Potential Critical and Cultural Essay Themes

In my last post I discussed some of my strengths and interests within the field of photography. In this post I am looking to see how these interests, my professional practice and my concept for my major degree project can be related and help me to form potential themes for my critical and cultural essay.

Below is an outline of my concept for my major degree project work:

I intend to use the concept of memory as the theme for my project work and more specifically the ways in which we remember in fragments. I will be using historic ruins as my subject matter for this concept to highlight the relics of memory, cultural identity and reinforce the theme of fragmentation in a physical form. 

To create my images I plan to use the method of joiner photography, this will involve taking a number of images from varying viewpoints and orientations and ‘joining’ them to create the whole. This I hope will help to symbolise how the human memory recalls things in fragments or pieces. 

This methodology has links to the contemporary works of David Hockney and the historic works of Pablo Picasso a major influence on Hockney’s work, the roots of which come from the cubist movement pioneered by Picasso and Georges Braque.

My professional practice is aimed at the architect or designer and I wanted to keep that in mind when thinking about my project work, however I also wanted to expand on this professional practice and appeal to a fine art audience. Using a strong concept and well researched approach I think that I can appeal to both my intended audiences. I hope that my concept reinforced by my approach will engage the viewer by appealing to their own personal feelings and thoughts around how they remember and see.

This proposal gives some insight into my thought process around potential themes listed below:

Does how the eye sees affect how our memory recalls in fragments?

 (cubism, joiner photography – my intended approach to the major degree project) 

  • Has relevance to my Degree project work
  • Connection to historical art movement of cubism
  • Connection to contemporary photography of joiners

Arguments for and against the rise of modern/contemporary architecture

 (Economic, political, social change) (How we learn from new building techniques and designs) (Prince Charles anti new architectural styles, Will Self also has similar feelings and is opposed to gentrification) (Think about Morris and Pugin during the Victorian era and their hate of mass produced focusing on the revival of Gothic style and hand crafts)

  • Relation to personal practice of architectural photography 
  • Current and historical debate 
  • Relevance to historical art movements 
  • Example of how economic and social changes affect art in all forms

Documentation of our historical buildings and their affect on our cultural identity?

(Role of the National Trust, Landmark Trust, English Heritage, Britain Express.) Renovation, Preservation, Awareness. (Importance of archiving and documenting, why?) 

  • Relevance to professional practice of architectural photography
  • Relevance to my personal interests of preservation, conservation etc…
  • Brings up debate around renovation and/or change of purpose or ownership
  • Importance of archiving, how we learn from our past 
  • Questions around cultural memory and identity 
  • Relevance to my degree project (subject of castle/abbey ruins ) 

These potential themes need more thought and research before one can be chosen. In my next post I will look in more depth at each potential theme in turn.


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