The Photograph as Index: Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary with Sarah Edge and Solange McDaniel

A Workshop Presented by Sarah Edge and Solange McDaniel

Botanic Gardens Belfast, Wednesday March 6th, 2019  


‘There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept’. — Ansel Adams

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The Photograph as Index Facilitators: Sarah Edge and Solange McDaniel

Please wear and bring along the following 

1. Clothing for all weather possibilities.

2. A fully charged phone or camera for taking photographs.

3. A Polaroid camera if you have one. 

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Contributions by Sarah Edge and Solange McDaniel A Beginning and an Ending 

We will start the afternoon with a session run by Sarah and Solange in the glass house. This will be a consideration of the kind of communicative message a photographs is offering. It will remind us of the need, as art therapists, to consider the cultural and psychodynamic meanings of our materials.  

The photograph has an essential connection to the real world lending itself to becoming a record of the natural world that can become a container of emotions.  

Each person will work by themselves in a reflective and quiet manner with their camera, or camera phone, to explore this idea in the Botanic Gardens—photographing in a manner that uses the essential qualities of the photograph to record encounters with the natural world. 

“So successful has been the camera’s role in beautifying the world that photographs, rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful.” Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1979

Please think about how photographs might be used in an art therapy context.

One wonderful example is given on the Nature of Art Therapy blog. Using Polaroid’s in the nature work of Nicola Shaw.

The recording of sound shares some of the qualities of the photographic message and you may also wish to record corresponding sounds on your phone.

We will end the afternoon by meeting back in the Glass House to shared thoughts on the activity.  

After the day it would be wonderful if everyone could use their photographs/sounds to make a short creative Powerpoint using images, sound, and word. 

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Solange will also be facilitating an activity based on the work of photographer Jeff Wall.

For information about Jeff Wall please the article below:

“Look before you leap” is a common sign posted on the front of pools and outdoor swimming spots over all North America, and might be equally useful to put up near Jeff Wall’s photographs. We are used to taking as many pictures as we like in our culture but what if we really annalysed and processed what we were photographing? Like back in film days we only had 24 exposures. Would we experience more? I believe we would photograph differently and more purposefully.” Solange McDaniel