PHO702 Informing Contexts Week 4: Independent Reflection

During this unit there has been a need to continue making practical work, this has been carried out using by a Canon DSLR and the iPhone 6 Mobile Phone Camera. The vast majority of new images have been made on the iPhone 6 with these images being concentrated in the areas of my daily journey by train between Carmarthen & Llanelli but also in my main area on interest around the South Wales community of Merthyr Vale. Within the Merthyr Vale area a decision was made, for the length of this unit to concentrate upon two streets, Crescent Street and Taff Street which have been earmarked for demolition. It is intended that this work will form the bulk, if not the whole of the Work in Progress Portfolio for Unit PHO702: Informing Contexts.

It is my intent to photograph both Crescent and Taff Street on the Canon DSLR restricting myself to using two Prime lenses – 50mm/f1.8 and 24mm/f2.4 as these most closely match the focal length of the iPhone Camera which will be used to create the vast majority of new images. All new work made will be in the Monochrome or Black & White format – not because it is seen as artistic but because this is how I prefer to work. The aim is to make the work in as democratic and accessible  a manner with as little post-processing as possible. The decision to use the Mobile Phone Camera will place a restriction upon the size and quality of the final images – I do not intend to print many of the resulting images and those I do print will be restricted to a maximum size of 10” X 8” in either landscape or portrait mode. The final aim of these images is to produce a small handmade volume documenting the last years of both streets but also to produce a ‘talk/presentation’ to be given at the ‘Cymru Mono’ camera club, Baglan, Nr Port Talbot on the 16th of April.

Hopefully the above strategies will produce a successful presentation which the club members will both appreciate and, I hope, provide some important feedback regarding the images themselves. However, the images and the work are being made primarily as a personal project.

At the present time I intend to utilise the poem ‘Gwalia Deserta XXXVI’ by Idris Davies in some way, either has captions for the images or as text to be displayed alongside the images as they are projected – in the ‘book’ form I envisage each image being displayed on a single page with the text being printed on the opposite page to the image. A working title for this project would be something along the lines of ‘Gwalia Deserta XXXVI – walking with Hiraeth’. Another outlet for these mobile phone images will be via Facebook as this will allow me to judge the popularity or otherwise of the project and hopefully also provide some feedback.

It would be interesting to also present the images without any caption, text or title – they would be ‘ambiguous’  with the audience for the work being required to provide a ‘meaning’ for the images from their own experiences. I’m not sure about this idea though, its possible for the intended viewers to create meanings for the images that I have not considered but, if the images are to be placed in the real world then I will have to be prepared to let them lead a ‘life’ of their own and for any ‘meaning’ or ‘interpretation’ given to them by viewers to stand.

Although my intent is still to create a larger volume of working comparing two ex-mining communities in different areas of the UK utilising the guiding concept of ‘Hiraeth’ I need to experiment in order to determine the best way in which to proceed.

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