Today I tested out my idea on others in order to establish whether I had been successful in making them think about what is private and what is public. I also wanted to make sure the photographs I had selected were the best ones. I am also posting my final images on Facebook in order to get non-art students comments and feedback on my work.
Photoshop…… wish I was a wizz on it! I want to try to make my photographs clearer and cleaner, otherwise I feel there is too much distraction away from the idea of public vs private!
Today I photographed 2 telephone boxes that I made, asking the public to help. Although whilst walking around trying to find someone that would help me was initially hard it got easier as I got more confident and also I moved to several locations which meant I had a variety of shots I could work with. I thought these photographs were more successful than the ironing ones as I was able to involve the public more and I found this more fun and I also feel it got better shots. Here I managed to get the private i.e. the conversation in the public and the public i.e. the telephone boxes in the private which was one of my aims for my final piece. I feel from doing these sorts of photographs involving the public it has given me so much more confidence to just go out and do it, something I feel will be essential on BA.
Took my cleaning ‘machine’ to a café and got escorted out before I managed to start photographing. Really regretting my slowness getting the camera out as security and café staff coming over pretty angry would have made a good photograph. This was really disappointing as this was what I had been planning to do and it also knocked by confidence going into another coffee shop. Another issue I had is that the machine is really awkward to carry and this limits where I can take it which is a pain and although I could arrange a van etc to pick it up I am really running out of time, I had intended to have finished my project by now according to my action plan.
Today I took my toilet to the lift, it proved relatively successful, some of the reactions were brilliant, yet mixed which I also thought was good and too demonstrates one of the points I am trying to raise, that privacy is very different for different people. Reactions included laughing hysterically, completely ignoring, pointing and lift travellers all looking at each other. I decided half way through photographing to start being the ‘button woman’, this meant that I was having conversations with the public and many of them commented things such as, ‘rather you than me’, ‘why?’ Some were just interested and asked about my project, one woman thought I was doing a Jack Wills photo shoot, which I did find rather hilarious and can only take as a compliment. However despite what was a good interesting reaction form the public I am questioning the strength of some of the photographs I have, do I want one reaction as a final image, is that enough? What should that chosen reaction be and furthermore should I try to collage some of the reactions together into one image? The problem I currently have is lack of Photoshop skills, yet I am going to just keep going, try other scenarios, my telephone box and my cleaning prop and then reshoot and edit my photographs afterwards as necessary.
I am unsure whether to dress up as the different people, an older women to do the ironing, a typical teen to shoot the toilet in the lift and a business man using the telephone boxes.
Today I spoke to a tutor about what I am trying to achieve, private in public and public in private in one image and furthermore show that privacy is different for different generations. I was advised to go out and interact with the public which would allow the public to be in my ‘private’ world and my private world to be in public. I was advised to look at ‘The palace of projects 1995-1998’ by I Kabakov, this book is really about making things and this is something that I have found to be successful previously on the foundation, with both my machine project, book arts project. Looking back at previous foundation work, talking to a tutor about going out and interacting with the public and furthermore looking at the photographs I have taken in this project which get a public reaction, I have decided on my final outcome. I am going to make a cleaning prop which I will then take to various places, this is what many women feel is a private thing to do, especially the over 30s. I will then try to interact with the public, perhaps in a coffee shop asking customers if they would like anything ironed. This interaction I feel is essential, by getting people involved I am getting the public in the private whilst also the private in the public. I also feel the public’s reaction will represent what I have found out- that this is something you don’t do in public! I am also in the process of putting together a toilet set which I can then take to the public, this is another thing I found that people thought was private, yet here it was more the younger generation, in particular people in their teens and twenties which thought this was private. I decided to take the toilet to lifts, set it up and then when the doors opened photograph peoples reaction, it is the element of surprise and awkwardness of the lift journey with people looking down at me on the toilet which I thought would really make people question the private and the public. Another thing I have decided to make is large telephone boxes; I have found telephone boxes really interesting throughout this project as they are not really used anymore. According to boys they are used rather for peeing in on a night out, making secret telephone calls as your having an affair and not really much else. Yet I find it weird that this privacy is gone, how many times do you sit on the train and say to the person on the other end of the phone I can’t really talk now I am on the train; we are embarrassed of having private conversations in public. Listening to conversations on the train and tube and asking around it is mostly men that end up saying I can’t really talk I am on the train. Therefore I want to take my telephone boxes onto the train and have loud conversations using them which I think will make people think about privacy when it comes to conversation.
Having taken photographs of the toilet door being pushed open in a public place with different generations on the other side I have concluded this as unsuccessful. Although the concept I feel is strong, I believe because a lot of staging was involved the atmosphere and moment is lost and the photographs therefore do not convey the public’s reaction to private in public. Yet having done this I can now see the importance of capturing that moment and now how it has to be natural rather than staged. Although Gillian Wearing pulls this aspect of staging off, I prefer the reactions for my work to be natural and I think this is a lot more interesting for my project. Moreover interacting with the public allows the public to be in the private and private to be in the public, something I still want to achieve.
HSBC adverts…. the idea that there are different perspectives depending on who you are; a bald head may be a soldier, a style or a survivor. This idea is something I think is very relevant to my idea of privacy being different depending on perspectives. I want to take photographs of people’s reaction when the toilet door is pushed open as this is something that will allow people to demonstrate their opinions on the aspect of privacy and the toilet. This idea also allows the private to be in the public and public in the private which is something I wanted to try and achieve. How does a mother, daughter, grandmother react when the door is pushed open in a public toilet?
I feel now I have tried out enough ideas in order to make a decision on which one I want to take further and present as a final piece. I only really found now what privacy actually is, there are different catagories ie bedroom, bathroom etc. Also before I was just thinking of it perhaps from one perspective and only over the past few days have I begun to realise that privacy is very different for different people. Showing my images and photographs of tested ideas out to others has shown me that my final idea needs to reflect that privacy is different for different people. From asking members of the public my strongest idea is the toilet one, although people found my transparency work: the idea that what is in our bins, pockets, bags etc is interesting as an idea, it’s not as visually strong and didn’t excite anyone and this is what I want. I have also managed to discard other ideas simply by thinking about problems with them both with concept and also in the practicality of doing them. Although I am a bit behind schedule at the moment, I feel I have made a massive leap, I have decided along the theme of privacy and the toilet: its relevant to every generation and everyone seems to have different opinions on the aspect of privacy and the toilet. One women I asked said she always goes to the toilet at home with the door open, even if people are round as she doesn’t believe there is anything to hide as we all go to the toilet; I found this interesting especially in comparison to other replies I got about the privacy of going to the toilet.