1.3 Creatively exploring my process

See overview of my current working process  : Creative Process on my portfolio blog zemniimages.info

Useful quotes from Course Text pp 49-50:

In all creative processes a number of possible ideas are created (‘divergent thinking’) before refining and narrowing down to the best idea (‘convergent thinking’)…But the Double Diamond indicates that this happens twice – once to confirm the problem definition and once to create the solution. One of the greatest mistakes is to omit the left-hand diamond and end up solving the wrong problem.

Mat Hunter, Chief Design Officer at the Design Council.

If we make assumptions about what we can and can’t do we are locking off a range of potential solutions –

Downs 2011 p144

A Street Corner in Addis: Creatively Exploring my Process

For this exercise I chose a photograph of a street corner in Addis Ababa, taken on an old iPhone from the luxurious safety of a big window next to my breakfast table in an international hotel. This is one of a series of images I am intending to include as part of my work for Assignment 4.1: Ethiopia: a fractured journey

I spent 5-10 minutes on each of the following taking each prompt roughly in order – though as I went through and amended I found some of the images I had produced were a better fit for a different prompt. So I went back and redid the original. I was asked to ‘ fail and learn through the process rather than trying to create something you know you can achieve’. I used a combination of quick sketching and layering/manipulation on the iPad. (Click on each image for further details of how and why this image evolved.)

I think my three best ideas are:

  • Define It – I like the graphite effect and the movement. I like the idea of focusing on the crack to clarify the idea of a gulf between the two people. But I prefer the crop from the feature image at the top of the page – this places the homeless person on the rule of thirds and emphasises the rapid movement off frame of the passer-by. I prefer this image to the iPad one because in the ‘bold image’ the colours are too flat and it lack the drama of the hand-drawn image.
  • Combine arbitrary content – although this image still needs a lot more work and thinking through. The concept of the spectre of poverty – caused by family breakdown, conflict or business/harvest failure – hanging over people and affecting the way many people live their lives is a very different focus. It has implications also in UK on how we view homeless people – though we have a much better safety net. This might be more interesting as an actual image if I use collage as for example in ‘Female Gaze’ from Illustration 1.
  • Remind Yourself here the image is again clearer, combining photography (making homeless person ‘real’) and allusion to sound (earphones of the young men with rucksacks’). I need to think a lot more about the whether or not to include the idea of the bank sign – if I omit it then I need to spend more time to resize and reposition all the elements in the photo.

The image that I think best reflects the type of approach I might take for at least some of my work in future is the crop below – though it needs a lot more work to really think through both conceptually and visually, and to bring to a good technical level.

Let's look at the real thing
Let’s look at the real thing

Reflections on the process

This process was very useful for promoting some lateral thinking around how I work with photographs. The potential of generating more arbitrary images has been more part of my imaginings with found images and textures. But I could use the approach more in documentary – well beyond Assignment 2a.  Exploration has always been part of my collage and photo-montage process – working on the iPad or with printouts with elements in different sizes, colours and levels of simplification to explore different possible visual relationships. But going back and forth between ‘obvious’, ‘ambiguous’, bold, reminding and revisiting  etc gives a more systematic approach to this exploration. Even though here I did not add much of the sound and movement or fantasy, these  elements were implicit in subsequent images.

The range of different permutations and combinations are endless. So the initial selection of images will be key. Though this will need to be a reiterative process if I am to really think around the ‘left hand diamond’. In documentary also ‘thinking around the problem’ is as much a question of research to think around the issue itself rather than just random generation of thumbnails.

It is also a process that I could use with any photograph to generate ideas if I am responding to a client brief.

The big issue as always will be time – here I was only working with one photograph rather than a series. Ways of Integrating research (content/conceptual as well as visual), convergent and divergent thinking and critique is something that I will think about systematically in practical detail throughout this module. Repeating the questions from this exercise, and probably identifying new ones.

!! Link to my final conclusions in Assignment 5.