The artist as archivist

Ever since I started studying photography with the OCA, I have been taking less photographs. This is the opposite to what I had expected to happen. One reason for this is because I am more selective about what photographs I need to take. After all, I once I return home, I know I will need to download, edit and store them. 

Another reason is that I am very aware that hundreds of those photographs will never be viewed again. So what is the point in taking them in the first place? 

Perhaps one of the positive aspects of social networking is that these images are able to exist and viewed much more freely than if they were kept in an external hard drive. My archive on Facebook enables my family and friends to view photographs of key events whenever they like. They can also tag themselves in those images. Furthermore, features such as Timehop remind me of photographs taken ‘on this day’ a few years that I would have forgotten about. 

Photographs are more likely to be displayed on a Facebook wall than the wall in a home. Past photos enable to viewer to reflect on their past experiences and a reminder of other significant people in their lives. At the moment, the majority of my photographs are stored digitally, which makes it difficult for my two young sons to refer back to. Therefore I am planning to print more of those photographs and put them into albums. However, there are so many photographs to go’s going to take a while!

Photographic Purpose

Last weekend, I used my DSLR for the first time in months. It had snowed for the first time in over a year and it was snowman-building quality snow! Therefore, my family and I ventured out to have a snowball fight, build a snowman and make snow-angels.

Due to us rarely having that much snow in England, I decided to take my DSLR with me. Before then, I have been relying on my iPhone to take photos. After all, it’s a fairly decent camera, is with me pretty much all of the time, and it will automatically archive my photos to iPhoto. Why would I drag my heavy DSLR camera around with me, with its necessary lenses etc? Well, I suppose on this occasion I wanted to zoom in and get some close-ups of my children having fun in the snow. Also, I wanted to take control of the white balance to avoid a blue tinge to my photographs. 

Over these last few months I had become disillusioned about taking photographs. I was just adding to sea of images that are taken every second. Would I ever have the time to look through these photographs again and again?  

As I progress through this digital photography course, I am surprised to find myself wanting to print my photographs out. I hadn’t expected that when I first set out. After producing a photo book for my second assignment, I have thought more about taking photos in order to create my own books. I now have a purpose for taking photographs. 

The times, they are a changing!

The times, they are a changing. Only a few years ago, concert goers would have done well to sneak out a hazy image of their favourite group. However, whilst I was at a recent Shires concert, I noticed that a lot of people were openly taking photos and recording videos of the performance (below). 

Any such form of recording a concert would have been strictly forbidden just a few years ago. Whereas nowadays, musicians might actively encourage this, to enable their profile to remain in the public domain. Free publicity!


A slightly different approach.

During the summer holiday, I have had time and space to think more about my route through this course. In previous courses I have systematically worked my way through my course file. This approach meant that I didn't always have the time or opportunity to develop my ideas at a greater depth. However, this time around I have several ideas about different points in the course, which are continually developing. With so many different ideas whizzing around, I thought it best to jot some of them here, before I forget them!

Assignment 1

It has taken me a while to decide on a theme for this task. It is quite open ended, which creates an almost infinite amount of possibilities. After looking at the work of John Stezaker, I would like to follow that line of enquiry, as mentioned in the assignment guidance. 

At the moment, there is a lot of upheaval in the world of politics. At home. Theresa May has clung on to power, whilst Trump and Macron have been elected to the top job, without any prior political experience. These are uncertain times at the moment, involving unpredictable personalities. Therefore, I have decided to combine the faces of political adversaries for part 1. 

For part 2, I would like to try something more closer to home.

Assignment 2 

My initial idea was to collate photographs of people ignoring others, unaware o their surroundings, whilst using their digital devices. This is a very current issue at the moment. One idea is to blur the area surrounding the person preoccupied with their handheld device. Now that I've had time to think about this further, I would like to hide QR codes within the images. When scanned, the viewer would then be able to see the full image clearly. This will present some technical challenges for me, but  by thinking ahead, I have enough time to try to work it out.

Assignment 3 

There are a choice of questions for the critical review. At the moment, I would like to explore the issue about the 'digital self', so that this helps me to develop my understanding of digital identity. I am wondering if I can refine the question further to focus specifically on selfies. 

I plan to expand on these ideas further in future blog posts.