Peer Reviews

I looked forward to my peers presentations this week. There is such variety of visual stories presented by our cohort. I was interested in discovering how my peers wrote their stories and how they voiced their intent.

A very intriguing presentation by Ilya caught my eye as I followed her work throughout the module. Her work showed connection between people and messages that they represent in a very gentle, non obvious, yet very powerful way way. Being a people photographer, I was interested to see Ilya’s path to present emotions and see the visual presentation of the subjects.

James’s presentation was superb. I watched it the first time from a perspective of a fellow student, looking at the presentation design, monologue and of course photographs and the story. Soon I was transformed into a story and I felt like I travelled with the images through the British seaside and explored the history of Blackpool. Half way through the presentation I forgot it was a school project. At the end of it, I knew I had to watch it again. The selection of images and the dialog were so interlined together, the narrative felt like it was an opening to a movie. This was not only a visit into the British seaside. This presentation, although referring to British culture, brought back my memories from Poland where I grew up.

When I began working on my presentation, I wasn’t sure how to project it. When I started with the narrative, I found myself unexpectedly switching to working on my critical review and followed that path. Ultimately, I didn’t complete my presentation for the peer review; mainly due to time constrains related to my full time work. However, I received feedback form my peers when on March 20, 2020 I spoke about transition of my work due to coronavirus.

My research project is about portraits of football (American football) moms. Being a football mom myself, I saw first hand how different life became when American football entered the household. My intent was to show what it means to these women to have a sport as such integral part of everyday life.

Joanna Kurowski, 2020, Football Mom series

I have a number of moms super excited about this project. We talk, we meet, we discuss how living with American football affects their every day. I photograph and I get to know them better. I learn about their lives, their families. Everything is going great. I am excited about my project.

Joanna Kurowski, 2020, Life with coronavirus

Then boom – coronavirus pandemics. Everything changes. I get orders to isolate and begin to work from home. Moms are not available to be photographed. Life changes almost overnight.

I could select some photographs and be done with my research project. Except that I am not done with my project yet. From a perspective of my studies, the pandemics for me is not really a problem. It is an opportunity to reassess the direction of my project, to challenge myself, to see creative ways I haven’t noticed yet.

I don’t have people to photograph anymore, but I have my home and items related to football that I can photograph to express my vision and my message. My intent is still to show the life of a football mom. I am just changing my visual approach. I don’t have my physical appearance of my moms in my photographs, but I want to feel their presence in my photographs.

Joanna Kurowski, 2020, Football Mom series

I don’t know at this point what is going to happen in the future. I don’t know where this new concept will take me. I don’t know the final outcome of my project. But I know one thing – I know I am not going to sit and wait for life. Giving up is not an option. Life is happening now and I need to take advantage of what is happening. This opportunity pushes me out of my comfort zone. It makes me think how my surroundings can be used to illustrate my intent.

Joanna Kurowski, 2020, Football Mom series

As I proceeded with this newly found concept, I discovered a new found energy level and curiosity that led me to explore other genres of photography and re-train my brain to look at my subjects differently. It was refreshing. Challenging, but refreshing. Books and publications I read before, now presented me with another angle to think. Exploring work of photographers I didn’t even think before, has proven to expand my way of seeing.

When I shared my project update with Steph during our tutorial, she suggested I present my story of the project transition to my peers. I was happy to do it, but I was also a little nervous (I am not a good public speaker; not yet). But I felt it was important to share my thought process with others, who like me, might be facing the inevitable change of their projects.

Joanna Kurowski, 2020, Football Mom series
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