outside the box

by julie posted June 16, 2008

I suppose it’s time to actually start exploring what I was getting at with my SoFoBoMo project.

It’s all very well having a nice neat synopsis inside the front cover but a couple of months on, with a bit of hindsight and a bit more casual shooting under my belt I think I am starting to come to a bit more of an understanding of what’s really going on.

Without the project as motivation, I haven’t been shooting in my lunch hour so much. But there are other external factors affecting that too. The main thing I have noticed is that the holga lens isn’t a novelty that’s worn off. It’s given me a new motivation to look around me, and not just want to photograph those things you would consider tradiotionally photogenic. I’ve found a very curious thing – that I’m drawn to that hideous architecture of the 70’s, that stuff I can’t bear to look at otherwise. Concrete car parks and depressing civic offices have taken on a different persona, in how they are rendered by the plastic. Also those generic office blocks, hotels and apartments that are being flung up all over the city – so lacking in character you don’t look twice at them usually. And it’s interesting (for me at least) because they aren’t at either end of that scale where you have the stuff that’s obviously photogenic to every man and his dog like flowers, forests or manicured gardens – or the aesthetic dereliction of the crumbling mansion or the gritty urban graffitti’d neighbourhood walls that are almost cliché to photographers these days, in their own way. They are somewhere in between, and almost invisible to the naked eye, in that we spend our time trying to ignore them. Brown and grey, lacking in class or beauty, I’m still puzzled as to why they have started to draw my attention through that lens. But that’s as far as I’ve got, I suppose, in figuring out what I’m doing. It’s nice though, to believe I am just feeling my way along a path and things are being revealed to me a little at a time.

I suppose it relates to my last post and so many of the comments that people left (thanking you for your participation by the way, it was very much appreciated and mulled over) in that I think I am just strumming away here, seeing if something comes to me. It feels like a very fine line between just jamming, and trying too hard and becoming contrived. Almost like those stereogram pictures where you had to look past the page and relax your eyes, and the moment you tried to focus, it just disappeared…

Anyway, not a hugely satisfying conclusion, but still a conclusion that it feels like I’m on a path of some kind. If that turned out to be the only outcome from SoFoBoMo, it was definitely worth it.

One Response to outside the box

  1. Really, there are two sets of goals (and when you shoot commercially that adds pressure.)

    What does the shot/print/project do for/to you?

    What might it do for an audience?

    I suppose, if it’s a polemic, what it might do for/to the subject.

    So perhaps the thing with 70s “awful buildings” is that it’s part of seeing and understanding how much of it there is, where does it feed, how did it reproduce. And perhaps one goal of a book or the like is to get people to notice “look at all this stuff, see what happens…”

    Then again, I’m some random photographer who just found your blog, so maybe I’m completely confused.

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