About 6 years ago I stopped going to church. I had grown up in a Christian family, been an active church member and had always been able to find strength and comfort in what I believed. However, struggling with certain ‘truths’ and convictions, I realized more and more that most of what I lived for was based on the context in which I had grown up and the people I surrounded myself with. I decided to let go of my faith. Ever since, I have felt relieved and free and so much better about not having to be right about everything all the time.
In this series of photographs I want to focus on elements of faith that I used to embrace but still encounter and recognize in where I live and travel; the tension between truth and belief, the importance of context, ambition to improve, trust in the divine or own power, abuse of environment and others for the sake of one’s own spiritual growth or power and finally the meaning of life in light of our mortality.
Although each photograph touches on one specific element of faith, they all trigger questions about what is real, our dependence on higher powers, the value and place of self, responsibility towards the other and meaning of the the here and now.
Reflection Based on Assessment Criteria
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
The images, selection and editing process show that I have been improving my skills and discernment in knowing which photos work and which don’t. I think there is always room for improvement and even though I think the images in my final submission are on the right level, I do want to improve through learning other photographic techniques, use other types of lighting instead of only ambient light, work on slow shutter speed, different angles, etc. The prints have turned out beautiful, bringing an added layer of meaning and enhancing the viewing experience.
Quality of Outcome
Looking at the overall result, I am happy with the coherency of the images, even though I have taken them at different places and over a stretch of time. I realize that with the exception of ‘Followers’ they are all quite similarly balanced, which may add to the coherency, but might also take away some of the independency of the narrative character of the images themselves.
After having read and researched through part 2 of the reader I find myself influenced in my work and thinking most by Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’, mainly because the assignment was to show an overarching idea in individual narratives, which we see in his book as well. I have learnt to be more aware of signs and symbols in my images and which has influenced my decision making in taking and selecting the photos.
Even though the concept ‘Faith’ is quite abstract, it helps that there are many visual outlets in which it is shown. I find that I have found a nice balance in showing different aspects of faith, without focusing too much on one particular religion.
Demonstration of Creativity
Some photographs show more signs of creativity than others. I am especially content with ‘Consecration’, which took a bit of post processing to get to what the image looks like now. I think that in my preparation, I have made an effort to work more conceptually, especially with creating a staged photograph, but I do think there is still room for improvement there. In my next assignment, I will try to get off the beaten path of finding a concept I’m looking for and photograph it. I would like to experiment with different photographic techniques, in camera, lighting, as well as with post processing and printing. I think there will be still ample room for impromptu beautiful surprises, but I realize, especially after having done the street photography exercise, that restricting myself, for example to a certain technique or idea opens up a new world of photographic opportunities I would not encounter otherwise.
I believe I’m getting better at reflecting on my work. I’m starting to grasp concepts that are taught through the reader and am able to find similarities in other people’s photography or even in my own practice. However, I do feel I need to work on expanding my vocabulary and take the time to formulate my ideas better. There is always much more I have thought about and looked at than that I actually write on my blog.