In my Research Proposal I described my project as follows:
“In this Research Project I will develop my photographic practice through a personal journey that involves death, darkness, hope and the emergence into light. It will reflect the silence that is always present at the scene of violent crime – the traces of humanity, intensely vulnerable and rendered insignificant by the events and forces around them. I appreciate that my photography here does not fit a neat genre – the way I choose to describe it is ‘phenomenological photography’, where what matters is not the object of my experience but my experience of the object.
Phenomenology offers a route to reflection on the authentic nature of our experience as we recount it through action, speech, text or the image. . . I will records my experiences and recount them through my images and words and through them will present not only what I saw but my experience of what I saw.”
My early images in the Positions and Practice module were dark and moody reflecting my experience, at that time, of the Road to Elgol. My images were described by my fellow students as Hitcock-esque and thriller-esque. They often depicted the vulnerability of man in nature by including a small man-made object against the sweeping landscape:
I was pleased with this assessment at the time as it did demonstrate that I had achieved what I had intended. It reflected the obsession I have with The Cuillin and the fear and mystery surrounding them. In Surfaces and Strategies the influence of Film Noir continued as I explored the contrast of the dark sublime landscape with the negative side of consumer tourism and presented my work through a series of diptychs:
During this period I did not stray far from the Road and used the road often as the subject of my images:
For Sustainable Prospects I decided to focus on Loch Cill Chriosd, one of the lesser-known landmarks of The Road to Elgol. To a certain extent, I believe my previous work had lacked focus, partly because I was attempting to give a flavour of the Road as a whole – which is 15 miles long. I feel that tutors had attempted to pigeon hole me into the landscape genre or wished to push me into a Road Trip methodology. The focus on a tighter location and then concentration on a small aspect of that location, the reeds, worked for me. I enjoyed returning to the same place each day, to contrast it with previous experiences of that place, and to spend more time taking in the nature and landscape of this special place. It allowed me to be more curious about the location and stray a considerable distance from the road. For me, it had the desired effect of slowing down my practice and also allowing me to spend more time on the process of taking images and recording my inner most thoughts and feelings.
For me, the project on Loch Cill Chriosd started a number of years ago when I took this image:
I re-kindled my connection with the Loch when I made this image of the reed bed for Positions and Practice:
When I started on Sustainable Prospects I had considered using the work of Elina Brotherus and Hiroshi Sugimoto to extend my practice however, by chance, I was introduced to the work of Roman Loranc who had recently completed a project entitled Tules. His work inspired me because of its simplicity, its subtle tones and elegant presentation:
I did some test shots of Loch Cill Chriosd early in this module and soon decided that I wanted to focus on this tiny part of Skye and to use the nature, calm and tranquility of the Loch as a means to share my thoughts and emotions in coming to terms with dark memories through images and words.
As a consequence, I feel that I have found a universality in my work that will allow a wider audience to understand and join me on my journey. I also feel that the images themselves are more marketable than some of my darker, earlier images. More of this as I turn to my Oral Presentation. . .