There are several of Derges’ work that I have been able to connect with.
Shoreline – 1997-98
Waterfall – 1998
Ice – 1996-97
Atlantic Ocean – 1997
River Taw – 1996-98
In the period 1996 – 1998 much of the work appears to be focused on water in some form or another. Whereas Horn and Sugimoto focus on the top of the water Derges work is under the water looking up.
I think this is appealing to my work as sometime you can feel like you are drowning, that you cannot survive, like you won’t ever make it to the surface, and i think it might look like this to an individual under the water.
Whilst I don’t think that this is the intention of the work, to present itself in this way, it is certainly the way that I can link this into my thinking of my project.
Particularly the work with the ice, it looks to me like the light at the end of the tunnel and quite often this is the the hope that will eventuallly lead you our to the light to draw you out of the depths and show you the way to find your way back.
This is one of the reasons that I hope to be able to capture a moonlight image so that on the surface I have a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel image.
When I brought together the images that I wanted to use my initial thought was that they couldn’t sit together and say to an audience that this was the story of a single person. Due to the constant light changes and weather changes there was nothing that really linked them together and said this is me!
Through the duration of the course I have always found myself drawn to black and white – I feel that it has more impact.
I decided to put colour and black and white side by side and see how I feel about them – I also took this to tutorial as in my head I knew I was going to go black and white but I think I was seeking confirmation that I was making the correct decision.
I felt that the black and white just had more impact and fitted with what I was trying to say.
Intent: I felt my project was missing some shots – it just didn’t feel like I had the right number nor did it feel complete. This shoot was to try and fill the gaps, make it complete and also to continue with the mindful techniques.
Equipment: Nikon D3300, Tamron 70-300mm with Macro
Methodology: As I didn’t take the tripod I had to be very focused on my breathing which assisted in the mindful techniques. I just wanted to get out with the camera and capture what I saw.
Reflection on the Shoot: I didn’t start this shoot with a definitive list of shots I wanted to complete – but I think this helped me to complete the mindful side more fully. I was more aware of my surroundings and I paid more attention because of this. This enabled me to notice water patterns so defined and also to capture then with amazing detail. It also made the surface of the sea glitter in a way that I have never seen before and I also got some shots which actually showed this. I did get a little distracted by the seals sunbathing on the rocks as this is something else that I hadn’t seen before. I can definitely feel that the techniques of mindful photography is showing me how to look again, and this is allowing me to make beautiful discoveries along this journey.
To give the bigger picture of the enormity of mental health, showing large expanses of water was always going to be an important step to take.
It was at this point that Hiroshi Sugimoto was suggested to me, particularly his seascape series.
Sugimoto’s work reminds me in some ways of the artist Mark Rothko. Which I also fin interesting to me as Rothko was also an individual who is said to have suffered with mental health issues, and in 1970 he was found dead in his studio having committed suicide.
Many of Sugimoto’s images seem to have a cloudless sky, and this was one of the elements that I knew was not going to work for my project. the clouds are important to my images as to me they express the feelings, stormy skies and water express the struggles an individual can feel when struggling with depression and other mental health illnesses, so this is a point where my work differs greatly from Sugimoto’s
One thing that I do take from Sugimoto’s work is a sense of calm.I’, not sure if this is due to all of the images being black and white. Through my studies it has become well known the impact that colour can have on mental health, which leaves me with the decision of whether I should keep my images with colour or convert to black and white for more impact.
Another are that really interested me was his use of the fog in his images, many people that I have spoken to describe depression as a fog that descends upon you, and is perhaps one of the images that I should consider trying to capture because of this metaphor.
Sugimoto travelled the world to capture the images of ancient seas. This is not something that I would look to replicate, I will be remaining on the North East Coast. I find that when depression and anxiety set in there is an urge to stay within the confines of the familiar, where there is a clear route back home to safety – or possibly the prison of a person’s emotions, it will not be a worldly view like Sugimoto’s but it will be an almost tunnelled approach aiming to survive and sometimes struggling to exist!