Ways of Seeing-Thinking
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
One of my favourite and most deeply ingrained books of criticism that I encountered in my undergraduate years studying Art History and Philosophy at UCL was John Berger's seminal Ways of Seeing (1972) based on a TV series of the same name. It opened my eyes to the way images were constructed dependent on their moment in history and the culture in which they were produced and reproduced in a way that really stuck with me. Berger was radical in the way he presented his thesis as TV series and a picture book, rather than relying on pages of tightly packed words to present his argument. He persuaded with his passion and the very images that inspired his thinking, which he ultimately sought to 'expose'. The TV show that calcified this moment in art history is once seen never forgotten.
When the call came to my inbox to contribute to a book entitled Ways of Thinking that addressed the various ways different creative practitioners gained their inspiration I knew I wanted to contribute. The Cambridge School of Art's Ways of Thinking is this book. It is beautifully produced and details a fascinating range of creative responses. I am proud to be included and thanks to Sean Baker for a carefully observed short essay about my work which highlights the interdisciplinary nature of its inception, development and completion. I included a photograph of a street food van that inspired the beginning of my PhD novel. As makers we often borrow from other places. Knowing where to listen to inspiration is one of the skills you develop over time. My filmmaking background meant that I am a visual writer. I often see the scene before I can write it. The story comes together when this moment is fully realised with many other moments and many hours have been spent filling in the missing parts - shaping and rewriting until the story is whole.
This same novel has recently been long listed for The Times Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition. (As previously posted.)