Saturday, 20 December 2008

Struck Down...

I have a theory...if I get a cold before Christmas I keep getting them right through the I'm in for a bad time then.  I missed this last week and cannot report back on the MA.  Hopefully the written feedback (that has been very thorough) will suffice in the rewrite of my essay.  I am now thinking hard about the next phase of the programme when we get started on a practical project.  My first task is to decide on an appropriate camera format for whatever the project is.  That raises the vexed question of the topic...something outside of my comfort zone is required - and I'm thinking possibly portraiture.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Seminar Process

Now we have been through the full seminar process time for a few reflections.  Firstly in broad terms they went pretty well.  That said there was very variable time keeping and commentary.  In particular it is hard to sustain a decent level of engagement across such a diverse and lengthy process, made longer the week before last by the insertion of a PhD transfer talk half way through.  I don't think it benefitted either the candidate, the staff or us as consumers, though the content was strong and in other circumstances interesting.  Inevitably perhaps the range of topics and the approaches vary a good deal.  You learn a lot from such variety, although inevitably just as you get into something it is time to pass onto the next topic.

What do I remember from them without recourse to my notes?  Well I didn't know of Claude Cahon until A raised her in that that was interesting - for me a comparison with - say - Cindy Sherman might have been more fruitful that Francesca Woodman.  However one could see the reasoning.  Woodman strikes me as something of a photography equivalent of Nick Drake in contemporary music.  Its a great body of work but their early deaths mean that the relative size of the output is small and highly focussed upon as a result.  would it be the same had they lived to produce a good deal more...of course we'll never know.

Until SM told us about him O. Winston Link was just a name and a few pictures to he fascinates me.  Again my take is that contrary to the received wisdom the trains are just the hook on which he pegs his real focus...a detailed and fascinating reading of 'the american dream' or 'amerikana' in general...I feel he's the photography equivalent of Andrew Wyeth, Grant Wood and Edward Hopper.

Another two 'names' I'd never looked at in detail were DS's interest in Alex Soth and I's in Stephen Gill...both now photographers I want to look at and think about in greater detail.  DT's interest in Miroslaw Tichy is also interesting!

No Cake file this cake...let's hope we get it together (maybe I should) for next week.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Cafe file and Seminars

I've slightly lost track of the weeks...I guess yesterday was Week 10...which frankly seems fairly unbelievable!  First Up: Cake File!  Ingrid produced three very fine cakes this week...Ginger, Honey & Almond was up first...delicious.  Then Lemon and finally Chocolate Marble - both equally fine.  This cake malarky is getting out of hand...but they are very nice.

This week we started the first of two weeks of fifteen minute seminar presentations by each of us.  These are intended to act as an introduction to the first drafts of our first essay that also had to be handed in yesterday.  The unlucky eight of us who had to get it all finished and to hand for the day included myself.  Then again at least next week we simply have to sit back and watch the other half of the cohort perform.

Inevitably some of us have fairly reasonably resolved texts, others are still finding their way...nothing I saw on the day couldn't be reasonably easily turned into something pretty decent with a little application...handing in the first draft now is good - we get them back ahead of Christmas so have time after that (some time into January) to react to what's said and make the inevitable changes.  I thought that, just once or twice, some slightly harsh things were said about the state of play given that, for some colleagues, this is probably the first time they have tackled anything like this in their lives!

I had a bit of fun with my comparative essay between Richard Misrach's early night desert pictures and Edgar Martins' 'Accidental Theorist' project...finding myself in my kitchen at six am I remembered being struck by the close visual similarity between one or two of Mark Rothko's late paintings and Edgar Martins pictures...having a few cacti to hand (they sit on the windowsill) I made a couple Misrach/Martins by way of here they are.