This post is a summary for assessment, full details can be found under the relevant assignment menu item.
My concept for this work was the domestic – a series of pairs of images taking differing views of aspects of my life. There’s a touch of the social media about it – highlighting the difference between life as we show it and life as it is what we choose to show versus the reality behind the net curtains. I was inspired by lace at Lacock Village and its properties for both concealing and revealing simultaneously. I worked with pairs such as educational Lego vs Barbie dolls and Lidl shopping versus Waitrose. It took me a couple of passes to get to this concept – it was hard to find a concept that could support two different narratives. The earlier work wasn’t wasted but did slow me down.
The results were encouraging though once again showed the gaps in my technical knowledge. I built a set and bought net curtains and did multiple shoots. I didn’t have a lens with the right combination of wide aperture and focal length so ended up using my 100mm macro lens and shooting from the other end of the kitchen. I needed the wide aperture to get the shallow depth of field. The work felt as if it was mine – firmly anchored in the domestic, and it resonated with other women who saw the images.
My tutor was very positive about the work and was clear that “you have thoroughly explained the concept of being able to put together two sets of images from the same scene and that you took an inventive approach and constructive approach to the problem posed.” He also provided several suggestions for taking the work forward, including the use of video with the focus gradually shifting from one object to the other, or by using Photoshop to exaggerate the difference in focus within each image.
I found the feedback very helpful but it didn’t really shake me out of my slight ambivalence about this assignment. In retrospect, some of the feedback was very prescient about the course that I would follow for future assignments, specifically self portraiture from a feminist perspective, decoding of advertising, considering work from an approach of binary opposition or “a spectrum of interrelated possibilities”.
I did try to rework this assignment – I really wanted to acknowledge Fox Talbot and lace in the same piece of work. Inspired by his early lace images, I made photograms of the net curtains that I photographed at Lacock. It was a promising start, but not what I wanted. I decided to leave this assignment exactly as it was, except for a simple change to the edit, which proved to be the right decision. I removed the shopping bag pair of images as the difference in focus was not strong enough and removed it with a pen/phone pair.
Once I’d “cut the cord” I was able to look at all of my Fox Talbot, Lacock and lace work objectively and it led me very clearly to my A5. So I think the best value in A1 for me was the foundation that it provided for the rest of C&N rather than as a discrete piece of work in its own right.