Assignment 2: The archive

Brief:

Produce a series of related images that use a readily available online archive (or archives) as their starting point or subject.

Make a small book for this project, using proprietary software, to be viewable online. In your book, you may use a selection of images from primary sources (your own images) and/or secondary sources (images found online and/or scanned from other sources). Think about a theme for your book and use the references provided throughout Part Two as inspiration. Your book should contain a minimum of 12 double pages and can contain text if you wish, or simply a collection of images. Provide a link to where your tutor can view your book and also provide a few double-page spreads as still images as part of your learning log.

Preparation and Planning

The preparation for this assignment was completely different from the previous ones. I didn’t have any particular artist in mind as a reference, it was more abut the read on the whole that was given as preparation for this assignment. It all started with the awareness of Oliver Laric’s words I don’t see any necessity in producing images myself – everything that I would need exists, it’s just about finding it. Now when I think of it, probably even before that with the lecture by Mishka Henner, here in Luxembourg a year ago. Maybe unconsciously I did have that reference, hm.

Photography as a medium has a strange power over and a relationship to reality or better said the presentation of reality. It uses something that already exists to express an individual story of the artist. Then, why should the usage of already made photos be any different? (Joachim Schmid’s “anti-museum”).

For the project of this kind, where the images were not made by me, in order for it to be good or at least for me to be satisfied with it, it needed to have a concept that can justify the lack of involvement in making photographs. That made me think about others around me who use their cameras, maybe even more than me, what is photography to them, what are they using it for, and is there any real difference between all of us.

I posted the following question to my Facebook ‘friends’: What types of photographs do each of you save in your mobile phones. I wrote down all the answers.

IMG_9721.JPG

Using the data received, I made a pie chart, which I used for the cover page of the book, and the statistics for other pages inside the book.

Screenshots:

a2 front1%4%7%

Link to my Assignment 2

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z82n4xoulfwi4kk/Radman_The_archive_090418.pdf?dl=0

Checking my work against the assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
My previous experience working as a graphic designer paid off nicely here. This was not the first time I made a book, but because of that I was more focused on presenting the concept as clean as it could be, without any unnecessary design polishing.

Quality of outcome:
The use of the online application (Blurb) was practical, although it limited creativity. Nevertheless, it was accessible and painless to prepare the book. It is good that anybody can make a book from his living room, without much fuss and of course without the price of a book designer.

Demonstration of creativity:
In order to stay focused on images from mobile phones, I chose to use images only from Instagram and only those taken with the phone and not uploaded from other types of cameras. The pie chart made based on the input by the participants dictated the design of the cover of the book and the frame for the images. The circular frame expands in connection to the percentage representing a given topic, reflecting the replies given by the participants.

Context:
The idea behind the project was to explore what is popular at an exact moment in time, where do the interests lie for people that I am connected to. In other words, I wanted to see what the similarities that we all share are and to get an idea of each person’s fields of interest, which are changing rapidly for some people, while for others they stay the same.

Tutor’s response

An interesting concept which I think is worthy of further development further into the DiC course.

You have produced a book in support of this assignment exploring the ways in which people collect certain types of images (and share them) on social media.

As you yourself note, ‘for a project of this kind, where the images are not made by me, in order for it to be good….it needed to have a concept that can justify the lack of involvement in making photographs’.

NOTE: I’m attaching a very interesting essay by Joanna Zylinska on photography made without the human hand (so-called ‘non-human photography’) which I think you will find of interest in this context.

You’ve conducted a small survey – using Facebook responses to the question (‘what images’ do each of you save the most on your mobile phone?) of course, these answers are very much shaped by the demographic you are reaching out to. Undoubtedly, these percentages would shift considerably if, for example, you were targeting FB users by age. You have used images taken on phone only and not those taken by other cameras.

In response, you have made a pie chart on the answers you received (did you include the survey size etc.?) and from this pie chart you have produced a book, using a pie-chart image on one side of a double page and an image on the other.

I think the concept is a good one but would make a couple of observations. Whilst I can see why you’ve decided to use the circular frame to sit next to your circular pie chart, I think this is not necessarily the best way to present the phone images. Better, would be to have perhaps used a photograph of the respective phone screen itself (look at Erica Scourti’s presentation of her project Body Scan: https://vimeo.com/111503640) as this would seem to make more sense and also made more sense visually. (It’s also worth remembering that there are also lots of ways to visualize data too and each of these methods brings with it its own meaning. Have a look at different ways of visualizing data here and decide which for you works best in visual terms in the future. http://www.two-n.com/projects ).

The pie chart suggests that within the scope of the circular pie chart (100%) you will capture all the types of imagery put out on Instagram by phone cameras. However, there are types of imagery that move well beyond your existing categorizations of course and that’s worth considering I think.

NOTE: See Katrina Sluis’s essay Image Recognition here: http://eitherand.org/exhibitionism/image-recognition/

NOTE: Look at Erica Scourti’s project So Like You where she contact people whose photographs online look very like her own ones. She then contacts them and requests permission to reproduce their images next to her own: https://vimeo.com/113389761

NOTE: Read Unthinking Photography – the Photographers’ Gallery digital blog for a selection of relevant essays on digital projects: https://unthinking.photography/

Student feedback:

I am pleased that my concept for the assignment 2 was well perceived. I see how the points given by my tutor could help me produce a more coherent project of this kind in the future. This was for me a first step into involving other people in my work and also the first time that I got involved in any research involving statistics (which is clearly visible, you are lucky that I didn’t use a 3D pie chart). Inspired and motivated by the input from my tutor, I am willing to grasp similar project with more focus on each particular aspect so that the final product reflects the context as much as form.

I got several links that I am eager to explore, it will move me closer to my next assignment, which makes me feel a bit nervous.

IR

Assignment 2 Rework

https://www.dropbox.com/s/icfhnke74x263oq/Assignment%202%20Rework.pdf?dl=0

I thought about the tutor’s suggestions and decided to rework my Assignment 2. I used the format more in line with smartphones and also graphically followed by font and icons more in line with today’s visual appeal. Nice, clean and easy to comprehend.

 

Bibliography:

The Invisible Photograph: Part IV (Discarded) Artforum (2014) 17:54 mins At: https://www.artforum.com/video/the-invisible-photograph-part-iv-discarded-2014-50491 (Accessed on 12.04.18)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s