Reflections On Assignment Three – A Narrative Photograph – A Staged Photograph – When The fun Stops, Stop?

When The Fun Stops, Stop?

When the fun stops, stop?

 

My Motivation

Gambling addiction is a serious problem in the UK and unless you live with, or are a close friend of a person with a gambling problem, then it is hidden from society. Substance misuse and problem drinking are far more apparent to the wider public, than gambling is. The harms associated with problem gambling may include debt, non-payment of bills/mortgage/rent, risk of eviction, domestic abuse, arguments, relationship break down, loss of employment and severe mental health issues, to name just a few (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2014).

The Gambling Commission reports that 430,000 people have a serious gambling addiction and a further 2 million people are at severe or moderate risk of developing a gambling addiction (gamblingcommision.gov.uk, 2017).

Although I am in favour of the work provided by charities such as begambleaware.org, GamCare and whenthefunstops, I feel very strongly that the Government could do more to address gambling and the harms that it causes to individuals, families and communities. However, the Government receives £1.5bn in revenue from the gambling industry (Parliament UK, 2009), and to make a real effort to address the problem would both cost money and reduce income. It has a vested interest in appearing to address the issue, but I believe it has no intent on doing so.

My own personal opinion is also that “when the fun stops” is ineffective. It may have a limited impact upon those with a moderate risk of developing a gambling problem, but I do not believe that it has an impact upon those who have a gambling addiction. The other side of the coin is that their advertising is targeted towards a male audience, who out-weigh women considerably when it comes to gambling addiction, and uses male celebrities who endorse responsible gambling. Which ever way I look at it though, it’s treating a gaping wound with a sticking plaster.

Props

  1. Bankruptcy papers
  2. Newspaper
  3. Pen
  4. Cider Bottle

Staging

Point of view perspective from the person with the gambling addiction, highlighting how seriously gambling has affected their life, despite the seriousness of the consequences they still continue to gamble, drowning sorrows, help is available.

Composition

  1. Shadow of bottle points to “D-day for Buick”, and the horse – is itD-day for the gambler – carry on despite the consequences or stop?
  2. The pen dissects the “when the fun stops” advert from the racing form guide, and also points to “Lucky Beggar”. this is both ironic and potentially the motivating factor for the gambler to place another bet.
  3. Red and yellow “when the fun stops advert” is bright and draws the eye in, but is a small part of the overall picture, highlighting my belief that the visible pretense to tackle gambling addiction is a fraction of what is really going on.
  4. Insolvency papers at the foot of the photo, clear, crisp, and directly in the line of sight of the gambler – highlights a pressing issue, but the background highlights their cognitive dissonance.

Difficulties Faced

I wanted to make this shoot outdoors and somewhere which was sunny, and I knew that for the point of view perspective I would need a close shot. I feel uncomfortable around people at the moment because of poor mental health, so shooting in public was not easy. I began to shoot using my OMD EM10 MK iii, but even with the Mzuiko 14-42 I couldn’t get the shot wide enough to cover all elements. I switched to using my Huawei P10 smart phone, which gives me a wider field of view, and its a good camera. It shoots in 20MP Raw and has dual Leica lens.

My initial plan was to also have the phone open on a gambling app and have that as a prop in the scene as well. However, I couldn’t get the screen bright enough for it to be a relevent prop, and the extra element in the scene didn’t work either. It became an element that was there for the sake of pushing an idea, rather than being effective staging.

The bankruptcy papers had an individual name, the court case number and the Court which heard the case, none of which are appropriate to publish. This meant that obtaining a balanced and successful composition was difficult to achieve, and it took several attempts to achieve my desired outcome.

I cannot include the PDF contact sheets because they include some of the above identifiers.

Strengths

The idea and its exploration are strong and relevent, with problem gambling featuring in the news regularly in the UK. Because there was a period of time before the initial idea and the shoot, then the production technique and style developed over that time, so I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to produce, and I believe that the narrative which was important for me to explore comes across very well. The composition is something that particularly please me, and I feel that the use of props have created a balanced visual element which keeps my eye within the frame, and the pen and shadow have worked well for this.

What is also apparent to me is that I responded to the difficulties that I encountered, and worked around what was there.

All blog posts rom part three Communication: Narrative can be seen here.

Recovery

If you think that you may have a problem with gambling be aware that help is available and recovery is possible.

begambleaware.org

GamCare

http://www.whenthefunstops.co.uk/

https://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/

References

begambleaware.org

Daily Hansard; 2009; Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con); Online AT: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm091105/debtext/91105-0021.htm (accessed on 21/06/2018)

Dr’s Boden, H and Sanju, G; 2014; Problem Gambling; Online AT: https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsanddisorders/problemgambling.aspx (accessed on 21/06/2018)

Gambling Commision; 2017; Strategy 2018 – 2021 Making Gambling Fairer and Safer;  Online AT: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/Strategy-2018-2021.pdf (accessed on 21/06/2018)

GamCare

Other Viewed Material

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jan/08/uks-gambling-habits-whats-really-happening (accessed on 21/06/2018)

https://www.ft.com/content/c9da45f0-ee5f-11e4-88e3-00144feab7de (accessed on 21/06/2018)

http://www.whenthefunstops.co.uk/ (accessed on 21/06/18)

https://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/ (accessed on 21/06/2018)

 

 

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Reflections Upon Assignment 3 – Creation – A Narrative Photograph

Assignment 3 Narrative

Brief: – A narrative sequence – a narrative sequence can be like a story board or comic strip that tells a story in a series of images. The story may be mysterious or humorous like Duane Michals Things are Queer (1973). It can be a fleeting moment or a monumental event. But there’s always the sense of time passing and an event unfolding. Research the sequences of Duane Michals online. Use your own life and work experiences as a source for ideas. Or use your dreams. Here are some key elements to think about: Event – Your aim here is to express a situation or event. Perhaps it’s something you’ve noticed, like someone sneezing in the high street or two people arguing. You don’t need to encapsulate war and peace. People – It will almost certainly involve people who will need to be rehearsed and directed like actors. But they can be themselves, they don’t need to pretend to be other people and they don’t need to be actors. Try to just let them be themselves and see what kind of images you get. If that doesn’t work, ask them to think about a memory which reflects the one you’re trying to portray. Setting – Every event has a setting. it happens somewhere. So think about places that would be accessible and telling. If you can, use environments that you have access to, like your workplace, your home or back garden. Props – Objects you use are important for setting the scene and expressing meaningful and narrative points about the situation.

Reflections

At this moment in time I find that I am not able to work with people for this assignment, and although I am submitting this, I will also be submitting a staged photograph as well.

Birds and bird photography are a life-sustaining and nurturing part of my life. They have long brought peace to the overwhelming mental chatter that has impacted upon my ability to function. Since I have had a camera, bird photography has been a safe haven, a meditation and a means of feeling and expressing joy.

This narrative is more important to me than my previous post of the moorhens. By making use of three different species there is a stronger impact demonstrating that the creation of life is a universal phenomenon, rather than an individualised event. It is also symbolic of my process of transformation with regard to my mental health. Building a nest is creating a safe community, incubating the eggs is the experience of hope, glimmers of potential, friendship, love and kindness, and the goslings are the foundations of manifesting and developing possibilities.We all know there is still a lot to be done to move towards maturity at this point.

My gosling is the passion that has developed within me for photography. It has been a life changing experience which has enabled me to face anxiety about being outdoors, and helped me to get out of my home at a time when it was too overwhelming for me to do so.

There are no people involved in this narrative, and the shots that I made, were spontaneous rather than planned. The planning has come from the process of digital developing and personal reflection. My narrative may not fulfill the brief in relation to people and planning but I believe that it’s strong and just as valid as if I had made the photo’s according to the brief.

Symbolism is an important part of photography. Discussions with my tutor with regard to the work of other photographers, and my own photography in relation to society and mental health, have helped me to begin considering how I can make more use of allegory in the work that I create.

Personally I believe that all three photos are good but the strongest is of the mute swans. They were in the process of changing which was one of them was incubating the eggs. The way the new sitter is staring at the eggs and making sure that they are all there is evocative of the value of life. I guess it means so much to me because I have not always felt that value, so this photo brings up both sadness and joy for me.

As always feedback/critique are welcome upon my reflections and the previous post with the photos.

Assignment 3 Narrative

My Life In Props

Brief:Take a look around the place you live. In what ways does the place and the objects in it say something about you? You may not have built it, but you probably chose most of its contents, painted walls, carpeted floors, etc. You placed every item in that space. This is personal miseen-scène. In staged photography you’re telling a story, a fiction that may have a connection to something real or true, however staged it is. All movies, plays and fictions, however far they depart from everyday reality, have a kernel of truth in them.

This series of photos is an exploration of personal property and ‘props’ that signify part of my life and personality. Although the brief here is directing me to consider the importance of props in staged photography, this is equally as important when making formal portraits. Items that are around my house must have some relevance to me because they would not be here if they had little value to me. When I am in a position to make a formal portrait of somebody, I can see that there is a need to speak with them, get to know their personality, ask them what items would enhance a photograph made of them, and maybe even explore their home. A good example of this is ‘Interiors’ by Jayne Taylor.

Taylor, J; 2009 ; Dawn, Tufnell Park, London;Fig. 1. Dawn, Tufnell Park, london (2009)

Taylor photographed her subjects within their home environment using a 3D stereoscopic camera. Taylors portraits use a lot of props and appear staged managed. Her subjects are relaxed in their natural environment and surrounded by the objects that express their personality.

My Props

I have included my six photos for the mosaic from the photographs I took this morning, but all twenty four are in the slide show. These were made using my Huawei P10 smart phone. Only three were developed in Lightroom using auto tone and the rest I have left as shot.

What is immediately obvious to me is that I value colour, crystals and books. Of course I am naturally aware of these things, but to see it so clearly in the photographs of my ‘props’ property drives this home. There are many times when I doubt my creativity, but I have to say that this exercise has shown me how important creativity is to  me, and how creative I am.

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References

Taylor, J; 2009; Dawn, Tufnell Park, London [steroscopic light box]; AT: http://www.jayne-taylor.co.uk/interiors/ (accessed on 04/06/2018)