Artist/ Claire Walley

Birmingham, United Kingdom

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Claire Walley


I have recently finished a BA in Fine Art in birmingham. I work with dark room based photographic techniques, digital manipulation and video. My work is focused around our reliance on photography as a representation of truth, and how this strong relationship between us and photography can be manipulated to display its futility. We are reliant on something that is open to so many variables of change and yet we fail to even attempt to search for the legitimacy within the image, instead taking its message as fact, and allowing it to affect our judgement. I have focused my practise primarily on the role of the photographer. The photographer not only controls the subject matter of his images, the setting, the camera variables, the process of development, but in essence he is controlling us. Due to our whole hearted faith in the image, the photographer can create any consequence he wants. We are just another variable in the photographic process. I am also focusing my work around idea of constructing a photograph, and to what ends the image has been set up. I look upon the role of the photographer as a sinister one, a presence around us in our visually based society with intense power to deceive. I like to use light as a motif for deception, we consider light as revealing, whereas it can be used to conceal and deceive. My practise is heavily influenced by the work of Bertolt Brecht; his principle of epic theatre interests me and lends itself to my photographic work. I have used his ideas about equipment in the craft of my photographic images and have used his narratives as basis for my photographic sequences. I wanted my equipment to highlight the sinister role of a photographer as a manipulator; I wanted it to act almost predatory, a jarring presence to unnerve. I also used his ideas about the role of the observer, watching an event take place that they were unable to stop. And most importantly I began considering my images through a theatrical sense, considering the stage craft of each scene and what the cohesion of my scenes would make for my overall narrative. I also looked at Freytag's triangle, a concept that looked at the formation of storylines within plays which worked with climax and unease. I have also been influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, I enjoy his use of suspense and how he draws the viewer into the situations he creates. His use of cinematography also was of interest due to his films being rich in visual information and references. My work displayed is three pieces which are in unison in response to my thoughts on the role of the photographer. It acts as an amalgamation of my own work as a photographer and the thought of others also, in essence, creating an experience for the viewer, a experience that they would not usually have when considering a photograph, instead of seeing the 'worked' final image. they are instead seeing into the mindset of a photographer. The void between the photographer's thought and final result that is usually hidden from view. My video work references Brecht's work, a distorted narrative displaying the frantic analysis of a photographer's eye as they are building up a shot, a scene thats presence is only forming due to the presence of the photographer themselves. They are the epicentre of the developing action, manipulating reality. My photographic sequences is based on the 'Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany' by Brecht, the storyline of which relates to my own thoughts about the role of the photographer. The images are intended to allow for a customary interaction by the viewer, although begin to highlight issues with their reliance, the photograph's purpose and how they are making the viewer's thoughts change. Finally my book installation is a call back to my interest in Alfred Hitchcock, my work with light as a destructor of truth and my work with existing photographs. It is intended to unnerve and to highlighting how dismissive one can be of a photograph when it is not the legitimate object we assume it to be. Thus I am working with the power of the photographer's hand in distorting our understanding, and to what ends this manipulation is intended.

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