As the old saying goes, better late than never!
Despite being quiet on the online front, Christmas was a very busy time. Being struck down with what I can only describe as the T-virus (yes I am a huge Resident Evil nerd) wiping out most of December for me, I took the opportunity to read up and start looking at new material for the next module, informing contexts.
Although nervous I am very excited about the next module and although I could not make the webinar for the module introduction I did take time to watch the recording and to complete the tasks set for the module break.
Firstly we were tasked with familiarising ourselves with the module content, the learning outcomes and assessment criteria. As I work in education I am familiar with these kinds of documents. It is important however to refresh before each module as I will admit these were documents I had consulted less during the sustainable prospects module and subsequently my marks had slipped a little.
I was very happy with the feedback I recently received for my CRJ. As the sustainable prospects module was the first in which this website was to be graded I was a little nervous as blogging has never been a consideration prior to this course, let alone in the critical analysis writing style.
Although I received 66% I am still looking at ways in which to improve my critical approach to research and development for my project. As can be seen here by my notes I decided to look into the expectations for this site and questions I should be using in order to prompt a more critical response.
By the end of the last module I already had an idea of where I want my project to go and what it needs to progress. In October I had already begun to realise the setbacks the instant photograph medium was causing. Although the style of the medium contributes to the connotations of memory, the imperfections of the punk rock style and the ‘one of a kind’ ethos, I feel at present I need to find a stronger medium to communicate this message moving forward.
This has been a very difficult decision. I am very open about my traditional roots and my desire to keep within traditional photographic mediums, however, I am fully aware that this course is all about developing skills I have less experience with and progressing with new formats.
I am extremely fortunate to work with a selection of medium format kit. My instant reaction was to go to 120 film with a Hasselblad 503 set up, however, my financial situation really dictates that the Hasselblad 503 with a digital back or the Hasselblad H4D digital system would actually be a more viable option.
Next week I aim to start with some tests shots to select which medium I shall be using and how I will achieve the aesthetic I desire to fulfil the needs of my project and will document within my project development pages.
As part of my project development I have already begun setting up shoots, this time with former burlesque/gorelesque performer and alternative fashion model Violet Eyes, (aka Lynsey Drewett).
Former performer Lynsey has taken a hiatus from modelling/performing following the birth of her son Hunter. Now a successful business woman following the launch of her cruelty free make up brand VE Cosmetics, Lynsey still holds a passion for these areas but is more prone to cosplay and fantasy dress than burlesque.
I am extremely excited to work with her and her family. I am hoping to capture the visually exciting elements of the culture she is a part of and that she includes in her home environment. I will be interviewing her and hopefully getting my podcast up and running with her interview as the launch material. I am intrigued by family life and what alternative parenting means to her.
As a parent with an infant school age child I can vouch for the varying opinion and the odd stares and judgemental glances we tattooed alternative mothers receive, even now tattoo culture has reached the mainstream. I find regular amusement in the school mum cliques and I am well aware that there is no category for me to fit in or any coffee morning that accepts my outlook, but to be fair I am happier that way. I have spent my whole life avoiding the mainstream so why change now I am a parent?
The research I spent the Christmas break undertaking explores varying aspects of art, photography, punk rock, politics and theory.
To start with I looked at the videos and reading set out in the informing context module guide under the title “modernism, postmodernism and back again?”
This presentation was definitely food for thought. In regards to my own practice it got me thinking about my intentions to progress my work using some mixed media and more postmodernist practices.
To answer some of the questions above I do personally see photography as an art form. The concept of “re-photography” is one I don’t comfortably sit with due to the essential reproduction of another persons art or story. I find photography very personal and see a persons images as their personal vision or journey. To take something such as a portrait and reproduce that image for my own gratification or public use would be immoral. I do not see these kinds of concepts as art, more as the recycling of visual materials due to ones lack of creativity. One can pay homage or show influence of an individuals pieces in a respectful way but to directly replicate in my mind is creative theft.
With the advent of social media and influx of apps and websites using photography as a means of characterising individuals as a means of self expression (all be it altered imaging with filters/stickers etc.) photography is certainly more ubiquitous than ever. For me advertising is a good example of the recycling and reusing of images in a world struggling with originality. It now seems more prevalent that successful or stand out vintage advertising campaigns are being used, understandably to spark the sense of nostalgia with older consumers but could this also be a move due to lack of creative spark?
In relation to music and my project work it would seem the same issue is a hot topic for musicians. In a world or remixes, reeboots, sampling and often blatant rip offs is musical creativity under the same threat?
Interesting viewing and often difficult to decide if the tunes displayed are a direct rip off or intensely similar, this video made me consider the punk rock subculture and its position in postmodern plurality.
As part of my module break research I watched the D.O.A documentary. A great historical catalogue of footage from the break out of UK punk in 1970’s USA it was interesting to see the reactions of those observing the movement and its artists in its raw form. I found the reactions of politicians and Mary Whitehouse particularly entertaining as in these modern times I cannot help but wonder what they would think of popular culture and television broadcasts today.
Knowing how the Sex Pistols were formed and the control Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLarren had on the band and their image I struggle with them as an example of punk as a commodity. They were created solely for Westwood and McLarren to capitalise on their popularity with the young and working classes. the documentary explores some of the audience reaction and the people who follow these bands and it reinforces the origins of punk as a youth culture and working/lower class movement as a means of “fighting the system”. In comparison to modern punk, bands such as NOFX for example still live this ethos and ethic but in a more comfortable setting.
As this documentary shows punk from a youth perspective it was important that I branch out, not only to explore a more modern display of punk behaviours but also to see if there is any material exploring the punk rock parenting world.
This documentary was very enjoyable, all be it moving in places due to the harsh and cruel upbringing of some of the musicians involved. It is clear that these artists are the misfits cast out by mainstream society which their music echoes.
I could really connect with the mundanity of normal life just in a more colourful setting and bizarrely with punk rock legends. It is interesting to see as a fan of music as you know they live a normal life when off the road, one just does not consider it generally. A great example of social contrast being Fat Mike of NOFX taking his daughter to school in a complete juxtaposed setting of a private school looking like he had just been on stage.
It makes sense that home life should be so settled when the chaos is lived whilst on the road. It is interesting seeing how the DIY “live fast, die punk” (Birkett, 2016) ethos transfers to parenting .
“Write a song like ‘Fuck the World I’m Going to Die When I Get Old’ when you are eighteen, then you get old, and you don’t want to die.”
Brett Gurewitz – 2012
The artists discus frequently the difficulties of tour life/family life balance and the difficult decisions they face between DIY ethics and capital gains. The temptation to “sell out” as it were and make more money to better support their families is completely understandable yet to their die hard or younger generation of fans this seems an inconsiderable oxymoron. It has certainly made me reflect on the difficulties in this day and age earning an ethical living and consciously being a good example for my son. It is hard being a role model whilst maintaining an active interest in punk rock music, culture and lifestyle.
The concept of family shows is something becoming more frequent in this country and has been a new means of lifestyle for my family in particular. I feel blessed to be bale to involve my son in the music scene, all be it condensed family friendly version it is a good starting point for his interest in music and great way to expose him to a diverse range of cultures.
Being a working parent is hard in itself, being a working mother in my home town is still an anomaly in parts. I am still often surprised by the reaction. I believe it more due to following a career path rather than just being a working mother. The concept of having to work seems more acceptable than the prospect of having a career and specialism to follow. I found the segments following Jim Lindberg from Pennywise and his turmoil over music and family very relatable. I am constantly being forced to work extra hours and weekends and face much negativity when I am unable to do such work is astounding. Like everything in life it comes down to balance and I personally feel that work/family life balance is completely lost by the quest for money and gains.
Here is the movie for anyone interested. It is a great view and a real insight to the personal lives of some incredible musicians.
As my project is working towards podcasting I have been exploring podcast content to see what I can put together with my primary research to kick start interest in my work. Looking online there are a few different formats I could use. As my content is free I am not looking at putting out onto iTunes. I would quite like to have a website people can visit so the content can be covered with images and various other content, links to websites etc.
Upon my searches I stumbled upon the blog site Punky Moms, a website dedicated to all things punky and parental. The concept is great and I love the fact that the mums who write for this site post their children’s art and creative stylings as well as their own.
Moving forward I now need to formulate a complete plan for my shoots and where I wish to take the punk rock parenting subject.
Reverting back to research from my project proposal I have ideas on how I wish to change my shooting format and adopt a more documentary approach. In order to communicate my intentions to Lynsey prior to shooting I now aim to put together a shooting plan with examples from other photographers such as that below from my proposal research on the work of Thomasz Gudzowaty.
So plenty of work to be done and an update will be posted shortly with this plan and hopefully some test shots. I still have research notes to type up and some book reviews to come so watch this space…..