Assignment 1: Slight change of plan

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.

5 thoughts on “Assignment 1: Slight change of plan

  1. Catherine 01 February 2016 / 14:35

    Will you be able to use it in a slightly different way for Documentary as well?


    • Rob Townsend 01 February 2016 / 14:38

      Hmm… good question… I’m hoping to have enough subject matter available to not have to duplicate subjects between the two courses, as I know you’re not supposed to ‘self-plagiarise’ if you know what I mean. But I suppose if the brief is different, and the treatment is different – the end results will be different (enough)!


      • Catherine 01 February 2016 / 14:39

        Could well be – worth a try.


  2. Helen Rosemier 02 February 2016 / 08:55

    Sounds good Rob – and more unusual/interesting than an ‘elderly’ study. Just out of interest how are you planning to wedge into this what good cause you are supporting? I found this to be a rather unnecessary and distracting part of the brief for this assignment.


    • Rob Townsend 02 February 2016 / 09:41

      It’s a good question, and my tutor made a similar comment. But I have two answers and will use one or both in my write-up: (1) the brief actually says “an issue or subject that you feel needs attention OR which you already support… and I am leaning on the former rather than the latter; and (2) I recently started volunteering at a food bank, and whilst using the food bank itself as the subject isn’t possible due to user confidentiality, the church is the body that has set up and operates the food bank. So it is a “cause that I support”, albeit at one remove. It’ll be fine… ;-)


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