For our summer project we were assigned to create a visual diary, taking images from the moment we opened our eyes until the moment we went to sleep.
When we were first assigned this task I did struggle to come up with an idea or theme for my visual diary. We were given the theme of loss as a guideline – the example stated to imagine the person closest to us had walked out of our lives never to return. I decided to work with this theme of loss but instead look at ways in which people cope with losing someone close to them.
A way of dealing with loss, for me, is to isolate myself from those around me – so I chose to base my visual diary on the theme of isolation. To help me I began to look at photobooks from different photographers – a book that had interested me was ‘The Lonely Life’ by Jack Pierson. His images display a constant theme of isolation and loss – lost hopes and dreams. The images in the book show the subject never really interacting with the photographer and the series of images communicated the theme of loneliness, but a few images in the book represented hope. I liked how the images showing loss and the images showing hope contrasted with one another and after reading the book I felt much more inspired and began to take photos of my own.
As I am not used to being isolated it was strange for me not to be around people – but it did help me notice things around me more. Little things like my daily routines seemed a lot more unusual when I was taking photos.
This first image was taken the moment I had woken up – the light was shining through the curtains and I liked how the light contrasted against the dark room. The image shows daylight, an early morning and represented the start of my day.
This second image was taken as I was getting ready; I tend to make a mess in the morning as I am usually in a rush to be somewhere. My make-up was kept very untidy on my dressing table as I was getting ready and I chose to photograph this as it showed my presence – the messy dressing table would show a viewer that someone is getting ready or that someone has left their belongings . We would think that the messy table shows an untidy person (which in this case isn’t necessarily true) but it also shows abandoned belongings – no one has cleaned up this mess but it represented me living in my house.
In this next image I wanted the camera to represent a mirror – as I was looking in a mirror to get ready I wanted to show my morning routine more truthfully. This shot was quite difficult to capture as usually I don’t like photographing myself or being too close to the camera – but I think this was the point of the project; to break out of our comfort zones by showing our daily lives. The composition of this shot was carefully considered as I did not want to photograph my whole face/self as I wanted there to be a kind of anonymity throughout my images.
I wanted my next image to be more unusual, as I was leaving my room I noticed the keyhole of the door – as I was continuing to take photographs that showed isolation I wanted to make sure no one was around I looked through the keyhole to see if anyone was awake. Here the camera acts as my eyes – it shows exactly what I am seeing. I liked how the color in this image gradually gets darker – from the pale, glossy white door to the dark grey and blacks that are shown as we look through the keyhole. I think that my first images had a soft, sleepy feel to them as they are quite hazy and trance-like which reflected my mood in the morning.
In the next two images I have continued to focus on my daily routine, so I took photos as I made coffee before I left the house – I really liked the tones of grey in the two images. I the first image the light reflects into the cup and the coffee granules create a border around the mug. I think that the first image has the same soft and sleepy feel to it whereas the second is much brighter as the light is much stronger showing that I have ‘woken up’.
In this next image (below) the camera again acts as my eyes – I wanted the images in this visual diary to show what I am looking at as I am looking at it throughout my day. As I leave the house I look through the window of the door – as I was looking I noticed the smudges against the glass and the dripping paintwork and how it framed the view outside. It’s not usually something I would notice or photograph. I don’t really like showing images where something looks unclean but this image was truthful – not everything in life is neat and perfect so I shouldn’t waste time creating a false representation of my daily life by trying to clean everything up before I photograph it.
As I left the house and looked out the door I tried to pay more attention to what was around me – despite the first image in my visual diary showing sunlight the weather was dull and miserable. But this would create a sad undertone to my images which would link perfectly to the theme of isolation.
I decided to take photos as I was walking alone – the rain looked very effective in the images as it created a depressing and lonely vibe. In this image I liked how the reflections of light were shown through the puddles as I was trying to capture movement I spent some time stamping through puddles. This worked though as I managed to capture images movement can be seen through the water. I liked how the light reflected through the puddles to highlight the waves of water. I made sure that I took the images whilst looking down at the puddles as it captured the journey to my destination.
As I was walking I noticed how I could see my reflection through the water, as I looked closer I noticed how my faded reflection looked against the water – the soft transparent reflection also showed the bricks underneath the water – when photographing this it was quite difficult to capture my reflection and the bricks as my camera would focus on the bricks and the water rather than the reflection. As I walked forward I noticed there was more light and the end of the bridge I was walking under, so then it became much easier to capture the image I wanted by walking closer to the light. This was one of my favorite images in my visual diary as it was very simple – on one half of the image the reflection of my hair blowing in the wind and the umbrella covering me can be seen and on the other half we see the pattern of the umbrella shown through the gaps between the bricks.
As I continued to walk the wind became stronger and the umbrella I was carrying had blown into a puddle at the side of the road. This image shows unluckiness – so far the set of images I had taken appeared to show a very lonely and sad life representing how being isolated isn’t always best.
Like in Jack Pierson’s book I wanted to have an image that showed hope or happiness as so far my visual diary was looking quite sad and depressing. The day I chose to take the images for my summer project I had arranged to meet my friend so this last image is much ‘happier’ it shows me stepping out of my isolated state and being able to talk to someone. I liked the strong bright colors in this image as it reflected my mood. Also the fallen leaf showed change and a new beginning – it showed a new start as my day here had just began. I had chosen to present all of the images except for the final image in black and white as it showed a very sleepy and sad start to the day – which is how most of us feel when we wake up early on a rainy day. But then slowly my day would become more eventful and ‘better’ which Is why I wanted the last image to be more refreshing and positive. After showing my images to others in my group I could see more clearly what images were the strongest. During a discussion about the summer project I was able to hear others opinions on the images as a set. Most people in my group felt that the images worked better in black and white I agreed with what was said and from discussing my images with other people also feel that the colour image looks slightly out of place.