Obsessions Initial Ideas.

“Without obsession, life is nothing” – John Waters.

When asked to think about the word ‘obsessions’, my initial reaction was about a physical thing that someone becomes obsessed with, and essential takes over their life. The images of a reclusive figure chronically obsessed with a video game, or TV show sprang to mind. However, I knew very early on that I did not want to focus on a physical thing that I myself am obsessed with, but rather with a particular way of making images. Photographing things that are ‘out there’ and that exist within the world has been something that I have long chosen to point my camera lens at. I am particularly interested in the dynamics of a city, and the places in which people live and inhabit. I have therefore read quite extensively academic theories and writings such as the term psychogeography and flâneur, coined by philosopher and writer Guy Debord in the 1950’s. The theories behind the concept of place and space have influenced my photographic practice, and have enabled me to explore the world with a renewed perspective and appreciation. In addition to this, the philosopher Michael Foucault has written exstensive essays on the concept of place, and particularly his ideas about the non-place, or heterotopia is something that I find fascinating, and very applicable to the work I most enjoy making. He describes the non-place as being a something that goes beyond the concept of a utopia . A heterotopia then is a place in which one does not feel totally settled, and therefore has a mixed experience. It is not a utopian, nor is it totally another space altogether. From my understanding, it is a place in which exists and performs a function, but is totally different from other spaces; they provide a mixed experience in which one does not feel particularly comfortable in.

Obsession, Art and Photography – Fred Shively





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