A 2: Preparation: Autoethnography

A 2: Preparation: Autoethnography

1.Reflections on A1 and the way forward

31st October 2020

I wasn’t happy with what I had produced at A1. The notes suggested that I get on and photograph something without a lot of preparation, but my tutor expected a much higher standard of submission and a presentation of issues that I need to resolve rather than a ‘final’ product. I understand that and will adjust for A2 and see how we get on.

The other issue was that while the images were satisfactory they all looked very middle class and beautifully shot and not ‘gritty’ enough or at least reflective of my experience.

I decided to look afresh at A1 as a starting point for moving forward using a framework

PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT SELF EXAMINATION PROFORMA (Fox, A and Caruana, N, 2016)

PROJECT: My Lockdown experience                          DATE: 31st October 2020

PROJECT TITLE: How was that developed from your working title and who was involved in the decision making?

Too early to decide. My meta title for this work on Twitter/Instagram/FB/ and Photovoice is ‘GP-Land.’ I want to explore that place in this degree and this work is a part of that.

SUBJECT: Reflect on the subject matter of your project and the background research on this on this subject

This work is personal, diaristic and documentary in nature. It explores the contemporary subject of Covid 19 ‘lockdown,’ where lockdown is defined as “a situation in which people are not allowed to enter or leave a building or area freely because of an emergency,” and my personal reactions to this (Cambridge, 2020). For me that ‘lockdown’ is consulting as a GP from a space in my home. It is a place that I associate with many negative experiences, including patient and personal anxieties and attendant poor coping behaviour such as drinking and eating too much and not sleeping.

My preliminary research has been in five areas; representing covid-19 experiences, ideas about place and space, the represention of doctors and auto-ethnography and photovoice methodological approaches. 

Representing Covid

There are two broad approaches, collective and personal. The former is exemplified by Historic England’s ‘Picturing Lockdown’ and  the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hold Still’ project, both of which solicited pictures from the public in three categories during lockdown (Historic England, 2020) (Historic England, 2020)(NPG, 2020). Both frame doctors as ‘heroic,’ indeed the latter had a category of ‘helpers and heroes,’ re-enforcing what I think is probably the dominant-hegemonic view of doctors as heroic (NPG, 2020)(Sturken, M and Cartwright, L, 2001; 57)(Hall, 1975). There are less images of people working from home or in distress. 

In the USA collective artistic work ‘Artists against an #Infodemic’ display their work on posters and murals to promote health messages for local people (Dysturb, 2020); this reminds me of the public work of Les Monaghan which is about affecting change (Monaghan, 2016). A project that takes and oppositional response to Covid who curates photographs and text messages from submissions as “carefully prepared diptychs to evoke moods, anxieties, and everyday realities that resonate now”  (Marcelle,  2020). These are images that allow the viewer to create their own responses rather than the more literal subject matter, usually people from Historic England and the National Portrait Gallery. 

I found 377,282 images on ‘lockdown’ on the Getty photographic site on 1st October 2020 I found 19,747 ‘Lockdown Home Working Premium High Res Photos’ (Getty, 2020). Many images were of smiling ‘optimistic’ people, homogenous in nature, and evidence the dominant view, at least in the commercial world, of responses to Covid as being positive in nature. Only 275 of these images were tagged with ‘depression’ and 425 with ‘stress:’ these were ‘crisp’ photographs of ‘tidy’ well dressed and presented people, and at odds other people’s less positive experiences of working at home (Usborne, 2020). 

The second group of artistic responses to Covid is commissioned and personal work. These are much more varied in response with oblique takes on the pandemic that provoke negotiated responses. Mehta’s enigmatic combinations of landscapes poetry explores the “juxtaposition of the natural world with the fragility of man,” whereas Matthews work of ‘empty’ beach promenades further document our relationship with the a legitimate and traditional place of ‘exercise’ in this pandemic (Mehta, 2020)(Mathews, 2020). In contrast Moesby explores interior work is of a confined space and the being ‘trapped’ and unable to ravel due to the pandemic (Moesby, 2020).

Bex Day constructed images explores the impact of lockdown on her OCD and while she sees it as a fearful space which she sees as a space to connect psychologically with her dead father and discover freedom as well as difficulty (Abel-Hirch, 2020) Similarly Viktoria Sorochinski’s dream-like lockdown project “reconnects with the inner-self (Zhang, 2020). What came across at a recent webinar is that her work took time photographing every other day in order to create and I think this approach might help me to produce considered work (About Viktoria Sorochinski. Webinar interview with Zoe Harrison., 2020) These works explore Jungian theories about psyche rather than persona which is what the others corporate approaches tend to (Hopwood, 2008)(Jung, 1933)

Representing doctors

This is a complex area that I am addressing in my literature research. Initially my intention was to explore representations of hero and villainous doctors and the gap between them. After my first conceptual studies assignment my tutor encouraged me to be clear about the body of work intention and the conceptual studies aim’s. That was helpful because I am moving to look at my identity is a doctor and how identity is constructed ideologically using iconography took correct the doctor. There is much more on my learning blog.

AIMS/OBJECTIVES/CONCEPTS: How, and to what extent, have you achieved the aims and objectives of your project? Describe the main concept driving your project.

There are some well-constructed images and visually strong images in both series, but I did not feel that they communicated the totality of my experience and the space and place of lockdown. My identity of a doctor looked cliched. I think I need to move away from a restricted view of being in lockdown in a single room to look at other aspects. These are they been yet from somebody who I managed on the phone who died in a nursing home, what it feels like to work in a room alone in lockdownThese are they been yet from somebody who I managed on the phone who died in a nursing home, what it feels like to work in a room alone in lockdown, and an exploration of the empty general practice building

AUDIENCE: A specific audience or someone or somewhere else?

That audience is my tutor and Oca buddies, but it is a public audience on social media produce finally.

CONTEXT: What is the context of this project? Will it appear in a gallery, online, in a magazine or somewhere else?

In newspapers, in a virtual gallery, online.

PRESENTATION: What is the form and method of presentation and why did you choose that?

A book, virtual presentation, online media, film.

RESEARCH METHODS: Which methods did you use and how did your research inform this project?

REFERENCES: Were they useful – artists, writers or film makers? How well do you think that your project would function in other areas of production?

Several references to come to mind stop. These include Larry Saltend Several references have come to mind stop. These include Larry Saltend here and home, Jim Gilberts work with homeless people in the group that I have explored looking at Covid. 

BASED ON: 

Abel-Hirch, H. (2020) ‘Bex Day explores the experience of OCD from isolation. https://www.bjp-online.com/2020/05/bex-day-visualises-ocd-in-isolation/’ In: British Journal of Photography – on line (20 May 2020)

About Viktoria Sorochinski. Webinar interview with Zoe Harrison. (2020) In: 1854 Access. Directed by Sorochinski, V. https://access.bjpsubs.com/1854-presents-viktoria-sorochinski-live/?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20Emails%202020&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=97118875&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9j2oeXiiq79rbzEGZOo34VXYy7VyDmqXZ3Wv7MAJt2uFMpPeHpBPf4WJgOJjLS85ANY6b0weRPrWgJouFpxvmn1oPmSg&utm_content=97047404&utm_source=hs_email: 1854; British Journal of Photography.

Cambridge (2020) Cambridge Dictionary (online). At: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/lockdown (Accessed  31/10/2020).

Dysturb (2020) Artists against an #Infodemic. At: https://dysturb.com/infodemic Publisher: dysturb.com

Fox, A and Caruana, N (2016) Research in Photography: behind the image. (2nd ed.) Oxford: Routledge.

Getty (2020) ‘Lockdown’ image search. At: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/photos/lockdown?mediatype=photography&phrase=lockdown&sort=best (Accessed  14/10/2020).

Hall, S. (1975) ‘Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse’ Paper for the Council of Europe Colloquy on Training in the Critical Reading of Televisual Language. Centre for Mass Communication, University of Leicester: Centre for Cultural studies, University of Birmingham, UK. At: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/81670115.pdf (Accessed  31/10/2020).

Historic England (2020) Historic England. Picturing Lockdown Collection. At: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/archive/collections/photographs/picturing-lockdown/ (Accessed  14/10/2020).

Hopwood, A. (2008) Jung’s model of the psyche. At: http://www.thesap.org.uk/resources/articles-on-jungian-psychology-2/about-analysis-and-therapy/jungs-model-psyche/

Jung, C. (1933) Modern man in search of a soul. (Translated by W. S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes). Florida: Harcourt Inc. At: https://www.pdfdrive.com/modern-man-in-search-of-a-soul-d164710505.html

Marcelle, Eva (2020) Postcards from quarantine. A collection of photos + texts received during COVID-19 lockdown curated by. At: https://www.instagram.com/postcards__from__quarantine/?hl=en (Accessed  04/10/2020).

Mathews, D. (2020) ‘Untitled (Colonnade 4)’ – A view looking out from the covered lower walkway of Bottle Alley, showing two men walking their dogs on the beach. At: ttps://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/HEC01/036/02/10/04 (Accessed  04/10/2020).

Mehta, R. (2020) ‘Pandemic’ – looking beyond the branches of a tree towards sunlight behind clouds. At: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/HEC01/036/02/07/05 (Accessed  01/10/2020).

Moesby, A. (2020) ‘Gathering Dust (Staying Home)’ – travel books and typewriter on a shelf. At: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/results/?searchType=HE%20Archive&search=Parent:115461209 (Accessed  01/10/2020).

Monaghan, L. (2016) ‘Les Monaghan – Making art photography for public audiences (fairness and effecting change)’ ‘Photography Matters’ OCA Symposium. CAST, Doncaster: OCA.

NPG (2020) ‘Hold still’. At: https://www.npg.org.uk/hold-still/ (Accessed  14/10/2020).

NPG (2020) Hold Still. Directors choice: ‘Helpers and heroes’. At: https://www.npg.org.uk/hold-still/hold-still-curators-choice/ (Accessed  14/10/2020).

Sturken, M and Cartwright, L (2001) Practices of Looking: an introduction to visual culture. (s.l.): Oxford University Press.

Usborne, S. (2020) End of the office: the quiet, grinding loneliness of working from home. At: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jul/14/end-of-the-office-the-quiet-grinding-loneliness-of-working-from-home

Zhang, I. R. (2020) ‘Viktoria Sorochinski’s dream-like lockdown project reconnects with the inner-self.’ In: British Journal of Photography – on line At: https://www.bjp-online.com/2020/05/viktoria-sorochinskis-inside-outside/ (Accessed  04/10/2020).

2. A new starting point in my autoethanography

16th December

It is a few months since I shot any film. In that time I have been reading and researching a lot. I have been weaving several threads together in my extended research;

  • Space, place and psychogeography + autoethnography
  • Using photovoice to tell the ‘story’ of GP lockdown
  • Bringing together the CS and BOW together under the theme of ‘Identity’

2.1 Space, place and psychogeography

2.1.1 Theory

I have examined a lot of literature about place, space and psychogeography. This is a rich area of research which is not resolved in my mind. Perhaps different aspects of theory or approach will become clearer as I progress, but my approach is multi-modal which may pick and mix disparate ideas.

Space and Place

Casey is a primary source for theory and ideas about space and place (Casey, 1997). Interesting ideas about the role deconstruction and dislocation in architectural space and, quoting Eisman, “Both the body and the gaze are implicated by the interiority of architecture.” I think that this means that place and space affects what we feel and behave in that space (Casey, E, 1997).

Foucault’s lecture and essay. ‘Of Other Spaces,’ proposes that “space has a history’ which is a “genuine genealogy of place” and also of power (Casey, E, 1997). I need to look at my home consulting room which has evolved from bedroom to a place of difficult virtual interaction with paradoxical isolation. (‘The Birth of the Clinic,’ describes the formalisation of medical care into places – institutions (Foucault, 1996). There is a history to lockdown, with power play enacted in this drama, where home workers become less powerful and present and more invisible). Back to his essay which describes ‘utopias’ and ‘heterotopias.’ Utopian places represent a “perfected (and thus radically transformed) state of society’ “sites with no real place” (Casey, E, 1997). Heterotopias are “real places that challenge the political and historical nature of things” (Casey,1997;300).There are several attributes and examples of heterotopic sites in GP Land – perhaps my GP consulting room is heterotopic in that it challenges the control from the centre of my GP practice. I saw a note from someone in the surgery asking whether ‘homeworkers’ did enough work or were “slacking.” It is an issue of trust but also of autonomy. Homeworking seems to be a place that challenges the orthodoxy of GP working.

A further delineation of space comes from the work of Deleuze and Guttari on ‘smooth’ and ‘striated’ spaces (Gilles and Deleuze, 1997). The context of the concept is war and nomadic space where nomadic smooth space is liberating and striated space in controlled. “One of the fundamental tasks of the state is to striate the space over which is reigns, or to utilise smooth space as a means of communication in the service of striated space. It is a vital concern of every State not only to vanquish nomadism but to control migrations …” (Gilles and Deleuze, 1997; 385). Today in the Guardian is an article about employers wanting to control home workers by observing their work. I reminded here about Foucault’s heterotopic space (Prison) the Panopticon (Foucault, 2008). 

One of the other features of Deleuze’s work is that “immersion in smooth space is at one body based and landscape orientated” p307 Casey – it is “haptic, smooth space of close vision is that its orientations, landmarks, and linkages are in continuous variation; it operates step by step” (Gilles and Deleuze, 1997; 307)i.e. is expressed in bodily movement. 

A place for happening

Derrida is next on my list of contributors to ideas about place and space. Casey comments that there is no clear formulation by him about these areas and he used the words space and place interchangeably. Derrida P 313 “Derrida proposes that a building is more of a happening than a thing” “…”spacing,’ …implies the clearing of space for events to happen: spacing is giving them room in which to occur. Such room is room for place.” (Gilles and Deleuze, 1997; 313).There is an element of my consulting room is created space for consulting to occur, but the comments here reflect the role of writing as research which is important and neglected. 

Inner space

Here we are talking about expanding space or place to look at one’s imagination – ‘inner space’. The work of Bachelard is helpful and mirrors some of the work of Freud and Jung (Bachelard, 1964, Hopwood, 2008) What does Bachelard’s inner ‘space’ look like, and why is it important in thinking about the spaces where I work and don’t work? 

A key idea for Bachelard is the that of ‘topoanalysis’ which is not the Heideggerian sense of simply a ‘world of places’ as locales but “It is a matter or rooms as dreamed, imagined, remembered – and read” (Casey, E, 1997)Casey 1997,page 291) (Heidegger, 1962, Casey, 1997). Place can also be non-physical and still count as place. Topoanalysis can be defined as ”the systematic psychological study of the localities of our intimate lives.

Better definition from Poetics page 8 “Topoanalysis, then, would be the systematic psychological study of the sites of our intimate lives.” What also comes across in reading the book is that his is an exploration of the domestic environment – “from cellar to garret” and the rooms within. That resonates with me as I think about approaching my home consulting room which holds the physical things of consulting such as my computers but also is the repository of my memories of working with Covid 19 and myself. 

A further reference in poetics (page 19) is from Jung who talks about fear of visiting the cellar of our house especially if woken from sleep with a noise (Jung, 1933). I do not visit my consulting room as it has some very unhappy stressful memories from consulting online. Jung and Bachelard are both concerned with inner space or psychogeography using the metaphor of the home or house with rooms that are places and spaces for the imagination. 

This is not simply a place of the imagination, but it has much to say about dwellings, homes, rooms and physical spaces where people are. Bachelard names four elements to his concrete topoanalysis; p293 – the dimensions of being in a dwelling when will is still conscious of what is out of it (the view of the window), the “lack of limit” between inside and outside even thought there are physical boundaries, we can enjoy the condition of “concentration” where we feel we are “in the center” of thinks, and there is a sense of “intimate immensity” which is sense of not “feeling confined to the nook, I find in this miniplace a burgeoning work that exceeds both nook and house as literal entities” – p 294. 

Deep mapping

Here is a further idea which came from the CS study group and it is Roberts’ review that is helpful (Roberts, 2016). I think that this extended quotation will help as I think that this may become my main framework for this autoethnography with other elements as a above.

Deep maps and deep mapping offer particularly rich pickings in this respect in that they highlight the ways in which qualitative and humanistic forays into the representation and practice of space and place are multi-faceted, open-ended and—perhaps more contentiously—irreducible to formal and programmatic design. 

The deep map is a utopian imaginary of space inasmuch as it strives to frame or in some way open itself up to that which is “lived”. By contrast, the thin map (if we can accept, for a moment, this oppositional conceit) is unapologetically representational: it is a representation of space that is ill- or, at least, under-equipped when it comes to servicing the needs of those whose inclinations are to “dive within”. 

There are certainly some common threads that can provisionally be woven together: a concern with narrative and spatial storytelling; a multi-scalar and multi-layered spatial structure; a capacity for thick description; a multimedia navigability; a spatially intertextual hermeneutics; an orientation towards the experiential and embodied; a strongly performative dimension; an embrace of the spatiotemporally contingent; a compliance with ethnographic and auto-ethnographic methods and frameworks; an “undisciplined” interdisciplinary modality; a time-based cartographics; an open and processual spatial sensibility; and, perhaps most telling, a reflexive—yet “aspirational” [25]—sense of the fundamental unmappability of the world the “deep map” sets out to map. 

In its most quotidian sense, then, deep mapping can be looked upon as an embodied and reflexive immersion in a life that is lived and performed spatially. A cartography of depth. A diving within.  

A further paper by Roberts explores the conception of using negative space where he maroons himself on a motorway island (Roberts, 2015). This reminds me of the work of J.G. Ballard, ‘Concrete Island,’ which I read recently, and is a critique of postmodern society masquerading as a novel about someone being marooned on a motorway island after a crash (Ballard, JG, 2011). 

…the author’s residency was restricted to one day and night.  The fieldwork, which combines methods of  “digital  capture”  (audio  soundscapes,   video,   stills   photography,   and   GPS   tracking),   takes   the   form   of   a   rhythm analytical  mapping  of  territory  that  can  unequivocally  be  defined  as  “negative space”.  Offering  an  oblique  engagement  with  debates  on  “non-places”  and  spaces  of  mobility, the paper examines the capacity of non-places/negative spaces to play host to the conditions  whereby  affects  of place  and  dwelling  can  be  harnessed  and  performatively  transacted. The embodied rhythmicity of non-places  is  thus  interrogated  from  the  vantage  point  of  a  constitutive  negation  of  the  negation  of  place.  In  this  vein,  the  paper  offers  a  reflexive examination of the spatial anthropology of negative space. 

I like this autoethnographic approach to attempting to define a non-space which turns out to be a space that loosens the imagination in being isolated on a motorway island for 24 hours. My home consulting room feels like a new and unwelcome space in lockdown. It was a spare bedroom and computer room in the past but is now a dump for our files and unhung pictures. It looks chaotic and mirrors some the dislocation of working on the internet in that room. It is not a non-space but that sense of dislocation is there. 

Liminal spaces

One of the ideas I carried forward from this paper was to explore the idea of liminal spaces which are ‘in between states’ with Victor Turner being the key reference here (Turner, V, 1967)

At this stage I need a definition of liminal space, and it seems that Turner’s ideas are themselves based on the work of Arnold van Gennep (Gennep, 2019). From the introduction; 

The notion that an individual’s life consists of a series of transitions, structured by the society one lives in, and that these consist of three stages—separation from the old role, a liminal period between roles, and then the assumption of the new role—has become so commonplace that relatively few who use the phrase are aware of its origin.

It is that transition that is the rite of passage. 

Tuner helpful defines a rite of passage, which might be marked by ritual behaviour, as “transitions between states” p 234. The term “state” may also be applied to ecological conditions, or to the physical, mental or emotional condition in which a person or group may be found at a particular time p234” I think that the state of ‘working from home’ is a transition which I can see has its own rituals and is definitely a transition with emotional and physical consequences. Van Gennep refers to distinct moments in ritual time separation, margin and aggregation. It is the marginal state that Turner concentrates on and it is what chimes with me most. 

Separation = “symbolic behaviour signifying the detachment of the individual = laptop sent to me by taxi, downloading security app, not present from main physical site, new state where one is alone and not with physically 

Margin = “the state of the subject is ambiguous; he passes through a realm that has few or none of the attributes of the past or coming state” = room not ready, moving to video and not face to face, how long will I be here?

Aggregation = “in the third phase the passage is consummated…in a stable state … expected to behave to certain customary norms and ethical standards.” = ritual of preparedness to work, logged as home working in diary

Like other rites of passage such as motherhood or to manhood which can be seen as crises the rite of passage does not need to be a crisis although Covid was p235.

Turner points out that the passage from one state to another is “in the liminal period, structurally, if not physically “invisible.”” Maybe this enforced change created this liminal space?

In his study of memory and oblivion, the anthropologist Marc Augé ([11], pp. 55–84) sets out what he refers to  as  three  “figures  of  oblivion”  that  structure  the  temporal  dialectics  of  remembrance  and  forgetting.  The  second  of  these,  suspense,  refers  to  the  cutting  off  of  the  present  from  the  past  and  future. In ritual terms this approximates to the separation phase of Arnold van Gennep’s tripartite “rite of passage”, or Victor Turner’s notion of “communitas”—an in-between state in which the oblivion of past returns and future beginnings (or of points in time and space already departed as well as those yet to be arrived at) shapes a temporary state of suspended presentness [12–14]. The motorway island, like that of the motorway more generally, is a liminal space of oblivion par 

Shortt’s paper about the evolution of liminal work spaces to ‘transitory dwelling places.’ in his worked example of a hairdressers, moves us away from theory to a practical example where there is a “shift from ambiguous to meaningful spaces.” (Shortt, 2015)

Back to “Bachelard’s monumental work and the descriptions of phenomenologists have taught us that we do not live in a homogeneous and empty space, but on the contrary in a space thoroughly imbued with quantities and perhaps thoroughly phantasmatic as well. The space of our primary perception, the space of our dreams and that of our passions hold within themselves qualities that seem intrinsic: there is a light, ethereal, transparent space, or again a dark, rough, encumbered space; a space from above, of summits, or on the contrary a space from below of mud; or again a space that can be flowing like sparkling water, or space that is fixed, congealed, like stone or crystal. Yet these analyses, while fundamental for reflection in our time, primarily concern internal space. I should like to speak now of external space.  CASEY, E. 2009)           

This looks to be a key looking at this whole area of my room; this is a reflective creative space for me and I should treat it as such.

Psychogeography

I have arrived here theoretically more recently and am reading Will Self’s psychogeography (Self and Steadman, 2016).

I also looked at the work of Francis Alys, Stephen Gill and Mark Power but was not struck by their work except that Mark Power’s images look similar to mine or vice versa in choice of subject within the frame and saturation!

Baudelaire

I bought this book about 2 years ago and think it is a masterpiece about thinking about places and objects, particularly thinking about my place of work and all those empty corridors. (Baudrillard, 1968; Stuccoangel, 2018)

Autoethnography

Perphaps my autoethnography looking at Covid 19 is psychogeography as I am looking at 3 locations in some detail (Coverley, 2018).  I Cloverleyy’s excellent book because it is readable. The most interesting part is the chapter about Guy Debord and The Situationist International: I have recently read ‘Society of the Spectacle’ (Debord, 2005). Probably the most helpful thing is a definition of psychogeography, “The study of the specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals” (page 120). On that basis my work is psychogeography.

The best paper about theory and implementation is by Ellis and Adams and what they communicate is that the theory is applied method (Ellis, C et al., 2011; Adams et al., 2015). Several practice ideas stood out for me including using vignettes to describe what happens, and talking to people about their experience.

I think that this will translate itself into action in this way;

Adams, T. et al. (2015) Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Coverley, M. (2018) Psychogeography. (2nd ed.) Herpenden, Herts: Oldcastle Books.

Debord, G. (2005) Society of the Spectacle (Translation by Ken Knabb). London: Rebel Press.

Ellis, C et al. (2011) ‘Autoethanography: An overview’ In: Forum: Qualitative social research Sozialforschung12 (1)

References

Azad, B. (2007) ‘Mapping Will Self’s mind’ In: The Guardian 2007 At: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2007/nov/12/mappingwillselfsmind (Accessed  16/11/2020).

Ballard, JG (2011) Concrete Island. London: Fourth Estate.

Baudrillard, J. (1968) The system of objects. London: Verso.

Casey, E (1997) The fate of place: a philosophical history. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Fabricus, D. (s.d.) Urban Drift. At: https://www.debrafabricius.com/section532241.html (Accessed  16/11/2020a).

Fabricus, D. (s.d.) Walk of Shame. At: https://www.debrafabricius.com/section532243.html (Accessed  16/11/2020b).

Fitzgibbon, A. (2020) Leeds and Liverpool. At: https://leedsandliverpool.co.uk (Accessed  16/11/2020).

Guimaraes, P. (2010) Bluetown. At: http://tipo.pt/index.php/en/archives/details/8/106 (Accessed  16/11/2020).

Jodie Taylor (2015) Directed by Lomas, M. At: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/jodie-taylor/

Roberts, L. (2015) ‘The Rhythm of Non-Places: Marooning the Embodied Self in Depthless Space.’ In: Humanities 4 pp.569–599.

Roberts, L. (2016) ‘Deep mapping and spatial anthropology. https://doi.org/10.3390/h5010005’ In: Roberts, L. (ed.) Humanities: MDPI.

Self, W. and Steadman, R. (2016) Psychogeography. London: Bloomsberry Publishing.

Stuccoangel (2018) Jean Baudrillard’s The System of Objects. At: https://theoryphilosophy1631584.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/jean-baudrillards-the-system-of-objects/ (Accessed  10/11/2020).

Turner, V (1967) ‘Betwixt and between: the liminal period in rites de passage. (Reprinted from the proceedings of the American Ethanological Society (1964). Symposium on new approaches to the study of religion. pp , University of Washington Press)’ In: Symposium on new approaches to the study of religion. (4th ed.) Reader in comparative religion: (s.n.). pp.4–20.

2.1.2 Photographers and artists

Psychogeography – Practitioners

I’ve done quite a lot of research so far looking at space, place and deep mapping, but stimulated by the BOW notes I am looking at practitioners (Page 26).

Pedro Guimaraes

The book is not available on the OCA link but images from it are at another place (Fabricus, s.d.). The synopsis of the book follows. 

“‘Bluetown’ is, according to Guimarães, ‘a dream of London about itself, a celebration of the beauty of its own alienation and loneliness’. To find ‘Bluetown’, Guimarães superimposed an outline of Queen Elizabeth’s face on the map of London on which he plotted evenly spaced points, a grid of geographic coordinates. Following the route set by this symbol of ‘Englishness’, he then visited and photographed each location. The presented photographs are a selection from the one hundred images that constitute the entire project.”

What have I learnt from this work?

I like the idea and the execution of the work. I can see other students at my level doing and showing similar work.

I have been thinking about creating a map from Kamoot, which I use, but there may be more imaginative ways to capture this for my autoethnography. Another tab looks at some of the ideas about spaces from a theoretical viewpoint; it is the inner spaces that I am interesting and showing. Perhaps showing the geography and associations of working in ‘Lockdown’ does that, although I am not actually sure at this point.

Debra Fabricus

‘Urban Drift reminds me of the current work of another student “Fitz,” (Fitzgibbon, 2020)(Fabricus, s.d.)

“A Flaneuse, I wander, observe, exploring those spaces often overlooked, trying to understand the world around me and contemplating themes of temporality, memory and the everyday. This work situates itself on Regents Canal in London. A nine mile journey from to east to west, the canal is a place of history and memory, patterns and accidents, idiosyncrasies and contradictions. Through repeated journeys along the tow path observing and recording, keeping a notebook and returning later with a camera to document stories revealed to me by the canal. They are infused with a sense of isolation and stillness, despite a conspicuous absence of the body, the photographs emit a human presence, only the remnants endure.”

The work that most interested me was (Jodie Taylor, 2015)

This is my journey. Being made redundant had left me feeling displaced; cast aside and I found the whole process embarrassing. In an attempt to reconcile my feelings my journey to the job centre offered the creativity for this work. 

The recession has heightened the transformation of not only me, but our streets. In the everyday, it is the prosaic and the quotidian that are given the task of articulating who we are, reflections of our culture and society.  Our streets hold the history of who we are today, echoing our economic downfall, our political and social states.  The photographs in Walk of Shame despite a conspicuous absence of the body, they emit a human presence capturing these fleeting moments defining who we are.

What have I learnt from this work?

I see echoes of what I am doing in my work. I too am absent in my work but very present also. I wonder if my home and workplace hold the key to who I am.

Jodie Taylor

I really liked this work which was featured on the OCA website (Jodie Taylor, 2015).

What did I learn from this work?

The diversity, inter-relatedness and quality of her final submission at L3.

2.1.2 Photographers and artists

I’ve done quite a lot of research so far looking at space, place and deep mapping, but stimulated by the BOW notes I am looking at practitioners (Page 26).

2.1.2 A: Bringing ideas from 19th November

Pedro Guimaraes

The book is not available on the OCA link but images from it are at another place (Guimaraes, 2010). The synopsis of the book follows. 

“‘Bluetown’ is, according to Guimarães, ‘a dream of London about itself, a celebration of the beauty of its own alienation and loneliness’. To find ‘Bluetown’, Guimarães superimposed an outline of Queen Elizabeth’s face on the map of London on which he plotted evenly spaced points, a grid of geographic coordinates. Following the route set by this symbol of ‘Englishness’, he then visited and photographed each location. The presented photographs are a selection from the one hundred images that constitute the entire project.”

What have I learnt from this work?

I like the idea and the execution of the work. I can see other students at my level doing and showing similar work.

I have been thinking about creating a map from Kamoot, which I use, but there may be more imaginative ways to capture this for my autoethnography. Another tab looks at some of the ideas about spaces from a theoretical viewpoint; it is the inner spaces that I am interesting and showing. Perhaps showing the geography and associations of working in ‘Lockdown’ does that, although I am not actually sure at this point.

Debra Fabricus

‘Urban Drift reminds me of the current work of another student “Fitz,” (Fabricus, s.d.)(Fitzgibbon, 2020)

“A Flaneuse, I wander, observe, exploring those spaces often overlooked, trying to understand the world around me and contemplating themes of temporality, memory and the everyday. This work situates itself on Regents Canal in London. A nine mile journey from to east to west, the canal is a place of history and memory, patterns and accidents, idiosyncrasies and contradictions. Through repeated journeys along the tow path observing and recording, keeping a notebook and returning later with a camera to document stories revealed to me by the canal. They are infused with a sense of isolation and stillness, despite a conspicuous absence of the body, the photographs emit a human presence, only the remnants endure.”

The work that most interested me was (Fabricus, s.d.)

This is my journey. Being made redundant had left me feeling displaced; cast aside and I found the whole process embarrassing. In an attempt to reconcile my feelings my journey to the job centre offered the creativity for this work. 

The recession has heightened the transformation of not only me, but our streets. In the everyday, it is the prosaic and the quotidian that are given the task of articulating who we are, reflections of our culture and society.  Our streets hold the history of who we are today, echoing our economic downfall, our political and social states.  The photographs in Walk of Shame despite a conspicuous absence of the body, they emit a human presence capturing these fleeting moments defining who we are.

What have I learnt from this work?

I see echoes of what I am doing in my work. I too am absent in my work but very present also. I wonder if my home and workplace hold the key to who I am.

Jodie Taylor

I really liked this work which was featured on the OCA website (Jodie Taylor, 2015).

What did I learn from this work?

The diversity, inter-relatedness and quality of her final submission at L3.

I also looked at the work of Francis Alys, Stephen Gill and Mark Power but was not struck by their work except that Mark Power’s images look similar to mine or vice versa in choice of subject within the frame and saturation!

Question from the OCA handbook

“Is it possible to produce an objective depiction of place?” 

No! There are many dimensions to psychogeography, the person, the place, the time and the ‘inner space’ of the practitioner and the contributions from others that shape what is depicted. That is the modus operandi of visual culture – it is cultural and culture in the postmodern world is varied and specific at the same time. 

References

Fabricus, D. (s.d.) Urban Drift.

Fabricus, D. (s.d.) Walk of Shame. At: https://www.debrafabricius.com/section532243.html (Accessed  16/11/2020b).

Fitzgibbon, A. (2020) Leeds and Liverpool. At: https://leedsandliverpool.co.uk(Accessed  16/11/2020).

Guimaraes, P. (2010) Bluetown. At: http://tipo.pt/index.php/en/archives/details/8/106(Accessed  16/11/2020).

Jodie Taylor (2015) Directed by Lomas, M. At: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/jodie-taylor/

2.1.2 B: Bringing forward Covid image and practitioner research

I have been immersed in looking at practitioners working during Covid 19 to show their lockdown experience. I have already looked at many artists at the start of this ‘A2 Preparation page.’ The key influences today are Bex Day, Viktoria Sorochinski, Eva Marcella, Dewe Matthews and Mehta – see below.

Abel-Hirch, H. (2020) ‘Bex Day explores the experience of OCD from isolation. https://www.bjp-online.com/2020/05/bex-day-visualises-ocd-in-isolation/’ In: British Journal of Photography – on line (20 May 2020)Zhang, I. R. (2020)

‘Viktoria Sorochinski’s dream-like lockdown project reconnects with the inner-self.’ In: British Journal of Photography – on line At: https://www.bjp-online.com/2020/05/viktoria-sorochinskis-inside-outside/ (Accessed  04/10/2020).


About Viktoria Sorochinski. Webinar interview with Zoe Harrison. (2020) In: 1854 Access. Directed by Sorochinski, V. https://access.bjpsubs.com/1854-presents-viktoria-sorochinski-live/?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20Emails%202020&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=97118875&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9j2oeXiiq79rbzEGZOo34VXYy7VyDmqXZ3Wv7MAJt2uFMpPeHpBPf4WJgOJjLS85ANY6b0weRPrWgJouFpxvmn1oPmSg&utm_content=97047404&utm_source=hs_email: 1854; British Journal of Photography.

Marcelle, Eva (2020) Postcards from quarantine. A collection of photos + texts received during COVID-19 lockdown curated by. At: https://www.instagram.com/postcards__from__quarantine/?hl=en (Accessed  04/10/2020).

Mathews, D. (2020) ‘Untitled (Colonnade 4)’ – A view looking out from the covered lower walkway of Bottle Alley, showing two men walking their dogs on the beach. At: ttps://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/HEC01/036/02/10/04 (Accessed  04/10/2020).

Mehta, R. (2020) ‘Pandemic’ – looking beyond the branches of a tree towards sunlight behind clouds. At: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/HEC01/036/02/07/05 (Accessed  01/10/2020).

Moesby, A. (2020) ‘Gathering Dust (Staying Home)’ – travel books and typewriter on a shelf. At: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/results/?searchType=HE%20Archive&search=Parent:115461209 (Accessed  01/10/2020).

2.1.2 C: Listening to my tutor

There were two ‘classic’ bodies of work that my tutor recommended to me. This was the work of Larry Sultan describing his home environment and Jim Goldberg’s approach to exploring communities. I would add a third from my recent reading which is Martha Rosler.

Larry Sultans work is profound, intimate and authentic (BBC, 2007; Sultan, L, 1987; Sultan, 2018). My images so far reflect this approach, but I am going to write more about this reference point at another time.

Goldberg’s approach, allowing people to tell their story, is another key reference point which I will explore at later in this assignment (Goldberg, 1992; O’Hagan, 2009; Goldberg, 1996). Interestingly when I was reading a key photovoice text by Collier his use of photographs and their annotations were reproduced in the book as an exemplar of best practice. I have underrated his work.

Another titan of exploratory photography is Martha Rosler (Rosler, 1974). Like Goldberg there is an integrity about her approach which is also communicated in her theoretical writings.

References

BBC (2007) We are family.

Sultan, L (1987) Pictures from Home. [Artist’s website] At: http://larrysultan.com/gallery/pictures-from-home/ (Accessed  20/10/2020).

Sultan, L. (2018) Swimmers. http://larrysultan.com/gallery/swimmers/.

Goldberg, B., Livingston, Living, Goldin, Mann, Radcliffe, Vargus (1996) Hospice: A Photographic Inquiry. New York: Bullfinch Press.

Goldberg, J. (1992) Raised by Wolves. http://jimgoldberg.com.

O’Hagan, S. (2009) ‘Jim Goldberg: Open See’ In: The Guardian 2009

Rosler, M. (1974) The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems. At: http://collection.whitney.org/object/8304

2.3 Using photovoice to tell the story of GP lockdown

I have already started there with my visual research and a huge amount of academic research in this area. I am currently negotiating access to work with doctors in lockdown. This developmental research is on a separate tab but you can see here that much of the picture research and practitioners, such as Goldberg and Rosler, are reference points for this developing work.

2.4 Having a common CS and BOW objective

My CS tutor has been very helpful in helping me to think about where I am going. This is about my identity as a doctor. I am exploring theory about identity, ideology and iconography. The research looking at semiotics has been helpful especially in thinking about my own images and the iconography of medicine – ‘masks, stethoscopes and all that paraphernalia.’

3. Taking images

3.1 Reviewing my A1 work

3.1.1 Planning and process

This is part of my reviewing this work after feedback, a lot of research and time.

3.1.2 Contacts

3.1.3 Selections that I may carry forward

21st of December, 2020

I sent these to a printer – you can see that it is not quite the same selection as sent to my tutor but close enough. I spread them out on a table as here. You can see that I have already started to organise them into inside the consulting room and outside with other images to the periphery.

3.1.4 Reflections

31st December, 2020

1st reordering

What interests me here most is that a lot of the images have come from my iPhone blog roll and these have taken prominence in the story. The images from A1 populate the lower part of this annotated image and seem cleaner and more focussed that the ones above which have more emotion attached to them.

31st December

2nd reordering

The top two images which are about PPE will be moved into the next section “A visit to the surgery’ as even though they were taken in March 2020 they belong with those images of absence and activity.

Across the middle of the table are two related stories which are about working from home. The first images – the model of C19 was made by a colleagues daughter and appears with permission – the bag which stays at home may set the story. I have included an image about me which I am unsure about and an image of those visits from my consulting room to

3.2 A visit to the surgery

19th December, 2020

3.2.1 Planning and process

In my archive are a lot of images of my surgery. I am interested in empty space and am just about to prepare for my film on another tab about the empty consulting room and what the signifies. This time I want to explore my GP surgery which is usually empty of people in Lockdown 2. Many of the staff are working at home and few patients come face to face with the doctor or nurses.

This time I came with my Nikon D810 with 50mm and 24mm lenses and a tripod. I am looking for a cold temperature for the WB but will decide that when there. I am going to look at the outside of the building as well as the inside. I took images on the way there too and recorded the journey on Kamoot – thinking about this psychogeography aspect.

This time I noticed the main waiting room for the building which I rarely visit as I normally arrive and exit at a side door – a “betwixt and between” threshold perhaps to enter a liminal space. In this space were hangings of local people with quotations some of which were optimistic and reminded me of the old life before covid. They might work well. I notice the sun outside the corridors and this aspect might animate the space. I liked the bars on the window as working here sometimes feels like a prison. I spent some time here. I then moved on to the local hospital ribbons and crematorium memorial tokens that I see on the way out of the area. Quite moving.

3.2.2 Contacts

3.2.3 Selections

After choosing 33 images on my contacts I printed them and put them on my board to ‘live’ with them for a while to make my selections.

It is back to those ideas from Colberg about treating the images in a dispassionate objective way. They hung on my board as printed images over Christmas so that I could think about and reflect on them. I have not done that before.

22nd December, 2020

The quality of these was poor as it would not accept my 4×6 cheap photo paper, I sent them to a cheap online printer to print out. I does matter how good the printed image is: they all look at little blue even though I have warmed up the white balance.

What is interesting about this new process for me is that I have already been discussing it with my family and editing them myself. They liked the ‘clean’ images of three chairs in the waiting, ‘Grit’ and the doors. I can see a series of doors in this grouping. I thought this series would be more about ’empty’ clinical space, but it is the objects in the frame that I have chosen that come to the fore, like the signs on the doors. I did not re-order at this stage.

26th December, 2020

I have started to let go of images that have moved me, such as the visit to the hospital fence and crematorium ribbons and ordered them in categories such as outside, waiting room, doors – interiors looking out – passageways, seats to make links. I think the inner images are setting up relationships with one another but I am not sure about the outer images.

30th December, 2020

The inner images are strong relationally, in colour and form but my instinct is that when the colour prints arrive from the printers that this could liven up the board and give some life the exterior images. Maybe I should go back to the surgery or start to look at my archive about lockdown which remains untouched?

3.2.4 Reflections

3.3 Going to get my vaccine

3.3.1 Planning and process

This was unexpected. There was space for me to have it as a priority patient and doctor so I went. When I had the offer I became quite emotional because it could be the start of a different less constrained life for me and my wife who until recently has been working face to face with patients and tested twice a week. I could not sleep beforehand beca

3.3.2 Contacts

3.3.2 Contacts

There are several other images taken on the way to may appointment but as I did not take a tripod they are blurred – maybe I could make use of those? I am due another visit in 3 weeks time. I will think if this needs to be part of my story.

3.3.4 Reflections

3.4 Experiments in Mapping

Perhaps this signage should be left until later, but I was interested in outlines of geographical maps punctuating the sections of my ethnography. I decided to record my journey to the surgery on Kamoot then upload into Photoshop to manipulate. Are are some examples.

Reflections

There is something about the stylised nature of the journey there and back, but does that lose the specificity of the location. I did not like marking my home here and have deleted it Maybe I can be more creative in making this journey so that it is more graphic.

3.5 A vingette – death in an older persons home

I decided to take a detour here researching and reading Larry Sultan and Jim Goldberg

4. Research and reflections

4.1 Jim Goldberg and Larry Sultan

Elsewhere on my blog are notes about the work of Jim Goldberg and Larry Sultan. My tutor is keen on both and I can see why. Sultan is about the interiority and formation of work and Goldberg is a pioneer of working with people to discover their stories and immerses himself in the people he is working with.

What did I learn from these photographers?

Jim Goldberg

  • Embed yourself with the people involved – I have started doing that in relating to people who are shielding. That may open up more with my photovoice project when it springs into action.
  • Use any media to tell the story – I will be interviewing and have neglected to us archival images of texts or emails which can inform my story without new words. Maybe the text is the new annotation for our lives.
  • My work is political, and I have lost sight of that a little. For example, in my series ‘a visit to the practice’ I have not included images and texts about missing PPE and risks. Maybe I should be reviewing this archive, although there are a lot of images there to look at. I also took lots of images of TV screens because for a time the crisis was played out in briefings and graphs – pictorially they look great.
  • The work is a process. I am trying to evolve a process that is reflective, practical and will shape the images and the story that I want to tell. I have not done this immersive approach before but my tutor is keen that I do and can already see fruit and learning.

Larry Sultan

  • My starting point for this research was reading a copy of his summary book ‘Here and Home’ which maps his photographic story and works (Sultan, 2017). Like Goldberg he pushes at the boundaries of documentary photography. He combines film stills, new images and documents to create a story of his childhood and family. 
  • What stands out in the essay in the book is his “forensic approach” to looking at images – their content and form. On page 12 is an image –  in the background is a board with 400+ printed images: he is ‘living with them,’ rather than simply selecting images on a whim. I have started to do this and maybe this is a way forward for me when looking at my archive. 
  • The other thing (P19-20) is why do this work? There are background motivations that describe the political contacts of that time and a lack of representations of families as complex entities. This makes me think about my own motivation which is about my story as a doctor but also the bigger story about fear and incompetence in the pandemic. 

References

Abudu, K. (2020) Study #19 Rich and Poor, Jim Goldberg. At: http://davidrobertsartfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Study-19-Jim-Goldberg-by-Kojo-Abudu.pdf (Accessed  29/12/2020).

Goldberg, J. (1992) Raised by Wolves. http://jimgoldberg.com.

Goldberg, J. (2011) Goldberg quoted in an interview with Aaron Schuman in ‘Open See’ – in Conversation with Jim Goldberg”. At: seesawmagazine.com/jimgoldberginterview/jimgoldberginterview (Accessed  29/12/2020).

HONY (2016) Humans of New York. At: http://www.humansofnewyork.com

Jones, S. (2016) In my own words: Jim Goldberg, photo storyteller. At: huckmag.com/art-and-culture/photography-2/flipping-gaze-photos-jim-goldberg-documentary-storyteller/ (Accessed  29/12/2020).

O’Hagan, S. (2014) The photographer who caught the heartbreak on both sides of America’s social divide. At: theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jul/03/jim-goldberg-rich-and-poor-photography (Accessed  29/12/2020).

Watch: Jim Goldberg’s Short Film, Luna Llena (2018) Directed by Goldberg, J. At: https://www.magnumphotos.com/newsroom/jim-goldberg-short-film-luna-llena-migration-usa-migrant-caravan/ (Accessed  29/12/2020).

Wichlacz, S. (2009) Jim Goldberg’s ‘Raised By Wolves’ as a Non-Fictional Multi-Media Narrative. At: https://americansuburbx.com/2009/11/theory-raised-by-wolves-as-non.html (Accessed  31/12/2020).

BBC (2007) We are family.Sultan, L (1987) Pictures from Home. [Artist’s website] At: http://larrysultan.com/gallery/pictures-from-home/ 

BBC (2007) We are family.

Sultan, L (1987) Pictures from Home. [Artist’s website] At: http://larrysultan.com/gallery/pictures-from-home/ (Accessed  20/10/2020).

Sultan, L. (2017) Here and Home. Prestel Muich, London, New York: DelMonico Books.

Sultan, L. (2018) Swimmers. http://larrysultan.com/gallery/swimmers/.

4.2 A change in tack

3rd January, 2021

I could just steam ahead now and take more images, but other things are happening in parallel such as the photovoice work and interviewing GPs in lockdown – at least they are due to happen.

I think that I need two things;

  • Feedback from my peers about some of the work
  • Feedback and guidance from my tutor about the way forward

4.2.1 Feedback from peers

Feedback and guidance from tutor

5. More shooting now

5.1 Going to have the vaccine