Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Last Rites

Well…that’s it then! We handed in our work at around two pm today…hung around for a few minutes, said goodbyes to the guys…and headed off to the restaurant for a long lunch.

It will be a little sad not to be gearing up for another session in the months ahead – I have really enjoyed the course and especially the people. I always used to kick off my ‘Dean’s intro’ at Derby by saying to the audience of freshers – turn to the people either side of you and take a good hard look…because they are the people from whom you will learn most, if not nearly everything, over the years of your study. And thus it was with the course at DMU, which is not to undervalue the terrific support, encouragement and insight of the staff team who also gave marvellous value for money.

What exactly I have got out of the course I'm still too close to say. I've learnt a lot...about Photography I now know what I don't know and have a glimpse of what is still there to learn. About life - well - I understand so much more about how tricky and complex it is for all of us and how much tough stuff we all go through and how marvellously resilient and creative some people can be even under real duress and stress. More than anything I feel as if the enormity of just being here is something we all share - or at least those of us who attempt something of this kind...whether we complete (and how meaningless is that when you are undertaking this kind of endeavour) or not.

I have been humbled more times than I care to admit by my lack of knowledge and immensely glad and honoured by the hugely interesting material that my peers and the staff have either achieved and/or created. There has been some terrific stuff and I am richer by far for knowing about a lot of it. The work of artists such as Claude Cahun and Alex Soth and of writers such Michel Tournier and - more than anyone - WG Sebald have all been of value to me. Without the course who knows when I may have come across them?

So I shall be very sad on the 9th June when I shan't be on my way down the M1 to Leicester to meet up with the guys...but I'm still feeling good about knowing them and for having the opportunity to study at DMU. Thank you to you all - and to Paul, Mike & Greg. It's been a fabulously enriching experience.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The Final Part

Part Three

Part Two

The full set and the introductory text

Well, for better or worse, here's the final full submission of images (In four sets of four as they appear in the portfolio)! Printed both as A2 on Innova Smooth Cotton High White 100% Cotton 315 gsm and as A3 on German Etching 310 gsm - not yet sure which of these two will be submitted this coming Wednesday. Will sleep on it. Just relieved it is all I had already put the essay to print last week. It doesn't seem much now it's all together - but for me it has been a real voyage of discovery and something of a trial too.

The text that accompanies the prints runs as follows:

The lights gleams an instant then it's night once more
Pozzo, Waiting For Godot, Samuel Beckett

Out Of The Woods - A Painter's View explores the subtleties of the natural world through the prism of the artist's body. The landscape is viewed through the artist's X ray of his diaphragm and the mechanics of the body suggest contrasts between inhaling and exhaling, light and dark, between what comes to life and what passes away.

The images capture the fleeting moments of light; that 'sweet light' around the rising and setting of the sun, when the light is warm. They invite the viewer to look a little slower, wait a little longer, and discover subtle nuances of colour, line, form and texture.

The portfolio encourages a reading of the land that is a form of the contemporary sublime and a meditation on the purpose and meaning of our lives measured against the enormity of our natural world.

To experience a thing as beautiful means to experience it wrongly
Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Final Hurrah

Well that's more or less it! Today was the final crit - I presented a summary of what I'd got - to deafening silence. It's pretty poor all round, I know that, but I'd have appreciated a bit of feedback even if only negative stuff that I could feed into some minor changes between now and next Wednesday. But I suppose people feel too embarrassed to say anything with outcomes that are so evidently weak. At the weekend I felt like throwing the camera into the Etang but I didn't...I'm still hopeful that - one day - I'll make something half decent. But that day is some years off which doesn't help with a programme that has a deadline of only six days away! What the final submission will be physically I'm still not sure - I'm hedging my bets with several different sets of prints in production including duratrans and large scale images. The one thing I've got out of all this already is the sublime feeling you get when you are alone in the landscape at five in the morning!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Day - and completing the text too...

It's election day in the UK. Rather than take any notice of this depressing spectacle (no likely outcome seems satisfactory to me) I've tidied up my essay and printed it off. My feeling is that it could be better but there has to be a cut off point and I've reached it! Not least as, in the final analysis its the portfolio of images that really matters and I still have work to do there. I am experimenting with a lightbox and transparency as one possible final presentation solution. Having said that I can only present one or two images in that manner if that is the way forward. Another solution is good quality A2 prints - I can only print at A3 and I simply don't feel that the size of these is sufficient for what I feel the pictures convey - but that means farming out the work to others - something I'm rather against. Time is also a factor now...if I am sending them out the 2/3 day turn around has to be factored in. Decisions, decisions... but at least the text is now off my back!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Pushing On Towards The Line

A long weekend passes and with it another couple sessions to try and get the pictures that will make up the final sequence. Although I have enough images to do so I, like most people I guess, am always trying to get those elusive final few pictures that will make all the difference - in my head at least. But along the way there has to be some playtime so I'm making the occasional composite image that I think might be an altogether different presentation that I'll find some use for after it's all over. This week the first batch of definite inclusions are to be printed - with a second batch on Monday week following one final session...about which more to say next week...