FMP - Final Thoughts and Guy Martin

Over the last few weeks and as it comes to a close for my MA Photography, from Falmouth University, I have been thinking a lot about the Final Major Project (FMP). In particular the opportunities that develop, how to follow them through and how 6 months is such a short time to complete a project. 

Through the three case studies I have been involved with, and the final portfolio of images, I have identified several areas of research or photographic exploration that would make singular projects in themselves, such as; ‘interoception’ its emotional link to behaviour when the brain is under stress, ‘oxidative stress’ and extruding or refining the data in a more scientific way, ‘bacteriophages’ and their impact on viruses. Development of work, generally could be more poetic, more symbiotic when mixed with other disciplines. Utilising the multidisciplinary work I have touched on as a way to reveal ‘inconsistencies’ or act as an abstract platform for discussion could be further developed. Developing more detailed work on other visual communications platforms such as consolidating audio, relevant film, mixed media or sketching first as a way of slowing down the process and interogating the image, light, reflections etc.,

I have been really unaware of the stance of the observer, discussed in ’Ambiguities and Conventions in the Perspective of Visual Art’, and more work could have been done on this. Again I have touched on it, and have been conscious of aspects of my images such as light, reflection, shadows, luminance, chromogenic colour, repetition, objects 2D to 3D impacts, movement, balance of colours, shown through the Visual Explorations.  This could have been developed in a more systematic way, really considering every aspect of each image and aspects of it that are more or less important. Those that need to remain ambiguous or clearly defined. I tried to ensure that the images reflected each other in the different series and as a whole, colour is complimentary throughout the portfolio. 

I would develop better forms of feedback, but in a more subtle way, questionnaires, unless you are looking for only one or two questions answered, are cumbersome and people tend to write anything just to complete, particularly if under time pressure or just distracted. I would probably use an audio recording and use this in discussion, since talking is often a release and the real emphasis of emotions are caught better than in a written questionnaire. I found similar with the Visitors Book, random thought scribbled, rather than the in depth discussion that followed.  

Other Public outcomes, including the book, a successful first attempt, but needs more in depth thought and in particular to the layering if it were to become a book of a scientific nature. Laid out as if it were a clinical paper could be interesting. The Lecture at Falmouth, setting out the scene for my project  and then the artist talk were both great experiences. I enjoyed the latter much more and was ready to communicate the whole project my work through the talk.

Returning to my thoughts on time to complete a project I follow Guy Martin’s Guest Lecture and the Parallel State with interest, since I am really looking forward to utilise the experiences from this course and in particular the FMP to develop ideas in more detail, focus down on a project by looking at it from several aspects, ensuring it is more poetic in someway, still utilising the multidisciplinary skill set but introducing other skill sets into the mix, maybe mixed media or literature for example and taking my time over it! I am also visiting Istanbul in October 2019, so I am intrigued. I am a fan of Orhan Pamuk and life in Turkey, interested in its political changes over the last few years, but also its extraordinary history stretching from Constantinople through the Ottoman Empire. All now changed somewhat. 

Guys lecture is impactful from the beginning, the shock of the explosion and the attempted Coup in July 2016, recorded on film in a family home and the description of Turkey growing up over the last 70years with the ’Useful Enemy’ as Guy describes it. A history of militia and political governments building this architecture over the years. Interestingly he mentions ‘soap operas’ being watched by hundreds of millions of people due to the concentration of countries surrounding Turkey and the Islamic network. These soap operas being focused mainly on Istanbul because of its exotic history and probably one of the reasons that draws us all naively to Turkey from time to time. The Soap Operas become the subject of Guys work for which he gets a small grant. 

Guy motivation and change of documentary type comes from spending a lot of time in war zones, watching colleagues die as well as many war deaths surrounding him and finally getting hurt himself. Form here he wants to take his time with his work, work more slowly at his own pace and delve deeper into the city of Istanbul, its Soap Operas being the core for this. He finds he is exposed to the beauty of Turkey as well as its ever changing political environment, with the increasing influx of Syrian refugees and unsettled politics. Through this work he finds ‘he can readjust himself’ and ‘to be quieter’. I empathise completely with this after having an illness that really takes your present life away, later to find there is more quiet, more peace, more time to take things at a more involved but interesting pace. 

Then the Gezi Park Protests, changed things again for Guy, when rioting broke out over a small piece of land in Istanbul, from what was a small environmentalist type protest, because the military were so heavy-handed. 

In the same way Guy questions how was his audience responding to his images, I of course, have been during the FMP, going through a similar thought process of questioning the validity of my images? Towards the end of the lecture Guy introduces diptych of real life and soap opera scenes, both dramas one played out the other circumstantial. This really makes me think not only about how to engage the audience for the future, but also who are my audience in more depth than I may have done before. His conversation about what is hidden, the ‘Parallel State’, the ‘Useful Enemy’ and things that you can see is also interesting for me considering a ‘hidden condition’ and ‘hidden research’. What is visible actually, and what is hidden could be investigated more thoroughly.  A highly interesting lecture and development of work from Guy Martin Photographer.  

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