Reflective Summary

Concluding my project, I find my final outcome has been a successful piece that brings an intriguing, psychological story.  I found Duane Michaels and Ingrid Pollard strongly influenced my theme for the narrative concepts involving identity and revealing true form.  My intention was to navigate a concept where objects are not what they seem and the individual becomes changed or corrupted in some way.

I found selecting the images for the series quite challenging as I had chosen to use a large number where I am capturing various different movements with the same subject matter.  I find the series does bring a variety of perspectives with close up portraiture and still life featured in a way where the audience can perceive the subject matter with a different tone.  For example, in some images, we see the character appearing hopeful while in others, we see the character becoming weak and gradually corrupted by the box object.

Psychological photography is a subject that I have found interesting to explore and I find this subject has allowed me to be more daring when bringing across elements of fragility.  I find having the series as a black and white collection empowers the message effectively; the imagery may have been weaker if it was presented in colour format.  I find my choice of object for the still life subject matter worked well in the series as the box represents something where things can be hidden or placed away for safe keeping.  I feel the box object was strongly suitable for the theme and worked well as a visually interactive object.

Following my findings of illustrative book examples, I took some influence from this in terms of how I could address the narrative otherwise by featuring subtitles, however, this was an idea that I found would have made the series visually complex as this may have brought confusion of where the text fits in visually in co-ordination with the images.  I found introducing the series was a better approach to informing the viewer of the story rather than inserting random titles in-between images.  This may have worked if I chose to place a message as a continuous message alongside every picture, however, I find this approach may still take away focus from the visuals.

Referring back to Strauss and his approach towards reality and photography in ‘Words not spent today, buy smaller images tomorrow'(Strauss. 2014), this has influenced my initiative to evoke the psychological experience as a ritual in the series as I want the audience to believe that the box is more than just a box.  The ‘magical possibilities’ seen in ‘Black Box’  is intended to interpret the object where we believe its presence and effect on the individual.  I find I have successfully developed this aspect in the series as there is a ritual cycle evidenced where we see the character continuously change his mind on revealing the box contents.

I also find the series takes constructive influence from my findings in the text ‘Rethinking Photography’ (Smith and Lefley 2015) as it analyses how the viewer can become involved and immersed into the character’s experience.  The box object in the series is represented not only as a bonded item with the character but it also acknowledges the audience as a personal item they might also own.  The box is a character itself as the individual is directly linked to it and I find this aspect also brings a spiritual element to the photo essay.

Overall, I am satisfied with the series content and I find the story addresses psychological issues in culture.  I feel this subject is important in terms of recognising when someone is mentally struggling.  This is a message present in the series that I find I have accomplished well in which I intend to give insight into what individuals do when they find themselves faced with a problem.  I want my audience to also understand that even though some can only find answers themselves, we must not forget to support them.  As there are over 30 images featured, I find this series would also be appropriate as a book and this is something I intend to create at a later stage.   I find this series expresses the affects of mental challenges that we must all makes ourselves more aware of.


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