Our seventh seminar was led by Charlie Hackett who invited us to consider using visual methods as a research tool to contextualise our practice: focusing in particular on photography and film.
Our task beforehand was to read research papers that had employed this methodology to discuss in class. Charlie then shared his own expertise in this field, playing a video he had created as part of his research paper entitled ‘Transferable Skills and the Drug Dependent, A Journey through the City of Glasgow’.
Our homework task was to storyboard then create a five minute video that would contextualise our own practice.
The task did not daunt me as I am comfortable with film and video, both analogue and digital. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to film and when; the beach at sunrise. What did surprise me though was I was not prepared for how uneasy I would feel at being alone in a remote setting at a time when not many other people would be around.
I struggled with the decision to go and only decided on the morning of filming. Having found out when sunrise was due I made my way half an hour earlier was required and set up my tripod and camera. It was very cold, exacerbated by the fact that I had fallen into a stream and got my feet wet, but I refused to give up on the task.
Video and photographs taken and treasure collected, I enjoyed my first sunrise by myself in an isolated setting at the age of 44.
I must add that throughout the whole experience I felt vulnerable. I wonder how many other women would feel the same.
Would I repeat the experience, yes, but I’m not sure if I would ever feel completely at ease. It is not the isolation that frightens me but the partial isolation, my physical strength and my sex.
Having first googled my destination followed by studying closely my borrowed road map, I headed northwards to Banchory on Saturday for my first meeting with the composer David Ward. I am not very confident or competent when it comes to reading maps or following directions, so I left the house an hour earlier than required so that I would not be late if I ended up deviating from my route.
The homework paid off and I found myself half an hour early at my destination, the home of Mark and Fiona Hope: long standing friends of David. Collectors of contemporary art, music lovers, explorers; Mark and Fiona are also actively involved in the running of the Woodend Barn Arts Centre in Banchory.
After a warm welcome and a delicious lunch the negotiations began discussing what was expected from each party, finance, venue and time frame. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, David will write a twenty minute piece for the cellist Rohan de Saram and pianist Ryan Drucker with projected stills and video from myself. Both pieces of work will be inspired by my masters proposal. The final piece will be included in the programme of the 2017 Sound Festival.
Negotiation accomplished we concluded our meeting with a trip to the Woodend Barn Arts Centre: a multi-arts organisation whose agenda is to serve the community with quality arts events.
I departed from my kind and generous guests with a full stomach, a happy heart and a whetted appetite to create!
David Ward, Oonagh Devoy and Fiona Hope
Photograph by Mark Hope
This weekend I will be meeting up with the composer David Ward that I met on the train and discussed a possible future collaboration.
Since our first encounter we have been communicating by e-mail. Our proposed collaboration will take the form of David writing a 20 minute piece for cellist Rohan de Saram and pianist Ryan Drucker with projected stills and video from myself. Both pieces of work will be inspired by my masters proposal.
Excited and eager to begin taking photographs and film I have been frustrated by the weather that changes from rain to wind to overcast. Windows of opportunity have been small and arise when I am teaching and cannot escape!
Time however has not been wasted as I employ myself in research and idea generation. The responsibility of producing a professional twenty minute film that is a perfect marriage to the music weighs heavy. I am both excited and nervous.
One of the ideas I have been researching is time lapse photography. There is much to be found on the internet on the subject and many tutorials on YouTube. With the large number of photographs required to make a small sequence rather than counting in my head and pushing the shutter release myself 1000 times I have invested in a device called an intervalometer. For around £10 this handy piece of equipment can be set to take a given number of exposures at various settings.
As I said earlier I have been frustrated at not being able to get out with my camera but this evening after work I managed to capture this little sequence. Now confident with my new gadget I wait impatiently for that next clear weather window!