Ah, the Brexiteers were right all along. This weekend, I have taken back control! Not of UK borders or fishing quotas though. Just of the way forward for my extended written project (EWP?). On my tutor’s suggestion, I have created a list of potential sources and this has been a useful exercise as it is helping create a structure for my explorations.
I have finally decided I am going to research the topic of nostalgia in relation to photography. Haven’t quite figured out my exact hypotheses yet but I am sure these will become apparent as I get into the reading.
Early days but what looks interesting from my reading so far:
Nostalgia is not just an escapist retreat into the past but also a way of imagining new hopes and possibilities for the future, by retrieving information from the past.
Although all nostalgia is inherently concerned with loss and is undoubtedly ‘bittersweet’, there is evidence that feelings of nostalgia can have positive outcomes such as an improvement in mood and an increase in self-esteem. It can also foster social connectedness and provide people with existential meaning (and a reduction in death anxiety). This ties in closely with my experiences and interactions at the Nomadic Community Gardens.
Photographs are obviously an important resource for exploring the complex relationship between the past and the present. They feed nostalgia and provide triggers for strong feelings.
A few initial – fairly random – questions and considerations:
- Is the tendency to be nostalgic an upward trend in the post-digital era and at times of heightened socio-political anxiety?
- What is the link between nostalgia and memento mori?
- How much is our propensity to be nostalgic being exploited by imagery in advertising and politics?
- How much has the bias of the photographic archive contributed to our vicarious nostalgia?
- Are we repurposing the past and commodifying nostalgia?
- Has the physical photographic print become a nostalgia trigger simply because it is a signifier of pastness?
- How much is the semi-public live feed approach to the curation of our identities impacting on memory creation/preservation?
- Has the homogeneity of smartphone images created an appetite for an antiquated aesthetic?
- Are we just yearning for the simplicity of a non-mediated existence?
- Is there such a thing as the time-traveller gaze and if not, why not? : )
- How do postcards fit into all of this? And stone-washed jeans?
And on and on.
Feedback from Ariadne on CS assignment one:
As this is a diagnostic assignment, most feedback is prompted by your submission but mainly pertain to strategies you need to implement for your future submissions. This will ensure that you are on the right track from the outset and that you have a good practice and methodology which you can follow.
General flow of document and thread of argument: As it stands the paragraphs of the 1st part of your submission appear as independent entities and do not carry a main conceptual thread. Also, your paragraphs are not totally controlled for exhaustively putting each point across. These paragraphs are often too short to develop the topic and contain a lot of quotations. You are evidently very well engaged and perceptive; this much is clear from our tutorials so far and from the 2nd part of your submission. The 1st part does not do your thought process, engagement and research the justice they deserve and does not fully and logically support the 2nd part of your assignment. You have clearly undertaken extensive and exhaustive research; this is the primary approach to an assignment of this type and usually occurs before the writing stage. When writing, it is our job to put our research in the context of our topic and create our own methodology.
Bear in mind that paragraphs should be substantial and exhaustive constructs. No paragraph can be less than 5 sentences because it would not manage to develop a topic. Paragraphs should be concerned with only one topic; similarly to sentences which are concerned with one idea. The general structure of a paragraph should be: a topic sentence (a sentence which introduces the question/ problematic/ topic of the paragraph); development sentences (which pursue the development of the topic – this is the place for sources and their development); a thesis sentence (a sentence which concludes definitively on the topic and anticipates the next topic).
Your writing is very clear and very eloquent; this is more proof as to your clarity of thought and engagement. You make your point effortlessly and succinctly.
Quotations and their analysis: This is a key way to practice, prove and develop your critical thinking skills. It is also the main way to give authoritative credibility to what you are saying. You should regard them as using the words of an authority on the matter to develop and support what you want to say. Quotations need to be introduced as to their relevance and importance; if the topic is not quite the same as yours you need to explain what it is and why you have chosen to use the source. The quotation then needs to be developed, regarded in the context of your own argument and analysed. You can then conclude on a thesis which is supported by and developed through the quotation and which furthers your argument.
In addition, quotations should be used conservatively and usually when the original text is particularly eloquent, well-crafted, etc. otherwise, it is always a good idea to paraphrase the source, not merely changing the words but filtering the original idea through your own understanding. Paraphrases convey the original idea, at the same level of detail, in your words. You can also summarise a source; in this case, you convey the original idea but only the main aspects of it, in your own words. Both summaries and paraphrases require the usual reference.
Criticism: you convey the criticism posited by your chosen sources. You need to also offer your own criticism of these ideas; this is a priority in academic writing. You engage very well with your sources and you clearly establish the important critical aspects of their theories but we know very little about your position on those, other than the way you have chosen to entwine different theories into your assignment. Sources are important because they provide us with perspectives, which are evident in your submission but, most crucially, because they allow us to exercise and sharpen our on critical mind-set and develop our own methodologies.
Analysis and interpretation of images: Consider images in a similar way to quotations. They are there to instigate, highlight, support and further your own concepts. Ensure you introduce them according to their relevance and importance, describe them and then analyse them extensively. Then conclude on how they prove your point and extend your argument. You have included some excellent photographs in your document but you assume that the reader will make the connection between what you write and what you show. You need to be in control of this process; discuss your images explicitly and situate them in the argument as they are part of your methodology.
A good example to follow in your own work is that of the authorities you use. Be observant of the essays you read, the language the authors use, the methodology they utilise and the line of argument they follow through their structure. Similarly, be observant of the way they engage with, analyse and utilise photographs as part of their methodologies and argumentation.
Some of the comments and feedback I include in these two documents may not come into prominence yet but they are vital in your later assignments, formal assessment and academic writing overall. Considering them now and beginning to address them, will ensure that you start your research on firm ground and have less issues and work with which to contend in your future assignments.
Key areas for development:
- Use of sources and development of own critical approach
- More explicit image analysis
And my notes from the tutorial:
Comments about Assignment One:
- A structural issue with the first essay – too fragmented and not enough of analysis or own critical thinking
- Pay attention to paragraphs as entities that develop a topic; they should only deal with one topic. Introduce the topic then develop it using quotations and sources. Ideally, they are not all quotations but also paraphrases. Not just about changing the words, it is about filtering them through my understanding. They are then effectively amalgamated into my argument. Paragraph introduces the topic, explains it, develops it, brings in sources that support it and then at the end of the paragraph there is a thesis which concludes and puts the topic to rest. Sometimes the thesis leads on to the next topic. That makes the document and the argument flow.
- Offer my own criticism. Use sources but overall needs structural integrity.
- My ideas, my criticisms and the way that I combine these sources is what is important. Make interesting correlations. My filtering, my understanding, what relation these ideas have on my work and my subject.
- Treat images as sources.
- Check with the OCA librarian/OCA video on referencing – whether to use parenthetical references or footnotes (although can add extra info in footnotes even if parenthetical approach) but the most important thing is to follow the referencing guidelines correctly and consistently. When looking at sources, keep a note of all the information (inc page numbers)
- Don’t panic and don’t worry! The sources will give me ideas – it is a process and it will happen.
On a theme for Extended Written Project:
- CS can help find a way forward for my BoW
- Don’t worry too much about choosing an essay theme that has been repeatedly before – I just need to have something new to say or something that extends what has already been said – my own perspective. Even just one step forward or a unique perspective from me as the researcher is enough.
- Semiological nature of photography in terms of how we create and preserve memories is relevant to research on nostalgia and how memories get replaced by the photographic memory
- Think about unusual examples for the methodology to make an illuminating and engaging piece of research; there is the grand narrative and the traces and it is the way I combine my traces that makes the difference. Show analytic thinking but also combinational thinking.
- Don’t get overwhelmed, needs to be of interest to me, find something that I have something to say about
- Not necessary to know immediately what my thesis is but it is Important that the Lit Review works as a foundation, a hypothesis to develop.
- Send over a list of sources/bibliography for a further discussion
And my first draft of the bibliography…
Reading List for a study on Nostalgia and Photography
- Batchen, G. (2004). Forget Me Not: Photography & Remembrance. Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum.
- Bate, D. (2010) The Memory of Photography. Photographies
- Barthes, R. (1981) Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
- Benjamin, W (1935) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935)
- Boym, S. (2001) The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books
- Campany, D. (2018) So present, so invisible: Conversations on photography. Rome: Contrasto.
- Chopra-Gant, M. Pictures or It Didn’t Happen: Photo-nostalgia, iPhoneography and the Representation of Everyday Life
- Debord, G. (1995) The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books.
- Derrida, J., Amelunxen, H., Wetzel, M., Richter, G. & Fort, J. (2010). Copy, archive, signature: a conversation on photography. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.
- Dudai Y. & Edelson, G. (2016), ‘Personal memory: Is it Personal, is it Memory?’. Memory Studies, 2016
- Edwards, E and Hart, J. (eds). (2004) Photographs, Objects, Histories: On the Materiality of Images. Florence, USA: Routledge
- Fried, M. (2005) ‘Barthes’s Punctum’. Critical Enquiry
- Garry, M. & Gerrie, M.P. (2005) ‘When Photographs Create False Memories’. Current Directions in Psychological Science
- Gibbons, J. (2007) Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of recollection and remembrance. London: Tauris.
- Halbwachs, M. (1950) On Collective Memory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Hostetler, L. (ed) (2017) A Matter of Memory: Photography as Object in the Digital Age. Rochester, NY: George Eastman Museum.
- Jameson, F. (2005). Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
- Jurgenson, N. (2019). The social photo: on photography and social media. London New York: Verso Books.
- Kracauer, S. (1993) ‘Photography’. Critical Enquiry
- Kuhn, A. (2003) ‘Remembrance’. In Wells, L. (ed) The Photography Reader. London: Routledge.
- Mitchell, W. (1994). The reconfigured eye: visual truth in the post-photographic era. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
- Niemeyer, (2014), Media and Nostalgia. Yearning for the past, present and future. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Pickering, M., & Keightley, E. (2006). The Modalities of Nostalgia. Current Sociology,
- Ritchin, F. (2009). After photography. New York: W.W. Norton.
- Routledge, C. (2015) Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource (Essays in Social Psychology)
- Sontag, S. (1977) On Photography
- Barasch, A., Diehl, K., Silverman, J. and Zauberman, G. (2017) ‘Photographic Memory: the effects of volitional photo taking on memory for visual and auditory aspects of an experience’. Psychological Science,
- Baudrillard, J (1994) Simulacra and Simulation
- Blanchot, M. (2003) ‘The Experience of Proust’, in The Book to Come
- Bonnett, A (2010) Left in the Past: Radicalism and the Politics of Nostalgia
- Cassin, B (2016) Nostalgia: When Are We Ever at Home?
- Daniels EB (1985) Nostalgia and Hidden Meaning, American Imago Vol. 42, No. 4
- Davis, Fred Yearning for Yesterday: a Sociology of Nostalgia. New York: Free Press, 1979.
- Derrida, J. (1993) Spectres of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International.
- Dyer, R – Pastiche
- Eichhorn, K. The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media
- Flusser, V. (2000). Towards a philosophy of photography. London: Reaktion.
- Fontcuberta, J. (2014) Pandora’s Camera. Barcelona: MACK
- Friedberg, A (2006) The Virtual Window. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press
- Garde-Hansen, J. (2014) ‘Friendship Photography: Memory, Mobility and Social Networking’. In: Larsen, J. & Sandbye, M (eds) Digital Snaps: the New Face of Photography. London: Tauris
- Grundberg, A. (2010). Crisis of the real: writings on photography. New York: Aperture Distributed in North America by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers.
- Hall, S. (1997) Representations: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage.
- Hamilton, K., S. Edwards, F. Hammill, B. Wagner, and J. Wilson. “Nostalgia in the Twenty-First Century.” Consumption Markets & Culture 17, no. 2
- Hutcheon, Linda – “Irony, Nostalgia, and the Postmodern”
- Kofoed, J. and Larsen, M. C. (2016) ‘A Snap of Intimacy: photo-sharing practices among young people on social media’. First Monday
- LaGrange, A. (2005) Basic Critical Theory for Photographers. Oxford: Focal Press.
- Manovich, L – The Language of New Media 1st MIT Press
- May, V. Belonging from afar: nostalgia, time and memory
- Nora, P. (1989) ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire’. Representations
- Ricoeur, P. 2004. Memory, History, Forgetting. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.
- Routledge, C., Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., Juhl, J., & Arndt, J. (2012). The power of the past: Nostalgia as a meaning-making resource.
- Steiner, G (1999) Nostalgia for the Absolute (Massey Lectures Series) Paperback
- Strauss, D. L. (2014) Words not spent today buy smaller images tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography. New York: Aperture.
- Trigg, D (2006) The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia, and the Absence of Reason New York: Peter Lang
- Van House, N. (2011) ‘Personal photography, digital technologies, and the uses of the visual’, Visual Studies
- Vess, M., Arndt, J., Routledge, C., Sedikides, C., & Wildschut, T. (2012). Nostalgia as a resource for the self. Self and Identity
- Wagner, B. “The Power of Nostalgia: Zeitgeist or Marketing Hype?” Pioneer University of Strathclyde Business School Magazine 4–5, Winter, (2010).Wagner, K (2018) Nostalgic photographs in the contemporary image ecology: the example of Tyrrells crisp packaging, Journal of Aesthetics & Culture,
- West, NM (2000) Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.
I found this in my Todoist inbox but I cannot remember who said/wrote it: “Don’t spend too much time at the bottom of the mountain trying to tidy up the rocks – allow for the chaos and imperfections. You’ll hardly notice when you are higher up.” Excellent advice for me.