dissertation: trying to remember what the point was

Originally I had the view that what was present with respect to human nature, human imagination of cruelty, within fairy tales was also present in the real lived lives of people. If it was imaginable then it was also happening, applied to past present and future of mankind.

I have been asked what interests me in Fairy Tales and Myths. And Folk Tales. I have at last come up with a definition for myself of fairy and folk tales. That is that I think of Folk Tales as the origin with Fairy tales the softer children’s version. I may be very wrong in this, but to be honest I can’t be bothered going in circles with this anymore, so I’ll stick to my definition until someone enlightens me otherwise.

Myths, very similar to Folk Tales in many ways but I think they also have a religious relationship. And then there is Greek Tragedy, my primary focus has been for many years: Antigone.

I have been getting stuck at the beginning of my dissertation for weeks now. I keep returning to the start unable to proceed to the middle or maybe end. And I have lost the ‘point’ along the way, aware that I didn’t have a point as such at all, but a barely tangible idea..

I think a journey into trying to understand human nature while also having strong preconceived as well as experienced ideas about it.


artist whose website and name I lost              Yoga Asana


photographer: Phil Hargreaves                                                    Yoga Asana


from a horror movie   (three extremes)                                      Pillobolus Dance Company (yoga)


Matthew Stone ‘Children of the gods’                                   from a Butoh performance on

…………………………………………………………………………………..dailymotion: “Dance of Darkness,

…………………………………………………………………………………..A Documentary on Butoh”

artist: Emma Critchley

artist: Emma Critchley





The first image is the least relevant, the remaining 5 images kind of do make you look twice, where does the rock end, the body begin, what is happening here, how is it composed and put together. I find these images very aesthetic but it’s not what I was looking for with my work. Beauty was not the idea, even if I did slip into beauty. Or maybe beauty was the idea. I seem to have forgotten, but these black and white works by Bill Brandt don’t quite express it. I think what is useful in looking at these works is that they bring a little clarity with them about purpose and intention. My personal intention is often muddled, large and contradictory, which gives work a lot of room to not work. This work of Bill Brandt seems quite cool, quite formal, quite sober. Is it expressive? Using the body in abstraction is something that interests me, it is an approach that messes with the humanity of the body depicted. Where are the boundaries between the human form and the human content?

My second set of photographs that I developed myself and shot to a brief at Foundation Studies was on the theme of abstractions and fragments. I have a set of photos that remind me strongly of Bill Brandt. The cropping a tool to abstract. But I feel it is an easy-way-out tool. I want to do everything I can, everything possible with the camera and with the lens and the body without tricks, without cropping, without post-production planned at production stage. I want to do all that before I then allow the tricks. I am not sure where this puritan approach comes from or even what it’s use is, why not after all take the smoother route, why struggle. Does that make the image work better? I am not sure but it might have something to do with a potentially false sense of honesty of the image.

I want to make something that really could be like the way you see it on a photograph, if you saw it as a performance/live event you would see the same. Maybe it is this performance information that influences how I make my images.

What was Bill BRandt’s background? How did he make images?

This question of “who were you” in order to understand who you are has only recently really moved to the foreground of my research. It surely is basic and should have been there all along, but one can be so swamped in ‘the New’ where it is hard to absorb and take in all this amazing new information, it can be hard to be appropriately critical and have all the basic questions in mind.

But now a coffee break. I’ve been on this machine for 5 hours, my eyes are square. But it’s been  good to start bringing in the still images that I had half forgotten about. This helps give a little structure to the thoughts. Not that I could claim that they are functioning thoughts, they are more like empty balloons… full of potential to take off but for now a bit flat.

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