The MA end of year show would serve as the halfway point for myself, and as such would be an opportunity to exhibit my current work, and obtain feedback from members of the public and staff. Although the show would be a formal presentation, there was more of an opportunity for myself to put up pieces that had not reached a fully resolved state. Due to this I wanted to explore the idea of mapping practices, along with my photography, this would aim to represent my current interests within he project and allow me to gauge how the strands would look together. As well as the maps and photographs I would have space to display the video work that I had been using for my documentation process. 
Video Logs
I was quite apprehensive about displaying the videos, as I was conscious that the edits of these were not to an extent that I feel would be expected at an exhibition. I felt that as apprehensive as I may be, that I would not be 'polishing' the videos as they were not there to display skills in cinematography, rather a working demonstration of my creative practice. This is something that would be different if I was looking to produce a documentary video as an output. 
There is an issue with the display of the videos, that if this becomes part of the exposition proposal within my work moving forward, that I look to display these as part of the work, then there is a danger that this opens the videos up to curation. The act of curation could contradict my purpose for making the videos in the first place, as upon feedback I was looking to find an opportunity to add a more modern aspect to the output of the work, as well as locating a way to document my thoughts and feelings within the landscape.
In being conscious of the potential use of the video, I may find myself conflicted in the need to document my practice, thoughts and response to the landscape I am traversing, with the need to create a watchable, succinct and engaging product. 
This is also true of the editing process. I found this the case with these two videos, as I was very aware of the issues with the past offering, in the length of 1 hr 41 mins, the video was practically unwatchable, as it became too long, with a feeling of the content rambling. This was an interesting revelation, as I had initially set out to record the majority of my trip, in that i felt it would give a good representation of my experience. Upon reflection, however, this restricted my experience of the location, as I was lacking the ability or down time to absorb the location, that would then allow me to process it, to then reflect upon in video. 
For these two videos, instead I chose to produce short clips, at key points, which could then be edited together. This decision was two fold, firstly it would allow me the time to experience the location, enjoy the act of walking and photographing, and then document the elements of activity. Secondly, from a more practical standpoint, it would conserve the battery, a key issue with the GoPro from the previous approach. Although I ended up taking these clips on my phone, the battery would still be a key concern.
Despite some negatives, I feel that the shorter videos proved a success in my eye, it allowed my to document my practice, whilst still allowing me the ability to experience the location and appreciate the time out in the wilderness. I did not receive as much feedback on the videos as I did on the other work, however with the nature of why I had produced them, this isn't much of an issue. I did however notice that on the larger screens of the Mac's that the transitions between the smaller clips was quite jarring. As well as this, the camera movement was quite rapid, I will have to try and smooth my manipulation of the camera to avoid this in the future. To this end it would be best to approach Callum Kellie, to see what equipment would be accessible from the equipment store. If there is a lightweight camera that would produce the video I require, this may be preferable to continuing with the phone. The same goes for a microphone, as the mic for the GoPro is too big for the phone, and the lapel mic I ordered did suffer greatly in the strong wind. This may the case with most mics in that strong wind, but if there is something more suitable it could be worth testing.
Callum may also be able to help with video editing techniques, as I am aware he runs courses in this. If I could increase my editing skills, it may be that the video work becomes more prominent within my portfolio. I will look into the video editing courses also available within LinkedIn Learning, that we have access to, as there may be some useful guides within that platform that I could take advantage of. 
Mapping Practices
I wanted to take the opportunity to display some maps of the location alongside the videos and the photographs, as the way that landscape is presented through maps is key to exploring deep mapping. From this I wanted to show how the practices of mapping this area had either changed or was represented in different ways in the past.    
The maps were taken from the National Library of Scotland which has a service in which you can select a location and it will show the maps in their archive that refer to this space. This is something that I would like to pursue further, to visit the library to study the maps in detail. I can also access high res scans of these, which will increase the quality of the prints, and potentially increase the scale that i could print at. Each map costs £10 for a high res jpeg file, which for what I wanted to explore for the show, was too much of an expense. I resorted to using screen grabs and then piecing together in Photoshop. I found that this practice was of interest to me, as it involved many overlapping layers, being used with transparency and the placed to build up the larger map. There is perhaps something within twisting this practice, by changing scale etc, to reinterpret the information presented, and the weighting afforded to each element. 
I am unsure if the maps added anything to my display in the manner that i presented them. Unfortunately I do not have an image of them at the display, but I have a video from Fi, which should show the whole space. I put up an explanation board next to the maps and then had two rows of maps, that would mirror the images on the other side of the Mac's I was using for the video display. The maps, however, lacked the uniformity of the images, as they were different sizes and shapes, which gave it an unusual and perhaps 'make do' look to the presentation. I feel this undermined the overall quality of my space, upon reflection i think i would have been better choosing a size for each of them, and then printing a number of maps that fitted with this. This would have resulted in a more balanced visual display, however it would have missed the point of the selection, in that it was there to show the change in size, scale and information presented in the varied of maps that the National Library of Scotland had on the location. 
With this in mind, I need to unpack how I evaluate the 'success' of the show. This is something that links back to Chris Fremantle's Notions of Creative Failure seminar, that failure depends on the criteria by which 'success' is measured. The show was an opportunity for me to try out potential display techniques, to display a mix of visuals, text and video to disseminate information and to receive feedback on my project so far. In this regard, the show was a 'success', as this was what I did. If 'success' was whether or not I received contacts and sold work, then it was less so. I did get positive feedback, which was predominately focused upon the photography. I feel this is understandable, as it was likely the most relatable aspect of the work I presented, and the element that I am most comfortable in presenting. I will need to seek out further critique on the video work and the maps, to get suggestions moving forward.
Photographs​​​​​​​
The final element of the display was my photographs. I presented a selection of 8 digital prints, which I had printed on Fuji Fine Art Museum Rough 300 gsm paper through Loxely Colour in Cumbernauld. The Museum Rough is a paper I have had samples of, and final prints through in the past. I find that the texture and finish suits the type of black and white photography I do, both in terms of elevating the tones and look of the images, whilst having a texture that seems to add to the inherent grain of the film negatives when scanned. 
Initially using digital prints was not within my plan, instead I was looking to print using the darkroom and display smaller prints. However I had to scan the negatives to use in the catalogue, and as I was unsure of what I was presenting, I scanned all the negatives in case, and edited them for display. I decided after editing the images that I would print the edits digitally as a fall back in case there were any issues with the analogue prints. This proved to be a shrewd decision, as I hadn't realised that Anne was on holiday the week I was planning to print from the negatives, and I would not have been able to print in my home darkroom due to lacking a 5x4 enlarger. This is something that I could get around, with the new Intrepid Enlarger finally being released.
As the prints arrived mounted, this did take a lot of pressure off when it came to organising my display, as everything was mounted on perfectly cut foam board, all at the same size, that with the aid of Callum's laser levelling device, I was able to quickly put the show together.
The images seemed to elicit a large response within my display, eclipsing the videos and maps. That I feel is to be expected, as it is where my main focus has been. 
I had chosen to display a mixture of negatives that had turned out as well as those with some of the errors were evident. This was a new experience for me, and something outwith the comfort zone, however I felt that there was something more interesting for me in the images that the errors were in view. Showing making marks in this way, potentially brought the images a bit closer to the process, although this was still a step away due to the digital scanning and printing. 
This is something that I would be interested pursuing further, as to print these through the dark room, I would need to choose which element is to be exposed 'correctly' in the images with the overlapped negatives. It would be interesting to experiment with trying to expose the different sides.
I do see an issue however moving forward, in that I am unsure of how I would look to incorporate failure in this regard without the failure being contrived. This is something that I will have to explore, and perhaps the solution is in trying processes and techniques in which the solution is already resolved. This was part of my interest with the Mordencage process, that there was a variation built into the practice that each attempt may end up with alternative results depending on the choices made during the process.
On a different note, one of the most interesting responses to come out of the photographs, was about the house of Bovaglie. I met a woman at the event, who as a child had gone to the house to help with the farming during the summer months, with her family. To have met someone with a personal connection to the location was great, unfortunately I didn't manage to get her details, as it would be something that would have made a fantastic interview to add another level of depth to the project.
Back to Top