physical albums and how now we keep all our memories stored on our phones or computers. For me there is something so much more compelling about being able to hold a physical photograph, I have decided to continue making photo albums even through being at university when all my images are digital. I was really interested to hear my mum make that unprovoked comment when I hadn’t even asked them their thoughts on the decline of family photo albums, it shows how much they can mean to people and what valuable memories they hold regardless of how the digital world progresses. I was able to find a range of images, both from when I was quite young child to a teenager. I also knew that I had bought disposable cameras for school trips and looked through those to select any suitable images. One photograph I discovered which I thought would be perfect to open my video was taken at my christening when I was about 18 months old, looking into a camera. My image taking beginning from a very young age! To accompany my pictures, I decided I wanted to include some kind of background music as this will enhance the viewing rather than just looking at a series of photographs. I decided to search for royalty free music rather than using something I did not have permission to and I came across www.bensound.com a website containing a number of quirky, enjoyable music clips of different genres and themes created by a composer/musician. After having a little look and listen, I decided I wanted to use the piece ‘A New Beginning’ as the description caught my eye – pop rock royalty free music with an epic and “achievement” feeling. The song start with a guitar intro that progressively lead to a powerful and energetic chorus. I felt the build up in the song really enhanced that idea of achievement and this is what my video reflects. It shows photographing at a young age and my progression into the photographer I have become today.

I was fairly pleased with the outcome however I felt the concept was kept quite basic. While I felt my idea worked, I also think it needs a bit of explaining in order for the viewer to fully understand it. Hopefully you can see the progression of my skills throughout the video finishing with the photograph I am most proud of that I have taken. The progression of my photography is shown in stages and I have tried to reflect this by using the transition of fading to black between each ‘stage’. It begins with out of focus pictures of my toys, my bedroom, even my television. Secondly, I have taken pictures of my family and you can see how young and small I am from the low angle the pictures are shot from! Following this there are more pictures of my family and whilst the framing is slightly better, the angles are still a bit questionable. After this, I think the photos get a bit better from at home and also school trips where I have taken a disposable camera and starting photographing my friends as well as things I found interesting. It then leads on to a few holiday snaps of beaches, by this point I am able to take a decent photograph. After this, comes the selfies! It shows how I have started turning the camera on myself in order to take photographs with my friends. Finally, you see the development into my proper work ending with my best photograph. I love the progression and the idea of this story but I feel like it’s not fully understandable without that explanation.  I also thought that there was quite a bit missed out in between each stage but including even more could have created a long, boring video so I haven’t included every single progression. This made me think back to David Campbell’s talk where he suggested the idea that narrative fails because it cannot include every aspect of the story. I didn’t include every aspect of my photography journey therefore does this make my narrative incomplete? I think I could challenge this problem by including more sound effects such as conversations between family as they pose for a photo or a group of girls squealing ‘selfieeee!’ This would be something I would like to experiment with if I developed this task. However I was pleased with the music I found from http://www.bensound.com to enhance the experience and think it complimented it well. Sadly, despite my efforts to make the music fade out I still felt it cut out too soon and would have sounded better if I had let it finish to the end however with the timings I had worked out for each photo these didn’t suit each other. Despite these issues, I think it’s interesting to suggest that maybe this response contradicts Sara Davidmann’s thoughts where she spoke of how we exclude things we deem inappropriate from family albums. Although my worser photographs don’t classify as inappropriate, I still think its interesting to consider that they were printed and put into a photo folder despite not being a good photograph. It shows my interest in photography from a young age and allowed me to create this narrative.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on November 17, 2014.

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