Phonar- Task 5: Final Outcome

Tweets summarising the task:

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Visual portrait of the author:Instagram post

Work created in the style of the author:Instagram Post

The body of work:

The Digital Native

Being part of the generation that I am, the digital native, I do not believe that it is images that I haven’t taken due to a lack of equipment is a main focus of this story. But more the images I have chosen not to take. Sure, there are moments that seem unethical to capture but what I want to focus on are the times I have decided to just live in the moment and not worry about documenting each and every time I go out and do something fun. I have a perfectly good camera on my phone, which is charged 99% of the time, however that doesn’t mean it needs to be used for that purpose on a day-to-day basis.

Now social media is expanding I feel like a big worry is how we come across online, this often a fake representation. Almost everyone that I know is on social media, including myself, and quite frankly if you aren’t it is a little strange. But does this newfound way of connecting with people encourage people to stop enjoying the time when they are out and making memories? In my opinion people have started trying too hard to impress people, prove that they have been here and there. The time spent trying to get a good picture rather than just having a good time seems ridiculous to me. Why tarnish the memory with constant poses and documenting when you could just remember it for what it was.

Erik Kessels installation ’24 hrs in photos’ shows several rooms flooded with photos, these are just off Flickr in 24 hours. This is a tiny representation of the amount of images that have been taken on social media, other sites to consider include: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and more! All of these revolve around image making, moments and memories.

But is this attention seeking worth it? The false representation causes confusion when people meet or reconnect in person. In my opinion it’s less of ‘the one that got away’ and more like ‘the one that was unnecessary’. Although it is true a photo can boost a memory it does not recall history. Bringing a camera into a situation causes posed memories, without this moment I believe that the memory would be much different. If we just stopped worrying about what other people thought and enjoyed the moments we are in the world would be a lot less of a judgemental place.

Another thing to consider is how we are choosing to frame our images; this cuts out a lot of the memory, effecting what is seen. This allows us to curate our own life and edit out the parts that we don’t want people to see. Cropping an image in a certain way is very deceiving; John Hilliard’s series ‘cause of death’ is enough proof of this. In this series the same image is cropped in 4 different ways, each suggesting a different cause of death. But should we be able to mislead people like this?

In my practise I like to focus on the things people miss in everyday life due to looking at the endless posts on social media, yet another negative to the creation. Don’t let the use of photography continue to be blurred into the future, not every single moment of your life needs to be documented. I encourage you all to put your phone down and appreciate what is around you, create memories and live in the moment, not in the camera.

Critical Rationale

When first receiving my final task it was a shock that I didn’t have to create any images to complete it. I originally tried to find a way around this; this is seen in my research, with artists such as Bindi Vora. However I realized that this is something that shouldn’t be fought. Although I as a photographer like to be active in creating images in whatever I do I realized that the author for this task and the thought process behind it was perfectly suited to me so by embracing this I was able to look at what I consider to be my style in a completely different light.

Overall I have really enjoyed this task, it has allowed me to think a lot about photography and what I consider to be the pros and cons. Thinking deeper into the absence within the genre has made me see a lot of work in a different light, by having this new focus I think I will be able to critically evaluate work more successfully. As well I have been able to practice my writing, which is something that I always consider to be one of my weaknesses. This is something that I have been trying to work on, as writing articles and stories in relation to photography is also one of my interests. Completing this this task has not only given me the confidence to step outside my comfort zone and start writing more often but also inspired me to create a new body of work with similar connotations.

Letter to Rein Jelle Terpstra:

Dear Rien Jelle Terpstra,

I am currently in my second year of studying photography at Coventry University. For our final module of second year, as a class, we are responding to as many of the assignments in the Photographer’s Playbook as we can. With these responses we aim to make a publication in response to the book. For my final task I had to respond to your assignment.

I will admit when I first read the assignment I was a little disappointed and shocked that I didn’t have to take any pictures. This is completely different to anything else that I have done. Originally I tried to get around this, and think of ways to incorporate images. However the more I researched the more I realised how perfectly suited your task was for my style and me! I really love how your task has made me think about photography in a completely different and totally relevant way. When photography first came about this viewpoint may not of been as applicable, due to the turn around time. However with the technology today I wonder if photography is a little too throw away- your task made me consider this and also how I could represent this, inspiring me to start new projects!

Since completing your task I have become more open minded to many things, and often things I would normally be hesitant about. Writing is certainly not my strong point so I was dreading writing the story, however once I got into it I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I now realise that I was wrong to think more negatively, especially without having given it a go! I am grateful to you for writing this task and allowing me broaden my practice and develop my interests further.

I have decided to send you a letter, as apposed to an email, as I think this suits your style. By doing so I am slowing down the turn around time of the communication. I hope you have enjoyed hearing from me and reading my story (please see below). I hope to hear back from you.

Kind Regards,

Bethany Crisp


(Story will also be sent)