I have an avid interest in social, political and philosophical issues – I believe in the crucial role of art in engaging with them in a meaningful way. I believe art to be a necessary form of communication in that, through it, we possess a unique capacity to express things more wholly and directly, than through narrative prose alone. Because of this unique communicative power, art also has the power to effect change.
Having recently completed a Masters programme in Equality and Human Rights, I am keen to cultivate my ability to use the knowledge and social research skills I have developed to inform my artistic practice.
Since having completed my Masters in October – in which I specialised in Mental Illness and its role within society – I have worked on various photographic projects addressing questions I had been looking at in the academic context.
Recently completed is a collection looking at the experience of grief, which I am sending images of as examples of my work. This was a reflective project based on personal experience, which was aimed partially at questioning the applicability of the Kubler-Ross model of grief, and partially at addressing the contradiction that exists when one undergoes an experience, which is at once deeply individual and universally commonplace. The collection comprised six backlit photographs, suspended behind silkscreen prints. The prints are taken from photographs of pigeons (a common, rodent-like bird that can be found everywhere in the city) and represent the normality and universal nature of grief, while the photographs behind the screens represent the feeling of being trapped and isolated during the experience of grief. The first five pieces each represent one of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and are accompanied by a graph depicting the intensity of each feeling experienced over a sixty-day period, thus questioning the Kubler-Ross idea that the stages are chronological, instead positing that stages intermingle and overlap. The final piece superimposes each of the graphs over a final image of a bird – this time dead. This piece abstracts the graph data, transforming the analytical into the beautiful and serves to convey the possibility of development through adversity. The image of the bird also does this in symbolising the idea that, although the process is over, something is left behind – a lasting change has taken place.
I have been practicing photography for the past five years, beginning on a self-taught basis, and progressing to pursue a number of short courses in areas including digital photography, studio lighting, darkroom techniques and digital editing techniques. I have gained a level of proficiency in all of these areas and feel that, at this point Pathshala would be ideal for my professional and artistic development as a photographer. I am excited by your approach to photography, in particular your ethos that ‘The compulsion to address wrong, regardless of the vocabulary of the art, is what holds this creative chaos together’. At this point, I wish to continue developing myself as a sociologist and as an artist, pursuing these areas as one unified discipline by allowing my skills in and passion for each to enrich the other and I feel that the environment of Pathshala provides the perfect setting for me to do this.