After a blinding weekend with friends, I'm now clocking back on.
So, it is following the creation of this image above, (the one mentioned in the previous post), that has led me to reflect a little on my 'default' approach to photography.
I created this, prompted by a call for entries via OCA here by The Higher Education Academy. The competition is entitled 'Is this as good as it gets' and the brief was 'what do you love about studying your subject? The Higher Education Academy is looking for a photograph/digital image which captures how it feels to study the Arts and Humanities when the Arts and Humanities is at its best'.
Anyway, this post isn't about the competition or my entry. But there are a number of issues this image has raised in my head. Without the constraints I impose on myself for assignments, which I'll come back to, a concept for this brief arrived like a gift from an angel. Most of my anguish over the past few months with image making is how to successfully execute pre-visualised ideas, which I have only achieved partially. My attempts until now have been crude or clumsy versions of how they look in my head. For this image, I mocked up what I wanted and then worked on the individual elements, adopting a variety of digital techniques to execute it. And this is where I am questioning my approach. The purist in me would say it lacks authenticity as it is merely a digital composite although there are a good number of artists who have, such as Sam Taylor Wood, Kelli Connell. My question is can an image be devalued by the way in which it was put together? Is it 'cheating' to use digital manipulation...and should it matter? Is it more about the message than the route to achieve it? If I'd managed to install all these elements in-situ like Gregory Crewdson or indeed Roger Ballen do, would I use different criteria to judge it? I perhaps shouldn't be worrying about this. Nevertheless, I have until now, on my assignment work, purposefully avoided the digital composite or manipulation route because of this concern. But on the other hand, by adopting the digital route, for the first time in a long time, the image I saw in my head is what you see here...and that has made me happy...simple things and all that...
The image above, is not a million miles off the aesthetic and intent I had for the 'Domestic Sublime' series. So I'm now thinking, could I achieve the Domestic Sublime concept more successfully by relaxing in to it a little and being less purist about it? I could still take the landscapes/backdrops with the large format camera to get the quality in the image and to continue practicing with it (although that would be back to colour film again). And then overlay it digitally with aspects of the concept I can't impose on the landscape any other way? Which approach speaks louder to the viewer? The most eloquent I would have thought. I guess I need to try a few...I suppose I'm challenging my own views on the credibililty of this approach really and whether these self-imposed restraints are counter-productive...I'm beginning to think they might be.