Don’t Do Anything Subversive
Synopsis of the Assignment
— Ellie Knight (@eknightphotos) April 6, 2017
Tim Davies laid a mahogany floor from Wales (his home), in Belize on the rainforest floor. It reflects on the complex colonial history of Belize (where the wood was originally cut by slaves). My portrait draws on this by looking at place, which is what Davies is mainly concerned with. The tape (laid similar to the floor) and merging of the maps symbolises how this floor ties the two places together.
Image in their style
Tim Davies is interested in place and environment. His work involves observing, navigating and responding to spaces, particularly looking at how they are understood or perceived by people. By exploring how a site is represented, and digging into it’s history, Davies questions power, colonization and globalization.
This image is in the style of Davies’ body of work ‘Bridges’, where he scratches away the image on a postcard, leaving only the bridge. I’ve used a photo from when I visited Barcelona, and photographed the Arc de Triomf in a tourist style. I’ve left only the parts of the picture that are the ‘typical’ representation of Barcelona (palm trees and the monument).
The aim of the assignment was to create 8 prints, all of the same size, without being subversive. After looking at Tim Davies’ work I found that his message was always very subtle and artful, compared to being outlandish and offensive. Therefore, I felt that what Davies meant by the assignment is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or break the mold, in order to put across a powerful message; often a slight, almost hidden meaning can allow the viewer to think more and investigate the matter to gain a deeper understanding.
I chose to create my documentary style prints on a personal subject: my family. Having only eight images to work with, I had to be concise with what I decided to photograph. Each image reveals something about my family, but only if you look closely enough. For example, the image of my little brother sat at the computer shows his addiction to watching YouTube; and also that at five-years-old he can work the technology better than most. Another image that reveals a lot is the kitchen shot, where there are many small, telling details (such as the rugby trophy, the mugs by the kettle, and the plant from school).
“This is a classroom, not a protest rally, stage, or psychologist’s office”, so I wanted to follow the ‘typical’ rules of documentary, so as not to be subversive or rebellious in any manner. Therefore I printed the photographs in black and white because this pays homage to this.
I placed the prints around my home for my family to see, and I watched them pick out and discuss all the little subtle details, in the same way that I did.