“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” Emily Dickinson

So begins the Critical Review of my Practice for ‘Informing Contexts’

I feel that this quote, which I discovered in ‘Why Photography Matters’ by Jerry L. Thompson particularly resonates within me, and my current practice.

In theatre, we continually strived for a truth, in the performance, in the words of the text, in our understanding of the playwright’s intention, and our own. And in the reception by an audience.

A truth that we sought to make our own.

Throughout this term, we have constantly been asked to question the truth of the photograph, the veracity of the moment that has been captured within the frame, and which is presented to us. The truth of the documentary image, of the war, of reportage, of adverts and advertising, of the many images that are now constantly being focused onto us, and within the context that we find ourselves politically with the rise of ‘fake news’ and political forces from the right (and left) that seek to question and cajole our feelings.

Brexit is a case in point, when images were constructed to a specific narrative, such as ‘”Immigrants will be swarming through the UK” or “We can leave the EU and save the NHS”.

Through this term, I have developed a sense of my own work and how I approach the photographic moment which I had not known or realised before. This is the sense of a poetic resonance or narrative within.

One of my fellow cohorts on the MA in Photography wrote this review of my work, which I found incredibly illuminating and thought-provoking.

For Tim, his photographic practice is very personal to himself, his journey through life, the experiences he has and understanding the world around him. (Meticulousfox 2020)

This review came at such a time when I was reflecting within myself the theatre performance of ‘Pessoa. My-Self. I” and the Work in Practice Portfolio. In this sense, I was really trying to understand what photography was to me and why I would take a photograph in the first place.

I think the resonance for me is that photography, along with my art, is very personal to me. In my critical review, I state that theatre was a conversation I had with the playwright, actors and designers, but that photography is about a conversation with myself.

What the next stage is I don’t know but I am excited to see where this thought takes me.

This brings me back to the Emily Dickinson quote that I used. “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”.

This resonates not only through the idea that we are seeking a truth of a moment, be it in writing, performance, photography or any artistic endeavour, but that we want to, and need to, add our own self through our perception or interpretation of that truth.

That within our creativity we are seeking how we can leave just a little bit of ourselves for others to then have a conversation with.