As I start to think about the subject of my portfolio for Informing Contexts I am keen to build on the experience of the last module and focus down on a particular aspect or feature of the road. I have previously mentioned that I might focus on The Cuillin – a mountain range that I find threatening and formidable and after reviewing the work of Axel Hutte I am interested in focusing on the trees around Loch Cill Chriosd. I also have an interest in capturing the seascapes of Broadford and Elgol particularly through the winter season. So today I went along the road to start the research on what my subject should be. I am not yet at the stage of doing test shots but I did take my camera to record some of the possible shooting sites.
I also consulted On Being a Photographer by David Hurn and Bill Jay as I recalled that they had written about selecting a subject.
As Hurn and Jay explain:
“The photographer must have intense curiosity, not just a passing visual interest, in the theme of the pictures. This curiosity leads to intense examination, reading, talking, research and many, many failed attempts over a long period of time.”
This chimes with my recollection of my work on the reeds of Loch Cill Chriosd and it is important to me that I now find another subject that captures my interest and emotions in a similar way.
Hurn and Jay suggest there are a number of questions to pose in determining possible subjects: Is it visual? Is it practical? Is it a number about which I know enough? And Is it interesting to others? And if the subjects seem equally interesting then it might be prudent to choose the one that is more interesting to others.
The next piece of advice is to focus down and so I need to think about what exactly I am interested in with each of my possible subjects. As far as The Cuillin is concerned I had considered concentrating on the Cuillin Ridge, the jagged and smooth edges of the Black and Red Hills and the ever-changing weather and scenes along that menacing and extensive range. In thinking more about this I am going to research the cloudscape images of Alfred Stieglitz. The seascapes were leading me to recording some of the bad and tumultuous weather encountered in Broadford and Elgol and the trees I wanted to focus on the shapes, colours, details and stories of the gnarled trees and stark winter scenes.
I still have more thinking to do and I intend to spend more time on the road in the next week before returning south. I plan to start work on my image making in early February so I need to think more about what subject will deliver the passion and emotion that will enable me to produce work that has a sense of universality. I will also need to take account of the feedback I receive for my Sustainable Prospects portfolio.
HURN, David and Bill JAY. 1997 On Being a Photographer – A Practical Guide. Anacortes: WALensWork Publishing,