REMLA: ‘Unearthing The Royal Engineers’ by Isabel Trott

October 12, 2017by izzytrottNewsRoyal Engineers Museum and Archive (17/18)

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Photo albums, a way of collecting and representing data in a visual format, allows the memories and moments of the past to come to alive: a moment to relive a personal experience or to reflect upon a similar one. Each album created by the Royal Engineers is a unique construction of photographs, text and other personally valuable trinkets from their journeys and experiences. Within this unit of work I wanted to showcase the past Engineers through close ups of the photo albums that they made by focusing the lens upon the state of destruction and ageing. I wanted to highlight that despite the Engineers not being present, physically or in the produced work, that their memories and work still lives on through their documents. The body of work relies upon the viewers individual perspectives to connect and see the Royal Engineers within the work. This therefore creates an intimate relationship between the Engineers, the image and the viewers imagination as they engage and put themselves into the work On reflection of the work I have produced for the client, and project as a whole, I believe that I have met the specified brief with a personal response involving the Royal Engineers and the archive itself. I have created work which may appear to have a simple aesthetic but yet it calls for an engagement with the audience, for them to not only be intimate physically with the work but also mentally. Over the time period of the project, I have felt that I have generated a successful concept which has been continually developed throughout due to a variety of research and experimentation. By encountering the museum and archive early on during the unit was the first stage of research for me as it allowed me to explore what was in front of me and think about the possible things that I could create. By having the interaction with the archive allowed me to delve straight into the work as I was able to focus on what I was drawn to. This opportunity was the basis for starting my research. For the work I feel that I have completed enough research, both visual and contextual. First and foremost I completed some research into the Royal Engineers, the Archive as well as photo albums as that was the main focus for the project. From there I was able to develop and push for further research throughout the unit which therefore led to experimentation. Visual research was also a crucial part of this unit. It allowed be to explore artists and their work and allowed me to gain a new perspective of how it could influence my work. I found many useful artists whose work I found really influential including Duane Michals, Matt Bryans and Guy Bourdin just to name a few. Each had a different affect on my work and got me to think about how to push it further. From this I was then able to complete a variety of different experiments which explored many areas. The experimentation gave me the opportunity to see what did work so I could keep developing upon it or what didn’t so I knew I had to change what I was doing and try something else. Documenting the experimentation meant that I was able to refer back the notes as I was going along and to also go back to them at any other time incase they would also suit another body or work. Regular tutorials with peers was another way that allowed me to reflect upon what i was producing as well as gain useful feedback. This helped to not only narrow my focus in directions but also try out new things which I may not have initially thought off. While making ‘Unearthing The Royal Engineers’ I was always reflecting upon how I could potentially want the work to look when in the space as that would also have an effect on development of my experimentation. These developments came from research of artists but also of trial and error of my own ideas and interpretation of the work. The space allowed me to be creative with what I had in mind and I believe that when in the space the work will lend itself to its surrounding environment within the museum. On another note when looking to the exhibition as a whole, everyone who has been involved with this project has created unique and individual pieces which strongly stand alone but yet will compliment each other beautifully when placed into the space. The exhibition is going to be a diverse spread of interesting works highlighting the importance and roles of the Royal Engineers, Museum and Archive. Blog for final images and further research/ background into the project: https://photobloggrapher.wordpress.com/category/year-3/exposure-unit/photographer-in-residence/final-images-and-exhibition-plans/
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