Week 9

Critical thinking

This weeks work has been about critical theory, a new area for me. The examination of the body of work you view. This can be explained in many different ways. It can be an esoteric language, which, i personally think can be very over the top at times.
Depending on where the photography is being viewed the language explaining the piece should reflect that environment and the general people viewing it, enabling them to understand it, otherwise it could be classed as being elitist in its deliverance to the viewing audience.

Critical theory gives a body of work grounding, anchoring it to the land from which it was produced, giving it structure and a deeper meaning, which could otherwise be left floating about in the feelings of an emotional response, which in itself is not a bad thing but theory allows us to get an understanding of those emotional feelings.

This has made me look at images differently. I’ve started to look for more information within the image, in doing so i’m questioning what others can get from my images, thus making me think about my images, before, during and after. This is a new approach to me. I have probably always thought about my images but in a more unconscious way without any structure to it as a body of work. I can remember thinking, as i had no output for the images i took, in regard to a final piece of work, so what’s the point thinking about it deeper? I feel as if i’m starting to understand the thoughts in my head and it’s becoming a bit clearer. I’m starting to sort through the jumble and starting to formulate my thoughts and ideas a bit clearer and structurally.

I’ve personally never really thought about or deconstructed why I’m taking images. I only briefly considered this during my time with Rhubarb-Rhubarb image festival. During that time when I exhibited, i had to write a piece about my work, explaining my work. I found this very hard as i hadn’t had a reason for taking the image i just took them, and the story came afterwards. I found articulating the piece very confusing due to the language being spoken as i didn’t have any understanding or knowledge about that language.

My current work is about connecting to nature for health benefits. Do i go dark and moody to show the effect of mental health issues or more aesthetic approach that could represent with the lighter tone of healing and coming through to a newer brighter day.

As my work is semi auto biographical maybe the body of work should contain both, which would then depend on my mood and the images will show the story of my mental health, but I’m not sure i want the work to be about me, but more about the benefit that nature can provide and images to inspire that connection.

Critical theory is relevant in my work to give an understanding to the images. The style of the images i’ve recently produced could be looked upon as images to be admired aesthetically without any story to give it further information. The theory behind the work gives the image its substance and then creates an awareness around the issue involved.

It is hard to show science research in an image on its own, it needs something to give it context. Nature documentary images can show the specific species or environment. For example; This seal pup tangled in fishing wire.


Instantly the viewer can connect with the image in front of it, knowing that isn’t a healthy situation, critical theory gives the work more context.

I don’t want to make this body of work too much about me and my feelings but more about how Nature can be used in this research field. My experience in this area and how I coped is the starting point but I don’t want it to be an autobiographical story about me just the starting point.

I’m still working through what the project is about as there are many different area to this. I need to think it threw more and consider what I want it to be about.

A last-minute thought, I have always had an interest in the seasons and what they bring, changes. I found by looking at my images and reflecting upon them, I noticed they have a strong autumn connection to them. Documenting how I view the seasons from the different areas that I travel too. Doing different activities and visiting different destinations during those seasons.

The webinar with Gary and fellow peers was very interesting and brought up many questions, ideas and confusion. So whilst peeling some apple for apple puree for my boss i thought about my image and what they portray. It got onto thinking about how one singular image can say one thing but would it speak of another story if part of a bigger collection? Would where its viewed make a contribution to the overall viewing experience and how does the medium its printed onto have an effect?

The images are multi layered like me, i’m not just one story or image but made up of many stories, layers, moments. When thinking about my work and the project, i keep moving forward to the end project and how to display it. This is something which i’ve been working on since my last degree. In my BA degree i made a patchwork quilted wall hanging using images that i printed onto fabric. The images were abstract in style, but told the story of water participation from the top of mountains in Snowdonia Wales to the beaches in Cornwall and water sources in between. It had mixed reviews.

As a textile artist and craft maker I love the process of working with my hands, a physical connection. I was a chef in my previous career, again a physical connection to the food produce being created. So i feel that the end project will be something to do in this area. So that’s something else for me to explore. I suppose i need to flip forward to this part of the journey every now and again to help me construct the work that will come before it. Sometimes when i get all confuse i need to bullet point my thoughts.

the benefits of being connected to nature
research in this area


Patchwork is another area where there are layers. Layers of fabric and construction.

So this could be my journey of when i visit places for my pleasure and enjoyment, the health benefits i receive from connecting to nature in my free time when not working or studying. Subject matter nature, landscapes and wildlife , made up of single and multi imaged, using film and digital processes, then constructed into a patchwork/textile item.

Here’s a few more image i’ve been working on.

Previous examples of textile art work using fabric with photos printed onto it.