‘Life on the Edge’ is a body of work that explores different creative approaches to ‘visual documentary’ of contemporary life in UK. It brings together, compares and contrasts concepts, frameworks and methods from landscape, documentary and street photography, reportage illustration, psychogeography and visual creativity and communication. I also include insights from my international professional research and consultancy experience from sociology, anthropology and economics.
‘Life on the Edge’ focuses on environmental and political issues on geographical ‘edges’ – scenic for tourists but often areas of deprivation and marginalisation for local people. A series of personal Sketchbook Diaries explore my own ‘personal edges’ – philosophical and political views that characterise my ‘voice’ so that these can be explicitly and strategically integrated into my more ‘objective’ observational practice. My creative responses in different media aim to explore and provoke thought about what might be meant by ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ in the light of disruptions after Brexit, the COVID-pandemic and the continuing climate crisis.
I produce new work, building on 10 earlier illustration, printmaking, photography and moving image projects from 3 locations not presented for assessment because my work was disrupted by COVID restrictions and/or I did not have the necessary technical skills or digital equipment and/or the images lacked narrative focus. These new projects include and build on earlier images, in some cases dating back to 2008, and draft outputs that were not part of VCAP, creating new work and refining narratives from further new work on location. I choose to cover a number of locations partly to be more COVID-proof over autumn and winter 2010-2022. But also because I find working simultaneously on a variety of projects frees up my thinking on possibilities and generate a wider range of ideas for projects selected for more resolved treatment. This will also generate starting points for many ideas in future, and a good basis for audience and market diversity.
Assignment 1 Proposal Manifesto
forthcoming beginning of August 2021 after I have fully developed the psycho-geography/documentary framework. Alongside finishing VCAP and VisRes for assessment, and established a proper Zemni style for the documents.
Assignment 1.1 Manifesto
Assignment 1.2 Project Plan
See Initial plan and links to existing projects:
Research Point 1.1 Ten ManifestosR1_1_Manifestos
Research Point 1.2 Ten PractitionersR1_2_Ten-Practitioners
Exercise 1.1 Ten Key Moments (pencil draft to be properly drawn)
Exercise 1.2 Write Your Manifesto (See link on left, to be revised after tutor discussion)
Research Point 1.3 How Do You Intend to Work (See link on left, to be revised after tutor discussion)
Exercise 1.3 Marketing Strategy (the potential local marketing in the plan below to add to on-line promotion)Assignment1_Manifesto_ProjectPlan
Assignment 2 Project Making and Testing
forthcoming November 2021 but started already – see links. By November the future of COVID situation should be clearer, I will have been able to re-visit Cornwall as well as other project locations and some printmaking workshops on solarplate and cardcuts.
I start by using sketchbook work to explore my own personal perspectives:
1) Exploring Edges : Sketchbook Diaries and interactive concept animation
and sketchbook walking diaries to revisit, update and reframe 10 earlier illustration, printmaking, photography and moving image projects from 3 locations that I have worked on in earlier modules for this degree:
2) ‘River Edgelands’ of the River Cam in Cambridge where I live
3) ‘Edges Shifting’ along the East Anglia Suffolk and Norfolk Coast
Part 3 Project Production and Networking
Assignment 3 will start with decisions about which projects to pursue in more depth, and which to leave for future. This will depend on tutor/audience/marketing feedback, technical potentials and challenges and also likely nature of COVID pandemic restrictions 2021-2022. Each project will develop a linked body of work across multiple media:
- photobooks and photo galleries
- prints in environmentally friendly printmaking media
- collaged conceptual interactive infographics and maps
- sketchbook work and imaginative illustrations
- animations and moving image.
Images in projects not selected will be added to portfolios and web galleries on my professional website and/or social media, with an outline of where I might take them in future.
Part 4 Project Realisation and Presentation
My end date for Sustaining Your Practice is 9 July 2022, having allowed an extra 3 months for RSI/COVID. I want to leave enough time for further location work early next summer, given likely COVID restrictions till then.
- Assignment 4 is planned for April 2022
- Assignment 5 planned for June 2022
- Submission September 2022 for November assessment
Assignment 4 will draw some conclusions about my creative process going forward through contrasting and comparing:
- different approaches to the initial documentary process and experience in different contexts: some locations are completely new, others ones I have got to know well. In some cases I am more or less stationary (eg sitting sketching or video on a tripod) watching life go by over time, other contexts are linear where I make decisions when, what and how to make an image (eg walks long narrow paths), other contexts allow much more experimentation in where I walk and make images (eg psycho-geographical transects). In all cases there are questions about how far I follow a random process to disrupt preconceptions versus more considered seeking out of images to illustrate issues based on prior research – and anywhere in between these two extremes.
- different creative processes and combination of media to create one or more final outcomes and ways in which working in one media can inspire new approaches in apparently different media. For example moving image and audio to inspire photobook design, printmaking to inspire drawing and painting etc. This will also further develop my technical skills across a range of media for future work. Some media eg printmaking series of photobook will be used in the final product, other media eg on-line video may be used more for promotion. Again selection will be guided by audience/market research feedback.
- different narrative forms and ways of combining images and the documentary narrative potentials and challenges presented by single images, single image series, books/e-books and time-based media.
Assignment 5 final presentation and marketing process will include all the outputs in various ways to different platforms and physical outlets. It will also include an interactive presentation on my conclusions about visual narrative processes and methods relevant for my own future practice, and that of other people in UK and my international research networks.