Liz Orton / Project Diary / Queens Park Community School

Queens Park Community School: Session Two

Boris Mikhailov, Plate No 48, from the series Yesterday’s Sandwich, 1960-70 © Boris Mikhailov

Boris Mikhailov, Plate No 48, from the series Yesterday’s Sandwich, 1960-70 © Boris Mikhailov

A few comments have alerted me to a problematic distinction in pupils’ minds between art and photography. I was beginning to pick up that pupils thought of photography as not art. At the moment, painting and drawing have first claim on art, and photography is relegated to some other category – media and entertainment, perhaps. This in itself is interesting, and is part of the story of the history of art, but contemporary art has done much to try and an end such hierarchies and distinctions. We hope that the visits to galleries will help challenge student perceptions about this.

In week two, I researched and brought in pictures made by artists using photography. I focused on artists producing work related to culture as the students are currently working on a project entitled ‘Cultural Map’. We looked at Richard Hamilton’s montages, Boris Mikhailov’s double exposures, Henna Nadeem’s layered landscapes overlaid with patterns, Gerhard Richter’s overpainted photographs, Sammy Bajoli’s digital mixings of colonial and contemporary photographs, and Shirin Nesat’s text layered photographs (among other things). In each case we discussed the use of visual strategies as a constituent part of the meaning of the image. We looked at the relationship of the medium to the subject, the multiple uses of the photograph, and the relationship of photography to other mediums.

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