I already have a practice of keeping a journal, so I acutely knew the focus and wondered how I would translate that into images. If I look at the time since before this course started as well as the time during it, most of the entries and internal thoughts were quite negative. Living in Turkey with a patriarchal autocrat and then seeing my own country go the same way, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and anger that shrouded my thoughts in darkness and negativity. This was compounded by the series of terrorist attacks that have taken place in Istanbul, where I live. I had been feeling really shut down. I was reluctant to start taking any images because it just didn’t feel right. I kept getting a gnawing feeling in my stomach whenever I thought about how I could make the words I was writing manifest into photographic images. I did ponder it though and the images I imagined were similar to Woodward’s since her images, whilst dark, have a sense of beautiful melancholy to them so I thought at least I could create something with some beauty or mystery within the darkness that I was feeling. But those were not meant to be.
Then I happened upon Marina Abromovic’s ‘The Artist is Present’ but the documentary of this work. It moved me to tears and my interest in Abromovic became acute. While her work (and the documentaries) are not photography, they are photographic because of the way she uses color, her body, and the framing of the camera when being filmed both in action and still shots. So seeing her work on the screen was visually stunning– and moving. It was after I watched her other documentary ‘The Space in Between’ that I realized what I wanted to do for Assignment 3.
I am still not sure if I should replace some of the shots in the submission with some of these. But I figure by the time assessment rolls around, I will have a better feeling for which ones work the best.
So I have decided to go with a more positive idea for assignment 3. As I have mentioned in other posts, I am really drawn to Marina Abramovic’s work. The two films I have watched about her are not only interesting, but visually stunning. But it was her ‘method’ that I am going to interpret and pay homage to.
Essentially it is steps of making people present and connected. While I was planning on making images that were more dark, once I saw her film, I realized that this was what I wanted to do because it personally believe in the power of meditation and being present and engaged.
So I thought that using natural elements as the background would be a good idea because it is such a presence in my mind, mainly because I have limited access to it living in Istanbul.
We have dramatic snow at the moment so I think tomorrow I will head out and try to make some photographs taking advantage of the scenery. I scouted some spots out, which can be seen below.
For image 1, I am thinking I will set a chair up and sit with my eyes closed. This would come at the end of the series. For the other two I was thinking of somehow placing myself in the tree, or try to contour my body to the shape of the tree. I am not sure about this, but we will see.
I also want to do an image where I am getting rid of anxious energy by flinging my arms back and forth. The spot I want is covered in snow at the moment, so I will have to wait.
portrait with a crystal on my forehead
me lying flat, but I need to think how I will do this. Abramovic has an amazing pyre-like structure that she lays on, so while I am not trying to re-create her images, I still want to clean background and straight lines that are in those images of her.
Noise cancelling headphones, maybe in a busy cityscape. This should probably be Istanbul since it is where I fight with being a nature-loving person living in a densely populated city, yet I still manage to find those spaces.
I will be at The Cliffs of Moher and Barcelona at the end of January, so there might be a chance to take some shots there as well.
I am feeling quite smitten with Marina Abromovic lately. I wasn’t really interested in her because performance art doesn’t really interest me but as I was looking for some documentaries about photography I came across the film done on her work “The Artist is Present.” I was moved to tears at the end of it. Also, they way she talks and the things she talks about really drew me into her.
So as I have been thinking about assignment 3, I am thinking about doing something titled ‘disconnected’ which is what I have been feeling lately with everything going on in the world as well as here in Turkey. Terrorist attack after terrorist attack so close to home (literally) has an effect on the psyche.
So the image above is taken on my iphone and by a friend, was just a test run. I am thinking about doing an homage image to Marina’s work where she lies naked under a skeleton. Influenced by the Tibetan monk practice of lying amongst the dead, she s making a statement about death and mortality. https://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/190/2016
If I do this image, I won’t lie naked, but I will have the skeleton cover me in some way that will fit in with the other images I have.
Another image I am thinking of using is this one:
However, I am just starting another of her films, The Space in Between, and it has given me an idea that is maybe a little more positive than “Disconnected.” I think with the current state of the world, I am feeling dark, but ultimately that is not who I am, so I may go for this more positive slant, I just need to think about it a little more, but essentially it would be me going through the exercises Marina had viewers go through before they see her exhibition in Brazil. Stay tuned.
I have already started assignment 2 and have fudged it a little in that I am using a red scarf as opposed to a handkerchief. I just felt the scarf was a better prop for what I wanted to do.
Essentially my plan is to make a comment on the Turkish school system but it could also take a political turn as the context of what is happening here in Turkey I personally believe is happening as a result of this school system. In fact, what we do at our school is in a way a daily protest and has become a political act. When my sons have asked my why I don’t go out and protest, or ask me if it is true that foreigners can get into hot water if they are caught protesting, I tell them that my way of protesting is by trying to open the minds of young people on a daily basis.
So I started just thinking I would ask these stressed out seniors to fashion the scarf in whatever way they wanted in hopes their choices would create a narrative. And to some extent, the images I have taken so far do this. However, after looking at Karen Knorr’s photos where she juxtaposes news reports with images taken from an exclusive men’s club, I got the idea of maybe juxtaposing some of the very narrow minded comments I see in the news today with the images of the students.
I also thought I would photograph some of the younger kids who start feeling the pressures of the school system and have them also position the scarf in any way they want.
I also though it might be interesting to have captions written by them where they either title it themselves or they make a comment about school or something like that.
I am not sure how I would do this. I liked the idea where a photograph is placed on a white paper and then text in hand written in or maybe I could get a silver or white pen and have them write it or I would write it.
Not really sure, but this is where I am at the moment.