Artist : Photographer : Filmmaker : Designer
Thrilled that my visual documentation (photographs and film) is part of an ethnographic study of an elders dance group Grand Gestures, a report which has subsequently contributed to the recent AHRC report ‘Understanding the value of arts and culture’ by Professor Geoffrey Crossick and Dr Patrycja Kaszynska. The ethnographic study – A Somatic Ethnography of Grand Gestures Elders Dance Group – written by Dr Trish Winter at Sunderland University was one of 70 commissioned projects that fed into the AHRC discourse about cultural value of the arts in Britain.
I have been privileged to work alongside Grand Gestures Choreographer Paula Turner in documenting group classes as well as Happenings. I have observed and visually recorded how they have developed in both confidence and artistic sophistication over the past 4 years resulting in the group forming an independent dance collective with Paula as Artistic Director and me as documenter / filmmaker.
My documentary body of photography and film work comes from an immersive process and embedded practice. I have a strong relationship with the group, dancing with them, filming, recording, photographing and sharing their experiences. This enables me to capture their felt experiences in the moment without intruding on or interrupting their experience. Dr Winters report discusses both my process and my work in her report. (here)
One of the films ‘Passing’ referenced and discussed in the report can be found here
“The visual artist and photographer Frances Anderson is a friend of Grand Gestures, and regularly takes photographs and films them. Her most recent body of print and photography based work is called ‘Immersion’; it captures the world of the sea from inside, from the perspective of one who swims in it daily. In the Grand Gestures context she also immerses herself, working rather like both a dancer and an ethnographer, inhabiting the spatial and kinaesthetic world of the dances and photographing them from ‘inside’. She demonstrates kinaesthetic empathy in the taking of photographs (as well as film). These photographs of Grand Gestures offer a range of images that illustrate visually the connectedness of the dancers even when they are all doing different things.The taking of photographs from this ‘immersed’ perspective may invite the viewer of the photography, seeing through her eyes, to sense the kinaesthetic empathy of the dancers and photographer and view the image from that somatically aware perspective. ” (Dr T Winter 2015)