Individual Tutorials.

With a revisit of David Rule and Emma Critchley, there was the opportunity to get some feedback on the project so far, along with Caroline and Anthony. This was crucial for the development of my project as I hadn’t received much feedback up until this point, particularly since changing my idea. It was also important to distinguish the final steps of the selection process and production for the exhibition. I wasn’t really sure about what to take with me to show, so I decided just to explain what I had changed about the project, what I wanted for the final exhibition and some ‘samples’ of the possible layouts of my book.


Test 1 – The hands in the image on the left represent the ‘trapped’ feeling of anxiety, how it consumes and surrounds you constantly. I decided to combine it with the image of the entwining tree branches which also have that feeling of being trapped, dominating and daunting. The hands on the image on the left also kind of reflect the branches of the tree.



Test 2 – I was unsure whether this combination worked together or complimented each other. The image on the left represents the feeling of when having a panic attack you can’t breathe so I wanted to recreate this through ‘drowning’ underwater. This doesn’t really connect to the second image as I was trying to attach it to the water droplet on the leaf.



Test 3 – The image on the right is a ‘coping mechanism’ which when having intense feeling of anxiety, I dig my nails into my hand to try and focus my mind on something else. I took this with a macro lens to define the texture of the indentation on the skin, and wanted to reflect this similarly to the image on the left where the texture is defined in the veins of the leaves.



Test 4 – The image on the left has half the face in darkness, to represent the ‘hidden’ battle with anxiety which not everyone will see. With the image on the right, the face looks dark and menacing like an ‘inside demon’, representing how anxiety is like an inner demon taking over your life.

David Rule tutorial.

  • Lots of metaphorical meaning.
  • Like the different approach to mental illness compared to the ‘typical’ images you see representing depression.
  • Test 1:
    • left image is quite staged, dramatic and theatrical.
    • tree repeats the same metaphorical feeling.
    • could work better having a picture of just myself on the left rather than with all the hands, alongside the image of the tree.
    • a book is often repetitive
    • image of tree is quite poetic, maybe continue photographing trees to play on this repetition.
    • both images might work well as the framed print or just the one.
  • Other tests don’t seem to work as well.
  • Make the book about ‘coping mechanisms’.

Emma Critchley tutorial.

  • Emma shared her opinion with me about trees and how they feel grounded and strong, so consider this when I am trying to portray it with feelings of anxiety.
  • After showing test 2, Emma took a quick look at the contact sheet and picked out a particular image she liked where the water has distorted the eyes which is quite eerie. Felt that the others didn’t really show the ‘struggle’ to breathe.
  • Test 1 could work well as the framed image, left image on its own.
  • Images of nature give a sense of ‘release’ from the anxiety, as if the viewer sees the image of anxiety then is reassured by the image of nature.
  • Possibly build up the feeling of anxiety then images which ‘release’ it.
  • Really liked test 3, gives the sense of ‘touch’ for the viewer.
  • Don’t feel as though I have to stick to the structure of a ‘pair’, one image might work better on it’s own. Don’t ‘release’ the anxiety of one picture with another.

Caroline Molloy tutorial.

  • Consider the pairing of images, how they support each other.
  • Do I need words? A title?
  • Frame it for the viewer.
  • How do 2 images combine to make a third meaning?
  • What communicates this feeling of anxiety best to the viewer?
  • Particularly thought the image on the right from test 3 was strong, and the two worked better together than others. What is one adding to the other? Creates a red herring?
  • After seeing the ‘coping mechanism’ in test 3, Caroline asked how to panic attacks make me feel.
  • How can I explain these feelings to the viewer? How can I make someone who doesn’t know about it/have it understand?
  • Be sure to represent artists and how they have represented mental illness.

Where do I go from here?

I received a variety of opinions from my tutorials but it seemed the idea of photographing coping mechanisms was working particularly well therefore I need to consider how I can get some more images which show these. It has also persuaded me more to possibly just use the one image for my final print, possibly the left image from Test 1, but this will be something I decide once I have shot all of my images. This may also need to be done before I can decide what I actually want the purpose of my book to be – whether it will just be focusing on coping mechanisms or if I want to try Emma’s suggestion of building up anxiety then having the ‘release’. Overall, Caroline has highlighted for me the importance of making the viewer understand the message I am trying to share. Obviously at the time I will not be there explaining every image and the meaning behind them, so the images need to be strong enough themselves to do this.



~ by victoriasimkissphotography on April 29, 2015.

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