Week 2 Reflections

I have to say that since starting the course, my mind has been wandering all over the place into so many interesting areas.

Week 1 was interesting to learn more about the history of photography, where photography is heading and to learn more about the global nature of photography. There is so much change in the industry and whilst this can obviously be challenging for those who are unwilling to evolve it is a hugely exciting time to be part of this with so many opportunities and new developments.

Week 2 has now also opened up my mind to many different arts and other disciplines and their association with photography. I’ve been in a finance bubble for the last 15 years and whilst I have stepped outside of it on occasion when time allowed, I have now popped that bubble and I am now exploring so many different topics around the subject of photography which for me is really exciting. At the same time, this has been very challenging, as I did get a bit lost with all the other avenues that can be explored when thinking about my photography practice. However, it was reassuring during the webinar session at the end of the week when the tutor put this in perspective by saying that these other disciplines are there to be used as a part of a photographer’s toolkit and for when looking for inspiration.

I think a lot of “other” disciplines will form part of my toolkit in the future. Not necessarily always as part of a interdisciplinary approach but perhaps merely to act as inspiration for a personal project. Having thought about this a little bit I think the following disciplines will be most relevant to me at this stage and may support me with my work in the future.

The Moving Image

I love movies or television series and I am often drawn to those with great cinematography. This was a common theme amongst my peers on the forum this week and a number of different types of films or tv series were mentioned as acting as inspiration, including Life on Mars, Breaking Bad, Broadchurch and the Grand Budapest Hotel which provided some great food for thought around framing, camera angles and light. I threw Drive and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty into the mix as these were two films that I had been drawn to by the superb cinematography.

The conversation around film made me research a little further about the connections between film and photography. I came across the following articles about film and photography which I have bookmarked for another time. So much inspiration to be drawn from all of these links. There are a lot of links and a fair bit of overlap but it is a good go to list.

PS If anyone is looking for any christmas or birthday present ideas then the below is a good place to start.

http://www.lightstalking.com/great-movies-photography/

(Some great tips on cinematic effects in lightroom and photoshop as follow on links in the above article)

http://photographyconcentrate.com/ultimate-documentary-list-photographers/

https://luminous-landscape.com/ten-movies-every-photographer-should-see/

https://fstoppers.com/film/list-top-ten-best-movies-about-photography-3194

http://resourcemagonline.com/2014/07/40-movies-about-photography/39702/

http://resourcemagonline.com/2015/12/20-more-movies-about-photography-that-every-photographer-should-watch/61090/

http://blog.creativelive.com/5-films-about-photography-on-netflix/

http://blog.volgyiattila.com/2014/12/27/inspiring-movies-for-photographers/

http://neilvn.com/tangents/inspiration-from-movies-a-visual-feast-for-photographers/

http://artofcreativephotography.com/videos/the-10-best-photography-movies/

http://www.teabreaktog.com/blog/films-to-improve-photography/

http://www.fashionphotographyblog.com/2010/09/10-movies-every-photographer-should-watch/

https://expertphotography.com/20-photography-documentaries-youtube/

Writing

Writing is another inspiration. Again, in a manner similar to the moving image, I am often drawn to literature, particularly those authors who provide a very descriptive narrative that helps your mind visualise the scene. In studying Spanish as part of my Bachelors degree, I have read a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in my time. Marquez writes in a way that brings a magical realism to his literature. I found out today that other “magical realists” in the literature space include Isabel Allende, Miguel Angel Asturias, Laura Esquivel, Salmon Rushdie and Alice Hoffman. I will have to delve into some of their works too. Lots more links to other such other below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Magic_realism_novels

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/magical-realism

Of course, there are other ways in which writing can help to influence photography. With an interest in documentary photography, there are many sources of inspiration which may be simply be from the press (New York Times, Guardian, etc.), magazines (Time, Economist, National Geographic etc.) and other journals or periodicals (British Journal of Photography). These sources may provide inspiration for a project or perhaps also inspiration from other photographers in terms of their style etc.

Music 

Music of all sorts takes my mind away from where I am and to another place. This may be through the words/ lyrics or simply the type of music which I may associate with a place far away. I find music to be an inspirational source for new ideas and whilst there is no single source to list here, it will always be something that I turn to on a daily basis to relax, work to or to accompany a particular mood I am in.

Painting

Whilst painting hasn’t been a massive source of inspiration for me in the past, it is a visual art that interests me and I have been one to wonder art galleries in the past. I can see this being more of an influence in the future as I move forward with my photography and using painting as a way of inspiring my own work in the future, whether this is to do with the way in which I portray a person, the way that the subject is lit or how a subject is composed. Something that I can see myself paying more attention to in the future.

In the forum, my tutor asked me about my posting about Lowry and “whether it is visually stimulating to you approach as a photographer? For example, are you interested in taking a super wide view? And how might you then concentrate on details? In this Lowry example, there is a sense of distance as if Lowry doesn’t want to be a part of that world. Maybe your position is something to also keep in mind.”

The work that I shared by Lowry is a wide angle view on the world and that is probably where I am today (not having got close and personal to a subject before) but I would like to think that this is not a reflection of my preferred position. I want to get deeper than this with my work such that it is much more personal, has more understanding of the subjects and captures more emotion. Something that I will be looking to build upon in the future and as part of my wider project.

As I was writing this post it became apparent that this can be a post that I can come back to over time as a useful go to resource and perhaps for other photographers too. As I learn more about other disciplines and find additional resources that will benefit my practice in the future then I will add to it.

Perhaps, in the future, I will create my own individual go to list of individual films or series, books, music and other visual arts that I find personally inspiring.

Week 2 Activity – Photography and…

The activity for week 2 was to consider what discipline I feel that photography of any kind has a particularly interesting or relevant relationship to.

I love music and I listen to music a lot at home, when relaxing, when working and when travelling. Music often makes my mind wander to another place and also provides me with inspiration from time to time. When I was thinking about music today I came across so many different relationships between music and photography.

Music can bring out a certain emotion from inside us or a certain type or music or set of lyrics may simply accompany a certain emotion that we are feeling on any given day. Music can take us away from where we are to another location, either a country that we have been to that we relate to a particular song or style of music or to a country that we have not been before but we desire to visit. Music can also sometimes take our minds to other places where we imagine being in the shoes of the protagonist of the song. When I listen to a song I think I always have a certain “picture” in my mind about the person, the place or the circumstance that the song’s lyrics are describing.

Looking at it from another perspective, photography in music can also provide us with an insight of the musician or their work. Album covers often include a photograph either of the singer or band, or of another object or location that links back in some way or another to the musician(s) or the album. For example, Rage Against the Machine appropriated a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1963 photo by Malcolm Browne of a Buddhist monk self-immolating in protest of Ngo Dinh Diem’s Vietnamese government – a powerful cover for a politically driven debut album.

rageagainstthemachine

Browne. 1953. Buddhist Monk. [online]. Available at http://www.ratm.com/ (Links to an external site.). [Accessed on 29/09/16]

There have also been many songs whose lyrics have incorporated photography in some shape or form. As an example, the lyrics of “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran include reference to the photograph as a way of freezing still time forever and to keep memories inside the pocket of ripped jeans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSDgHBxUbVQ (Links to an external site.)

There have been songs written about famous photographers. The most well known perhaps “Kevin Carter” by the Manic Street Preachers that was based on the life of a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who tragically took his own life shortly after receiving the Pulitzer prize. The music video also incorporates a lot of moving images of the camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLDr0QNCUd4 (Links to an external site.)

Music is also used across a number of different genres, notably in commercial photography, wedding photography or photojournalism. Careful selection of a musical score or song can indeed add further context to a photograph or series of photographs and may help to add emphasis or emotion to certain images.