Dean O'Brien's Blog

350MC Working with Photography in Context: Research Project Proposal

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Looking into the influence of western adverts in Ukraine and how they have affected those living there since gaining independence from the U.S.S.R twenty years ago.

Mode of presentation

Symposium presentation

Description of subject to be investigated

I plan to explore change in Ukraine since the collapse of the former U.S.S.R., or maybe lack of it.  For twenty years Ukraine has struggled to join a market economy, hence the growth of marriage agencies.  There are many reasons for this I want to explore this further.  I intend to look more at the western influence through advertising there.  Adverts, often heavily sexualised adorn every piece of available space telling people what they need to aspire to.  John Berger stated in ‘Ways of Seeing’ that ‘For many in Eastern Europe  such images in the West sum up what they in the East lack.  Publicity, it is thought, offers a free choice’.

This is apparent when looking at similar projects by Donald Weber, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Simon Roberts, Boris Mikhailov and Peter Dench, whose work I plan to refer to.

Anticipated method of presentation

I plan to present my research in the form of a symposium which will be combined with a Keynote presentation.  I have chosen this method as I feel that I need to be able to talk about my work and this will be a great opportunity to do so.  

Sources to be utilised

I will use a variety of sources including images which I feel are relevant and interviews from subjects directly affected by this change by asking them a variety of questions.  I will also provide photographic evidence to support my argument from things which I have witnessed there.  I intend to seek out any on-line articles, books or newspaper reports which have reported on the issue.  I also intend to interview other photographers who have worked in a similar area.

Methods to be used in acquisition of sources

I will fly to Ukraine to take photographs of adverts which I feel have a heavy western influence.  I will also look into similar projects by Donald Weber, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Simon Roberts, Boris Mikhailov and Peter Dench.

Methods/forms of interpretation/analysis to be used with the information and sources

I intend to listen to the recorded interviews, pick apart sections and refer to other practitioners who have looked into similar projects.  ‘Motherland’ by Simon Roberts being one of them.

Plan/schedule of work

I fly out to Kiev on Thursday to interview at least two subjects.  I will be using a  sound recorder and shooting using 6×6 medium format colour film.  These are two contacts who I have met on previous occasions.  I plan to gather together a selection of advertisements and ask their opinions on the influence of such adverts. . When I return to the UK I will start to edit the audio recordings and develop the films.  I may well conduct interviews via Skype where face to face is not possible.

I have already contacted Anastasia Taylor-Lind requesting an interview and will be contacting other photographers also.

I already have a selection of adverts from Ukraine but plan to gather more on this trip.

350mc List of References

Berger, John (1972) Ways of Seeing, London: Penguin

Berger, John (1972) Ways of Seeing Episode 2  [online] available from <> [18 October 2011]

Berger, John (1972) Ways of Seeing Episode 3 [online] available from <> [25 October 2011]

Black Eyed Peas (2008) My Humps [online] available from <> [19 October 2011]

Hannes, Nick (2009) Red Journey, Belgium: Lannoo

kpal527 (2008) I Kissed a Girl  [online] available from <> [19 October 2011]

Ludwig, Gerd (2001) Broken Empire, United States of America: National Geographic

Magnum (2009) Georgian Spring: A Magnum Journal, London: Chris Boot

Mcluhan, Marshal (2008) The Medium is the Massage, London: Penguin

Mikhailov, Boris (1999) Case History, Germany: Scalo

Mikhailov, Boris (2011) Tea Coffee Cappuccino, Germany: Walther Konig

Roberts, Simon (2007) Motherland, London: Chris Boot

Smyth, D. (2011) ‘Anastasia Taylor-Lind’s Cossack Revival’. British Journal of Photography

[online] Available from <> [22 October 2011]

The Associated Press (2006) Dirty song lyrics can prompt early teen sex [online] available from <> [ 18 October 2011]

Written by Dean O'Brien

November 10, 2011 at 12:30 am

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