My final dilemma of this project is that of presentation. I have been thinking that in order to be authentic and true to the original way in which each media would now and would have then been displayed, that I should do a projector slide show for the slides with some method of having a sound track played alongside, still keeping to the laptop computer for showing the digital images.

The problem with this is that the last slide show I made with a soundtrack was when I was at the London College of Printing and because it was synced, much like this, it required me to stand in the little room at the back of the theatre and manually change each slide to the music after I’d pressed play on the tape recorder! This seems so primative now and I’m sure there is a digital projector avaliable these days which can handle a DVD with soundtrack but to be honest I can’t escape how much I prefer the aesthetics of the work I make on actual screens. This was the same for my independant project. So my dilemma is this; is it enough to make a presentation decision for my work based on the fact that I favour a certain way of working, style or look, and if not and we compromise the luxury that is the personal preference of the artist for the sake of the concept then what makes the work we make inherently ours? Not to be too precious about it or anything… 

Having said this, if I felt like this was a pivotal point and that the work would not communicate successfully within it’s current state then of course I would change the method, but actually I don’t feel this way. I remember the feeling of excitement I felt as a child when my Dad used to set up the projector and screen because it felt like a real spectacle, an event to counteract the boredom. (Although from the research I’ve been doing for my dissertation I think that boredom is an interesting word in relation to home movie showings). I remember the little breaks when he would change the reel and the lights would come on. Soon after, probably because of the inconvenience of storing of the equipment for those rare shows my family had our cine camera footage put onto VHS. There were titles to signifiy the start of each new film reel because it was assumed that you’d still want to remember which was which, and for the entire duration the footage was accompanied by a weird and endlessly repeatative folk music soundtrack poorly chosen by the video editing guy. My point here is that to me it seems familiar to view family imagery on a T.V screen, yes our footage didn’t consist of slide photographs like the ones I am using, but had we have taken slide photographs, I’m sure that these would have been converted too.

The viewing experience wasn’t much different after the conversion, only the lights stayed down and we got the bonus and somewhat questionable benefits of this added soundtrack. I think this is perhaps why when thinking about creating this project my thoughts turned to DVD as a way to allow me to combine both. Also Adobe Encore  has allowed me to add in a title menu meaning that if this were displayed in a gallery context the film would only begin when there is someone there to view it and they push play, meaning that I didn’t have to loop it which would drive everyone insane (being quite a short piece). The same option is avaliable for the laptop and I forsee that the two would be placed far apart enough to still be related but just out of earshot of each other negating the need for headphones and the singular viewing experience.

The main thing about the DVD format is that it keeps image and sound synced in the exact way I intended (control freak…who me?) which I think ultimately does make all the difference to the meaning of the piece as that juxtaposition is the work in essence.

I’m not absolutely keen on borrowing the TV and DVD from uni as the speakers on the TV were rubbish last time and the DVD player skipped the start of the film so I may source my own equipment to avoid these issues. Also some external speakers for the laptop would be good as I know that laptop speakers are a bit limited. It may seem contradictory that I’m trying to improve the equipment that I use to display this and that this isn’t really embracing the authentic experience of using said equipment, part of it being that it never really was perfect when we showed our footage on an old TV. I just want to strike a balance between getting the optimum out of the audio without compromising any of the aforementioned presentation intentions.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8446649.stm

I’ve just been made aware of this article on BBC News today which seeems to adress the exact issue I’ve been referring to.

By Zoe Kleinman
Technology Reporter, BBC News

people at a party
Cheers… but is this photo an invasion of privacy?

“People who post intimate details about their lives on the internet undermine everybody else’s right to privacy, claims an academic.

Dr Kieron O’Hara has called for people to be more aware of the impact on society of what they publish online

“If you look at privacy in law, one important concept is a reasonable expectation of privacy,” he said.

“As more private lives are exported online, reasonable expectations are diminishing.”

The rise of social networking has blurred the boundaries of what can be considered private, he believes – making it less of a defence by law.

We live in an era that he terms “intimacy 2.0” – where people routinely share extremely personal information online.

“When our reasonable expectations diminish, as they have, by necessity our legal protection diminishes.”

When our reasonable expectations diminish, as they have, by necessity our legal protection diminishes
Dr O’Hara

Dr O’Hara, a senior research fellow in Electronic and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, gave the example of an embarrassing photo taken at a party.

A decade ago, he said, there would have been an assumption that it might be circulated among friends.

But now the assumption is that it may well end up on the internet and be viewed by strangers.

Raging debate

Privacy has long been a thorny issue but there were very few court cases until that of former motorsport boss Max Mosley in 2008.

Mr Mosley sued the News of the World over the publication in the newspaper of explicit photos of him secretly taken during an orgy.

He argued that the publication of the photos was an unwarranted breach of his privacy – and won.

Mr Mosley had taken steps to keep his private life private but Dr O’Hara’s concern is that other people’s disregard for privacy online will spill over into other walks of life.

As debates continue to rage over whether the new airport body scanners and CCTV are an infringement of privacy or useful protection, some argue that it already has.

“Recent security decisions have become a privacy discussion – but if security suffers, the community suffers,” Dr O’Hara said.

He was due to deliver his research paper at the annual Media Communication and Cultural Studies Association (Meccsa) conference held at the London School of Economics from 6-8 January.”

…It seems the images I was pondering may be safely classed as “found” after all.


Found Imagery?

08Jan10

My initial thoughts were to use the imagery that I’d found on the broken laptops that my partner repairs but having gone through these they don’t really communicate anything relevant for the piece as I imagine it. My thoughts have been to keep continuity with the past piece in which I’d actually purchased discarded slides specifically of couples. I don’t know why I looked for couples, I suppose they just resonated with me as almost all my work seems to focus on relationships. The slides were sitting around for a few months in the same brown paper bag in which the teller had wrapped them, basically doing nothing. I had no intention for them when I bought them I just sort of knew I’d want to use them at some point and they seemed the perfect choice when I considered the minor project and the cyclothymia issue both in terms of depiction of the relationship between husband and wife, and in relation to what I’m discussing in the dissertation themselves being found images, and also showing some very definative snapshot aesthetics as I have come to understand them.

My struggle with the imagery to use for Will’s story comes down to a dilemma. I have been going through the facebook pages of random people. These people are not known to me or connected to me in any way. I started out with a friend and clicked on a friend of her’s and then a friend of his and so on and so on and have been saving images of interest to my hard drive. Karen’s story is primarily focused around her leaving the marital home so therefore couples seemed the obvious choice. Will’s story is slightly more diverse in that it mentions his family but primarily speaks about the effect of the disorder on his career and we see his shame of being discovered by his university friends. So therefore groups of friends seemed the parallel route to take if i was going to mirror what I had attempted in the first film. 

This may be unrelated but I feel it’s worth mentioning. Some common scenarios have emerged repeatedly when looking at random photograph’s of groups of friends in this way such as – the ski resort, football team, Mediterranean holiday and the trip to Thailand or a trekking equivalent. It’s sort of as though there is a list of things to do before you’re 30 and these photographs are there to act as proof that you’re having the life you should be having at a young age. 

As I’ve been selecting which images to save I’ve been conscious of wanting them to convey something of the changed conventions of the snapshot photograph as it is today from what it was back in the past when equipment was more limited and we shot on film which cost money per frame. This would talk about things like the ad-hoc approach, the instantaneous nature of taking the image with not much foresight and the resulting sometimes happy accident. I also thought it appropriate to aim to use more imags than we see in the first piece because of the way we keep and upload more of our photographs than ever before being that they don’t cost us per frame and that cameras are smaller, therefore we are able to have them with us on occasions we formally mght not have done.

As well as the studio borrowed portrait conventions which we still expect  i.e we are all looking and smiling (but not blinking). I wanted to include notions of the carelessness, i.e. The stray arm or leg or the head cut off etc. photographer errors that would once have been considered incorrect mistakes or bad photography, these days included and given a value that is not entirely negative, I suppose reinforcing the throw away perception we have and have probably always had of this kind of photography.

But can I say that these photographs are found objects?

They are not objects as such but they are out there online and in the public domain for all to see and use. They are not marked as private in any way so are therefore free to view. Although they are authored they are not copyright stamped like a professional studio portrait would be so in a way I do consider these found. It begs questions of what happens to our images when we put them online. Do we lose control or power over what happens to them? And where will they end up?  Perhaps on broken hard drives at the tip instead of in boxes being sold to strangers for 20p each. Do we place too much reliance on the idea that these social networking sites will always be up and running?  Do we take this for granted as a way to store our images and therefore our history?

This afternoon I created a facebook account for the fictional Will and uploaded my found images to “his” album and had a weird moment which reaffirmed what I have been saying in my dissertation about the interchangablity of family imagery. The photograph page, in reality a composite of different and totally unrealted people’s photographs looked exceptionally convincing and plausible as belonging to one person. It seems the interchangability photographic theorists have spoken about, is still very much with us if not moreso than ever and I think this will definately be worth taking a screenshot of and mentioning in the final chapter of my dissertation.

As a further experiment in our need to assert our popularity through our photographs and these social networking sites I added a few people I didn’t know at all, in order to gain access to their photographs. Surprisingly all have added me as a friend, no questions asked. I find this really telling about modern life!


Snow Go

08Jan10

Dissertation feedback was due this week and we’ve been unable to attend uni due to the heavy snowfall. Pete contacted me saying he had recorded the Chris King talk and I would be welcome to a copy which is fantastic news. In the talk Chris King pretty much said what I would ask he repeat for the purposes of my dissertation. Having an audio copy like this will help me on my way.  Thank you Pete!

Stress of not being able to get in and worrying about my essay draft has kept me awake. I realised that I have done so much reading that I’ve fallen into the trap of rehashing other people’s theories and ideas without really having a focus on what it is I want to communicate and why. The book Snapshot Versions of Life by Richard Chalfen has sort of provided the missing link and I have been unable to reconcile this with what I’ve already written. Suffice to say I’m not happy with that I have and I’ve felt like I needed to make a change but didn’t know what this could be.

At 3.30am this morning, unable to sleep I began to put these thoughts together in my head and think about what would be the most crucial points I could cover without exceeding the word count and I realised a lot of what I’ve written was surplass to my intention and kind of like a collection of tangents. I don’t know what happened but I had a moment of clarity and got out of bed to write what wil now be my revised plan. I won’t have to start completely from scratch as some of what I’ve written is still very relevant. It’s just now I feel I’ve defined the theories and images I want to discuss and how these could possibly fit together.

Today I feel as though I can breathe again!

 


I spent the last 2 days editing the sound recording I made the other night of Will’s story. Technically the quality wasn’t as good as the audio I recorded for Karen’s story but I wanted to source my own equipment as I have found booking out the college equipment to be quite problematic. There was quite a lot of base to the voice and noise interferrence but I have had a go with Audacity the free audio editor that I learned to use for the mind project in year one and found a noise reduction feature that helped considerably. Also a fun discovery was that you can change the pitch of the audio altering the pitch of the narrator’s voice and I did quite a bit of experimentation with this finally deciding on raising the pitch slightly to make the voice sound younger which would seem to fit with the story about the demise of Will since University. From the details in the story I would gather that Will is still a young man. Again this raises the debate of whether I want the viewer to assume the narrator is the character but I think matching the voice to the story as seen with Karen’s film, adds that dimension and it becomes an added possibility for the viewer to consider. Without being patronising or prescribing the response.

The actual words are read faster than in the case of Karen. I tried to get the narrator to slow down but when I listened to this back it sounded really too low and almost like overkill of the original effect considering that having  few inflections in the voice was key. I added some more pauses in Adobe Premier Pro. I can now say that I am happy to use the vocal as is.


I took extensive notes of the talk given by the photographer Chris King and will scan these and post them here for reference but my plan is to get in touch with him regarding his agreeing to be interviewed for the final chapter of my dissertation. I am aware that time is running short now and this is the last e-mail I received from Sonja Campbell of the snapshot museum;

Hi Kate,
 
Thanks for the questions.  I’m currently in the middle of putting together a new show (see website for details www.snapshot-museum.com) – so it will be early January now when I will get round to answering you Q’s.
 
If this is too late let me know and I’ll see if I can squeeze it in over xmas….
 
Sonja
Also the book “Photography” by Stephen Bull arrived from Amazon which I pre-ordered in October and I’m going to read the chapter dedicated to the snapshot as soon as I get a spare afternoon. Hopefully there will be some interesting ideas that tie in to my dissertation therein.
My concern is that with the addition of Richard Chalfen’s Snapshot Versions of Life and this latest book and the 2 interviews, that I will have too much. I’ve already reached the word count and I didn’t get started on chapter 3 other than to give a brief outline. It seems as though the focus has morphed into more interesting areas now I’m thinking about the thrid chapter which makes me want to start again, keeping more of a focus on the differences between prints and digital. It’s a huge problem as there is a huge tradition of critical thinking regarding the snapshot as we knew it and what it is that makes us take the images we do and I have to include this, but there have been so many interesting takes on a modern idea of what the snapshot means by artists like Joachim Schmid and Sonja and Chris King who is concerned about the technological advances of the medium which affects how we take and display our images that I now want to explore this and the word count will not allow me to do both.
I’m hoping that the dissertation feedback I will get on Wednesday will help to shed some light about what I can do. I’m already over the word count but the chance to include a couple of genuinely interesting interviews is too good to pass up.  

I’m currently editing Will’s story, (I got his name wrong previously from memory) to a length that will match the narrative of Karen’s story. Although similar in length it seemed a little more long winded so I have taken out anything that I would deem superflous to the narrative, and transposed it.

I’m going to record the narration tonight using a male voice. I’m excited because I don’t know yet what is likely to organically emerge from this. I know that many facets emerged in the last recording session and to hear another take on the reading of a piece like this will be great and perhaps broaden my ideas of what can be achieved.

Thoughts for the visual are to perhaps include the actual social networking site page as the photographs are being shown because this is generally how we view images today. I’m not sure whether to create a psuedo facebook account for the fabled Will which will allow me to upload photographs, but this would become a question of whether I want to attribute these images to an owner or center them with one person ( which is unlike what I did for Karen) which would take out the found aspect and replace it with a  fabrication of authorship. This in tern would then have to be made up of a series of screenshots so that the slideshow can run automatically on a laptop. The other option is keep the emphasis on the photographs themselves and exclude the facebook or myspace background which seems more in keeping with the original intention but less obviously about the modern ways in which we view images. Having said that if they are on a laptop then this is pretty explainatory in my opinion. 

I’ve booked a tutorial for Wednesday with Claire to discuss the presentation and display as it’s good to have an idea of where the work will be ultimately shown in order to decide how best to maximise the space to suit the piece.

I’ve now got to source some snapshot images that communicate the reflected self from the point of view of the young man. I’m looking forward to this. I do have some found images that have come from broken laptops but then I could find some from the internet too in the public domain so I will have to see how this shapes up. I have a rough idea in my mind of the kind of thing I will be looking for and so this is a good place to start.