This blog post is a summary for assessment. Please see the original blog posts under the Assignment menu if you need more information.
This assignment was something of a problem child. I had already made and reworked a version of this assignment for my Foundations course so was hesitant about what I could bring to another iteration. I remembered that many photographers remake the same work over and over for years, so decided to persevere.
I chose to photograph my 8 year old daughter in her square mile. Apart from school, I am wherever she is, her mile is my mile. I reviewed the practitioners recommended in both the Foundation and EYV courses as well as those I had encountered independently. The ones that influenced me the most were Penny Watson, Charlie Murrell, Mimi Mollica, Sian Davey and Evgenia Arbugaeva. I was interested in images that showed the character of the children, and that showed a balance or a tension between the child and their surroundings. I didn’t want a “background” so much as a context that added information.
My tutor generously commented that I had made “a good start with lots of potential for development”. To summarise further comments:
- the edit isn’t right
- “the work could be enhanced through further conceptual enquiry”
- I needed to bring myself, or something of myself into the work
- I could add more layers by “gesturing towards historical characters” eg Alice.
She went on to explain which images worked and why, and suggesting other images from my contacts that might work. It was great feedback, which makes me sad that I have done so little with it (see below). I did follow up on all the reading suggestions. including Girls! Girls! Girls! Ed Catherine Grant and Lori Waxman. This blew me away. It was clearly written and gave me a broad perspective on photography and arts about female adolesence, by women.
I decided to make an Alice-themed reshoot. My model, now nine, thought not. The photographs we made together didn’t work, the magic wasn’t there. I discussed the problems with my tutor, she agreed with my suggestion that I make a refreshed edit from my archive and accept that my daughter has moved on.
So I made a refreshed edit…. but it concerned me that abandoning this work wasn’t representative of how I work. I scrapped the new edit, went out and photographed something that had been on my mind – the couple of dozen blue ribbons for Charlie Gard that had appeared in the town centre earlier this summer. I was intrigued by the impact that a London family had on my Wiltshire home town, via the tendrils of social media. As the campaign reached and passed its tragic end, the ribbons too began to enter a new phase of their existence – still there, but worn, dirty, fallen – acting as a memorial to Charlie rather than as a call to build support for his parents cause. I sought feedback on the OCA critique board and made the decision to submit this work without my tutor’s input. Influences were Kim Kirkpatrick and Gianluca Cosci, from the second part of the course.