Week Four Reflections

mickyatesCritical Research Journal, FinalMajorProject, FMPWeek4, Reflections Leave a Comment

I would be the first to admit that I went through a bit of a lull starting the FMP. It was not about the (big, self-imposed) task in prospect, but more motivation. Hard to put into words. I have been working towards this end point on the same project from the beginning of the MA, as evidenced by re-reading the initial proposal I wrote during Positions and Practice. The core of the project, and the intended output has remained constant, although my execution and creative planning has changed dramatically. I await with interest how Wendy sees it all, next week.

In any event, I think the lull is over. The past week has been one of pretty full-on activity, mainly in researching the content of the book (and thus installation, eventually) rather than images per se – although I have been active with Cambodian archive sources.

I have completed editing of the personal stories from Sarath and Simeth, and I have found new, personal writing energising. In the first instance, I have been going over all of our archival notes from the schools project, as well as Cambodian history. I am not finished on bringing the educational ‘story’ up to date, so that is the work of the next week. Of course the sequencing and photographs is going to be a huge job – next on the list – as is trying to find an external editor to help.

I have signed the book contract, and am moving forward on seeing if I can confirm a distribution agreement in Phnom Penh.

Wendy did say that there wasn’t ‘a lot of reading’ in FMP, but I guess habits die hard. Besides reading some books on Cambodia that I am overdue on, it has been fun chatting (debating?) with Gary. This tends to be around time and rephotography, which is very apropos to my work, as well as ethics, my long-term project.

On the ethics front, the conversation led me back to thinking more about two areas – ethics within complex systems, and the relationship between power and knowledge (Foucault). I have both inside the fledging framework, but there is much to ponder and dissect. Maybe I need to divide the framework into more layers?

Here’s a reminder of where I am in the research:

  1. THE PHOTOGRAPH ITSELF (Technical, composition. Think Szarkowski et al.)
  2. SUBJECT MATTER (Content, symbols, meaning)
  3. CULTURE (e.g. Hofstede + Confucius)
  4. CHANGE INTENTION (Observe – Document – Advocate – Programmatic)
  5. POWER RELATIONSHIPS (Photographer/Subject – Knowledge – Politics – Media – Ownership)
  6. NETWORK EFFECTS (Nodal Identity – Searchability – Trustworthiness – Actionability)
  7. ROLES (Photographer – Editor – Media – Audience)
  8. THE LAW (Of course)

I have also found the Monday Cromarty webinar helpful – always good to check in with people that have become both good friends and no-holds-barred critics.

Lots to do, but exciting!


FOUCAULT, Michel. 1969. Archaeology of Knowledge. 2002 Edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

GRIFFIN, Douglas. 2002. The Emergence of Leadership: Linking Self-Organisation and Ethics. Abingdon: Routledge.

TYNER, James A. 2008. The Killing of Cambodia: Geography, Genocide and the Unmasking of Space. Abingdon: Routledge.

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