The second week of Practice Period 7 has been extended because of the elapsed time caused by very bad weather on Skye.  Although I like to go out in all weathers, even hardy souls are forced to retreat in the face of very strong gales and poor visibility!  However, I feel that I had a successful return to image-making after drafting, submitting and passing my Upgrade to PhD.

During this period of practice, I have focused on strategies of reduction and metaphor from the STAR diagram and constructs from the Onion diagram including camera skills, analogous reasoning, subject commitment, temporality and spatial persistence.  In producing the Onion diagram, I envisaged that my progress would move from right to left as I work from the simpler constructs to the more complex and challenging ones, as I get closer to the essence and the realisation of being.

Exhibit 3 from Upgrade Document – Strategies for approaching the essence by altering states of awareness through activation or attenuation, and way of seeing through metaphor, reduction and fracturing (adapted from Ryan (2019) p43)

Exhibit 13 from Upgrade Document – 10 Signifier Model of Object-Oriented Photography – Alison Price, September 2021

One thing that has become clear to me is that it is rarely the case that I focus on one of the constructs in isolation and this is also the case when choosing strategies from the STAR diagram.  For example, I often use subjects as metaphors for the Isle of Skye more generally and at the same time use reduction to focus on small details in the landscape.  Similarly, I can be working on camera skills while also returning time and again to the same location or considering temporality in terms of the time of day or season of the year.

On Day 6 I returned to the loch and stood fast in a raging gale capturing the gloomy and dynamic surface of the water.  I was very pleased with a couple of images from that shoot which were taken in a part of the loch I rarely visit but also provide a dimension of bad weather in my portfolio of images.

Reduction 48 – Alison Price, November 2021

Reduction 49 – Alison Price, November 2021

The following day, in the face of further bad weather I decided to return to the trees and work with single exposures – although the skies were life-less, I was able to use them to my advantage in providing a backdrop for my work.

Reduction 53 – Alison Price, November 2021

Reduction 54 – Alison Price, November 2021

Reduction 56 – Alison Price, November 2021

However, it was the day when the weather was so bad that I decided to sit in my car – contemplating my practice and gazing through the car windscreen I started to see a world of emerging and withdrawing objects, Graham Harman’s world of Object-Oriented Ontology.  As I focused on the rain spots, gloopy and thick, the world behind that veil came into view.  I began to see colours coming into focus and then disappearing as quickly as they emerged, and parts of the scene, such as the trunks of trees reveal themselves for a moment.   In this regard, I think the following two short movies are particularly successful.

I have spoken before about how sometimes I can slip into a creative flow when absorbed in my practice and the scene in front of me.  The videos, for me, show how I view the world in these moments.  I am almost in a trance and see various objects come into view – sometimes I recognise the moment and press the shutter.  At other times depressing the shutter is an instinctive and intuitive act of being in the moment.  As I peered out through the windscreen, I started to identify times when, had I been using my still camera, I would have pressed the shutter.  As humans, we are sensory beings, and if we attenuate our sense of time and space, then we become aware of our own being, not as a sensory entity but in terms of our ever-present reality.  When I get into my creative zone, I am extracting from internal and external awareness the dimensions of time and space, and in that moment my reality comes face to face with the reality of my subject – being becomes aware of being.

This is a moment of insight in my PhD journey, but I have yet to reflect on exactly how I can take this thinking forward in my practice.  I am looking forward to a week of thinking and discussions before resuming my practice on Skye.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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