Oral presentation on the development of my work for the first unit of my MA Photography at Falmouth University. (Please select 720p for best quality).
Thinking of contemporary global images immediately made me consider viral media or global networking images that are being shared online. Memes have become a social phenomenon where images are shared and moulded without caring of who the author is. They tend to be trivial and offer little intellectual value as their sole purpose is to provide entertainment, however they can also be subversive and show cultural movements therefore serve as a mirror as well as a window to the world.
In 2012 an image of Ecce Homo, a fresco by a Spanish artist Elias Gracia Martinez went viral after a failed restoration attempt by an elderly volunteer Dona Sesilia Gimenez in Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja, Spain, consequentially creating the Monkey/ Potato Jesus meme.
Popularity of this image lays, perhaps, in our own fear of failure and how one small mistake can lead to others, gain momentum and unravel in disaster. Disaster being a common theme of recent global political affairs (such as Brexit etc). Inspired by this, I decided to reappropriate another viral photograph of Donald Trump looking and pointing at the sun during the last solar eclipse. I used various images of Trump to create a collage focusing on stereotypical points of ridicule (each one, pointless). The whole purpose of memes and thr spectacle of viral media is to distract us; to look at the wrong thing, blind us to the important issues of global politics. Important images of global conflict (Syria, Ukraine etc) become invisible and ineffective in the mass stream of banal images.
As part of our face-to-face event in Amsterdam we were asked to work on a collaborative micro project of our choice. Our group was named after Robert Frank which is why we decided to create work based on an observation of a place (Amsterdam) from an outsider’s point of view, inspired by The Americans (1958).
I decided to make a comment on tourist photography on tourism as a whole. I used an old Agfa 1MP camera to make a statement on the quality of tourist images. Being a tourist myself, I asked strangers to photograph me in places that are not considered to be picturesque or aesthetically beautiful. I posed awkwardly for each image commenting on our alien status when we go abroad.
My first Critical Research Journal entry, the beginning of the journey into my masters studies. Welcome to whomever happens to stumble across this page.
I Introduced myself with this image at my first face-to-face event organised by Falmouth Flexible MA Photography course in Amsterdam. This image is from the project Turning of the Sun, a body of work that explores the idea of ‘home’ in its broadest sense; examining themes of childhood, myth and national identity.
Since 2014, I have been returning to the place of my childhood in Latvia. The photographs I took attempted to portray a particular sense of place; both one from my own memory of childhood, and the place as it exists today. Merging documentary and performance, these images embraced ‘play’ as a strategy for making pictures. Asking my sitters (often family members) to pose and consider the photograph’s construction, my images are a negotiation rather than mere observation. The images articulate my relationship with place and memory, but also consider wider themes of national identity. The title, Turning of the Sun, refers to continuous change and the cycle of the seasons, that is so important in Latvian culture deriving from its pagan roots. It also refers to the succession of familial generations and my own return to my birth land.