Summative Essay

In my early work I pretended to speak about my childhood, yet my real childhood had disappeared. I have lied about it so often that I no longer have a real memory of this time, and my childhood has become for me some kind of universal childhood, not a real one. – Christian Boltanski   Memory is something that is very personal but at the same time there are links and common aspects of Memories. Take any society and you have the generic ‘everyday’ life of that society and so you have memories that can be deemed the generic childhood memories; playing out late whilst the sun sets, going to school and especially childhood meals. This means that on the whole the majority will when thinking back about their childhoods talk about such times. Taking this ideology you can also implement that as with everything memory decays over time. Sometimes it fades whilst other times it becomes distorted. Especially due to the influx of external stimulus through the constant exposure to the media. We have a constant window into childhood, be it reality or imagined. And so we create or alter memories without realising it. A story that we see on the TV can easily get imprinted into one of our own childhood memories.   For this project I wanted to go into it with a more experimental aesthetic and process than usual. Within a North Collective group meeting the conclusion was drawn that analogue photography was for remembering and digital was for forgetting. Therefore I wanted to push what I could do with digital. Over this year I have mainly gone for a standard looking image, this time I wanted to go for something a bit different. I wanted to give the digital photographs a painterly feel so to alter this perception of digital images. I also wanted to try and push the image to give a sense of memory. To start with I re-visited places from my childhood and tried to capture them in a array of ways. I used a combination of flash techniques, slower shutter speeds and intentional camera movement to create images lacking of detail or with selective focusing to portray the distortion and blurring of memories. As well I wanted the images to have a generality to them that the viewer can then input their own memories into.   I liked the playful experimentalness that I had often lacked. Rather than seeing an object and knowing how I wanted to take a photo of it, and knowing how I wanted it to come out. I was going out and shooting with an intention but not the knowledge of how the images would come out. I felt that this enabled me to create an aesthetic that I hadn’t normally had in my photography.   As well as techniques on camera I experimented with the post processing of the images. I played around with saturation levels, vibrance and the overall colour. I really enjoyed playing around with colour levels.   Following on from this I wanted to explore the childhood meals that are so vivid in my memory. I thought that there are certain childhood meals that are universal amongst many British children. Meals such as fish fingers and chips. Rather than distort the images through shooting processes and editing I wanted to explore how the meals would look in a glass vase. I chose a glass vase as I thought it would keep the food incased inside whilst distorting the physical presence of the food.   I was surprised at how well this came out. The photos had a sense of nostalgia to me as I remembered my childhood meals. However at the same time there was a sense of unease about them. They had the surreal elements that I like to try and capture. The more I looked at them the more they lost the fact that they were childhood meals and instead I became encapsulated by the shapes, textures and patterns caused by the food. I enjoyed this transformation.   I have enjoyed working in a group and towards an exhibition for this unit. It has helped me communicate and listen to others opinions. As well it has helped me to feel a need to promote peers work.