Phonar Task 1

Step 1.

Read Playbook assignment thoroughly, summarize it in a tweet focusing on the key elements. Think about how you could explain it to someone/another photographer who hasn’t read it. Be creative, no more than 3 tweets. Use #Authorsname #PhotographersPlaybook #phonar16

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Step 2.

Investigate/research the author of your task. “Immerse yourself in learning as much as you can about their life and career”. Show with an Instagram post that shares a visual portrait of the author.

Again, use #Authorsname #PhotographersPlaybook #phonar16

Research into Miranda July:


-“For each of her sundry projects, Miranda July requires herself to inhabit a slightly different identity…..She achieves this malleable persona through daily meditation, near-abusive self-discipline, and a rigorous schedule that requires her to question the efficiency of every moment, including sitting on the toilet.”

-‘Somebody’, is an app July designed, created by Miu Miu which works as a messaging and communication service. This message doesn’t go straight to your friend, it goes to your nearest ‘Somebody’ user, who has to then personally deliver your message verbally. July has long been infatuated by the concept of strangers.

-“But the catch is that I’m never free, I never finish the work, so I don’t know who this freewheeling employee with extracurricular interests is. I mean, for example, the whole thing of working in all these different mediums, it’s just so that I can always be playing hooky from one of them. I can always be rebelling against my boss. Like, I’m supposed to be writing this book, but—heh heh heh—I’m writing a movie, secretly. I’m procrastinating, and in my off-hours I’m working on this movie that I’m not allowed to do, because I’m supposed to be writing this book! And then the book’s done and I’ve got this movie started, and I’m secretly working on a performance. That’s the kind of crucible I’m always in. I mean, a more normal, mature way to think about it would be, Oh, I work on multiple projects at once and they overlap, but the actual psychology of it is a lot more self-abusing.”

-Although it sounds as if July has a crazy personality and a hectic life, she hates states in the interview that she has a strict sense of time management, “I’m very disciplined. And now I have a two-year-old, so I have from, like, nine to four every day, or nine thirty to three thirty, and I’m always trying to figure out the best way to use the time. “

Simonize, R. (2015) Miranda July [online] available from

-“She grew up in Berkeley, California where her parents, Lindy and Richard Grossinger, ran an independent publishing house specialising in alternative health and spiritual titles. At home, July and her older brother, Robin, were encouraged to make their own entertainment. “He built me our own little house in the backyard with two storeys and running water,” she recalls. “We built that together and designed the furniture, so there was this sense that we could make anything. Also that our parents weren’t going to buy us anything, so we’d best figure out how to make it.””

-July went to the University of Santa Cruz but dropped out in her second year before moving to Portland, Oregon and starting out as a performance artist.

-“On the whole, July thinks Twitter has made it a good time to be a feminist: “more than anything [women] are supporting each other and they can do that in very powerful ways because of social media… It’s kind of a wild time. I think we’re all very aware of that power. It feels really good to think: ‘Oh wow, it is actually in my control to impact on this woman’s life’… you know: I can make someone’s book of experimental poetry really sell!” “

-“Her son, Hopper (not named after either Dennis or Edward, it turns out, although “I like them both”), was born in February 2012. July’s husband, Mike Mills, is also a film director whose 2010 movie, Beginners, was based on the real-life experience of his father coming out as gay at the age of 75. They live in Los Angeles.”

-“After her son was born she took to recording scenes and ideas on her iPhone while breastfeeding. So, looking back, which was harder to conceive – the novel or the person? She laughs. “The person, right? It would almost be an insult to say otherwise. But ‘harder’ in the best sense. A person demands more of all of you, a book you can…” She drifts off. “In the end, it doesn’t really matter. If it didn’t work out well that would be a bummer but I’d get over it. But yeah, the love… I guess it’s just measured in pure love and there’s no comparison, right? My love for my son just destroys me. I can barely even talk about it. Whereas my love for my book? I’m just proud I finished it.””

Key works:

Learning To Love You More… book/website

How Will I Know Her?… web-based exhibit

Somebody…messaging app service

The First Bad Man… book


Step 3.

Conduct a critical analysis of your authors work, present in a second Instagram post, with an image you’ve made in the authors “style”. Again use #Authorsname #PhotographersPlaybook #phonar16


Step 4.

Complete the assignment.

“Ask a mother to describe a nightmare she’s had about her child. Now work with her to recreate and document this dream in a single photo. A real child can, but need not, be used; the mother can choose or help make a stand-in. The important thing is that the mother feels the mood of the dream is conveyed.” -Taken from The Photographers Playbook.

Mothers dream= Policeman at front door of home has come to tell Mother that her Son has died serving our Country, something she has always dread.


Step 5. 

Write a 250-word critical rationale focusing on the choices you have made at step 4, this will also reveal your research.

The assignment asked that I work with a mother to re-create a nightmare she has had about her child in a single photograph, and that the mother must feel her emotions are conveyed within this image. Although having previously used the method of creating art with participants, it was still a challenge the second time around. It was hard to rely on my mother to re-create her nightmare with me; she wasn’t very co-operative and found it difficult to think of a nightmare we could re-create without it being the stereotypical gore scene. We finally came up with something more personal, which I knew would be great to re-create due to the emotions involved. Her nightmare was a policeman standing at the front door, who had come to tell her that her son had died serving our Country. The mother could remember a clear vision of the police badge and hat, but other details such as the policeman’s face were blurred hence why I have exaggerated this with a blurring effect on the image.

To create the task, I was influenced by July’s persistence to create participatory artwork. I could have easily invented an imaginary nightmare, but I felt that working with a mother to create art was the fundamental part of the task hence why I spent a considerable amount of time talking to the mother about an appropriate nightmare to re-create.

This method of working has re-iterated to me that I prefer to work on my own, for myself, rather than participatory artwork whereby I have to rely on others.


Task 1, Part B.

Communication to your author:

I chose to communicate with Miranda July by tweeting her as she is very pro twitter, she sees it as a useful tool. I also wanted to make our communication short and a bit crazy like her personality. I would have definitely not chosen to write to July, thats just not her thing.

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