A Moon and A Smile

Fox, Anna (2017) A Moon and A Smile. [Art/Design Item]

View this record at http://www.research.ucreative.ac.uk/3203/

Abstract

This project is commissioned and is a response to the recent re attribution of the Dillwyn photographs. The Dillwyn archive is a fascinating source of information about early photographic methods and the life of the upper middle classes in Britain in the late 1800’s. Particularly pertinent is the revision of authorship in the archive so that Mary Dillwyn is acknowledged as photographer alongside her (better known) father John Dillwyn. The archive demonstrates the highly inventive character of the photographers and illuminates some of the earliest experiments with the medium. One of the most striking things about the Mary Dillwyn photographs is how candid they are; the first photograph of a smile must have been an exciting event in itself. In an initial search through the archive one discovers two of the greatest things about photography are being explored by this ingenious family (who were part of the Fox Talbot circle) : the desire to improve the technology and to capture greater and greater levels of veracity combined with the magic of photography and the need to play with all its illusory qualities. Such a strange mix: alchemy with the indexical. In recent work (Resort and Loisirs) I have been investigating the mysterious relationship between time and memory in photography and like the Dillwyns work this has a relationship to both changing technology and to magic. For years photographers have pursued the capturing of fleeting moments. Freezing action, albeit small, has often been considered the significant aspect of a photograph, the punctum, a poignant note about life summed up in a pregnant milli-second. A miniature death as Barthes pronounced, or life suspended as if in aspic. In response to the archive I am taking my previous investigations into time and memory and developing them with reference to some of the images made by the Dillwyns and the locations that they had access to. These locations were previously only accessible to the upper classes and today are far more democratic spaces in that they are open to millions as sites of tourist interest. (Leisure also has been the subject within my last two projects). I am also investigating the possibility of adding laughter to the images as a direct response to the Dillwyn smile and the acknowledgement of the development of technology that can now capture laughter (though notoriously difficult to work within the conceptual framework of documentary photography). My images are shot to look like single images but that have in fact been shot over a 4 – 6 hour period. How can a timed shot like this, built up by layering (in digital post production) numerous photographs represent time and memory in the way that an image shot at 125th of a second is supposed to do? Where is the veracity in this? Is there a relationship to the cinematic? Why is leisure a significant contemporary subject? These are some of the questions that I am working with.

Item Type: Art/Design Item
Members: University for the Creative Arts
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 12:57
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 12:57
URI: http://collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/11669

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