The thing that has stood out in week one is the task we were set.
Taking the Photographer’s Playbook, in which photographers/artists set challenges to make the reader consider their own practice and how it sits in a professional context, as a prompt, the first activity is from Michael Christopher Brown.
He is an American photographer represented by Magnum Photos. Work such as his documentation of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which was published in a monograph titled Libyan Sugar, by Twin Palms Publishers in 2016, has gained him an international reputation.
The task shared his words: “For much of my career, photography was more of a way to make money than a compulsion. I spent a lot of time communicating ideas that were not my own. Two years ago, during the Libyan Revolution, I began taking a more honest path with regards to photography. It had to do with finding a voice. An interesting exercise that anyone can do is to take one photograph per day for a week. The idea is to be focused enough to only photograph what is absolutely necessary. What are the seven pictures that not only define the week, but yourself? What if you were to die next week and these were to be the last seven pictures of your life? This exercise can be an important analysis of the self in relation to life and photography.”
We were asked to post seven pictures in the forum to discuss what we discovered.
For me the words “absolutely necessary” and “define the week, but yourself”. Momentarily I thought about how the heck could I create seven photographic masterpieces that I would be remembered by, but then I realised that no matter how important photography is to me and how I am defined by it, the last seven pictures of my life that would truly define me would be the every day things I currently do, and those I do them with.
So I shared the following images (only five due to other commitments that week).
But then I thought that maybe I should have been more photographically-minded so I set myself a seven-minute, seven photos lunch break task and came up with:
I was really pleased with these iPhone shots (credit to fellow student Rita Rodner’s photographic style for being my inspiration for this) as they are quite different to my usual. But perhaps what I could have shared are the images from my #365cyanotypechallenge.
I’m currently on day 25 but the photos I could have shared are:
Yet these are not what I feel are the best of the #365cyanotypechallenge so far – would they be the photos I want to be remembered by? Probably not – with the exception of the feathers, maybe.
What I found as an analysis of self in relation to life and photography is that even though I can hear if someone even whispers the word “photography” in a noisy room and I often feel totally absorb by it, it is only part of what defines me as me.