Photofilm Artist Research

Along with the artists that I have already looked at in the weekly tasks like Laia Abril and Ula Winerowicz, I have found a couple of artists who have created photo films that I have taken as inspiration for my own photo film.

Briony Campbell – The Dad Project

Being a good daughter to my dying dad was tricky. I struggled to find the balance between dedication to his needs and distraction from my grief.  At first the idea of introducing a camera into this equation seemed unwise, but eventually I think it became the solution. This is the story of an ending without an ending. And I hope it always will be. This is my attempt to say goodbye to my Dad with the help of my camera.”

This piece is something that deserves the high praise that it has received and ten fold. I not only admire the strength and courage that Campbell had to document such a personal and horrific event in her life, I also think that the actual imagery is beautiful. Her eye for subtlety within the world that she sees is evident in the photo film but she is not afraid to show herself in a vulnerable state which I think jars with us as a viewer because we would not usually share such grief in such a personal way. However, I think that this allows the viewer into the project and means that we can feel what she is feeling on a more personal level than if she had never shown herself or her family to be grieving because that would be unnatural and we would see that as odd. I think that the mixture of still and moving images along with the use of audio means that the work is something that can be understood, and is relatable, to everybody. This is the piece that made me want to narrate my final piece because it just adds something else to the work; your own narrative. I think that this is important when you are talking about something personal to you because if somebody else was speaking for you then you would not get the emotions and the speech patterns that you would use when talking about something that makes you laugh, smile, cry. This is something that, although I might struggle with because I don’t like recording myself, I will have to force myself to do because I think that it is the only way to properly tell my story. 

Elizabeth Seed – A Photographic Memory Trailer

This project, which is currently trying to fundraise using kickstarter, began when Seed found boxes of short films that her mother had directed and edited, which where about photographic icons such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson and Don McCullin. From this she decided to retrace the origins of the videos and hopefully learn more about her mother who died when she was 18 months old. She goes on a journey about her mother, who had had the same passion for photography as Seed, to essentially find out about her own history and how this has shaped her life. She revisited some of these photographers, or their closest associations if they had passed away, and combined her mother’s videos and interviews and her own images and videos as a sort of collaboration between the two women even when one was not around anymore. This collaboration is something that I am massively into in the sense that for this project I have been working with my mother to try and learn about the history of the images and have used her as a source of research as well as asking her to select the images that we looked at according to what she thought was most important because I was not there so I don’t know what is important or significant within our family whereas she does. The actual content of the audio is really useful in the sense that it allows us to gain context and we can hear the different people talking about Seed’s mother as well as her history and their experiences with her. This then allows us to hear direct recollections about her but also we can hear how the artist wants to tell her own story and her mother’s in her own words. This is something that I want to do to make my piece more effective and to create a stronger narrative. I also like the idea of using the old and new because it turns the work into a more comprehensive look at her mother’s history instead of trying to talk to about it by just using new images or video which i don’t think would work as effectively. I do, however, think that the video is a bit twee in the sense of the music being a bit too cheerful to the point where I don’t really know if it needs to be used. However, I do understand that this is a trailer for the film so it is not a finished piece and is just to attract backers for the final production of the film. I think that both of these photo films have allowed me to rethink and refine my ideas for my final piece and this means that I can now begin to piece it together and hopefully produce something that I could show my own mother and her be proud of it, as well as having other people from outside of the family to understand it and relate to it.



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