Critical Rationale

By initially framing David Johnston’s ‘Long Walks’ as a representation of myself, I essentially used the content as the concept. When considering how I would develop this content into a body of work, I focused on contextual elements I had drawn from the photobook for example, the partaking of a journey. I deliberately avoided certain elements as I wanted to portray an alternative notion to what Johnston does. By doing this, I planned for my work to act as a response to Johnston’s work (much like how he responds to Garlands work), rather than the mirroring of. From my analysis into ‘Long Walks’, the unpicked content looked into the act of walking, the representation of the land, humankind’s absence and the revisiting of an area. I chose to follow on with the notion of walking as I believed that was the foundation of the narrative form built by Johnston through his practice.

I walked a 2 hour round trip with War Memorial Park being my half way point before venturing back a different route. Due to the fact that Johnston photographs in the West Sussex countryside, and my route was set within Coventry, prior to the journey, I feared limitations when coming to photograph and represent the landscape, especially when considering the mass of urbanisation. Nevertheless, this allowed me to delve into a juxtaposing notion to what Johnston explores, the traces of humankind.

On my long walk, I photographed things one could deem to be natural (trees, flowers), things you may also find in the countryside, but that have been handled by man in an urban environment. War Memorial Park offered a great insight into this, as although it’s made to look subtly natural, the flora had still been purposely planted and pruned, showcasing humankind’s presence. I also focused on the traces of man whilst on the walk to the park, recording visuals that where more visibly connotative. Whilst my own and Johnston’s representations of the landscape differ, conceptually, they both sustain the act of depiction of the land.

Deciding to present my body of work as a small, one off zine was entirely influenced by the form of Johnston’s work. With the inclusion of diptychs and triptychs, along with the physical size, ‘Long Walks’, to me, holds a faint, yet understandable narrative in a small-scaled, neat form. In my quadriptych series, I have used varied image sizing to gradually bring the flower, blossom, into focus. With this, the traces of man and urbanisation don’t exit the frame until the last image, which captures absolutely no trace of humankind. The purpose of this was to play with the representation of the landscape and how easy it is to handle it.

This task has engaged me in a new method of working. Unpicking an existing image and developing it into something based on content or concept, in this circumstance, was not challenging as such, just more thought provoking, because I was able to use the content as concept. I believe this aided me no end and encouraged me to look beyond the image as a final, undeveloped one.


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