I started the MA with Falmouth in September 2016 after seeing an article on the course in a Photography Magazine as I looked for ways to develop my practice with the objective of developing a self-funding fine art practice that I could operate in parallel to the job that would remain my primary source of income and would become a full-time job when I decide to retire from the Financial Services industry.
I only applied to join the MA the August with a course due to start in September. Over that period I was busy writing my first commissioned piece that was due to be published in Professional Photography plus preparing to exhibit as part of a group show in London at the end of September. Based on the above one might ask why do an MA if you are about to be published and are exhibiting.
Though I had got positive feedback on my work from other photographers I did not feel that my practice was sufficiently developed to sustain itself over the medium to long term. My own analysis would suggest that I had developed a high level of technical proficiency in the art of image making over the last 20 years a level, though the images lack a consistent visual language. I started to realise that I would consistently return to tired and tested forms of image making. Photography had become mechanical the process off just pressing the shutter. I am reminded of a quote from Oliviero Toscani “even a donkey or monkey can press a shutter”.
The long and the short in 2016 photographically I had many positives that might be the envy other other photographers yet I am an individual who strives for going further than contemporaries why take the easy route when taking an unknown path can feed the mind and soul.
I set myself a set of goals at the start of the MA:
- Better understanding of contemporary art language and more specifically contemporary photographic art.
- Identify other photographers who stylistically and content wise could be considered a contemporary artists
- Converse with art lovers, gallerists, journalists and contemporary photographers about my own work using contemporary art language
- Able to develop a clear visual voice and present that consistently across a body of work and eventually across multiple bodies of work
Now as the MA journey reaches it’s point of arrival as the train eases into the terminus I look back on the journey and feel confident that I may not have attained full mastery against those objectives I am much better place to develop my practice into the future.
I have a better appreciation of the different elements of contemporary art photography and the different aspects of the domain able to identify different trends and identify the artists that are broadly attributed with the creation of that specific genre such as the likes Cindy Sherman, Angel Adams and other notable photographers that pre-date me. I can quote contemporary photographers who stylistically have associations with my own work. I am more confident in galleries and shows to analyse the work of others and draw my own conclusions. My photographic voice is clearer than it was 2 years ago. The final word on the definition of the methodology that defines my practice will have to wait until the day I stop creating new work. Until that date I will do what I have always done is take an idea or though and develop it and weave it to suit my own purposes. I feel it will only be possible to unpick and analyse practice in totality at that point in time.
In closing this journal
“And now we’re through The show is over The audience is walking out the door You know it’s true” (Faith, 2009)
- Faith, P., 2009, Smoke & Mirrors, Do you know the Truth or Something Beautiful, Sony Music, London.