Paul Gaffney (Guest Lecturer)

I admit that before the lecture, I didn’t really understand Gaffney’s work. I had done some research before hand but only really looked at his images not the reasons behind them. The reasons behind them are incredibly important with these images and I will explain them in more detail later on. 

I had found these images and viewed them before attending the lecture. His images were well composed and technically great but I couldn’t understand why he had done them.

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After attending his lecture, I had a much greater understanding of the reasons why he produced work like this. His work was produced while walking a 3,5oo km walk with the intention of producing this set of work. He never retraced to the same spot. He said, ‘If it’s there, it’s there, if it’s not then move on. You will find another image.” This attitude is how he carried out this project. He explained how he didn’t spend too much time on one image, he didn’t wait for the light to change. He wanted to show and document how it was and what he saw as he saw it. He explained how he wanted to capture and explore the psychological and meditative impact walking has on people and how that journey impacts their lives. These images were created to try to engage the viewer in this journey.

He stressed the importance that you can even try, “walking off path if that’s what you feel you want to do.” Although this does sound like it directly links with his project here, it does link to photography in general and all projects. He is telling us to be adventurous and follow the direction we really want to follow.

I wrote notes in my notebook the whole way through – important points that he said about his work as well as quotes and points that inspired me in my own work:

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  • The work I produce has to be meaningful to me otherwise I will get bored or not fully explore it
  • If I am not 100% behind my work then people won’t get it
  • Show my work to tutors and peers.
  • Have confidence in knowing what I want my work to be but also listen if same advice is given again and again.
  • Have a reason for doing things, even the presentation needs to have reasons for everything