So this week we have no session and it's obviously a good moment to start putting together the rationale for the practice project thats the focus for this semester. We are told to "choose an area of photographic practice new to you" and "challenge your existing practice"whilst being "clearly indicative of a constructive exploration of the assigned area". We have to produce "an experimental portfolio that demonstrates personal innovation as well as an awareness of contemporary critical practices"...so no sweat there then!
As I've hinted at I am fairly certain now that I am going to attempt some form of portraiture project...though I'm thinking to take pictures of people in context (something I haven't ever done seriously)...that might constitute documentary I guess.
I've a huge set of volumes dragged away from the library - Karsh, Avedon, Arbus, Struth, Bown just for starters - and there's all those books and catalogues already around (Parr, Meadows, Sadler, Sarah Jones, Karen Knorr and so forth), including piles of old Creative Camera's and other magazines...where, to be honest, in the past I've tended to pretty much ignore the portrait work in the past. And having recently subscribed to several current magazines the latest issue of Foam is centred on portraiture...so that must be telling me something too.
Getting started on research around the subject is daunting - as Paul Hill suggests in his own 'Approaching Photography' portraiture is the "most common subject matter in photography and Susan Bright in Art Photography Now opines "Laden with ambiguity and uncertainty, the portrait is perhaps the most complex area of artistic practice" Still at least its rich territory to look into!
Amongst a number of starting points to actually take some pictures I've begun a series of self portraits - just one idea amongst several. First stabs suggest this isn't as easy an activity as it might - excuse the pun - on the face of it seem...