Crit and Self Assessment

22Jan10

Yesterday we presented our Minor project to the group. The crit was an assessment point and so it felt odd not to receive any feedback or comments from the tutors. I’m hoping the fact that they had no questions meant that the concepts within the work had been sufficiently explained. It was the first time that I had heard my videos playing simultaneously as intended and I liked the results. I like the murmuring of voices, far enough apart not to interfere with one another but audible in the middle of the room. Overall I am especially happy with this piece and think that it worked according to my original intentions. The technical side wasn’t easy as explained in my self assessment which I will upload here as the final page on the minor project workbook.

Self assessment, Katy Lewis

  Katy Lewis – CPAP3 – Minor Project

 Self Assessment     

Summery of idea

 Two video pieces to be played in the same space which look at the private vs. the public image we make and present of ourselves through the medium of the snapshot or “home mode” imagery.

 Based on the concept that our private images and archives are a blend of established conventions that seldom acknowledge what is going on under the surface.

 It’s about the “us” we want to present to others through our photographs, the selectivity of them and the fact that images by themselves, although out of context, may be recognisable to us in a universal sense. It has been said by Richard Chalfen in his book Snapshot Versions of Life that private snapshot images by themselves do not “speak” at all and it is the accompanying narrative that becomes important in our understanding of them when shown in the “home mode”. I wanted to play with this idea.

 

 Does the work fulfil the requirements of the assessment criteria?

 Yes. I feel that I’ve invested a lot into this project and that it runs concurrently with the research I’ve been undertaking for my dissertation topic which is based on the snapshot and how it has changed in the digital age, in terms of the technology we use, the way we photograph and also the way that we view our images. Whilst thinking about our private photography with an awareness of how I generally feel and how that is not represented by the image I present or the image others have of me in snapshot terms, I could see the obvious discord, and when looking at the found images I had begun to think about this in relation to other families and question why the images we make and keep for ourselves never venture “beyond the smile”. This is explored in my dissertation.

 

What new concepts/ideas/theories inform the work? 

 I’ve been considering the way that the aesthetics of our snapshots has changed from something more formal and rigid perhaps, to a more relaxed and “random aesthetic” and this is seen in the contrast between the images that form Karen’s story and those that form Will’s.   

 The conventions we read as belonging to the snapshot that form our understanding of the “Kodak moment” were perhaps in part dictated by the limitations of early equipment, and manuals that told us how to take a better photograph defined these standards hence the interchangeable nature of  the images we see within our family albums. We learned what and not to photograph. The compacting of the technology and the introduction of digital which didn’t cost pence per frame has allowed us to keep our camera with us all the time (the camera phone) and this is, in a way, towards a more professional practice if we are to assume that the definition of professional means keeping your camera with you.

 More photographs have seen a relaxing of the conventions and “bad” photography is forgiven. It is interesting though that we are still presenting ourselves as we’d like to be seen. Holidays and parties are still included and we show ourselves having a good time. In this way the role of the snapshot remains about social acceptance and status. 

 

What new techniques were used and why?

 The first video was made entirely in Adobe Premier Pro, which I have used before. The vocals were recorded into Free Audio Editor. This was unproblematic because the slides were scanned with my Microtec Artixscan 4000t and then imported quite easily.

 I had untold problems with the second video though as I wanted to take screenshots of the images playing through windows picture viewer and when I imported these into Premier Pro the resolution was terrible. I asked Stuart for help in the FLA but he was unsure what I meant and so I downloaded a free trial of Abobe Captivate which is a piece of PC training software. It allowed me to record the piece in real time. However when I played this back it didn’t match my mock-up edit in Premier Pro. Although it may not seem like it, the changing of the images in Will’s piece is very carefully timed to emulate a supposed real viewing experience. This took weeks to resolve and in the end I found that the two programs weren’t running the footage at the same speed and so I had to reduce each “slide” by 10% to match Adobe Premier’s running time. This was incredibly tricky. It can now only be viewed on a system that has Captivate installed and so I would use my own laptop if it were shown in our exhibition.

 I’d like to add that I haven’t worked with found imagery for a while and I really enjoyed acknowledging the value of those discarded images.

 

 Does the finished work meet the original intentions?

 Hearing both videos playing simultaneously in the crit, I have to say that the work really does meet my original intentions. I liked everything about it, the murmuring of the two voices when I stood in the middle of the room and the interactivity of the audience. I’ve looked at Gillian Wearing’s work Family History which seems to be in the same realms as my piece and found that she first exhibited in a domestic setting then transferred it to a gallery space when it came to London. She set up rows of seats etc. I would like the recreate lounge and kitchen spaces if I had the budget and the space. Otherwise having one on a projector screen or a television set and Will’s story on a laptop computer, about as far apart as I showed them in class would be just fine because to me it works as intended.

 

What have you learned from this?

That I am a naturally stressed person, but with time and patience I can get there!

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