FMP Week One Reflections

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Well, here we go. the end of the first week of Final Major Project, although (based on my CRJ writings), it does seem to have been a nearly continuous flow since Informing Contexts.

There are three areas of reflection this week.

First, it was a very good webinar with Wendy, discussing the Pecha Kucha, which is the draft work plan for the module. Wendy’s feedback was very positive, as was that of my peers, so it will form the basis for the upcoming proposal. Perhaps the main point is to be sure that the FMP really focuses on the Installation. The book will happen, and will be an important contributor to the Installation, but is not the focus of the FMP. The same is true of miscellaneous talks, group books and group shows that will take place in the next six months. Importantly I have secured a two week slot at Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, starting December 4th – a fitting venue and good timing for the end of FMP. I now need to create a timeline of events leading up to the show.

A colleague of mine, Mike Chopra-Grant, who is both a photographer and a photography lecturer, put together an installation of his collection of American vernacular slides (amateur photography, 1950- 1980), which has some very interesting and relevant ideas.

Mike Chopra-Grant. Americans. 2019.

I will continue to research.

Secondly, I have continued to enjoy using the Bronica SQ-A. I realise that is hardly part of FMP, but as I have noted elsewhere I have found that my focus on the MA has sometimes slowed down my experimentation in photography.

Mick Yates. Nunney Castle. 2019.

I am finding it liberating to use the camera. Over recent years I have gone back to film a lot, but not medium format. The quality of the negatives, and the way that Portra scans, virtually grain free, is most pleasing. The Bronica is actually very intuitive to use, and I love the need to be careful (mindful?) when composing in square format. It is also surprisingly versatile, with a  very high ‘hit rate’ of useable images – even fidgety kids!

Mick Yates. Seby & Carla at Nunney Castle. 2019.

I continue to be very impressed with Metro Imaging. By coincidence Wendy mentioned some products they have which stick, large scale, onto walls. I need to visit and investigate.

Thirdly, my philosophical interests are developing. As noted in the Pecha Kucha, I am working on the Ethics of Photography, and hope to be doing lectures in 2019/2020 as a result. Who knows, a book might ensue. This week, in finishing Paul Martin Lester’s Visual Ethics, I realised that there is no truly multi-layered approach to this issue in the literature. And what there is is very ‘Modernist western’.

I am not going to go into detail here, but I can see six layers of ethics research, as follows:

  • THE PHOTOGRAPH ITSELF (Content – Technical – Symbols. Think Szarkowski et al.)
  • CULTURAL CONTEXT (e.g. Hofstede + Confucius)
  • CHANGE INTENTION (Observe – Document – Advocate – Programmatic)
  • POWER RELATIONSHIPS (Photographer/Subject – Politics – Media – Ownership)
  • NETWORK EFFECTS (Nodal Identity – Searchability – Trustworthiness – Actionability)
  • ROLES (Photographer – Editor – Media – Audience)

Related, in my business life, I developed and used a simple approach to help clients develop a clear strategy and executional plan, which I called the Transition Framework

  • The Business Is For (Target Audience)
  • Whose Problem / Frustration Is (The Situation Today)
  • Our Services Offer (Benefits)
  • Our Values Are
  • Our Products Are (Specifics)
  • Unlike Our Competitors (Our Advantages Are)
  • Our Credibility Comes From
  • Our Business Goals Are …

It is something similar I am aiming for on how to unpack the Ethics of a Photograph.

More on this as FMP proceeds.

……………………………….

CHOPRA-GRANT, Mike. 2006. Hollywood Genres and Postwar America: Masculinity, Family and Nation in Popular Movies and Film Noir. London: I.B. Tauris.

LESTER, Paul Martin. 2018. Visual Ethics. New York: Routledge.