Friday, 6 February 2009

Full Value!

Another session and a pretty good one at that. Our guest speaker was Tom Hunter, so now we are getting some pretty big hitters in terms of current practice and Tom was sound good value.  The set piece talk wasn't ideal - my guess is that it had originally been pitched at a middle class audience in London - and Tom came across initially as a bit of a sloganiser, an angry and rather two dimensional character.  It was a lot more thoughtful and interesting when the Q  & A started and I don't think I was the only one of us to warm to him and his work when he opended up a little.  His reputation rests on the fabulous image derived from his rereading of the Vermeer.  There's no doubting that it is both his blessing (opening up his career as an artist) and curse (escaping it's pervasive influence).  The quality and thoughtfulness of the images and their beauty is undoubted - whether they really do the didactic political and moral job that Tom ascribes to them is far more dubious to my mind.  In the end though it may be that none of this matters if the images have real potency they'll last the course and maybe that's as much as any of us can hope for.  Tom's advice to us was strong and simple, stay committed to the vision, no excuses.  He gave generously of his time and talent - Nuff Said.   Oh, except that his interpretation of Vermeer's impulses and motives struck me as a little fanciful!

We followed up this up by a discussion of several colleagues initial thinking and outcomes of their investigations in to the practical module.  This was, I felt, the first time a real dialogue started up and well done to those fellow students who were willing to share their early findings.  I'm going to find this hard as I tend to be quite a private person in the studio before I release work out into the world!  I was mercifully spared the embrassment of my paucity of action by the running out of time on the  day...phew.

I loved D's initial thinking, it seemed genuinely original and his text was a joy, the images too quite refreshing.  J is attempting something very tough and brave that will be a real challenge - I hope she can pull it off.  I put us all to shame with a fair bit of research and thinking presented through a 'proper' journal and S had made a very strong image to kickstart his project - I was scared witless as it dawned on me that I had better start taking some images!

Cake File: I think Daisy had brought in some 'millionaire's shortbread' and cookies - bless her if she had as she had already done a baking stint and so was simply trying to keep the tradition afloat.  I think this coming week I'd better start baking as well as photographing.  You have been warned.

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