154MC: Summer Task: Visual Diary (Initial Ideas and Images)

Before starting the course in September, one of the tasks we had to complete in the summer was to produce a visual diary. The brief stated that it should be as intimate and honest as we are able to be and to make images from the first time we open our eyes in the morning all the way through to when we go to sleep. We were given books to use as inspiration such as ‘Closer’ by Elinor Carucci, ‘I’ll be your Mirror’ by Nan Goldin and ‘Hide That Can’ by Deirdre O’Callaghan. However the body of work which inspired me the most was Hide That Can. The images are honest and very personal and the use of bold colours and natural lighting in the images is something I found particularly interesting. Unlike Goldin and Carucci who’s images can be described as audacious and candor, O’Callaghan’s images are easier to view yet still have an impact. I think one of the reasons why they impacted on me more is because I was interested in the lives and stories of the people that were photographed.

At first I found it difficult to narrow down a theme I wanted to show within my images to make the diary flow better. I began photographing the morning light in my bedroom and the rain trickling down my windows, the morning light on my bed sheets. The little things which determined my mood.

However I felt these images had a melancholy feel to them and although I was in some ways apprehensive to start university and leave my friends behind, I also explored many new places and had a great time in summer. When exploring new places or things I am doing in my day I mainly using the camera on my phone. For me it is a quick way of documenting a place/event, I don’t have to think about setting the camera up or framing the shot so it is perfect. For me this crates a visual journal of all the places i’ve been and what I found interesting there. I continued taking images in this style and I felt like this was more natural for me.

I often upload these images to my Instagram as a way of keeping all my images in one place. The images are taken from my Instagram which is why they are cropped as a square however like how uniform this makes all the images and how the images are laid out in a grid format on Instagram. Another reason I like the square format of the images is that it replicates a polaroid. One of the things I love about Polaroid images is that they are instant and provide a snapshot of a moment. The size of them allows you to put them in a journal or diary.

At the beginning of the first term we had to share our visual diaries with our group and tutor. I received feedback from the group which said that they thought the first images were strong and reminded them of Todd Hido’s work because of the soft colours and lighting. However many people seemed to like the Instagram style images more as they liked how personal they were and how when put together they acted as a visual journal.

One of the pieces of feedback which I agreed with is that the style and aesthetic of the images need to be the same. I need to decide if I am going to shoot with my DSLR camera in the style of the first images or continue to document my life using my phone camera.


Published by

Charlotte Pattinson

Photography student

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