New term, new projects

We were given the new uni modules yesterday. They look like hard work, but – happily – very interesting.

The new theory module seems far better than last term’s look-how-much-we-failed-our-critical-thinking-a-level shenanigans. It all about the context of photography: how it’s displayed in exhibitions, books and on the Internet, and how this relates to interpretations. The structure is pretty different too, as the lectures will mainly be from curators, photographers etc., and it’s up to us to research in advance and ask them questions. The onus is on me to work independently, and I much prefer this to the previous parroty system.

Our practical module (well, one of them) is on documentary photography. Our brief is pretty much that: produce some documetary photos. The topic is entirely up to me, as is the format and presentation. Pretty broad. I am thinking this might be a good chance to apply my resolution

We had an odd discussion yesterday on the meaning of ‘documentary’. People came out with widely differing interpretations, and our teacher summed it up by saying everybody has their own ideas about its meaning. I asked whether the word ‘documentary’ was therefore actually useful – if it’s so broad as to accept almost mutually-exclusive ideas, does it mean anything? As so often happens with the word ‘art’, it seems bizarre to me to start with the word and try to decide what it means. Surely you should start from concepts, then apply words to them?

But I think this is a much broader question, and such queries can apply to lots of language. I suspect there’s plenty of interesting philosophy there, and I should probably learn more about it before expounding too many theories 🙂 I think Wittgenstein and Russell wrote interesting things on the meaning of words, didn’t they? Something to do with the word ‘bachelor’ having an explicit meaning, unlike most vocabulary. I’ll have to look that up properly.

Anyway – lots of work to be done before May. I must be Properly Organised, or All Shall Be Lost. I shall attempt not to drop off the face of the internet in the process.