Unit 2: A Photographic Manifesto

Proposal and Manifesto

Tags: goals, hopes, photographic manifesto, proposal, starting points, unit 2

Initial discussion and hopes on what to achieve in Unit 2: A Photographic Manifesto.

Task 1 - Three Pages

Proposal and Manifesto:

For the first half of this unit, we were divided into groups and tasked with designing three pages that combined the imagery and text together, allowing us to state a photographic manifesto we believe in and showcasing our understanding on how photography and design—be it graphical, illustrative or for publications—are closely related. In addition, this task also displays our skills at collaboration and communicating our ideas as by working in groups, we are exposed to that.

For me and my group, after discussion, we chose the manifesto of challenging social norms and thus, came to a conclusion of delving into Cybersex, as one of our group members, Emma, made an interesting point, saying how she found it to be the most agonising part of trans-humanism, as sex mixes both the mind and body of humans, merging our emotions and physical contact through the sexual intercourse. Therefore in this sense, sex combines the two main characteristics of the human being: the body and soul in addition to being the most primitive and universal aspect of humankind because it allows us to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Hence, by delving into the theme of Cybersex, we are therefore confronting and looking at the arising questions of the dangers and limitations of trans-humanism. Because with the rise of technology and the internet—allowing for phenomenons like Cybersex to manifest—is it not the “beginning of the end” of human relations and the loss of any connection that man has with his reality?

Task 2 - Own Publication

Proposal and Manifesto:

When asked what photography meant to me in the start of the second unit, I wrote down:

‘We believe Photography is making something intangible tangible yet maintaining its intangibility.’

Through my manifesto, I want to immerse the philosophical with photography, as that has always been my main goal when setting out to take on the medium as a higher education. Photography always needs something in front of the camera, there has to be something substantial in front of the lens while in philosophy, the feelings that are evoked are totally intangible, and yet very real. I want to try and bring those two together; the necessary element of reality that photography requires and the intangible, Sublime feelings that come with the philosophies that we realize. Hence, my manifesto of photographs making tangible the intangible.

I want to state that photography doesn’t have to be political or commercial to be important. In today’s world, commercialized photography such as fashion photography and photographs that hold up political messages seem to be viewed as what makes photography successful or relevant. But to me, I want to show that a photograph that tries to evoke something or embody something other is just as important as a photograph with political or commercial agendas. If a photograph is able to bring out a resonance within a viewer and not impose a message or ideology onto the viewer, then for me, it has done its job.

To narrow down and have focus for the project, I want to solely delve and explore the Japanese aesthetic and Zen philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. I want to explore this along with my manifesto as Wabi-Sabi is a celebration of the imperfect and impermanent and I feel that I can communicate and bring out that sense of imperfection and impermanence via analogue film. With film, there is more potential for mistakes and I feel that it is through these possibilities and accepting the mistakes that come that the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi can be achieved. Furthermore, film is also impermanent in itself for if the print is not archived properly, the image will eventually fade. Hence, working with film to me, brings out that transience and mood that Wabi-Sabi can evoke.

As visual research, some initial photographers that I would like to look at are Daidō Moriyama, Alia Zapparove and Miho Kajioka, as I feel that the techniques they use and concepts that their work embodies will help me understand how I myself can present the concepts of Wabi-Sabi in a visual manner. In the case of Moriyama, I would like to research into how he pushes his film as by doing so, he allows potential mistakes to occur on his film and that, to me, has some elements of Wabi-Sabi within it.

In addition, during this term, I would also like to explore ad experiment with more printing techniques such as photopolymer, photolithography and photoetching. By exploring these techniques, I feel like I have more opportunities and different ways of representing the feeling of imperfection that Wabi-Sabi consists of, as things can go wrong and I would like to see those mistakes happen.