Assignment 1: Encountering Culture (Idea development)

After delving deeper into the meaning of culture and social structures I began to brainstorm some ideas and possible themes to explore further. Some of the main areas which came to mind when thinking of social pressures and social change were having to conform to social normalities, socialising, appearance, the fear of failure, stereotypes, different cultures and social issues which we as a society are facing.

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One of the ideas which I wanted to explore further was how we as a society are becoming more multicultural and how families who have diverse cultural backgrounds are adapting to living in the UK. In particular I wanted to explore the differing opinions of the different generations in the families and how the grandparents feel about their grandchildren perhaps becoming more influenced by english traditions and adopting some aspects of the dominant culture in the UK. In particular I wanted to photograph these people and parts of their daily life to see whether they have multiple identities and how this contrasts the practices of their grandparents or parents. After studying geography at A Level it made me more aware of how these types of changes within ethnic groups can cause tension between different generations therefore it is something I wanted to explore further and highlight with my photography. However due to the time constraints for the assignment I would not have time to find families, get to know them personally and build a relationship with them so they feel comfortable for me to photograph them.

An idea which came to mind as soon as I thought of social pressures was body image, appearance and the pressures from society and the media to look a certain way and conform to these pressures. Another idea which linked into this is something personal which I am experiencing at the moment which is becoming a student at university. I had an idea to photograph the drinking and partying culture and stereotype students are given. However, although I found aspects of this interesting because I understand what it is like to be influenced by these pressures, I wanted to move away from the obvious and I believe that these theme have already been explored and photographed many times before. I also wanted to focus on social and cultural issues which are not only happening in Coventry and in the UK but also are happening on a global scale.

An idea which I find myself gravitating more towards is how we as a society have adopted a throw away and disposable culture. I’m interested in how we can abandon objects and buildings and continue to do this without thinking about the consequences. I find myself beginning to question whether the way we act is something new or have we always discarded items/things which we no longer have a use for? Could this even connect to how we treat people who are no longer ‘valuable’ to us just like the objects which are broken. For example the elderly or those who are disabled? These are some questions I wish to investigate in more depth as my research and work develops further.

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Published by

Charlotte Pattinson

Photography student

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