My assignment 1 subject was going to be ‘the elderly’ but my research has taken me down another path and I am now pursuing a different idea.
In short, one of the first people I spoke to as part of my research invited me to come along to a service at her pentecostal church. I did so, and it was a fascinating experience. As a lapsed Catholic and long-time atheist I found the pentecostal version of ‘church’ to be entirely different to my concept or memory of it. It got me thinking about how the perceptions of religions in a largely secular society are increasingly driven by stereotypes and generalisations, often negative ones.
The demographic mix at the church is only slightly skewed in favour of the older person that I was originally going to have as my overall subject, and also includes a healthy variety of age, gender and race. And as a subject for an assignment on a course called Gesture & Meaning the church quite an appropriate subject – very expressive, celebratory and joyful.
Right now this subject matter appeals to me a lot more than the generic ‘older people’ theme. This is something I am genuinely curious about and can use the photography project as a vehicle for satisfying that curiosity.
So… I have set up a meeting with the church’s Pastor to discuss the possibility of me doing a photo project on the church community. I do need to keep in mind the brief and ensure that this is done in the service of what the brief calls ‘documentary values’.
I will update my preparation after my meeting with the Pastor. In the meantime I will continue with the research into contemporary documentary practitioners.