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 presentation...so 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 me...now 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 week...no cake...let's hope we get it together (maybe I should) for next week.