Perhaps it was in the omens………The Aboretum cafe was not open for business and unfortunately no-one was available to come out and play.
So, on the most beautiful of days I did a transect walk of Monk’s Road Aboretum on my lonesome. Beautiful blue skies, sun shining and the verdant green shoots of Summer. What could be better?
What a stunning location and in the heart of Lincoln……….and everyone so friendly.
We met at some stop lights on Monk’s Road and were tasked with:
- Standing and observing the scene at the lights
- Seeing what is happening i.e. the process
- Relating to power and where we see this at the lights
Then we reconvened at the Development Centre, Croft Street, to discuss our experiences. Keirah, Megan, Maddie, David, Vernon, Sarah were joined by Lynsey who works as a Development Officer at the Centre.
Our ensuing discussion was an attempt to explain what we did, saw and reflected on during the exercise at the stop sign.
Sarah Amsler, who was leading the seminar explained that this kind of “looking” and “observation” could be called “Reading the world”.
The central issues of this session were:
- Why do we see the world, ourselves and others as we do?
- Where does meaning come from?
- How do acts of “representation” influence life chances, shape experiences and define identity?
- Can we re-construct reality through representation?
We discussed the colour red and what it might mean, symbolism, ethical power, moral power and state power, order and disorder, following “norms”, contingency and ideas of reality.
We agreed that we wouldn’t normally look to see where power resides but we can begin to look for it.
For next week we will meet at the centre at 10 am to continue the seminar series [ Friday 10th May].
Maddie wanted to pursue ideas around “What makes somewhere Home”. Keirah wanted to discuss “why/how people distract her”.
Sarah indicated that words such as “norm” would be explained/defined through the production of a glossary of terms.
David said………”Keep taking pictures!!!”
Sarah Amsler will be conducting a series of Seminars during May for the Framework project. “The Politics of Representation” is a short course in critical theory for students of image, power and imagination.
There will be 4 seminars on Fridays, 3 – 24 th May, from 10am – 12 midday at venues in Lincoln to be confirmed………….
These boots were made for “transecting”………….
David explained to Maddie, Tracey and Vernon what he wanted to emerge from undertaking a “Transect” walk. There are different kinds of transects:
- Walking from A – B observing everything, being objective and taking notes.
- Walking from A – B perhaps being more informal and observing say just flowers, trees natural life.
- David’s idea of a transect walk. Walking from A – B but observing things from a purely personal perspective. This would involve walking alone, deciding what has taken our attention, then taking a photograph of it. What takes the eye! It would be unnecessary to comment whilst on the walk. We are all capturing visual data on the same walk at the same time. Sounds could be important.
- At some stage we will show our photographs and explain why we chose that subject. The narrative is likely to be more complex than the taking of the photo.
We started at the Bailgate to the Jew’s house and from there to the Stonebow………It didn’t rain!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s going to be very interesting when we reveal our photographs in the following weeks and get a chance to talk about them…………….
We are meeting at the cafe in the Aboretum on Monk’s Road at 10 am to take some photographs and to assess what we’ve learned…………….But……..
The Morning – wet and windy……
Monk’s Road – bleak and rainy……
Cafe at the Aboretum – welcoming, warm, safe…….
Coffee – great and the toast really toastier…….
It didn’t take long for us to decide to review where we’ve come on the course rather than take photographs in the cold and rain. It’s reassuring to hear that Maddie & Megan like everything about the project, are looking forward to the seminars in May and the opportunity of pursuing an A level in photography. We discussed ambitions, working abroad, relations inside Framework and creative aspects of photography.
When Sarah and Amy joined us and the others left for meetings, we were able to outline what the project was about, the kind of work we had done to date, where we meet and the intentions over the next few months. Amy is keen to join the group and has the intention to go to college. Photography will add to the portfolio of work she already has and may be beneficial for her future.
When I left the cafe…..it was still raining………..
We agreed that next week we would meet at the Collection at 10am………definitely in the cafe!
We: Megan, David, Maddie, Sarah, Keirah and Vernon met at Lincoln’s Seat of power and learning – The StoneBow – and settled in the Mayor’s room for our introduction to the course “Photography & Representation”.
Sarah Amsler, who is leading the series of seminars, introduced herself and explained her interest in sociology, politics, culture and photography.
We were invited to introduce ourselves to Sarah through illustration, drawing or words and we each took some time over formatting our response. These were then presented to the rest of the group and opened interesting dialogue around our constructs and their interpretation. There were representations of identity, relationship, places, concerns, happiness, symbols, time, books and other associations.
Sarah presented her course outline and intentions over the 4 week seminar period:
The Politics of Representation: A short course in critical theory for students of image, power and imagination: Sarah explained various aspects of the course.
- What is the course about?
- Who is running it?
- When/where is it happening?
- What is required?
- The Seminars:
- Reading the World – 3rd May
- Making ‘place’ – images, maps and identities – 10th May
- Visible and the invisible – the politics of being un/seen – 17th May
- Challenging ‘Othering’ and exclusion through critical cultural acts – 24th May
- How will it work?
- Are there any credentials attached to the course?
Sarah explained that the course would provide essential tools to enable appropriate judgements to be made in the context of taking photographs, seeing and interpreting ‘representation’ in all its forms.
Everyone expressed their keeness to be involved in the seminars.
For next week – 17th April, David is involved in a conference.
The rest of us will meet at the cafe in the Aboretum, Monk’s road with the intention of taking photographs and a catch-up conversation……..10 am, Friday 17th April.
Please bring your cameras, camera-phones, journals and anything else you want to raise.
Our destination this week, the Vintage shop on Monk’s Road, was also the location for a Hollywood movie company [ i.e. the local Youth project!! ] filming an epic Vampire sequence. We did not try to compete with their enthusiasm but decamped to the Cafe at the Aboretum, which was much quieter and no potential for blood-letting.
David introduced Karolina to Megan, Vernon and Kierah and our dialogue together ranged far & wide:
- Changes to roles at Framework led us into discussing continuity, trust, bonds, expectation, relationship, emotions, stability and how to handle change.
- David gave out sketchbook/journals with the expectation that each of us would use these to record our ideas and notes.
- We discussed the involvement of Sarah Amsler in the project. David explained she would like to explore the various ideas which are currently emerging from each of us and to give these a context.
- We discussed the taking of photographs of objects & places which we have been pursuing over a couple of weeks – The idea of moving from the general to the particular and the importance to an individual of something seemingly incidental. Through illustrations from David’s work [ his “altar” to childhood ] we explored negative and positive emotions, association, family, childhood, relationships, the natural stresses of growing up.
- Any accompanying “narrative” about the photograph is as important as the image itself. So – how one “reads” a photograph is crucial. As important is the moment of taking the photograph and the criteria involved at that time.
- The group were asked to consider the making of a modest Notice board to be located somewhere in the Abbey ward to show the work[photographs] we produce. Perhaps a small grant from Paul could make this possible?
Karolina was thanked for her contribution & support.
Next time we will meet at the “StoneBow” in town: Friday 12th April at 10 am and Sarah will be with us to explore some of our ideas.
- To transfer our initial ideas about our personal aims [ie the big sheet] into the Journal/Sketchbooks and add to these if we so wish.
- To bring our photographs on objects and locations on a stick for transfer to David’s laptop.
- To provide a short “narrative” explanation for each of the photographs on objects/locations in our Journal.
PS: Framework are happy to provide a dedicated laptop/notebook for the project – David to advise on price. For any other Framework colleagues wanting to join the group decisions need to be taken soon – Megan to advise on potential members.
We – Megan, David, Maddie, Keirah, Vernon – met at the Vintage shop along Monk’s Road, a wonderful space with racks of retro clothes, homely objects of all kinds and whiffs of nostalgia from the past. Jackie, the owner welcomed us to her “parlour”.
The essence of our discussion was memory, home, narrative, precious objects, positive and negative associations.
Each of us wandered the shop taking photographs of objects that interested us or meant something to us.
We met Maaike, a Community Organiser who explained her role in support of local people in the neighbourhood of Monk’s Road. She welcomed the prospect of working with us.
David requested that during the week we photograph 5 objects from our home which are important to us and also 5 places. Each photograph may need a short narrative to provide a context or explanation. Our association with each object/photograph may be positive or negative. Please keep a Journal to record any comments or the narrative.
These photographs will be the start of our Book.
We meet next week at the Angel Coffee House when we will discuss the photographs we have produced. Friday – 22nd March at 10 a.m.
Our Homework: To photograph – The five most important objects in my home & five places of my choice.
Enjoy Everyone…………including Sarah………..
On the 1st March, David and Vernon met at the Collection. Unfortunately, owing to a mix-up at Framework no one else from the group was forthcoming. We both swore!!!!!!
On the other hand we had a great time talking about photography, my reaction and admiration for the work of Paul Hill, the excellence of the ideas emerging from the group and the prospects for the project over the next few months.
Cymru am Byth!!!