Photographing the Unseen – summary of ideas

Having now worked through to the end of the Part Two course notes, I now have to stop procrastinating and select a subject for Assignment 2. I will start by revisiting the posts made under the ‘Assignment 2’ menu to extract and summarise the ideas that have emerged.

  • The wind: unseen in itself but its effects can be photographed (sailing boat, flags, storm damage, etc) Dismissed thus far on the grounds of being ‘too easy’.
  • Using an empty building as a metaphor for its former occupants.
  • Un-noticed flowers on garden shrubs and trees.
  • Fractal patterns in nature, as a metaphor for the ‘invisible forces’ or rule-sets that shape them.
  • Nostalgia for childhood. This could be an extension of my ‘shoes’ images, perhaps using other children’s clothes or old toys. There is a precedent in Jodie Taylor’s ‘Memories of Childhood’ series; although hers is more apparently realistic than my approach, both are ultimately staged.
  • Snapshot-aesthetic photographs, adding text to describe the things experienced by the senses other than sight. The precedent here is Duane Michals’ ‘There are things here not seen in this photograph’
  • Roadside memorials to accident victims, adopting a Paul Seawright ‘Sectarian Murders’ approach with images, research and text.
  • A series of images taken with an infrared camera. Dismissed as being ‘too easy’ and a bit gimmicky.
  • The mess occasionally left by (unseen) foxes in the garden.

Of the nine possibilities, two (wind and infrared imaging) are already dismissed as ‘too easy’, to which I would also add the ‘below the radar’ small flowers. The empty building suffers from logistical difficulties (finding a building that I can access legally) and the fox calling-cards leave too much to chance.

Of the remaining four, I will start to work-up the childhood nostalgia and the roadside memorials ideas. The roadside memorials is the stronger idea but, on a personal level, I am worried about appearing ghoulish while photographing, particularly those that are in urban areas with people around. The childhood nostalgia is going to need some props as well as locations – sources will be the attic and eBay.




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