Alhamdulillah, a great project my Muheisen which I discovered in World Press Photo Next #02 collection on the topic of Trust. This body of works particular topic within trust is Faith. The project shows subjects who have willingly accepted their disabilities in India. As Muheisen states, “Pakistan is a majority Muslin country, where faith is the most sacred and precious thing in many people’s lives… Believers accept their fate because they trust in God’s will.”
This body of work appeals greatly to me, not only by the fact of religion being involved, but also because of the aesthetics of the images. I really like the low key, heavy contrast images which float the subjects away from the thick blackness of the background, which to me simulates the effect of death, coming out of the shadows and embracing their new lives with whatever disabilities they now face, being led by God. The lighting is beautiful, something I am very keen to recreate. I am also a big fan of the use of text below the images to describe the particular persons disability and cause of said disability. Without these descriptive captions, the viewer would be lost. The relationship between text and images are very closely nit and are vital to creating a successful photostory which we see here. Again, something I am very keen on doing myself.
Religion is the key topic at hand in this body of work. Muheisen goes on to say “Allamdulilah is not just a word, it is a deep belief that everything happens for a reason, and that believers should trust God’s will, as all that happens, good or bad, is a test from Allah to challenge their patience and acceptance.” This in itself is a very imactful sentence which I feel describes the project perfectly. I admire the subjects openness to accepting their new-found disabilities and yet still keeping faith.
One thing that this body of work has inspired me to ask, is to ask Haydar if he thinks the situations in government/around the middle east is effecting their beliefs on religion and how its changing. The Kurds were once considered part of Turkeys own, so why would the Turks now consider them as the enemy if they are the same blood? I am interested if the wars going in is shaking the faith of Kurds and how so.
How is a portrait project going to work for my Final Major Project? I have been wanted to explore and branch out my knowledge of Kurdistan for a long time. Inan’s farther Haydar used to always be watching civilian point of view mobile phone videos of shootings, bombings and even political arguments on his phone whenever I would see him. He would always see them and tell me what was going on and the back story behind it. Both Inan and Haydar would explain to me how corrupt and unjustified the Turkish Government is. Explaining the greed, corruption and political agendas which are ruining the Turkish government. They would explain to me that the aim of the Turkish government, is focusing more on wiping out the Kurds than fighting ISIS. Turkeys war on the Kurds has been going on since 1984. The Kurds demand independence and separation from Turkey since the beginning of the fued in the mid 80’s. I will go into more detail of Turkey vs Kurdistan in a later post.
For this project I already have a few key images visualised in my head which I would like to create. I have quickly drawn them on paper so I can get my thoughts out and solidified.
What is the outcome? I have been thinking about this porject in terms of the end result – a big print on the wall of out degree show as well a supporting book with a bigger selection of images. I want the book to be an exploration of Inan and his emotions. Covering anger, happiness and good wellbeing. The book is going to be covered with extracts from our conversations about Kurdistan/Turkey. I am going to video record our conversations and pull out and highlight the key sentences I find interesting and sprawl them out in the book. I would like to keep the book layout clean with an image followed by text, but I think the layout will more than likely be covered by supporting text on more pages than images.
Major Documentary Project Proposal
For this project I plan on making a portrait project on my friend Inan Kurt and his family. Inan Kurt comes from a small town in Turkey called Pinarbasi, Kayseri. The Kurt family are from the Kurdish side of Turkey and keep an eye on Turkish news bulletins and get updates from their relatives still living in Keyseri.
Inan and his father Haydar do everything they can to help with the current political situation happening in Turkey, they vote from the UK, educate themselves correctly and look out for one an other. I want to do a portrait project on Inan and his father Haydar who currently live and work in London. I want to focus the body of work on how British Kurds stay involved with the troubles going on in their home country and what they do to protect themselves and loved ones. I want to look at the Kurdish community in the UK and explore their emotions towards Turkey and the corruption and borderline war happening in their homeland.
Inan and I was talking about actually flying back to Kayseri to get a feeling for what actually goes on, but Inan is a little scared about the thought of going back there at this time. I have facebook messages of us talking where he explains the consequences of us being caught. I am going to go to his home this weekend to catch up with him and also talk about his feelings on going back home. I may actually record our conversation as I plan on doing a small audio piece of him talking about what really goes on to help give the viewer a much deeper perspective and an insight into Inan’s personality.
In a sentence, this project is a portrait project reflecting on Kurdish communities living in the UK and exploring their thoughts on the Turkish government.
I’ve enjoyed this body of work a lot, a lot more than I thought I would initially. I’ve never really put much thought into landscape photographs in the past, and have never really tried to create a plausible body of work, only the odd snapshot here and there. So to finally make a full body of work within the landscape genre feels pretty good. For this module, the brief asked us to look at Social and Environmental landscapes. I chose to blend the two together and photograph the town/village of Berkeley in Gloucestershire.
Berkeley, is a border town to the River Seven, very close to the Welsh border. The attraction for me with this village is it’s closeness to Wales and how it’s situated in the environment. The majority of the town is placed on the rolling hills surrounding the village centre, this causes a relatively stress and flood free environment to live in for the residents. Another main attraction to the village for me was the ease of access by road. As initial ideas led me to scouting out the A38 as it is considered a fairly dangerous road with over 50 fatalities, which led me down the A38 and into Berkeley Heath, where my images were shot. I still had fresh knowledge and thoughts of Modern Housing from our field lecture presentations where I talked about the ecological impact modern housing entitles and how they are made. With this in mind, I wanted to take a look at how villages such as Berkeley are slowly expanding and pushing out the nature surrounding it as a result of human impact on the landscape.
I went our with very clear intentions of what I wanted to photograph and how I wanted the body of work to appear. I knew what I wanted, I just had to find it and shoot it. I feel like the shots I produced to capture what I was trying to say about the impact of the town and its growing expansion as a result of interest from well off city-goers looking to settle down somewhere quiet. The main and bulk of the body of work evolves around the housing situated in the town. As it is prime real estate for those looking to settle down into the countryside. I wanted to shoot images which very clear and easy to digest, as this work would be going into a public exhibition so I would need to give the audience enough to break the images down easily. Choosing the final big print must have been one of the hardest decisions of the project as I would need to choose something visually appealing that doesn’t give too much information away. I have gone into the reason for choosing such an image in my blog posts.
What could I have done better? A lot of things, shooting more is a bit one that I should definitely had done. Shooting as little as I did was a brave move and I am not proud of doing it either. I was intending to go back to the village to shoot again but got caught up in dissertation writing as a result of poor time management. I am not happy with only shooting as little as I did. Thankfully I got enough shots that I was happy with, otherwise my time management would have screwed me over. I also found that some of my images turned out a bit soft, this is a reoccurring thing that has been happening with my camera/lens combination that I need to look into asap. Even on f10 image seemed to be a tad soft. Nothing that post processing couldn’t fix, but not good enough from a raw file. The settings were good and there wasn’t much wind, so the fault lies within my equipment, which will be rectified as soon as possible.
The end result was great, the exhibition looked fantastic on setup and open night. Well worth all the time, effort and money put into this module. It was great to see images blown up in print rather than just as pixels on a screen. It makes you appreciate photography more and makes all the stress worthwhile. There was a surprisingly good turn out also, the food and drink ran out fast and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and enjoy the company of the work also.
If I could shoot this again I would like make it more of a social documentary piece, mixed with landscape images to give it a more personal feel to the work as well as adding a human element to the work. I’m interested in continuing this body of work on now that the project is over and adding it to my portfolio website with more shots and portraits. I would also like to do this again in the summer time, shooting landscapes in winter is notoriously dull and bleak, perfect to showcase the quint essential British lifestyle. I’d love to shoot this with clear blue skies and beautiful sunshine instead of overcast days in December.
One thing I have taken from this module is the enjoyment from printing images and blowing them up to a specified size. I had never up scaled an image for print from a digital file before, so it was great fun to produce images with the intention of exhibiting them. I am very much interested in continuing to print and exhibit work in the future, it’s so much more enjoyable than seeing them on a screen. I will certainly be printing large images a lot more in the future.