Research Project Proposal

I am happy with how my proposal has turned out, I found it challenging at the beginning to put my ideas into a logical order, however once I had found a good flow, it has become useful to create this plan in a way that is flexible enough for evolution. It has also given me the opportunity to apply some additional skills that may come to inform and support my work.

The proposal was consciously designed to mirror the layout and style of a government information document, similar to the EU Referendum pamphlet that was widely circulated during the 2016 referendum. Many state organisations choose to use the typeface Helvetica due to its clarity and appearance of stable governance (Helvetica, 2007). This is a subtle coding that we interact with regularly. I felt it important to start utilsing in my work on the community. My aim was not to create a complete copy of this but to consider the civic and political elements of community.

In order to make the document as accessible as possible I utilised Adobe InDesign to add elements such as navigation links and bookmarks to aid people in reading the document, although this might depend on prior knowledge of PDF reading software.

Helvetica. (2007). [film] Directed by G. Hustwit. Canada: Veer, Swiss Dots.

Week 10: Reflection

After this week’s webinar, I have had to consider the way I am discussing my work, and how much that I am projecting onto the work, which can distract from the reading of it.

We looked at critical perspectives to locate my practice:

  • Community is the shared space and activities that provide many with meaning. Eli Durst has said  “Many People need a sense of secular purpose” (Zoo, 2019).​*​
  • Robert Putnam discusses a decline in ‘social capital’ in his book ‘Bowling Alone.’ Traditional community groups have functioned to serve in providing the participants with the skills and knowledge to function within society. Civic engagement, for example, has decreased as education has risen over the past 30 years. People now have the skills to function within a society that historically would have been nurtured through clubs, organizations and associations (Putnam, 2000). ​†​
  • In Roland Barthes posthumous essays entitled ‘How to Live Together’ (Barthes, 1977)​‡​, he considered the individual and society in an attempt to ask the question on if it is possible to create a community where everyone lives according to their own rhythm, and yet respects the individual rhythms of others? (Reference, paper on barthes).

I continue to read ‘Bowling Alone’ which has inspired the concept of looking at the theme of community. It has been useful and provided me with a number of critical perspectives to consider moving forward. The writing is very much in the field of economics and everything is considered as such. I have come to realise that I need to expand my reading in this area and started to look at the work ‘How To live Together’ by Roland Barthes, where he considered the individual and society in an attempt to ask the question on if it is possible to create a community where everyone lives according to their own rhythm, and yet respects the individual rhythms of others?

During the Webinar, it was noted that my explanation of the work could be considered melancholic where the images did not read that way. This perception could be a factor in the way that I was applying the Social Capital theory in terms of the decline that Putnam discusses in his work. The reading of the images is correct as there is much positivity in the images that I shot and clearly show a strong sense of community. My emphasis on the decline is mostly a projection of the unprepared statements I was making regarding my work. An area of clear development as although, Putnam is right to assert the decline in social capital, however, my work is to look at what is replacing it. Is the traditional community in decline, or is it evolving. If it is evolving, what is replacing the traditions.

During the afternoon 'Children's Procession' at Gillingham Carnival. Part of Wessex Grand Prix: Gillingham Carnival
Figure 1. Oscar, Gillingham Carnival. (Hill, 2019)

My work on the Carnival was also a look at Putnam’s Bonds, Bridges, and Linkages’ in that the carnival culture and community is mainly that of the established working class demographic of the somerset region which feels besieged by the gentrification of the area. Local traditions are very much perceived as under threat by the people moving to the area. The bridge between these two levels of social capital are not considerate or in dialogue with one another.

Suggested further reading after the webinar
  • Charlotte Cotton – The Photograph as Contemporary art (Cotton, 2014)​§​
Work in Progress

I have been working on my sequencing of the work and now have updated my online gallery, hopefully ready for the portfolio submission.

The work has a new tighter edit that focuses on the ‘Adult Play’ and secular sense of purpose, which are concepts that I have come to this week through reading Alice Zoo’s review of Eli Durst’s new book ‘The Community.’

I feel my work now sits very well on my website and has a clear narrative running through the set. I asked peers to also have a look at the work and received very positive feedback on how it all works together. A critique however, was to consider the information That I am providing to the reader, and avoid generalised sweeping statements regarding my work. 

  1. ​*​
    Zoo, A. & Durst, E., 2019. The Community. The British Journal of Photography, Issue 7890, pp. 40-49.
  2. ​†​
    Putnam, R., 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. 1 ed.
  3. ​‡​
    Barthes, R., 2018. How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism). Translation Edition ed. New York: Columbia University Press.
  4. ​§​
    Cotton, C., 2014. The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art). 3rd ed. London: Thames & Hudson.

Week 7: Reflections

Liquid Image - Micro Project
Figure 1. Balsamic Vinegar and Water Liquid image from the week 6&7 Micro Project. (Hill, 2019).

I enjoyed producing the images for the micro project. It was a complete departure from what I have been shooting for my current work in progress portfolio, focusing on an abstract series of images as opposed to the location portraits I have been photographing.

Where I feel that the images could have been improved was how distracted with the production of the oral presentation I have been and not taken the care and time over the images that  might have done if I was completely focused on it in the same way that I am for my main practice and project. The feedback received for the set has been generally good and I had much encouragement to continue the series and create something with the minimal nature of the water image. Sequencing was the main area of development that I should consider. This is an area that I feel needs much refinement over the whole of the MA as selecting and editing my work has never been my strong point. I feel that when presenting my wider project ideas it may become crucial to seek the support from my peers and tutors.

At the moment, the images sit somewhere in the experiment category, as I know that they are created with simple liquids, I do not feel that there is enough depth to the set in order to take it any further as it stands. That said, during the webinar with my peers and Paul, some other photographers and artists who work in a similar way were suggested to me and I could now start to see how a project with these images may develop. I do feel that given the time, I would like to explore the concept and see where it could lead with a style and type of photography that I have never done before.

I have been working fairly consistently on my research project, continuing to shoot carnivals. Salisbury on 24/10, and have reflected on these images here.

Work In progress portfolio

To support the practice I am also working my way through ‘Bowling alone.’ I am finding this book on the subject very much based on the economics of the subject and how it ultimately impacts the productivity of a society. Interestingly, I do find that our world tends to be defined the economics of it and the capitalist nature of our culture. Putnam also notes that civic engagement has decreased as education has risen over the past 30 years (as written in 2000). People now have the skills to function within a society that historically would have been nurtured through clubs, organizations and associations. I am also interested in Putnam’s reference to social philosophy and will look into this side of things to support my project.​*​

  1. ​*​
    Putnma, R. (2000). Bowling Alone. New York: Simon & Schuster, p.60.