Week 2 - Strategies of Mediation

Thinking about Umbrico with a sun photo. North Devon April-2017   

Thinking about Umbrico with a sun photo. North Devon April-2017 

I am planning to make my project using only my own images, so I hadn’t thought that I would need to reference any particular inspirations in the final piece. Even now I’m not sure I would need to, if it is merely an inspiration and not a direct reproduction or appropriation of someone else’s work. In any case to reference all inspirations that influence a piece of work would be nigh on impossible – considering not only the inspiration that may come directly from other artists and their work, but also from books, movies, friends, relatives, strangers, events from one’s life etc.

As to whether others might use or reappropriate my images….well honestly it hadn’t crossed my mind until recently that anyone would want to, that my work would ever be good enough for anyone to want to use it. Thinking about that now, I am more aware of the ways that work is reappropriated and used by artists. It is not only the work of professionals that can be used but also the work of amateur photographers, or non-photographers; e.g. Penelope Umbrico’s ‘Suns from Sunsets from Flickr’ work[i], or by using the work of unknown people; e.g. the work of found photography by Joachim Schmid[ii]. So how easy or possible it is to control how my work could be used, especially in this digital age, I just don’t know. It is of course possible to copywrite one’s work, but even so with the way images are now shared and can be found online that would not necessarily stop them from used in the way Umbrico compiled the images of suns. These cropped suns are not recognisable from any individual image and so it would not seem a concern that she doesn’t reference who’s original pictures they came from. It terms of Schmid’s work it would seem that his found photographs are because others disposed of them, and by relinquishing ownership of those images it would seem that they were not concerned with what might happen to them afterwards – after they were gone.

Although my work doesn’t appropriate or use work by other people, and my images are all taken by me, I do not think any of my work is particularly original. I think that all my images are influenced in some way or another by other photographers and other artists – whether I am directly aware of it or not. I don’t feel the need to change the methodology of my project because of this, although truth be told I don’t have a fixed idea of how it will be completed yet anyway. I would think that most work these days is influenced and/or inspired by other people, and nothing is truly original and unrelated in any way to anything done before. These feelings do sometimes make me wonder what the point is of creating more work, more images. But I try to remember that I’m not trying to make truly original work, I’m trying to find ways to create work just to communicate something, or express myself, using a medium that I love. And there is nothing wrong with that.



[i] UMBRICO, Penelope. 2006. ‘Suns from Sunsets from Flickr’                                         Available at http://www.penelopeumbrico.net/index.php/project/suns/                        [Accessed 11/06/2017]

[ii] CASPER, Jim. ‘Celebrating Photographic Garbage’                                                     Available at https://www.lensculture.com/articles/joachim-schmid-celebrating-photographic-garbage                                                                                                                             [Accessed 11/06/2017]