Saturday, 20 August 2016

Preparing for my Master's Degree study, August 2016

During the summer break, I have been wrestling with ideas as to how to progress the preparation for the study of my Master's degree. I have chosen "digital media" as the specialism for my chosen subject and I have already commenced some research in order to support the research proposal that I put forward in my application.

Digital media covers a very wide range of presentation vehicles that are generally the output of art and design. Arguably, the majority of graphic design is these days created through digital media. I, therefore, chose not to study graphic design specifically as I felt that this would probably lead to a general focus related to advertising, commercial and industrial applications of my art.

Because of those initial thoughts, the choice of studying a Masters degree in digital media, I hope will enable and equip me with multifaceted skills in design, graphic art, video, animation and motion pictures, but also allows me to express potentially new art forms both computer-based (such as 3-D animation) but also physical and tangible artefacts can potentially be created from any digital or computer-based rendering or production system.

As an insight into film production, I have recently been using the Adobe suite, and in particular Premier pro to create an inspiring and hopefully fly on the wall style narrative of my stepsister who is a close friend, together with her new husband during their wedding ceremony and reception that was held back in July.

Whilst looking for inspiration on film production I came across a very small vignette by Werner Hertzog. His direction and production of a variety of movies in a number of genres are truly inspiring!

Whilst looking at this vignette which is ostensibly an introduction to Werner Hertzog's film techniques, he happened to be holding a small paperback book, which he refers to as being one of the greatest "teachers" to him, in his quest for his own perfection when creating motion pictures. He never names the book, nor does he discuss its contents. He is simply just holding a copy of it.

For some reason, I was switched on by that disclosure and I freeze the vignette in order to scrutinise which book it was that he was referring to, with a view to finding it for myself and reading it over the next month before my proper and formal study re-engages at the University. The book in question is perhaps a little-known book, by perhaps an even lesser known author to many.

No more suspense then, the author was J. A. Baker (1926 to 1987), who in fact wrote only two books that went on to be published. As a result of writing the first one of these, entitled "The Peregrine", which was released in 1967, John A. Baker has at last been recognised by many as one of the most influential nature writers of the 20th century in Britain.

The second book that J.A.Baker wrote was called The Hill of Summer, which is a further exploration of a small patch of Essex which appears to be somewhere near the Blackwater estuary, which I believe since his writings, has become a national nature reserve. It is between the River Blackwater and the small town of Chelmsford, little further inland to the west, that Baker spent his time recording the seasons and his associated observations of the birdlife in particular, but also the general wildlife, flora and fauna which gave him the inspiration to write these two books, The Peregrine, and The Hill of Summer. I hope that the link that I have provided below makes an easy connection towards sourcing these books for yourself.  It has now been published as a single book wich covers both original publications, together with extracts of the detailed diaries that Baker made over some 10 'plus' years.

 I would thoroughly recommend it to anybody who is interested in the art of both writing and of observing.

What a find! I sent for the book immediately, and I simply could not put it down for the next month or so. A truly beautiful book which I shall write about in a future blog.

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