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Thesis Outline - Draft @ 29 September 2019

I. Introduction

1. Background
I define myself as a photomedia artist. Guided by my fascination with the physical properties and ethereal qualities of light I explore concepts of journey, place and ecologies of time. My thesis will serve as an in-depth artist statement whereby I interrogate and attempt to deconstruct the methods, processes and motivations of my artistic practice. (give examples) I plan to situate my practice within a broader social and artistic context drawing on reference texts on contemporary (expanded) photography theory and other artistic practices. Presented in a photo book format I will have chapters that discuss the various aspects of my practice, interspersed with autobiographical journal entries accompanied by a lot of my own visual material. Although I am attracted to the idea of producing a purely analytical essay I ultimately feel that a report on my research and practice will serve me better and be more useful for my short-term future aspirations.

2. Thesis Statement (a sentence that states your argument to the reader)
A reflection and investigation into concepts of journey, photomedia, light and time and how they intertwine and form the foundation on which I build my artistic practice. (help!) Possible reframing to consider: thesis as a critical enquiry/a critical reflection (after getting stuck on the word "argument") The thesis is a critical reflection into the motivations of my desire to make by looking at three topics (time, light & space) and concerns of my practice which intersect...

II. Body of Thesis

1. First Topic: There’s No Such Thing as Post-Photography: on Photomedia or Light-Space-Time Structures

Point A: Contemporary (expanded) photographic practices are defined by their use of light, rather than the camera.
1. A look at photography today. (too broad a topic)
2. A look at alternative and experimental processes e.g. cyanotypes, camera obscura, photograms, lens-less processes, (further: sun-tanning, impressioning at Hiroshima, photosynthesis).
3. Cite “Light and Photomedia”, “Nonhuman Photography” and related theoretical texts.

Point B: If Point A is true then the digital/analogue binary is an outdated and irrelevant marker of process Maybe this section can go into a materiality and process chapter.
1. The arrival of digital and the fetishisation of analogue processes.
2. Why I use analogue processes. Slowness, contemplation, demystification of process, use of the body in production (making).

Point C: Installation, projection and moving image work also falls under the umbrella of Photomedia ?

2. Second Topic: Being Elsewhere: on Journey, Place and Non-Place

Point A: Autoethnography as Method
1. Art as journal and tool for expression. The metaphysical potential of photography. ??
2. A closer look at tourism and the (amateur) snapshot.

[diary entry: the role of wanderlust, journey, travelling in my life]

Point B: Liminality: Travel is a liminoid experience, Non-places are liminoid spaces
1. Cite essays and “Non-Places” book
2. Discuss how my time in the darkroom and my process is also a liminal space.
[diary entry: A note on the politics and privilege of my practice (privilege to travel, privilege to study, #whitemiddleclasscisfemale)]

Point C: Pedestrianism and Walking as contemplative practices
1. Cite Rebecca Solnit “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” and “Wanderlust” and related texts on pedestrianism e.g. Walking as pilgrimage, leisure, fitness, protest, etc.
2. A look at walking practices in art. e.g. Hamish Fulton, Richard Long, Bram Thomas Arnold, (find some women, people of colour) etc.

[diary entry: walking in nature. A note on the landscape? ]

3. relation to my own practice.

3. Third Topic: A counterpoint to Cartier-Bresson’s “Decisive Moment”: on Duration & Ecologies of Time

Point A: The duration of a photograph can go beyond the opening and closing of the shutter.
1. Use of the darkroom as a second journey and creation of a sustained exposure.
2. Methods employed in my practice e.g. darkroom interventions, time it takes to think, edit and print.
Point B: Cinema and Photography are simply two sides of the same coin.
1. Discuss how time can endure in still images and how it can be frozen in moving images. Cite essays in “The Cinematic.”
2. Incorporating moving image into my practice?
Point C: Representing time scales in photomedia: Cosmic, Geological and Biological Time.
1. The landscape as a marker of time. Rocks, exposed strata = geological time, light and the sun = cosmic time
2. Subject matter, slowness of process and exposure as a representation of time in my practice.

4. Fourth Topic: The Sublime is not a dirty word: on Materiality & Magic

Could this chapter be removed and incorporated into the preceding three chapters?

Point A: Abstraction as method. Abstraction is one way to unravel and expose the inner workings of the photographic process and apparatus; to challenge conceptions of what constitutes a photograph.
1. Cite texts and other artists’ practices and their use of abstraction “Photography is Magic” “Towards a Philosophy of Photography”
2. Explain how I incorporate abstraction in my practice.
Point B: Physical properties of light: is another way to unravel and expose the inner workings of light.
1. Optics (Newton, Goethe)
2. methods used in my practice?
Point C: Why the word “Sublime” is absent from contemporary photographic discourse. ?
[diary entry: Art has to be more than the every day. What does “magic” mean to me? ]

III. Conclusion

Other possible topics to consider:

  • the other, the distant gaze
  • non-criticality
  • landscape as metaphor
  • non-human element
  • a look at materiality and process together