Meeting with my supervisor, Judy Millar

Meeting with Judy is always a delight, as she challenges me with questions and finding more/different approaches to what I am doing. Our meeting a couple of weeks ago now was no different - after seeing what I had been up to, she asked: Why do I like photography/print? What is it about photography and print that appeals to me? As they are both reflective techniques and also approaches that place a barrier between me and the work. These were good questions I had no direct answer for. What I could answer is that I have been taking photo’s of nature for a long time (not always with great results!!) These questions have really made me think about the current approach in my practice. As I was driving away from this meeting I kept thinking about these questions and wondered what it is in photography that holds my attention, thoughts I came up with are:

  • looking through a lens blocks out a lots of other ‘world noise’ that I am not interested in or that disturbs my thinking.
  • using a zoom lens I can bring the smaller bits of nature up closer and enlarge them to see more detail - detail many of us miss, but it is this detail that attracts me to the natural world
  • both photography and print have a magic feel about the process, especially analogue developing in contrast to digital - accidents happen during these processes, that are often ‘good’ moments
  • photography is about capturing a moment in time, cementing it in history, which allows it to become part of our memory joggers
  • I am a realist and like reality, but with a twist - either of these processes allow me that twist.

Will do further thinking about this.   Other comments she had were: Much of my work appears to have a desire to order things, have a system of logic. I need to articulate what drives this need? Also the decisions I use in that process? What makes me eliminate, include, select and then arrange plant materials in this case.   I need to read the essay On Photography by Susan Sontag (found at auckland libraries, so will look forward to getting this) and make contact with Fiona Pardington (a NZ photographer), especially if I am thinking about continuing with my photography after July seminars. Pardington will be helpful to talk too about museological and scientific display. Do further research on this myself.   Images I brought along to discuss were my wine bottle with plants, in varying sizes, from small (2x3cm) to 30x60cm. Some of the following observations were discussed;

  • The reflection of the world within a world was one that Judy too thought was appealing.
  • Size need sto go even bigger than the 60cm, she would like to see at least one at 2m, either as a bottle cut out or a full image. (This image needs to be printed on a flatbed printer - I need to source this). A stand alone bottle would reflect the coke bottle displays of today
  • Bits sticking out - this feels artsy, ikebana/flower arrangement, it removes the scientific appeal, it is neither inside nor out, it is undecided.
  • I need to find 3 other ways/versions of this - stacking plastic containers, using plastic bottles,  mirrors???
  • Some of these images have a bodily feel, those are the strongest - they have a gothic sensibility to them, slightly macabre, dark even obscure. They are engaging images, making you question what you are looking at. Reminders of formaldehyde bottles filled with bodily parts.
  • I need to try the black velvet again, as the colours that help to outline the bottle shape also have a strong visual appeal. The bottle will be less obvious and the shapes become more prominent
  • The need to create a model of my exhibition space, to get a sense of what is going to get a sense of what will work best - one image, several images, one large bottle shape?

  Another great meeting and our next one will be in my studio space, with images and ideas of how I may present my current work websites to research:

Posted by Elle Anderson

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