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April 26, 2008 at 3:39 am #17371AnneParticipant
I am not a photoprapher and don’t have much insight into photography, but if anyone I would be inspired by French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist Sophie Calle. She is very much a voyeur in her work and that attracts me and frightens me at the same time. I find myself extremely interested in other people’s lives and in documenting other people’s lives but I also am very reluctant to invade their privacy. Sophie Calle’s projects inspire me to think of the barriers of involving myself with a camera in other people’s lives. Her work puts forward questions of vulnerability, identity and intimacy and these are questions that I work with as a psychotherapist and would like to work with creatively as a photographer as well.
Sophie Calle’s project The Hotel has been of particular interest to me. In the project she was hired as a chambermaid at a hotel in Venice where she was able to explore the writings and objects of the hotel guests. I find the project interesting because of several things. Firstly, the photos are strictly neat while others are quite messy. I like that contrast of showing how life can be both at the same time. Or maybe how we try to put order into the messiness. Secondly, I like the way she combines photos and writing, sometimes her own handwritten notes, sometimes her written account of her experience. Again, the contradiction of messiness and more structured neatness. This is my personal interpretation. Generally, I am very occupied with dilemmas and paradoxes. I don’t know if this will show in my photos but I might try to pay attention and work with it.
Sophie Calle’s inspiration for me also has to do with entering people’s lives. I have a great desire to walk into people’s homes and investigate who they are. Understand who they are and try to capture that understanding in the camera. As a psychotherapist I am interested in human suffering and this might be a topic for me to explore as a photographer as well.
Sophie Calle’s work brings a smile to my face. I find her liberatingly creative and inventive in her art and while I have no intension of following in her footsteps, I find it inspirational and it might give me more courage to explore myself as an artist.
The most important theme to me in Sophie Calle’s work is privacy. It is the private lives that I am interested in. I am interested in people, their lives, their struggles, sufferings, the contradictions of their lives but also how they manage. I would like to be able to portray an understanding of people’s lives and their struggles and dilemmas in my photos. Future will show if I will go there…
/AnneApril 29, 2008 at 2:44 am #18749Duncan RawlinsonKeymaster
Great work Anne.
I really enjoyed reading your report. Yes, with photography, more than with any other art form (with the exception of video) we are able to enter into the lives of strangers. There is an entire industry built around this relatively new concept. I will be interested in seeing how this theme pops its head out in your work.
I would also like to take this opportunity to answer a question you posted in your last assignment. When it comes to blurring a photograph you have the following options.
1. A soft blur where most primary elements are still recognizable
2. A hard blur that creates an abstract feeling to the photograph
Soft and hard blurs both have their place within photography. A soft blur gives a film like or dream like quality to your work. A hard blur focuses more on color and shapes rather than the context of the shot. The problem with your last shot is that it was somewhere in between, and your viewers were left guessing at what that object in the upper center of your photograph was. As a viewer I was really distracted and couldn’t figure out what the object was. I knew what everything else was, but that one object close to the center of your photograph played a primary role and confused me as a viewer. The problem is that you knew what the object was. You can probably still identify it in the shot. However, before seeing your second shot, I had no idea what it was. My recommendation to you therefore would be to either use less blur or go all the way and blur the entire scene and focus more on colors and shapes.
Best of luck with your future assignments! You’re off to a great start.
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