500-word discussion of the research materials that are available, as a mini ‘literature review’. This will clarify your area of research, hone your research approaches and knowledge, while allowing for personal investigative research.

Completed by week 9 and submitted in the portfolio at the hand-in deadline.

My photographic investigation will examine interactions between individuals and commodity forms, broadly exploring object-based attachments, whilst critique commodity fetishism within the vehicle industry. Exploring how objects affect and define us, whilst illustrating the dichotomous tensions exerted from elemental exposure and human interaction by photography the remnants that trail after use.

Initially, examining “The Ties That Bind: Measuring the Strength of Consumers’ Emotional Attachments to Brands” by Thompson et al (2005). Drawing on basic psychological theories of attachment, citing Bowlby (1980); a fundamental theorist within attachment research. This provided me with background knowledge whilst solidifying a definition of attachment. Subsequently, acting as an initial framework, allowing me to prove/disprove evidence of attachments to the vehicle.

A study published by ‘Auto Trader’ (2013), titled “Survey Reveals Relationships with cars Mimic Relationships with people” discussed evidence of road users establishing strong attachments to their vehicles, to the degree where ‘personification’ occurs. This represented a solid and reliable source that offers credibility. The content was exceptionally relevant to my project, justifying my initial investigations whilst simultaneously highlighting and conceptualising supporting evidence that could offer insight into our attachments with vehicles.

R, Volti. (2007) draws on these questions within “For the love of Car”. Investigating and analysing the anthropomorphism/personification of vehicles whilst also regarding them as ‘enablers’ of modern lifestyle. This provided me with a plausible explanation for our attachments. Volti, (2007) also regarded vehicles as implements of ‘consumer culture’. My investigation into material attachments is highly specific to Western Cultures. Further research into Volti’s text will allow me to gain a wider understanding into why and how we create such attachments.

This text along with influence from artists such as Lee Friedlander and Daniel Stein inspired my interest into capitalist commodification within commercial car photography. Leading me to question whether these bonds are linked or influenced by way vehicles are marketed as signifiers of taste, class and wealth. Commercial car photography draws on discourses of fetishism and objectification.

Lorraine Gammon (1994) created an in-depth analysis of the differing types of fetishism within “Female fetishism a new look”. Breaking down and categorising detailed explanations and types such as anthropological, sexual and commodity fetishism. Enabling me to gain and detailed insight and understanding of fetishism but also simultaneously refining and developing my knowledge of commodity fetishism.

“Compulsive Beauty” by Hal Foster (1995) stated that still life constructions exist to create meaning and reflection, declaring that material things act as codes and indicators for wider representations and discourses. Compulsive Beauty” provided a wider insight into both surrealism, estrangement and fetishism, providing strong theoretical framework for my project. ‘Estrangement’ is a phenomenon whereby the mundane suddenly become disturbed or outlandish. This furthered my project development, relating to my photographic methodology of shallow focus and extreme close-ups that illustrate traces of degradation and overuse. My images only reveal a limited area of the vehicle that appears damaged, worn or dirty. Due to my compositional structure, the identity of my subject is obscured, cementing my investigation into why connection are established with our cars.

My images illustrate temporal degradation, thus embodying ‘entropic’ discourses. I plan to research texts such as “Digital Dirt and the Entropic Artifact: Exploring Damage in Visual Media” by Junian Kiker (2009), allowing me to gain a greater understanding of entropy and its uses within photography, justifying its presence within my project.

Word Count – 555


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Benzecry, C. (2015) Restabilizing attachment to Cultural Objects. Aesthetics, Emotions and Biography. The British Journal od Sociology [Online] Volume 66 (4) pp.779-800 [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Basmajian, C. (2009) “Turn on the Radio, Bust out a Song”: the experience of driving to work. Transportation [Online] Volume 37 (1) pp.59-84 [Accessed 29 October 2016]

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