This week the focus was on draft Oral Presentations. I was not able to take part in the session so instead, I focused on looking further into ideas.
One of the subjective areas has been the work of Jon Tonks. Especially around his methods of documenting a story through his images. I found his work around the islands of the South Atlantic to be especially poignant. The way he takes the image gives a feel of remoteness yet brings forward the subject into a light that brings them to life.
A good summary of his work was found via a TED talk.
Tonks series on Easdale island in Scotland gives me a real summary of a documentary method that could work within my own practice.
It covers a mixture of scenes, from remote open water to daily life and culture. Given the sense of remoteness, the images have a collectiveness about them that bonds them together.
Jon Tonks – Easdale
As a big part of my work is documenting I feel that there are some elements to Tonks’s method that I could develop. One is the use of natural light and a matt render to the image that seems to work for a number of his pieces.
One such example is the use of light to enhance the image of the stone:
Jon Tonks – Easdale
You are very much drawn into the frame and its depth gives a feeling of being elevated far above the subject. Had this image been taken slightly to the left or right, it may not have worked.
Inspired by this approach I attempted to recreate the image above but from within the river. The results were mixed (this shot is taken from on the riverbed looking up to the surface through a rapid part of the river):
The image is not nearly as sharp or as effective as Tonks’s, but it does go some way to prove that I can achieve depth perspective and a three-dimensional effect from underwater.
You could argue to which direction the image is going in. Without knowing which, you could also be mistaken in thinking it was just a reflection or a shot of bubbles in the surface.
It is this muti-visual result that I am looking to enhance. Once where the viewer themselves creates a solution, destination and story to the composition.
Keeping on the subject of water I have also explored the work of Susan Derges who has conducted a series of works on reflections, but very much from the fine art and abstract angle.
Susan Derges – River Bovey May 07 (Diptych L) Series: Eden & The Observer and the Observed
Derges work on the River Bovey conveys a real abstract approach to the river with a very effective connection between the water and land within the reflections. Further to this her film on her methodology – Camera-less photography: Susan Derges commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum directed by David Waldman and created by Gloss Media provides an insight into her approach.
The sense of place that she looks to convey through her work is a principle and similar driving force behind my own practice. It is this element that I am now looking further into exploring.
The main missing element from my work is a common link between the images I take and the story I wish to tell. Currently, this does not exist. There is no common hook for the images I am taking.
I shall further explore this concept with some of my peers and tutors as I feel I need guidance to find a way forward.
- Tonks, Jon. 2013. Empire. Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing. ISBN-10: 1907893490
- Jon Tonks, Easdale – Source media
- Plates used: Two from the Easdale series – names unknown
- TEDx University of StAndrews – Jon Tonks. Photographing the remote vestiges of empire. 2015
- Susan Derges – River Bovey
- Plates used: River Bovey May 07 (Diptych L) Series: Eden & The Observer and the Observed
- Susan Derges. Camera-less photography. Victoria and Albert Museum commision. Directed by David Waldman and created by Gloss Media
- Derges, Susan. 2010. Elemental. Publisher: Steidl. ISBN-10: 9783869301501