Thinking Ahead

Having submitted my final two assignments for this module I’m finding it hard to know what to do now whilst waiting for the results/feedback. I feel in a bit of a state of limbo…wanting to get on and do something for my project but not wanting to commit to anything in case the feedback on my proposal is contradictory to (or disparaging of) my plans.

We’ve been asked to put together a photobook inspired by Ed Rusha’s work over the break so perhaps I just need to focus on that. I like how his repetitive style of images of a common subject matter made the series of photos have a quite striking effect. Looking at his work made me think of Grey Malin’s photobook “Beaches” in which he took images of various beaches around the world from above, offering a birds-eye-view, and showing the beauty of the repetition or patterns in the scenes below; in the way people behave on the beach, or in repetition of beach umbrellas, for example. 

The two biggest aspects of Ruscha’s work that have stuck with me recently, are the repetition of the everyday in his images and his work with text. These got me thinking about the repetition of the everyday in my life and about the different texts I see everyday – from train signs, street signs, text at work, text in books, writing this – thinking about it makes me feel bombarded with text as well as imagery! Having received (yet another) book purchase via Amazon today, I started thinking about the number of books I’ve received or bought during this course, and I thought about Ruscha’s self-published Twenty Six Gasoline Stations. I wondered whether by presenting his work in a small book rather than a big gallery display the repetitive nature of the images was highlighted, and by encouraging the viewer to look at them in that order, and see them in the same presentation in the very everyday format of a book, helped develop the utilitarian feel that may not have happened in a large space where the viewer was free to move from one image to any of the others.

I thought I’d pay homage to Ruscha by taking these thoughts and turning them into “12 books bought for my photography course”. As I’m normally a natural light documentary style photographer I thought it might also be fun to try something different and play around with some still life, some “studio” lighting, and also some black and white. I also wondered if it might be interesting to present these different books with their different fonts side-by-side as a bit of a reflection on the way text and imagery interrelate and are connected. 

These are the resulting images. It was a fun experiment and I enjoyed playing around with some still life. The images I honestly don’t think are anything special and whilst interesting to me I don’t think they would be of much interest to anyone else. They don’t exactly ‘say’ anything,  there’s no message and even though I took them, I feel there’s no real point to the series. I did enjoy the process of thinking and planning so much in advance of making the work, and that is something that I feel I could use for my project, and I can see how – for the project I think I might be making – it would be useful to plan out the images in advance.