Last semester, which only ended a few weeks ago, saw me doing a unit on Landscapes. It was one of the best units that I could have undertaken. Surprisingly, it taught me a lot, not just about landscapes, but about society; about life; about the things we take for granted, and the way we see the world. I never expected that I would learn all that I did, but I sure am grateful for it. Our final assignment for the year was a pretty open brief. To produce exhibition/publication standard images that explore the contemporary issues of landscape, which didn’t necessarily have to be of landscape, but about it. See what I mean about open brief?? Just enough rope to hang yourself with if you weren’t really careful! Being the perfectionist I am, I sought out advice and attempted to rein in a theme for my work with the lecturer. I find this that hardest thing to do when preparing for an assignment – the attempt to produce work that is true to yourself, whilst also trying to produce something that your lecturer will like. So that is what I started out doing. My lecturer shoots A-MA-ZING work, and I’m honest when I say I love it – so much of his work speaks to a quiet, silent, lonely part of me. But it is definitely not the kind of work that I shoot, or want to produce. I guess, I’ve spent so much of my life, skirting on the edges of loneliness, and melancholy, that when I work, I want to steer as far from those feelings as I can. I don’t want to produce feelings of isolation in the sense of being lonely – I like the idea of isolation in the sense of beauty and freedom. So that is what I try to achieve in my images – beauty. Beauty in general; beauty in off kilter ways; beauty in unexpected ways; beauty in what we consider sometimes to be the ‘ordinary’ ways of life. Not to say that if something isn’t beautiful I don’t want any part of it – rather, I want to examine something so closely that I am able to find my own version of beauty within it.
Initially, I sat with the submission date looming, thinking ‘I can’t do this!’ I was shooting entirely for my lecturer – in hopes of getting a good mark, I wasn’t doing anything that sat right in my heart. So I took a leap. I shot what I wanted; what I loved; and what moved me. I’ve had SO many people tell me that you just have to take a risk, and as long as your passionate about it, as long as you back yourself, you’ll do well. And I figured, if I wasn’t ‘happy’ with what I was doing, just to impress someone else – even if I knew that they had the choice to bomb me with a bad mark – I had best just follow my heart anyway. In the least, I was being honest with myself, and my lecturer. See, I knew that my lecturer wasn’t a fan of the style of landscape that I preferred. And I knew that he didn’t particularly like the printing methods that I was choosing to use also – but still, I decided to leap. My heart was in my throat as we presented our images to the class and our lecturer. I have to say, he gave nothing away. I had no idea if he liked, or loathed my work. So the next three weeks were close to agony, as I waited for my results.
Eventually, I gathered the courage to go to Uni, and retrieve my work, and results. I dived right into my portfolio, and pulled out the marking paper. My heart immediately sank. It started;
I’m not a fan of metallic paper. I like it even less than abstracting landscape through motion.”
I have never felt so sick reading those lines – I’m sure I felt tears starting to well, thinking what a stupid risk to take. But somehow, I kept reading.
“But what I do know, there are hundreds of people that do. You have good command of the style.”
And two bold letters “HD”
But what made my heart soar all the more, was the final little notation below my mark;
“I think these pics will be in the homes of Perth soon.”
My leap of faith had paid off.
“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”
Johann Wolfgan von Goethe
*Not all of these images were included for my final assignment. I’ve added a few extra for the landscape viewing pleasure*