Week 5: Stronger together

October 19, 2019: Update on Group Brief CityID/B. I had an idea for a visual strategy which was difficult for me to describe in a web conference. I decided to see if I could create something like what I saw in my imagination. My original idea was to create a negative of a visual collage demonstrating the elements of brief B: Personal agency in a smart city environment. City ID also identified other key elements such as diversity people and geographies, physical, social or economic barriers; agency and belonging in the context of technology and place. I would then print the negative using cyanotype, thus create a blueprint. As in a blueprint toward a smart-city future.

Boston,Portugal, Sweden, California, France, China, New Hampshire, Vermont and Tokyo

October 20, 2019: I heard back from the newspaper and a few of the pictures I took have been sent on to layout. I received very helpful feedback about the depth of field (deep, not shallow), telling a story, taking names (of people in the photos), think postcard rather then art. It’s a steep learning curve but I think that this will help me grow as a professional.

This place has an Instagram account. The owners posted a small sign inviting people to take pictures, but asked that the the photos posted are tagged with @houseanddog.

October 22, 2019: Our CityID/B group met for 90 minutes today. I think that we are moving along really well and have some work to do to get ready for our mock presentation which is next week. I will be working on creating the proposal after another student did an excellent job describing the company and our objective, among other things. Another member shot a roll of 35mm film to see what the effects of exposed sprocket holes would do to our images. This has been a really nice experience and checking in with the group weekly has added to my experience this term. My suggested approach will probably not be one that we will take for this project, and that’s an appropriate choice. My work expresses a sense of frenetic while we were going for a more peaceful approach.

October 23, 2019: Received word back from the newspaper that they are using one of my photos. Yay! First paid photo job. Will wait to see if there are any further opportunities this week for additional work.

October 25, 2019: I really appreciate the opportunity to have a one to one conversation with my tutor. We reviewed my recent concept of demonstrating willful blindness in the context of historical events, such as America’s nuclear testing program. I received helpful feedback and will pursue this idea but without the dinosaurs. The dancer and dinosaur concept works well when the figures are isolated in a created world. However, I am wondering if I should pull out the dinosaurs and try to integrate the dancers more closely into the nuclear testing photos. Overall, I am enjoying this project and am awaiting inspiration for my next focus.

Week 2: Other careers in photography

Photography is a passion for me and I feel that, though I have been taking pictures for over 40 years, that I am still exploring who I am and what I want to do. Currently I am working in the fine art sector with a concentration in narrative. I am at the beginning stages of exploring modern (digital) photography and how that is effected by communication and media, therefore trying to figure through the HOW of making art a business. I am not working commercially, and therefore not collaborating with any professionals yet. I am entrenched in my nursing career and may not have time to create collaborative work at this point. I hope to, one day, retire from my current job and work as a self-employed photographer for additional income. I may switch to a commercial portrait approach, perhaps weddings or portraits of high school seniors.

I was a little surprised, this week, at the reactions to the weekly posting regarding the re-purposing of other people’s work. I sensed that my cohort felt unhappy about Prince winning the copyright case. It’s really about copyright law and what kind of protections it may or may not provide. Maybe I am cynical, but law and fairness are not the same thing. The laws we have are made in attempt to try to negotiate the grey areas of life and don’t always help in the way that we would hope. This case, the work of a French photographer, Cariou, was altered by an artist named Prince. I came down on the side that Prince essentially altered Cariou’s work enough that it changed the meaning of the work. I do want to express, however, that although I could see how the courts viewed this case, it is unfair. Cariou produced amazing work, and Prince just kind of trashed it. I would be really upset if this had happened to my work. It is devastating that Prince made money off the work that someone else produced.

Week 2: CityID group B Brief Update

My group was able to meet for over an hour using the Big Blue button to start to get to know one another and to puzzle through an approach to the work. We identified that CityID had emphasized the term agency and while we discussed what agency could mean, we decided that perhaps we could spend the week identifying agency is visual art. We used the google doc to collect these images. We will meet again next Tuesday to discuss what we have found.

Weeks 8-9: Contexts and Audiences

“with each shift of location the photogram is decontextualized and, as the context changes, so does the meaning..”

Berger and Evans (1997) p 54.

I attended the 2019 Les Rencontres D’Arles, a large photographic exhibition held throughout the city of Arles, France. Arles is an ancient Roman city built at the confluence of the Rhone. Cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways and stone buildings typify this city. Most of the exhibits were placed in unused or empty buildings- beautiful, ancient buildings. This context, or setting, changed everything, to me, about the photos featured. For example, an exhibit, “The Anonymous Project“, occupied the entirety of a small, two story stone home. The premise of the project was the display of slides depicting family life in the 1960s in England. The slides had been found (in second hand shops or sales) and the photographers and subjects were thereby anonymous. The slides were displayed on back-lit acrylic panels and slideshows as an instillation. Each room of the house held a different theme with featured images located in the context of the subject. For example, images were displayed in the open refrigerator and a pullout drawer of the mocked-up kitchen. What made the exhibition was the addition of a soundtrack (from the 1940s) and home furnishings taken from that age. It was fascinating. I found myself seated on the couch of the living room, watching the slide show and feeling very sentimental. But would I have felt so sentimental if I had viewed these images in another context, like displayed on the white walls of a gallery. I don’t think so, and believe that context changes the meaning.

Audiences: Currently I am using Adobe Portfolio to house my gallery. It is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and seamlessly meshes with Lightroom. I like that the content is responsive and can be viewed on a phone or computer with equally good results. Observing my work, I have several thoughts: I have put a lot of time and though into the construction of the photographs and am proud of that. I am pleased to have the experience of a photograph develop from idea to execution and end product. As my practice is in development, I can see changes in the quality of the photos over the last few months. The photos were taken indoors, outdoors with a flash and studio lighting, causing variations in color and dimensionality. Because of this, there is not a consistent “look” to the photographs when put together. I will continue to consider this in the future when producing a body of work.

My Work in Progress Portfolio can be found here: https://amyeilertsen.com

Viewing my work, I wonder, who is my audience, or my “consumer”. My photographs have been an expression of me and I didn’t think about who else to which they may appeal. My audience has been whomever sees my images on Instagram, or on this blog. As my photographic practice grows, I would consider expanding into a commercial portrait market. Which makes me wonder what the difference is between audience and consumer is. I think it depends on the subject and the situation. If I am commissioned to work, then my audience would be anyone who would engage me in photographing the subject which they wish to feature. Who would my work appeal to?

Berger, J. and Evans, J., 1997. The Camerawork Essays: Context and Meaning in Photography.