Plans for Friday

The group tutorial wasn’t anything special really, we just had to sort out which order we wanted to present our work in. Usually there is 6 people showing per convenor, but for some reason we have 8 people and some of them never turned up today. Friday is going to be a long day. We have 20 minutes to explain our work and have a question and answer session (which I’m dreading), so we are going to be there forever.

I didn’t mind when I presented as long as it wasn’t first or last, I ended up being 7th which isn’t that bad. The only problem is that half the people in the room by then would be falling asleep, so I won’t be getting much out of it.

I would have finished editing my photographs today but I forgot my USB with all my images on them at home, I was so disappointed, what a waste of a day.

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Things to do tomorrow

Ok, my plans for tomorrow are to finish editing a couple of my photographs, enquire about printing prices and meet with my tutor for a group pre-convenor tutorial.

I’m starting to feel a lot more nervous for friday, I really hope I’m prepared.

Presentation idea #2

My next idea is to present my images as what they are, photographs. The only thing that I wonder about is the photographs and the sizes that they should be presented. Should it be that they are the usual 7×5 photograph size or should they be blown up to a larger scale?
I really need to think this over as I only have 3-4 days starting from tomorrow, to get this ready and printed for Friday.

Presentation idea #1

The first idea that I had to present my work was on a slides projector. I had this idea for quite sometime as its an old piece of equipment that was very common mainly during the 1950s and 1970s.

However after reviewing my idea, I came to the conclusion that it won’t be the best thing to present my work on.
The reasons for this are;
1. Having a projector makes it become a part of the art work.
2. Slide projectors were mainly used in the education system to present work for presentations.
3. To become a slide the images would usually have had some importance e.g a family holiday or a special occasion. It wasn’t just for the everyday life, which people rarely took photographs of.
4. I would have to produce around 80 photographs to fill the whole slide, or make multiple images so that it loops with no gaps. 

The image above is a 1960s slide projector. The images came from Wikipedia.
The type of slide projectors that are more commonly used today is the carousel slide projector (left). This is a close model that I would have used if I was going to use the projector.

One week left!

I only have 1 week (starting from yesterday) to prepare for my convenor this friday at my university. I need to finish editing my images, take a couple more photographs and work out how I’m going to present them.

If I remain organised and optimistic, I should be able to pull this off. Fingers crossed.

Noel Clarke interview on Youtube

Here is the interview that was held at my University on the 24th of November 2010 with British film director and actor Noel Clarke. This is a must see!

The British Experience

I’m now up to the section in the book titled “The British Experience”. It has brought up a point that I briefly mentioned in my review of what I had read so far.

The topic is on “hierarchy of shades”, and what was brought out in the book is that black Caribbean’s before migrating to Britain was fully dependent on the different categories of shade.
Just like throughout slavery, the lighter shades had more opportunities and were not treated as harsh as the darker shades were. Furthermore someone of a darker shade however would instantly ended up on the plantation fields and suffer a hard life. This way of life led this mentality to become the norm and was carried on by Caribbean’s years after slavery was abolished.
So when black people migrated to Britain, they were shocked to find out that:

“In the ‘Mother Country’ no regard was paid to the complex hierarchy of shades by the ‘host’ society: the pattern of racism which the Caribbean migrants experienced here did not correspond to the pigmentocracy which they left behind in the Caribbean. They were regarded monolithically as ‘coloureds’, ‘West Indians’, ‘blacks’, ‘immigrants’, and even ‘wogs’ with no reference to differential shades.” 

 

The effects of slavery

I am sitting here reading Inside Babylon by Winston James and Clive Harris as extra information on black peoples lives and experiences in Britain. The particular section that I’m reading from is the chapter Migration, racism and identity formation: The Caribbean experience in Britain. This section is about the West Indian migration to Britain and what their lives and experience were like.

The author started off first by talking about slavery, as the effects from slavery (within black identity) is one of the things that still evident in black people today.
Some points that I found interesting which doesn’t necessarily have to do with my art work but is still important is the effects of colonisation.
A short passage which was originally quoted by Walter Rodney in 1968 stated:
 

West Indians of every colour still aspire to European standards of dress and beauty. The language which is used by black people in describing ourselves shows how we despise our African appearance. ‘Good hair’ means European hair, ‘good nose’ means a straight nose, ‘good complexion’ means a light complexion. Everybody recognizes how incongruous and ridiculous such terms are, but we continue to use them and express our support of the assumption that white Europeans have a monopoly of beauty, and that black is the incarnation of ugliness. This is why Black Power advocates find it necessary to assert that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL.

 

This extract spoken in 1968 still reflects the Caribbean mentally today. I remember at school the non-white girls who had the long hair and the lighter skin, were told they were beautiful, by the black girls who wished that they too could resemble them. These girls were also put on a higher pedestal to any of the black girls.
This particular mentality stems from slavery where the white slave owner would treat each slave differently due to the shade of the skin. As Winston James said; 

“…a complex hierarchy of human shades, what one prominent Caribbeanist has aptly called a ‘multilayered pigmentocracy’,…evolved wherein those who approximated most closely to the European type (in terms of hair texture, skin colour, facial characteristics, etc.) were accorded high status…and those deemed to have been without, or with few such characteristics, were likewise relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy. Thus the ‘coloureds’ (the so-called ‘mulattoes’) -offspring of the union of Europeans (almost invariably men) and African (almost invariably women) – were regarded as congenitally superior to ‘pure Africans’ and moreover, were treated as such.”

 

It is sad to say that it is clear that the effects of slavery are still with us today.
I can’t wait to read on further to find out and understand more on this situation.

Noel Clarke Visits my University

Today at my university, I attended the “Olive Till Memorial Debate” which I think happens once a year (this was my first time attending). 

This years guest was British director, actor and screen writer Noel Clarke. 

Noel’s best work that I’ve seen is the hit films Kidulthood and Adulthood, which he directed and acted in.
The discussion was really great, Noel did a brilliant job of explaining his films and the industry. The words that I’m really looking for is that he “kept it real”, he gave blunt answers about his experience in the business and the difficulties that he went through. He spoke the truth and told of all the corruption and stereotypes that people have in producing certain films.
One part that I clearly remembered was when he said as an example:
You can go into a meeting and present your storyline and script e.g a black man becoming a doctor, and they will think no, its not what they are looking for. But if you come in with a black man becoming a gangster they are more than happy to produce the film.
I would love to get the transcript from tonight, they were filming it because I know that it was recorded, and the discussion would make a lot more sense
Noel is a really funny guy and kept everyone laughing, his interaction with the audience was the best especially when some women shouted from the back stating that “this is Goldsmiths University and the sound should be better”. Noel responded with “alright don’t get your knickers in a twist”and continually checked that she could hear throughout the remainder of the time. 

Apologies if none of this makes sense, I’m too tired to think.

Black Britain

I borrowed a few books from the library to do with African and West Indian’s immigration and life in Britain. I am really looking forward to reading about this as throughout my schooling years I have never been taught anything about the experiences and events that happened during 1940-1970(even later than this date). Only receiving a brief outline from the older generations of my family years ago. The only black history I learnt about was from America, and even that was brief. It usually came up in October the one time of the year we were only taught about black history.

The books I will be reading are;
>Changing Britannia: Life experience with Britain edited by Roxy Harris and Sarah White
>Inside Babylon: The Caribbean diaspora in Britain edited by Winston James and Clive Harris

A day of scanning

Yesterday I was super busy scanning in interior design photographs from books in my university library. This was mainly for research but I also considered that if I couldn’t find suitable locations for my photographs, I should make a sort of collage and photoshop my family members into the image. I personally like to have everything in my images to be my own, but for this project to pick up speed and go somewhere I need to try new things out. 

Some of the images I found, looked like rooms from a show house. I want that mug of tea on the table, the cushions not plumped in there usual position and the beds not perfectly made. I need identity that someone actually lives there and it isn’t a show house.

I may have to scan them in a high quality because if these photographs are going to be enlarged, I do not want the low pixels to prevent me from doing this.

Lots and lot of reading

I am now going to spend a few days just reading. I think to make this project successful I need to do a lot of research on this subject, these include reading on 1960 – 70s interior design and black people in britain. If I want the images to pass off as real I need to investigate and understand the subjects more.

Time to meditate

I had a tutorial today. I showed my work to my tutor to get some feed back on how she thought my work was going. Some interesting points she made was;

->What genre of photography is it?
I would need to do more research on family photographs, as my images have a look of a professional photographer taking the photos.
There was always a reason why someone took a photograph e.g birthdays, weddings or on holiday so they would save the film until these special moments, as each film was expensive. Its not like today where people have the opportunity to take as many photographs they want.
We no longer capture our whole holiday in a roll of 36 film, on my last holiday I took over 2,000 images and that wasn’t enough.
I will look at my own family photographs and mirror them, this will help me to learn how to take a photograph in that style.
-> I will need to really think about what I find really interesting about what I am doing.
-> Last, I need to read more on life for black people in the 60s and 70s.

Hmm…Could be better

I continued taking photographs today. Its been some time since I took my last photos. Much to my sisters displeasure it was her turn again. I practically had to beg her to do it but in the end she agreed, only on the condition that the whole process takes no longer than 15 minutes. This included getting dress, rearranging the room to look something from the past and taking the photographs.

I like to spend a lot of time on organising my shoots, so that I can catch every detail and make everything perfect, and this was one of the few times when it was not possible.
I haven’t properly looked at all the images, but they are not one of my favourites or one of my best. Hopefully with the magic of photoshop it will all be fine.
On a positive note, I got the chance to use my 746 telephone in my image, which was fantastic!!!
Image coming later 😀

Vintage GPO 746 telephone

To make my photographs look genuine, I decided to purchase a Vintage GPO 746 telephone off Ebay. This specific telephone first came out in 1969, and was really popular during the 70s. (My mum still remembers when she used to have one.)

I am in love with my telephone, it is in full working condition, the body is an original, the dial works smoothly and it has the same high pitched ring to it. The only thing that has changed is the wiring and it has been converted to be used on today’s BT lines.
Everything about it brings back memories for my family.
My favourite aspect of this telephone is the dial, its what makes the phone. Its really exciting to dial the numbers individually, waiting for the dial to roll back to its original place so that I can select the next number.
It’s exhilarating!!!!!!!!

 

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