Overview of 2020- 2021

This past Year has been an extremely difficult year difficult year for most people. We have endured a pandemic that has killed many thousands of people, it has restricted the freedoms of most of the popuation. A situation that whenever it seemed to get better, it very quickly became much worse. The impact on photographers has been quite significant. Studios closed, weddings and events cancelled, the abiity to earn taken away. The impact on students has been significant. No access to your university campus, Libraries, Studios all closed. The lack of contact with others in the same positionhas also impacted upon students. Zoom does not make up for having a chat face to face. 

For me, as a portrait photographer it has been very difficult. In Wales there  have been additional lockdowns to those imposed in England, as I live in a tourist area, these areas have been subject to a heavy police presence, and fines issued like confetti. So leaving the house was something of a challenge. Add to the problem of wanting to shoot constructed photography, where the image is entirely constructed, it has been a significant challenge.


A Fundamental Change

During my second year at University, I came to the realization that I had developed a taste for making photographs that were not just images but were part of a bigger work. In the collaborative practice module - the first project entitled “The death of Live Music” concerned itself with the way in which smaller music venues are closing down, or being forced into closure all around the country by developers and local authorities who champion the cause of redevelopment, conveniently forget that leisure is more than a Latte and a two bedroom duplex. The point to be made was that the real losers in this are the general public who have started to access music via streaming platforms, no longer buying albums and cd’s just a monthly subscription to Spotify or Deezer. Whilst it may appear to be value for money, it rarely is. Whilst we access music this way it is the record companies who benefit, they dictate what is heard, the smaller venues where fledgling bands would learn their craft, learning how to play in front of an audience are disappearing fast. We access music through headphones and computers, no longer going to concerts. The days of going to see a band for a tenner are drawing to a close. Instead as the streaming platforms have their way - the record companies no longer need listen to the new edgier music, or the different, they only listen to the algorithm of the last song you listened to, and supply you with the next track that has a similar algorithm, a constant source of songs you will never be disappointed with, but change will never come. Music has always been a backdrop of revolutions, whether overthrows of monarchies or the soundtrack to cultural change, now artists no longer herald change, they are little more than a “bum on a seat” albeit a lucky and rich one.

Please Welcome live on stage...Your Laptop

Groovin' in isolation

I believe that this project was well received, and I very much enjoyed the whole process of creating the installation. My second project concerned the trials and tribulations of the collaborative process, or in my particular case the lack of collaboration. Partnered with two others, who failed to attend classes, I answered this by working on my own and highlighted the lack of involvement on their part by representing them as showroom dummies, creating a scenario using the shop dummies as tourists and myself as the tour guide. At the end of the photography process, I printed the images and put them in the rubbish bins, along with the showroom dummies, which I subsequently filmed being tipped into a bin lorry. Unfortunately, I had to show the piece as an exhibition for my marks, otherwise I would happily have let the whole exhibition be destroyed, which I felt would have been the better option as it described the lack of collaboration perfectly.

Aside from the above, having been introduced to the work of Bas Jan Ader, I felt had an effect upon the way I work. Initially my reaction to his work was that of distain, However, once I started to research his life and work in more depth, it became clear to me that his work seemed to be searching for the perfect conclusion. His life seemed surrounded by tragedy early on, the murder of his father, his searching for closure in the perfect work seemed to resonate with me. The works of Michael Landy also played a part in bringing the performative aspect to the fore. For me no longer was the photograph the be all and end all, but just a part in a bigger work. We see pictures everyday, be it on the television , the internet of on a billboard, very rarely though are those pictures just a picture, they are always part of something else, a message, an advertisement an inducement. It is this realisation that has now driven me to my final work. A video production. An amalgam of both still and moving image, crafted into a short story set to music. No words just performance encapsulating the craft.