Briony Campbell

I came across Briony Campbell while completing the Square Mile assignment. She had completed a piece of work called The Dad Project [Reference 1] which was similar to the work I was attempting to achieved with mine.

While trying to find out more about her I discovered an article on The Guardian website [Reference 2] with a bit about her.

Campbell’s CV indicates she was born in 1980 in London and studied at London College of Communications. She is a filmmaker and photographer.

When I first looked at The Dad Project it didn’t provoke the emotional response I expected from something that echoed events that were happening in my own life. Now as I get closer to Rhys’ funeral there are images contained in Campbell’s work that resonate more strongly with me and provoke a far greater emotional response. The image of Briony eating food while her Dad lies on the bed next to her reminds me of a photo I took of Rhys one day when he was at home and needed to go and lie down. Unfortunately his own bed wasn’t in a state where he could go to sleep on it and so he went into our bedroom and lay down on my side of the bed.

Reading her own reflection on the work and the struggles she had while coming to terms with the project and the photographs she was taking during an intensely personal and normally private time, I could relate to some of the decisions that she had to make. Where Campbell did take at least one photo of her father after he’d died, if only of his hand, that was one line I couldn’t cross in my own work.

There is a certain rawness to her work, which I believe is the result of the emotions that must have been felt at the time.

The other thing that has struck me as I revisit her website and look at the photographs from The Dad Project [Reference 1] is the similarities but also the differences.

Both of us have captured images of our loved one but in Campbell’s case the majority of the images are of her Dad, or her Dad with other people. A number of the images are of just Campbell. Although Rhys appears in a lot of the work I included in the assignment, there are a number of other images that don’t contain people but just objects and nature. Additionally, I avoided using any images that included myself as part of the assignment. Where Campbell included herself within the project, I did what I’ve always done and separated myself from the work; a form of denial but also detachment that allows me to see what is going on, take everything in, and deal with whatever comes up in the way that best supports my family.

Both of us have included images of objects, Campbell of glasses, spillages. Both of us have included images that show some element of nature.

One of the images that I can relate to is one of a milkshake stain (http://www.brionycampbell.com/projects/the-dad-project/#BrionyCampbell_0206-1000×666.jpg). Campbell indicates in the caption to this image that she had to be a daughter before a photographer at this point. On lots of occasions over the last few months I found myself in the situation where being a parent was the priority, picking up a camera was something that just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t regret those moments, even though the images that I would have captured would have added strength to the story that was being told because it would have provided more insight into our reasons for deciding to spend Rhys’ last weeks in a hospice rather that at home.

References

  1. Campbell B, The Dad Project. Available at http://www.brionycampbell.com/projects/the-dad-project/?overview (Accessed: 30th September 2017)
  2. The Guardian, Briony Campbell’s best photograph. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/aug/01/briony-campbell-best-photograph (Accessed: 23rd September 2017)

8 thoughts on “Briony Campbell”

    1. I did find it therapeutic in that it allowed me to take time out and concentrate on something else, like photographing the gardens.

      I think that reviewing Campbell’s work helped me in a number of ways. Firstly, because in a way it allowed me to give myself the permission I needed to take the photos I did and to share them with others, not just on the course but also friends, family and staff. At Rhys’ wake I had two folders with photographs I’d taken since April. That might nor have been something I would have done if I’d not seen Campbell’s project.

      It has definitely helped me creativity-wise because her focus was more on people than mine was. Next time I do a project that is intensely personal then I know what I can focus on people a lot more than I did do.

      Technique-wise I didn’t think about shooting through windows, I think that would have been a nice shot to have had because it would have emphasised more the photographer as outsider, looking in on events rather than being a part of them.

      So I think I can definitely say I got a lot out of the assignment, both personally and emotionally as well as with regards to technique and creativity.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s brilliant. I like how this course developers our photography.

        My tutor suggested that I look at two photographers that aren’t in the manual. There photography became the basis of my first assignment.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had the same from my tutor. Look at Campbell’s work, before I handed in the assignment, and look at someone else who she’d found afterwards. I’ve just ordered a book by the second photographer.

        I can see why they point us to different photographers for different things. Some photographers are good at one thing but not at others. It’s probably part of helping us to develop our own particular style. As much as I love taking photos of people, it’s something I really struggle doing because I’m not confident at getting them into positions that I think will look natural but also have that something that lifts them about being just a snap.

        I took some photos of my son and his cousin last year as part of a present for their Gran. Even then it felt a bit awkward telling them to move into the positions I wanted to photograph. Although we did get the images I wanted, the ones that I liked best ended up being the ones that weren’t completely staged and where their natural reactions and behaviour came through.

        Landscapes and animals I find a lot easier to photograph because you don’t have to direct them, you just need to get in the right position.

        Hopefully by the end of this course I’ll be a lot more comfortable taking photos of people where I’m trying to achieve a specific result.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It is difficult with people. I’m better with people if I’m photographing them at an event. But find it harder with people that I know. I’ve found that if I ask a stranger if I can photograph them (at an event ) it’s easier to direct them because once they have agreed they expect you to direct them. I’m not comfortable with landscapes and I think it’s because there is so much space. Landscapes present a large canvas and I find that difficult to work with. However one of my best study photos is a landscape that I photographed in the diffused lighting section of Workflow course work. My tutor directed me to a photographer who she felt my landscape was similar to and then she directed me with the developing. It was a pleasing result. I will study landscape when I take the degree because I want to broaden my technical and creative skills.

        Liked by 1 person

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