Assignment 2 : 1. Preparation and Planning

Preparation and Planning for Assignment 2

I enjoyed all the reading and referencing of photographers towards this Assignment – many of whom I had already researched. I’m very interested in the relationship between image and text – how they interact and inform each other towards developing a narrative.

The brief for the assignment is quite open, giving us a choice between photographing the unseen or using props. I have experimented with photographing the unseen previously (see earlier post here   ) and decided I wanted to continue along these lines but maybe use props as well. I had three main ideas.

A. My Father’s letters.

I have long wanted to do a project around these letters which were sent to me from Egypt when my father was there in the Army after WWII. They are infused with love and also with ‘messages’ about ‘being a good girl’ and ‘taking care of my mother’. These letters were still in the original envelopes, crumpled and showing their years. I had them ‘restored’ and also scanned them. Unfortunately I put them in a safe place when we moved house last year and haven’t been able to find them. I have the scans still of course but they aren’t as real to me so I’ve postponed this project until I find the letters – I’m sure I will.

B. Re-connections

This is again about re-connecting with my childhood and the places where I played. It’s a story I need to tell myself I think because it’s about memories and how they survive and change. I already have the photographs but might need to go up North again to revisit.

C. A story about my Great-Aunt

I did have great-aunts but this is a different one who lives in my head. The one I might have had. This idea was sparked by two photographs I bought at a vintage fair. I have also acquired some old negative glass plates and photographs, plus some handkerchiefs. This story is again about the way in which ideas and interests can be passed on sometimes by a kind of osmosis that isn’t recognised at the time.

I’m very interested in those three but then something else came along that became much more figural as a result, I think, of all the reading and researching for Part 2 of Context & Narrative.

I Thought I Saw You the Other Day

In November last year I spent a weekend, with the OCA in Brighton at the Brighton Festival. The work of Johanna Ward was an inspiration for me (see here ) portraying emotions around divorce and change and it lingered in my thoughts. On the Saturday evening I took a photograph of a girl amongst the crowd at a night showing of films on a constant loop in front of the Library.


The photograph is hazy and full of noise, but there is something about it that draws me. I started to think about times when you’re in love or a relationship has ended and you keep thinking you can see that person. Walking along the opposite side of the street; riding on a bus or in their car. Their face haunts you in your dreams but you just can’t reach or touch them. The phrase that came to me was, “I thought I saw you the other day”.

This stayed in my mind and I even gathered some other images together but they just didn’t seem right until I woke up the Saturday before the Thames Valley OCA Group  meeting for March with an idea in my head. I would write a story about a relationship that has ended. It lasted all too briefly for the young man, Paul, and he can’t accept this. I created a blog he was writing for his therapist and an email address for him. I had checked this out with my tutor who thought that the idea sounded in depth and quite interesting but was concerned that it was quite a deep and emotive piece of work that needs some time to develop fully and maybe merited dealing with at a more advanced level. This concept is urging me to continue with it though and so we agreed that I would explore it now as a little foray into the idea.

I explained the concept at the TV Group meeting on 21st March. It was important to me to share it because, although I had already created the blog, I hadn’t made it public. Acknowledging my idea gave it legitimacy and an existence in the world. Also I know that although members of the group are supportive they weren’t likely to be too ‘soft’ on me, and would be honest in expressing their views and opinions. They all agreed that it sounded very interesting, and Jesse , our presiding tutor that day, similarly advised to contain it somehow in its creation due to the many possible ways of exploring it.

The couple are Paul Dumont and Laura McKinley.

Links to Paul’s Blog

This one takes you to the default WordPress blog which is in reverse chronological order here

However, if you follow this link you can read in the correct chronological order to gain a sense of the developing story here

The About section also gives further information on Paul.

Comments are disabled there as, of course, it’s a ‘private’ blog, but any feedback will be very welcome here on my C& N blog.

I found that as the blog developed I was beginning to feel quite melancholic and so I decided I needed to build in some safety for myself. I’ve achieved this by keeping my own separate diary (which will also take me into C&N Part 3 which asks for this) and also playing different music according to whether I am being Paul, a reader of the blog, or myself. This has worked well and helps to slow down my thoughts and stop them from darting all over the place. There are images in the blog itself, but I have decided that my assignment images will be created from my response to the blog as ‘a reader’.

My next post will concern influences – photographers, literature, films and music.

6th April 2015

14 thoughts on “Assignment 2 : 1. Preparation and Planning

  1. You have a great knack for story writing Catherine, I found the blog very convincing but also very dark at the moment. It’s a great start and I’m looking forward to further episodes now that I’ve subscribed to the Journal for updates. Grat stuff keep it going.


  2. I am really looking forward to see the images you’ll produce in response Catherine, that’s really an interesting project! Can I include a link to this post in my last blog post in which I referenced your project?


  3. You are making great progress with this . Paul’s blog is an excellent idea and so well written , it is very convincing . I found myself being drawn into the narrative of the story . Best wishes Judy


  4. Hello! I am here—and okay. Will send you a private email later—not heard from you in ages, but…for this project you are doing, have a look at one of my favourite ever poems by most favourite poet Pablo Neruda.

    “Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

    Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
    and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

    The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

    Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
    I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

    Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
    I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

    She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
    How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

    Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
    To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

    To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
    And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

    What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
    The night is starry and she is not with me.

    This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
    My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

    My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
    My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

    The same night whitening the same trees.
    We, of that time, are no longer the same.

    I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
    My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

    Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
    Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

    I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
    Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

    Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
    my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

    Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
    and these the last verses that I write for her.”

    Then listen to Andy Garcia read it from the movie Il Postino; and if it does not have you wet-eyed, I’ve failed—it always does it for me—maybe you can pull from it for image ideas for your assignment? Have the album in iTunes—and somewhere on CD if you want more.


    • I didn’t remember the poem but I remember the film – beautifully done and so poignant.
      I gave a link to Paul’s blog in the post. I have a lot of different kind of material that inspired the blog and it’s the blog itself that will inspire me towards the images. More to follow.


  5. Pingback: Revisiting Assignment 2 | Context and Narrative

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