Category Archives: Part 5

Constructed Realities – A digression into practical matters


the view from the new home of the bbc world service – inkjet print, 400 cm x 110 cm simon chirgwin, 2011, unique

This was commissioned by the BBC Global News W1 Move project and stitched together from 7 medium format negatives. When printed very large indeed it looked cracking, but of course, when it came to moving out of Bush House, it was too big to fit in my car to take it home. It may still be tucked away in a cupboard somewhere in Broadcasting House.

As an edition of 1 (with no AP) it could be worth a fortune some day, but I suspect it ended up in a skip.

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Constructed Realities: Project 2 – The Archive


On her website, Nikki Bird (Bird, 1) describes her project Question for Seller (2004-6, with the final auction of the pictures exhibited in Belfast and the compiled album in 2007) as follows:

Made from family photographs acquired through eBay, Question for Seller features photographs that no one else has bid for. The seller is asked the question: How did you come across the photos and what, if anything, do you know about them? Their replies are as important as the photographs they sell. They allude to disappearing histories, where personal photographs reveal fragments of past lives, through photographic processes that are themselves becoming obsolete.

On the page on the site about the album (Bird, 2) the pictures of spreads from it are accompanied by quoted replies (the answers to the questions to seller):

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Constructed Realities: Project 1 – Crewdson, Beauty and Depth

Watch this YouTube video about Gregory Crewdson and his work and consider the questions below.

  1. Do you think there is more to this work than aesthetic beauty?
  2. Do you think Crewdson succeeds in making his work ‘psychological’? What does this mean?
  3. What is your main goal when making pictures? Do you think there’s anything wrong with making beauty your main goal? Why or why not?

C&N coursebook – p.116


In the video Crewdson states straightforwardly: “First and foremost […] it’s to make a beautiful picture […] but a purely aesthetic experience is not good enough; that needs to be undercut by something psychological.” Later he goes on to identify “a darkness” that lies underneath his pictures and also to say “I want it all to become one world upon itself”. None of this necessarily will lead to something “more” than aesthetic beauty. Even assuming you find the pictures beautiful in the first place.

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Constructed Realities: Project 1 – Setting The Scene; Exercise #1

Watch this famous scene from Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990:  %5Baccessed 24/02/14]

Don’t read on until you’ve answered the following questions.

  • What does this scene tell you about the main character?
  • How does it do this? List the ‘clues’.

C&N Coursebook p. 109

The long tracking shot tells you that Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) knows the club well – he does this a lot –  and the staff there treat him with warmly and with respect. He is in favour there. Continue reading