Tuesday, 22 March 2011

head in the clouds, flat on my face

Has been an emotional few days. It started with a poem from the Poet Laureate of Portsmouth; an amazing young lady called KeliAnne B. I went to my first live poetry reading and was bowled over by the fresh faced talent of a 21 year old student performing her poem about wanting to get to the sandwich shop and being stopped in the street by a charity worker, eager to take a few pounds off her. The poem is entitled "any donations welcome" and you can listen to it on her myspace page Any Donations Welcome. I was in awe of her confidence and skill as a performer, and having listed to her and another female poet called Kate Tym, I realised that they were both writing about very personal experiences in a way that was engaging to the audience; they performed poems about love, ageing and food in ways that were deeply personal , yet moving and thought provoking. I can't say I was so enthralled by some of the male performers whose poems about ex lovers were painful and soemwhat tortured in tone.
The company Apples and Snakes, who arranged the event describe performance poetry as live literature, self expression; a love of words; writing to be heard.

That got me thinking a bit about my project, and the fact that I am trying to express my own life, but in a way that can be heard. Photography can be for many reasons, and can be categorised in many ways. Charlotte Cotton's book on "The photograph as contemporary art" describes a  number of different genres for contemporary photography, such as story telling, deadpan, something and nothing, intimate life, moments in history and more. I identify most closely with the "something and nothing" approach,with themes similar to the work of Tillmans , Letinsky and Barth such as spaces within the home, windows, light, ordinary objects places. These types of photographs are far removed from the traditional holiday snapshots that put people in places to prove that "I was there, having a  happy time". They don't really sit in a traditional family photo album, and might not be understood by family members as being representative of "normal "life.

abstracted trees

In wandering around the home trying to move my project forward I have tried a number of different approaches. But then I get back to poetry. Each segment of my research has started with a poem. For my work on home I chose "Home is so sad" by Philip Larkin; I liked the references to faded furniture and the music in the music stool that never gets played. Coming back to it now, I also see that I do feel quite sad trying to take photos in the home; there are too many reminders of jobs left undone and the empty nest ( not to mention the enormous cracks that we are "watching" and that prevent a clean sweep with the decorator's brush to put new life back in the house).

So with some trepidation I approached the "group tutorial" that we had yesterday for "troubleshooting". I have to say that I felt physically sick most of the day wondering how I could explain how I was feeling without getting too emotional. My moment came......................and I threw about 50 photos onto the table in a blind panic and explained that "I can't take pictures indoors as it doesn't feel right".
The group were kind; the photos were sorted into different types; collages, straight shots of Daz and Persil in Tesco, trees and rain, rhubarb and the mirrored pictures of cherry blossom and trees that I have been experimenting with last week. These caused some interest and were described as "marketable" and also "sinister"; not an emotion I ever intended to convey. Above all I want my work to convey light and beauty.
I was advised to record my emotional journey ( which I am attempting to do here) and that work that comes from emotions is "where it starts to get interesting". We talked about how symetry is preceived as beautiful by the human eye; the more symetrical a person's face, the more beautiful they appear to others.
The possibility of exploring this area further and to consider slight asymetry within the symetry was mentioned and  is something  that I had already started experimenting with.

Centre Point, yesterday lunchtime
I felt that I was given "permission" to interpret my subject in this more abstract way, along with ongoing exploration of collage as an alternative.

I felt immensely relieved.

So much so, that I went home and took a picture indoors, of a dried up old lemon.

I hope this hurdle is now overcome, and I  can get on with photography that makes me feel alive and happy, and that is made with love for my family.

 I got up thismorning and took the dog for her morning walk. I was gazing up at the trees in blossom; she was gazing at the ground and found a large pile of CHIPS! She dived for the chips, I fell flat on my face in the mud. She is in the dog house again.

Got to get out there and capture the trees while they burst into life.

Spring is here.

1 comment:

  1. Lemon and the abstracted trees are beautiful.