Fellow student, Nic Clarke, convened an informal group crit for part-timers. In the end 6 of us participated, including Frederic Anderson from the MFA course.
I showed three of my long exposure photos of which I had made new prints on Somerset paper following my tutorial with Tania at the beginning of term:
The general view was: Wow those are great but how about abstracting elements? I was a bit taken aback by that, given that I’m about the last person in the group to be concerned with abstraction. We were a bit rushed for time by then so we couldn’t pursue the discussion further. So I left feeling that the comments were interesting and understandable but didn’t connect with what I was thinking about. In particular, I had come to feel that I had exhausted, at least for the time being, what I wanted to use the long exposures for, in terms of recording the movement of my body.
But the next day, Janine Hall offered another insight which tied it all together. She told me that when she looked at Of My Better Nature she didn’t see a body at all, only shapes and tones. At first she couldn’t understand the jokes people were making about my legs! We talked about the fact that against the black background, my pale skin becomes a trace of my movement and of course it stands out. The multiple ghosts of my body parts create an image that isn’t just my body, but it is I think completely recognisable as my body. But against the white backdrop, my pale visible body parts merge into the background, producing a much more ambiguous image. I could explore that ambiguity, as a kind of abstraction. I think there is a link too with my research into forgetting as the parallel to remembering, i.e. what isn’t there is as important as what is.
So it’s back to the Observatory …