‘Does landscape photography remain encoded within the language of academic painting and the traditions of landscape art which developed during the 18th and 19th Centuries’? (Clarke, 1997, p.55)
In this session, participants are encouraged to consider a historical relationship between painting and photography in the context of thier own landscape environment. They will consider ideas of the Picturesque and considerations are made as to how such visual mofifs may be culturally / visually reproduced to create a myth of the constructed land as a rural arcadia – as it is transformed into a land-scape.
Participants are encouraged to independently research the Pictorialist movement in photography and the work of Peter Henry Emerson
‘A ‘landscape’, whether cultivated or wild, is already artifice before it becomes the subject of a work of art. Even when we simply look, we are already shaping and interpreting…Landscape pictures will breed landscape pictures.’ (Andrews, 1999, p.1)
‘There is no such thing as an un-photographed or un-photographable subject. It is for us to determine a subjects significance, knowing it must have one, for the artist has photographed it and thereby designated it as significant.’ (Cotton, 2014, p.115)
This is an adaptable session in which participants will explore the idea that banal/mundane subject matter can be made extraordinary merely by the act of photographing it. It encourages participants to ‘look’ at the world around them, explore the role of aesthetics, framing, vantage point and depth of field, and investigate the idea of ‘photographic seeing’ as the world is transformed / constructed into an image.
‘To photograph is to confer importance. There is probably no subject that cannot be beautified; moreover, there is no way to suppress the tendency inherent in all photographs to accord value to their subjects’ (Sontag, 1977, p.28)
‘The Fact that the banal image points towards its own status as object suggests that the aesthetics of the banal be approached not just in terms of what we read in the image, but of how we read it.’ (Shinkle, 2004, p.175)
Aims & Outcomes:
For participants to visually explore the nature of a ‘photographic’ way of seeing and framing the world around them
For participants to produce 5 (edited) images which visually / aesthetically transform and change the objects / scenes they have photographed
For participants to conduct in depth research on the work of Peter Fraser and apply these ideas to thier practice.
*This session works best when participants are encouraged to really ‘look’ at the world around them rather than construct or interfere with the scene.
Participant Outcome: 5 6×4 digital prints
Research: the work of Peter fraser:
You will need:
Digital cameras for all participants (and appropriate memory cards) *This session can also be run using camera phones or Lumix cameras
Access to computers (or laptops)
An introductory brief & Presentation (below) for participants to outline the ideas and provide examples
A booked room to critique participants work (either via a projector or via print)
Blue tack to pin the work
Costings and Risk Assessments
Presentation ideas: Looking at the overlooked
Ask participants to watch the Peter Fraser (2013) Tate Shots interview which can be accessed here
Ask participants if they have thier own digital cameras and cards
Make sure you have access to computers
Make sure there are enough team members to support participants (never assume thier prior knowledge)
Decide whether you will project the work or print it.
If you are printing it (6×4) make sure the Photo Lab are aware and be aware of timekeeping so they have space to print the work.
*If you are running this session off campus, make sure there is access to printers or projectors
Suggested Session Outline:
Ask participants what they think most boring objects / scenes they can think of.
Deliver presentation / brief and encourage discussion and debate
In small groups investigate the local area and encourage visual exploration of banaal objects and scenes
Encourage participants not to interfere with the object / scene but to try to show it in a ‘new way’ through the act of photographing it.
Download and edit final images (5 per participant) *have a break here to give good time to print these physically or organise a slideshow