The journey so far...
Each of the artists on Testbeds have their own objectives for being on the programme. My main objective is to develop my research profile. By the end of the year, I hope to have developed three strands to my practice and re-established myself as a photographer, visual artist and researcher. I am currently in the beginning stages of redeveloping my website after working with Luton based producer Ellen Waghorn at the end of Phase One.
Demo week in May was pivotal for me because it enabled me to test ideas with participants, and collaborate with new artists. The illustrations above are by London based illustrator Jhinuk Sarkar. They provide a visual summary of the three events I led during Demo Week, where I explored the topic of how we experience being photographed. Looking closely at them, hopefully you will see some of the complex issues raised during the three sessions (the eye represents a photography & creative writing workshop led by myself with Gemma Seltzer, the brain a discussion group, and the camera my research and presentation). I originally approached Jhinuk to work with me on this project because I wanted to explore using other forms of visual documentation other than photography. As a photographer it seems natural to document the practice through photography, but it is not always appropriate to the situation. I also wanted to take the opportunity to explore different research methods, such as dialogue and challenge myself with documenting the ephemerality of conversation without audio recording it.
It was clear from Demo Week that I need to continue running discussion groups, because how we experience being photographed is, or can be a very dense topic. Even the 'informal' discussions I have had with people about whether they like being photographed have been very rich. Considering this, I will be running more of these sessions during Phase Two of Testbeds.
On evaluating my time during Phase One, on a personal level, I have noticed I am getting more confident with public speaking. Like many people I suffer with anxiety and being surrounded by a supportive group of artists, such as the Testbeds cohort has helped me deal with this. I am looking into other ways of developing voice work. These could include joining a community choir or working with a holistic voice coach, for example.
Exhibition and gallery visits have been an important part of Phase One and will continue to feed into my research during the rest of the programme. Some of the highlights include; Tate Exchange, The Freud Museum, and One & Other and You Are Looking At Something That Never Occurred, both at the Zabludowicz Collection.
March 2018 marks my ten year anniversary of working as a freelance photographer, I will be planning something special to mark this. This will form part of my business plan, which I will be developing at the beginning of Phase Two.
Since May, I have been working with Dr. William Brown and Professor Andy Guppy from The School of Psychology. Phase Two of Testbeds will see us run a pilot project to test the physiological and psychological responses to photography. We will be looking for a wide demographic of participants to take part in this project, including people who do and do not like being photographed so keep your eyes peeled as a call out will be placed shortly.