Over the first module of our course, we attended a series of very intriguing, thought-provoking, and insightful lectures.
Our first lecture was by Sarah Howe ( http://sarahhowe.co.uk/), who explained her artistic process. I found it very useful to observe the development and growth of her style. She explained in a really compelling way how every little step that she took led her to create and master her practice, which resulted in a series of exhibitions on the subject of reality dysmorphia. It was a fascinating lecture that I genuinely enjoyed, and it was an excellent way to start the academic year.
The second lecture was by Tom Parker (https://www.tomparkerphotography.com/), photo-journalist, who spoke about his journey into the world of photography. He shared several images and stories from his life as a professional. His pictures revealed a lot of skills, yet, alongside his statements, brought up a lot of controversy around a white savior complex as well as decency and righteousness of photographic practice.
The third lecture was by Jenny Baines (http://jennybaines.co.uk/), an artist who works with 16mm film. With this tool, she expresses herself through screenings, performances, and installation. I found it extremely beneficial as I have not encountered much of this kind of art form and expression before. It was really eye-opening and revealing to me the vast spectrum of possibilities that are out there for us to exercise. Throughout her lecture, she mentioned Cabinet Magazine (http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/), a non-profit art & culture magazine, which I presently follow as I discovered it to be a great source of inspiration.
Our fourth lecture was from an activist and a charismatic individual, Latoya Ruby Frazier (http://www.latoyarubyfrazier.com), who shared her creative process. I admire her passion, morale, and what she represents through her photography, shedding light on injustice, racism, and crisis with a compassionate eye. I was very touched by her story of the Flint water crisis, and her attitude to this, and every other commission, had a serious impact on me.
The humanity and responsibility in her work are paramount, and I feel like I can considerably relate to her as a person and an artist. I also aspire to bring a little hope, a positive change to the world, and stand up for what I believe. She is a true inspiration to me, utilizing the camera as a weapon in the war for justice and peace.
Our closing lecture was delivered by Gideon Koppel (https://www.unitedagents.co.uk/gideon-koppel), a filmmaker. In preparation for the talk, I watched his two films, ”Borth” and ”Sleep furiously”, both incredible pieces of art that I thoroughly enjoyed and found inspiring.
I especially gained from his practice of skills exchange. He presented the idea that capital is not crucial or even necessary. Alternatively, you collaborate and trade artistry and expertise rather than money. I believe it was a perfect way to end this module, and I hope for more inspirational and diverse speakers in the future.
On the 10th of October, as a birthday treat, I visited the Tate Museum in Liverpool to see the Don McCullin exhibition. He was a conflict photographer who spent most of his life reporting back from wars and struggles all over the world. It was a very emotional and memorable exhibition. It made me reflect on how lucky I am to have lived a peaceful life filled with opportunities, love, and peace, and how I should never take it for granted. He retired and is living in Somerset, creating landscape photography. Exploring the museum, I encountered some artwork that was very relevant to the current assignment, collage, and photomontage by John Stezaker, Barbara Kruger, as well as works of Max Ernst. I am sincerely looking forward to a day when going to an exhibition is not a rare treat anymore, but a regular occurrence.
I started my reading with the article recommended during the summer, titled ”What is a photograph” (https://cphmag.com/what-is-a-photograph/), which poses philosophical and practical questions about the nature of a photographic image.
I have been reading ”Photography” by David Bate, which personally, at times, I find quite troublesome to read because of its academic language.
Nonetheless, I have been taking notes with each chapter I read, and through this method, I understood more and found this book fascinating and thought-provoking.
The further reading included all the study recommended for the unit, ”On Photography” by Susan Sontag, ”The Photograph as Object” and ”Fixing the Image” from Photography by Stephen Bull.
I watched numerous videos regarding artists and practice on YouTube, as well as visited many web pages of the professionals. I adore abstract art, and I particularly enjoyed a Netflix documentary ”Abstract: The Art of Design” about the life and work of Olafur Eliasson.