Research-based v Research-led
I did take the opportunity to discuss the options for my research in terms of research-based, research-led or a hybrid model in between. My supervisor urged me not to get bogged down in thinking about the constraints at this stage but to allow my research and practice to emerge and evolve. Similarly, the literature review could take a number of forms in terms of whether it is primarily about philosophy or practice and whether it will take the form of a discrete chapter or the theory and ideas threaded through a number of chapters in my thesis. My tutor suggested that at the appropriate time it might be helpful for me to test the ontological basis for my work with an appropriate person in Philosophy Department. I plan to audit a philosophy module next semester so this will provide me with the opportunity to do this.
Significant Leads on Research
I had done some reading about the writer Nan Shepherd and particularly in respect of her book The Living Mountain (Shepherd 2011), and in the process of my research had identified a couple of quotations that appeared to capture what I am searching for in my practice:
“So, simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.”
“To apprehend things, walking on a hill, seeing the light change, being aware, using the whole of one’s body to instruct the spirit – yes, that is a secret life one has and knows others have. But to be able to share it, and thro’ words…it dissolves one’s being, I am no longer myself, but a part of a life beyond myself.”(Shepherd 2011)
As soon as I return to Skye, I will be able to read the book again and pick out some more useful ideas and approaches from her writing and walking.
I also identified a German photographer, Sandra Bartocha (Wilson 2017), who is searching for the essence and is also focusing on similar elements in the landscape using some interesting techniques. Her multi-vision presentations are inspirational too. I am intending to do more research on this fascinating and accomplished photographer.
I am very excited about these two significant leads that I am sure will inform my writing and practice as I develop the direction for my research.
An area that has been concerning me recently has been the appropriate use of other photographers’ images in my blogs. I have hitherto been very cautious about using them but as I start to review and consider others’ practice it is difficult to talk about the images without immediate access to them. I could provide a link to relevant websites, but I am concerned this will diminish the reader experience. My supervisor suggested I contact the Library for guidance on this matter. In the meantime, I plan to work up a more substantial piece of writing on Sandra Bartocha and intend to send her a draft for her comments and approval and ask her if she would be happy for me to use some of her images to illustrate the blog.
In the time between now and my next meeting with my first supervisor I intend to focus on my practice and these two pieces of writing.
Shepherd, N. (2011). The Living Mountain. Edinburgh, Canongate Books.
Wilson, K. (2017). Lys: An Intimate Journey to the North by Sandra Bartocha and Werner Bollmann. Professional Photography. Bath, Future Publishing. March/April 2017: 50-56.