Reflecting upon #phonar2016 so far

I am finding Phonar very challenging, what feels like in more of a negative way rather than a positive at this moment in time. The mini assignments completed over the past 2 days held a lot of spontaneity, we carried out no prior research on the photographer/artist and  went out and photographed. Personally, the prior research on the photographer/artist wasn’t a problem for me but responding straight to the assignment with little time to sit down and brain storm ideas proved toughest. Because we were told to go out and respond to the brief within an hour or so, mentally, I really struggled with creating a concept to then photograph. Due to the fact that I’m used to deeply unpicking an idea or task (we did this through tweeting a synopsis of the assignment) and then spending lots of time constructing concepts which then builds a foundation for my content, it was all a bit overwhelming how quick the process was. I found myself clueless as to how I could conceptually interpret a neon pink wig, or a section of Coventry with no research behind me. As a result of this, I just photographed what I thought would make a visually appealing image, but even when reflecting and attempting to unpick these images, I couldn’t conceptually interpret them. We discussed potential project ideas that could lead on from these images, but being in my 2nd year, I want to establish a style and a voice for my work, and none of the suggested project ideas appealed to me as they were directions I’ve never gone in before. Although stepping out of my comfort zone may prove rewarding, knowing my photographic skills, I would rather not go forward with a project that I have no interest in.

I believe that the basis of these tasks were interesting and provoking, and given more time and thought, I think I would approach them much differently. However, I was really challenged by the process – getting the assignment, for me what felt like pointing and shooting at something that could be considered relevant for the assignment, or visually intriguing, and then unpicking the images and finding a concept within them. The intention of this is good as it promotes quick thinking and unpicking an image is compelling in itself, but given the images I took, in a rush, with no concept in mind whilst shooting, there was very little content to work from when unpicking conceptually.

In regards to the main tasks, I prefer how there are steps which result in a knowledge and understanding of the photographer/artist and their work, they allow more time to creatively interrupt the assignment and construct concepts and then photograph after building concepts which in my opinion, or in my work, I find results in stronger images, visually, contextually and conceptually.

#phonar2016 has been a massive learning curve for me so far, especially how this is the first time since 1st year there hasn’t been a set brief that lasts for the entire term. From this, I don’t feel as though I am creating as established and refined work. On the other hand, if I do find an assignment that I really enjoy responding to, I will carry this on and develop as a project once the course ends.

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