Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Crunch Time is here!

Even I am starting to think that it might be decision time. After all the draft essay will have been picked over and analysed by tomorrow evening so there's clearly little time to start completely rethinking that. Strangely that will be the penultimate session for the course (if one discounts the hand in day itself) and it still seems a little unreal that, although the sessions have been fewer this year than last, this activity that has dominated quite a deal of my time for two years is rapidly drawing to a close. More of that in a few weeks when it's over and I can use this to mull over both what it has been and what I have learnt from it.

So yesterday I took some firm decisions. Firstly the submission will be on A3 paper, as I want to print it myself, want to have the flexibility to include pictures up till around a week from hand in (some have suggested this is a little crazy but...) and for both economic and practical handling reasons. However I do think the suggestion that emerged from last week's crit (from Mike S, one of the teaching staff) of light boxes for these images is a really good one. After all even a casual glance at them would be enough for most people to see that the raison d'etre for the work is light and its absence and well constructed lightboxes would enhance the work greatly. So the impulse to firm up the form of the work and to begin initial selection of the pictures that will make up the sequence has been underlined by this decision. Not least because I want an example to submit alongside the paper prints.

Choosing the image to have made up is tough - the very nature of the work is that the differences are accentuated by the similarities - so it's rather a case of Hobson's choice. However the contrasts twixt light and dark is greater in some than others so that has been a consideration. In the end I plumped for the one above.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Where Does The time Go?

It is really unbelievable that its two weeks since I last posted here...and even more mystifying that the MA is only a few weeks from completion. The current state of play is that there are probably around six images that may make the final cut and there are some five sessions planned to try and cull the remainder - to hopefully produce a sequence of 14 or 15. Earlier this week we had what is almost certainly the last really useful group crit (we have another but too close to the wire to allow for much adjustment, indeed none if you went down the route of book production). Even allowing for changes and adjustments beyond three weeks (and thats where we will be at the end of next week) is risky if one wants commercially produced prints...something that looks likely if I want to have mine printed larger than A3. A good friend suggests I should have everything done and dusted by now...but its just not my style! As for the text....I find that can't really be sown up until the work is pulled together but given the requirements for binding that has to be submitted at least a week ahead of hand in. So all very hairy now!

Monday, 12 April 2010

The End Of Days

and after all that... pretty much what I'm after...

"The light gleams an instant then it's night once more"

Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett

The Brick Wall

It always happens...a crisis of confidence, a feeling that its all pointless, the brick wall! Even though conditions have been intermittently decent and I've been out there taking pictures I feel as if this project has little or no meaning or value. The text is rambling and over complicated and the photos increasingly arch and samey.... I really want to step through into one of those parallel universes where I'm doing something self evidently exciting and vibrant! But sadly that looks unlikely and I'm left with the work I have and how to breathe life into it...ironically now a metaphor that I'm trying to express directly in the pictures...

One small salvation is that, unless I've completely lost my faculties (always a possibility of course), when I look at other bodies of work by artists who relatively recently graduated and have achieved some recognition or success in the same area of activity it doesn't seem that the quality of idea being explored is a deal greater. A small crumb of comfort but nevertheless...

I'm looking at the moment at whether a small amount of judicious compositing might be in order...having already cropped images...all as a result of just looking and shooting rather than having a theory of production that is then simply carried out - there's always a danger this might look like indulgence and that its overdone but if its kept to a sparing application I think it may work.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Test Pieces

What with the poor light, the wind and rain this is yet to get into proper service. But the shots in the studio are promising...

Monday, 5 April 2010

Onwards Robots!

There is a certain robotic quality when you are under the cosh of a deadline...I have always rather liked the adrenaline rush when the going gets tough and something just has to come together. On the other hand my temptation is always to be pushing on with ideas for fresh images without fully realising the possibilities of those that came before. I'm a terribly poor completist...and with this project its vital it is a completed piece of work rather than a hotch potch of ideas that never came properly to a conclusion.

Nevertheless I have had to rethink at least a part of the idea to enable the inclusion of the Portrait filter as well as the landscape. Given that all the pictures are landscapes this is a wee bit perverse but I'm following an internal logic of my own and this is where it has led me. Maybe the portrait images ought only to be single pictures - I'd almost definitely decided to pair up the landscape ones but maybe that too needs a rethink. Some decisions are best left to the final hurdle though...

I'm yet to use the portrait filter (that utilises an old x-ray plate taken during my serious illness of nearly four years ago now) in earnest but I'm already excited by what might result from this picture taken a couple mornings ago from the garden window.

Friday, 2 April 2010


It's not the best of ways forward but for various reasons the last week or two have been pants for progress on the final submission. So April has now become the month where it all has to happen. So awake at 4am this morning hoping to catch the rays as they rose...only they didn't - not until around 11am...so dog tired and a little demoralised. But still I've a list of sunrise times and a set of locations to visit. And of course there's always the text lingering in the background...