In Pursuit of Error is a practice research project which investigates the photographic mistake.
As an artist and photographer, I have always been attracted to photographs that have not quite turned out right, or that are a little ‘off kilter’. This can include a wide range of potential and familiar photographic ‘errors’ – motion blur, light leaks, de-focussing, over or under exposure, poor framing, inadvertent cropping, or combinations of these things.
I would often be delighted to find one of these intriguing and visually compelling images in my downloads or negatives. In 2014 I started this research project by inviting people to send me their photographic errors and to tell me how the images had occurred and what they felt about them. The project has enabled me to investigate how photographers interpret mistakes in their own work, to what extent errors are welcomed and sought, and to explore the relevance of the error in the context of contemporary photography practice.
This site is a place to gather and share the error images that I’m sent and a visual resource for my research and writing. The project has evolved strong theoretical and conceptual roots since its early inception and I have presented In Pursuit of Error at a number of national and international conferences. You can read the articles/papers here: Writing the Error
If you don’t have time to read a longer article, here’s a summary of the project’s main concerns/areas of investigation:
- It’s about challenging the conventions of photographic representation and what photography is/should do/could be.
- It’s about exploring how we interact with technology, highlighting the human-technical relationships that exist in photography (through the use of cameras, software, chemicals) and investigating our creative relationship with technology more broadly.
- It’s about centering a concept of photography as time based, embodied and performative.
- It’s about recognizing the importance of trial and error and getting things wrong in a creative and developmental sense, and exploring the value of this in relation to creative practice and education.
- It’s a celebration of chance, serendipity, random occurrences and loss of control in the creation of fascinating visual phenomena.
Contributions to the project are always welcome.
Email digital images (max 1MB) to tracypiperwright (at) gmail (dot) com with your full details including website links etc so that I can credit you on the site. Tell me about your image(s): how they occurred (whether accidentally or deliberately) and why they are ‘errors’ for you. If you want to send prints drop me an email and I’ll let you know the address to send them to.
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