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  • Ellie Rankin

MAIN WORK CREATED IN PRELIMINARY STAGES,DARKROOM EXPERIMENTS & SUSAN SONTAG 'ON PHOTOGRAPHY' READING

Updated: May 21, 2020

In the early stages of starting a new project, I've realised that I always get into the habit of spending a significant amount if time undertaking theoretical research and looking at other artists works, and don't actually start making work for a good couple of weeks. I've since realised that this way of working then goes on to have a negative effect and impact on my personal approach and process of creating work, as I never feel as though anything is justified or 'right'. I wanted to challenge this way of working on this occasion and simply begin making and experimenting in the early stages of the journey. Regardless of whether the images and outcomes created in these early and initial stages will be of any interest or use, I have come to understand that it acts as a starting point, and I've since learnt its better to have something to work from as opposed to being stuck within my own head trying to figure things out. I therefore decided to put my thoughts into practice and start by undertaking some darkroom experiments.


I began looking around the internet for images to use and work with. My idea was to begin to question our relationship to the idea of 'everyday photography' whereby the everyday and banal is essentially aestheticised through instant digital imagery. This has come from my own personal experiences of using my phone to capture specific settings such as a setting sun, (or pleasant looking sky) a fireworks display, or architectural and structural places when on holiday. I began thinking about these areas as I started to question my own response to the images I'd taken. They remain locked and stored virtually within my phone, or digital 'cloud' storage, until I view them at a later date (thats if I even do that). I began to consider how often this was that I would look back at them, and consider what I would gain from this review...was it a memory trigger, did I feel a certain sense of nostalgia when re looking at them? or was it simply a 'nice looking scene', that would remain untouched in my virtual photo album for years to come.



 


SUSAN SONTAG 'ON PHOTOGRAPHY'


This piece of text written by Susan Sontag instantly came to mind when questioning these specific aspects when addressing this area within the medium of photography.


'Like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defence against anxiety, and a tool of power'



POINTS TO CONSIDER IN TEXT..WIDER REFERENCES?



This idea of photography being used as a tool for remembrance and 'memorialising' the achievements of individuals is one of the key uses of the medium...

When questioning 'what photography is' consider what it means to different people..

What does studying the subject bring to us?

(DO)?? We have an entirely different relationship to the medium as someone who has no interest in it further than taking everyday images...AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY..

Photography being used to explore a detached subject...what is 'art photography'

Consider photographic genres and conventions...

What we expect to see in an image? How do we recognise aspects? Familiarity within photography?

Widely used by all.



'THESE GHOSTLY TRACES, PHOTOGRAPHS, SUPPLY THE TOKEN PRESENCE OF THE DISPERSED RELATIVES. A FAMILY'S PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM IS GENERALLY ABOUT THE EXTENDED FAMILY - AND OFTEN ALL THE REMAINS OF IT.'


'PHOTOGRAPHS WILL OFFER INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE THAT THE TRIP WAS MADE, THAT THE PROGRAM WAS CARRIED OUT, THAT FUN WAS HAD.'.........past tense.........



'Most tourists feel compelled to out the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter.


'gives shape to an experience'


principle devices for experiencing something, showing participation..proof something happened

 

In response to these preliminary ideas, thoughts and readings, I began considering exploring this area visually, in order to pin point exactly what I was thinking in my mind. As aforementioned, I often struggle in creating work at the very start of any project, as in my mind the work created will not be justified, nor a clear representation of my thoughts.


The images presented in the slider gallery directly below are those collected from the internet , from sites such as Flickr, and simply google images. I wanted to collect the images with a certain structure, so I therefore picked three sub titles that from my own personal experience of capturing scenes mindlessly.


-


Scenes that I, from personal experience, will not necessarily regularly return to in their transformed digital form.


These were :


Sunsets / sky scenes

Fireworks displays

Holiday / tourist scenes, architectural



SUNSETS /SKY SCENES



ACETATE PRINTS [BELOW]




FIREWORKS




ACETATE PRINTS [BELOW]




DARKROOM PRINTS SCANNED IN [BELOW]








TOURIST / HOLIDAY





ACETATE PRINTS [BELOW]



DARKROOM PRINTS SCANNED IN [BELOW]





One thing I found interesting and kept returning to when creating these outcomes was the idea of the 'journey' these images had been on. From being selected and captured from their original places of existing by the original owner of the images, to then being placed online for all to see, to then being handpicked by myself and reworked and placed in new contexts and situations. I couldn't help thinking that the original image taker would've never have thought the those scenes would have ended up as physical darkroom prints. It made me think about and consider what happens to images once they've been transformed into digital files and placed out of our control.

Anything can then happen, from file corruption to being used in a new art based project. I suppose this is commenting on just how unpredictable technologies and the power of the internet can be.

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