Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Assignment 1

For this assignment the task was to collect photographs of growing up through childhood and then swap them with another student from a different discipline who you don't know very well.
I swapped my photos with Leanne Evans who is studying jewellery and metalwork design. A select few of the photos you can see above.
At first it seemed a rather odd experience to be scrutinizing someone else's childhood in such detail considering I hardly know Leanne and so to be researching and analysing such a personal subject felt quite surreal if you could put it like that.
After Leanne and I had swapped photographs I felt quite overwhelmed with regards to the amount I was given so I tried to narrow it down by being selective but still giving myself a wide range to work with.
From studying the photos, at the beginning I admit I found it a difficult exercise to carry out. As a result I have come to several different conclusions. A solid relationship with her family comes across in many respects within several photos due to the family orientated events such as dinner parties and the garden picnic with her nan. Overall I feel a loving ambience being projected from these images.
In a few of the photos; Leanne's mother is a dominant character and I felt a strong connection from these, possibly as a result of many warm embraces and an all round closeness.
Leanne has two siblings, both a younger brother and sister who feature in quite a few of the images. I gained the sense that Leanne would be relatively protective towards her siblings and I gained this from her caring nature of body language shown.
Her family as a holistic figure seems to have a good, lively sense of community who all enjoy plenty of active fun events and as a result I would say generally have been a heavy influence on her life.
One of the more recent photos of Leanne which I unfortunately was unable to upload showed her and two friends doing a charlies angels reenactment. From this I extracted the idea that Leanne's tastes and interests may be swayed by her peer group due to similar styles of clothing. The photo is lively and bursting with life which suggests the three girls have a really comfortable, close friendship with each other. This could reflect her personality as easy going, quirky and fun loving.
A further subject noted while analysing was that in one particular image Leanne seemed to be colouring in possibly showing an early flare in her creative side which she has clearly ended up pursuing at art college!
As previously mentioned about how family orientated the photos were I feel she has grown up in a stable and well supported background and some factors lead me to believe her family is pretty well off, i.e. not working class, as in lots of the photos the environment seems full of nice toys and furthermore from the decor of the house.
One final observation was that her father only features in a few of the photos so perhaps he was the main photographer in the family!

On meeting up with Leanne to discuss and swap notes I felt slightly nervous about verbally communicating my thoughts and observations about her life and was highly intrigued to see how she had got on with my photos and seeing what she had to say about them. After hearing Leanne's feedback I was pretty pleased with my results as they seemed quite accurate. The only major thing which stood out that I got wrong was that in one of the family dinner party photos I mentioned, I thought was her kitchen seemed to be 1960-1980's themeddue to the green cabinet decor. This in some respects what correct as it was from that time period but it turned out to be her gran's house, not her own.

On listening to what Leanne had to say about my childhood was really interesting. It was an odd feeling hearing about my life through another persons perspective and having the coin flipped by now becoming the research subject. I feel that by completing this task it has taught me some valuable lessons, for example, to be sensitive to the research subject and furthermore to consider carefully all the ethical considerations behind design research. While thinking about the ethical considerations such as gaining permission to use other peoples sources it got me thinking more about how researching into another persons private life was quite a daunting experience as well as a privilege.

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