Photography is an excellent way to ease the passing of time, by observing everything around you and creating a particular bond with your environnement. Focusing on objects, on their volume, on light and its incidence on these same objects can lead to a learning process ranging from the observation of the subject to the desire to process and/or retouch your images..
Concerning the exercises and given propositions, you don’t have to own professional material. You can work with a simple phone, just as you can continue to work on film.
Life photography is experiencing the unmastered.
- In some cotton, put some lentils, linseed, or other seeds that are easyto grow.
- Observe and photograph the growth evolution each day.
- You can even keep the same angle each day to make this exercice trickier.
- When do you decide the exercice is over and why? Could you even make a stop motion slideshow?
- Grow vegetable scraps in pots of water. As in Exercise 1, observe and photograph the evolution of the plants.
- Keep a food jar that you will not wash after use. Keep it closed. Overtime, a layer of mold will form. Watch it. Photograph it. What do you see? Put it next to a window. Observe the light on the mold. How do you photograph what appears to be of no artistic interest?
DOCUMENT YOURSELF AND DOCUMENT THE CONFINEMENT
The person I think I am is neither the person I see nor the person who will appear in the images. And yet, I can engage in a kind of completely subjective observation of what I present to other people.
Who am I in my confinement? Who am I when I wake up? At bedtime? At times when I'm not usually here? What place do I give to my daily life through photography?
-On several days, photograph yourself, in the same place, at the sametime, in the same outfit, with a different outfit, at a different time, in a different place. Choose the repetitive or the unique. What would you like to share about your confinement? The paradox of its banality in its exception, because it is shared by millions of other people? Is it your loneliness that you would like to document? What would you like to retain from this strange experience that imposed isolation can generate?
-Photograph your face, your hand, your body. Your body in the mirror, in the glass, in the water. Inspect your fingers, your eyes. Your belly. Without judgment.
-The strange conformity that yet sets you apart from everyone else. Photograph your fear. What is it? Where is it? Are you afraid of loneliness? Of not being enough?Of being too much?
-After several days, take a look at your pictures: what are the points that come up most often? What do you think you see in your images? How could you turn it into an experience of sharing, of re-appropriating your image? Can you strive for universality by being your own subject of observation?
PHOTOGRAPHING WITHOUT SEEING
Here is an exercise that I set up a few years ago at the "Ecole de Condé" where I intervene and which consists in photographing blindfolded.
I recommend this experience to beginners as well as to experienced photographers. The fear of doing it wrong, or the habit of "recognizing THEIR good image" locks the photographer into risk-free patterns.
-Photographing blindfolded will encourage surprises (good ones), studying sometimes surprising framing afterwards, and can help to promote the way of communicating with theother. Your model (if you're not alone) can actually guide you to make your shooting easier. Don't hesitate to exchange roles, to be a photographer and then become a model.
-If you are PAS/I/MD and live alone, secure your shooting by photographing sitting and/or lying down. What do you think of the environment or an object when this is out of sight andout of intention? How can this intention, through coercion and adaptation, exist and be carried out?
-Photographing without seeing also raises the question of what photography is, in essence. Is it an image on a medium? Or does it reside in the mental image that precedes the release?
How do you photograph what is out of sight? Is it possible to translate into images what can only be understood by those who experience it?
- Photographing hypo or hypersensoriality is experiencing the inexpressible. So, what can your approach be to this very personal apprehension of stimuli?
- Would you like to list, classify, designate what generates intense reactions in you, or, on the contrary, does not provoke any? Would you stay with the explicit, the factual, or would you opt for the symbolic?
- Can your approach be part of photographing scenes of everyday life that are apparently banal, but in which it is difficult for you to evolve? Or do you think it would be wise to photograph your reactions in response to overload?
This fascinating work can take days...
When I worked in day care for people with multiple disabilities and in a psychiatric hospital at PMD, I observed one constant: the difficulty of being "in" one's own body. If this fact is visible in a global way, it is all the more visible among vulnerable people. The body is put to the test, sensations are altered, the neurological disposition can also induce a different processing of information. The feeling of confinement can certainly reassure, but it can also lead to aggravate the feeling of being "outside".
During seizures or decompensation, sensory processing is altered to the point of sometimes leading to insensitivity to even extreme pain. In some PASs, this insensitivity is constant.
Singing is an aesthetic experience. To say otherwise would be hypocritical. However, singing is first and foremost a sensory experience. It can be soothing, curious, and openup a rich field of artistic experimentation.
The following exercises have been designed forPASs but can be suitable for any audience.
VIBRATION : FEELING IT, EXPERIENCING IT, SHAPING IT
You can "observe" the sound vibrations.On yourself, on others. The idea is to detach from the aesthetic aspect and focus only on the physical feeling of the sound.
- Lie on your stomach, on the floor. Place your head on the surface itself, with one cheek in contact with it. Position your body so that you feel comfortable.
- With your mouth closed, breathe in quietly through your nose, and make a deep sound, as if you were enjoying something very pleasant. Repeat this sound several times, and observe how the sounds "vibrate" on the surface. Does the floor vibrate? Where does it vibrate? Do you also feel the low notes vibrating in the back of your neck? In the top of the head?
- Put your hand on your skull. Feel the sound you are going to stretch, lengthen, modulate louder and louder, less and less loud. If you put your hand next to your head, on the ground, do you feel the vibrations spreading out over the surface?
- What about your own body? When do the vibrations get the strongest?
- Same instructions as Exercise 1, but standing with forehead, cheek and back against a wall. Focus on how your body becomes a conductor of vibrations in the surfaces in contact.
- Change the sound by opening and closing your mouth, try with an excerpt from a favourite song.
-If your sensory abilities allow, sit back to back with a familymember or companion. Breathe in, always without making noise, and focus on the sensation of ribs opening like an upside-down tulip, or beetle elytra.
-Create low pitched sounds that the person you are leaning against will follow. Feel the vibrations that your chest cages in contact with each other will allow you to experience.
-Gradually move up to the high frequencies. What's happening? At what point do the vibrations become more imperceptible? Try to bring the vibrations lower into your body.
SINGING WHATEVER, WHENEVER
Singing has a social function: before being a performance conveying aesthetic codes and fashions, singing promotes social bonding and accompaniment. The brain reacts more attentively to the human voice than to other sound stimuli. Singing also allows the release of endorphins and oxytocin, leading to a feeling of calmness.
-If you are alone, sing anyway! If an emotion is going through you and you find it difficult to identify it, sing. Sadness? Sing! A compulsive need? Just sing. To laugh, for real, with care, without consonants, in an unknown language, a loved, adored, unbearable,funny, repetitive piece.
- If you are obsessed with a song or you like it, imagine several ways to sing it. What if you were Elvis Presley? Mickey? Amy Winehouse? Who do you like to imitate in an exaggerate dway?
- Singing... in containers. In pots, in boxes. Sing in a shoe, between two pillows. Sing in your hands. Feel and listen to how the voice changes according to surfaces, spaces, materials.
Your phone has a voice recorder (a dictaphone function).
- Record everyday sounds: the washing machine, the toilet flush, an alarm clock, a conversation.
- Sing over it. Reproduce the notes you perceive, invent harmonies, text.
- Put your phone on your chest and create sounds, record them. What do you hear? What did you physically feel when the sound was emitted?
- Sing your daily routine. Record the song that best represents that day for you, or improvise without judgment a melody on which you will set your mood for the day.
- Record your voice without stakes, in improvisation. Without trying to create beauty, make open or closed sounds, let them pass through you physically, observe the way you open your mouth or orient your lips to make it come out.
- Smile, sing, then stop smiling, smile excessively, pull a face, let your cheeks drop, and observe how the sound of your voice evolves.
Experience space with others.
-Isolate yourself in one room, and ask another person to stand in the adjacent room.
-Place your face against the wall, and start a singing a song together. What do you hear? What do you perceive in the wall’s surface?
-What happens if you sing louder and move away from the wall? What if you find yourself as the song goes by?
-If many of you are singing, sing with your ears plugged. Then, plug and unplug, while continuing to sing. Change your position in the room. What do you hear? What doyou feel?
*Vibration: feeling it, experiencing it, shaping it
-Feel free to share the exercises cited by showing, without necessarily explaining. You can, if and only if the link with the child and his relationship to the sensory system allows it, take the child in your arms (chest against chest, or in "egg", chest against back) and make your chest vibrate thanks to low, long, and repeated sounds.
-If the child shows the need to create sounds, see if you can follow theirexample and make the same sounds, adapting as you go along, without any verbal intervention, without trying to make eye contact.
- Make deep, low-pitched sounds that resonate indifferent areas of your body (ribcage, chest, skull, jaw, pronounce "m's", "n's", "d's", "real",etc.). Have the child touch with the palm of the hand, fingertips, back of the hand, and invite the child to do the same with their own sounds and resonances.
- If the child has a very compelling special interest that they are taking refuge in, invite the child to create a song on the theme. Does the child have an interest in subway lines? Ponies? Black holes or the smell of flowers? Suggest a well-known song whose lyrics could be changed using the specific interest as a starting point.
- This exercise can also be a rich breeding ground for children for PAS/MD in the family. You can record one sound with a phone, another sound with another phone, then, have a third one, record your vocal improvisations or compositions! Given the possibility of auditory overload of these exercises and depending on the child's tiredness, it is strongly advised to adapt this exercise according to the environment, the activities performed by the child during the day and their mood.
For some PASs,language is a source of complications, especially in a social setting: a word used imprecisely or out of context, a ready-made or overly graphic expression can generate confusion and internal tension ("Is this person speaking literally or figuratively?"). It is not uncommon for PASs to be accused of "rigidity" or preciousness in the way they speak or treat words.
The ability to verbalize or hold a conversation that is not of specific interest is not always easy for PASs, especially during periods of intense fatigue. If some PASs take refuge in a more or less long silence, others have difficulty incountering what they say, forget familiar words, invert them, easily stumble over syllables, quickly lose the thread of their speech.
Crossing the confines of confinement and trying to write can lead PAS to explore their literacy skills, their imagination and keep their attention on a challenging task while taking advantage of sensory specificities.
The proposed exercises have been designed for PAS/I/MD,but may also be suitable for PI/MD, or for children.
THIS COLOUR IS SOMEONE
-Because some PASshad/have difficulties with abstraction and imagination, it has long been decreed that they were not creative. The number of authors on the spectrum proves that this is not the case.
This colour is someone is a fascinating exercise in many ways.
-Choose a colour from your immediate surroundings (the turquoise blue of this chair, the golden brown of a frame etc.) and observe it.
-What does this colour evoke for you? Who does it remind you of? Can you reconnect this colour to someone, to their clothes? Can you name this colour? Does this colour make you think of someone real or imaginary?
-Imagine this colour lighter, or darker. Write down the words that come to mind when this colour changes. Maybe this colour has a character, maybe it has a voice, maybe it fits into a space.
Add a colour to that same colour. How do you make them evolve together? Do they know each other?
-If the exercise stimulates you, imagine a collection of colours that you can assemble and bring to life side by side.
-Grab a spice, a cloth, a box, a food, or anything else.
-Determine its smell. What does it smell like? What images does that smell trigger? Do you find it colourful? Does it have the colour of the object from which it emanates? Can you determine other notes in the same smell?
-If this smell is familiar, tell a memory about it, and assess the comfort level of this smell.
-If the smell brings a feeling of quick relief, consider using it if you feel anxious, especially if you live alone.
Create memory cards for specific smells. Observe whether certain smells and/or memories are echoed. Have you used similar words to describe them?
THOSE ALREADY EXISTING
Biography is by definition accurate and seen as such regarding people. The exercise describes who is or has built history in one way or another. In this settled structure a story can become incredible if is added to this feat: everything has to be created from scratch.
-What if we discovered that it isn’t Brad Roberts singing but his small intestine? What would the career of Danny de Vito's look-alike have been if the actor had continued to style hair on corpses ?
Regardless of the tone or genre chosen, the exercise can be taken seriously.
Talking about oneself, telling the story of daily life in confinement is an exercise that can complement the photographic documentary proposed earlier.The diary exercise is a genre that is less represented in the literary landscape, although many of its confidential diarists use it.
-During exceptional events such as imposed confinement, describing the everyday is a valuable tool for distancing sometimes confused or burden some feelings or creating connections to better identify them.
-Don't hesitate to embellish your diary with unwritten elements(fabric, paper, pressed flowers,cut-out image, post-it notes, etc.) that will allow you to resituate your memories in the more or less near future.
-Keeping a diary can also allow you to keep track of your crises. Forexample, during a rumination, you can write down your thoughts, and... try to find the definitive answer to your obsessive thought. When you find that, despite all your resources, the answer is impossible to define, it is advisable to close your journal and engage in an activity where your attention is largely solicited.
REWRITING FAIRY TALES
- What would have become of the wolf if Little Red Riding Hood had been bedridden and her grandmother had had to visit her?
- If Aladdin's magic carpet had never been able tofly? What if Rapunzel hadn't been locked up in a tower, but sent to the centre of the Earth?
- Choose a famous tale and rewrite it by transposing it to current situations.
- Write a story in which you will involve characters or situations from other stories.
THE SHORT FORM
-According to chosen constraints, write a short literary form of no more than half a page.
-You can, for example, write a short story of ten lines, a dialogue with four lines, etc.
- Same instructions as Exercise 1, but with an imposed theme.
- Choose a person with whom you would like to exchange more elaborate writings than quick conversations.
-Via virtual correspondence by e-mail (one per day, in turn), establish a link and archive these e-mails, or print them out.
MY SPECIAL INTEREST
PASs have a strong need to devote time to their specific interests. This"obsession" with a subject, an art, a language, etc., while often isolating them from temporality and their primary needs, also allows them to recharge after tiring social contacts, a disruption in their routine or other. Specific interest plays both an intellectual/physical stimulating role and also a role in calming or recuperating.
-Writing about one's special interest can be a good exercise in classifying, sorting, organizing and prioritizing information.
-Your specific interest can inspire other PAS/I/MDs. Why not share, in writing, techniques and tips to facilitate access to your learning?
With a phone, a more or less sophisticated camera, it is possible to make its confinement a creative and documentary support. If social networks allow quick sharing of filmed moments, thus promoting cohesion and mutual aid, it is advisable to make a personal experience of daily life and to question one's own link to what is being observed. Where do you stand in what you see?
I WANT TO REMEMBER THIS DAY
- Every morning and every evening, film your feelings and expectations, then archive these videos. These will form a video diary of your confinement.
FILMING SILENT MOMENTS
- Filming the light through the windows, a plant,a pencil forgotten on the table.
- Film sleeping people, doors closed, doors open.
- Film at nightfall, when it is dark.
- Film a motionless foot, the clothes on thefloor, what remains of breakfast.
- Film the walls.
- Film what is not moving or proclaiming itself, to apprehend temporality in a more attentive way.
Some PAS/I/MDhave a very bad experience of what is known "small talk", that is,"talking about rain and sunshine". They may feel anxious, taken hostage during banal discussions.
-Take advantage of the confinement to question your entourage on specific points that fascinate you.
-In your own time, ask a question, then, when you think you have arrived at the end of your process, make a compilation of your interviews. What do you remember?