I have come to the conclusion from my work in other modules that I have a tendency to interpret assignment briefs too literally at times. I have had two previous attempts at this assignment where I tried to use the idea of a real journey as the basis but in neither case were the results. I decided to interpret the subject as referring to an emotional journey rather than a physical one. I want to try and illustrate a relationship by illustrating how a long-term relationship is never a smooth ride; there are always ups and downs.
The idea of image appropriation was one that I had initially recoiled from; it seemed not to be what I thought photography should be about. I have changed my opinion after looking deeper at the work of artists using this technique; in particular the work of Eileen Cowin. Her piece “I’ll give you something to cry about” is close to what I wanted to achieve here.
I decided to re-use my own photographs for this assignment. I haven’t found specific examples where other artists have repurposed their own work; some may well have, and it seems highly likely that many artists would use their own photographs for a purpose other than they originally intended anyway. In any case I knew I had photographs going back several years that would work in the context of what I intended here.
Given that the entire course is based around landscape I took care to only use photographs that could be classified as such. To promote consistency I also wanted to avoid using people in the images as well, except as unidentified background. I have mentioned Eileen Cowin as inspiration and she does use people in her work; however given I was explicitly re-purposing my own photographs, using people would make it too personal (to me anyway).
Another criterion for choosing the final set is that none should be from the same initial set. This is perhaps an unnecessary restriction but I want the images to stand for a larger meaning than originally intended. Apart from two, all are from different locations, and those two were taken at different times.
I experimented with the presentation; I wanted to avoid just providing a list of individual photographs. I had tried to assign a specific order to the images but my wife pointed out that if I am trying to illustrate a relationship then the order is not important; life just isn’t regimented in this way. However I had to provide some sort of structure so I have chosen to produce a single image with all twelve together. I have used cheap wrapping paper as the background here. This is intended to illustrate the idea of what we always intend from a relationship at the outset. The idea of using this wrapping paper came about from seeing Jeff Koons works at an exhibition recently. His repurposing of kitsch artefacts to provide a different interpretation fits well with what I have tried to do here.
I did think about including text in the final image but decided against it in the end. Apart from not finding appropriate text to suit the piece, I thought it would look too intrusive. In producing this work I have also encountered several problems in getting the correct exposure and consistent lighting. The gold and silver hearts on the wrapping paper have proved difficult to get right.