Looking back through my blog I see that I started Part 5 in July, approximately 6 months ago. That makes sense though. There weren’t really any massive delays – the usual school holiday pause, a delay for feedback while my tutor was working outside the UK – this was simply a part of the course with exceptionally rich pickings for me and I was able to take the time to make the most of them.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the archive and found this part of the course very inspiring. There is something almost tangible in the archive, and it’s certainly very accessible. I especially like the idea of a constructed archive, like the Fae Richards archive – an exercise in making a different truth.
I had two passes at A5. I eventually paused the Pink work when it became apparent that my re-work attempts for A1 were getting big enough to be an assignment in their own right. The photogram work had significant potential and I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to do both. I was confident that if the photogram work wasn’t successful I would be able to substitute the pink work instead. It was however very reassuring to read my tutor’s feedback on the pink work and I shall be returning to it. The photogram work was immensely satisfying on a number of levels. It allowed me to tie up my various mental loose ends about lace and Fox Talbot. I have learned a raft of new darkroom skills and am very grateful for the generosity and kindness of the darkroom owner who is terrifically helpful and supportive of my work.
A5 has felt like a culmination, so much has come together. My learning has been truly iterative, a step at a time both conceptually and practically, and I think that’s why it’s rarely felt overwhelming. I actively sought as much feedback as possible, via the blog, the OCA board, OCA Hangout, two regional groups, the collective that I’m part of, my climbing group… The feedback wasn’t always what I expected or wanted to hear, but the diversity of it once again made me realise that the work had merit and was worth persisting with.
Parallel with Part 5 has been preparation for three exhibitions, two of which have been held so far. I made a handmade book with test images from my photograms for the OCA Showcase exhibition at OXO London, and made some of my pink images into diptychs for the OCA South West exhibition in Bristol. I am also showing two framed 12×16 photograms at the Thames Valley Group exhibition in February 2019, the work is already framed and ready to go. It was a challenge balancing the exhibition prep with the coursework. I am happy that I did it though and satisfied with the results.