With access to my potential subjects severely limited, I’m having to reconsider everything to move forward. For me, this module could not have come at a better time, challenging me to rethink how I can respond visually to my area of examination in some very different ways.
For two images this week, I have experimented with forms of appropriation for the first time. In this case, combining the artwork of two children’s storybooks – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Tiger who Came To Tea – with cut out segments of my mother’s letters to visualise how those stories look with the mother not quite erased but ‘resurfaced’.
This was an especially poignant exercise for me, because I have very strong memories of finding such storybooks (The Tiger who Came to Tea was one I did read as a child) isolating. They highlighted my sense of difference from others, being as I was a child without a mother. They heightened the already all to real sense that I was ‘abnormal’, that I did not fit in with conventional children’s story-telling. This was something I struggled with during school ‘story time’ when nearly all stories seemed to have a central mother figure.
And I was quite overwhelmed at the positive response to them from both my tutor Michelle and my peers, who seemed to feel I had stumbled onto ground whose fertility I had not realised myself. That ground was described variously as “playful”, “child-like” and “poetic”. With their responses, I think I am starting to see the value in these ‘photo sketches’ and shall continue with them as I sense something creative is taking place here, even if I am not sure exactly what!