The Process of Immersive Photography: Beyond the Cognitive and the Physical

Mortensen Steagall, Marcos
Ings, Welby
Left, Ron
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis constitutes a practice-led, artistic research project that asks:

What are the issues that must be addressed when photographing land, such that one might express an immersive, embodied, spiritually-attuned relationship between the self and what is recorded?

In the study, I suggest that embodiment may reach beyond the cognitive and physical, to engage with a form of ‘living essence’ that embraces a realm of knowing that may be broadly understood as spiritual. When engaging with the land in this dimension the photographer is immersed in a process that involves a communion between the ‘essence of the living self’ and the ‘essence of the living earth’. In conducting the study, I utilise a heuristic inquiry to facilitate a dialectical approach to problem solving. Here practice advances to new understandings that have operative meaning for practical knowledge. In the inquiry I employ a form of reflective field journal where images, poetic writing, technical data and critical thinking enable me to reflect on both a state of immersion and outcomes emanating from the process. The research contributes to current discussions surrounding the manner in which photographers engage with land because the study proposes and unpacks a process of ‘Immersive Photography’ as a conceptual and methodological approach.

Immersion , Embodiment , Landscape Photography , Mauri , Practice-led research
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