Kind Of Photography - LCC Degree Show Text 2017
Through attempting to forge individual prose, this year rejoices in further destabilising the imbalance between the more limited capacity of language to relocate a mimeticism that falls so easily to the photographic image, resolving contention by exploring all faculties of artistic expression and communication.
Through many narrative epistemologies, our mixed media cohort evidence how inextricably linked they are to photography’s innate conflict, routed in its scientific, technological and aesthetic dimensions, including optical lens based reference and visual satisfactions— a tension often resolved by photojournalists who accentuate the realist documentary nature of their projects. However, what distinguishes this group’s relation to photography from normative photographical production is the active rapport with which we have engaged our historical predecessors, who seemingly held firm beliefs over the automatic continuity between seeing and knowing; viewing and photographing. It is through establishing a rapport that it becomes widely possible to tacitly deconstruct or even demolish these pre-existing boundaries. The work as a result is derived from a combination of measured criticism towards photography’s meditations, its ability to embody the visual, and a sustainable dialogue used and developed to effectively communicate varying modes of expression. By accepting a medium’s limitations as opportunities in themselves, it is possible to negate the conventional reductive answer to the tensions between documentary work and visionary artistic practice, often espoused in our community.
Whereas Karen Jacobs (2002) suggests a purely photographic discourse with literary links, is “a kind of visual relation” that she calls an “interior gaze” — working inside our medium’s confines by “valuing concealed truths” — I would suggest our cohort propagate a demonstrable exterior gaze; used for both research and practice. Of course, many of the works feature concepts that are sourced through an ‘interior gaze’, but it is by allowing an accession to use photography in its widest sense, that many works can establish an originally exterior relationship with anthropological and sociological sympathies. This dialectical exchange between an interior and exterior gaze denies objectivity over the validity of acceptable mediums of expression. So whether literal or conceptual, much of the work on display establishes dialogues which can be experienced holistically. This is only possible through the course’s commitment to a positivist fantasy toward student methodology. By encouraging learning through experience and promoting experimental practices, the resultant work gains a unique and recognisable commonality in the diverse. It is not what it is but how it works. This approach allows students to accede to their own visual truths, by critically disregarding any prior difficulty of access toward such a revelation; often with the work’s qualities culminating in the gestalt.
Through our dialectical relationship with what exactly photography is and where its boundaries lie, as artists, we have confidently defined and defended a wonderful ambivalence towards all limitations and expectations thrusted upon the umbrella medium we choose to gather under.