Category Archives: Project 3: Photographing the Unseen

Project 3 Photographing the unseen

All three of these projects are examples of personally driven work but they become universal when we can relate to the feelings they present by visiting our own personal histories.

  • Which of these projects resonates most with you, and why?
  • How do you feel about the loss of authorial control that comes when the viewer projects their own experiences and emotions onto the images you’ve created?

My first impression is that photographing the unseen does not have to be about a personal experience. While all three of these projects are very personal an equally interesting project can be developed about something unseen. I feel this type of photography carries a great weight of personal emotion that, very often, can only be experienced by the photographer. Seeing someone’s ‘space’ where they sit in their wheelchair does not, I have to admit, move me. If I saw a video of Peter having difficulty crossing a road because of the lack of wheelchair access pathways, I would be much more engaged. I agree with Peter’s sentiment that the experience has been cathartic for him but as a viewer of the images I am not as moved as I would like to be and I do not understand Peter’s difficulties any more having looked at the images. I am in total admiration of Peter’s stamina and of what he has achieved in his lifetime despite his handicaps. I felt his responses to the questions posed in the interview were often very profound and always well thought out. Although he says that photography expressed better his situation I am not convinced. I think Peter would be well capable of writing very movingly about what it is like to be locked into a wheelchair.

Dewald Botha’s series of images (click) are technically interesting but his ring road trip looks exceedingly boring to me. The first slide containing the text is unreadable. I cannot work up any emotion about these images. I don’t see the differences in architecture, surroundings and neighbourhoods. Despite being a big walker I think I would die of boredom on this particular 27km walk around this ring road.

The third set of images by Jodie Taylor surprised me. I found these the most interesting. I liked the idea that she made the images with a 35mm camera and that she used an old style plastic album to present them. I searched the net for this and other examples of Jodie’s work and came across this vimeo (click) which showed the little album. I loved this work and her other work in and around her area was even more interesting.  The images are intriguing. Like her tutor, Sharon Boothroyd, I found myself remembering my childhood in urban Dublin.

I think it must be wonderful to create images that move a viewer to superimpose his or her own experience on the images viewed. I would have no problem with loosing authorial authority over the image. Of the three sets of images presented only Jodie Taylor’s created this type of emotion in me. It was a ‘down memory lane’ type of reaction.

  1. Ring Road – Dewald. 2016. Ring Road – Dewald. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dewaldbotha.net/ring-road.html. [Accessed 14 January 2016].
  2. 2. Student work uncovered – Jodie Taylor on Vimeo. 2016. Student work uncovered – Jodie Taylor on Vimeo. [ONLINE] Available at: https://vimeo.com/120389996. [Accessed 14 January 2016].
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