- Highlighting the complex diversity of the roles carried out by women in todays instant high demand society.
- What would life be like if a life changing decision had been a different decision and how would it impact other people?
- There are very photographs of me as a child, what would they look life if there were?
- If I could choose lives for my sons, what would their life look like? How would this differ from the life they have made for themselves? Would my knowledge and wisdom be more valuable if it were to be put into a visual format of scenarios and outcomes?
Which one will work?
It has been a long term idea for me to recreate my own childhood in photographs through memories I have. At birth my parents took one photograph of me, or at least they thought they did. It was taken in our back garden being held by my mum and I assume my dad took the photo. It was February, I was swaddled in blankets and there is no sight of my skin from any angle. So, they are really photographs of my mum holding a baby wrapped in blankets.
This lack of documentation continued up to the age of eight or nine when my older sister was given a camera for her birthday.
This will be a huge project when I finally work it all out so I don’t think it would be appropriate for this assignment at this time.
The ideas about ‘a different decision’ and ‘photographing wisdom’ are ones that interest me but I don’t feel ready at this time to explore them.
‘The roles of women’ is something that I’m currently feeling the pressure about. Even as I write I’m being asked questions by my children that their father can answer but they automatically come to me. This isn’t a bad thing, I want my children to come to me and they should be my priority but I have an impending assignment deadline, holiday washing to get through, a dinner to cook, jewellery orders to fulfil and a VAT return to do. All very different tasks which require entirely different head space but nonetheless they all require my attention. This is a typical day for me and it’s no wonder I sometimes put the washing in the oven or write a blog that makes no sense. A lot is expected of me and I work hard to achieve it so why do I still feel like I’m not successful? How is society measuring successful women and how damaging can it be?
I started asking these questions of myself after a ‘friend’ made a comment to me that didn’t floor me at the time but its changed the way I maintain my self image. My friend was looking for a new job and torn between working outdoors or in an office. I was advising her to go with the job that would make her most happy and would give her family the best balance. On the one hand she could go to a job that she would enjoy, working three days per week so more time for her children but it was a pro rata salary. The other job was in an office, work she wouldn’t enjoy, full time but for more money. She went for the job that would make her miserable, take her away from her children but her need to appear successful far outweighed the problems it would cause. I asked her how do you measure success and she said by the amount of money she earns. She didn’t ask me how I measure success probably because I don’t go to a place of work and I’m seen as ‘not working’.
My friend knows how busy I am, she knows the 2.5 businesses I run but she still sees me as not working. The big blow came when discussing her job choices and she said ‘I wish I could just potter around the all day like you do’. Suddenly it clicked! Thats why people say to me ‘you can take that meeting you have more time’ or ‘can you pick up my kid from school as I’m running late, I know you’ll be there’. Its true I am always there for my children and I am flexible with meeting times but only because my eight hour working day can be any eight hours of the day so I’m ‘available’. It may mean I have to work from 10pm until 2am to catchup but they don’t see that.
I now make sure I’m seen to be unavailable to stop other people thinking they are more important that me or that their jobs are more important than my job. I decided a long time ago to put the most importance on my children and husband and everything else I do when I can. In reality this is how I measure my success by my ability to be a great wife and mother and run a successful business.
This is what I want to show.
Highlighting the complex diversity of the roles carried out by women in todays instant high demand society in response to a single comment made by a friend.
What am I and what do I do?
Wife – Supporting husbands career – works away – covers all jobs in house – ensures he has everything he needs
Mother – Look after children – feed – clothe – nurture – organise – entertain – plan – taxi – clean
Photographer – organise clients – studio photoshoots – maintain website – edit photos
Jewellery Maker – maintain website – take orders – make jewellery – create new designs – research and development – update social media pages – dispatch
Student – study – carry out research – carry out exercises – update blog – refelection – forums – help other students
Book keeper – book keeping – VAT returns – PAYE – annual returns – accountant contact – record keeping
PTA Chairperson – organise events – raise funds – communicate to parents and teachers – attend functions
Crafter – knitting – clay making – painting – drawing – sewing – maker
Where do I spend most of my time?
If I use a series of photographs with all the different elements it won’t have the desired impact. I need to encompass all my roles into one room without using a literal approach. Which room can I use to obtain one image with all the elements in? I’d like to use my favourite room which will add to the narrative.
The room I love to spend time in is my office. It has the most light, its modern, mainly white and very clean and is the place I go to when I need some head space enabling me to better juggle all of my roles.
What do I consider the roles I want to highlight to appear more successful?
To ‘appear’ more successful to other people I would order my roles as the following:
Do I want to put an element of each role into the photograph?
I think I need to in order to show how varied my roles are. If I leave anything out I appear less busy.
What props will I use?
Jewellery maker ~ Keyrings on a stand ~ hammer and stamps ~ jewellery magazine
Photographer ~ Camera ~ editing software on computer ~ Newborn prop
Book keeper ~ invoices ~ calculator
Student ~ Photography books ~ OCA folder
PTA Chairperson ~ fundraising poster ~ events print out on wall
Mother ~ photograph of family ~ egg timer set ~ karate certificate on wall
Wife ~ wedding photograph
Crafter ~ knitting pattern ~ arm knitted cowl on chair
I’m using my office to setup my scene. It currently has other peoples elements present so I need remove them and clear my desk. The lighting will be better if I move my desk to another wall as the light coming in from the window will highlight the items on the desk. Its a dull day so I can envisage some quite natural moody lighting which is consistent with my photography style and will add to the narrative. If the light isn’t right at the time I will use studio lamp directing light in the opposite direction to the window.
I drew a sketch of how I want the scene to look and where I would place my signifiers:
I’ll attempt to physically recreate this scene. Firstly I needed to clear away the clutter that wasn’t relevant to the narrative.
Once the conflicting items had been removed I was left with a blank canvas to build my story on.
At this stage I only have natural light coming in from the window. I plan to put my signifiers in place and set up the lighting. I also need to decide on the correct lens to use as this wide angle lens is is distorting the image.
I now have everything I need to carry out the project.
N.B. I have decided to drop the PTA Chair role from my project as I plan to resign soon due to a heavy workload!