The Image Speaks

Since 2014, the Arts & Humanities Faculty at the University of Sheffield has run a project called The Image Speaks. The aim of the project is to create a photograph that speaks of our individual research projects. This year it was my turn to take part…

When I started the project, I thought that it would be fairly straightforward for me. After all, photographs are central to my investigation. In my first year of research, I spent quite a lot of time ruminating on the history of the photograph, on the distinct processes that produce images of varying colour intensity and the processes of deterioration. The family album is at the core of many family stories – even when it is absent.

However, I struggled to settle on a single idea. My work is full of images. Lots of them. We were asked to bring in an image of our research and I made a collage. Masses of ideas strung together. Fortunately, for this project the responsibility was shared. I attempted to describe my research to the photographer, Andy Brown, and almost immediately he was able to crystallise my rambling thoughts into a single nugget.

The result is the photograph that you can see here:  https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.779158!/file/TIS_5_Online_Essays.pdf

Mine is number 8 on pages 17-18 – but while you’re there I would recommend that you spend some time looking at the other photographs and reading their essays. Especially that of my fellow theatre scholar Cath Badham, which reflects on the making visible of the backstage labour.

My essay explains what Andy and I were trying to show with our photograph – so I won’t say anything more about that in this blog, but please do let me know what you think @heardofcats

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