Reality check : a photographic investigation of space, presence and "the real" : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Car parks are highly trafficked yet largely disregarded public spaces. Their functionality renders them almost invisible. This thesis questions the nature of space and presence in locations designed for temporary vehicle storage, and examines how “the real” assumes photographic shape in such locations. Space, presence and “the real” are the three key terms guiding my photographic investigation. For my project, I focused exclusively on the Marion Street car park, which I revisited throughout the year. This location could be considered a non-place. According to Marc Augé a non-place is a public space where people circulate, consume and communicate. Augé’s theory helped contextualise my practice within the field of current thought on photography and its subject-matter. The writings of Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard clarified for me the relationship between photography and “the real.” I developed my approach to space, presence and “the real” by researching the practices of Uta Barth, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Seton Smith, Wim Wenders and Andreas Gefeller. In my photographic investigation I alternated sharp and blurred shots, which, at first, I presented as single images and later as composites – digital collages of overlaid and juxtaposed sharp and blurred repetitive shots. The composite images I am currently producing bring together multiple perspectives, layering space and time, and hinting to narrative and suspense. This type of work recomposes and thus questions space, presence and “the real,” proposing a view of the world from a personal yet multidimensional perspective.