Are-Bure-Boke

Through recent research into Japanese photography, particularly the photographers of Provoke magazine published in the 60's and 70's, I have come to realise that the concept of Are-Bure-Boke has had the greatest effect on the development of my practice. 

Although Are-Bure-Boke, which roughly translates as rough. blurry, out-of-focus, was not pioneered by photographers such as Takuma Nakahira and Daido Moriyama, it was these photographers that the idea became a concept and style in its own right and with whom the term was coined (Wholey, 2013). These photographers, however, were influenced by photographers such as William Klein and Garry Winogrand who were already pushing back against traditional photographic convention (Michael Hoppen Gallery, 2018). 

 Image by Garry Winogrand. Winogrand often used unconventional compositions in his images.(https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/a-puzzle-in-pictures-garry-winogrand-1960/

Image by Garry Winogrand. Winogrand often used unconventional compositions in his images.(https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/a-puzzle-in-pictures-garry-winogrand-1960/

 I was first introduced to the work of William Klein whilst viewing an exhibition of his work at the Tate Modern in 2012. Funnily enough it was a joint exhibition with Moriyama, but at the time I was not taken with the work of the Japanese photographer. Klein's work left a huge impression on me and I particularly liked how he pushed the boundaries of what photography was and should be, often grudgingly taking on assignments and often shooting them completely differently than expected. His work for Vogue summed up his attitude, pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable for the magazine, shooting fashion editorials in the same style as his street photography (Klein and Campany, 2012).         

 Image by William Klein from New York. (http://www.ideelart.com/module/csblog/post/379-1-william-klein.html)

Image by William Klein from New York. (http://www.ideelart.com/module/csblog/post/379-1-william-klein.html)

The important aspect for me and my work is not the aesthetic of Are-Bure-Boke, but the idea of not adhering to the photographic conventions of technical perfection.  With digital photography it seems that technical perfection has become as important as story and content. Especially when starting out in photography the sharpness of the image goes some way to dictating how good an image is (Quist, n.d.).  I know that when developing my practice I placed a lot of emphasis on the technical aspect of my photography.  My job also puts quite a bit of emphasis on the technical aspect of photography, especially with lighting. 

My current practice was a response to what I conceived as the pressures of digital photography and photography in general. With constantly updated technology it is easy to be caught up in the lust for new gear and thus perfection. In my experience my consumerism has had a detrimental effect on my photography.  

Are-Bure-Boke was born out of a rejection of the photographic conventions of the time and I still believe the idea to be relevant today. The idea of rebelling interests me and pushing the boundaries of photographic conventions, not only the technical aspects of sharpness, exposure and composition, but also narrative. In a portfolio review, with Dino Li, he mentioned that in essence I could say that I am attempted to "Destroy Photography" or in some way my work is "Anti photography". This was not something I had really thought about, but considering where the roots of my practice are based, it could be said to be the case.  I sometimes feel that I have a love/hate relationship with photography. 

 Image Darren O'Brien, Hanoi, April 2018

Image Darren O'Brien, Hanoi, April 2018

 

References

Gore, D. (2017). 'Okinawa': Remembering Takuma Nakahira in a different light | The Japan Times. [online] Available at: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/10/21/books/book-reviews/okinawa/#.WtR6h4jwaUk[.

Klein, W. and Campany, D. (2012). William Klein. London: Tate Publ.

MacDonald, K. (2018). A Puzzle in Pictures: Winogrand in 1960. [online] Lens Blog. Available at: https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/a-puzzle-in-pictures-garry-winogrand-1960/ [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

Michael Hoppen Gallery. (2018). William Klein. [online] Available at: https://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/artists/66-william-klein/overview/#/artworks/9767 [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

Quist, K. (n.d.). How to Let Go of Perfection in Photography. [online] Digital Photography School. Available at: https://digital-photography-school.com/let-go-perfection-in-photography/ [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

Wholey, M. (2013). MoMA | For the sake of thought: Provoke, 1968–1970. [online] Moma.org. Available at: https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2013/01/25/for-the-sake-of-thought-provoke-1968-1970/ [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

              

Mini Projects from Singapore and Vietnam

Building on my recent research into Japanese photography I came across an approach which feeds directly into the way I shoot and that approach is Diacritic photography. At first I looked at this in relation to Japanese photography in which it was certainly one of the most popular approaches with provoke photographers (Ono and Principe, 2017).  On researching the term I was taken with the work of Jacob Aue Sobol, who's work, although based in Documentary, is looser in its approach.  I will keep this in mind whilst I am travelling in Singapore and Vietnam.

 Image by Jacob Aue Sobol, from the book With and Without You (2016) 

Image by Jacob Aue Sobol, from the book With and Without You (2016) 

 

In a slightly different approach to my normal wandering and recording I have formulated some ideas that I will look to explore whilst on the trip, to see if my work translates with slightly tighter narrative and thematic constraints. 

The first project will look to investigate the relationship between our memories of a place and the place itself.  My partner, Sian, spent six years in SIngapore when she was younger, but has not been back for over 20 years.  I am interested in what her memories of the place will be and how that will effect both our interactions with Singapore as a place and a memory. 

The second project is a bit looser at the moment, but will based around the Vietnamese legend Why Ducks Sleep Standing on One Leg, Vietnamese culture has its roots buried deep in agriculture and animals feature heavily in the myths and legends of the country.  This may form the basis of this project, but I am being flexible on the details.  

I am hoping the resulting projects will form the basis of my work in progress portfolio.  

REFERENCES

Ono, H. and Principe, A. (2017). The Diaristic Approach in Traces of a Diary: An Interview with Andre Principe. A/Fixed, (1), pp.7-8. 

Mini Project: Winter Neverland

During the recent snowmageddons that embattled the UK I decided to shoot a mini project to try out some different techniques and visual style. 

The essay explores fictional place of Neverland combined with the concept of a Winter Wonderland, the existence of both may be questioned.  Both Neverland and a winter wonderland have aspects grounded in reality, but also occupy the dream world. They are both subjective places with their perfections based solely on the individual that occupies those realms. 

Winter_Neverland-1.jpg
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For this essay I broke away from my usual practice to produce something that was a bit more conceptual and dream like. I have been researching work by Rinko Kawauchi and was inspired by her latest work Halo. It lead me to explore ideas of fictional and semi-fictional narratives. Despite being aesthetically different I found Jack Latham's "Sugar Paper Theories", 2016 an interesting way to explore a narrative that is boarders on both real and fictional. Whilst the lenscratch section on narrative photography has given me some ideas to explore with my practice.  I was particularly interested in Amani Willett's "The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer", which like Latham's project explores a story with its narrative firmly split between fiction and non fiction.  Willet is described as creating a "visual screenplay", this concept interests me as I have a background in film production.  

With Winter Neverland, 2018, I was exploring how dreamscapes shift into reality. 

References

Jack Latham. (2018). Sugar Paper Theories. [online] Available at: http://www.jacklatham.com/project/sugar-paper-theories/ [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

LENSCRATCH. (2018). Narrative Photography. [online] Available at: http://lenscratch.com/narrative-photography/ [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

Rinko Kawauchi – 川内倫子. (2018). Rinko Kawauchi – 川内倫子. [online] Available at: http://rinkokawauchi.com [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

Smithson, A. (2018). Amani Willett: The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer. [online] LENSCRATCH. Available at: http://lenscratch.com/2017/11/amani-willett-the-disappearance-of-joseph-plummer/ [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].

Into the Image World

Looking at the multilayered readings of advertising is interesting and has made me think about my own work and how it may be read by the viewer. 

As photographers we tend to produce images with an intended message or at least an inferred message. Often the viewer will impart their own thoughts and ideas onto an image, sometimes going beyond the original intention of the image. Some images are indeed just a record of what is in front of the lens. The increase of Social Media has added to this as more and more people photograph everyday things without added meaning (Oosterhoff, 2018). 

However context is often important to the reading of an image and this is most evident when looking at advertising. 

”the reason I take pictures is because I get angry about things that are happening. And I want them to change. ” Marcus Bleasdale (Duckrabbit, 2018)

This is quite often the intent behind conflict photography and it is often used to advertise charitable organisations and anti war campaigns.  However when Lockheed Martin used an image by Ron Haviv in an ad campaign the image was being used in a different context. 

 The Lockheed Martin advert featuring an image by Ron Haviv (https://www.readingthepictures.org/2012/05/war-enabling-duckrabbit-vs-haviv-vii-in-a-larger-context/)

The Lockheed Martin advert featuring an image by Ron Haviv (https://www.readingthepictures.org/2012/05/war-enabling-duckrabbit-vs-haviv-vii-in-a-larger-context/)

The question in this case is the difference in intentions between the photograph when taken by Haviv and the subsequent use by Lockheed Martin to promote arms sales.  Given Ron Haviv's primary role as a photojournalist the image would have carried an anti war sentiment. The burning wreckage at the end of the tracks could never be construed as a good thing, unless presented in the way in the advert (Shaw, 2018). 

I don't think in this case the advert works as intended by Lockheed Martin, presenting a positive spin on an image that conveys death and destruction. Although with the target audience being Defence contractors that might be an acceptable reading. 

At leas the adverts from BAE with also use Haviv's images present an air of serene that in some warped way their products create a more serene environment for troops. 

 BAE Systems advert featuring a photograph by Ron Haviv (Shaw, 2018)

BAE Systems advert featuring a photograph by Ron Haviv (Shaw, 2018)

Within my own work I try not to have intentions within individual images, and in fact I only introduce any intentions through presentation. In some cases images may look to convey feelings and maybe a sense of freedom and wonderment. Possibly I would also say that within my practice I try to convey a sense of curiosity. Hopefully the viewer will be drawn in to my images by a curiosity to explore the ambiguous nature of the photograph, whilst I also hope that my own curiosity comes across in the images.  

 From "And Other Stories" by Darren O'Brien

From "And Other Stories" by Darren O'Brien

Daido Moriyama often talks about his unabated curiosity for the everyday and even the mundane, which potentially elevates his work above "just" snapshots (Vartanian, Hatanaka and Kanbayashi, 2006).  It is interesting that in Japanese photography "Curiosity" is often cited as a theme within work. The work of Rinko Kawauchi is one that comes to mind, the work is often of mundane objects or even abstract, but there is an essence of curiosity that comes through the work, making the viewer want to explore the image (Maggia, 2017). This is something that I am trying to promote through my work.  I think that presentation is the key for my work. Using different methods of presentation I can potentially infer things like narrative and even play around presenting the same images, but with different narratives. 

References

Duckrabbit (2018). @VIIphoto agency, Ron Haviv and the world's two largest arms producers - duckrabbit. [online] duckrabbit. Available at: https://www.duckrabbit.info/2012/05/vii-photo-agency-ron-haviv-and-the-worlds-two-largest-arms-producers/ [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Maggia, F. (2017). NEW JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY. [S.l.]: SKIRA.

Oosterhoff, D. (2018). How to Read a Photograph. [online] Photo & Video Envato Tuts+. Available at: https://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-read-a-photograph--cms-25495 [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Shaw, M. (2018). War Enabling: Duckrabbit vs. Haviv and VII in a Larger Context - Reading The Pictures. [online] Reading The Pictures. Available at: https://www.readingthepictures.org/2012/05/war-enabling-duckrabbit-vs-haviv-vii-in-a-larger-context/ [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Vartanian, I., Hatanaka, A. and Kanbayashi, Y. (2006). Setting sun. New York: Aperture.

Dan Holdsworth at the Graves Gallery Sheffield

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Graves Gallery in Sheffield to see the Dan Holdsworth exhibition Mapping the Limits of Space (on from 16/12/2017 – 16/03/2018). 

The exhibition features Dan Holdsworth’s newest series of images, Continuous Topography, as well as works from his Spatial Objects (2015) and Blackout (2010) projects 

http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/continuoustopography/

The works from the Continuous Topography series are large format images, created by correlating hundreds of photographs of a landscape (such as the Argentiere glacier in French Alps used in the image below), with GPS data. The manipulation of the data has generated images that convey the power and beauty of geological and hydrological processes and echoing patterns in nature such as flowing water, geomorphology and starling flock murmurations.

 From Continuous Topography, 2016, by Dan Holdsworth (http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/continuoustopography/)

From Continuous Topography, 2016, by Dan Holdsworth (http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/continuoustopography/)

 

http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/blackout/

Blackout features black and white inverted images of Icelandic mountains. The images present a cold, inhospitable environment, that exudes the same geological power as the images in Continuous Topography

 From "Blackout", 2010, by Dan Holdsworth,  (http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/blackout/)

From "Blackout", 2010, by Dan Holdsworth,  (http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/blackout/)

 

http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/spatialobjects

The three works shown from the Spatial Objects series consist of deep coloured abstract prints on to three-dimensional wedge shaped blocks with a shiny plastic finish. These works have been created based on GIS data from a previous work which have been plotted to generate vectors of colour. 

 From "Spatial Objects", 2015, by Dan Holdsworth (http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/spatialobjects/)

From "Spatial Objects", 2015, by Dan Holdsworth (http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/spatialobjects/)

Landscapes, photography, science and technology

The medium used to create each series shown in Mapping the Limits of Space are very different from one another, particularly Spatial Objects. However, there is an explicit continuous context to Holdsworth’s work. Each series continues the artists exploration of the relationship between the photography, science and technology and how this trinity can be used to represent geological landscapes.  What I find interesting with this work is the use of different techniques and even scientific data to influence the visual results. 

As well as being informed by technology, the images are contextualised within the history and tradition of landscape photography, which has always had the power to draw audiences in.  What is interesting about the work of Holdsworth is how it fits in with what is the traditional view of Landscape Photography. As David Chandler writes, in his essay on Holdsworth, Landscape photography is a broad genre which encompasses the work of Ansel Adams to work by more contemporary artists like Andreas Gursky. 

 Half Dome, Merced River, Winter by Ansel Adams (http://shop.anseladams.com/Half_Dome_Merced_River_Winter_p/5010113-u.htm)

Half Dome, Merced River, Winter by Ansel Adams (http://shop.anseladams.com/Half_Dome_Merced_River_Winter_p/5010113-u.htm)

 From Traces by Andreas Gursky (http://www.dreamideamachine.com/en/?p=9076)

From Traces by Andreas Gursky (http://www.dreamideamachine.com/en/?p=9076)

Future Archaeology

In an article with the Yorkshire Post, Holdsworth said that he sees his work as a form of ‘future archaeology' (Yorkshirepost.co.uk, 2018).  I find that this is relatable to my work in that it is often accepted that street photography becomes an important historical document with hindsight (Westerbeck and Meyerowitz, 2017). I see my work in some way as Future Archeology, in a different way to Holdsworths work, but still may be relevant to look back on in the future. 

References

Chandler, D. (2018). Dan Holdsworth. [online] Danholdsworth.com. Available at: http://www.danholdsworth.com/texts/danholdsworth/ [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Danholdsworth.com. (2018). Dan Holdsworth. [online] Available at: http://www.danholdsworth.com [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Dreamideamachine.com. (2018). TRACES:Andreas Gursky. [online] Available at: http://www.dreamideamachine.com/en/?p=9076 [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Westerbeck, C. and Meyerowitz, J. (2017). Bystander. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Yorkshirepost.co.uk. (2018). Artist Dan Holdsworth talks about his new show in Sheffield. [online] Available at: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/what-s-on/arts/artist-dan-holdsworth-talks-about-his-new-show-in-sheffield-1-8896438 [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Constructed Realities

When considering whether constructed realities in images are a "lie" I think context is important. As I have mentioned in this post, it is often believed that an image presented as news or photojournalism has an ethical responsibility to be truthful and therefore not constructed.  In this context the viewer will trust the image and the image maker to show reality. 

Take the work of Giovanni Troilo, who initially won the World press photo for his project "The Dark Heart of Europe" before being stripped of the award after it was found that he had fabricated parts of the project. It is interesting, however, on this occasion the fact that Troilo staged some of the images was dismissed as “The contest requires photojournalists do not stage pictures to show something that would otherwise have not taken place,” (Zhang, 2018).  

 Photo Giovanni Troilo from "The Dark Heart of Europe"

Photo Giovanni Troilo from "The Dark Heart of Europe"

Constructing Realities within photography could be compared to the written art form. Newspaper journalism would be perceived as being truthful where as a fictional novel would be given freedom to explore narratives and ideas regardless of how fantastical. In this regard I think readers of fiction are acclimatised to decipher whether a book is fictional or real life. By its very nature painting provides a disconnect to allow the viewer to think that they may not be seeing an exact replica of the scene the artist was working with. Photography is still seen through the eye of truth, unless we are forewarned.  

In my own practice I tend to shy away from constructing an image, other than deciding what to include within the scene, however my work for the photo agency does require a certain amount of construction similar to Trolio's work, creating a scene that could have happened organically. 

One area that interests me is the use of constructed narratives.  I am particularly interest in the work of David Alan Harvey. 

 Photo by David Alan Harvey from "Based on a True Story" (https://www.davidalanharvey.com/basedonatruestory/

Photo by David Alan Harvey from "Based on a True Story" (https://www.davidalanharvey.com/basedonatruestory/

Harvey's work has come from photojournalism and documentary, but he has now started to create fictional bodies of work. This is something I am interested to explore through my work. Although his images are staged, or at least created with the use of a central "Actor", they resemble documentary images, but are in some way controlled and set up.  The narrative of the project is also Fictional. I find it interesting that if one looked at the project without knowing it was a work of fiction would it become confusing. Does knowing that it is a work of fiction mean that it is read and thus, experienced, differently. This is something I am looking to research through the MA.

 

References

References

Harvey, D. (2018). (based on a true story). [online] David Alan Harvey. Available at: https://www.davidalanharvey.com/basedonatruestory/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

Zhang, M. (2018). World Press Photo Strips Giovanni Troilo of His First Prize Win for Misrepresenting Photo. [online] PetaPixel. Available at: https://petapixel.com/2015/03/04/world-press-photo-strips-giovanni-troilo-of-his-first-prize-win-for-misrepresenting-photo/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

  

Realism in the digital age

I think the reality that the viewer views the image is different to the truth and reality that is necessarily in the image.  People still tend to believe the photograph as real and truthful, even if in some cases the image shows an unrealistic scenario. 

With advent of digital technology it is becoming harder to tell if an image is showing reality or not. This also changes how we define reality within an image as we can no longer rely on being presented with what the camera captures, but potentially a manipulation. 

Context also plays a big part in how the viewer may perceive whether an image is real, or put another way may allow the context to influence their expectation of reality. In a newspaper as with the written content one expects images to show reality, or at least a truthful representation of reality.  

 Original Photo by Steve McCurry (https://petapixel.com/2016/05/06/botched-steve-mccurry-print-leads-photoshop-scandal/)

Original Photo by Steve McCurry (https://petapixel.com/2016/05/06/botched-steve-mccurry-print-leads-photoshop-scandal/)

 Image with manipulation by Steve McCurry (https://petapixel.com/2016/05/06/botched-steve-mccurry-print-leads-photoshop-scandal/

Image with manipulation by Steve McCurry (https://petapixel.com/2016/05/06/botched-steve-mccurry-print-leads-photoshop-scandal/

 

It was interesting in the wake of the Steve McCurry controversy, where it was found out that images had been digitally altered, in some cases heavily. McCurry was quick to point out the context claiming that whilst he was operating as a photojournalist the images were not manipulated, but now that he considers himself a fine art photographer the manipulation is deemed acceptable (Time, 2018). However how does this translate to the viewer? 

 

 Photo By Robert Kenneth Wilson (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/scotland/articles/Loch-Ness-Monster-50-fascinating-facts/)

Photo By Robert Kenneth Wilson (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/scotland/articles/Loch-Ness-Monster-50-fascinating-facts/)

If an image appears in a newspaper it would be given much more weight to the realism of the image. However there have been a number of occasions when images used in newspapers have been proven to be faked or manipulated.  The image above was one of the earliest forms of fakery, the image of the Loch Ness monster appeared in the Daily Mail in 1934, instantly giving the image authenticity to the readers. 

In my own practice for the MA i am not too concerned with image manipulation beyond the use of Black and White, however the images are not necessarily present as realism or part of a real narrative, but potentially more as fiction. Whilst continuing to work as a photojournalist there is an ethical responsibility to portray reality and authenticity, and the viewer is relying on me to present it in such a way. 

Informing Contexts

Some of the characteristics mentioned in The Photographers Eye, Szarkowski, 1966, are definitely implicated and important within my practice. My work deals with the captured moment without pre-planning, visualisation or manipulation of the scene.

Much of Szarkowski's characteristics deal with the realism and reality as captured by the photographer. As this quote shows:

"The Photographer was tied to the facts of things, and it was his problem to force the facts to tell the truth" Szarkowski, 1966, p8

 From "And other stories" by Darren O'Brien

From "And other stories" by Darren O'Brien

Within my own work this is very much the case, in that I choose what to include in the frame to portray the reality. 

The idea of Time as a characteristic as put forward by Szarkowski, also resonates with my work as it is very much a moment in time in the subjects "life". The ambiguity and lack of narrative within my images also fit with the characteristic of the Frame, the subject is somewhat freed from its original context by the decisions made by the photographer whilst choosing what to include in the image. This is an idea also put forward by Stephen Shore in The Nature of Photographs, 1998. Shore builds around Szarkowski's frameworks, describing the Depictive Level as having four levels, Flatness, Frame, Time and focus. 

Shore also speaks about the photograph as having a Physical Level. 

"The Physical qualities of the print determine some of the visual qualities of the image" Shore, 1998.

I find this concept interesting in todays world where images are mostly consumed on screens. Should the digital presentation be considered the same as a physical print, or does would Shore class it as a different characteristic? In my experience I would be inclined to look at the two separately. Although not talking about photography, Roger Dooley et al  findings around viewer engagement when looking at digital and print advertising. 

Some of the interesting findings are:

  • Digital ads were processed more quickly.
  • Paper ads engaged viewers for more time.
  • Subjects reported no preference for either medium.
  • Subjects absorbed about the same amount of information from both media.
  • A week later, subjects showed greater emotional response and memory for physical media ads.
  • Physical ads caused more activity in brain areas associated with value and desire.

(Dooley et al, 2018, https://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/print-vs-digital.html)

I think that some of these findings could also be applied to Digital vs Print in photography. We consume so many digital images that it may become hard to remember it all whilst viewing a physical print tends to make the work linger, but I do wonder if the more we view digital imagery the less importance the quality of the print will determine the quality of the image as in Shore's characterisitic.  

References

Dooley et al, R. (2018). Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper - Neuromarketing. [online] Neuromarketing. Available at: https://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/print-vs-digital.htm [Accessed 26 Feb. 2018].

Falmouth F2F and Project development

In February I attended the Face to Face event held at the Penryn Campus in Falmouth. Before attending I had decided to explore my Street photography and Documentary project "And Other Stories" for my MA.  This work is more personal to me and is something I have enjoyed working on.  The shooting experience is almost Cathartic and could be viewed as a form of meditation. 

 Photo Darren O'Brien from "And Other Stories"

Photo Darren O'Brien from "And Other Stories"

I was encouraged by feedback I received when presenting this work at the Portfolio Reviews. I am now confident that I am heading in the right direction. I also received some ideas and inspiration on how to present the work going forward, looking at the potential of news print and Zines, maybe introducing ways that the viewer can interact with the work and influence narratives. 

I was also given names of a number photographers work to help contextualise my own practice. One that stands out is Mimi Mollica, I had seen his work before, but had never studied it in any depth. I look forward to exploring it in more detail over the coming weeks. 

 Photo by Mimi Mollica from "Marginal Brazil"

Photo by Mimi Mollica from "Marginal Brazil"

I was also able to learn some Darkroom printing skills which is something I have always wanted to do. Whether it is something I will introduce into my practice I am unsure as yet, but it was great to learn and I came away with a couple of prints that I am happy with. 

 Darkroom print from an image shot in South Africa in 2008

Darkroom print from an image shot in South Africa in 2008

I have taken a lot away from the workshop and Symposium in Falmouth and I am excited to develop my practice over the next few weeks. 

Progress to date

At the beginning of the course I was intent on developing my documentary photographic practice, intent on exploring Long form storytelling as a device to present and explore topics that were meaningful to me and that  I could work on over the course and develop into a final project. I saw this as an extension of my full-time role as a photojournalist at a national agency. This direction would see me expand on what I have learnt in this job and use skills I had developed on the job. 

Due to my current practice being so tied to my job I was finding it difficult to compartmentalise the work I was doing for the agency and the work I was doing for the MA course work. I found this a bit draining and was lacking inspiration to develop ideas. I was struggling to separate the way I am required to work within my job and the way that I wanted to develop my practice within the framework of the course, which lead me to question what it was I wanted to achieve from doing the MA. 

Although I am still attempting to work out exactly what my final goal is I have decided to focus on an area of my practice that I am just starting to develop and, on a personal level, is the antithesis of my journalistic work. 

 From "And Other Stories" by Darren O'Brien

From "And Other Stories" by Darren O'Brien

I started developing this practice last year on a trip to Prague as a way of taking a break from the stringency of my job. Inspired by the work of Daido Moriyama I came across Provoke magazine which lead me to the work of other Japanese Photographers of the same ilk, for example Kōji Taki and Takuma Nakahira. 

What interests me most about Daido Moriyama is that he sees himself as a bit of an outsider, on the fringes of his culture and society which is something I can relate to within my own feelings to where I live and the country I was born in. 

I want to explore this work looking at the themes of Home and being an outsider, plus the relationship of place, whilst also looking a the image as a short story, drawing on the practice of Street Photography and the idea the Snapshot.  How images out of context can be used to form bodies of work that work together, similar to a book of short stories, where the reader is often presented with a segment of a story, not always the whole story.

I am also interested in playing with presentation, especially in book form. I am interested in seeing how an unrelated set of images, not governed by time, place or subject, can be potentially contextualised by being put together in a book. With only the books title for reference it would be interesting to see how a reader interprets the set of images.  I might even play around with presenting the same set of images under different titles to see how this might influence the reader.