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1 Project proposal

The photographs in Wildlife were made during several long unguided walks around London. A document of suburban London, as it looked in the early months of 2020. The book features thirty-six photographs of chance encounters with the mundane and overlooked areas of a decaying late-capitalist suburbia. The photographs show the tension and beauty held in the outskirts of a metropolis; or possibly just the calm before the storm. 

The images in Wildlife focus on the points of human interaction with nature, where we have mimicked nature, the images draws parallels between a disconnection with nature and our humanity.

The images are combined with an imaginary map consisting of a graphical line, which was traced from the geographic data created on the unguided walks. The data is a log of free-will, of unguided movements through an inherited urban environment, punctuated by a prosaic text to counterpoint to the visual elements. The juxtaposition between the elements creates a new narrative, representing hope, a celebration of the evolutionary capability of the human brain; the connections between the hemispheres which create our reality, giving our world a subjective meaning. 

2 Neuroscientsts can use resonance imaging technology to look inside our brains, seeing our emotional and cognitive processes, witnessing the connections affecting our emotional wellbeing. The brain is plastic, and can grow or shrink areas associated with anxiety and stress, or clarity and wellbeing. Clinical professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical, Ronald Siegel says “The mind changes the brain and the brain changes the mind.”(Siegel, 2014 p.172)

Wildlife is intended for anyone feeling paralysed, not knowing exactly how to act towards the pressing global issues faced today. No answers are presented, but the book holds a very exact space where ‘not-knowing’ exists – a liminal space informed by our very physiology as humans, the space occupied my our limitations of evolution manifest in our society. The human behind the historical neglect we have shown nature, epitomised in an industrialised city; a mirror held up for our internal narratives, the reality we create moment by moment. 

The process of creating the images is an element of the book, in the form of the traced route, included as artwork. The process for the walks is a technique, an ancient right-of-passage, dealing with transitional periods and change. Following guidance developed by John Davis PHD, of Naropa University, the technique engages with transpersonal psychology, environmental education, philosophy and ecopsychology; a perspective on human-nature relationships.(Davis, J n.d)

Wildlife is a book documenting a very specific moment in time; the process of the creation of the book was built from top to bottom, starting with the roof and working down to the foundations. The meaning finally created by the connection and interplay between the parts. 

The book and wider project supports Mates In Mind. A charity addressing the stigma of poor mental health and promoting positive mental wellbeing across the workplace.

3 Introduction

This report is presented in three parts, which reference each of the interrelated development stages of the making of Wildlife, as the work has taken some conceptual twists and turns along the way.

Wildlife consists of three elements: the photographs, which have been made on walks around south London in the early part of 2020. A ‘map’ graphic, which has been traced on a computer from the map route data of my walks, generated by a walking application on my iPhone, and a prosaic text, which is a verbatim transcription of an interview carried out with a construction industry worker, at the very beginning of the research. 

N.B References (figures 1-5 in this text) are provided in the accompanying document “References”.

4 Part one: Left

After reading some horrifying statistics in The Guardian about a spate of suicides at Hinkley Point C, at the predominantly male construction site of the new power station, it resonated with my personal experience of working within the construction industry. In the UK alone, more than two construction workers take their own lives every week. (O’Carrol, et al. 2019) If you’re a young, low-skilled construction worker you’re 44% more likely to take your own life, compared with the ‘national average suicide by occupation rate’. As a comparison, if you’re in the highest-paid category – a director, manager or senior official, for instance, you’re 70% less likely to take your own life than the national average (Office For National Statistics, 2015) statistics show.

As the issues I’m looking at are also from my personal experience, I initially felt well placed to make work representing the affected population in construction from a place of empathy. 

A degree of perspective is important, which is difficult to gain when you’re living financially hand-to-mouth, in insecure housing as so many low-level construction workers are having to do, in the light of the growing cuts to social welfare and housing.

Ironically, even to know you have a mental illness can take an amount of ‘mental bandwidth’ which is stifled by living in poverty, causing a vicious cycle of damaging behaviours.

5 In his book Utopia For Realists, Rutger Bregman puts forward a case for a ‘Universal Income’, a basic wage for all regardless of social background and circumstances.

Bregman’s analogy is that of a computer running too many programs at once, people’s mental capacity can be affected by living financially hand-to-mouth in stressful insecure jobs, at the bottom of the pecking order [Bregman].

Employees are left too exhausted to even know they’re depressed, let alone that there might be the possibility of professional psychological help. ‘The long-term perspective goes out of the window.’ (Bregman, R. 2017. Chapter 3, 10:58) – poor people can easily feel distracted and unable to concentrate, which leads to poor self-control with drink, gambling and drugs. Growing up in a poor family can lower your IQ by 13 points leading to a life of low prospects – spiralling into even more poverty (Bregman, R. 2017).

I feel extremely lucky to have been awarded social housing in my late-teens, which has made all of the difference to my prospects. This allowed me to escape the rut of poverty and associated issues discussed in this report, leading to the opportunity to study on this course.

All images were made in the south London area, and are in part symbolic of decay in a man-altered landscape, in a late-capitalist suburban environment. London’s history of industrial dominance and colonial abuses, the class system and social power has turned the city into a ‘schizophrenic city’, of extremes in wealth and power (British Library, 2014). London also has a history of thinkers, poets, artists and writers – and walkers, as feminist writer Rebecca Solnit writes ’are the practitioners of the city, for the city is made to be walked.’ (Solnit, R. 2015. loc 3902)

At the beginning of the industrial revolution, William Blake wrote in his famous poem, London, of the sudden human technological advancement, man’s relationship with dominating nature and the effect on our minds:

6 I wander thro’ each charter’d street,

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow. 

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,

In every Infants cry of fear,

In every voice: in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear 

How the Chimney-sweepers cry

Every blackning Church appalls, 

And the hapless Soldiers sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls 

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlots curse

Blasts the new-born Infants tear 

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse 

(Blake, W. 2019)7 William Blake was a man of radical beliefs and spiritual visions. Welsh writer Ian Sinclair describes Blake’s visions as resonating with experiences of psychoactive drug use; visions of ‘shimmering angels in trees’. (British Library, 2014) 

In author Roderick Tweedy’s examination of the work of William Blake, he compares ideas in Blake’s rationalisation of his visions of Urizen– as ‘both creator and architect: the dominant construct with which to interpret reality.’ [Tweedy, R p.xi) The book aligns discoveries from modern-day neuroscience with Blake’s Urizen, as a profound understanding of the roles of the two brain hemispheres as explained below.

Tweedy compares Blake’s account with a popular TED video talk (Bolte-Taylor, J. 2008) Jill-Bolte-Taylor tells a story of having a stroke and the temporary profound spiritual experience of ‘Nirvana’. She experienced this when the left-hemisphere, the language side of her brain, stopped functioning temporarily, leaving her with an experience resonating with Blake’s earlier accounts in his poems.

The project has moved through different phases, ideas representing the issues firstly from a more traditional photojournalistic portrait and interview approach to one I hope to have a more utilitarian value, encompassing critical ideas within philosophy and psychology.

To begin the research, I contacted some past colleagues within in the construction industry, friends from my home town, people I know who have battled with addiction and housing problems. See proposal (figure 1).

Inspired by filmmaker Paul Sng’s Invisible Britain, Portraits of Hope and Resilience (Sng,P. 2018) (figure 2). I wished to use photography to represent people from similar backgrounds as my own, who struggle with not having a voice in society, making pictorial portraits, ones which resemble (in hindsight) a romanticised painterly aesthetic focussing on a class-divide and social justice – with the honourable intention often found traditionally 8 in photojournalism. Ethical issues arose with my new position of power, objectifying and exoticizing vulnerable people. Wielding a camera in this way, more harm than good could arise from making the work. In In, Around and Afterthoughts, American artist Martha Rosler’s critique was that even the ‘most responsible humanitarian documentary photographers are doomed to perpetuate the economic status quo rather than disrupt it or effect any genuine change of attitude amongst viewers.’ (Good, J. Lowe, P. loc 2767)

The first interview was arranged, with a colleague I’ve worked with for many years in landscaping roles (figure 2). The interview was carried out in his kitchen and was a very candid explanation of how he feels about the construction industry, working in low-status elementary construction roles, and difficulties with mental health. This conversation in part led to the upcoming change in direction in part two of this report. The exchange touched on topics I didn’t feel qualified to discuss, issues within mental health which could be provoked by my enquiry, potentially causing a great deal of damage to the interviewee. In this situation, the person interviewed is a good friend, and we came to a positive place by the end. 

Discussions with tutors led to me being more honest about the efficacy of this approach, arguably a more directly useful approach would be for me to photograph commercially a wedding for instance then donate the proceeds to a specialist charity if my concern is purely to help people in the construction industry. 

I contacted some specialist mental health charities in the sector for advice on how I might collaborate with them. However, due to these charities being poorly funded and run largely by volunteers, communication was very slow.

I began to photograph empty building sites and builder’s merchants, researching a new direction for the project, a more conceptual approach displaying absence, symbolic of the suicide rate.9 In the meantime, I began exploring the streets in my local area, looking to make a database of building sites to contact for research, as the external site hoardings often have the contact information of the contractor.

The symbolism of the images made during this period began to take on a new meaning, and the interpretation became more ambiguous, working within the formality of the New Topographic movement, the ‘man-altered landscapes’ (figure 3). The mundane and everyday as the material for the images. This, in turn, led to another development in the project, during the walks, I began shooting more intuitively (as developed in the Rethink unit on this course, a psychogeographic project photographing unexplored areas of London at night time), with whatever took my eye – which Walter Benjamin calls the ‘optically unconscious,’ (Wells, L. 2003 p.13) the meaning here formed through editing and curating the images. 10 Part two: Right

The guarantee of freedom is freedom.

Michel Foucault (Foucalt, M. 2020)

Wildlife is inspired by the psychogeographical techniques as used by The Situationists, a radical group of French thinkers, artists and writers from 1950’s Paris. The Situationists would explore and map the city from a psychological, reactionary perspective, gaining insight on systems of control and repression in our capitalist society. Wildlife has included the Situationists’ ideas of an alternative ‘mapping’ of the built environment, maps which represent the history and psychological repression (figure 4.3), ideas explored in French philosopher Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. (Debord, G, 1957) As one of the founding members of The Situationists, Debord writes a manifesto for a radical re-evaluation of the way we see our modern society, the ‘Spectacle’ is a phenomena created by mass consumerism, a movement which encompassed previous art movements such as Dadaism and the work of Andrè Breton and Surrealism. (Cloverly, M. 2010 p.68) Author Will Self describes the Spectacle as an all-encompassing, self-perpetuating phenomenon. In part, a post-Marxist critique of capitalism, global production and consumption and the resultant power dynamics in society, the Spectacle opens up a framework, a concept illuminating the way our comfortable existence of mundane passivity is counter to our human nature. Self goes on to observe ‘the Spectacle is a religious 11 phenomenon- a shift in the morality of spirituality.’ (Self, W. 2014).

The ‘Spectacle’ is an ambiguous phenomenon to pinpoint but it’s vital to become aware of it as an entity which pushes humanity into unhealthy states of greed and individuality, associated with the neo-liberal politics today and ideas of late-capitalism. The graphical ‘line’ seen combined with the images in Wildlife, work within these concepts explained in more detail later.

Wildlife takes inspiration from the work by radical artist/architect and co-founder Situationist, Constant Nieuwenhuys, who created a conceptual utopian anti-capitalist, post-Marxist city, a collection of artworks called New Babylon (figure 4.1). (Wigley, M. 2015) A megastructure (formally known as ‘Ville Dérivée’, literally, ‘Drift City’)(Wikipedia, 2018) most notably a city spanning the globe, with no walls. Constant used architecture as an experimental tool to change society, a city which lives just in thought and as a concept only, with no set of instructions to build it. The works evaluate concepts in Situationism and of advanced utopian societies, one in which play is encouraged in a future mechanised environment in which no-one has to work (Wigley, M. 2015).

Exploring the loss of freedom in contemporary ‘big data’ society: filmmaker Adam Curtis’s HyperNormalisation explores today’s confusion and the resultant rise in right-wing politics, a phenomenon that could also be seen within the critique of Michel Foucault’s Panopticon (Macey, D. 2015), ideas exploring a self-inflicted loss of freedom and control in society and dynamics of power. In this example, the architecture of a Rotunda-shaped prison building requires only one prison guard’s position for surveillance located hidden in the middle, with the prisoners not aware of who’s under surveillance at any one time, enabling one person’s power to control many. Our reality is manipulated using our data, society is left confused, not knowing what ‘reality’ is. Our data is fed back to us in the form of an echo chamber through the growing powers of social media, only to be abused by political powers to influence our behaviours (Curtis, A. 2016). Philosopher Hélène Cixous 12 in her book Attacks of the Castle, an allegory of female exclusion from a patriarchal society, explores the theme of ‘access and denial’ in society told through Kafka’s short story, Before the Law; the story of a man who arrives at ‘the door to the Law,’ but ‘remains convinced of his own exclusion’. (Leach, N. 2010 p.286)

Architecture is representative of the self-assuredness of architects, the ‘line’ divides people, ‘in architecture, someone is always outside and someone inside’. (Wigley M. 13:52) Ludo van Halem, curator for ‘Constant and the European avant-garde 1950 – 1960’ at Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, also says the line can also be seen to’ join and unite’, a symbol of connection. (ibid.) 

In New Babylon the world is mechanised, the inhabitants don’t have to work. Art is encouraged in the form of play and exchange between people. The city encouraged walking and communication. 

In Wildlife, the juxtaposition between the text and image creates a dynamic temporal relationship: Rebecca Solnit describes ‘Language as like a road, it cannot be perceived all at once because it unfolds in time, whether heard or read’. (Solnit, R. 2014 loc 4845) The narrative or temporal element has made writing and walking resemble each other.’ The textual element in Wildlife could be viewed as the ‘indubitable truth of Descartes Cogito’, a rambling voice in our heads, commenting and narrating our perceived version of reality. (Law, S. 2013 p.108)

Since Descartes, in the Age of Enlightenment, philosophers have tended to view the human condition as essentially one of a subject in a world of objects. We have conscious experiences and engage in conscious reflection. (Law, S (2013 p.288) A divided view of ourselves being outside of ‘nature’, with the voice in our heads as a narrator creating Solnit’s ‘unfolding road’, of unchecked thoughts and psychological conditioning.13 ‘It may be countercultures and subcultures that will continue to walk in resistance to the postindustrial, postmodern loss of space, time, and embodiment. Most of these cultures draw from ancient practices of peripatetic philosophers, of poets composing afoot, of pilgrims and practitioners of Buddhist walking meditation’ (Solnit, R. 2014 loc 4829)

Walking is a form of rebellion, with the backdrop of consumer culture and neoliberal notions of self-improvement taking a walk is a pointless waste of time from this perspective, gaining nothing of material value. A gentle pursuit taken up by thinkers as far back as ancient-Greece, perambulating through the environment allowing for a mental clarity, a distance and perspective. There’s a reason protest and political actions involve marching, it represents a freedom a human right to walk and make our voices heard. 

The work in Wildlife was becoming more personal, reflecting my experiences and memories. Through more research I came across a technique using a kind of ancient ‘rite of passage’, by John Davis PhD of Naropa University, recommended by a trans-personal psychologist friend for me to follow. The techniques laid out a very clear structure of how to approach walking and record taking, in a contemplative way. I decided to trust the technique known as Ecopsychology, to make the work.

The Medicine Walk [cite] lays out a set of instructions intended for use by people in transitionary periods of their lives. The process is very specific, based on ancient cultures and journeys of discovery. Leaving the house at dawn and returning at dusk the instructions say you should walk, without headphones or distraction, and watch your thoughts. Based on ideas within Ecopsychology, you must look out for symbols and archetypes, and journal them.

The instructions ask for the walks to be carried out in nature; away from people. I took these techniques and built them into my current practice of wandering in south London – getting lost, in the urban decay. 14 John Davis writes: 

‘How are you to find or know your medicine? It will almost certainly not be by searching for it or using your rational, logical mind to figure it out. Be open for a sign, use your intuition, be aware of sights, sounds, and feelings, and let it come to you. You may not understand it fully until some time after your walk but you will find a symbol of your medicine. If this symbol is immediately clear to you on

your walk, accept it with wonder and gratitude. If not, accept it as a kind of seed crystal from which the fuller understanding of your medicine can grow. The symbol may creep up on the edges of your consciousness or it may stun you with breath-taking clarity. In any case, before your walk is completed, find a concrete symbol to bring home with you.’

(Davis, J n.d)

Writer and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair, walked the M25 to define the edge-lands of London, in his book London Orbital, (Sinclair, I. 2003) he explores the motorway as an icon of deregulated finances and development in Britain since the 1980s, on a kind of spiritual pilgrimage, exploring churches and sites of demolished asylums over an entire year. Sinclair says walking allows a ‘sense of place’, and you ‘walk out of yourself’ (Sinclair, I. 2014). In this psychogeographic exploration, in Sinclair’s video presentation of his book, London Orbital, he describes the M25 in a Foucaultean way: ‘the edges of a city as the places madness is taken out to.’ (ibid.)

The images, for me became symbols of late capitalism, the essence of which was inspired by a lesser known photographer, Andy Feltham (figure 3.4). The images in Pretty Mundane featuring liminal spaces around the UK, with an air of ‘magical realism’ had a large effect on the aesthetic of my images. They were inspiring in a way that completely reconnected my excitement with photography – embracing this, it enabled the energy to make a large amount of photographs in a short period.

While out walking, getting lost in the streets of London, as instructed in the techniques outlined earlier (I didn’t 15 actually achieve getting fully lost – London, rather annoyingly, is very well signposted), a walking app kept track of my exact movements. The data from the walk made a graphical line, which I traced into my computer. 

In an article on the ‘science of wayfinding’ writer Michael Bond says ‘The way people behave when they are lost has always been a mystery’ looking at the common mistakes people make when lost in the wilderness, often leading to death, can be the difference between life and death. If you’re terrified, you make awful mistakes, missing landmarks and other important information. ‘The extreme stress of being lost makes it impossible to reason.’ (Bond, M 2020). The brain’s evolutionary development of fight-or-flight releases adrenaline and makes the situation much worse. 

I found the dynamic between being ‘lost’ and having data collected from my free-will an interesting one. The data became a product of the process of aimless walking; the symbolic nature of the photographs taken, combined with the data from my ‘indeterminate’ walking route; the process being part of the work. 16 Part three: Straight on

I’ve got absolutely no idea what I’m doing any more – that’s how it works.

John Gossage (Gossage, J. 2019)

The project took a new direction late on in its making; this happened as I was transcribing the initial research interview for use as a part of this critical report. The intention was to summarise the interview as part of the research process.

By this point I was presenting the work to tutors as a comment on late-capitalism, in relation to the anthropogenic destruction of our environment, an issue I explored earlier in both the ‘Collaborate’ and ‘Rethink’ units on this course, from different conceptual angles: the Collaborate unit was a very rational documentary project on Extinction Rebellion, and in the Rethink unit, I began working on a psychogeographic project, exploring London at night time, photographing unexplored places. The culmination of these two projects has become clearly apparent in Wildlife, clear to me only after the inclusion of the text element.

The component parts of Wildlife work within a descriptive framework, the images portray a decaying south London, the graphic is descriptive of walking and exploration. In an experiment, I placed the interview verbatim text in amongst the images, and a whole new dynamic unfolded.

The text element in Wildlife is inspired by a prosaic Joycean ‘stream of consciousness’ narrative writing style, the use of 17 which has now brought the project back around in a full circle, grounding it in a very unexpected way, back to the beginning research into mental health. This was an unexpected, almost accidental addition, but fitted effectively as a counterpoint to the visual elements. 

The interviewee was always happy for me to use the audio recording of the interview or a reference of it, but once it was transcribed into a verbatim prose, a whole new meaning emerged: the intonation of the voice has been removed so it sounds more impersonal, having lost its character from the spoken recording– similar to the difference between the self-awareness of a posed and a candid photograph, it’s impossible to recreate the feeling. I’ve been reluctant using it as a part of the project, as I think it would be more appropriate to use my own words – writing a similar piece from my own experience. After several unsuccessful attempts, now with the pre-meditated knowledge how the text is going to be used, I can’t achieve the authenticity of the interview, so I’ve opted to include it with informed consent. This decision wasn’t taken without a great deal of consideration. The text now representing a type of cultural narrative echoing stories and opinions I’ve heard many times over the years.

In this sense, documenting an issue within the same cultural narrative that created it is just going to reinforce the problem. Through the narrative of correction, control – fixing something that’s broken, all traditional masculine traits responsible for mental health issues today are explored in Grayson Perry’s book, The Descent of Man (Perry, G, 2017). 

In his book Grayson Perry describes a time when he employed an electrician to work at his house. The man would begin work every day at 6am. Grayson asked, ‘Why do you have to start work so early?’ The man replied angrily ‘to avoid all those angry road ragers’. (Perry, G. 2017 Chapter 4 31:25) This summarises the deeper issue I’m exploring, the vicious cycle of self-destructive behaviours. In this case of the electrician, it was informed by the cultural narrative of misaligned angry men in the trades.

Bill Drummond, one half of the 90s pop/rave music group, The KLF, engaged with an interesting creative approach to making music and art, employing the techniques of the Situationists. In John Higgs’s biography of the band, he speaks about Drummond’s ideas, the way they take shape in his mind Drummond must ‘accept all contradictions, and allow the idea to grow under its own logic.’ (Higgs, J, 2012 p.170) 

This is very true to the way Wildlife has developed, at times making content, I was unaware of how it would all fit 18 together as a project.

Drummond embraced an approach that dealt with surface appearances; how things appear as one thing and turn out to be the opposite. Drummond says ‘The contradiction at the heart of human existence is we are totally trapped and totally free at the same time.’ By this I think Drummond means we have a choice to react to our surroundings, our subjectivity is open for negotiation. 

I’m not certain where this work fits, possibly alongside other postmodern works. An analogy could be seen in the Dada movement and its relationship to the first world war, a reaction as post-traumatic stress, or the surrealists to the second world war, looking into the Freudian subconscious, the work in Wildlife feels as though, in part, there’s been a release of embodied trauma, the trauma the statistics represent. The work has truly allowed me to connect with the horror the suicide statistics represent, eliciting feelings of grief and catharsis. 

The work has entered a new realm of conceptuality, which is very new to me. My research has mostly involved working backwards after the project was finished, reading structuralist philosophy, and moving into poststructuralism. Writer Lucy Soutter summarises my predicament well when she speaks about the baffled student hitting the ‘postmodern barrier’, realising all of the previous work that brought them to this place, the ‘subjective, expressive urges that brought them to photography in the first place are considered highly problematic within contemporary photographic education.’ (Soutter, 2013 p.5)

An interesting quote from the theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, in his examination of time and reality he comments on the development of our physiology as humans: ‘Our brain, in its current stage of evolution, is wired to fear its own death’, [Rovelli] illuminating the causes of mental anguish in humans, as opposed to animals (and nature). In the closing thoughts by Rovelli in his book, The Order of Time, he writes ‘the hypertrophy of our frontal lobes is considerable, and has taken us to the moon, let us discover black holes, and to recognise we are cousins of Ladybirds, but that is not enough for us to explain ourselves, to ourselves.’ (Rovelli, R. 2018. Chapter 15. 07:23)

I hope not to sound too sentimental, but whilst this process has been emotionally unsettling; it’s also been highly enlightening, I now see where the initial drive came from to attend this course, at this stage of my life in my early forties. I’ve had a deep desire to communicate the enormity and scale of the suffering within the demographic. I’ve been around this issue, and felt it deeply from a young age with my father on building sites. 19 Conclusion

Reflecting on the process of making this work, as previously mentioned in the proposal, it has been somewhat counter-intuitive. A great deal of trust in the process has meant letting go of old ways of working and has freed up a much broader field of creative arts to work within. 

The course as a whole has been an exercise in becoming aware of one’s motivations, and how to build on past artist’s work. The implications of one of Leonie Hampton’s lectures called Only Connect, I’m now starting to fully comprehend – she spoke about building on the history of art and operating as a whole. I’m now starting to understand the meaning of TS Elliot’s ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent,’(Elliot, T. 2009) a key text which is having increasing relevance to my practice. A move away from the fear of not being ‘original’ in my work, or TS Elliot’s notion of the ‘peculiar essence of the man,’ (Elliot,T.2009) this implies that artists don’t need to focus solely on a distict individuality, compared to the work of their predecessors, rather a more collaborative effort, embracing all the work that has come before. 

In my recent work, I’ve shifted from the debilitating desire to make my own ‘mark’. It’s taken a period of making work which I didn’t consider to be ‘beautiful’, poplular or commercially viable, to reevaluate my approach without the pressures of financial gain.

In the case of this project, the work builds upon a history of urban wanderers who’ve come before, to learn the history of the drunken wanderings of the Situationists, remapping Paris in order to liberate their minds, or the Opium-fuelled wanderings in London by Thomas de Quincy in Confessions of an English Opium Eater, or William Blake’s visionary poetry – or Iain Sinclair’s deep engagement with history and the occult, and the M25. These fascinating ideas are all discussed in the field of psychogeography.(Cloverly, M. 2010) Looking beyond surface appearances seems more important than ever, making 20 photography an exciting medium. 

In critique of the process I’ve followed in Wildlife, I can see how the work is unaccessible, ironically to the demographic I wish to represent. The project has allowed an authenticity to my practice, and growth as an artist, which is of huge value. 

Arguably, I could have communicated the issues of mental health in construction through my own experience, telling the story of my own personal recovery from mental illness. My concern being that the work would have been self-indulgent and insular. I can now see this isn’t a valid reason to discount the approach, as the work may have been helpful for others in similar situations.

Wildlife supports the charity Mates in Mind, and now I’ve established dialogue with the charity I’m motivated to volunteer my services as a photographer under their guidance. I’m currently forming a new proposal working with video, instead of still images, as I feel this would be a more appropriate and accessible medium, with a wider potential reach.21 Bibliography

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The book is presented in A4 sized landscape format with a hard cover. The pages are white, with the isolated map graphics printed on semi-opaque tracing paper, allowing the ability to overlay the graphic over the proceeding or following image in the book, or the reader to overlay the graphic over a printed map of their own psychogeographic map route.

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