For this assignment I have a choice between 2 assignments. The first is Photographing the Unseen and the second is Using Props. For the first choice I would need to try and capture something that is seen as un-photographabel and for the second it is suggested I choose between either a white shirt or a white handkerchief and through photographs tell a story about it or using it to help. Of these two I much prefer the first brief, I feel it would be much easier for me to pull ideas from areas of my own life than to try and invent a new life for the prop.
The first thing the course book asks is that I do some reflecting on what kinds of subjects might be un-photographable and how I might go about capturing these. from here I hope to be able to choose and develop an idea for my assignment.
Nostalgia – inspired by Jodie Taylor’s work
Fears – specifically childhood fears
Unseen illness – anxiety, OCD
Stress – busy lives, modern living?
Emotions – love, sadness, anger
Smell and sound– senses that can’t be caught on film/image
Touch – can images capture senses in an un-literal way?
Nostalgia – photo albums, childhood haunts, toys, memorabilia. Tricky to find subjects that will evoke nostalgia in a wide range of viewers. I would like to explore the play places of my childhood but am concerned my work would be too similar to Jodie Taylor’s. From what I have seen she has taken and presented her work in much the same fashion I would choose to. Processing and style of photography would be very important here – vignetting and/or 80’s style colour.
Fears – darkness, alleyways, being alone, loud noises after dark (as a child I was even frightened of the sound of the toilet being flushed in the night, too scared to even flush it myself). Post production processing (vignetting, blur) and lighting could help to give these images a dark feel.
Unseen illness – OCD particularly – anxiety stems from it. Lined up (or unaligned if I decided to show things as they shouldn’t be rather than as they should) light switches, cushions, cooker knobs – even the way a key is left in a door. Captions of single words or short phrases – handwritten for more impact? Everyday things out of alignment could extend this idea beyond my house but may not be as personal. As could images depicting the extreme fear of germs which prompts some OCD sufferers to obsessively clean.
Stress – everyday living – the minute of every day – alarm clocks, loading dishwasher, filling car with fuel, paperwork, clocking in to work, cooking, etc. Is this too literal though? How could I show these everyday things as stressful – captions could help here.
Emotions – how to visualise this without liberalising? No people? Lighting to create mood? Or simply shot, stark images? Love, for instance, could be something fuzzy and romantic, a rose with candlelight. Or on a plain background. Would both represent love?
Smell and sound – I’m not certain how these could be captured in an image, taking a photograph of something that makes you think of a certain smell or sound would not be easy.
Touch – possibly too literal for this assignment, photographing textures?
Loss – or fear of loss. I’ve been sitting up with a very poorly cat tonight – he’s been ill for some weeks but started having seizures this evening. Watching him recover from the latest one, not knowing if he’ll make it, got me thinking about how missed he will be if he doesn’t recover. Image ideas could include his empty bowl, spot by the fire, medication, favourite toys, empty cat basket, empty lap.
As an update to my ideas on loss above, my little cat sadly didn’t make it. The lack of his presence in the house leaves a large hole and I’m struggling to make sense of how such a young cat, only just over a year, can become so ill, almost out of the blue, that he cannot be saved. Would the rawness of this loss cloud my judgement for this assignment or would it’s sharpness mean I would create more honest images?