Photography and the fantastic


I have been teaching a 9 week programme in digital imaging to a group of Japanese students. The theme was the bristish landscape. We visited a suburban garden, went to Seasalter (the seaside) and visited Tate Britain to look at the history of the British landscape tradition. As with earlier animation work they have produced, it is clear thay have no hesitation in bringing drawing and invented digital images into the more representational, photographic images of landscape.

I asked students to comment on my work, and Bryan’s work, on display in the Powell Building. Although limited in vocabulary, its clear they have a strong insight into symbolism and composition; they remarked that the works on display used compositional structures that differed from ‘Japanese’ composition.

The students have sometimes been too ready to eliminate the photographic landscape images, priviliging invented and drawn elements to invest images with complex posibilities. I have prompted them to establish a balance between the observed reality, the photograph, and the invented, digital reality, to create a montages comprising a sythesis of elements.

It appears the Japanese students have a different capacity, compared to the predominantly European students, to integrate media types on computer.


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