Project 1.1 The origins of photomontage - Exc 1.1 - Project 1.2 Through a digital lens - Exc 1.2 - Project 1.3 The found image in photomontage - Exc 1.3 - Project 1.4 Photomontage in the age of the internet - Conclusion - Upsum - Eval
[16Jan23] As usual, I am starting with the course extract of Part 1 (2015), available to all. These are sometimes out of date and need revisions when the real course becomes available.
The cmat. (course material, an abbreviation used throughout these notes) states,
In this course, you’ll be introduced to the work of practitioners who exploit the possibilities and potential of digital photography and imaging technologies, and you’ll explore the diverse and complex themes that their work addresses. Alongside tracing the genesis and trajectory of digital photographic art, you’ll examine the various ways that vernacular digital imagery is consumed and disseminated, and consider the wider social, ethical and philosophical implications of these rapidly evolving platforms and processes.
You’ll be encouraged to take exploratory and experimental approaches to making practical work, using both your own photographs and found imagery. DIC p.5
These are listed as follows (they too might well have changed):
• demonstrate detailed knowledge of visual and conceptual strategies in digital photographic practice and explore your own critical digital photographic projects
• demonstrate an awareness of the wider social and cultural contexts in which the digital image operates and discuss relevant ethical perspectives in relation to your own practice
• explore and realise a range of ideas and creative starting points, and exercise judgement in the production of visual material
• manage learning resources, conduct self-directed contextual and visual research, and appraise your progress with increasing confidence
• demonstrate increasing autonomy and a developing personal voice, exercise your communication skills confidently and interact effectively within a learning group.DIC p.5
LO1 and LO2 are similar to those for LPE but with a digital clause substituted for the landscape reference.
LO305 look identical to LPE.
Write a few paragraphs introducing yourself to your tutor.
ToDo List item 0.1.
[7Feb] First draft, popped into my head today.
I am old, Welsh and live in London. My father gave me a 35mm camera in the early 1960s and have taken photographs, off and on, ever since.
I started this degree because I had lost direction and energy. And because I wanted to learn about other practices, about theory and about critical responses. The course has worked insofar as my enthusiasm for the medium has returned and I know what I intend to photograph.
Several fellow students on LPE have left the course as the OCA seems to have lost its way over the last couple of years, damaged by Covid closures and now the OU tieup.
It might be argued that I do not need to carry on, but I continue to enjoy reading theory and being steered into activities I would not otherwise encounter - DIC seems well outside my comfort zone and I already have the funds set aside, so I’ll carry on.
The 2 quotes?
• Assignments One and Two are practical assignments.
• Assignment Three asks you to write a 2,500-word critical essay on an aspect of digital photographic culture. You can choose from one of four topics, or decide on your own in consultation with your tutor.
• Assignments Four and Five are devoted to producing a project on ‘digital identities’. You’ll start this in Assignment Four and resolve it in Assignment Five in the light of your tutor’s feedback.
• Assignment Six is your pre-assessment review – preparing your work for assessment. DIC p.7
Demonstration of technical and visual skills (35%) – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
• Quality of outcome (20%) – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
• Demonstration of creativity (25%) – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.
• Context (20%) – reflection, research, critical thinking (learning logs, critical reviews and essays). DIC p.9
The first part of the course looks at the notion of the constructed image, from an historical starting point and early combination printing techniques, to the first use of digital processes by artists in the 1980s and 90s. You’ll start to look at the impact of the internet and see how artists have employed both rudimentary technologies and more complex digital processes to make work addressing various themes.
Part Two expands upon the use of found imagery. You’ll take on board the concept of the artist as curator and explore the creative use of archives of various kinds, including the family album.
Part Three examines the prevalence of the digital image, and in particular questions our relationship to images of humiliation and violence. We also explore the impact of digital photography upon photojournalism. At this point in the course you’ll write a critical essay on an aspect of digital photography and culture.
The final part explores the relationship between the digital image and our individual identity. We discuss the notion of the ‘gaze’ and explore the increasing complexity of our digital existence alongside our physical one. DIC p.10
[17Jan p.10] Taking a broad sweep of photo-history, the cmat. observes that many C19th artists felt threatened by the accuracy [and ease] of photographic representation; its use now permeates society and culture and it brings controversy over, "when and where it is appropriate to take photographs; what and who we can take pictures of; whether or how images should be manipulated; when and where they should be published; what they may or may not mean (p.10)".
[p.11] There are two aspects:
1. the increasing awareness of photo manipulation and the consequential distrust of the photograph. See LPE Assignment 4.
2. the increasing availability of imaging kit and manipulation options to Jo Public, thanks to digital and mobiles.
Two books we will be using are mentioned, W.J.T. Mitchell's The Reconfigured Eye, 1994 and Fred Ritchin’s After Photography, both of which are to hand (I think).
Terminology is considered, "digital photography or digital imaging?" Largely, those who think of themselves as photographers use the former, artists the latter. But it goes wider than that, the cmat. gives the example of the police force which also uses the latter. Both artists and salaried professionals have moved beyond lens-based imagery.
Take care with sources, we are advised,
• What are the author’s credentials?
• Does the publication have an editor? Has the article been peer reviewed?
• How sophisticated is the language used?
• Has the author substantiated or illustrated their arguments or ideas?
• How recent is the article? Are the ideas current or relevant?
• What is the relevance of the topic to the publication? How frequently does the author write about the topic?
• Is there any kind of ‘agenda’ to the article? Is it an ‘advertorial’ or some other form of spin or PR? DIC p.12
Good questions, all. My personal view is that I am happy to quote previous generations of writers such as A.D. Coleman and Bill Jay because 1. I am of their generation; and 2. I believe their comments are still relevant.
Two books come with the course (or perhaps they used to),
Fontcuberta, Joan (2014) Pandora’s Camera: Photogr@phy after Photography, London: MACK and
Lister, Martin (ed.) (2013) The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, Abingdon: Routledge
I have the former but not the latter.
In a break with previous practise, from now on I will be including forenames in the reference lists.
[date] Record all the photographs you see in one day.
[30Jan] DIC moves away from lens-based photography, despite the assurance on p.10 of "ample opportunity to continue to develop your practice in this way [the techniques and processes associated with photography]".
DIC Prelude References
Alexander, Jesse & McMurdo, Wendy (2015) Digital Image and Culture [DIC]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
Bloomfield, R (2017) Expressing your vision [EyV]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
Boothroyd, S (2017) Context and narrative [C&N]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
Boothroyd, S. and Roberts, K. (2019) Identity and place [I&P]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
author, (year) Title. Location: Publisher.
author (year) title [online]. website. Available from url [Accessed nn January 2023].
essayist (year) Title, in Editor (ed.) Title, Location: Publisher, pp. nums.
author (year) Title. Location: Publisher.
author, (year) Title. Location: Publisher.
author (year) title [online]. website. Available from url [Accessed nn May 2023].
author, (year) Book Title. Location: Publisher.
author (year) Title. Journal. Vol, pages.
author (year) Title. Newspaper. Date. pages.