Now into our third meeting, it’s very heartening to find that we’re settling down and beginning to really gel as a group and that things that were learned in the first two meetings are starting to show up in the work that delegates bring along for us all to discuss and critique. This I think shows that whilst we may well all be studying our chosen subjects at a distance from each other, when we work together and meet, even if infrequently, the sum of the whole is greater than that of the individual parts and we all gain by each others experience and support.
Something I think all of us that attend these workshops would enjoy very much is for more students to come along and share their thoughts, practice and experience with us. I’d be the first to say that whilst we’re working well together at the moment, at some point it could be that we’ll become too used to each other and become stale as a result. So, if there’s anyone out there who fancies joining us at any time, pop along to our Flickr group and see what we’re up to, you’ll be more than welcome.
This last meeting seemed to be the best one so far, perhaps it should be as we’ve become used to the format and each other now and things flow at a relaxed pace whilst making sure we don’t waste time.
As usual, we started the day with viewing images made by the delegates, discussing and critiquing them and, hopefully learning something from each other. By the time we’ve spent four hours or so doing this we broke off and had a little fun. Keith Greenough brought along an idea at the first meeting we had where everyone would take a brown paper carrier bag and draw a face on it that we’d like to be represented by. The results can be seen in the image I’m using to represent this meeting, and I can assure you there was a great deal of hilarity during this process. Unfortunately Keith suffered from a light leak into a pack of Polaroid film he was using on his 5″ X 4″ camera, so he resorted to ordinary film and digital as a backup. The serious aspect of this work was as Keith wrote himself
Portraits partake of the artificial nature of masks because they always impersonate the subject with some degree of conviction. What, if anything, lies behind the mask can only be inferred by the viewer from the clues provided by the mask, which may mislead as well as inform through the use of conventions of representation.
Richard Brilliant, Portraiture (Essays in Art & Culture), Reaktion Books, 1991
In this portrait of the OCA-Thames Valley Group, each student wears a simple mask of themselves which they made out of a brown paper bag. The masks may or may not show them as they really are??? (Based on Inge Morath and Saul Steinberg’s mask series )
I think Keith got it right when he said they may or may not show them as they really are?
During lunch the conversation was always about photography but ranged over various subjects and not always as a group, but definitely with fun and enthusiasm.
Lunch over, we started the afternoons work where we were discussing ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger, and answering questions, posed by Sharon Boothroyd the workshop leader. The discussion was very in-depth and extremely enjoyable as we ranged all over the subjects covered in the book and BBC TV series. The afternoon sped by and although we didn’t quite cover all the questions Sharon had posed, we were able to take away a copy of them and answer them at our leisure. If anyone wants to see what the questions were like to judge how much they might gain from an experience like this, you’ll find a copy here
Meeting over at 5-00 pm we all agreed what a great day it’d been and agreed to meet again on 17th August.