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.