My Final Year, My Final Assignment.
I aim to crate something to be proud of, something I believe in and something that could make a difference.
A few years ago someone very close to me told about her experience with child abuse, it was still happening and this person was still a child. I have never spoken about this to people outside of my comfort circle because the person it involves it too young. Therefore I will not disclose any Information on this person. Only my word and variations of the story I have.
This perpetrator was also someone close to me and the people around me making this period of my life confusing and frustrating. This being one of the top reasons I aim to fight my demons and recreate them into something helpful and meaningful.
For this project, I propose to create a series of still images, to influence the awareness of child abuse and child exploitation. My influence for embarking upon this subject, is to bring awareness to others of a personal matter, through an experience that I was affected by from a family member. I can, through personal experience bring a personalised opinion and influence to my project. I aim to give an artistic approach to the final outcomes, through the use of creative imagery. I propose to bring awareness to this through the use of photography, this will be accompanied with a short artistic documentary focusing on the same matter. The working titles of the short film and photography series will be the same, although we will be individual artistic outcomes. Both of the outcomes will be exhibited together in our end of year exhibition, through a multi-media installation. Our collective aim to undergoing this project, is to bring awareness to the abuse and exploitation of young people. Although we both have experience of this subject, we are creating this project to bring awareness for other people also. As research shows, statistically according to NSPCC (2017) “There are currently over 57,000 children identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK”, further to this, they have also stated on their website that they “estimate that for every child identified as needing protection from abuse, another 8 are suffering abuse” (NSPCC 2017). For those ’57.000 children’ and many more, I aim to bring this awkward, sensitive and emotional matter to light through the use of photography. Not only are we becoming less aware or ignorant to the increase in regards to child sexual exploitation, as it is by any means a taboo subject. The sensitivity of the matter causes people to ignore the statistics, although it is becoming increasingly reported in the media, people seem to not understand the severity of the increase, unless something of this nature happens to them or a close member of their family, it is not discussed in average conversation or thought to be a cause of concern, although the numbers of cases involving children and vulnerable young people is increasing year by year, as suggested by NSPCC, stating that “in the last 5 years, the number of police-recorded sexual offences has risen by 80% across the UK”. Through undergoing this project, I aim to bring these statistics to the surface and to bring awareness to this through my audience. If this project can influence only one person to change something for the better, something that can save a child or young person from being one of those statistics, I would consider this project to be a success. To do this I need more information on the subject of child abuse.
I began by looking into the statistics of child abuse cases, reported past and present within the UK. Child abuse covers a wide range of different aspects of abuse including; physical, phycological, domestic and sexual. With many cases being reported in the past and present, I have found I have a multitude of research for this subject, although I have focused my research on the overall statistics of reported child abuse within the UK. According to a survey conducted by ONS [GB] (Office of National Statistics, Great Brittan) (2016). The survey was conducted using people aged from 16 to 59 within England and Wales, who had experienced some kind of abuse throughout their childhood. The survey found that 14% of the participants experienced physiological abuse, 10% had experienced physical abuse, 19% had experienced sexual abuse and 15% had experienced domestic abuse. The youngest reported survivor of child abuse, was under 1 years old . The most reported place of someone being a witness to child abuse is in someone else’s home, with the top percentage overall for sexual assault, being 42% of the perpetrator being a stranger to the victims. Although for psychological or physical abuse the main perpetrator to be reported, through this survey with 39% was inflicted by the victim’s father. The findings of this survey, also gave details on the phycological impact of the survivors and how their experience has affected their life. Reporting that 31.8% of survivors have a long-lasting illness or disability impacted by their experience. In comparison to 16.8% that have non, along with 33.6% of the reported 31.8% being reported as being “on long term-sick” and unable to be employed as a result. These Findings do not only scare me they also shock me to my core. For so many children to experience this kind of abuse and effect there childhood is not acceptable.
Photographically this project could be challenging, I aim to create images of portraiture and for my images to suggest the impact of child abuse. Throughout this project, the images I will create will be influenced from real life stories, although the victims will be kept anonymous. I also aim to develop some images using information from specific abuse charities, including NSPCC and HAVOCA, these are also anonymous. The style I aim to photograph my subjects will be within a dark setting, black backdrop with only the subject lit, in doing so the main focal point is the subject, with no distractions, I aim to make my models appear as the only focal point within the images, this is inviting the viewer to only see the subject, to take in there their emotional state, facial expressions and body language. I have considered many different style and approaches done in the past, through the use of photography. One being the work from Sarah Martin. Martin did a series of images focusing on child abuse, this series of images from 2011 used her friends and family to create images, that depict child abuse and its effect, these images are effective and tell the viewer perfectly what the images intentions are. Although her images are not the style I aim aiming for, I can draw some inspiration from her work and image story telling. I will be taking some inspiration from her images, in regards to subject positioning and approach, I do aim for the style of my subjects, to be photographed within less obvious surroundings. My inspiration for this was influenced through a video I have seen from YouTube, titled “The Silence (short film about child abuse)” published in 2016 by Cleo Tellier. Throughout this short film, the visuals are of young children in a blacked-out room, only the subject being lit, the visuals alone tell a story, although it has aid of narrators. This video is impactful and brings a lot of awareness to the matter. Telling a story through subtle but effective lighting techniques and actor positioning is the inspiration for my idea, where only the subject is lit. With this in consideration, I have drawn some inspiration, also from the lighting technique I aim to use, it is inspired from the Dutch artist Rembrandt. His lighting technique uses one or two lights with a soft box fitting and a reflector. This ensures the light that is hitting the subject isn’t too harsh, as if giving the impression of interrogation images, but not too soft that it is difficult to distinguish the subject. This style is usually done with close up models, although through the use of test shooting the lighting techniques, camera and light positioning this can be adapted to fit the desired style.
My Aimed outcomes
- Simple images, use of childlike props: teddies, toys, toy cars.
- Dark, blacked out background, only subject lit.
- Soft lighting.
- Final outcomes: The images on the wall are to display what people would see from the child, a happy child displayed to them and then for them to be retreated back to their memoires of their experience.
- Images in book, child looking vulnerable, scared, adult figure in images, text to relate to experiences.
- Use of 5 young actors, different positions, different stories portrayed.
- Polaroid/ medium format images, along with large scale digital printed images.
- Wall mounted images to be sized at 16×20. Album images to be sized at A5/A6.
- Idea 1:
- Photographs of actors/ models of a young age. Series of 4 images to display on the wall, all from the same model, first image subject smiling, second image smile starts to fade, third image sadness begins, fourth image: teared eyes. At the end of the series will be a photo book positioned on a plinth, within this book will be small intimate photographs of the memories the child would have from their experience.
- Idea 2:
- Photographs of approximately 5 young actors/ models with their mouths covered, either by an adult or themselves, the subject will have teared eyes or seem to be in an emotional state. This also brings into context the series title of ‘our little secret’. (see appendix 3, Fig 2 and 3 for example)