I’ve been looking at a lot of the Fine Arts Digital student blogs here: http://mafineartdigital.wikispaces.com/blogs and am just pausing to consider whether this framework is the right one for me or whether I should aim for a more traditional photography Masters Degree.
What I want to research.
One of the things that has surfaced while doing by BA is obvious but profound: people see different things in photos. Take this image below for example. What do you see? What can you glean from the image?
This is what I have tried to show: not all wheelchairs are the same. Wheelchair users will see different things than others when they look at this photo. For example, they might recognise the following:
1) The shorter the wheelchair the better, because it’s easier to move around. However if the footplate is too far in front of the casters then when you lean forward the chair can tip up and throw you out. Over the years my wheelchair skills have improved and so the wheelchairs I’ve bought have got shorter.
2) The number of spokes affects the rigidity of the wheel and the central photo shows that wheelchair with spoke guards on to protect them from damage. The right hand photo shows my latest wheelchair has fewer spokes but they are made from composite material rather than steel and so rigidity isn’t compromised but weight is reduced.
3) The location of the axle mounting points on each chair affects its centre of gravity, balance and height. Increasing the height of the axle position lowers the seat height from the ground and in relation to the front of the frame. Go too low though and you can’t transfer over the wheels. Go too high and you can’t get your knees under tables.
So I am interested in what people see in my photos when the intended meanings are not anchored by reference to text and how the viewers’ perceptions and meanings are 1) determined by their own cultural and personal identities and 2) altered when the same photos are viewed alongside anchoring texts.
This has implications for how I present my work , as my aim is to create images that speak of my experience and identity to people at different levels (aesthetic, and connotative ) and through difference prisms – aesthetic (form, colour, tone, texture), artistic and photographic conventions, eg indexical, and contexts eg newspapers, galleries.
So it seems to me that my approach is better suited to be situated in an arts degree and by working with a cohort of artists rather than a photography degree because its focus is more about artistic meaning than anything else.
(Of course there are practical issues I have considered. For example, being an online degree means the cohort of students should be wider than otherwise, as well as easier for me to access).
Have you any thoughts on this proposal or view?