Thursday, June 23, 2011

FINDING YOUR OWN VISION - 1 (the problem with assignment 5)

   After a long phone call with my tutor, Robert Enoch, about the direction of my photographic work, I found myself somewhat confused as to the best way to proceed. Although I am quite happy with my present photographic approach which centres around the photographing of birds, I also realise the need to broaden my horizon and adopt a more photographic vision if only as a way to inform my present practice.

   In regards to completing my assignment, the final one of People and Place, I have been considering a number of bodies of work. There are the Tibetan Sacred Dances that also includes portraiture, the Woodlanders that revolves around places associated with Thomas Hardy's novel of the same name, a project to photograph shopkeepers of my local town standing outside their shops as well as my work about the Taj Mahal which I was advised to drop for the time being as it was becoming a little burdensome.

It was while considering the Finding Your Own Vision workshop that I realised that although all the projects above would work, I really needed to do something with which I felt some definite rapport. Hence, my mind turned to an eco-park in India where I have been photographing recently.

This decision though has nothing to do with the workshop; this is being run by a couple of Magnum photographers, Alex and Rebecca Webb. Alex has just had a book of his work published, thirty years of photographs. However, what appealed to me was that Rebecca has explored "the complicated relationship between people and the natural world."

The following relates to Alex Webb's book and exhibition at the Magnum offices in London ...

American photographer Alex Webb; The Suffering of Light (Thames & Hudson, 2011).

The first comprehensive monograph charting Alex Webb’s acclaimed career,
Recognized as a pioneer of American colour photography since the 1970s, Webb has consistently created photographs characterized by colour, shape and light. His work, with its richly layered and complex composition, touches on multiple genres, including street photography, photojournalism, and fine art, but as Webb claims, “to me it all is photography. You have to go out and explore the world with a camera.” 
The exhibition at the Magnum Print Room encompasses twelve of Webb’s best known images. 
Webb says of his Haitian experience; “I realized there was another emotional note that had to be reckoned with: the intense, vibrant colour of these worlds. Searing light and intense colour seemed somehow embedded in the cultures”.
It is not just the intense colour of Webb’s work that is so instantly recognizable, but the density of his all-over compositions. Packed with information, each frame, creates a matrix of inter-relating gesture and form.

I wonder if the cost of the workshop is really worth it! However, it is good to hear accomplished photographers discussing not only the work of others but also one's own and perhaps I might get a clearer view of my own work. Probably better to talk to Raghu Rai though and that costs me nothing!
For some reason, I feel a lot of stress around this workshop. It may have something to do with a lack of clarity of what it is actually about with an "optional" street photography project that I am not really interested in.

In fact, my apprehension is justified in regards to the organisation of the event. being misinformed about the bus stop leads to me walking for about 15 minutes which would not have been a problem but since it was raining hard, I got soaked and felt slightly rheumatic for awhile.
Here are some links ...

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