Abstract Art and the Photograph: Exploring Abstraction in the Works of Uta Barth, Alfred Stieglitz and Jungjin Lee

This paper was written during the final semester of my MA and aims to engage with certain qualities identified in the work of the key artists.

What follows below is taken from the abstract of the paper.

The essay which follows begins to explore notions of abstraction and a certain quality which is recognisable in the photography of three key artists (among others), Uta Barth, Jungjin Lee and Alfred Stieglitz. Lyle Rexer’s text ‘Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography’, plays a prominent role in the discussion of the aforementioned topics. Throughout Rexer’s writing on this subject he examines rougher, perhaps less literally representational photographs, referring back to his writing throughout; this paper focuses on work that lies somewhere between non-representational photography and ‘straight photography’, with an aim of beginning to unravel what this quality is. To begin, the essay works to layout what is meant by abstract in this case, how it is being applied to photography. Following on, the form of photography we shall focus upon is briefly laid out, labelling a clearer definition of what is meant when the essay speaks of photography. At this stage, we reach the bulk, and main subject of this writing, an analysis and exploration of a photograph by each of the key artists, which referring back to the key text among others, strives to work through the key concepts, an alteration of first hand visual experience, changed by the processes used. This paper suggests, through research and discourse that these, perhaps slight, reductions in accurate depiction may allow for the more successful exhibition of notions, ideas or metaphor.

The full text can be read here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5N8Baem6wnAeUFSYUI1bm5fNWM/edit?usp=sharing


Place and Memory: Exploring the Relationship Between Place and Memory in Regards to the Photographic

This brief text was written during the first semester of my MA.

What follows below is a short excerpt.

Throughout this discourse I wish to explore how notions of memory and place interconnect, with the aim of further understanding the relationship of landscape and recollection within photography, which is often construed as the most effective container for memory. To achieve this we must first define memory’s standing within photography, what constitutes place, our connection to place with a view to examining how these interrelate. To aid the ideas sourced and put forward we shall make note of imagery which holds these values and themes, and theory relating to these subjects. This examination is integral to my own current work, relationships between setting and memory, the landscape and our own experiences is what drives this current work and thinking. By exploring these themes it may aid my understanding of what drives my need to photograph the sites of experience and memory.

The full text can be read here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5N8Baem6wnAeHdVV19Zcm1Vc1E/edit?usp=sharing


Exploring Photography’s Role within Memory, the Limitations of Photography’s Ability to Represent and Depict the Past

This piece of writing was written as my BA dissertation, exploring photography’s connection to memory.

What follows below is taken from the abstract of the paper.

The following essay has examined the degree, to which photography facilitates memory, and our reliance on the medium as a crutch to support these memories. To begin with this piece discussed the use of photography within a personal setting, that of the family album, and its ability to represent personal and family experiences. Within this section I referred to the likes of Roland Barthes’ theories on ‘punctum’ as well as Susan Sontag’s views on this process. These points allowed the paper to move towards an understanding of these concepts within the personal, and so allowing for an observation, within a greater context, which shifts towards a study of memory represented from an artistic stand point. At which point the paper focussed on works created by the likes of Dinu Li and Sally Mann, comparing their artistic representation of memory from differing directions. Having viewed memory represented in these varying ways the essay attempts to come to a balanced viewpoint of the visual representation of memory through further analysis related to notions of photographic memory. The previously mentioned topics alongside various other talking points have led the dissertation to conclude that; while photography cannot reflect memory as powerfully as we would hope each time we press the shutter button, a photograph can push start us on a journey of recollection.

The full text can be read here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5N8Baem6wnAelN2N3hVX1pRUWc/edit?usp=sharing