DREAMS AND REALITIES – The final countdown

The Final Countdown. (2.4)

Last week, we held a ‘show and tell’ and class critique of our work for our Dreams and Realities assignment. It was fascinating to see how differently we have all interpreted this project. We have all developed and shown our own very distinct styles.

“Visual language is as powerful or as nuanced as verbal language,” Ria Stochel.

This project seemed to gain a life of it’s own, I found myself looking at the themes of becoming or being invisible, missing or hidden under the surface, and suddenly, I had so much to say.  On the whole, I was both flattered and encouraged by the comments from classmates and my tutor.  In my final post as a Photography student (for now, anyway.) I will attempt to evaluate what I was hoping to say with my images, and also what was discussed in class…



“Missing”    Wth this image, I wanted to portray that I was stepping out of the shadow of a person I have become. Missing from life and leaving that self behind …walking up the stairs to a better, brighter future. Every day, the stairs represent a challenge for me. An uphill struggle. They are often difficult for me physically. I make every attempt to avoid going upstairs and downstairs more than once a day (I almost never succeed with that plan!) It was commented that if I were to re-take the photo, with myself in the sitting position, and then move the colour image to one side, that it might be a better image. Art is subjective, I suppose.  Personally, I don’t really agree.  I wanted to show that I was stepping out of myself, leaving a ghost of myself behind …The old me. I wanted to show that I am ascending into a future that is brighter and better. It’s why I chose to keep the part of the image where I am stepping away in colour.  I think if I took the photo with myself to one side, it would look as though I was stepping round the occupant of the shoes, rather than being the same person.  Stepping round illness is not an option. “The only way out is through.” Robert frost

“Chanelling Frida”  By choosing to make the image a sepia tone, the image of  ‘Frida’ has a vintage quality to it, which alludes to my love of all things vintage and a little quirky. It conveys a sense of voyeurism that I enjoy in both art and photo’s. (Think Edward Hopper, Jack Vettriano and Cartier-Bresson.) I think in some sense all photographers are voyeurs… Documenting and participating in the human condition. Are you intruding on my thoughts?  Or I have invited you in?  Am I lost in thought, pain or sadness? The background is blurred and ‘muffled’ to keep the focus on me. Visually, I have taken control of the image by ‘turning down the volume’. . I think I would be tempted to keep this image very small if it were printed for that same reason. To engage you, to make you look. You have to come closer. Am I asking you to listen? To understand me, or come closer to my life? Maybe.

“Crystal ball”  For me, it was just about showing that my life has been turned upside down by invisible illness. Everything else about the image seems normal …life just carries on.

“Lost vs. Loss” . I think with this project, our images don’t need to be purely symbolic, they can be about pattern and texture. This image shows, lines across my face. Yes, my life has been fractured to some degree, but there is light shining through the cracks, which is one of the reasons I think it would best be printed on a translucent medium.

“Visible Invisible” Among the letters is hidden the word invisible, but it’s not immediately apparent, you have to look closer for it. There are layers to give an ethereal effect and the word is still visible through the layers.  The image of me is slightly faded as if I am disappearing into the background. I hope this strong yet intensely personal image makes people feel a little uncomfortable. That it raises awareness (and unltimately support) of invisible illness.

“Flower girl”  this photo came under much discussion, along with a few smiles too. I was inspired by Marcel Monreal’s wonderful work. The background of the image has grey,  hard, and unforgiving granite, and the steel of the ‘cage’ imply that I am trapped somehow.  The plants aren’t growing over me, hiding me, they are peeping through… emerging. The new growth cuts me open, and I am filled with flowers, exuberance and life. There is expectation, hope and colour. For me, as an image it works. Everyone was able to read the visual language of my image. It says all I needed to say.

My research for this project was often linked somehow, there was a thread running through it, sometimes metaphorically, and sometimes directly.  I wanted to raise awareness of invisible illnesses that affect me and so many millions.  I hope people will find my photo’s powerful, moving and humourous.  I feel as though my work may lack the fragility of Francesca Woodman, but it has some of the drama of Frida Kahlo and the humour of Rene Magritte, and Vivienne Strauss. Marcello Monreal’s stunning work inspired me to try his technique. I’d love it if this image could make people see past my illness and into the vibrance that is still there (…if you look.)  I’m sure these inspirational artists will continue to influence my work, and I hope to be able to continue going to exhibitions when I can.

So that’s it. Tomorrow is our last day. We learned new skills and made new friends. I’ve loved my time at RHACC, and have been inspired and sometimes touched by all the amazing work that has been exhibited in the foyer.  It’s wonderful to  be immersed in the talent of Richmond Art School. As for our class… .We’ve all come a long way. We are all evolving (…or perhaps I should say ‘developing’) as photographers… Wishing everyone good luck for the future. 🙂

Going forwards, I do hope to keep up with my blog, perhaps in a slightly different format. I’ll still put my photo’s up, but I think the blog will continue on as a personal journey.  Recent life events mean that things are changing in my world. I may have less time for scrapbooking and journalling, in future, so perhaps the blog will become ‘a life documented’.  A good friend of mine has been trying to get me to write a blog for years, but I always felt I had nothing to say that anyone would want to hear. Over the last year,  I have been so encouraged by all the kind things people have said about my blog.  I do hope you’ll all come with me. 😊






2 thoughts on “DREAMS AND REALITIES – The final countdown

  1. I think you’ve come a long way with your photography in the past year and I like that you’ve made it so personal and real. Please keep going with it, you have a true talent, and I’ve found your blog posts so thought provoking. Looking forward to seeing your blog develop in the future sweet lady. x

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