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William Arnold - Guest Lecture

William Arnold is a visual artist as well as photographer and historian. Arnold graduated from Plymouth and has an MA from there too. His works have been described as original and to have an other worldly feel.  To start with photography was just a hobby but once Arnold got involved in photography, he was curios and challenged the boundaries of materials. Within his first use of photography he experimented with cyanotype portraits.

During our talk Arnold said something which I found interesting was: “Photography is literal accounts for a time - only media that does” Which I had never thought about  before but was extremely true. Once experimenting with cyanotypes Arnold moved on to experimenting with pin hole cameras. There was another series that Arnold did using pinhole cameras to capture peoples bedrooms. Recording everything that happened in the personal space over a time period. 

The image produced from this it was everything, to much information, yet not enough and nothing, all at the same time. This series of work won a award that magnum photos was running. Which led to Arnold taking photography a lot more seriously and led to him getting his MA. By using all the old techniques and history in photography to create this works and series, he enjoyed never knowing the outcome and the excitements in his works results. Many of his inspirations have come from poets and writers.  Arnold uses nature a lot in his work as he is also a gardener. 

While now working at Choro college Arnold’s tried to produce work in his lunch breaks. While on these walks Arnold took photos of the urban rural outskirts of where the college is. To develop the images he would use coffee from the staff room to develop his medium format photos taken on the walks. This gave a romanticised side to his work. Also gave it a significant and a time. Arnold used a lot of camera less photography, trying out poses and playing with materials. Inspired by old developing processes rather than todays ways of developing photos. 

Arnold said he did not like the idea of photographers making a name for themselves by always doing the same thing. Which I agree with the better you are in multiple places the more advanced you seem. The element of experimenting and going outside the box. For Talbot’s cyanotypes where a main inspiration to Arnold which led to him doing the same thing with samples of seaweed. Another later work that he created was on moths and light pollution trees coming out too soon, leaves being too hard for the moth caterpillars so they do not grow and die and the birds do not feed on them. 

Many of Arnolds work did interest me as he enjoyed using the old techniques and the idea of keeping them alive. Bring them into the modern day. I feel that by Arnold talking about his works he shows the important in keeping in touch with were photography came from and in bring it into the modern world today, in new experimental ways. His works show that there is no limitation to photography it can always be adapted and modernised. Progresses with time but stays the same throughout time. The technology may change but the whole idea of taking a photo stays the same. 

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