Identity and Place: Getting Started
November 20, 2016
It’s been a while.
That’s been the story of my studies so far. A redundancy, a new job and a loss of momentum lie between now and completing Digital Photography Practice back in 2014. Back to it now though with Identity and Place.
I’m expecting this to be a bit more of a challenge than the previous modules as, on a personal level, it requires me leaving my “comfort zone”. The first exercises are reasonable, but the first assignment calls on me getting portraits of complete strangers. Sparking up conversation with strangers and getting them to agree to having their pictures taking definitely isn’t something I’d list in my “key strengths”, but this is all about learning so it’s going to be interesting seeing what I get out of it.
The objectives of this course:
Identity and Place is all about learning how photography explores our knowledge of ourselves and others, and how we relate to the world and people around us. It’ll look at how photographers have done this in the past through themes and techniques. As alluded to above, a big part of it is about developing confidence and interpersonal skills particularly with potential subjects. The learning outcomes from the course text are:
- demonstrate an ability to make technically accomplished photographic work and apply technique purposefully and appropriately
- translate ideas into visual outcomes with confidence and autonomy
- show a developed critical understanding of contemporary practice in relation to historical practice and theory, and the themes explored in this course
- reflect upon your own work and that of others with increasing confidence and critical judgement.
Reflection point: Social Media Profile picture
The introduction to the course asks me to write a paragraph describing the “you” my social media profile picture portrays. Well, my profile picture at the moment is this:
It’s a response to the current climate around the world post-Trump and the fear that follows, with me looking down from a screen upon my apparent-minions. I’ve a long standing joke with friends about how “Philrovia” would be a much better world, and this image is one of several a friend of mine made in his Facebook album “Glorious Photography Records of Philrovia” – based on a self-portrait experiment that apparently set myself up for this response (I was messing around with selective colour and changing eye colour).
What “me” does it portray? It has to be taken in context of when it was posted and why, so it is a reflection of my sense of humour and how I use that to deal with my current pessimism about events at home (Brexit and the horrible license that seems to have given bigots) and how the Trump result reinforces those same fears. There’s an honesty in that, even though the image itself is blatantly false.
The second part of the reflection point suggests making a more “honest” image. I’ve got a few from the archives, but I liked this one as a fairly run-of-the-mill self-portrait. Sat in front of the telly with a beer and my laptop. (apparently illustrating a husband absorbed in watching football; the dangers of creative commons licensing, folks!)