Exercise 5.3: ‘Journey’ Page 112
Your journey may not involve travelling the world or an excursion across Russia. You might see your journey to the post office every Monday as particularly relevant – or the journey from your bed to the kitchen in the morning. Note the journeys you go on regularly and reflect upon them.
Now photograph them. Remember to aim for consistency in your pictures. If you choose to photograph all the charity shops you’ve visited in a week, try to photograph them all using the same camera, lens, standing position, lighting, etc. This will help keep your project honed to the subject matter rather than you, the photographer.
I have decided to photograph my journey to the toilet at my surgery. My morning surgery is from 8.30 to 12.30 pm with one or two toilet breaks. They are often rushed but important as I normally get a cup of coffee then.
Working in general practice has become ‘silo’ working where I am a ‘slave’ to my room and computer that issues orders and tasks about who to see or call or make a judgement about a blood test or X-ray or something else. It is a pressurised environment which increasing think is ‘institutional abuse, which is endemic in public sector working:’ Karl Marx would definitely see it as oppression by the state and exploitation of the workers. That is what I feel and I suspect that an increasing number of my peers feel the same; 3/4 of GP have mild or severe issues with workload stress. Perhaps that is why having a break is so important. Normally I work with 9 doctors and 5 nurses all working at the same time, but in this satellite clinic there are only 3-4 of us which makes it a much quieter environment.
I could not tell you what is on the walls on the way to the toilet and hot water source. I am normally thinking about work related issues and meetings when I walk in and out. I will notice things this time.
I took my camera to work and decided to take images about my journey during and after a surgery. I only left my room twice in four hours – both times were to go to the toilet. My main feelings that this was a building without soul; cool, clinical and empty for most of the time I was there. Apart from one person I was working with, and the 15 patients I saw, and the porter later on when leaving, I was ‘on my own’ and in business mode.
Here are some preliminary shots then an edit which is followed by a story that I have constructed to illustrate my journey.
Series: ‘Silo working’
Here are my final images and notes on why I have shot or chosen them.
I think that the more ambiguous images work best as they leave the viewer to image what they speak about. It is back to the chapter in Charlotte Cotton’s book about ‘Photographing nothing’ – that ‘nothing’ can speak a lot more than a complex tableau. So to edit to a final series with these limited images this would be it.
Series 2: ‘Trapped’