As noted for Assignment 2 I tend to keep my response to my tutor report in OneNote, which I’ll submit in printed form at assessment. In summary I need to mute the text a fraction, there were a couple of suggestions about alternatives shots (one in particular was soft) and a strong recommendation to lose the final sunset. Stylistically it was not in keeping with the rest of the work – ditto the front cover. I also need to evidence the development work I put in.
I did consider a couple of alternatives for a front cover shot (see below) but in the end concluded a simple white cover with grey text was more in keeping with the overall design. I’ve tweaked the opening section to be less dogmatic, and hopefully explain a little more clearly what I was trying to get my head around/investigate with this particular work. I’ve also disguised the source of the texts by removing obvious geographic references, so that it comes as more of a surprise to a reader – another suggestions from my tutor.
Alternative cover shots
I like both of these individually and tried them as alternative cover shots. They both seemed attractively enigmatic but ultimately felt they didn’t work – one was too obscure and would have required extensive explanation, the other too colourful compared with the rest of the book. I also considered renaming the book Fe2O3, but in the end felt that using a chapter title from the reference text was more appropriate.
Some theoretical groundwork
The key text that got me thinking about this approach was Berger and Mohr’s “Another Way of Telling” which examines the way pictures work as texts, and why they are sometimes ambiguous – indeed he asserts that they are all ambiguous – I’ve toned down that statement in my intro. The conclusion of this work is a photo-essay of sorts, in which Berger plays with the ambiguities and uncertainties of the image to allow us to build our own narrative around the structure he/Mohr provides.
Short, In Context and Narrative more explicitly examines uses of text alongside and within images to help create narrative. Discussing Simon’s “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar” she says “The viewer derives understanding from the combination of image and text. Without the accompanying text, the image fails to communicate it’s full meaning and vice versa.”
This lead me to consider how words might lend an entirely different meaning to images, and vice versa, so that by combining two sets of essentially authentic texts I could come up with a reasonably believable work of fiction, by allowing space for an alternative narrative among the ambiguities of both.
The contact sheets for this work overlap with to some degree those from Assignment 2 available here but also reflect ongoing exploration/collection work on “iron beach” as shown below. In total my image collection in this location covered a period of just over a year and encompassed more than 300 photos.