ASSIGNMENT 2: PHOTOGRAPHING THE UNSEEN

Niki South        Student number: 514516

SUBMISSION INTRODUCTION

THE BRIEF

Start by doing some reflecting in your learning log. What kinds of subjects might be seen as un-photographable? How might you go about portraying them using photography? List a few examples of things you’re experiencing now or have recently been thinking about. This doesn’t have to be too in-depth or revealing, but it can be if you want. Equally, it might be something as apparently trivial as how you’re going to fit everything into your busy day. At first you may come up with literal examples, but the more you think about them the more those ideas will develop into specific and more original ones.

Make a list of at least seven ideas. Try and keep to things you have a personal interest in or curiosity about. Keep a notebook with you at all times and make notes when ideas strike you as interesting.

Now implement one of your ideas. Aim for a tightly edited and visually consistent series of 7–10 images.

“DISAPPOINTMENT”

INTRODUCTION

This assignment is personally driven a “metaphorical and visceral interpretation” as I chose to explore and visually represent the emotion disappointment that I have felt both strongly and frequently recently. I have presented six images, the first four depicting subjects that have caused disappointment, the fifth depicting a consequence of these disappointments and the last being a summary and commentary on them.

The captions accompanying each image signpost metaphors about these disappointments. Two themes run throughout the series, water and paperwork. Water for its symbolism of weakness, negativity and the unconscious; paperwork as it was central to some of the disappointments (flushed away, washed up) and so I included an element of paperwork in each image to provide some continuity (e.g. Shreds of evidence in the disharmonious nest).

My research on conceptual art was very useful to me and led me to:

  • Photograph objects for what they might suggest rather than what they are (nest)
  • Use everyday objects to create an idea (toilet, sink, clothes dryer)
  • Photograph as a record of my engagement with the art
  • Photograph as a response to a metaphor

This assignment was a new departure for me as I found I was reflecting and planning more that I was photographing. The real challenge was in devising and composing each image, and the photograph is merely a record of this. I am pleased that I took a personal approach, using self-exploration, broadened by research and exhibition visits , and feel that it was creative in a holistic way. The question for me is how viewers will respond to it, is there enough clarity in my messages or representations, and will they find them aesthetically pleasing? I guess this is always a risk with conceptual art or photography, not being in control.

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