Essay Question

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, October 05, 2009
The essay question I am considering answering is:

Investigate the change in attitude of manipulation in self-portraiture between the period when photography was created and the modern day and how does this change a person's identity?

I already have a brainstorm (Is that politically correct anymore? If not, write me a letter) of ideas that I can discuss in this essay. I just hope the question is worded in a clear way.

1 Response to 'Essay Question'

  1. tutorphil said...'> 6 October 2009 at 14:30

    Interim Review - Unit 1: Anatomy 06/10/09

    Hi Sam,

    Regarding your essay, as I said during the seminar, I think an assignment centred on 'retouching' is strong; in your position, I'd start by contesting the notion that the retouching of images is a 'new phenomenon' - it feels like a current issue because of the fashion industry, but as you well know, people have been augmenting their likeness forever; in terms of parametres, you're choosing the advent of photography as your start-point, but bear in mind that retouching or improvement or idealisation was happening in portraiture before that; so, how essential is the photography aspect (as opposed to the retouching issue). Perhaps you need to also talk about photography's 'truthfulness' and documentary reliability as a factor in the 'illusion' of reality in retouched photographs - in other words, we expect augmentation in painted portraits, but we expect the truth from photography.

    Perhaps it is an unfair bias, but I sometimes feel that the idea of using multiple objects to talk about identity is a bit of a conceptual cop-out - however strong the association. If I were to ask you to go deeper; i.e., if you were to look under the surface of the things you like, identify their essence, what do they have in common; for instance, from my limited insight into your character afforded me by your blog, it would seem you are an 'old soul' - an individual drawn to the past; consider this, if you were to boil down your interests in to their 'essential oil', what would remain as the prime image or object; what are your interests actually 'about'? I guess, I'm pushing you to travel a few more layers down, and struggle with depicting what you find there - something essential that knits your character together; to put it another way, if your interest in the Lancaster bomber, the Dam busters etc. is the symptoms, what is the 'disease'?

    The other thing I noted right away about your blog is that it's not very visual; that you'd rather describe than show; you write engagingly, but I encourage you to develop a more visual habit, and get used to visualising your ideas quickly and without fear.


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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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