Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Assignment 3: First Thoughts

Written around 1st June

A week ago I got a reminder mail from the OCA, my first one, pointing out that is was more than 4 months since I last submitted an assignment to my tutor, a little rude.  But OK, I get the point, in fact it is now 6 months since I submitted assignment 2 and 4 since I did any work on an assignment.  I have 2 reasons, the first is pragmatic.  I needed to slow down a little, take a break and pace myself a little.  This is my final course before commencing with the new rewrite of Level 3, a set of courses yet to be finalized and probably not ready until 2014 (my guess here).

Today: 30th July

Think I might have a motivation problem going on...

I started this blog post the day before I started a new role at HP, I am now an operations manager for a Europe wide team that manages the relationship between HP and large software companies (e.g. Microsoft) and service providers (e.g. Accenture).  In the 8 weeks since I started, I have averaged 60 working hours a week, I am just coming up for air.  My own fault, I could have gone with the flow in my old role, but I needed a new challenge.  The irony is that I am once again locked to my desk and desperately trying to think of a way of re-engaging with my course.  A year ago I photographed myself working for Assignment 1.

I have had a couple of False starts recently trying to get back on the proverbial horse, did a few projects, tried to enjoy myself, but the course is still a barrier - it truly is inane.  I still get the need to be creative, but in the 2nd year of my first degree I do recall that alongside the projects and out of class work, I spent a lot of time in the class being taught stuff that might be useful - ah well...

I don't think it helps either that my next Assignment is an essay.  I don't have a problem with writing essays, I even enjoy the process, but it is too much like what I do for a living.  After 60 hours in front of a computer my weekends need to be more than another 12 hours in front of the computer.  However, it is what it is.

My subject is at least refreshing and interesting - Robert Frank.  When I was thinking about who to write about, Frank immediately sprang to mind, his Swiss in USA appeals to this Brit in Germany, and his style is one that I find timeless and of value to emulate in the next assignment.  He also looked at society, not people, his photographs investigate the position of the human being within the fabric of both contemporary civilization and landscape.  I find that with this course I am being driven to study the person not the society, I think Frank will help to get me back to where I want to be as a photographer, an observer of the world around me, not a participant.

With Frank I also have the opportunity to consider his impact on photography and how he acted as a pivot around which the genre of social documentary turned in the 50s.  Revolutions never take a day and are rarely the result of a single persons actions, however, there is a clear before and after with Frank that would beneift a deeper look.  I have been collecting books of Frank, about Frank, and of his contemporaries to be able to learn and then build a thesis about this man. I am not yet sure where to go with this, but it will be somethign along the lines of a before and after, rather than a retrospective.

And yes, this blog entry did avoid me going a month without commenting on my studies in 4 years with the OCA.