What a great week, spilling over into week four, and dominated by the Falmouth Face to Face.
I’ll try to break my (over loaded) thoughts into buckets.
First, it was just brilliant to meet people face to face. Spending time with my peers, both seriously talking photography and less seriously having a plain old fashioned good time. I doubt you’ll fine a more experienced, knowledgeable, helpful and fun group anywhere. I really valued the feedback on my work, and one the beginning’s of the Cambodia project. Danny‘s review of my portfolio was really insightful. Here’s a few pictures of the weekend.
Second, the Falmouth faculty staff. Whilst I wasn’t able to spend too much time with them all (they appeared super-busy), I got a lot from Steph Cosgrove especially, both on how to push my documentary practice forward, and how to think about the Cambodian work. Jesse (rightly) pushed me on having a ‘Plan B‘ for the project, especially encouraging the ‘night tableau’ street work. And Gary‘s presentation, right at the end of the four days, on ‘Rephotography‘ really struck a chord, as I go next week to Cambodia to scope out how the project might work.
Third, the learning experience. Going back to school on scanning was most enjoyable. Comparing the scans I got (with Kate‘s help on technique) on the Epson flatbed versus my Plustek showed a major quality improvement. Epson 850 ordered! The studio sessions were phenomenal. Dave is a naturally engaging teacher, and clearly loves the studio. I know that the rangefinder is not a normal studio camera, but I was extremely pleased with the results.
I haven’t done a lot of studio – and I still don’t see it as a centre of my practice. But I think the sessions really helped me in understanding how to think about light. Pierre, a professional cinematographer, was super helpful in setting up the light readings.
Fourth, my project. Through all of the inputs so far, including reading ‘Archiving the Unspeakable‘, and Gary’s input on rephotography, I am beginning to see a pathway. This never was as simple go back and revisit places and see what is there now. I have always had in mind examining the story through Cambodian eyes. I can see several new threads which need exploring.
Besides the stories themselves, what do people ‘see’ when they, for example, visit Tuol Sleng? What do the mug shots mean? Are they still looking for lost family and friends? Is it a freak show? Ashley made the powerful point that usually genocide museums are built aways from the territory where the genocide was committed. Tuol Sleng was opened by the Vietnamese after the 1979 invasion, essentially to justify that invasion. They did indeed stop the genocide – but even today there is controversy about the invasion. Was it liberation – or was it occupation? For my project, I clearly need to examine this Cambodian response.
More practically, building on Gary’s points, I need to be totally open to how Sarath and others speak about (and take pictures of) our joint adventures, digging into the past, and examining how my archives tell the same or different stories.
Then, how do I rephotograph without becoming trite …
Portfolio Reviews: Some links / works to consider
Jorma Puranen Imaginary Homecoming http://helsinkischool.fi/artists/jorma-puranen/portfolio/imaginary-homecoming
Susan Meiselas Nicaragua http://www.susanmeiselas.com/latin-america/nicaragua/#id=somoza_regime
Chan Chao Monks in Burma http://www.chanchao.net
Chris Killip In Flagrante http://www.chriskillip.com
Christopher Nunn Falling into the day http://www.christophernunn.co.uk
Julian Germain Tableau – Panoramas http://www.juliangermain.com/
Kaylynn Deveney Day to Day Life of Albert Hastings https://kaylynndeveney.com/the-day-to-day-life-of-albert-hastings/
Mary Ellen Mark http://www.maryellenmark.com
Philip Lorca Hustlers – Boulevard – Tableau http://time.com/3803327/trade-philip-lorca-dicorcias-hollywood-hustlers-drug-addicts-and-drifters/
Wendy Ewald 10 photographers http://wendyewald.com/about/
David Campany Photography & Cinema