Exercise 3.2 Series – When Words Create Mess

11th December 2019

Decide on a specific subject… and work on making a series of photographs… but you must be clear at the outset what your subject is.

When you’ve made the final selection of photographs, print them and place them in a grid or linear series. Invite people you know to comment on them and note down their responses.


When Words Create Mess

I wanted to complete another text series but did not know what direction I could go in. Then I thought about my surroundings and my chaotic study and working tables – books, note pads, scribbled on pieces of papers and odd objects just put down after use and left until that time that even I have had enough of the disorganised tops and tidy it all away.

I therefore began to use the Lumix 30mm macro lens to take photographs of my surroundings, hunting out text and the handwritten word. The reason I am using this lens is because I wanted to get some close-up detailed shots of text. I have never used a macro lens before as this is the preferred lens of my daughter which is the opposite of my street photography lenses.

Having read up on the macro lens I found out that it can also be used as a general purpose prime lens which would enable me to shoot a variety of different images, some with out of focus text present within the same shot as crisp clear text.

The first contact sheet showing the complete shoot is shown below.

Once the contact sheet was made I went through the work adjusting those images that I thought may be used for this exercise. The reduced amount of images is shown below.

My dilemma now is how to make the series relate to text and the images to each other. I am having an idea in the back of my head which keeps over playing the standard grid shot. So I will firstly present a standard grid and then work on my idea which is multiple grids presented within one grid, but it will need some working out first.

My next step is to put specific photographs in a contact sheet together for analysis. This will be specifics, for example, shape and colour.

While I was unpacking my images and resizing them, I had placed them around the background. The image below shows the process and I thought how interesting it looked, not presented as a grid but over lapping the images so that the text, lines, shapes and colour merge.

This fired my imagination and I remembered some of the graphic design grids that I work in which are irregular in shape. This meant that my images would be presented not just with whole images but close ups and would also consist of many different sized pictures.

However, although I wanted to present them in an irregular grid as well, I am learning not to go off target within this course as I seem to be doing quite a lot and therefore the time scales are extending each time I the extra research and work and although I am learning more, it seems college time scales are quite strict.

I completed the exercise, constructing three different linear series which can be seen below and then extended this by looking at my chosen images and composition to see if I could produce one linear series that was stronger.

Three individual linear presentations presented in grid format.

From the three linear presentations above, I had chosen the bottom one to be the strongest. I chose this one because within the other two series there are a few images that just do not sit right presented with the others due to their exposure or angle of shot. However, there are some that I do like so I chose these shots and added them to the final selection and took one out that was weaker. Once I had completed this task I then rearranged my final selection to construct the final linear series below.

When Words Create Mess

I have put this series for feedback on Facebook and the comments are below:

  • Selene: Too black and white for me.
  • Stuart: Interesting. How do you think a title should inform a piece of work?
  • Kinsey: It’s hard to see on the phone but my initial impression of the thumbnails were that it’s a good variety of angles and lines
  • Clare: Weirdly this reminds me of myself. Surrounded by books, words, studying…very student inspired.
  • Christine: This reminds me of my home, I always have a paper, magazine or letters laying around, that a word pops out at me. Also reminds me I should really tidy up
  • Paul C: Love the angles you’ve got on the letters.

This conversation is an interesting one about the title of the work. The discussion began with Stuart’s question and developed from there. Because of this discussion I am going to think about a new title for this work instead of ‘Wherever I find text,’ which was influenced by Paul Young’s ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat,’ – ‘That’s my home.’ The concept was, wherever I lay my books there is text and that is my home, covered in writings and books.

The discussion is here:

  • Stuart: Interesting. How do you think a title should inform a piece of work?
  • Dawn: Don’t get me started on titles – I went for interview at Goldsmiths college for their fine art degree – I got a lecture on my work and lack of titles – apparently according to their head of degree (when I went he was) – my work is like having a French book with a French Title, still do not understand this reply, it must be a put down of some kind but I never fathomed it out.
  • Stuart: I don’t get the comment about t he French book with a French title either!
  • Dawn: It has baffled me all this time and I often try to work out its meaning?
  • Terry: Basically he is saying that you are stating the obvious, as in you would expect to see a French Book with a French Title!
  • Dawn: That makes sense in this instance but when I went for interview they didn’t have titles as I believed back then that the viewer needs to interpret them freely without titles giving clues and directions… ? Does that still fit in?
  • Terry: Yes, kind of. I think he was trying to say that your work was too obvious/understated, I don’t know what your work was like then, because now your work is creative and thoughtful.
  • Terry: I would also say that the current title for this piece of work is lacking something as it seems a bit obvious if I may say so.
  • Dawn: it was even more abstract? I had things like abstract ink work with sewing around certain parts to document the growth of society and its spreading out into boroughs… and I suppose lots of portraits which were obvious. So yes I suppose I took things that showed skill mostly in the portraits.
  • Dawn: Will have to find another one then – it was based on Paul Youngs title – ‘Wherever I lay my hat.’

Text Within the Mess – Text Within the Chaos – In the Club Words – Text-in the Mess – Words Amongst the Mess – When Words Create Mess –

I put this on Facebook once I had decided on my new title asking for any comments:

I have renamed this series:

‘When Words Create Mess’ 

Yes or No? What are your opinions?

Concept: Words can create a mess of things when read, written or spoken and are interpreted wrong. In this case the words have made a mess because I have left them laying around my desk in hard format e.g. written word on a notebook or the printed word on books etc…

Me on FB

Kinsey replied: How about a shorter description ie “a wordy mess”?

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