In my experience, I need to log the questions and reflect on them while I am walking and doing other things and then slowly the ideas and answers will emerge. Another aspect of my research endeavours is to write as a means of developing ideas. This Critical Research Journal has been the means of doing this for the past five years. It has become a tool for articulating ideas and thinking and also provides an historic record of my academic and practice-led research.
The question for the content of this post serves to begin the process of articulating how I present my research to a new audience in a succinct yet compelling way. I have the abstract of my thesis which is a summary of my research and the core academic and practical threads of my work but, it also serves as a helpful tool for researchers to gain an insight as to whether they wish to investigate my research in more detail. It is a short piece of academic writing primarily designed for other academic readers. My challenge is how to present my work to practising photographers – amateur or professional in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their developing practice. What is the essence of my research?
I have decided to write a 250-300 word Statement of Intent based on the Research Questions, Aim and Objectives.
My “research” began in the rainforests of Borneo as a wildlife photographer in the company of a female orangutan and her baby. Hitherto, I felt my photographs had too often failed to capture the “otherness” of my subjects, that which lies behind the eyes and is beyond perception – essence – something “more than” the sum of an object’s parts. Nearly a decade later and following a new-found interest in philosophy, I realised that what I called essence had been called the noumena for centuries, originally conceived by Immanuel Kant in 1761. The noumena refers to the thing in itself rather than what can be known or understood through sensory perception. It is inaccessible to human experience but perhaps not to the glance of the camera.
My practice-led research aimed to answer two questions: whether I could find or devise strategies to glimpse the noumenal; and through my photographic practice whether I could gain insights into the entangled nature of Being. In my photographic work, I searched for glimpses and revelations by deepening and widening the dimensions of my practice and articulating the drivers of my photographic work.
The Ten-Signifier Onion Diagram articulates how I possibilise allure using the camera’s unique ability to reduce space and freeze time and capture a momentary glimpse that human perception cannot.
I have developed a model of practice supported by the intuitive and non-conscious use of the camera, spatial and subject persistence, and attendance to internal and external stimuli. Through the development of awareness rather than intentional photography and by entering a zonal flow underpinned by ongoing quiet and reflective practice I believe that I have produced a process and method that others might follow in their journey to Object-Oriented Photography. Furthermore, my journey has also led me to see the world differently and rather than objects being singular, we all inhabit a deeply entangled ontological world.