Assignment 3 – initial planning

One of the things I learned early on in the Foundations course was that I have to start thinking about assignments well ahead of time, to put the brief on my mental back burner and wait for a (hopefully) rich stew of ideas to present itself.

This assignment is on “The Decisive Moment” and after a discussion with my tutor as part of A2 feedback I am exploring my first choice, which is photographing used pregnancy tests. I don’t think there are many more decisive moments than waiting for something to happen in that little window then the experience of clocking the result, whatever it turns out to be.

Below is the post that I made on my Facebook page as a first step to finding participants. If anyone reading is interested in taking part please contact me via my OCA email if you are part of the OCA, my student id is kate513940.

“As one assignment is finished I need to start planning the next and am once again asking for people who are happy to participate. A slightly off-kilter request coming up.
The theme is “The Decisive Moment” and my first choice is to photograph used pregnancy tests. I think that a pregnancy test, positive or negative, is a truly decisive moment, whatever the result, and a tangible indication of an often emotionally-charged moment. I know that many women choose to keep their tests (no judgement here, I reluctantly threw mine out when Blythe was 5 and part of me wonders why). Photographs will be simply of the tests on a plain background (probably a steel table-top). There will be no identifying information, no baby pictures, no bootees – just a collection of decisive moments with anonymity maintained throughout. The final work will be submitted to my tutor as prints and images displayed on my public-domain blog ( ). I need between five and seven more people who would be happy to trust me with their tests for a few days and I will return them discreetly. If anyone further afield is willing to participate I will cover postage here and back or can collect and return if in easy reach.
I need 5 to 7 collaborators, and will of course provide a high res jpg of each submitted image. Needless to say, it doesn’t have to be a whole set of all tests ever taken, it doesn’t matter for this work if the result is faded or no longer visible, it doesn’t matter if it’s one test or many, it doesn’t matter whether the result is positive or negative, or marked/damaged in any way. This is about that sequence of micro-moments – deciding to test, testing, waiting, knowing. It’s not so much about any confirmed pregnancy or what happened next, just that moment of testing. Shooting would be in late November/early December.
My tutor is very excited about this work and I hope that I’ll be able to put it together as I see it in my head. Thank you very much for reading, please feel free to message me here if you’d like to know more or might want to be involved.”


8 thoughts on “Assignment 3 – initial planning

  1. Catherine November 10, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Really interesting idea and there’s lots of work out there to use as reference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate November 10, 2016 / 12:33 pm

      Thank you! My next step is doing the research, I was hoping there’d be plenty out there. I’m aware of one image with a couple in a bathroom waiting for the result, and there is wealth of vernacular and social media imagery,


      • Catherine November 10, 2016 / 2:21 pm

        Off-hand – there’s Elina Brotherus and Elinor Carlucci. If you want to look at it from a man’s angle there was a post on WeAreOCA about three years ago looking at some work by Nigel Haworth . It’s on Nigel’s website as well.
        Best of luck with it. I’m looking forward to reading more.


      • Kate November 17, 2016 / 11:59 am

        I just found this in my spam folder, apologies for the delay in reviewing. Great suggestions, thank you. Elina Brotherus and Nigel Haworth were already on my list – both very appropriate – and Elinor Carlucci is new to me. There’s a raft of vernacular and social media imagery around the whole BFP/BFN (big fat positive/big fat negative) test results, and I also found Jonathan de Villier’s Waiting, which is very strong. I’m very much looking forward to this assignment.


  2. Lottie November 12, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    I agree with Catherine. I’m immediately thinking of Tracey Emin’s Stream of Consciousness about this moment in the book I’ve just got. I’ll find the reference if you want.

    And…popping upstairs to see if I still have mine some 14 years on. My middle I didn’t need a test for that decisive moment: I went off wine 100% without any other reason (so I knew 😃) and the youngest I woke up 1 day late with morning sickness so that kind of eradicated the need for a test (it was a ‘oh here we go again’ moment). Personal and inviting project Kate!


    • Kate November 12, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you Lottie, you are so kind. I would love to include your test if you still have it. For me, tea started tasting wrong, but it took a few days of trying different vending machines at work before the penny dropped!


      • Lottie November 12, 2016 / 6:22 pm

        Just messaged you on hangouts.


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