Monday, 29 March 2010

Production 2 - Diary

Update 29 March 2010
This week has been a 'get ready' week for the practical side of this project. Yes, I am going to take some images!! Kit is all checked, batteries fully charged, and all packed. Probably weighs about 50kg.
I carried out some sound recording try-outs using several methods and whilst the Marantz was by far the best in terms of sound quality, it's too bulky to be practical when also carrying a 1kg camera and lens.
I am taking two approaches using portraiture and landscape similarly to Martin Parr but with a documentary approach. I am shooting for 'Life on the Railway today' and 'The effects of the recession in South East Asia.' I will decide upon my return which to use for the project. The images of the effects of the recession could be held back and expanded to use the same approach in Vietnam as a combined series of pictures.
Next communication will be from Malaysia.

Pre-Production Diary

Update 29 March 2010

This weeks time was fully taken up on research. I have been looking at the work and career of Griffith-Jone's 'Peacetime', Tim Page's '10 Years after' and Tim Page's book 'Another Vietnam' showing images taken by photographers sympathetic to the North Vietnamese. The genre of images of the first two photographers depicted the struggle for recovery Vietnam faced after the war with the US. Both books hinted at disapproval for the way the single nation was left to fen for itself. They made use of what the Americans had left behind to kick start a devastated people and economy. No 'Marshall Aid' plan was available for them.
The book 'Another Vietnam' was primarily images used for propaganda purposes although other photographs had been added. The book was also accompanied by a TV documentary last year.
It is difficult to envisage war images as potentially sublime, but this book certainly contains several.
I have also been looking at Martin Parr's work on tourism. His tong in cheek approach to linking people to their surroundings when away from home with the use of garish colours is a consideration for the way I approach this project. My dilemma is one of being disparaging to the Vietnamese, which would be morally difficult for me.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Pre-Production Diary

Update 15 March 2010

PreProduction has had to take a bit of a back seat this week in favour of research required for the other three subjects. I continue to read the Kolko book 'Vietnam - Anatomy of Peace'. It is only thin but quite heavy reading. It deals primarily with economic reform, the communist regime, the need for covert capitalism and of course corruptive influences potentially negating sacrifices of the war with the US. I have also begun to research Phillip Griffith Jones's book 'Vietnam at Peace'. His series of images taken over 25 years since 1975 cover all aspects of life as it attempts to recover. He shows lots of early 'tourism' images and makes the point that the need for tourist Dong, especially from Americans, was beginning to see remnant museums and tourist sites being sanitised to avoid offending anyone!

Production 2 - Diary

Update 15 March 2010

This week has been one of those 'sort things out' weeks. I have finalised the travel plans internally in SE Asia. Two problems have arisen - I am unable to book rail tickets for the last leg of the journey from Butterworth into Thailand, so will have to do this in KL. Secondly, as can be seen in the news, they are 'handbags at dawn' in Thailand. If they have a 'sit in' at the airport again, problems for me. Fortunately Thailand is not my port of entry or exit back to Europe. My back up will be to travel as far as the Thai border and return to Singapore by the same route. After discussions with Rob, I am electing to slant the images and interviews to the railway today and the effect if any of the new budget airline 'AirAsia' and the road network. Who uses the railway and why? How do they cope with these long slow journeys? Are they an ordeal or an adventure to remember? Is it a vital artery for the Peninsular or has its day gone? Is the system busy or falling into disrepair as people potentially move to other forms of transport? Alternatively, is it a thriving community, engendering the same love and affection the Indians put on their system? Is the dream of linking Singapore to Budapest still alive in the view of the travellers?
Research has been around the importance of the railway to Malaysia/Thailand, some video practice with a compact camera. Bit wobbly, so I need to get out with camera and sound his week.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Production 2 - Diary

Update 5 March 2010

This week I have concentrated on finalising all of the logistics which are now all finally done.
I have been loking at sound re-cording and dug out my old minidisk player. (Yes I had one) The problem with these machines is that the player and disks are nice and small, fiiting into a pocket nicely. My problem is the transformer battery charger, it weighs about 2kg and is the size of a car battery. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

I have concentrated on research this week and have been looking at the history of Malaysia and a series of images taken by Craig Schuller along the Thai side of the track. To see his images go to:
http://craig.schuler.name/

Pre-Production Diary

Update 5 March 2010

It's been another really busy week on Pre-production with the presentations and Portfolio 1 all having to be ready and handed in this week. The presentations on Wednesday were all professionally presented and useful for picking up ideas. The logistics of my visit to Vietnam have come to the fore with the need to investigate Visa leadtimes and air fares etc. The Visa can waite until early June. Using an agency will require about 1 week to process. Air fares are at an affordable low with 16 weeks to departure and I was able to book from London via Bangkok to Saigon with Thai Airways. I am using Intrepid Guerba to travel with inside Vietnam, a company I know and trust.

The option 'Tourism of War' seems to be the preferred option as this could potentially capture a series of images which are different to conventional overseas photographs. I would be taking an ironical view of the country. Need to research Martin Parr travel images. The question I have to ask myself is that if I were to go down this humerous but poigniant route, will it in any way ridicule Vietnams history???