Week 11- Surfaces and Strategies – Reflections

Getting Back to Scotland

Due to the nature of this Block and to the time allocated to it, I think I could have done more when talking about exhibition and other themes proposed. I did not know from the beginning that this block would run through the school holidays. Now that I would be ready to start, the University holidays are on and I am back on a routine where I would be able to produce more academic work.

Recently I was invited to take part on a survey run by a master’s student of social sciences from the University of Glasgow. The survey and his studies were about non-traditional students, focusing on parents under post-graduation courses. I volunteered to take part on it, answered a few questions and described my situation as a mother of two and my choice for a part-time course (As a result of his studies, it was very sad that he came to a conclusion that there is lack of support from the universities to non-traditional students). I also described my challenges and my biggest challenge was yet to come: a block under school holidays.

I would never be able to complete the previous block under the same scenario: so much reading, writing and learning. It was all very exciting to learn so much and I really enjoyed it, but for this learning process to be completed I needed a simple thing: structured routine. And this is one thing that we do not have during the school holidays.

During this summer holidays I have decided to take my children to Brazil, since I haven’t seen my parents for almost 3 years and my father would be 80 this year, so it would be pretty unfair on them not to go. Brazil was great to continue my project at this point, and it came a right time, a continuation to a dialogue I had already started, and now with more knowledge and confidence on what I wanted to produce.

I have decided to do all my work in black and white, and mainly on my 35mm camera, using film. My film adventures have already been discussed about and, because of my difficulties on creating a structured routine, I had to keep my editing very simple and straightforward. Through the years shooting film. I make more and more use of my film, and this helps me to save money and work more efficiently.

My material is in film because I have started photography in Brazil many years ago with film, I still have many negatives and prints in my parent’s place, and they feel right for me. I can connect more using film while travelling there because of this connecting, this almost “umbilical cord” that ties me to that place.

Black and White also feels right because it is supposed to represent a dream, it is a short period of reality, after that I will return to my second reality, far away across the ocean. My father mentioned once that he dreams in black and white. I dream in colours; others don’t remember their dreams at all. The monochrome dialogue suits the situation, also because of the tone of the material.

My final images reflect all of the above, and it gave me something that I was on need of: fluidity. It was fluid to produce this work, I was shooting evert day, with my film camera mainly but also with my polaroid and smartphone. Maybe because I have more time for production, and the holidays suited for this purpose, to make everything more fluid and I want to take this with me to the following step in learning process.

Finally, I hope I have conditions to continue my studies to the next block and that my work is good enough to do so. In an ideal world, universities would have a structure where it would be easier to accommodate all types of students, keeping the parents in mind. Nevertheless, I was satisfied with the progress of my work and with the people I met and reencountered on the way. It was again a great experience to describe my culture and background through these images and I am delighted with the results. I am glad I took the courage and finished in time.

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