As a result of my 1-2-1 webinar with my tutor, Sophie, I decided to do some contextual research about a photographer that she mentioned – Iain Sarjeant and in particular his work entitled The Pool. She suggested I not only look at his work but also consider how he describes the intention of his project:
“This series is photographed entirely in one small pond in the woodland near my home. The Pool is no more than 2m across, is fringed by grasses and ferns, and surrounded by birch trees. I walk past it every day and, although nothing extraordinary, it constantly grabs my attention.
The images explore the layers of shapes and shadows reflected in the surface of the pool – a hidden abstract world which is at first chaotic and lost to the naked eye. By singling out and focusing on individual elements, these complex and competing patterns are simplified and a sense of depth created.”
Tim Parkin, writing in On Landscape reviewed the book produced of the work:
“The power of the book comes from the mood the images creat – these are rather like entering the dream world of a child, the fascination with the pool and its inhabitants, the focus bringing out the occasional detail and the blur suggesting.”
Parkin mentioned that Iain Sarjeant’s work reminded him of a Czech photographer, Josef Sudek, who worked in black and white and photographed the Bavarian forest and also the views from his small photographic studio. He suggested that Sudek’s work is an escape from reality and a jump back in time.
Over the past few weeks I have been concentrating on my Work in Progress Portfolio for this module. I posted some of this week’s work previously in this Journal. During my webinar with my tutor I took the opportunity to talk to her about where she believed I should focus my attention as I add more images to the body of work on Loch Cill Chriosd. We talked about titling images or adding words or poetry alongside. She suggested that I should add something about my thoughts and feelings from when I am out on the Loch. I keep a journal as I am shooting and I need to be more systematic in re-reading and sharing some of those thoughts. She suggested I should unpack the layers of feeling and meaning and why I am there. Why do I have to go back? She asked me again what I wanted my audience to be feeling – I need to invite my audience in – “take us there”. She recommended a couple of books which I have on order – The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane and The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd – that might inspire me in terms of writing about my work. In terms of my images she liked the narrative of Reeds 17
but felt images such as Reeds 12 and 13 were more claustrophobic.
In short, I need to open out more and respond to my feelings. This comment is similar in some ways to those of a tutor on Surfaces and Strategies. I asked her what I should focus on in an upcoming location shoot. She said I might be better doing some thinking rather than taking photographs!
This is not going to be easy for me but I have a week photographing down at the Loch and I shall be spending my time thinking and writing as much as shooting! I hope to have some answers to my tutor’s questions and find a way of expressing my experience on The Road to Elgol through my imagery.
Macfarlane, R, (2017 ), Wild Places, Granta Books, London
Parkin, T, (2014), A Book Review – The Pool, in On Landscape, https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2014/06/pool-iain-sarjeant/
Shepherd, N, (2011 Re-issue), The Living Mountain, Canongate Books Ltd, Edinburgh