After literal depictive images, one can use metaphoric images to narrate the story. It seems a logical parallel from the earlier anchor and relay definitions. Include the viewer’s imagination and interpretation as an essential part of the perception of the story by using metaphoric imaging and relaying text. The use of both makes it perhaps too vague. In the work of Peter Mansell, he tries to photograph his experience more than the physical (hence unseen?) He uses images from his (literal) viewpoint and experiences in his daily life, living, and coping perhaps, with his physical condition being paralysed.  Not in a direct way, but with subtle indicators of his discomfort, sometimes growing into frustration, depicted very subdued compared to the described tragedy and personal experience and emotions he describes in writing and word. Without knowledge or perhaps even the presence of this fact of disability and as Terry Berret (Barrett, 2000) defines as original content, the images tend to lose engagement or emotion. The assessor, Jesse Alexander in the Interview (Arts, 2013), mentions the inspiration Mansell got from John Davies (Davies, 2012), especially on the high viewpoint landscape/cityscape imagery Davies uses. However, besides this practical side of picture-taking, I could not find many similarities between both. (The Photographers’ Gallery, 2018) As Davies is in search of the impact and tension between men and the landscape, how men influence the scenery. In the interview, Davies indicates he wants to include as much in the image as possible, as long it makes sense.  Mansell uses his photography mainly as a personal form of communication about his physical condition and how the environment responds or better resonates to that in all forms, combined with personal frustrations and discomfort, reflected in the images very well.

The work of Dewald Bota is something completely different, in my opinion. The search for pleasing aesthetic imaging seems the primordial motivation in this series, perhaps later intertwined with a sense of connectedness to his situation. The word “meditation” comes to mind. Gathering the next beautiful image around the same theme/subject, as a form of therapy, a collector’s item perhaps? There seems less emotional urgency in this work although visually very neat and, as the assessor mentioned (Open College of the Arts, 2015), very tight and with great consistency. Again, looking at these very well crafted images, I would not have imagined most of the intended “unseen” if not the personal displacement and perhaps consequential solitude, the term metaphoric seems more of an understatement.

 

Bibliography

Arts, O.C. of the (2013). Student work uncovered – Peter Mansell. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/66225200 [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020]. Student work uncovered – Peter Mansell from Open College of the Arts on Vimeo. Jesse Alexander and Sharon Boothroyd talk about Peter Mansell’s work for Photography 2:Landscape. In the video they refer to the work of John Davies.

Barrett, T. (2000). Criticizing photographs : an introduction to understanding images. Mountain View, Calif.: Mayfield Pub. Co.

Botha, D. (2010). Blurb Books. [online] Blurb.com. Available at: https://www.blurb.com/books/5578908-please-sit [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].

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Open College of the Arts (2013). Ring Road: by OCA student Dewald bothaYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z8nFG4WGbg [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].

Open College of the Arts (2015). Student work uncovered: Dewald BothaYouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3N1Twb7reg [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].

Pete’s Photographic Essay Website. (2016). Pete’s Photographic Essay Website. [online] Available at: https://clkpete.weebly.com/ [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].

The Open College of the Arts. (2013). Peter Mansell | The Open College of the Arts. [online] Available at: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/peter-mansell/ [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].

The Photographers’ Gallery (2018). John Davies Interview: Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2008YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIOua8NnlVM [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].