I am going to use my time studying for an MA by pursuing my interest in the accidental foibles of everyday life. I have 2 lines of pursuit I am considering:
1. Street photography: Catching people unawares
2. Secret stalker/surveillance
This is my opinion: In todays society, we have cultivated a deep sense of paranoia which has come about not only because of the ongoing threat of the terror crisis but also and perhaps less obviously, because people now have more access to Technology. CCTV and the internet have become prolific in their existence. This has enabled people to witness and be more aware of life threatening situations. The public speak more, read more and become more concerned with political correctness and moral issues than ever before. Our own British society has become more litigious in recent years, everyone seems more aware of their rights in all areas of life.
I have always been fascinated by people, what they do, how they appear, how they interact etc. Being an avid people watcher, I naturally love street photography and I have become interested in the notion of owning something that some would say doesn't belong to me – for example, a photo of a private person in a public space. It is the moral and ethical considerations that interest me and I want to take candid photos that are provocative and that challenge my sense of 'appropriate' within the realms of the law.
My other idea – is surveillance. My point at this stage being, that even the most private person has a public identity whether they like it or not. Although the images I capture would be no different from those captured by CCTV, the process of compiling all this footage into one document/piece, would inevitably change the way in which these images were viewed and considered.
In the past, I have made projects on self harm, body image and domestic violence. I have explored the impact that the media has on this. I now want to explore the more private side of the human condition, that even when someone is doing the most mundane task, they are still being scrutinised, documented and their image is being owned by a person or persons completely unknown to themselves.
Most of the time people do not even think about this. Surveillance has become so ingrained into our society that we take it for granted, mostly, without question. Examples range from the extreme of daily news reports where images of the general public are included in backgrounds and subsequently broadcast to millions of viewers on televisions, to just walking through our local towns and being recorded on CCTV. There is a growing trend for members of the public to also record images where uninvolved bystanders could be recorded using mobile phones, home security and even car dashboard cameras. Such devices and recording practices are rarely challenged or even considered, but think about who actually might be looking at your image! The obvious potential dangers of our 'big brother' society extend to us all. We imagine ourselves as relatively safe and private but in reality, our images are open to exploitation nearly all day everyday and there is no escape.
I hope to capture images that explore this notion. Images that challenge my own ethics and those of the law. I want to try and create moments in time where complete and utter strangers and I become involved together to create an abstract narrative – all without their knowledge or consent. Because I can.