This is the work that I showed at this week’s webinar followed by recommendations from peers/my tutor along with other research that came of the back of this weeks reading/searching
Jon Chinn recommended Stéphane Mallarmé for text layout options. I’d been looking for a way to lay out the text to give that sense of a stream of consciousness and couldn’t find what I was looking for. The middle example below is that I had in mind.
Recommended texts from Clare…
Virginia Woolf – The Waves (& To The Lighthouse)
Songs of the Sky
Feeling Photography by Elspeth H. Brown , and Thy Phu
My phenomenology agreed to compromise with a power, affect ; affect was what I didn’t want to reduce; being irreducible, it was thereby what I wanted, what I ought to reduce the Photograph to ; but could I retain an affective intentionality, a view of the object that was immediately steeped in desire, repulsion, nostalgia, euphoria? Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
the “affective intentionality” that, for Barthes, lies at the heart of photography.
But as this epigraph shows, Barthes keenly grasped the complexities of feeling photography. When it comes to photography, Barthes confessed, “I have determined to be guided by the consciousness of my feelings.”2
Burgin wrote a compelling review of Camera Lucida , which demonstrated his awareness of the book’s engagement with feeling. The “significance for theory” of Barthes’s book, Burgin observes, “is the emphasis . . . placed on the active participation of the viewer in producing the meaning/affect of the photograph.”6
The expansive embrace of new critical models and historiographies that has since emerged has yet to engage fully with the theoretical seismic shift that Patricia Ticineto Clough has called the “affective turn.”11
AFFECT AND FEELING
There is no scholarly consensus concerning the meaning of affect and emotion, although a concern with subject versus object, and with physiology versus psychology, are sometimes the basis for distinguishing between the former and the latter.18 Much of the current psychoanalytically inflected scholarship on affect, for example, is drawn from Freud’s early work with hysterics, complemented by his later outlines on psychoanalysis. For Freud, “affect” is the generalized concept for all those embodied processes that, when they reach the conscious mind, can be understood on the one hand as feelings, or on the other as physiologically charged emotions.
So in this analysis, “feelings” are aspects of affect to which we have direct, subjective access; in contrast, emotions signify the underlying, physiological phenomena, worked out in the body (e.g., a quickened heart rate, a giddiness in the solar plexus, a shift in facial muscles) and often expressed facially. Whereas emotions are sometimes the manifestation of affect, affect itself may remain unconscious, become displaced, or even transform into its opposite. This approach to understanding the psychoanalytic aspects of affect has been especially influential in the work concerning trauma and representation, such as the scholarship on Holocaust photography.19
Brian Massumi’s work on affect, explores the relationship— the gap, really— between the content of an image and its effect on the viewer. Drawing from recent scientific studies on perception, Massumi argues that the event of image reception is “multi- leveled”: it is embodied both in intensity (detected through the surface level of the skin) and in qualification (detected through depth, via pulse and breathing).20 “Affect” emerges, for Massumi and others, as a means of signalling the complexity of the viewing “event,” where— for a time— perception resists narrative or structured mapping. In this reading, “affect” exists apart from feeling or even the “unclaimed experience” of trauma, both of which can be understood as social and cultural discourses that emerge in relationship to personal or collective history.21 Others, such as Sara Ahmed, have explored how emotions work to shape the surface of individual and collective bodies and then circulate between individuals in an “affective economy” of emotional currency,
Expression marks a pivotal moment in the convergence of feeling and photography, in which the latter provides crucial illustration for and evidence of affect theory.25 Yet implicit in this work is a tendency to define emotions as the visual manifestation of physiological responses (where photographs appear to function as illustrative tools toward this end) and to consider emotions as objects for analysis rather than as an analytical approach.
Edwin Cocking, writing in the British Journal of Photography in 1878, argued that photography students would do well to learn from the artist’s emphasis on feeling. Two years later in the same journal, W. Neilson outlined ten principles of aesthetic composition for photographers, so that they might achieve the “high aim” of all art: “to set forth what will elevate and expand our emotional being.”32
Henry Peach Robinson wrote in a chapter on landscape expression, “the student who wants to go beyond mere mechanism must cultivate the emotions; must get closer into touch with nature; must be able to grasp the scene in his mind and feel its beauty, as well as capture it in his camera.”33
As Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick reminds us, “a particular intimacy seems to subsist between textures and emotions.” This dual meaning of feeling as the “tactile plus emotional”
Not surprisingly, the haptic register of photography— what it might mean to feel photographs and how photographs might, in turn, feel— has, alongside its optic register, long preoccupied photo critics. The chapters in this part contribute to this thread of inquiry by exploring this duality of feeling, touch, and affect.
As Dana Seitler shows in her essay, “Making Sexuality Sensible” (chapter 2), provides a sensual exploration of texture in the works of Catherine Opie and Tammy Rae Carland, and argues that the materiality evoked through techniques such as historical citation helps conceptualize within photography a queering of affect.
As the basis for the intertwining of these two senses, tactility and affect, feeling, then, is more than an index of the referent. While the language of indexicality might occasionally echo in the chapters included in this section, the concept itself often turns out to be inextricable from the emotions that the haptic might elicit.
Feeling Photography, edited by Elspeth H. Brown, and Thy Phu, Duke University Press, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/falmouth-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1711166.
Created from falmouth-ebooks on 2022-08-03 09:16:14.
Photography as expression Douglis, Phil P.S.A. journal, 2010, Vol.76 (3), p.30
What is expressive imagery? It is not a technical exercise. It is not a recording process. Instead,
it is photography that interprets, rather than describes, what we see to others. It tells a story going beyond conveying information for its own sake. It often becomes metaphorical.
Minor White, perhaps photography’s most notable theorist, saw photographs as ‘”outward expressions of inward states.” He felt that images are “about not just what something is, but rather, what else it is.” By expressing our own metaphorical point of view about what we see, we can communicate ideas to others, triggering emotional, intellectual, and imaginative responses.
Expressive photography is based upon three important principles: Abstraction, Incongruity. and Human \jiues. Abstraction removes literal, descriptive clutter and hones an image down to its essence encouraging imaginative responses. Incongruity presents elements that seem to be at odds with their context, creating contrasts and juxtapositions that stimulate both the emotions and the imagination.
Human values convey the emotions, beliefs, traditions and knowledge that we understand and share as humans. These three principles work together to express ideas. Imagine them as an integrated triangle.
Human values stand at the base of this triangle of principles. Abstraction runs up one side of this triangle. Incongruity the other, and human values supports both of them. Once we know the human
value or values we are trying to express to our viewers, we can consider how to abstract the image to reveal its essence, as well as how to bring either perceptual incongruity or subject incongruity into play.
From that point on. expressive photography becomes a matter of making simultaneous choices
in light, lime and space and using aesthetic judgments to best express meaning. We can build our images around the message of color or the abstraction of black and white. We can express meaning through our selection and use of detail, our frame piacement. and our vantage point.
We can inject mood and atmosphere into our photographs, using light and shadow not merely as correct exposure but as an abstracting force and a source of meaning. We can organize our ideas with compositions that guide the eye through the frame and stress the points we are trying to express.
And we can choose a moment in time that best tells our story. These options are not based on rules. They form the visual language we use to make expressive photographs. A visual language must be flexible, not rigidly defined by rules. Rules dictating the nature oí correct composition, framing, exposure,
focus, etc. can be destructively constricting.
Making pictures in ways that others expect us to make them is an abdication of creative thought and individual responsibility. In order to make an expressive image, we must determine what it is that we are trying to express. In expressive photography, form should follow function. The way we put together a picture should be based on our own goals and purposes, not on a set of arbitrary aesthetic or technical rules.
It’s also important to note that there can be no single meaning for an expressive photograph. Each image can have a number of meanings, depending upon who is looking at it, the context they bring to it. their cultural and life experiences. Although it is possible to agree on the general meaning of some pictures because of commonly shared context or thought patterns, it is important to keep in mind that expressive images are intended to trigger thoughts that stimulate the mind, emotion, and imagination of the viewer. Each viewer will therefore determine his or her own version of what a picture might express. In the end, all meaning is subjective. Expressive photography can be considered an art form, and all art exists truly in the eye of the beholder.
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick – thorised the connection between touching and feeling.
Rinko Kwatchi – square frame gives a sense of equilibrium
’Barth directs one’s awareness inward to the subconscious engagement one has with the act of looking’ (Mirlesse, 2012)
’Mostly the camera is used as a sort of pointing device. One goes out into the world and points it at something of beauty, something of importance, a spectacle of some sort… always at something’ (Barth in Mirlesse, 2012)
John Cage (who understood that, in order to talk about silence, you need to bracket it with sound) (Barth in Mirlesse, 2012)
In that same interview [in the Journal of Contemporary Art], you explain how the use of blur in your images, like in Gerhard Richter’s, exists as a device to remove specificity of place and time.(Barth in Mirlesse, 2012) Journal quote “The primary effect of this blurriness in both of our work is that the image becomes generalized, almost generic. Specificity of time and place drop away and one starts to think about the picture, as much as what it is of.”
MIRLESSE, Sabine (2012) ‘Light, Looking, Uta Barth’ in BOMB (22nd March 2012) https://bombmagazine.org/articles/light-looking-uta-barth/ [accessed 08.09.22]
‘I want my viewer to engage and submerge themselves in the act of looking, not thoughts about what they are looking at ’ (Barth in Ollman, 2008)
OLLMAN, Leah (2008) ‘Giorgi Morandi: Bottle by Bottle’ in The Los Angeles Times (9th November 2008) https://utabarth.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Los-Angeles-Times-Leah-Ollman-Giorgio-Morandi-bottle-by-bottle-November-8-2008.pdf [accessed 08.09.22]
‘Seeing the same information in repetition so often creates a very contemplative state of mind. Much like Morandi painting the same few bottles and crockery for most of his life, the images become a sort of mantra and allow us to tune in to the subtlest, the most ephemeral information that I am trying to chase down’ (Barth in Soto, 2011)
SOTO, Paul (2011) ‘Literal Photography: Q & A with Uta Barth’ in Art in America (18th October 2011) https://www.artnews.com/art-in-america/interviews/uta-barth-56233/ [accessed 08.09.22]
‘Still photographs often differ from life more by their silence than by the immobility of their subjects.(Adams in Victoria & Albert Museum, 2006)
‘A photograph arrests the flow of time in which the event photographed once existed’ (Berger, 2013: 62)
BERGER, John (2013) Understanding a Photograph London: Penguin
If Barthes gave idea to feeling in photography in the form of punctum (in the viewing), then surely there must be the possibility of feeling in the taking of images, how can someone make another feel something if they have not felt it themselves, how can we create or cultivate punctum without any feeling in the making, it does not make sense.
Barthes describes punctum as a wound or disturbance, perhaps then an equivalent can be considered for the feelings or emotions that are not as sharp or wounding, perhaps gentler in nature and yet still felt as part of the human experience. Perhaps the idea of feelings in photography is evolving as we move away from a time when the only feelings that could be openly felt and socially acknowledged were feelings of wounds, the most masculine feelings from a generally masculine-dominated discipline. Perhaps as the photographic world opens up it will make more space for visual communication of feelings, a visual exchange and dialogue of human experiences that we all share, without the need for the feelings to be cognitively processed and then critically analysed. I understand the need for images and sequences to be analysed critically but in the making and creating of them, is there not space for them to be felt into existence? For our emotional bodies and subconscious mind to communicate from the hemisphere of the brain in which feeling and emotion and visual imagery is processed? Does that not make for a more effective way of communicating one left-sided brain to another, without the need to hop back and forth processing what we feel into language and process? Surely something is lost when we try and force this rich and complex data of feeling and emotion through the process of the right side of the brain, for our emotional experiences far outweigh the language available to define them.
If visual language can capture and convey more feeling and emotion than the limited vocabulary, categorisation and structure of language then by forcing feelings and emotions and creativity through the processes of language (via critical thinking, theory and structured process) then surely we must lose some of what can be communicated in that process because language can never fully encompass the entire range of human experience. Language is a very masculine construct, very right-brained and it has ultimately been developed at the hands of man. Perhaps if women had more of a hand in constructing language we may have a wider vocabulary to express that which we cannot express verbally.
Photography as expression – Phil Douglis
Affect in Artistic Creativity by Saarinen, Jussi A.. Published by Routledge, London and New York, 2021.
Review by Emma Letley https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjp.12683
“Jussi Saarinen is a psychologist and a researcher in philosophy with interests, and publications, in psychoanalytic aesthetics and the philosophy of emotion. His book conscientiously traverses philosophy, psychoanalysis and cognitive theory interspersed with interviews with artists, with the central aim of exploring and supporting his theme that ‘painters paint to feel’ “
Stream of consciousness writing
The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe
Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
Ulysses, James Joyce
Embodied – Research
Embodied research involves more than simply using the body as a research tool. Instead it implies a challenge to how we understand knowledge and knowing (see Section 5). The importance of embodiment in empowering research arises from alternative ways of knowing that are opened up by taking the body seriously as a source of understanding and a medium for communicating knowledge. Empowering research explicitly draws attention to the presence of bodies in research settings and focuses on actions, performances and encounters between them. The body, including the researchers’ own body, is thereby understood as a site of research: the focus of a deliberate attentiveness through which understandings of power relations, and the bodily discipline that they produce, may be gained.
What makes this kind of knowledge distinctive and embodied is the importance of affect, which arises from being engaged in ways that enable the circulation of energy between people, through which we come to know or feel differently. The performative nature of these practices means that ‘words need not be isolated from the movement, sound and sensory dimensions that give them substance’ (Madison, 2018: 132).
This immersive style of writing was used by Emma in her co-authored study of craft work organisations (Bell and Vachhani, 2019) in order to try to convey the affects she experienced as a researcher studying craft work organisations.
The Language of Pictures: Exploring Sequencing With Mark Power
“Commencing the edit of this group of images, made with a singular vision, but sourced from a number of different locations and projects, Smith describes the process “like pick up- sticks, I need to look at everything first to think about what the book might be”. This visually led approach de-emphasised Power’s attachment, as the author, to the photographs context and thus freed the work up for experimentation. On day one in the Lab, the pair began by looking at over 4,000 pictures to get to an edit of 600 prints, from which 196 were finally selected. During this process the pair began by making piles based on themes. Power says of the collaboration: “Stu encouraged me to bring in pictures that weren’t necessarily my ‘favourites’, and of course he was right. You can’t have a relentless sequence of ‘big pictures’. There have to be moments of quiet as well.”
On Day Two in the Lab Power and Smith began sequencing, in which pairs or triptychs of images took shape. Of the particular magic of these visual relationships Power says: “Photographs are a fantastically complex visual language all to themselves, but you have to be careful: pairing two pictures you might be sure would work together often don’t; for whatever reason they might cancel each other out. On the other hand two pictures that might not individually be so remarkable can each lift the other to be much better… and suggest a sort of ‘third thing’ floating somewhere between the two.” As they worked, the Lab exploded in a riot of photographs, as prints were laid out on the floor and walls of the space, the pair both in socked feet, arranging and rearranging combinations in a physical demonstration of their thinking through this complex visual puzzle.
The final day with its focus on narrative saw the book begin to take shape. As Power explains: “John Gossage, the great American bookmaker, once said that it was impossible to sequence more than six or seven pictures before you have to start all over again. There’s a lot of truth in this, but we tried to increase that to nine or ten, in 16 page sections, each with a beginning and an end. Essentially we were sequencing visually, but we both wanted to veer away, as best we could, from simply sequencing because of similar colours, or repetitious shapes. If we could incorporate subject, irony, colour and form then we were onto something.”
As Power says “The important thing to remember is that there isn’t just one correct way of sequencing pictures. There are many, and it’s very subjective.” This potential variety of routes through material was also highlighted in the workshops run alongside of the Lab during which participants, in a very short window of time, instinctively found diverse ways of building a story with Magnum images – by theme, by using pictures to illustrate a preconceived narrative, by form, texture, colour or mood.
The above article reminded me of a course I watched earlier in the module
Gregory Halpern: Documentary Sur/Realism
Placing two images together can drastically change their meaning; making images stronger and weaker. For Halpern, images that are opposites or communicate contradictions are often successful choices.
Halpern approaches sequencing in a playful manner, dealing his contact prints like a pack of cards or randomly scattering the images across his table to encourage happy accidents to occur and images to fall together that his conscious mind might not instinctively suggest. Through these processes, he creates moments of intrigue that guides the reader through his books.
Halpern shares Gustav Freytag’s insights into narrative, also known as Freytag’s Pyramid, to explore the idea of narrative arc in work: how tension is built and then resolved, either as a comedy or tragedy.
THE ART AND PROCESS OF SEQUENCING PHOTO BOOKS By Holly Stuart Hughes
“If you simply select the best 50 images in a series, it’s not an interesting book, because the tension in the photos is always the same,” says Teun van der Heijden. “Like in a film or a novel, you have to build up to the tension and then you need to release the tension.” He typically begins by asking to see the photographer’s outtakes, he says. “Sometimes lesser quality images that capture a certain mood, or are empty, or even vague can function ideally as a release.”
Abril’s images of family members are interspersed with quiet images of their home, their yard and mementos, including a small bust of Robinson. “We wanted to introduce the reader to the feeling of mourning, of grief,” Pez says. The goal “was to put you, the reader, into the story. ‘If this thing happened to my family or people close to me, how would I react to that?’” Pez says he encourages authors to include pauses in a book. “Let the reader connect things—don’t be too literal or easy in showing things.”
Pez says, “We had three climaxes where three very bad things happened to the protagonist.” These included her heart attack at the age of 20. At these points, Abril says, “I needed the designer to make something that causes the reader to stop.” To break the flow of the narrative at crucial points in the story, they inserted papers folded in three. Hidden inside each folded sheet was something important to Robinson’s life, such as her first bulimia diagnosis.
Pez says he likes to do an exercise: “When you are confident the sequencing works, you remove one photo, and see if it changes the story,” he says. “You need to do this exercise to step out of the comfort zone and look at which kind of pictures are not necessary. I call this the distillation.”
When describing how he puts images together in a sequence, van der Heijden draws parallels with film editing. “When one photo is startlingly different from the previous one, he compares that to a quick cut in a movie. “If you’re gradually changing photos, you can use color for that,” he says. “Sometimes, I can’t explain why the flow works—the images have nothing to do with each other, but the slight pink in this picture continues in the next picture.” He adds that his attention to color may reflect his background as a graphic designer. “It’s different for editors of newspapers and magazines, who are more focused on content.”
When it came to designing War Sand, van der Heijden decided to open the book with the weather pictures—30 of them. His decision to use so many of what he calls “tranquil, boring” images. It created a way to experiment with the idea of a “slow film,” “What if I were not to do the traditional tension and release, tension and release, but instead we stretch the boredom?” van der Heijden asked himself. Maybe this boredom is cleansing your mind of the other images,” the designer recalls thinking.
For a bookmaking workshop he taught, van der Heijden drew a sketch of how he envisioned the narrative arc in War Sand: A flat line representing the quiet sky photos breaks into a jagged line representing the variety of images in the science section, and eventually flattens again. To create each section, however, he was looking at color, subject and tone, and rearranging images intuitively, and also seeing how the sections fit together.
My images are intentionally claustrophobic in terms of their location. I wanted to create a sense of being contained in my current environment as I photographed as a way of expressing this sense of containment in my images. By physically restricting myself in the process of photographing it created feelings and sensations within myself that would have been very different had I gone to a new and more exciting location, it forced me to photograph the mundane and ordinary and look close at the place in which I inhabited, which a new space often doesn’t allow as the excitement and newness of a location can shift our focus and our feelings and energy in a very different way.
Meditating on the words from my journalling, I try and relax into a more meditative state as I walk through my immediate surroundings. I stop to close my eyes and visualise the memories of dreams which prompted the text. I take deep breaths meditating on the feelings of the dream, what it felt like to be there. I then open my eye and intuitively scan what is around me to see what draws my attention , having the feeling and intention of the dream in my sub-conscience I find I’m drawn to taking photographs which instinctively feel as though they fit within the sensory space I’m trying to recreate.
Right side of the Brain
Why the unconscious is the key to creativity? | Nell Greenwood | TEDxNewtown
Author of Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain