The first task of the module was to produce a Pecha Kucha style presentation. This involves 20 images displayed for 20 seconds each. The idea is not to have too much text on the slides, but to talk about your work as you present it.
I had technology issues with the bandwidth of the participants in the session and the firewall on the school network. In the end, I had to present my presentation in the absence of peers on a different platform, using my mobile’s hotspot to get around the firewall issue.
The recording below was made and uploaded for comment in the module forum. It is not a professionally recorded version, so there are sound issues as slides transfer.
Feedback centred around a discussion and left me to determine the answers to the following questions posed by the module leader:
Who? Why? Where?
Who are you going to photograph?
Where are you going to photograph your subjects?
Why? What do you want to explore in your work? Why the mask, what do you want to achieve?
The presentation was good experience and really useful preparation for the project proposal. I was able to verbalise my practice so far and determine a route map for the remaining journey.
“I am never anything but what I think of myself—and this varies so incessantly, that often, if I were not there to make them acquainted, my morning’s self would not recognize my evening’s. Nothing could be more different from me than myself. “
—André Gide (1973: 70)
Gide, A. (1973). The Counterfeiters. New York: Vintage Books.
Having been unwell over the new year and into the start of January, it was touch and go whether I would be well enough to go to the private view event of the Picfair Women Behind the Lens competition and exhibition. Being shortlisted for the portrait category is such a big deal that I decided to make the journey to the Guardian’s offices in London.
The event was well attended by those shortlisted, Picfair staff, art buyers and other industry professionals. I spent the evening networking and discussing the images with many different guests, hopefully making links for the future.
Whilst I did not win the category, I still feel incredibly proud to have got to the shortlist and to have had my image of Pip on display in the Guardian’s gallery for a month.
When I look through images posted on social media platforms, I see lots of images of women wearing make-up and very few of women not wearing any.
“Make-up can help express someone’s creativity or help someone feel better about themselves, but it can also be seen as a mask to hide all the imperfections she has and that she believes she wouldn’t be accepted for.”
– (Diocesefwsb2.instructure.com, 2017)
As someone who does not wear make-up, I am not drawn into the advertising that tries to convince us that we need it to make us look more perfect and beautiful. One such example of shown in figure 1, where the implication is that using the product will produce radiant and flawless skin and that with contouring techniques, make-up can improve your appearance.
In today’s social media world, appearance is everything. Although make-up can be used to improve people’s lives and give confidence to those who have skin problems such as acne etc., it has become expected that women will use it to conform to society’s idea of perfection. These days flawless skin and hair are now the expected norm.
So why do I not wear it? Two reasons really. The first is that I have sensitive skin and so am always worried about allergic reactions. The second and stronger reason is that I do not have the time or inclination and really cannot be bothered with applying make-up each day. I have never felt the need or desire to use it. Mind, I was not brought up with the social media and advertising pressures that today’s youth face.
Many women hide behind their mask of make-up. I know women who feel naked and won’t leave their house if they are not wearing make-up. We need to promote the message that make-up will not change your life. It should not become the thing we use to fit in and conform to what others expect. Just because others use it, we should not feel obliged to do so.
“Cosmetics should be used to enhance someone’s natural self, not create it.”
– (Diocesefwsb2.instructure.com, 2017)
So for some, their make-up has been come a mask to hide behind, for others it is used on the face like a canvas to express who they are. As a viewer, how do we know which is a mask and which is a creative expression? This is why it is so hard to look behind the mask to see the real person.
Diocesefwsb2.instructure.com. (2017). Behind The Mask: Cosmetics vs. Society: American Long-Form. [online] Available at: https://diocesefwsb2.instructure.com/courses/6077/pages/behind-the-mask-cosmetics-vs-society [Accessed 30 Dec. 2017].