Saturday, 8 February 2014

A Little Note About Research

It's easy to develop to a system. To become complacent and habitual in the way you work. I expect most of you have established a 'formula' to your research. 

You find the images using Google.
You drop them onto a Word Document for printing.
You throw in a bit of biographical info (you either found this on Wiki or you looked at the photographers website)
You then write about "what you liked about the work".

Do you find yourself writing the same things time and time again?
It's your 'routine'

Well, if you're interested in my advice (and you should be)you will listen when i say it's never too late to improve the depth of your research.

Your research is, after all, the foundation for your whole project.

Here are some tips:

  • Start by researching work that you feel can realistically impact on your own. Don't pick random things that vaguely link - it's obvious when someone hasn't genuinely connected with their research

  •  Really 'look into' the artist/photographer. I don't necessarily mean biographically. Look for a website and explore it. Look at other work, track down articles. Try to UNDERSTAND the person behind the images. Too often I will see an excellent contextual reference that is, sadly, completely misunderstood and misread by the student.

  •  When analysing the images don't think back to the comfort of AS Photography. Choose images and information that is relevant and that interests you and comment on it in a deep and meaningful way.

  •  Comment on the story behind the work - how does the concept impact on you? Do you agree with what the photographer is trying to say? Do you approve of the way in which the photographer has carried out the work?

  •  LOOK AT THE LIGHT. Light is the key to all good Photography. Even the most conceptual photographers still have a 'good eye'. Comment on how the photographer has taken their photos but don't approach it like a robot. Talk about the senses, the textures, the 'sounds' the shadows. Communicate a sense of understanding of the environment the photo was taken in.

  •  Be emotional. A huge amount of the work you look at is emotive. You need to tune into this and allow image to resonate with you. Do the photos remind you of something?Someone? Think back to your childhood, PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, share them and marvel at how imagery has the power to connect everything through sight and memory.

  •  Don't leave it hanging. Comment briefly on which key elements of their work you will use in your own. THEN DO IT. Higher marks are achieved when I can look through a sketch book and see genuine observations of the work of others in your own work......don't fall into the trap of copying though. This will have the opposite effect.

All in all, make your research count. Your research forms building blocks for mature, diverse and considered projects. Don't slap any old random stuff from the internet into your sketchbook. Use photographer focused sites and always check for the artist/photographers website. 

See research as a positive and exciting thing - not the thing you have to get out of the way before you can start shooting.

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