Post-Photography Project Development

INITIAL DISCUSSIONS

As the lectures on the post-photographic module continued, I was increasing my knowledge on the idea of what a post-photographer could be, from a theoretical and a practical view. Paul Smith’s lectures showed visual examples of photographers through history producing photographs that challenged the boundaries of the current practice. Acknowledging the frame of the photograph and how this can both make and limit the practice of the photographer. From the most simple editing technique such as cropping, which can be done when taking the photograph and when editing afterwards, the photographer can have a dramatic impact on what the images says to the audience. In addition to this, the development of digital technology offers a huge range of different process to photographers, and has allowed them to create images that wouldn’t be possible in the analogue world.

In my previous studies I acknowledged that the photographer has such an important role when producing visual material, and this responsibility manifests itself in different ways. The Phonar (Photography and Narrative) module explored photographic practices where the process was more collaborative between photographer and subject. The subject felt powerful and free to have a say on how their story was told by the photographer, which is very different to practices such as traditional documentary, where the photographer had to make an informed decision on what photograph could represent a concept as large as a war. These images are what we often describe as iconic, because they attempt to describe so much in one frame. In contrast the collaborative projects often focus on the smallest details in order to tell a detailed story about the subject themselves. There is a tension between these two approaches, because each attempts to achieve what the other could not. There is no real way to tell which approach is ‘better’ because often these images have been produced for very different outcomes.

In the lectures from Spencer, we approached the practice of photography from a theoretical perspective, considering the flaws behind the the practice and how this could affect the work we make as photographers. To begin with, the ontology of photography as discussed by Andre Bazin stated that the human species has a such a strong desire to produce the most realistic and accurate representation of themselves possible. If they can achieve this realistic visual replication, then humans need no longer fear death. For death itself is split into two elements of disappearance, the physical body disappearing from the world, and the visual evidence of that body disappearing too. Bazin described the loss of this evidential, visual memory as the Second Spiritual Death. Bazin also worked to separate photography from the other arts, commenting that despite photography achieving the most accurate representation of man, that the presence of man in the process was missing. According to Bazin, the artist or craftsman is lost in the practice of photography, this view is very similar to the ideas of Walter Benjamin, who discussed the loss of aura and originality in the practice of photography, as it can produce multiple copies of the same material.

In addition to the ontology of photography, there is the idea of photography representing the truth, which is a concept I have explored previously in my photographic studies in relation to photojournalism and manipulation. However this discussion changes with a theoretical approach, with the introduction of the term naive realism, which describes the tendency of the viewer and even photographer to believe that photographs represent the truth. The photographer believes that they are capturing the truth of what they see and the viewer believes the representation that the photographer presents them with. The limitations of the single frame are discussed often in the context of photography, so why do we still put so much faith in the practice of photography to produce truth, when reality itself is so complicated? According to Plato, reality is split into the realm of physical forms and objects and the realm of spiritual forms, which are eternal and perfect. Physical objects are those we can identify as occupying the same physical space as us, like the sofa that I’m sitting on writing this blog post. Spiritual forms are the elements we can’t see, but that we believe that be in force in the world, such as love, hate and trust. We can’t prove what these forms are but they are universally accepted in the world, the most common evidence of this is the creation of words in each language to describe them. When you consider how complicated reality actually is, can photography hope to try and represent it visually in one frame?

These discussions can lead to a very pessimistic view of photography, however I would argue that if the photographer accepts these notions and reflects on them in their work, then photography can be a practice that comments on reality, rather than trying to represent it. The key idea the photographer absolutely HAS to accept, is that the images they produce are not likely to be received in the way that they intended. The meaning will differ depending on who is looking and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Different viewers can build and extend the original meaning of the images and perhaps link them to discussions the photographer never thought of. There is the danger of course, that the images will be read in a completely different way than the photographer intended, which could be potentially damaging, to the subject or the subject matter. Therefore we come back to the responsibility of the photographer, to have an understanding of their practice.

When considering all the lecture material in relation to my own practice, I feel that it embodies much of the ideas I have explored in previous projects. For example for the Phonar module, I attempted to create a post-photographic portrait by reverse assembling the metadata scattered across the Internet from one individual, in order to demonstrate how much information we willingly give to the Internet. For my degree show project, I attempted to challenge the representation, the Internet and the photographic portrait again but this time taking portraits of people and exhibiting them as binary code. This represents the fluidity of information on the Internet and the idea that people are being increasingly viewed as information and statistics, rather than real people. My work aims to comment on current issues, it aims to be the inspiration behind a discussion, an experiment to see how people react. This experimentation with the photographic practice could be combined with the notion of the post-photographer, to produce work that is interesting but also informed by cultural theory.

 

DECIDING SUBJECT MATTER

As my field of study has changed from my BA, from photography to communication, culture and media, it is likely that my projects will shift to engage with different ideas. There is an idea that I am becoming increasingly aware of due to both my own personal engagement and from an academic approach, which is the gaming industry and community, most specifically the genre of story games. There are more and more games being released yearly, that have captivated players with the stories that they tell.

With developing technology, the games themselves have become sophisticated pieces of storytelling media, with which the user can engage and have a power over how the story progresses. This power can vary from game to game: with structured campaigns that require the player to move through the game in a specific linear way and open world games that allow the player to explore the environment at their own pace, choosing the engage with the main storyline when they wish to advance with the plot. Aside from story-based games there are games that pursue different objectives such as direct competition between players or encouraging them to build communities. The dynamic of the game does have an impact on what sort of experience the player will have: First Person Shooters (FPS) encourage the player to move through the environment, target and neutralise hostiles, whereas adventure video games encourage the player to engage with the characters and environment in order to find out more about the main storyline. Different game dynamics often share objectives, such as moving through the environment in order to find objects; in a FPS that object would be ammunition or a new gun whereas in adventure games the object is likely to be a piece of information that helps develop the detail of the storyline. The main purpose of the game however is to be enjoyable when played, to encourage the player to come back and play the game multiple times and perhaps then buy other games from a particular franchise or company. As games are situated in the entertainment industry they are made to appeal to the public, however there is no denying that games are becoming significantly more important in a cultural context.

In the module Open and Social media I am also considering gaming, examining how the game Fallout 4 encourages the player to engage with possible future cultural issues. The game features the invention of a synthetic human (synth) which is effectively an artificial human, made to replicate an organic human in every way possible. The most advanced synths appear to have a personality, their own sense of humour, their own likes and dislikes, therefore they appear to actually be human. Different factions within the game have differing opinions on the synthetic human, one believing them to be nothing but property, one believing all the synths should be destroyed and one believing the synths should be liberated and have a chance for an independent life. The player has to make a decision to ally with one of these factions, as there is conflict between all of them. This means the player must make their own decision on what they think synthetic humans actually are and whether they should be considered as property, dangerous/unethical technology or independent beings. However the fact that Fallout 4 is a FPS shooter is a problematic element as in the same time the player might be thinking about important cultural questions about civil rights, the game could spawn multiple enemies that the player has to kill, effectively reducing the other characters in the game (often human) to targets that need to be eliminating. When the player has to think about whether an artificial life could be considered as important as a human one, it seems incredibly counter-productive to dehumanise the existing humans in the game. As my definition of the post-photographer was built using the knowledge I had built up around the post-digital publication through the Open and Social Media module, I decided it could be interesting to produce a photographic response that would link to this module. This would also give me the opportunity to include photographic work in my response to the Open and Social Media module. However instead of concentrating on the synthetic human in my photographic project, I wanted to focus on the game experience itself, how my character moved through the Fallout 4 environment and created my own version of the story through my actions and decisions.

Just like photography in the gaming environment the player ‘sees’ through a frame, however in gaming the camera becomes the only way through which the player experiences the world. This virtual reality can only be seen through playing the game unlike reality, which the photographer sees before choosing to frame it. This conscious choice to frame the scene happens less in video games, as the player is often confronted with other choices such as where to go, when to shoot etc. There are games that do involve a conscious moment where the character frames the scene, one is called Fatal Frame an Indonesian horror game. The player has to take pictures of spirits to damage and destroy them, ‘framing’ the spirits is fatal to them.

Another game is Outlast where the protagonist is an investigative journalist. The character has a video camera, which the player can use to record important moments in the game as evidence, however the camera is also used in the scarier portions of the game where the night-mode of the camera is used to see in the dark.

In the game Fallout 4, which my project will be examining there is a choice to play in First Person Mode or Third Person Mode. First Person mode is as if you are seeing through the eyes of the character, whereas third person mode is effectively you following your character through the environment. For players used to playing shooter-type games, the First Person mode will be more natural to them as it is generally considered to be easier and more accurate to shoot. The third person mode would be better for people used to playing typical story-type games, or adventure games that include some elements of combat such as Tomb Raider.

maxresdefault

First Person Mode

CHgm-S9UMAAiaeW

Third Person Mode

For the purpose of my project, I will experience the Fallout 4 environment through the First Person Mode as it makes what I see and what my character sees exactly the same. The distance between me and my character is reduced and I feel that it is my story as well as my character.

Overall I feel that choosing gaming for my post-photography project will allow me to explore themes I haven’t yet explored in my own photographic practice, whilst still engaging with similar themes that I have explored before. The use of the game Fallout 4 for my project could be considered as me using appropriated material, which is an approach I have often taken in my most recent projects. However whilst my two previous projects have used appropriated material to make a comment on how much information users give to the Internet, in this project I will be using appropriated material to comment on how virtual reality has become similar to actuality.

 

THE PROJECT

As explored in the previous section, I will be examining Fallout 4 and the experience of the player in creating and shaping their own unique story. This story is their journey from moving through the gaming environment, to progressing in the storyline, even to levelling up and getting stronger as a character. My project will be exploring the sophisticated storytelling capability of modern video games and how virtual reality is becoming ever closer to reality. Although there will be some obvious differences, like the fact that Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic future, the basic elements in the gaming experience are becoming closer to reality. Despite the addition of radiated beings, synthetic humans and robotic devices, the landscape and the buildings in the Fallout 4 environment are recognisable and similar to that of my reality. My response to the assignment will link to the idea of naive realism, where the viewer and the photographer believe that a photograph can represent the entirety of reality. Combining the idea of naive realism and the developing sophistication of virtual reality, my project will aim to try and fool the viewer into thinking that the virtual reality of Fallout 4 could actually be reality. The project will be built of of shots of the screen from when my character is moving through the Fallout 4 environment. These images will be made in the locations that are the most important in the game, where my character has had to make certain choices and complete questionable actions. My photographs will be a play on naive realism, because they will try and make virtual reality seem like reality, commenting on the idea that viewers often believe what they see. If I present these images in a manner that references traditional artistic photography, then these images could be perceived depicting reality.

My project will hopefully link with the ongoing debate over whether video games can be considered as art. As I will explore in my project, the environment created by game designers are often so close to reality that the eye could potentially be fooled. There is so much detail put into tricky aspects such as water, clouds, wind and elements like the character interacting with the environment. The talent and craftsmanship of these game designers have been praised by many, and some artists have used games as a basis for producing their own imagery, just as photographers use reality to create their own work. However aside from the graphics and game design, the actual games themselves and the stories that they tell are also being debated over. Games such as Life is Strange and The Last of Us have created and told such detailed and emotional stories, that have been likened to the cinematic art. In the latest game Quantum Break, there are 25 minute cut scenes where live action is used to portray the shifting storyline, before the game play begins again. The live action characters are the same ones that are in the gameplay, allowing the player to engage with an incredibly advanced story, that when viewed can be seen as a movie-type experience. Then there are the people who make art from video games, more and more artists are using the game environment to make their own pictures, often through screen shots of the game when they are playing. However when someone has created the environment you are photographing, there could be issues with the ownership of that art, as the game designer could easily claim that the content within the image was theirs because they created the environment in the first place. This is the approach I want to take when creating my images, because it allows me to make a personalised series of images that relate directly to my character and my story. I will also be bringing the conscious framing from photography into my gameplay experience, when deciding which moments to take pictures of.

 

MAKING THE IMAGES

As I play games on my Xbox One, I don’t have the same advantage that PC Users have to be able to take a screenshot. I attempted to take a screenshot on the Xbox One of Fallout 4, but it only captured a picture of the menu screen, because the game interpreted my action as a reason to pause the game. I quickly realised I needed to either adopt a PC set up and replay the game to get to the point I was at, or find a new way of capturing images from the gameplay using my Xbox. Replaying the game on PC wasn’t really an option for me, as I wouldn’t be able to afford a whole new gaming set up and I wouldn’t be able to remember the order in which I discovered the Fallout 4 world, what I said in each conversation, what perks I chose first etc. There would be no way I could follow exactly the same journey, therefore I had to find another way to produce imagery. I decided that because I was bringing the nature of photography into the gaming environment, that it could be a really interesting idea to actually use my camera and take photographs of the screen. I would be interacting with the virtual reality just like I would be if I was photographing reality. However as I would if I was photographing reality I needed to make sure that I adjusted my camera settings to suit the content that I was photographing. I needed a shutter speed that was slightly slower than I would use normally, to make sure that my images wouldn’t show the frame rate of the game, which produces a distorted image. I also needed to make sure I was photographing the screen from straight on, not above or below, which would also change the appearance. I found that a particular spot on the sofa in the living room would provide me with this good angle, so I always shot and played from there in order to keep my images looking consistent. I also had to think about the lighting conditions in the living room when I was photographing, making sure that no sunlight was on the screen. If I was photographing in the evening, the artificial lighting would make the images have a slightly yellow hue, and often it meant the images would be too dark or grainy. I therefore tried to shoot all the images in periods of daylight, between sunrise and sunset, to try and replicate the same lighting for each image. Therefore the only variation in the lighting conditions of the images, would be when the times of day and the weather changed in the virtual reality of the game.

So I started taking photographs of the screen when playing, and uploaded them to my computer. Immediately I was met with my first design decision, my character observes the environment like I would observe reality through a set of eyes, however because I am playing a game that involves shooting, travelling to different locations, keeping track of my health – there were various different icons on the screen. I had to decide whether to keep them in the image, or whether to crop the whole image smaller so that they weren’t there. There is also a pointer in the middle of the screen, with which the player can interact with the environment, if you put the pointer over an item you can pick it up, when you are shooting that pointer becomes your aim. I needed to decide whether to keep the pointer in the image as well, or whether to take steps and Photoshop this element out.

The two images below show the two different options I had available to me, the first one features all the elements of the gameplay including the compass and health points whereas the second one is cropped to remove those elements and Photoshopped in order to remove the green pointer.

DSC_0117

DSC_0117

After considering both of the images, I decided that the second version would suit the ideology behind my project. If I am trying to replicate and reference reality in my images in order to try and fool my audience, I should make sure that the images don’t have these obvious gameplay elements, as this would give it away immediately. Although I am expecting the audience to realise that these images aren’t actually of reality, that there are some details that are slightly different, I don’t want them to realise straightaway. I want the audience to look carefully at the images to be able to pick out the details that don’t compare to their reality, in order to see that these images are of a virtual reality. If the audience don’t look carefully and just glance at the images, I want there to be a possibility that they could believe that the images are of reality.

Once I had the right aesthetic and design to my images, I began a series of shoots in the Fallout 4 virtual environment. These shoots varied in nature, in one session of gameplay I would aim to retrace the steps my character made, beginning from Vault 111 and following what the main storyline was for my version, but in other sessions of gameplay I simply roamed the environment freely, capturing the moments of that gameplay session that I felt was important to my character. I steadily built up a catalogue of images that depicted both important locations in the game in relation to the story and important moments that I experienced in relation to my discussions of Fallout 4 in my Open and Social module. Interestingly enough, most of the images, if not all of them depict a scene where I would have just killed a human, super mutant, synth or wasteland creature, making each image depict a sort of virtual graveyard. Despite the beauty of this virtual environment and the important moral questions the game asks the player, the fact that this game is still a FPS could perhaps detract from the moral gameplay experience. Contact sheets of all the images I created after a series of shoots can be seen below.

ContactSheet-001 ContactSheet-002 ContactSheet-003 ContactSheet-004 ContactSheet-005 ContactSheet-006 ContactSheet-007 ContactSheet-008 ContactSheet-009

Because this project has generated so many images, I had in mind that I wanted to create a photobook or zine type publication, as I didn’t want to have to narrow all of these images down to a number below ten (which is what I might have to do if I was presenting these images as a series of prints). These images are made in a consistent manner and would suit being presented in a consistent style as well, meaning a photobook would suit the project as these images could be presented in a linear consistent manner. However I identified that this number of images would most likely be too much and I had already acknowledged that some of the images weren’t as strong as the others. With this in mind, I started to identify which images were the most important in the series, in relation to the moments in the story they referenced. These images depict the vault, my character’s old house, the Red Rocket, the museum of freedom, Diamond City, The Castle, The Railroad HQ, Virgil’s cave, the teleporter I built in Sanctuary, Bunker Hill, the site of the Institute (after it is destroyed) and the destroyed Prydwen, which was the HQ of the Brotherhood of Steel. These locations mark important moments in the storyline where my I had direction of my character to make certain decisions as to where the storyline progresses. These moments happened in a particular order, which would most likely be different when compared to another player, therefore I had to remember and establish that order in which I completed the storyline and position the photographs accordingly.

THIS NEXT SECTION CONTAINS FALLOUT 4 SPOILERS!!!

01

Vault 111 – where my character took refuge when the bombs fell, joined by her husband Nate and her baby Shaun. However the inhabitants of this Vault were actually tricked into an experiment in cryogenic freezing. My character and her family were frozen for around 100 years before the vault was manually overridden, allowing a group of people to open the chamber with my character’s husband and baby. The group stole the baby Shaun and shot the husband Nate, before refreezing my character for a period of time. My character awakes when the cryogenic chamber stops working, to discover the dead bodies of everyone else in the Vault. My character escapes the vault and begins the adventure to try and find where Shaun has been taken to.

04

Sanctuary – the images depicts where my character’s old house was, my character returns to find the household robot Codsworth trying to keep up his cleaning duties. Codsworth seems affected by the radiation, but informs my character that 210 years have passed since the nuclear attack on America. Codsworth tells my character to start the search for Shaun in the nearest town Concorde, but warns that there are people who did survive the nuclear attack who could be potentially dangerous.

06

The Red Rocket – this truck stop is on the way to Sanctuary, it is here that our character meets the first companion of the game, a dog named Dogmeat. The Red Rocket also provides our character with a potential base, as there are various work benches that allow the opportunity for weapon/armour development and the ability to cook food for health points. Dogmeat now accompanies my character through the game and helps defend against enemies, as well as being able to hold items.

09

The Museum of Freedom – in the city of Concord, our character meets the first faction of the game known as the Minute Men. Our character saves the last known Minute Man and the group of people he his protecting from radars and a Deathclaw. The last Minute Men, Preston Garvey tells our character about the faction which has nearly died out, their ethos is to help anyone and everyone that needs help, with the hope that they can build a huge support network. It is through Preston Garvey and the other members in the group that our character finds out Diamond City would be the best place to visit next in order to find Shaun.

18

Diamond City – this is a developed settlement, made up of humans (there are no synths, ghouls or super mutants allowed here). Here my character meets Piper, the editor of a newspaper that comments on the many disappearances of people. Piper explains that an organisation known as the Institute is rumoured to be kidnapping people before replacing them with artificial copies. After Piper my character meets Nick Valentine, an early model synthetic human, which the residents accepted into their community after he saved the Mayor’s daughter. Valentine is a detective and begins to help with the search to find Shaun, directing my character to go after one of the kidnappers who they are able to identify as Kellogg.

21

The Castle – My character builds a strong tie with the faction known as the Minute Men, with Preston Garvey suggesting that my character becomes the new General and leader. In order to fully re-establish the Minute Men in the Fallout 4 world, Preston recommends that my character helps retake the old HQ of the Minute Men, known as the Castle. This was one of the most important moments in my play through of the game as I worked really hard to defeat a really strong enemy, the Mirelurk Queen. I didn’t have very good weapons and my armour wasn’t very good so I needed many tries to defeat the Mirelurk Queen. Once I finally did, I got a real sense of achievement, although my character didn’t really benefit from this win, as a player I felt accomplished.

24

Virgil’s Cave – when my character finds Kellogg we manage to find out that he does know about Shaun and that Shaun is indeed with the Institute. However before we can find out more, Kellogg turns hostile and my character has to kill him, to avoid being killed. We salvage important parts from Kellogg’s body, finding that he has synthetic technology in his body, which has allowed him to live longer. In Goodneigher we analyse this hardware that was embedded in his brain to find out more about the Institute, my character learns that a scientist named Brian Virgil actually left the Institute. My character travels into the Glowing Sea (an area full of radiation where the nuclear bomb was dropped) in order to find him. When my character finds Virgil we discover that he is a Super Mutant, which allows him to live safely in the glowing sea. Virgil is sympathetic when he hears about the kidnapping of Shaun and gives my character a schematic to make a teleporter, which is the only way into the Institute.

31

The Rail Road – between finding out about the teleporter and making the teleporter, my character comes across the faction known as the Rail Road, after following the Freedom Trail to find an old church. The Rail Road HQ is down in the basement, after a mission with Rail Road member Deacon, we are accepted into joining them. My character learns that the Institute is responsible for the invention and creation of synthetic humans, however they only view them as their property. The Rail Road believe that because synthetic humans have been created to be so close to real humans, that they do have independent feelings and personalities and therefore they have a chance at living life away from the Institute. In addition to this, the perception of the Institute as the synths being their property, is very similar to that of slavery. The Rail Road seeks our help in liberating the synthetic humans that want freedom within the Institute, asking my character to make contact with their inside man in the Institute if my character manages to make it in.

33

The Teleporter in Sanctuary – as a player, you can choose where you build the teleporter and which faction you choose to help you. I didn’t want to pledge allegiance to either the Rail Road or the Brotherhood of Steel, which have very different ideologies. I decided to go back to my home town Sanctuary and ask Sturges (a member of the Minute Men) to help me get into the Institute. I do manage to get into the Institute, where I find a synthetic version of Shaun. The real Shaun is actually 60 years old, my character was frozen for longer than we realised. The real Shaun is known within the Institute as Father and he is director of the Institute, as well as being the subject DNA of all the synthetic humans. It was his DNA, safe within the Vault and free from radiation, which was why he was kidnapped. Father asks my character to align with the ideology of the Institute, to try and see that they are improving mankind by making a new version.

36

The battle of Bunker Hill – this was the moment where I had to decide which faction I was going to ally with, Father sent me to try and recapture some escaped synthetic humans from Bunker Hill. However the Brotherhood of Steel also learned about the escaped synths and had the aim of destroying them all, the Rail Road were responsible for the escape of the synths in the first place and wanted to protect them from both the Institute and the Brotherhood. I decided to protect the synthetic humans from the Brotherhood of Steel, which made me enemies with them. I was still allied with the Institute,  in order to to help my main allies ,the Rail Road who were attempting put together a plan to liberate all of the synthetic humans in one go.

38

39

The Destroyed Prydwen – Following Bunker Hill, my character became enemies with the Brotherhood of Steel, who attempted to eliminate the Rail Road by attacking their HQ. This prompts the Rail Road to want to destroy the Brotherhood, the Institute also want the Brotherhood removed because of their interference with the Institute’s technology. Although I didn’t really want a violent solution, it seemed that the story had escalated too far to not remove the Brotherhood, as they continue to attack my character and the other factions. The two images above depict the wreck of the airship known as the Prydwen, which is where the Brotherhood were based. My character placed explosives in the airship before escaping and detonating them, the ruin of the Prydwen remains explorable in the site where it crashed. Although I interacted with the Brotherhood of Steel before this moment in the storyline, I felt that the ruins of the Prydwen really represent the hard choices I had to make as a player.

42

The ruins of the Institute – following the removal of the Brotherhood,my character continues to do tasks for the Institute while the Rail Road puts their plan into place. One of these tasks involves fixing and restarting a nuclear generator, which would help the Institute power their research in new ways and new scales. The Rail Road’s plan is to target this nuclear reactor and to blow the Institute up, after rescuing all of the humans and synths that want evacuation. This plan is put into action, the Rail Road is teleported into the Institute and they begin evacuating synths and other humans. My character goes to find Shaun, but he is on his deathbed because of a terminal cancer, Shaun is disappointed in my character but explains how my character can disable the synthetic humans that are attacking anyone who is trying to escape. My character then comes across a synthetic boy who looks like a 10-year-old Shaun, who believes that he is my character’s human son. As a player, I chose to take this synthetic version of Shaun and all of the Rail Road leave the Institute. My character is teleported to a rooftop overlooking the site where the Institute is underground and presented with a button to detonate the Institute. The image above is part of the crater where the Institute used to be, a site filled with radiation that is similar to that of the Glowing Sea, where the original nuclear bombs were dropped. It is here that you realise this play through of the game, simply replicates the war that created this post-apocalyptic environment in the first place – as the title sequence states ‘War Never Changes’.

These images resemble the main moments in the storyline, these are fixed and will appear in the order that can be seen above. The rest of the images I sorted and sequenced to fit around these main points in the story, the other images represent free play and travelling between the important locations. The sequence of the images can be seen below.

01

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

 

 

OUTPUT

With the images and the sequence decided upon, I needed to decide on the output. I had already identified that I wanted to create a photo book because of the number of important photographs that make up this series of images. Although the total of images exceeds the 10-15 specified by the brief, I feel it would be detrimental to the narrative of the project, if I didn’t include all of the images. This journey is a complex and detailed account, which is specific to my play-through of the game Fallout 4. In order to establish my complete investment in the game and the storyline, I feel I have to feature the entire visual story. I chose to make a digital photo-book online with the creator Blurb. I recorded a preview of the book and downloaded a PDF for people to be able to view offline at their leisure.

One of the last decisions for the project was the title. I had a few ideas, which can be seen below:

  • Lily
  • Charmer
  • Lily of the Commonwealth
  • Charmer of the Commonwealth
  • Commonwealth Lily
  • Commonwealth Charmer
  • Commonwealth

Lily was the name I chose my character from the beginning of the game, when I also chose what I gender I was going to play as, what she was going to look like and what strengths she had. From the beginning I chose to work on the elements such as charisma and luck, which would make sure that my character can persuade other characters she meets to bend to her will. This choice to go for charisma informed the decision behind the second title: Charmer, which was the code name I selected when joining the Railroad. I decided to use the reference to my game strategy when choosing the name Charmer, as my character was charming her way through the game environment. The fictional world that the Fallout 4 game is set in, in the former State of Massachusetts, however it is known only in the game as the Commonwealth. Therefore I started playing around with combinations of the character names and the name of the game world to try and make a good title.

My final decision was to choose ‘Commonwealth’, as it refers specifically to the environment that is depicted in the landscapes. I was able to get a really good image of a flower in the wasteland, I might have included the name Lily and used it to refer to my character in the wasteland. However this implies that my character is much better than the other characters, my character is definitely not perfect and is effectively a mass murderer, so I felt trying to liken her to a perfect flower would be false advertising. The title ‘Commonwealth’ was short, succinct, effective and relevant and worked really well for the minimalistic appearance I wanted to achieve, in order to try and convince the viewer that the landscapes are actually real.

Lastly, I decided to make the cover for the photo book a blue that references what is known as ‘Vault-Tech Blue’. Vault-Tech is the company that made the Vault in which my character was protected from the nuclear bombs and is the first place my character sees when beginning her journey through the post-apocalyptic environment. Therefore I felt that featuring this specific colour of blue would help frame the journey from start to finish. In addition to this, the colour palette in many of the images appears to be blue, therefore the cover sets the tone and there is a consistent colour theme throughout the images.

A summary of the project, the video and the PDF can be viewed HERE

Advertisements

Post Photographic Portrait: Process and Reflection

After a series of weekly tasks, this particular task serves as a more substantial project, the brief can be seen below:

The culmination of this module will be the production of a “post-photographic portrait” of Jill Jarman‘s piece for Cello performed by Laura Ritchie

Your decisions throughout  this process should build upon and further develop the work we’ve begun in creative workshop and throughout the lecture series. This process should be evidenced explicitly and succinctly on your blog as well  ( a 500 word reflective summary would do the trick).

To listen to Jill Jarman’s Cello piece click here

The piece itself takes the light from faraway stars and transforms it into a scripted musical piece for the cello. I listened to it to get some inspiration as to what I could do for this task as it could be incorporated in my own piece of work. The music was extremely abstract and sounded to me as an experiment into the sound a cello could make rather than a piece of music designed for the listener to hear and enjoy. I appreciated the experimental nature and it made me want to produce something that would draw attention from the viewer/listener and provoke a response either action or thought-based. Although it was well executed and it’s a really interesting idea I didn’t feel particularly drawn to the piece itself so I started drawing on the ideas from Phonar and tried to apply them to my own current interests.

I took the ‘Post Photographic Portrait’ title and started developing on this idea in relation to the tasks and content we have examined in Phonar. I originally started thinking about producing an image for a blind person made completely of sound as I enjoyed working with sound in the tasks. Then I started thinking of the concept of representation and how I could create an abstract form of representation, drawing on the ideas from Shahidul Alam of using different tools to achieve an outcome. I speculated as to whether I could produce a portrait through different mediums such as sound. The notions of a portrait are constantly changing whereas it used to be strictly a depiction of the individual with fixed elements such as the angle and crop it is now expanding. A portrait has become more about representation than depicting and this is what I wanted to explore in my Post Photographic Portrait.

With an idea in mind I needed to try and visualize the outcome, this meant picking who would be the person represented. I initially thought of producing a self-portrait through the notion of sound by making a soundscape; I would mostly include song, as I am known for singing quite a lot of the time. This idea was interesting to think about however it didn’t quite have the depth I wanted, for me this project was less about trying new techniques and more about creating an informed piece that would encompass the ideology of Phonar.

Eventually my attention was drawn to one of my current habits which is watching YouTube videos by the organisation Rooster Teeth. Their job is to play video games and record their footage to create a video which either informs the viewer how get achievements in campaign style games or give them ideas of what to do in open world type games. The content in particular that I watch comes from Achievement Hunter, which is a subsection of Rooster Teeth and mainly produces videos named ‘Let’s Play’. These videos feature the footage and recorded voices of the Acheivement Hunter community and without ever seeing them; I feel a sense of familiarity through their voices and their verbal interaction. I can identify who is talking and I know the dynamics between each of the employees purely though the audio content of the game.

This concept encouraged me to consider the other traces of the individuals online and whether this archive of inconsequential information could play a part in representation. I collated these ideas and brought them to an apt with Jonathan whereby we decided on the exact nature of the project. The proposal for my Post Photographic Portrait can be seen below:

I am going to challenge the notion of a portrait by attempting to reverse-engineer an image of some the Achievement Hunter individuals that I feel that I have become familiar with over the course of watching their YouTube videos. The concept of this notion is that the digital image is built up of two forms of data, visual data and metadata. This metadata of the image is the element I am interested in for the sake of creating this portrait. In terms of appearance I have not met these individuals therefore I can’t count on the visual element to form my impression, I need use the metadata. One element of the metadata is the voices from their videos; I feel a great deal of familiarity through these voices and by hearing them continuously I have built an impression and perception of these characters. The next step of this project is to explore and obtain the rest of the ‘metadata’ available to me in the form of their online presence, their location, their activity and their movements. My post photographic portraits will be in the form of data visualizations that will come together to form an abstract representation of each Achievement Hunter member.

With my proposal written I then started to think about gathering and collating the inconsequential information. It then became clear that in order to produce an effective piece of work in the remaining time period, I would have to focus my efforts on one individual rather than trying to tackle the group. I decided to choose the founder of the Rooster Teeth and Achievement Hunter company; Geoff Ramsey.

In addition to my proposal, Jonathan gave us the following questions to consider which would help us when tackling the brief:

What’s my problem?

What’s the solution?

What wouldn’t happen if this work wasn’t made?

I found these questions extremely hard to answer initially as I couldn’t think of my project in terms of a problem and a solution. Jonathan explained to us that unless the work we made would work to solve or expose an issue or concept then all we would be producing is ‘decorative work’. We were divided in the class and asked to explain our idea for the Post Photographic Portrait to each other, the listener would take the information given and apply it to the previous questions ready to present back to the group. The idea behind this act was that if your concept could be easily lost in translation from person to person, it would most likely be unachievable through the process of viewing as a final object. This process really helped to finalize my ideas and I was able to formulate my answers to the questions:

What’s my problem?

The problem I want to identify is the relationship between the inconsequential data left by a person online and representation.

What’s the solution?

The solution is to gather all the metadata of a single person from the inconsequential data they have left on the Internet and reverse-engineer a portrait – playing with the notion of a portrait

What wouldn’t happen if this work wasn’t made?

The viewer wouldn’t consider their own online presence and how much inconsequential data is available to the online community. Although the Internet is a great means for communication and is meant to be a positive tool, there can be consequences to leaving trails of fragmented data.

With foundations built in the right direction I began to gather information from each different online avenue. Initially I targeted sources that I am familiar with and that I use on a daily basis such as Facebook and Twitter, from these social media platforms I could find out Geoff’s location and a bit about his likes and interests. With Twitter especially I also discovered the members of Geoff’s family including his wife and daughter, as there are a lot of pictures and tweets about them. I then went on to find informational sources such as his designated Wikipedia page and his own profile page on the Rooster Teeth website. In addition to this I started paying close attention to the audio from the YouTube videos and exported the audio from the ones I felt best represented Geoff, these audio clips would be broken down and reconstructed to form a soundscape.

The initial archive of data can be seen below:

Geoff’s Facebook likes and groups

TempleOfApe MarthaMain ModestMouse Rhianna JayZ Visitors TowTheLine LazerTeam Goliath AchievementHunter SportsNation BurnNotic StatusKill RedVsBlue Deathtraps Battlefield PeopleKillRadio KathleenZueich CaitiWard WillbrooksWildAnimals AmericanAirlines A.JohnBolanger TheFORT GriffonRamsey PostNet Austin360 JoelHeyman NPR Xbox Zeilner Bros BarackObama Gnap!TheatreProject UnicornRampant BleepLabs ImagineThatProductions GearsOfWar Freddlew Dom’sRoosterTeethRelatedPhotos TentBaby RVBGloryDays TroublePuppetTheatreCompany

 

Geoff’s Twitter Hashtags

marriedtoanartist brohemian ItBegins Florence Italy HappyHour stronghands miamiheat2015 WorldCupBrazil2014 veronicamarsmovie embarrassed slowmoguys lovemylife ingoodcompany toocute SeriousBusiness kidsthesedays SXSW emasculated RollTide proudparent proudmoment officallyAmerican GuessTheChest HappyAnniversary luckiestdude jacksjobinjeopardy FatGuyFriday

 

Twitter Data Visualisations and Mapping

http://bluenod.com/user/geofflramsey

http://mentionmapp.com/mm/classic/index.php#user-geofflramsey

Also went to Twitonomy to get data analytics of Geoff’s Twitter Profile:

1 Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.27.19 Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.27.34 Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.28.33

In addition to this I noticed that Geoff featured his unique Xbox ‘gamer tag’ on his Achievement Hunter profile page.

http://achievementhunter.com/geoff

I decided to try and use this piece of information to try and find more about Geoff in relation to his gaming activity so I entered the phrase ‘gamer tag search’ into a search engine and it brought up the site featured below:

http://www.xboxgamertag.com/

http://www.xboxgamertag.com/search/DGgeoff/

This was a surprise to find as it was an example of Xbox sharing the information of their users and allowing it to become public. Not only can you see the point score of the individual but you can also see if they are online and what games they are playing; there is also a history of game play and achievements within those games. Whilst the data doesn’t reveal the identity of the individual there is the apparent issue of data being used in a manner than was unexpected. I certainly didn’t know that as an Xbox user, my data would or could be extracted and displayed on a platform such as this. It raises the questions of the exact terms and conditions an individual agrees to when they sign up to a service that requires personal data, if they don’t read the contract they can be agreeing to anything. The key concept is control in relation to releasing data and whether you can trust that the organisation that receives your data. In the age of free information you must keep in mind that if you are not paying for a service online you are most likely to be the product being bought and sold by third parties.

Once I had collected some data I felt I should start use them to make suitable visual content, for example reason I took the Facebook likes and inputted them into the website ‘Wordle’. This tool allows the user to create a visual collaboration of words and have control over the layout, font and colour. My decision making process for creating this visual outcome can be seen below:

Wordle Process

  • Copied all the hashtags down on paper exactly how they were written then typed them up into the create box
  • Colour: Black red and green because these are the colour scehemes for Rooster Teeth and Achievement Hunter
  • League Gothic – strong but allows expression
  • Layout: Mostly Horizontal

The finished Wordle piece looked like this:

Geoff's Facebook Likes

With an archive of information collected I needed to think about a viable output and whether this would be suitable for the audience I wanted to target. As I wanted to engage with other Internet users it is obvious that my piece of work needs to be digital and easily findable on the Internet; I also want to attract the attention from younger viewers perhaps those interested in the gaming culture as they might be able to recognise where I have found the information therefore it will become more personal to them. The digital interactive tool ThingLink could be a possible tool, I created the sense of a journey with my Alientated Sensory Landscape however there was only a limited sense of control for me in getting the viewers to discover the information in a specific sequence. Although this wasn’t an essential aspect in the Alientated Sensory Landscape task, I wanted to keep the control with the Post Photographic Portrait and lead the viewer on a carefully constructed journey. For this reason I decided on the idea of a blog, as put together effectively, it can be easily navigable and allows a wide range of media to be incorporated such as embedded sound material, video and the ability to include hyperlinks to outside sources. I would be able to create a different page for each piece of content I wanted to display and construct the exact order in which it can be viewed. Although I usually try and make my academic blog as easily navigable as possible with menus and categories for the viewer to sift through, this blog would be an artefact in itself, with a definitive order in which each page can be seen. This journey of travelling through the pages creates the narrative in which the viewer will follow to find more about the person.

I did consider allowing the viewer have some control into exploring about the individual in question however I felt it was important to replicate this loss of control seen once we scatter information across the internet. The viewer would have the choice of entering into this journey however once immersed they would have no control over the information they saw and the order in which they would see it. The only option they would have would to exit the blog; I do not think that the viewer would need to see the whole of the experience to learn something from it therefore even if they did exit it would still raise some questions for them.

However there would be some element of choice in the exploration, one really important aspect for me was giving the viewer the capacity to see each source of information for each page and to learn about each tool used to extract and display different information. However I didn’t want to make it obvious, I wanted the viewer to discover the sources of information for themselves. Therefore I decided to put in links that were harder to find initially but when found would be easy to identify on each page these would redirect the user to another tab, pausing the journey and leaving it waiting for their return or alternatively the viewer could leave the tabs until the end to examine. This achievement of finding the information is also an attempt to keep the viewer engaged and interactive, rather than a bland pattern of just clicking ‘next’.

With an initial blog constructed I then brought it before Matt Johnston in an apt to see whether my idea was translating clearly. He liked the concept however though the viewer needed to be free to navigate through the different aspects by themselves, this greater amount of control would encourage the viewer to engage and interact with the website. The blog needed to be more fluid and I needed to replace the screenshots taken from other websites with data visualisations made from my own tools and with my own colours. We also identified that the Wordles created weren’t extremely effective as they weren’t actually visualising data, and as my research had informed me the viewer will be looking for a the information when presented with this sort of aesthetic. In addition to this he encouraged me to be creative with the personal information and to produce a CV with it as this biographical information wasn’t completely working. However Matt liked the colour scheme, the black, green and white does reference the visual idea of code and he felt the soundscape of Geoff’s voice worked well.

Following this feedback in mind I then started to rework my blog, changing the theme and structure to become more fluid. I also built on the screenshots taken from Twitonomy and made my own data visualisations using an Excel spreadsheet which allows the user to make and customise charts, the new version can be seen below:

Twitter Data 01 copy

With the updated version of my blog completed I needed to rearrange the content to fit the new theme: Spun. This theme features either a static page or displays the latest blog posts; each feature image from the blog post is put into a circle on the page. There was enough space to have ten blog posts without the need for further navigation so I designated the following subjects for each one:

  • Introduction to the Post Photographic Project
  • Biographical Information
  • Avatars
  • Twitter Data
  • Twitter Mapping
  • Soundscape / Voice Actor
  • Vines
  • Instagram
  • Xbox Gamer tag and gaming activity
  • Source of information

This would also be the order in which they would be displayed on the front page, hopefully encouraging the viewer to read the introduction first and the sources last however the choice would still be theirs. I also needed to think carefully about what feature image to use and how it would fit in with the existing colour scheme. Each image selection had to relate to the content of the blog post and also have elements of green, black and white. Once selected I hate to manipulate some of the logos and images in Photoshop to get the colours right or to lay a slight black and white overlay which would make the colourful ones fit in better with the other choices.

With the structure decided I then needed to perfect the content, the following paragraphs detail a short summary of what is in each post, what I used to create it and my intentions and inspiration behind them.

Introduction to the Post Photographic Project

This was simply an extension from the existing content featured in the original blog; although I wanted viewers to draw their own conclusions from the work I felt it was necessary to provide an introduction into what the project was about. However the fluid nature of the updated blog would mean that the viewer could choose to read the blog post or they could miss it out and form their own view on what the project was about. This project for me was an experimentation into representation however it does have the underlying issue about the consequences of inconsequential; although Geoff Ramsey appears to be one of the individuals Fred Ritchin talked about being able to control his own image; other users of the Internet may not have the same knowledge of security.

Biographical Information

I took the ideas from Matt Johnston and attempted to make a file that appeared like it was an official document detailing Geoff’s biographical information. I typed the information into word using the font ‘American Typewriter’ to make it resemble an official piece of text, after that I printed the document out and drew lines through the text that resembled the first part of the address but was in fact just the address of the Rooster Teeth Office. Geoff never discloses his home address online for obvious reasons therefore I wanted it to look like this part had been scrubbed out for security reasons. I then crumpled the page slightly to look like it had been tucked away in a filing cabinet and scanned it back into the computer to make an image file.

Avatars

Following the research avenues given to me by Jonathan and Matt I wanted to reference and take inspiration from the work of Robbie Cooper and include a section on the different avatars that Geoff adopts in order to enter the gaming world. I searched through the YouTube footage from various games to find two defining shots: Geoff’s character viewed from the eyes of another player and the view from Geoff’s character himself. I then put these two together in Photoshop to make the final image, an example of which can be seen below:

Combined 03

As the project draws on the concepts of self representation I felt it was important to examine these alternate representations of Geoff’s self. It is interesting that in some cases the individual chooses to look completely different to how they resemble in real life, sometimes they choose appearances based on experiences and interests in their personal life, for example Geoff’s Minecraft avatar is a reference to the RedVsBlue character Grif for which he provided the voice.

Twitter Data

The ability of websites such as Twittonomy and HootSuite to analyse and display a user’s activity is somewhat unnerving. It references the thorough investigations the secret service might conduct to find specific information on a person of interest. It highlights the fact that many third parties will pay to access the inconsequential information you share online and displayed in this format it can tell a completely stranger a lot about your personal habits. I usually flick through Twitter before bed and perhaps most of my activity happens at that point; although I am clearly happy for my followers to know this information I am not so comfortable about this information being there for any Internet user to examine. As referenced in the blog post earlier I had to change the appearance of the Twitter I had gathered, however I feel the new updated visual outcome is much more suited to the environment in which it had been placed and it resembles a piece of my own work rather than snatched data.

Twitter Mapping

This identifies with the same concept as the Twitter Data; however websites such as BlueNod actually allow the investigator to examine the different connections the Twitter user makes; the terminology to describe this is Associate Mapping. It is a remarkable piece of software however I can’t help but thinking that people could find a lot about my location and my habits through other users that don’t have the same privacy settings as me. I chose to complete a screen recording because it wasn’t possible to embed the software in the space of the blog and if the viewer didn’t have a Twitter account, they wouldn’t be able to access this website for themselves and see the connections. I took advantage of the technology on offer and used it to my advantage, I didn’t want my blog to appear elitist by only including content that could be accessed by Internet users that are involved with social media platforms, this would also mean I remove my capability to access different audiences.

Soundscape / Voice Actor

Hearing Geoff and the other member of Achievement Hunter was the catalyst for this project as I really felt I knew them by hearing their friendship dynamic and their characteristics. This idea that someone could be represented through ‘data’ such as their voice and not just their physical appearance was a really interesting concept for me and draws on the idea of Phonar where as a photographer we need to consider the use of sound in digital projects. In some aspects, including different elements such as the written word, images, video and sound it would allow me to access the different kinds of learners. Some people engage more with sound and others with pictorial examples; by expanding across different mediums I have increased my capacity to access and engage with different audiences; a concept that Marcus Bleasdale and Aaron Huey have used to great effect.

Vines

Vine was a very new social media platform to me however it struck me as strange when I saw that a lot of Geoff’s Vines featured his wife and young daughter. Although this would be typical of a normal Vine user, Geoff Ramsey has a huge fan base on the Internet due to the popularity of those videos and sometimes Internet users take advantage of the anonymity of online spaces to exploit content such as this. There will be people that look at children on the Internet in a darker light and it was discomforting for me to see that their were lots of videos of a young child online with no security around them other than to disclose his exact location. Regardless of the physical security of his child, Geoff has actually exposed her to virtual exploitation. Perhaps this darker side of the project would encourage my audience to consider their virtual safety as Internet users in addition to their physical safety.

Instagram

Geoff Ramsey actually served in the US Army as a photographer and his involvement in this social media platform really expresses that. There is a wealth of photographs that can actually inform the viewer a great deal about Geoff that he perhaps doesn’t disclose in other areas of digital space for example it is clear that he and his wife have cooking as a hobby as there are a lot of images of food preparation. However similar to that in the previous section, there are quite a lot of images of his daughter and although the location is secret there is still that potential for a user of the Internet to extract this image and claim ownership of the content to do what they would like with it.

Xbox Gamer tag and gaming activity

As I explained previous in my blog post, I was surprised to come across a range of websites that would enable the searcher to find out about the user of each individual GamerTag and find out their gaming activity. Although this information wouldn’t disclose any real important data such as the location of the Xbox or the real name of the individual, it was still unnerving to find that anyone could be tracking and following my progress as I played Xbox games. I tried to replicate this ‘live stream’ idea by finding a way to embed content associated with the games into my blog. I liked the idea of the Vine videos playing content on loop and wanted some way create a file with content of this nature. I then remembered a previous Phonar session where Jonathan explained that a previous Phonar student had used ‘GIFs’ to portray their content, this would be perfect for my needs. I used content from the YouTube videos to try and make GIFs of Geoff playing the game in question and paired it with the information featured on these GamerTag websites. GIFs are very popular across the Internet on platforms such as Reddit and Tumblr which are mostly used by a younger audience. It is the young audience using social media platforms that I am keen to engage with as some of them will have the most to learn about online security and actually would be the ones most at risk; especially with the lowering age in which a user can sign up for social media and the capability for the individual to lie about their age.

Source of information

I felt it was really important to reveal where the information for each different section came from as this would potentially highlight and/or expose platforms in which the viewers might have their own information displayed. I also wanted to show which tools were used to create information such as the Twitter Connections and the Twitter Analysis so that people could see where an Internet user could extract this information. It was also to explain that although I feel like I know this person and it is certainly easy to build an impression and representation on them online, I have actually never met them therefore I can’t consider myself as a friend of his. The term ‘friend’ in relation to online activity has a completely connotation to that of physical communication; for example I went through the process of removing people linked to me on my social media platforms that I would actually never speak to again and probably wouldn’t go out of my way to communicate with them if I saw them in person. The concept of representation and relationships on the Internet are two aspects closely interlinked and it is worth considered in relation to the inconsequential information that we share. Could an anonymous user trick you into thinking that they had met you and engaged with you purely from this inconsequential data, and in extension could a computer build up a realistic impression of you from the content shared online?

Finally with all the content sorted I then added in an extra menu at the top of the blog which categorised the different posts into the sections: Look, Watch, Read and Listen. This would enable the viewer to choose which medium they wanted to engage with if they didn’t want to interact with all of the content. This also referenced the structure of the website Matt Johnston showered me where the viewer could choose which content to engage with and create their own narrative of discovery.

The completed version of my blog can be seen by following the link below:

http://rebeccawoodallpostphotographicportrait.wordpress.com/

Considering the distribution for my finished piece was also an extremely important aspect of the project itself, practitioners such as Marcus Bleasdale and Fred Ritchin have identified that the photographer role has extended to become a publisher. In response I have made sure to examine the audience that I want to engage with this piece and consider the best methods available to me in order to distribute it. Twitter will be a useful tool in getting the final output seen by a range of digital users as I can tweet a link to it and add in different kinds of hash tags. It would be foolish to only use the Phonar hash tag, as Marcus Bleasdale said in his interview with Phonar I would be ‘preaching to the converted’. Many of the people involved in Phonar already know the issues involved with consequential data so this project might be of interest with them however it won’t be a real journey of revelation and discovery for them. However I won’t rule out using the Phonar hash tag because if individuals like my work they can circulate it to the right channels in which people could stand to learn from it. I want to spread it across social media platforms and hopefully let it be shared by those who find it interesting and engaging however even if they do not share it I would hope that they are considering the issues addressed.

An extension to this Post Photographic Project would be to reproduce the content in different forms, perhaps collaborating with professionals in different mediums to engage with a different demographic. For example I could see if I could create an installation piece where the viewer physically moves through a space of built up of virtual content. The interactive element would be transformed and projected into the format of an exhibition meaning that the viewer could choose to move through the space as they wish, replicating the fluidity of the blog structure. The use of different content such as sound, video and images would also work to create an immersive reality; it would actually be really interesting to see how this physical set up would work in order to create a feeling of familiarity with the character. As Fred Ritchin suggested, the greatest reward and effect comes from face-to-face communication and sharing the same physical space as another. This installation would fall partway between physically meeting the individual in question and my original blog piece as it takes these virtual elements but presents them physically.

This project has been extremely engaging and rewarding and has if anything provoked more issues that need to be examined in relation with my existing idea of representation. Above all I have discovered that the practise of photography has been expanded and the ‘photographer’ now encompasses a multitude of different approaches to producing photographic content. Digital technology has meant that sound and video can now be used to great effective either with or actually to actually replace the image. As Fred Ritchin explained, photography is now in ‘dialogue’ with video and the two techniques are so closely interlinked with the capacity to make a ‘photofilm’ or to take a ‘still’ from a moving image piece. The digital revolution has meant that most the content seen in today’s culture is viewed from a screen; and where there is a screen there is nearly always the capacity for sound. It is because of these key concepts and issues that provoked me to explore and produce content from each different outlet, although in this case the finished product is still in it’s very early stages open to much more development. I have found myself slightly limited in my own capabilities and the structure of commerce as I could have collaborated with a web designer or paid for a better template that would have perhaps pushed my blog past it’s existing parameters. This is definitely a key aspect to consider in the future as collaboration has been proven to produce some amazing results in the case of Marcus Bleasdale. I feel I have been able to research and examine the issues involved with this project and produce a suitable outcome for the intended audiences.