Dissertation Proposal

I’ve just had the best summer of my life. I’ve been taking photographs for a couple of magazines, living out of London in my native North West, spending time with my parents, seeing old school friends, climbing, running, I’ve been to Bahrain and India, oh, and I’ve got engaged to my girlfriend. Now its back to university. My third and final year. When the serious work starts. In the next ten weeks I have to publish a photobook, stage an exhibition with my classmates as well as start my dissertation.

As ever the hardest part is deciding what to do. I was convinced that I wanted to look at the developments in documentary photography with new interactive media. I would like to work for a newspaper, website or picture agency. I enjoy news and I would like to be a part of it. I am also interested in the potential for interactivity in photography as well as using a combination of text, sound, still and moving images.

This would chalk up two of four important criteria for writing a good dissertation: a keen interest in the subject and a relationship to what I want to do in the future. A third criteria is are there enough relevant texts? I think should be OK. There are certainly enough academic texts on documentary and photojournalism in general and few on photography in the multimedia, multi-platform world. I have a few articles about how this genre will change and I intend to interview picture editors, photographers and practitioners of telling stories with multimedia, although I realise that this is by no means a definite source of information. If I choose to write on this subject I could also analyse work from the pre-digital and the present day.

The fourth criterion which our tutor posed to us is: does it fit in with the work that you do? This got me thinking. It doesn’t you see. I’ve covered a few events but not much. I tell my self I would go out and try to document more but I’m always too busy reading stuff and writing. Is this just and excuse? Am I striving for something I’m not supposed to do? Surely if I was that passionate about documentary photograpahy I would have more photographs? I worry that while I may appreciate this genre of photography I may not be good at practicing it. What I find particularly difficult is getting a report with people I don’t know. I think with time and experience I could overcome this as I did talking to strangers with my first bar job. I just need to throw myself in to it. But I haven’t. And now I’m going round in circles!

The work I have done at university and my personal work is heavily involved with space and the environment, particularly our interactions with and influence it. I could write about this. I didn’t realise this as an option till Daniel (my tutor) asked me about the photography I have been practicing. So I feel I have kind of taken a step back. I now have two options I’m not 100% about whereas I had one I was sure I wanted to do 24 hours ago!

I think my next move will be to look closely at literature for both these areas. I will try to write a few proposals. The original one, one concentrating on space, and one on space and interactive uses of photography.

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~ by peterdarch on October 4, 2007.

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