Thoroughly Post-Modern: Defining My Practice by Defining an Art Movement
As a young artist, recognising and being aware of your own photographic practice is extremely important; it allows you to understand the ways in which your work fits into the wider context of Art and the way in which your work functions to mean. I have been studying and practicing photography since I was sixteen years old, but it wasn’t until my university study commenced that my practice began to mature and evolve, and I began to feel more like an artist than I have ever felt. This evolution is largely due to an engagement with art theory and art criticism. Throughout my study, these enquiries have led to the realisation that as Post-Modernist art; my practice must consist of political and critical elements in order to be relevant to contemporary art practice. Post Modern Art belongs to the movement of post-modernism, a reaction against principles and practices established in Aesthetic Modernism and an evolution from Critical Modernism.
This essay will introduce my work to show you how my practice works and to demonstrate its placement within the Post-Modern. I will show, through the discussion of the photograph as Art, how artists and academics critiqued the paradigm of Modernism to such an extent that these discussions gave birth to art movements that would free art from its traditional medium specific conventions. These discussions were based on the socio-political responsibility that art could and should have, leading art to aspire to mean more than something purely visual. I believe that photographic art’s function is to be socially and critically aware, and, used to prompt discussion about personal, sociological and cultural politics. If images are made to be read, then they must contain something to read.
Figure 4- From You, Back to Me, Untitled 2008
Figure 5- From You, Back to Me, Untitled 2008
The first photographic project I undertook at university was at Cleveland College of Art and Design. I was encouraged to explore history of photographic portraiture, and look at how the different locations, street and studio, affect portraiture; from this, the task was to devise a project that features portraiture in either setting. My response to the brief was to create a portrait of my life by capturing vernacular snap-shots. I had just started University, when, at the time, everything around me was changing; I had left a ridiculing long-term partner, moved back into shared housing and my friendship group was evolving, never constant. My aim was to document these issues and variables to discover and affirm whom I was and what I was going through during this time. Without telling people my life story, I wanted people to be able to get to know me and understand who I am by looking at these images. I captured images digitally, carrying my camera with me at all times. It accompanied me to friend’s houses, parties, and nightclubs,...