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  • Damien Williams

Week 2: Interdisciplinary practice: An unruly discipline

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

How does your practice relate to topics outside of discussions contemporary photography?

The work I have done volunteering for social change has been restricted by time to photographing for a voluntary organisation’s campaigns for greater support on a council estate in my home city. I document the positive work done over the year, the aspirational requests for more support. The development of new facilities, the asylum seekers rights, the shift in cultures and the inevitable clash of cultures both ethnically and with age. 

Whereas my work has not pursued anything at great depth so far, I am already learning more about what depth looks like and how to construct depth conceptually. To greater prepare and propose for better projects.

Current practice:

Geography – travel photography,

Street photography

These two genres appear quite prominently on my website and in my practice. I use

Travel photography: I use travel photography as a positive way of sharing the aesthetically pleasing side of parts of the world that I travel to, highlighting different ways of life wherever possible.

I once travelled to Cambodia in order to take photographs for a school project called Caring for Cambodia. I stayed on in Siem Reap to get a street photographers view of the city. This felt very empty and almost voyeuristic the photographs had no deeper meaning. Or only surface meaning that made me feel that travel photography wasn’t enough. Then I remembered that I initially found that when photographing the students in the school there was a conversation, in fact many conversations, that centred on the students fascination with their own image. This was a great example of photography especially as I was using a digital camera with a rear screen, as photography as a mirror. This was a little mirror as I found out that many of the students did not know what the image looks like as they had no mirrors in their houses. The fascination of the students, students that were considered fortunate to be in Caring for Cambodia schools and receiving funding towards their education made me want to scratch the surface and reach out to another part of the demographic. I went to West Baray, which is just outside of Siem reap, and found a river village. I walked and took portraits of the two or three families that were there as normal family portraits. As I had already discovered that I couldn’t simply email the photos to them, I took a portable in stacks printer similar to a Polaroid to give to the families. Unfortunately they didn’t work, so I resolved to take their images print them in Singapore and go back to Cambodia so that they had something we take for granted which of family photographs.

Historical and geographical

Street photography: this is a vernacular response, I have been quite passive in my approach to just capture perceived reality on the street. This feels unconstructed and soon becomes difficult to curate with any sense of coherence. I now aim to use themes which focus on how humans interact in the world using the locations as a canvas. Sometimes just focusing on the human interactions. The Curation initially takes the form from the geography but is later drawn into other groups by genre or activity. with the world becoming much more uniform in terms of city planning and largely gentrified, not to mention the effects of mass migration and population increase, this also forms a love letter historically, for future generations to get a sense of progress (or not).

In terms of my practice I locate my disciplines as ostensibly marketing. When I looked through my my work, it is divided into 2/2. One is my personal work which is as stated above vernacular. The other is staged and largely requested to market them for a job, go to market and organisation.

My entry into photography came from film editing, so my aim and my wish is to move my practice and to fuse the photography that I do for pleasure and work (expand my pallet of technique to incorporate film editing, montage) with the disciplines of cinematography and moving image. This allied with my fascination with communicating in series of images rather than a singular image leads me to the photo essay and long form documentary photography. However this should include and incorporate research into the topic and interaction with the subject and story.

My practice is involved from enjoying post production techniques within my photography to now doing more in camera and being a very minimal in postproduction techniques. I do however wish to do work that Lynn is very heavily on postproduction and manipulation in abstract and non-narrative work. This would mean a movement towards abstract and artistic photography utilising more techniques of fine art.

In order to capture more relevant social photography, by that I mean photography and stories that are socially relevant it is definitely pushing me towards a greater understanding and knowledge of politics but not from a party view more from how people are affected.

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