Note to the Assessors

Dear Assessors,

Thank you for taking the time to evaluate my work.

My learning log is online and can be located at: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/ . The blog is in descending date order (standard blog format). Each assignment’s section begins with the assignment preparation, followed by the original assignment submission, tutor feedback and my reflections and ends with any revision/rework that I have done as a result of the tutor feedback (each on their respective tabs).

The Research and Reflection tab on the menu at the top of the blog contains my learning log which is categorized under the following tabs: Exhibitions, Research, Personal Reflections and Photographers in descending order (standard blog format). Research relevant to each assignment is mentioned in my assignment write up and is hyperlinked to the relevant posts as well.

My digital submission has been uploaded to my allocated G-drive and includes the following files:

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Creative work uploaded to my allocated G-drive:
    • A1-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 1 & thumbnails of images)
      • A1-Figure-01.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-02.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-03.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-07.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-10.jpg (image)
    • A2-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 2 & thumbnails of images)
      • A2-1-Figure-1.jpg (image)
      • A2-2-Figure-3.jpg (image)
      • A2-3-Figure-2.jpg (image)
      • A2-4-Figure-5.jpg (image)
      • A2-5-Figure-8.jpg (image)
    • A3-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 3 and Blurb book. Also contains details of backup links and instructions for backup PDF version of book)
      • A3-Backup-BookCover.pdf (Backup version of book cover if Blurb link doesn’t work) (image)
      • A3-Backup-BookPages.pdf (Backup version of book pages if Blurb link doesn’t work) (images)
    • A5-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 5 and Vimeo video. Also contains details of backup links and mp4 backup video)
      • A5-ReturningToCoyote.mp4 (Backup for video if Vimeo link doesn’t work) (video)
  • Assignment 4 – Critical Review Essay: Have Photographic Ethics Changed Since the Depression Era and the Present?A Comparison of a Selection of the Ethical Issues in Migrant Mother and The Afghan Girl.
  • Course Reflection and Evaluation
  • All six (6) tutor reports have also been uploaded to my assigned Google Drive and are located under Tutor Reports, clearly named in the following format [Lynda_Kuit_512863_Feedback_Assignment_No_ Documentary.pdf].

Thank you.

Learning Outcomes

LO1 demonstrate detailed knowledge of visual and conceptual strategies in documentary practice and be able to explore your own critical documentary photographic projects.

Perhaps a turning point in my approach to my documentary practice came about when reading Joan Fontcuberta’s essay in Pedro Meyer’s book (1995) Truths & Fictions | a journey from documentary to digital photography and working through that terribly long Seeing is Believing OCA blog post (https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/exercise-seeing-is-believing-2/). I had been struggling with the concept of using fiction to construct the truth vs recording the actual event and although I think I still encounter some speedbumps along this line of thinking, Fontcuberta’s questioning has been key to helping me understand this dichotomy: “what matters in a document – the intention that originated it or the effect it elicits? What is important – its aesthetic status as evidence or the social function that is assigned to it? (Meyer, 1995:8).

In retrospect those questions freed my thinking and allowed me to experiment conceptually with Assignment 3 and later Assignment 5. I believe that in both pieces of work I am leaning more towards the effect the work elicits and the social function I want it to address.

Studying the work of Jack Latham (https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/jack-latham/) has also been key to my development as an artist. The concept of using archival images alongside new images was new to me and the power dynamic and authority that this combination can create interested me greatly. The range of media that Latham used when exhibiting his work at the Royal Photographic Society also triggered ideas for the presentation of my Assignment 5. The idea of decontextualizing, then recontextualizing something and adding a personal voice to it was a huge factor in making Assignment 5.

 

LO2 demonstrate an awareness of the wider social and cultural contexts in which documentary photography operates and be able to discuss relevant ethical perspectives in relation to your own practice.

 

LO3 explore and realise a range of ideas and creative starting points, and exercise judgement in the production of visual material.

 

LO4 manage learning resources, conduct self-directed contextual and visual research, and be able to appraise your progress with increasing confidence.

 

LO5 demonstrate increasing autonomy and a developing personal voice and exercise your communication skills confidently and interact effectively within a learning group.

I’m finding an overlap in reporting on the learning outcomes especially LO2, LO3 and to a certain extent LO5. While my Assignments 1 and 2 seem to play a relatively subservient role in this reporting process, those assignments were probably instrumental in leading me along the path I followed. Documenting community and then a specific place in that locality sparked the need to investigate the history and latent histories of that same community, which are reflected in Assignments 3 and 5.

I am also reminded of a statement that Jack Latham made during his recent BJP Zoom interview in that photography is not a solitary occupation. It is a collaboration. One is reliant on one’s subjects, tutors (in the case of OCA students) and fellow peers for feedback and I find this to be so true, especially in the case of my peers. I would not be at the place in my photographic journey where I am today without the input from my fellow students.

Weekly Check In – 4 June 2020

This will most likely be my final weekly check in for the Documentary module as everything gets finalised for assessment.

Monday: I completed my write up on the ROW hangout 31 May. I also spent some time preparing blog posts for L3 – my mind maps for my proposed BOW and a few artist talks.

I logged into the OCA new VLE Learn platform today only to discover that the only course I’m signed up for is the OCA Big Draw and none of my regular OCA courses. I have notified tech support on that.

Tuesday: Today I took part in the Virtual Study Event featuring Susan Bright: Collaboration and Creative Practice. The study event was a continuation really of her lecture which I reported on last week. She went into a little more depths about her academic background and how she came to be interested in curatorship. Again she stressed the importance of the artist/curator relationship – the curator being that of a sounding board for the artist, but also needing to realise that at some point one needs to fly the nest and work independently of each other, otherwise the relationship tends to stagnate. She passed along a few do’s and don’t’s on how to go about contacting a curator: preferably in person, have the work ready in a coherent format, don’t get defensive when constructive criticism is offered – everyone has a different opinion and one can only learn from these, contact people who you think will be interested in your work. Speaking about her Home Truths exhibition she went into some detail explaining the subtle nuances of why she displayed the various artists work as she did. Brotherus’s work was displayed on a shelf that ran down the one side of the room – very much similar to photographs on a mantlepiece, as she wanted to create that homey feel to that work. The other artist whose work was displayed opposite to Brotherus had her work hung at a slightly lower level than normal so that viewers would have to bend their bodies a little to view it properly (unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of this artist). All very subtle ways to engage the viewers – but without them realising it – which is key. Some advice for students who are self-curating: be aware of the details – framing or not – why? Bright advises to always make a maquette to scale, using graph paper. Think of the flow – it is always nice to be greeted by a face – have something welcoming and accessible at the beginning of the exhibition. Text is tricky. It is not always needed, but she finds that it does act as a hook in informing the viewer where to start and know what they are walking into. When visiting other exhibitions, take notes of what you like/didn’t like, lighting etc. Some of the questions that came up in the Q&A was about the need to censor work (she doesn’t, but some of the organisations that she works for do have a need); how does the approach to curating books differ from exhibitions – differ greatly – sometimes she just feels she needs to write something, rather than exhibit it and then it becomes a book. The question of ageism also came up – something that infuriates her as many mature students work is definitely more interesting than the youngsters because of their life experience (good to know!)

I received my link to upload my portfolio images, tutor reports and statement of intent to a Gdrive folder in preparation for my interview to move to L3 with the programme leader today, so I took care of that as well.

I received my copy of Tomas van Houtryve’s Lines + Lineage book today as well as a very meaty text of Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws: Yerí7 re Stsq’ey’s-kucw (over 500 pages) which will be very handy in L3 if I go down the route of investigating First Nations history. The information is very localised, specific for this area in which I live and deals with topics like oral history, laws, territories, archeology, language, trade, sense of place, politics, church and Indian rights movement.

Thursday: Attended a Documentary Hangout – good to catch up with everyone again and see their work. Probably my last documentary hangout that I write up for this blog as I wrap up my blog postings for assessment.

Documentary Hangout – 4 June 2020

We had another great hangout today. Attending was Michele (for a short while), Faith, Bob, Neil, Niki, Jack, Steven and myself.

We started off looking at Bob’s work. He had uploaded a few fun photos just for laughs to provide some comic relief from Covid lockdown, which we all enjoyed. Then we looked at his draft book for A3. His cat had recently died and he has put together a very poignant homage to the cat using a poem by James Donovan as text for the images. The group thought though that the positioning of the poem’s name and author created a little confusion and a separate page noting the poet might be more helpful. The text in the final image is on the photo itself, unlike the rest of the images which are outside the images and Faith was having a problem reading that text. It was suggested that the text be changed to white and repositioned to the bottom of the image, or the image shrunk slightly and the text moved off the image.

Jack gave some feedback on his A4 as well as some more interesting backstory to the image. We also had quite a bit of a discussion around fact and fiction in documentary photography, which tied in with Steven’s essay. We had given him some written feedback via email. Niki has come up with an interesting idea for A2 – about economic scarring and she discussed some concepts she was considering. We provided some feedback and further ideas so it will be interesting to see how she develops this concept.

I have found this group to be very inspiring to work with and it has been absolutely great to work with them. Like Michele from L3 and probably Sue (recently L3) I will most likely pop in to these hangouts while working on L3.

The next hangout has been scheduled for 18 June 2020

Rest of the World Hangout – 31 May 2020

Another great hangout today, attended by Michele (NZ), Roger (Chile) Alan and myself from Canada. Mark was off shooting to complete an assignment now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted in New Zealand.

We spent some time giving feedback on the various online talks we had attended. I had attended a couple from the Auckland Photography Festival, and gave some feedback on Judith Crispin’s work. Judith is an Australian photographer, whose work revolves around identity, but she makes use of lumen prints in the most amazing fashion. I’m planning on doing a write up on her work and will probably post that to my L3 blog once I get permission to get that up and running. Another photographer talk I attended was Jeanne Taris, a French photographer who past work has revolved around the Roma in France and Spain. It would be good to compare her work with that of Koudelka and Eskildsen, especially from a female’s gaze. (I’m not going to do that now as I don’t want to make work for myself while I’m trying to wrap up this module, but I may carry that over to L3). I also gave some feedback on another VII Photo Agency talk by Daniel Schwartz which I wrote about here.

Roger shared his tutor’s advice of creating ongoing reflective logs and Michele and I both shared our experience of doing this as well. Alan thought that this was something he should be implementing in L2 now. We also looked at Roger’s work on bank notes. He had painted copies of various foreign bank notes which he and his father had collected, relating the back story of this and the reason for painting on the Financial Times newspaper as the background (his father was in banking). He had painted the Financial Times a goldenrod yellow tone and wasn’t sure if the yellow worked. Alan reminded him that it rather resembled the colour of gold, and gold was the backing of world currencies so that could be the reason for using that colour. It was quite interesting learning about the properties of different paper and how they react to water and paint. Roger also mentioned that the Royal Academy’s Festival of Ideas has a few podcasts on history, so I’ll be sure to check that out. One specific podcast he mentioned is Clio Barnard.

Michele also shared her impressions of VII’s Ashley Gilbertson’s Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot talk. A sad case of a photographer’s fame going to his head and tragic results because of that quest for the “ultimate” shot.

Next hangout is set for 14 June, 2020.

Weekly Check In – 30 May 2020

I’m slowly getting to grips with extracting posts to showcase the various learning outcomes., but I’m confused by the level of (my) perceived overlap of the learning outcomes because I seem to be referencing the same logs over and over again.

I took a break from this and watched the MACK Live: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour. Well its not really just her bookshelf but also her husband George Giorgio’s too. He was behind the camera doing the video. So a good list of books, some of which sound quite interesting: Walker Evans, Duane Michels – Real Dreams. She read an interesting quote by Michels from this book “I am a reflection photographing other reflections with a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing” (MACK LIVE: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour, 2020). Very profound! Another artist who had an interest in using text and images is Victor Burgin.

Other artists/books mentioned were: Jo Spence (feminist theory); Cristina Garcia Rodero – Espana Oculta – a document of the religious ceremonies in Spain; Paul Fusco – the RFK Funeral Train; David Goldblatt – TJ; August Sander; Richard Powers (writer); Stefania Gurdowa – Negatives to be stored – portrait studio photographer who used glass plates, but only used half a plate for her clients, so the juxtapositioning was with a stranger on the same plate. Melissa Cantanese – Voyagers – also archives; Stefane Duroy – Distress/Berlin/Unknown; Jem Southam; Mark Ruwedel – Westward the Course of Empire; Bryan Schutmaat – Grays the Mountain Fends and Good God Damn; Paul Gaffney – We make the path by walking; Robert Adams – Summer Nights Walking; Charlotte Tanguy. Bookmakers: Raymond Meeks – Erasure – handmade books; Stephen Gill – self publishes – Hackney Flowers, The Pillar, Night Procession; Josh Lustig & Samuel Wright – The Marshes; George Giorgio – Americans Parade; Michael Ashkin – were it not for and finally Aaron Schumann – Slant.

This perceived overlap on the learning outcomes is doing my head in and I’m waiting for clarification on something I asked on the discussion forum, so I’m stepping away for a day.

I took part in an Auckland Festival of Photography zoom artist talk this afternoon. The talk was about Magnum photographer, Werner Bischof. It was a little disappointing because his son, who was presenting, didn’t show any of the work that he was talking about. So just a history lesson about Werner Bischof really. Hopefully the rest of the Auckland Festival’s artists talks will not be like this.

Stepping away from the learning outcomes for a day has definitely helped. I’m planning on presenting a list of links to back up the learning outcomes, but have added a bit of commentary on a couple of the entries. Not sure if I should add a commentary on all the LO’s as it might be a bit overkill or repetitive … jury is still out on that one. Need to have a bit of a think on that.

I’ve signed up for Susan Bright‘s virtual study event on 2 June, so thought I should watch her lecture ahead of time to provide some context. Her lecture is about collaboration and creative practice and for the second time this week I was reminded that photography is not a solo activity. One is reliant upon other photographers, family, curators, editors and so on for feedback, even one’s subjects. Susan mentioned that she regards herself as a feminist curator and will always try and reflect feminine values throughout her work, also trying to select women’s work first if the occasion arises. She gave a brief background of some of her curatorial work, especially the collaborations with Elina Brotherus. She mentioned that collaboration in documentary work was particularly interesting as it came down to the question of who has the voice, who has the empowerment. Some of her early work can be seen in the books Art Photography Now and Auto Focus. She mentioned that unlike other curators, she does not work with a collection, but has in the case of Elina Brotherus’s Anunciation taken on the traditional role of a curator as “keeper”. But that is not only a curator’s job. A curator is also a person who acts as a sounding board for other artists. Some of the other artists she mentioned were Claire Strand, Sharon Core, Laura Letinsky, Délio Jasse (I particularly found Jasse’s Nova Lisboa quite interesting as it deals with history, palimpsests, identity and colonialism, so I’m going to bookmark that for a more in-depth look during L3) and Patrick Pound who really collects photographs and other ephemera. He has a very dynamic way of thinking about how he connects his work.

I was planning on getting up early to watch another VII Photo Agency Book Club talk by Daniel Schwartz, but quite glad I didn’t, as when I went to watch the recorded version, there were all kinds of technical hitches and the show only got on the road after about 10 minutes or so and some expletives from Schwartz later. Schwartz was talking about two of his books While the Fires Burn: A Glacier Odyssey and Tales from a Globalizing World. He started off with Tales which started in 1998 from a concept which he read out to the viewers which quite remarkably could easily apply to our times today, dealing with all the interconnectivity that is so prevalent in society.  He approached a number of photographers who he invited to collaborate on the project. Akinbode Akinbiyi looked at religion in Brazil and Nigeria, and their mutual influence, laws, migrants and cultural identities; Thomas Kern examining American identity post-9/11; Ziyad Gafic looked at the aftermath of war in a Bosnian community and the diaspora; Shehzad Noorani examined tourism, migration, and the effect of regional poverty on the lives of children in India and Nepal; Cristina Nunez focused on Italy and the transnational elite, workers in the sweatshops of Milan, and street traders in the world of fashion (which of course has quite a prophetic tone in light of the Corona virus pandemic situation); Bertien van Manen photographed the souvenirs of immigrants living on the fringes of Paris. Other photographers who took part in the project were: Tim Hetherington, Stephan Vanfleteren and Phillip Jones Griffiths. When asked why he produced a book, Schwartz answered that a book is a trace, a memory. Its a container for our memories and we often feel the need to leave something behind. While the Fires Burn, was partly politically motivated. Schwartz travelled to Peru, Switzerland, Uganda and Pakistan to photograph the disappearing glaciers. He has an interesting analogy: like a book a glacier is also a container of memory. A glacier contains all sorts of objects. While exploring some of the glaciers near Mt Everest, they came across German objects dating back to 1938, many of which had the swatstika  emblem. Other objects were things like parts of a spine, ropes, clothing, all of which had been buried in the glacier and were now exposed due to the glacial melt. The glacier is a type of archive. When it melts we loose the archive. Not only archival objects found, but also climate information as well as historical information about the planet. Interesting fact – glacial reaction time only translates over a long period of time. What we are seeing happening to the glaciers now is their reaction to climate changes that occurred in the 70s/80s.

Today I got so focused on finalising my assessment that I completely missed two Zoom artists talks that were being presented via the Auckland Photography Festival, which I can absolutely kick myself for, because they were the two talks that I really wanted to see – the one being about the female eye and the other about female identity. But the good news is that I’ve now completed my assessment package and have uploaded everything to the G-drive. Now that that is out of the way, I can now probably clear my desk of the piles of books and notes that are liberally strewn all over the place, so I can get ready for L3.

 

To Do List
  • Rest of World Hangout – 31 May, 2020
Bibliography

MACK LIVE: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour (2020) Directed by MACK Live. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=kxW_yZQXCms&feature=emb_logo (Accessed  23/05/2020).

Open College of the Arts (2020) Virtual study event: Susan Bright | Collaboration & Creative Practice | The Open College of the Arts. At: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/virtual-study-event-susan-bright-collaboration-creative-practice/ (Accessed  28/05/2020).

VII Interactive Book Club (2020) VII Interactive Book Club. ‘While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey’ and ‘Tales from a Globalizing World’ by Daniel Schwartz – VII Agency. At: http://viiphoto.com/event/vii-interactive-book-club-while-the-fires-burn-a-glacier-odyssey-and-tales-from-a-globalizing-world-by-daniel-schwartz/ (Accessed  26/05/2020).

Learning Outcome 3 – Blog Extracts in Support of A5

I have collated the following extracts from my learning log posts that relate to my journey for Assignment 5 so that they are in one place for easy reference. I am presenting it in a diary format. Links to the original posts are on the dates.

14 December 2019

I have come up with a couple of ideas for A5 – some brainstorming is still required:

  • The Japanese-Canadian families who exiled themselves into the valleys between Chase and Tappen for the duration of the Second World War. I’m not sure if any of their houses still stand or even if I will be able to track down descendants of that generation.
  • The Residential schools in this vicinity. I know of at least two – part of one has been incorporated into a museum so access will not be a problem. I need to do more research about the other as it is in another city. Hopefully I could find someone to interview with either of these options.

15 January 2020Documentary Hangout

… I presented my idea for A5 – the Kamloops Residential School to Neil and Jack, mentioning that I may have some problem obtaining permission to shoot inside the building. I think I have some work-arounds to that though. Neil thought the project sounded more like a level 3 piece, which it could very well be, but I don’t want to go too deep down that road for a whole year. I might find it too depressing. Neil mentioned that it all depended on the approach I took to the narrative – from the school’s perspective or from the students’ perspective. I think I’m thinking more along the lines of exposing a hidden history but I’ll see what my research material serves me. I have gathered rather a lot of factual evidence already.

7 March 2020

Just had a bit of a revelation about something that has been lurking in my mind about my A5 project and want to make a note of it here before I forget about it. As I am technically the Other in the narrative that I want to depict, I was worried about seeming intrusive, but I’ve just read a statement in Gevers’ essay where Rosler in her work, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems (1974 – 1975) depicted the alcoholics in that neighbourhood without actually photographing them and thus not “satisfying the viewer’s lurking voyeurism” (Gevers, 2005:88). I think this has subconsciously been where/what I was feeling too, but now that has been clarified for me and this will help me fine tune my shooting list.

OK … I’m very happy! I’m not going to need any fancy video making software for my slideshow. I’ve been testing PowerPoint’s capabilities and I’ve created a quick and dirty prototype test slideshow with a few random images, videos and recorded files from my archive (not for public viewing – I’ll make a more suitable test show later on). I’m able to insert a video that already has its own sound, add different sound files to different pages and I can also add multiple sound files to one page and fade the sound in and out accordingly. I’m also able to record an audio file directly onto the slide. I think this pretty much will cover anything that I’m planning to incorporate, so now I can just concentrate on getting all the bits and pieces together.

8 March 2020 (Please click to access full blog post for this entry – PowerPoint Tests)

21 March 2020

I also plan to do a lot of background reading and watching video footage of the Truth and Reconciliation panels.

I am currently working my way through an extremely interesting journal article about intimate colonialisms in BC’s residential schools. The subject is quite fascinating revolving around the idea of ‘place’ and the concept of intimate place in the form of the bodies of the First Nations’ children. I remember Clive explaining the concept of place/space in a Live Forum hangout more than a year ago and he mentioned that the concept of place was not only a physical one but also a psychological one and I never could quite understand that statement until I started reading this journal article. So very enlightening!

Journal article has been read – really a fascinating read. Would be applicable to studies on mental health issues too. Notes are here. Back to working my way through Behind Closed Doors. Its the type of book that is very emotional and needs to be taken in small doses.

Today kicked off with the Canadian PM announcing that all our borders will now be closed to anyone who is not a Canadian citizen/permanent resident, the exception being US citizens. There is already a meme out there about this announcement – just amazing how quickly these are created and circulated.

Anyone crossing our borders has to self-isolate for 14 days now. I have to wonder how that is going to be enforced though. I imagine its next to impossible. I’m just thankful I’m out in the rural areas and not in the city at this moment in time. Social distancing is much easier here as we have more space and less population to contend with. But it has put a kibosh on museum and gallery visits for me as my husband is in a high risk category, which means I am going to have to be super-creative in my approach to A5. I may have to rely mostly on appropriated imagery for the bulk of my assignment. A few hours later and I’ve just learned that the museums in Kamloops are closed until further notice. Bang goes my hope of photographing inside the residential school …

Well, its now official today. Every museum and gallery in Canada is pretty much closed until further notice. As the PM announced under the Parks & Recreation closures that constitutes everything with a door! …

I made a good start my slideshow yesterday. I have shared the WIP to the ROW group for feedback in our hangout on Sunday.

Test – slide show (Please click to access full blog post for this entry)

22 March 2020Rest of the World Hangout

… We started off by looking at the beginnings of my slideshow for A5. Everyone was on board with the concept. Obviously, I have some fine tuning to do with the timing of some of the slides and I am nowhere near finalising it. Alan made an interesting observation in that I should consider the critical distance from where I’m standing. Am I telling the story from my perspective (as an immigrant/outsider/female Canadian/Westerner) or am I trying to tell the story from the First Nations perspective? I’m aware of the fine line that I’m treading here and am very conscious that I’m trying to be very ethical with this project as it is extremely sensitive. The curation of the project makes it my narrative, that I do understand, but at the same time I am also aware of the danger of sensationalizing a subject and that is not something I want to do.  At the moment I am letting the project organically lead me. I’m picking out quotations and audio clips that allow the survivors’ voices to come to the fore. I do know that this project could become huge if I was to present both the government’s side/actions/reasoning – call it what you will – as well, so I’m focusing on allowing the voices that have been silent for too long to speak for themselves, if that makes any sense. Lots to think about.

26 March 2020Documentary Hangout

I presented an updated version of my WIP slideshow for A5 and it was very well received. Jack said it had moved him almost to tears and conveyed the story very well. Bob pointed out that the volume on one of the videos was a little soft and I agree. I’ll see if I can crank that up, else I’ll have to reshoot it and crank my speakers up to get the appropriate level of sound. He also mentioned that the time on the slide containing the letter from Father O’Grady could be a little longer as he couldn’t quite finish reading it. Bob mentioned that the  slideshow had made him curious and that he had tons of questions and actually made him do a little research and I think this is a great reaction to my work. I was very pleased to get that reaction. Steven, in turn interrogated me as to how I felt about the work, what worked and didn’t – also a good exercise to verbalize, and also felt that the multimedia components worked well with the variety. Everyone seemed to like the drums and chant (it’s actually a healing song connected to the residential schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission). It seemed to tie everything together which was my intention. So overall I’m very satisfied with the critique I received – Jack mentioning that it was interesting that my work had evolved over the course of this module, gradually linking the different assignments together and he feels that all the previous assignments have led up to this one. There has definitely been a thread that has emerged in my work, especially with the bridge between A3 and A5. Both assignments convey the latent history of the First Nations.

28 March 2020

… I spent the afternoon going through some more TRC sharing panel videos. For my assignment, I’m trying to isolate and use only testimonies of people who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School, so it is a little slow going as I click on through the video to try and identify those people. Some of the videos are over 5 hours long, although I’m not listening to all the stories – it’s too emotional, and it seems some residential schools were worse than others, so I do want to try as far as possible portray a truthful account. Thankfully some of the survivors have little snippets of humourous stories to tell too and I may think about incorporating those too … although it might change the tone of the narrative.

… I also made some headway with my slideshow for A5. I encountered a problem running an audio file and movie on the same slide (I already had a looped audio running in the background as well – so I’m not sure if there is a limitation in PowerPoint). If the one worked, the other didn’t so I’ll have to do a bit of research around that point. For the moment, I’ve inserted a separate slide to accommodate the movie, which is silent, which is why I wanted the audio to run while that was playing. But on the whole, I’m quite pleased with how it has turned out so far. I’m presenting it at the Documentary hangout tomorrow so hopefully there will be some helpful feedback.

Just found my answer – apparently I need to go to the Animations tab and select “Start with Previous”. So, I’ve tried that and it works — so hurrah!

I’ve completed my reflections on the latest Documentary hangout and I’ve fine-tuned my A5 slide show where I think I can now submit to my tutor. Just busy doing the write up and self-assessment section. Due to Vimeo’s upload restrictions I will have to wait a week before I can upload my finalized version. There was a problem when I uploaded my Test slide show and I got the message to re-try, but of course that ate up my upload quota – very unfair as it turned out that there was no problem after all and I ended up having two uploads. Its probably a ploy to make you sign up for the paid option methinks!

3 April 2020

I’ve finalised my slide show now and hopefully will not get any error messages when I upload to Vimeo. Its over 400MB in size so that will use up my whole week’s upload allocation. If it doesn’t work, I’ll upload to my Google Drive and share it that way with my tutor. Well – it worked thank goodness. A5 submitted to tutor.

27 April 2020 (Please click to access full blog post for this entry – Compassion Fatigue or Memory)

[Talking Culture: Marco Bischof (Switzerland)]

I joined another Zoom artist’s talk series, this time from the Auckland Festival of Photography. The speaker was Marco Bischof, son of Magnum photographer, Werner Bischof joining the Zoom session from Switzerland at 3:00 am. Marco was talking about the Unseen exhibition which is on display in Auckland, photographs by his father which have not often been exhibited.

Bischof spent most of the time relating his father’s photographic journey/life story, from documenting Europe post WWII via a bike trip. He was approached to join Magnum and went on to do work in India, photographing the famine there. Those photos were later published in Life magazine. He was quite fascinated with the east, had a deep love of Japanese culture, and was best known for his post-war humanist photography. He was not a war photographer and was more interested in documenting how the effects of war on the civilian population and he did this in Korea. His photography took him on to Hong Kong, Indochina (Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia). In 1953 he went to the US to find new photographic expressions and was introduced to colour. This changed the way he made photographs, introducing movement and out of focus work into his repertoire. He embarked on a road trip across the States and made Bold New Roads which was a document of the new highways in the US. Later he bought a jeep and drove from New York to Mexico, continuing to Panama (where he photographed the canal), on to Chile and then to Peru. In Peru he met up with a geologist from Switzerland who invited him to take photographs of a gold mine high up in the Andes. Sadly Bischof never reached the mine as the car that he and the geologist were traveling in went over a steep abyss, killing all occupants.

His mother took over Bischof’s archive, which was very well organized and ran the Magnum office for a while in Switzerland. She was quite influential in the photography world as well, and had friends like Cornell Capa. Capa went on to found the ICP and Rosalina Bischof founded the Foundation of Photography in Switzerland in the 1970’s.

Bischof took over managing his father’s archive in 1986 when his mother passed away and he is also President of Magnum Paris.

Unfortunately Bischof did not show any of his father’s work during the talk, which would have made the experience a little richer I feel. I’m not sure why he didn’t show the work, but I’ll go and take a deeper look at his work once I’ve got my assessment submission out of the way. I asked during the Q&A if there were any photographers who influenced Bischof’s work, but his son was of the opinion that he was mainly influenced by painters, although that was dependent on the period. He was also influenced a little by the New Objectivity, various documentarians, admired the work of Cartier-Bresson, Ernst Haas, Robert Capa and Eliot Erwitt.

 

Bibliography

Auckland Festival of Photography (2020) [Talking Culture: Marco Bischof (Switzerland)]. At: https://www.photographyfestival.org.nz/programme/detail.cfm?exhibition_id=2499&exhibition_date=1-jun-2020 (Accessed  26/05/2020).

Weekly Check In – 23 May 2020

Monday – its a statutory holiday here in Canada Day but I decided to join the Level 3 tutorial with Dr Ariadne Xenou. The tutorial was the last in a series on research and covered the following topic: From the synthesis of theory and practice to a methodology that serves both | Ways to limit/extend, control and manage your research. I merely observed and didn’t take part in the discussion.

Tuesday – it was mainly family matters today, but I did manage to get a bit more of a read in of Wells’ Land Matters which will be helpful in L3.

Wednesday – Ian, Jack and I had a short hangout to discuss the assessment criteria. Both Ian and I are putting in for the July assessment, Jack in November and three heads together are better than one. Basically there is still a good level of confusion around this new way of working. No one is really happy that new learning outcomes have been introduced at the end of a course. The learning outcomes presented in the new assessment guidelines differ slightly to those in our course manuals. But it was good to be able to talk through our concerns and see if we had any common understanding of the expectations. One approach was to treat the evaluation as a “sales pitch” and have key messages using PowerPoint slides to show the way to bits of evidence to back up the “sales pitch”.

I have created a video of a photobook page through for A3 – probably not the best video, but considering the pan-tilt model of tripod I have I thought it wasn’t too bad. Note to self – get a better tripod for L3.

I have gone through my blog very quickly looking for links and connections from course work, photographers’ work etc., to assignments and have found quite a few connections. Now the task is to select and/or consolidate this in some or other format. I’m still not clear how to present this for assessment.

Thursday – Documentary hangout – a productive session and interesting exchange of information. Gradually working through the learning outcomes for assessment. I’m finding as I initially surmised, that these learning outcomes are not clear cut, or cut and dry, but that there is an overlap – really not sure how to handle that. Did a summary of Dan Robinson’s pre-assessment Zoom meeting. I think if I read through my notes a few more times and maybe watch the recording over again I may feel a little more enlightened.

Friday – Completed write up for the Documentary hangout. I have created my test print for A2 – size 26 x 38 inches, stuck it to my bedroom wall and photographed that for experiment purposes. I am making very slow progress trying to put my work together for assessment. I’m finding that I’m having to go through each piece of work that I’ve done to see which is a match to a learning outcome and honestly, this is a really painful process. I’ve now decided to see if any of my reflections under the Assessment Criteria that I wrote up for each assignment might cover off the learning outcomes and if so then I am going to use that.

Saturday – probably a final Head On Photo Festival newsletter in my mailbox today. What amazing stats to report! Below is an extract from their newsletter (bold is my emphasis). I sincerely hope that Head On does this again next year. The events that I attended were well worth it and very engaging and I found quite a few artists that might feed into my BOW in the next module.

WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED

Please allow us to recap in a few dot points of self-congratulatory jubilation:

  • We delivered the very first photo festival, if not festival, to go entirely online EVER
  • People from all over the world watched as we gave away over $70,000 worth of prizes to our amazing Head On Photo Awards winners
  • We had over 110 photography exhibitions delivered entirely online
  • We delivered 80 artist talks, panel discussions and workshops all free, all online
  • In the lead-up to, and during the festival period, we had over 80,000 visits to our website
  • People from a staggering 147 countries were able to enjoy our festival in this online format
  • We have set the bar into the future for other cultural and artistic agencies and organisations around the world
  • Citizens from all over the world found their tribe and were able to connect and form relationships into the future

(Head On Photo Festival, 2020)

To Do List
  • Figure out new assessment criteria & pull together a portfolio
  • Rest of World Hangout – 31 May, 2020
Bibliography

Head On Photo Festival (2020) People’s choice winner announced. [Email sent to Kuit, L. 21/05/2020]. [21/05/2020].

Print Size Test

It’s almost assessment time and I have been thinking a while about the size of my A2 prints were I to have a choice on presentation. My experimentation has been limited to the size of paper that my Canon Pro-100 can take – that limit being A3+ (13 x 19 inches). So like my experiment for A1, I have taken one image to use as a sample and quartered it in Photoshop. I have then resampled and printed each quarter on A3+ paper, so technically I now have an image that is 26 x 38 inches.

I decided this time to tape the pieces to my bedroom wall and try and line up the segments and photograph the finished item. I found I had a slight overlap by one or two millimetres on one image, but for experimental purposes it conveys the idea, so I’m not going to worry too much about that. I took another image from A2 which I had printed off quite a while back on A3+ and placed that below the collaged image for scale purposes. I also included part of the door to the side of the images for added scale reference. Yes, I know my picture is slightly skew, but its rather difficult to straighten something that has tape on the back. It was also a little difficult to align the inside vertical edges as there was no border on those edges, so you can see the vertical line in places. Nevertheless, I think this experiment does convey the idea of size well enough. In a perfect world I think I would present them a little bigger – perhaps 4 or 5 feet wide. The details in the photograph are far more enhanced by the size and this allows the viewer to really look into the scene in greater depth.