We have grown accustomed to technology and their purpose. We have easier access to
information and faster results however we fail to realise that technology erases the process
of mistakes. We are no longer making errors to learn from; or retaining new information.
We often perceive a mistake or an error as a negative thing; we reject it and start the process
over. This modern world is obsessed with perfection and the idea of precision. From these
thoughts, Naroa and I became extremely compelled by this idea of mistakes and wanted to
explore it further within the analogue process. Reading the book ‘Mistake-ism: Accidents in
the Creative Process’ written by Anna Gerber, inspired us to explore and accept “our creative
freedom, to rejoice in our humanness”.
We both agreed that you are more likely to make mistakes within the analogue practice, and
decided to work completely within the darkroom. We collaborated methodically throughout;
our work is intertwined and this displays our relationship within the work. Using the ‘mistake’
as a centre point, we wanted to explore the idea of freedom within the photographic medium.
To make mistakes on purpose with the intention to escape perfection. To attempt to control
something that is uncontrollable. We created a manifesto that consists of rules that we
followed until the last day. “WE DO NOT LOOK” “WE DO NOT THINK” “WE DO NOT
FEAR”- these phrases are repeated throughout the manifesto; with these phrases we
allowed ourselves to accept freedom. Eleven trigger words were chosen that relate to our body
of work; whenever we heard or saw those peculiar worlds we would take a photograph without
looking through the viewfinder. Decisions were made together and this allowed us to express
ourselves through our thoughts, experiences and aesthetic. The eleventh image on each
roll was the photograph that was printed within the correct settings, (aperture, filter, etc.) and the
rest of the photographs were printed with the same settings as the last. We then created ‘automatic
printing’, and this system allowed us to explore further into the concept of the mistake. I am quite
fond of writing and wished to explore with automatic writing, to reveal my subconscious thoughts
without conscious intention. With this, it has brought a sense of reflection and understanding of
my thoughts towards decisions, errors and mistakes. Within this project I felt a mixture of emotions
and feelings while we were experiencing chance and the unknown. While the work progressed we
realised that there were many contradictions, and this played an important role within our work.
Within this project we both shared the role of creation, we were synchronised throughout.
The automatic printing, the liquid emulsion and the automatic writing explore the unexpected and the
action of “going with the flow”. During the process we both felt tired and frustrated at times, but in
these moments we would support each other. The work also relates to a role reversal; we are both
quite controlling individuals and our work allowed us to step out of our comfort zone and
experience no restrictions. The title “IT IS WHAT IT IS” came from the phrase that we have
been saying to each other throughout this period, especially the times that we felt that everything
was in knots. The presentation is portrayed through our decisions and thoughts. “All
photographs need to exist” and in this we have created a body of work that explores the
unknown through mistakes. I am both pleased and honoured to have worked with such