New project

In Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Rambling on September 29, 2012 at 11:51 am

I completely forgot to take a picture of our thing in with all the other things yesterday, which was daft. It looked good though, especially from the balcony (I really didn’t want to walk in to/over someone’s work – eek!). My string seemed to have survived too.

Anyway, that wasn’t the excitement. I have the project brief for the photography rotation project (actually, I’ve had it from about 12:05am yesterday – I was awake and Friday is new project day, yay for automated showing of projects…). It’s nice (apart from the digital-ness! But I can live with that for two weeks), although I’m certain every single introductory/first project for photography is always something to do with the city in some way… The brief is quite long, so here’s the important bit:

You are required to produce a series of ten images which explore the notion of ‘the city’. This can be interpreted in its broadest sense and need not be too literal in its interpretation. The context for this project is one of fine art practice, with, for example, galleries as a potential means of dissemination.

I’m happy it’s kind of vague, I’m not too good with strict projects (I tend to do the visual equivalent of rambling and end up doing something quite irrelevant – but two weeks isn’t really long enough for me to go too far off). My first instinct is definitely to use film (if I believe How To Be An Artist that’s right 99% of the time), it’s a lot easier to get an accurate image if the camera is unnoticed, and film cameras can be quite unremarkable looking and sometimes don’t even look like cameras (TLRs or homemade pinholes) so they’re good for that. Digital cameras are obvious and hard to disguise, and things change somewhat if the camera is obvious and noticed (it’s not really something I can describe, but the obvious example is people put on camera faces – not that I’m planning on photographing people for this project). Although Walker Evans spent years photographing people on the subway by hiding his camera in his jacket, I could always do that. Maybe it’s more the fact that film cameras can be so unpredictable – only the viewfinder on the 35mm SLR is accurate, although the Rolleicord, Blackbird Fly and the Lubitel are probably fairly accurate – and I tend to not worry about what the negatives will look like because I don’t have a whole lot of control over it (and that tends to make far more interesting things). I just point it in what I think is the right direction and hope for the best, and that works. But with a digital SLR I have total control over composition and everything else (it’s novel having a camera with different apertures…), I’m not used to that anymore! I can always pretend the viewfinder isn’t at all accurate and stick with pointing and hoping for the best.

I have something of a plan anyway. Seeing as I don’t know Edinburgh that well (unless it involves walking to ECA or the George Sq library, or the amazing health food shop) I’m going for the randomised exploring tactic. When in doubt, look at Keri Smith books. So I’ve made a dice, with arrows instead of numbers.

So I’ll wander and trust the dice to take me somewhere interesting. Although the rules that go with the dice seem to imply getting lost is entirely good, I have absolutely no desire to get lost! Finding new places – yes. Not knowing where I am – no. So that’s the plan for today, explore and take pictures. I have until Wednesday until we meet as a group to go through the project brief but I’ll go crazy without anything to do. I found this yesterday too (it was in one of my camera bags, I’m not sure if that was logical or not).


The open for week for the 100 Project starts on Monday (there’s been quite a few ages drop out – annoyingly 19, if I was only a year older…), so I’ll have to take my disposable camera everywhere and then find somewhere to develop it. There is a Boots around the corner, so I’m hoping that’ll do. What else…my sketchbook is looking pretty full already, I’m hoping I won’t fill it up in the next two weeks though. Ehm, my flat was beautifully tidy yesterday, but then I started doing sketchbook work and my desk and floor completely vanished under stuff. I have some reading to do for Visual Culture on Monday, I have no idea what book it’s from but it’s about place, it’s interesting in a slightly longwinded way (there’s a lot of references to other chapters). I need to go do something productive, seeing as I’ve been writing this and doing nothing for hours now (although, and I’m sure you want to know this, I slept relatively well last night – I only woke up once at 2 and slept until 9 – that’s quite impressive really). There’s some nice quotes listed with the project brief, yup back to that again…

‘All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful: but the beauty is grim’ -Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins

‘A city is a large community where people are lonesome together.’ -Herbert Prochnow

I want to see growth in wood, time in stone, nature in a city, and I do not mean its parks but a deeper understanding that a city is nature too-the ground upon which it is built, the stone with which it is made.’ -Andy Goldsworthy

‘I wouldn’t live there if you paid me’. -David Byrne


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