It’s fair to say that I have learnt a lot over the last few weeks. I can start to feel myself becoming more confident in regards to my personality and my work. That isn’t to say it’s been an easy ride however, I have felt unsure of nearly every idea I had, but looking back on this experience maybe that’s because this has been the first time I have pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone, rather than locking myself in my room and doing a project I know will work, I made myself vulnerable I put myself and my project online for people to watch the development of. I was uneasy at first about making my work accessible to everyone and allowing others to work with me on a project on a transmedia project. I remember thinking at the beginning of term that whatever I produced wouldn’t feel like mine because it involved letting others adapt and influence my work. However I quickly realised how naive that thought was of me, opening up my precious world (anime fandom) which I am usually quite protective of, has allowed me to meet the most interesting people, and realise there is a target audience out there in which I can combine photography and Anime fandom and still have a career from it. Take Robbie Cooper for example, it was inspirational to see a successful photographer who had made a living out of their hobby, gaming is more acceptable now than it used to be, but in his early career he still had the drive to peruse his ideas even if the area he was looking at was surrounded with negative representation. The lecture given by Mafalda was a huge help for me personally as well. People always knew I was interested in anime and manga before this year but I think listening to self-proclaimed fans who are also established within their field like Mafalda and Cooper talk about how they utilise their fandom in their work gave me the confidence to tackle my own interests. There is no some influences of this and some of something else in my final piece, it’s simply me, engaging with the community I love and learning as much as I am teaching. This has been the most rewarding project I have done, I see it progressing, the idea of transmedia and working with others now excites me, and is something I will be using in the future.
The weekly tasks helped me understand the role of Creative Commons, after looking at the amount of work accessible online for free and the quality of that work, I realised this is the way forward for my career. I hardly use film, I am always posting online so why would I restrict my work? The internet is a giant hub of shared and adapted information. I am now proud to say that my work is right in the middle of this hub. Across my website you can now see a small CC licence which allows others to share and adapt my work. Honestly I am excited about the idea of one day stumbling across my work, which someone has adapted, as long as they follow the guidelines and have credited me. The next step for me will be finding the balance between what to give away and what to charge for. That will be the most challenging aspect, but if done right can open up my career, benefiting me, my work and also allowing me to learn from others.
My final project branched off in so many directions, starting in my head as medium format photos of a fan interacting with their hobby. I swung into my idea without a second thought (which I later came to regret) posting it online across UK ‘Otaku’ (anime and manga fans) forums. I also managed to get the project idea put on the home page of OtakuNews.com a information site for Otaku’s across the world to read about the latest events for anime fans. However I quickly came to realise that this was a very big project for the 5 week time scale, and that unless you prove yourself a reliable and trustworthy source fans will be reluctant to open up to you. I made myself reliable by exposing my own world online, posting up photos of my “fan room” online, I got positive feedback from this, I made myself credible to people and from then the online community completely opened up to me. However, instead of sitting down and rationally thinking about what to do next, I jumped straight into another idea, and then another one when I wasn’t satisfied with that. Eventually I realised if my project wasn’t going to work with in the time scale then it would need adapting to make it fit. An online digital project was more suited, in which I would explore the notion of the Sanctuary. Fans all over the world post up photos of their bedrooms plastered in merchandise (Including me with regards to my fan room on figure.fm), this made me think about how most of the people I talk to online are sitting in their rooms, surrounded by figurines and posters. I related this to religion, a sanctuary is a sacred place of escape. Popular culture and it’s depiction of religion has always fascinated me, what more of a fitting way then to look at sanctuaries in which people collect statues of their idols. I like to think with my final pieces if you kept the wording/script but replaced the images with rooms full of religious statues, the effect on their viewer would be the same. They would feel the connection and love the fan has for their hobby and in turn be less judgemental.
I really see this project evolving, I am already in contact with 3 more Otaku’s and arranging times to talk to them. I’m hoping that now I have a few video’s online the fans won’t be so scared of being judged. The aim of the project is to reflect the sensation of ‘Moe’, a feeling fans get towards their hobby. Or as Mim calls it in “Otaku Sanctuaries – No.2” “A warm fuzzy feeling.
My worries at the moment, I see the videos in a completely different light to everyone else, I know this warm feeling I am trying to make the spectator feel and when I watch the videos I feel it again, but I already have that link established with the hobby. I want to produce at least 2 more videos before I approach companies for sponsorship however I already have in mind a few figurine manufacturers from conventions and online that I want to pitch my idea to. Take this with me as I leave uni and turn it into something established within the fan community in turn helping establish myself there too.
The second part to Phonar has been photosense, regrettably the end product we aimed for, a podcast, has not been produced due to lack of time. However this does mean we can push it more and conduct more interviews before we air it. Looking at photography in a new way, in regards to all the senses had been really rewarding. In particular conducting the interview with Ian Treherne in which we talked about the problems of working in a visual field but having sight problems. Speaking for only myself here it is fair to say that with the work load Photosense slipped from my mind a lot, it started out as the main intention for the module, but as I learnt more about using my skills in the world of fandom it got pushed back. Something which I regret but is unchangeable.