The beginning of my Photography domain.
When observing and analysing the overall concept of my final media project, there are many noteworthy areas in which I can analyse.
When I first chose the concept of my photography and installation piece, I can say that in the beginning stages of development I found it somewhat difficult to initiate a question that my project would be asking. I knew of the fundamentals of my project and that I wanted to focus around the subject of death, but my idea lacked depth.
Through the masses of research I endeavoured with looking at a variety of; photographers such as; Gregory Crewdson, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman and many more. Along with other artists that carried a similar subject like Gunther von Hagen’s in the exhibition of Body Worlds to the installation artists that inspired me including Bill Viola, I discovered there were many ways in which I could add depth to my project.
My first main priority was to create a collaboration of a Photography and Installation piece, so my first protocol was to research artists that strived in this field and that could influence my work. My main influence was that of Bill Viola, an installation artist that builds pieces that carry the subject of human experiences; birth, death and rebirth. Being that Viola covered the concept of death in his work, I took aspiration in to how he created his installation pieces in order to set that atmosphere and environment. One I mainly looked at was ‘Ocean without a shore’, as this covered a sense of death in it’s subject, as the people he used in the installations imagery were representing a rebirth from death.
Through observing and researching the means and thought behind this particular piece from Viola, came the foundations of my own project. It guided me in the thought process of both a question my project could ask and what kind of an environment I wanted to create with my installation piece.
So I now had the question that I wanted my project to base upon, which was, ‘Is it an End, or a Beginning?’ framing around the thought of what happens to us after death, whether we just go, or the possibility of there being something else. Reasoning for me wanting to develop this thought, is both personal and methodical. On a personal basis, as I know in my own thought that I am unsure as to whether death is an end, being that there are so many faiths and beliefs in the world held by both religious and non-religious people and I wanted to discover them to broaden my own mind. Methodical on the means of what I have just expressed, as it is such a broad subject, as to each individual must have some form of opinion on and this is what I wanted to explore within my project.
After much research both primary with interviewing a range of people that held different religions and beliefs and also conducting a questionnaire that broadened the responses I got from them and those who held no religious beliefs. To also secondary research so I felt that I could cover an array of peoples opinions and make the project a universal one in relating to a number of different people I felt I gained knowledge as to a variety of answers to the question I was asking. From this process came the development in the finalised photographs I took for the project, that contained a differentiation of people with a casting shadow upon their face. This shadow was the representation of the responses I had collected through the means of my research.
Within the photographs and each subject within them, I wanted them to have a ‘straight and emotionless’ face. This was to concur, the grasp of complete silence and to express that we all are the same even if we believe different and in the end we all go, every one is equal in a sense that we all come to death, no matter how we lived out lives and how fortunate we are. When I look at my photographs and particularly at the eyes of each candidate, I am brought on to the thought of the Hitchcock theory, ‘The desire frustration theory of suspense’.
‘It is widely thought suspense requires uncertainty’
The photographs I took for this piece, that appear with this shadow, create a form of suspense when you look into there eyes. I feel that when observing each and every photograph, you are immediately drawn to each of the subjects eyes. Furthermore when knowing of the subject the piece is covering, you have a sense of this suspense being that it is based around death and many people feel uneasy when talking about this. Although with the foreseeable overall nature of what I am presenting in this project, I want to try and build a different light on this, and create a more at peace thought when talking about it. It’s message to people is to not just think that it is an end, but that there are many beliefs out there, so try not to be so narrow minded on the subject, embrace it.
Although when expressing that thought, there is the consideration of the negative approach to the subject, as there are negative views. A controversy on this project would be one that I also covered in my research of ‘Death anxiety’. This is in fact a fear that some people do carry, the fear of their own death and the process of dying. Having gained knowledge of this, I also wanted to make sure that the commodity of my project, would hopefully have a contribution of thought for these people. I, when starting this project, didn’t know that there was such an array of different beliefs and I personally found this exhilarating. I wanted this project to cast an open mind to this subject, and I feel I have been successful in doing so with the collaboration of beliefs I chose to showcase through the shadows in the photographs. I feel that my project withholds some form of power, being that that the subject I chose is relevant to each individual, it is something that we all experience.
“I wonder if fears ever really go away, or if they just lose their power over us.”
― Veronica Roth
Overall the projects concept and process had some form of effect on me as an individual. With being a non-religious person but by no means an atheist, I wanted to explore this question that I believe everyone at some time or another would ask. With the meeting of the variety of people I either spoke to first hand or read responses to, I feel the outcome of me producing this project for my FMP has broadened my mind.