Susanna - Methods/session 2 Self-directed methods

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

October 17th 2018 - Interviewed by Mia

What are you making?

Currently, I'm not making much, but I am shifting the focus on analog photography (from digital video) by learning the processes in the darkroom, how to use the space. I will also take 10 analog pictures a day for 10-15 days with a 35 mm camera as an exercise, then develop and print them myself. This assignment that I gave to myself is about taking pictures, the subjectsnot being that important. Maybe for the first five in a day I will have a certain idea and I will feel inspired, but it won’t happen for all the pictures and I will just have to force myself in taking all 10 even if the rest will have no common concept. I think this process will lead to certain pattern either in terms of content or style ,

Something that I just made is a focal camera and I want to keep going with that. I consider the product of the last session we had within this thematic project more like a starting point. There are few things that I want to change- first of all, I need to change the shutter. Then I need to fix the light leaks. Doing this, I want to stick to the challenge that I made for myself which is to build a transparent red camera. Therefore I would like to fix the light leaks with transparent material and not for example acrylic. I would also like to use different type of film - up to now, I've been using regular color film which did not work that well. Therefore I want to test with orthochromatic film which should give me a chance of making images with red transparent camera) that I built. My goal is to make a working camera with which you can to some extent also control the production of images.

Besides physically making something, what else are you working on/doing research on? I have few ideas for future research, but currently I don't have a subject or a specific research area. I think after finishing the exercise of taking 10 pictures a day, i will have a better idea of what will my subject be. I would say that my research subject right now is the medium itself. This is what I am trying to do with working in the darkroom, making the focal camera and the '10 pictures' exercise. I want to deconstruct the medium, and analyse it. After a couple of weeks I expect to have a different, more external subject.

Why are you making it? Because I’ve never studied photography but film and the medium of the camera was never really researched within my practice. I always felt like I don't fully understand how exactly a camera works, it’s a bit of a mystery. I'd like to explore this more for a better understanding of the medium.

Does it relate to other things you have done and if yes, how? No, I don't see a clear link with my previous practice.

How is it different to other things you have done? Other things always came from a brief (assignment). I was doing a BA where we always had a rather strict brief and after that I did some commission work. This is the first time that I can work on my own without any constraint. Maybe that’s the reason why I feel a bit lost, I think it’s good. In a good way. the approach during a master course is different - you know what tools you can use, where to get advice. It is a bit hard in the first weeks but later it will give me good results, I think.

What are the most significant choices you made recently? Embracing this feeling of being lost and not being told what to do, trying to figure out what could be a subject that I’m interested in.

The exercise of taking many pictures each day reminds me of Barend’s statement that sometimes it’s not about taking good pictures but it’s in making many and then choosing few that you consider successful. That the choice itself is a statement of quality, not taking ‘good pictures’. How do you relate to that statement? Well, the exercise came up in the tutorial with Barend and I think this is a good practice right now. I feel it is my personal assignment – take a lot of pictures – nobody forcing me to do so.

Suggest research strands: Books: The medium is the message, The Photographer's Playbook