500-word proposal which clarifies the critical approach that you intend to explore. This should reference readings covered and questions posed through those readings and propose a research question which will be addressed through your image making.

Completed by week 4 and submitted in portfolio at hand-in deadline.

My series will examine interactions between individuals and commodities by exploring and challenging commercial infrastructures by capturing my subject as ‘imperfect’ and ‘scuffed’. Aiming to answer “How do we interact with the commodity form?”.  Academic and personal research led me to investigate commodity fetishism. L, Gamman, (1994) discussed commodity fetishism by examining historical contexts, describing it as a phenomenon whereby inanimate objects are assigned mystic properties and ‘talismanic powers’, becoming an object of worship (Gammon, 1994: 16). Later stating that within “the West we live in a social context determined by consumerism and commodity production” (1994: 24). This theoretical framework guided and developed my interest around critiquing capitalist commodity fetishism.

My subject will be a vehicle due to its material ties within commodification and pervasive capitalist overtones. I will shoot on my Canon 750D with a macro-lens (18-55mm), allowing me to achieve immense detail, tonality and contrast through a shallow focus. These images will examine surface textures that embody ageing and degradation, exposing the traces and tensions that result from overuse and exposure. The shallow focus within my small focal plane will connote a sense of intimacy between subject and viewer. The vehicle will become a framing device and portal for investigative reflection. Initial interest in vehicles was grounded in childhood memories that surround discourses of freedom, liberation and escape. The social significance and attachments of vehicles will be illustrated through close-up shots, revealing precise detail that uncovers and conveys vast detail; reflecting the ‘natural’ and ‘grubby’ textures of the vehicle.

Shooting will be fortnightly, commencing from the 27th September – 27th November 2016. I aim to photograph during ‘the magic hour’ whereby sunlight is optimum, creating vibrant colour and vast tonal ranges.

Transportation photography is almost exclusive within commercial settings as we are encouraged to consume and indulge in the vehicle’s commodity form; this captivated my fascination. Vehicles are depicted as visually aesthetic, constructed by either bright, glossy oversaturation or dramatic, tonal black and white compositions. Images embody capitalist discourses of objectification and fetishism by showcasing sophisticated mechanisation and flawless designs, inviting both material and visual consumption. Frequently edited in a surrealist manner due to excessive amount of ‘perfection’ and ‘glossy’ aesthetics. Surrealist undertones within commercial car photographs are highly influential.

However, the ‘weathered’ areas of my subject will act to challenge existing representations and constructs of commercial car photography by fetishising the taboo, dirty and damaged areas of the vehicle; directly opposing traditional representations. I will also isolate my subject by focusing attention on small areas, which could obscure its actual identity; inviting further reflection. Hal Foster (1995) in ‘Compulsive Beauty’ broadly examined surrealist and still life photography. Drawing on ‘estrangement’, Foster (1995) describes the way mundane objects become obscured or foreign.

I aim to illustrate temporality by capturing the indents and markings that result from the tensions exerted from both environmental and human contact. Cindy Sherman inspired my juxtapositional approach to photography. Dirt and imperfections will be depicted and contrasted by visually enticing and seductive angles with shallow focus revealing precise details. Post-production will enable enhancements, images will appear stylised, colourful, radiant and immensely detailed. Adjustments to contrast, clarity and saturation invite visual consumption and critical reflection on the commodification of material objects. I am critiquing the relations we share with object whilst challenging dominant forms of commercial car photography.

Word Count – 553


AutoTrader (2013) Survey Reveals Relationships with Cars Mimic Relationships With People. Autotrader [Online] 4 January. Available from: http://press.autotrader.com/2013-06-04-Survey-Reveals-Relationships-with-Cars-Mimic-Relationships-with-People [Accessed 29 October 2016]

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]

Drive.com.au. (2016) Why Owners have emotional Connections with Cars. Available from: http://www.drive.com.au/motor-news/why-owners-have-emotional-connections-with-cars-20140116-30ytt.html [Accessed 29 October 2016]

D, Lessiq. (2015) The Century of the Self (Full Documentary). YouTube [Video] . 9 July. Available from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s [Accessed 24 October 2016]

Evans, R. (2016) Rebecca Evans Photography. Available from:   http://www.rebeccaevansphotography.com/ [Accessed 11 October 2016] 

Dexter, E. (2003) ‘Photography Itself, in Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth Century Photograph, Tate Publishing; London, pp.15-21

Fraenkel Gallery (2016) Lee Friedlander America By Car. Available from:  https://fraenkelgallery.com/portfolios/america-by-car  [Accessed 11 October 2016]

Foster, H. (1993) Compulsive Beauty (1st ed.) London: MIT Press

Goddard, B. (2016) Photomedia Module Reader 2016 -2017. Bristol: Caron Neutral

 Gamman, L. and Makinen, M. (1994) Female Fetishism: A New Look. London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Griggs, J. (2016) A Brief Biography of John W. G. Riggs. Available from: http://www.entropicremnants.com/bioinfo.aspx/ [Accessed 12 October 2016]

Hall, S. (2014) Why Owners have emotional Connections with Cars. Drive [Online] 14 January. Available from: http://www.drive.com.au/motor-news/why-owners-have-emotional-connections-with-cars-20140116-30ytt.html [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Tagg, J. (2002) The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories. [Repr.]  1st ed. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.pp. 74-95

Kent, J. (2014) Still Feeling the Car – The Role of Comfort in Sustaining Private Car Use. Mobilities [Online] Volume 10 (5) pp. 726-747 [Accessed 30 October 2016]

Kilker, J. (2009)  Digital Dirt and the Entropic Artifact: Explaining Damage in Visual  Media. Visual Communication Quarterly [Online] Volume 16 (1) pp.50-63 [Accessed 30 October 2016 2016]

Kim, E. (2016) 10 Lessons Lee Friedlander Has Taught Me About Street Photography. Available from: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/03/29/10-lessons-lee-friedlander-has-taught-me-about-street-photography/ [Accessed 11 October 2016]

Lucas, K. (2011) Auto Motives: Understanding Car Use Behaviours [Online] (1st) Bingely: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. [Accessed 30 October 2016]

Lury, C. (1997) Prosthetic Culture: Photography, Memory and Identity (1st ed.) London: Routledge

Lomas, D. (2000) The Haunted Self: Surrealism, Psychonalysis Subjectivity (1st ed.) London: Yale University Press

Mulvey, L. (1989)  ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative cinema in Visual and Other Pleasures: Theories of Representation and Difference, Macmillan.

Henning, M. (2004) ‘The Subject as Object’ in Photography: A Critical Introduction ( 1st ed.) Liz Wells London: Routledge

Bolton, R.,  1st ed. (1992) The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography. Edition brochée 1992.3rd ed. Cambridge, Mass: Mit Press.

Stein, D. (2016) Daniel Stien Photography: Autophotopia. Available from: http://www.steinphoto.net/portfolios/autophotopia/  [Accessed 11 October 2016]

Syracuse Architecture (Syracuse University School of Architecture) (2014) Micheal Young: “The Estranged Object”. YouTube [Video] 12 March. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G06ZTaKG_I/  [Accessed 10 October 2016]

The Museum of Modern Art (2016) Lee Friedlander. Available from: http://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/113?locale=en [Accessed 11 October 2016]

Thompson, M. (2005) The Ties That Bind: Measuring the Strength of Consumers’ Emotional Attachments to Brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology [Online] Volume 15 (1) pp.71-91 [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Volti, R. (2007) For the love of Cars. The Journal of Transport History [Online] Volume 28 (2) pp.294-296 [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Wilkes, S. (2016) Fine Art. Available from: http://www.stephenwilkes.com/ [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Zhao, F. (2015) Parifictional Object. Available from: http://www.feifeizhao.com/parifictional-object  [Accessed 12 October 2016]