We inhabit bodies and in turn they inhabit our various environs. The way in which we choose and are encouraged to use our bodies to interact with the world is worthy of scrutinisation…
In this workshop task you are asked to photographically consider how you are corporeally connected and/or disconnected with the spaces you conduct your life in. You may wish to examine the structure of the body and how it is distorted to serve certain roles or you may think about the time and locations in which the body shapes the environments it has found itself occupying.
Have a look at the work of the following artists for assistance or critique…
Anna Fox (41 Hewitt Road)
Kevin Miyazaki (Camp Home)
Katherine Wolkoff (Deer Beds)
Laura Hynd (Lady Into Hut)
Katherine Wolkoff – Deer Beds
For her series ‘Deer Beds’, Katherine Wolcoff followed deer trails in Block Island to photograph their beds. We can see where the deer have pressed down on the vegetation to make a comfortable sleeping place where, after some research, predators cannot see them. They don’t use the same bed twice but these imprints can last for days, showing just how much we can have an impression on a place. The images, although quite similar in nature, are all completely different in the way that we can see how different deer have made different shapes within the greenery and we can therefore see how they chose to inhabit the spaces they use. I think this is a great example of how you can be subtle in the way that you talk about this subject which is great as I feel that this theme has recently been overdone a bit with artist becoming more and more infatuated with showing people in the photographs to show who they are, and not how they affect the spaces that they spend time in which is probably more telling than a photograph of the person themselves. The tones remind me of Paul Gaffney’s We Make The Path By Walking which is about walking in nature and how we can us nature as a meditative place which is also obvious in these images as we can see ways in which different things affect it in not just a negative way which is something that we see on the news constantly about how we are damaging the environment.
The sparse scenes within Miyazaki’s images are something to behold. The simplistic way in which he has shot allows us to see the objects within the frame clearly which is the whole point; we are supposed to see the different things that, although mean nothing to us, are crucial within the spaces that they inhabit. The natural lighting helps to add to the rustic feel that is in all of the images and I think that this is a good way of setting up the scene. This project is actually what inspired the aesthetic for my response to this week’s task. I was fascinated with how he could make everyday objects look so interesting so I tried to emulate his straight forward and centred shooting method and I think that it worked perfectly.
For this weeks task I wanted to try and portray the rituals that I have to go through to go to bed at night; a study on ocd of sorts. Ever since I was younger whenever I get stressed or really tired I get a little bit of ocd that means that I have to do certain things 4 times, and sometimes even 16 as is 4×4 times, and as I have gotten older it has manifested in a bedtime ritual that is something that I have never told anyone before this task. If I don’t fulfil these little rituals, which can sometimes make it so that it takes me 30 minutes just to be able to get into bed, I will not be able to sleep which is why I wanted to try and tackle this, a bit like in Leonie Hampton’s In the Shadow of Things. I shot these as I went to bed to show a true version of these events instead of setting them up using better light within the day. The use of the grid layout with the same image repeated is to symbolise this need for doing everything the same and the need to do it so many times. I chose to represent my phone in two different positions because when I go to bed this is one of the most frustrating things for me to check and as these different things add up it can sometimes even take me half an hour to get into bed just through doing these little rituals. I am extremely happy with these images because not only are they effective in the layout that I have chosen, but they also show how we inhabit spaces and use them in a subtle way that does not force the human presence down the viewer’s throat, which was my intention.
I would like to continue this piece on in the future, not as my final piece but as a personal project, by photographing the rest of the rituals from my university home and in my family home as they are different in some respects but still similar in nature. I would like to create a photo film in which I use the images and accompany them with audio of the rituals which I feel will give the viewer a real sense of the time it takes but also the strenuous effect the rituals have on me as they take so long and stop me from going straight to bed which is something that most people can do easily.