My initial idea for my presentation method was to create a visual representation of the River Sherbourne through my photographs. I wanted to create an exhibition space that allowed my viewers to visually engage with my work; my idea was to map out the route of the River Sherbourne on the walls, I would then place each photograph in its correct location along the river where it was taken. By creating the river on the wall, my viewer would literary have to walk the River Sherbourne and experience its journey through my own journey and images. I wanted to take my viewers on a journey to echo my own journey. This presentation method would take influence from the work of Todd Hido, who created an exhibition out of his work Excerpts from Silver Meadows, in which Hido has a free flowing exhibition which is less constructed and linear. Through a combination of images, set out in a variety of sizes and spaces, Hido gives his viewer the freedom to take a “trip through the innocence of childhood and adolescence and into the darker aspects of life beyond.” The ‘random’ layout gives a less structured approach allowing the viewers to each take a personal reading of the work. In my own work, I want my viewers to have a personal journey and experience with the River Sherbourne, and so echoing this layout of Hido’s in my own layout along the ‘map’ would allow my viewer more freedom to explore.
Todd Hido talks about his work:
Due to timings because of this project’s deadline I knew it would be quite hard to actually create such a large exhibition like this before the deadline, and so I came up with the idea to create a digital representation of what my exhibition space would look like. Using a computer system such as InDesign or Photoshop I could create a digital version of my exhibition space.
I also had two other ideas of how I could present my final body of work; another idea, like the previous one, was to create a visual representation through an exhibition of my work, yet this time make it more linear. Instead of mapping out the exact route of the river along the walls, I would create a representation of the river, by placing my images along a line that represents the river. Each photograph would be placed in relation to their location on the river, places that I did not photograph would be represented by blanks in the walls, these blank spaces would be sized in proportion to the size space on the map. My final idea was to create a photobook, this would echo the ideas of my previous exhibition layout. The photographs would be placed in order of the river, from the source until it joins the River Sowe; any missing locations would be left as blank pages and the number of blank pages would be in proportion to how big the gap between the two photographed points are on the OS map.
I felt that all three of my ideas were strong and each could work in their own way, and so I decided to talk to Sunil Shah, a freelance curator, when he came in to talk about his practise. Like myself, Sunil thought that all my ideas were strong enough and either could be adopted, however he did give me a few things to think about. Sunil suggested that I combined a photobook and an exhibition to give a true overall experience of my journey and the journey of the river, this would then allow my viewers to spend more time both engaging in the exhibition work and my photobook; Sunil also questioned whether I needed to display all my final images from this project in an exhibition, as often when exhibiting the amount that can be exhibited will depend of the space available. I believe that for my work it is important to show as much of my final work as possible in an exhibition, as my whole aim of this project was to inform and show my viewers my personal journey of discovery as well as showing the journey of the river.
From talking to Sunil and Caroline about my work and my own opinions on it, I have decided that I will create a Photobook of my body of work, that allows my viewer to ‘travel’ down the river at their own pace allowing them to make their own journey of discovery. To combine with this photobook I would like to exhibit my work to create this whole experience of ‘the journey’, however due to time constraints I will not have time to actually set up the exhibition and so I will create a digital interpretation of what my exhibition space would look like. So that my exhibition and book at not too similar, and not just a small and large copy, I have decided that my exhibition space will use my original presentation idea and so I will map out the exact route of the river on the walls. To echo this movement of the river from the north-west to the south-east of Coventry, my images in my photobook will gradually move down the page, in relation to their positioning on the OS map.