Assignment 2 – Ideas 1 – Abstract Nouns

The brief for the second assignment was to ‘Photograph the Unseen’ and the course materials encouraged you to explore various ideas before attempting to photograph your chosen subject matter.

As a first step, I decided to scour the internet for lists of abstract nouns – intangible things like feelings, ideas, concepts and qualities, which I wouldn’t necessarily think of sat in front of a blank sheet of paper. It’s true to say I was swamped with a large number of possible areas to explore.  To make life a fraction easier, I carried these lists around with me and worked through them in sections, identifying ones that might become a possible avenue to go down for the assignment. My first resulting ‘pile’ of words is shown below…


Of course, some of these abstract nouns did not naturally lend themselves to being ‘unseen’… for example, it would have been difficult to photograph homelessness or wealth without conceding clear visual clues in an image even though it was possible that these could be hidden traits in the right circumstances… I had to clearly do a lot more decanting down of these random ideas so I fairly indiscriminately reduced them down to the following much smaller selection:-


Part of my concern with the method I was using, was that I feared my final choice would take me down a road of creating images in the same vein as some of the rather corny motivational posters that are so prevalent in modern culture… It was quite entertaining to discover that there is an ample supply of what could be termed ‘anti-motivational’ posters out there parodying the original poster format…

I decided really to move on from this approach as it was not particularly guiding me in any specific direction. The only slight idea that I had as a result of this exercise, was to cultivate and idea around racism, which I shall expand on in further blog posts.

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