- Damien Williams
PH0704: Research project R&D and WiPP
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Over the assessment period I have been following the slow journalism route and learning all about how it’s done and finding professional practice that will inform my own. I have been looking at Laia Abril’s work, rewatching the guest lecture to observe her process. I have been reading ‘Follow that... Papaya’ as a research paper and reading ‘Bending the Frame’ (Fred Ritchin) and ‘Black and British’ by the historian David Olusoga. His writings have been informative as they are largely a historical rewriting of Black British history. He is personally invested as he is a mixed race historian however he is famous for his historical work more so than his racial politics. This is a voice that I would like to develop within my own project as I still do not want this to be a discussion solely on a single issue rather a discussion and exploration of skin and the issues that having skin brings to the fore. Laia Abril’s subtitle from her project a History of misogyny: On Abortion and the repercussions of lack of access to for her On Abortion chapter is very much the type of niche I would like my project to exist within.
Jesse Alexander and Paul Clement have both been kind enough to reference healthcare issues within the UK specifically the lack of photographic repository for people of colour in order to help GPs identify the rash that accompanies in this situation Covid, but many other diseases and skin ailments. This fits very very closely with the narration chapter of when the skin communicates with us. Many deaths and illnesses could be avoided if access to a racially balanced repository was available in the UK.
I have had my doubts about what the four chapters should look like, I’m sure this is going to be an ongoing dialogue between myself and the work itself. My four chapters are:
One: “Representation”; Skin as potentially a 2-D or 3-D method of producing abstract art. This will be largely experimental and is the area where I will aim to step out of my comfort zone and develop techniques and a visual style that I can carry forward into my career.
Two: “Canvas”; Skin as art and cultural expression. Tattoos for art and for cultural identity, and piercings and even as an actual canvas with scarring and different paints and other ways of using skin as a canvas. This will involve speaking to practitioners of skin art and the people wearing the art and what it means for their identity and why they view skin in a different way To other people. What are the cultural implications of tattoos, piercings and what are the consequences in terms of getting jobs or how people would view them politically and socially.
Three: ”Passport”; The social and cultural impact of having skin of different types, colour, and all the associations and historical propaganda that comes from it. This will also be the sociopolitical chapter that allows for a more journalistic approach including artefacts. I aim to educate and inform as part of this chapter.
Four: ”Narration”; How the skin talks to us. From skin conditions to goosebumps two freckles sun damage, and what it all means. This chapter will involve speaking to people and finding out how it feels from the inside but also speaking to medical professionals to understand what it means how, why and what could be done. This may be the chapter where diptychs and triptychs I can be slightly more subtle and esoteric about the depictions of how skin feels. It’s may also be where we bring in the medical implications of what our skin is telling us in order to inform how we look after ourselves.
In the webinar with Laura Hynd, where I was a little bit starstruck if I'm honest, there was discussion of the artist Roni Horn specifically the work on movement of water, even though it wasn’t aimed at my work the phrase ‘topology of water’ made me very curious.
Topology: a single subject with the skin in various forms of manipulation.
‘Watching the water, I am stricken with the vertigo of meaning.’
There is a certain joy of seeing the detail and ‘flow’ of skin when you photograph it ‘up-close’. The abstract details and creases in the skin are reminiscent of the ripples in the form of water. The image on the right is a still from a video from Roni Horn's "Saying Water'. The image on the left is a scar on my knee from an accident I had aged 8. It has formed a 'Keyloid' scar as it's catharsis. Which is prevalent in people with the same type of skin as me. Which has an impact on surgery. From artistic contemplation to surgery, Skin is such an interesting subject.
See more from this video here
Topology: Concerned with the properties of geometric shapes
Topography: The distribution of parts/features on the surface of all within an organ or organisation
Instagram seems to be a curated source of work. Lots of references to artists (from Laura) that use Instagram as a portfolio site as much as their own websites. This may be something that I invest time in as a consideration. How does it work? Is there a strategy on it’s own or an extension of a photographer’s website strategy? Should it just reflect discrete projects or be a showreel?
Laura also encouraged me to fully appreciate the research process part of the process. Slow journalism or any journalism for that matter is a totally new thing for me. The process in this project is a fundamental part of the end product and will ultimately influence the format and appearance or dare I say deployment, of the product/work. Some of the ideas to move things forward are:
Decide upon which the four chapters to commit/focus on in the immediate term.
Laura made the observation that the four chapters divide into two broad types: canvas and representation these are more surface and visual types of product.
Narration and Passport are more journalistic topics where the meaning comes from the discussion rather than simply or solely the images.
Laura also observed that when I discussed “narration“ (when and what Skin can communicate to us) she thought about skin having a voice and suggested further personifying that. When skin has a rash, there is a catharsis that would be interesting to explore. Both for the skin and the owner of the skin which opens up two perspectives.
Chiamaka Agu: Medical student who has put a petition up on change.org to campaign for the inclusion of photographic support for People of Colour in the UK where there is none at the moment. BAME (I hate this acronym) is not represented in samples at medical schools across the UK therefore leading to a lack of awareness and ability to diagnose effectively across the UK.
I have spent a lot of time trying to decide which chapter I am to pursue and have come to the conclusion that I will focus on representations and continue to work on the others behind-the-scenes, specifically interviews and queueing up potential shoots considering the situation we are in at the moment. Covid restrictions in Singapore are particularly strict, for our safety, as a photographer I am keen to protect anybody that works with me and anyone I photograph in any way possible. Therefore I’m not prepared to take any risks with the health of anybody and will follow the government guidelines. This means that shoots indoors and in confined spaces are no longer a viable proposition until the situation changes. This is a creative challenge in order to be able to produce the work that I need for the course, but also to produce the work that I ultimately wish to in the way that I wish it to be.
I’m looking at other methods in order to best depict what happens to skin. I do wish this to be an interdisciplinary project. So the thought of montage and the juxtaposition of images maybe very important. Using found imagery in order to create a diptytch interspersed with some form of iconography as a juxtaposition is also interesting. Skin changing in front of the camera as a timelapse that could be an interesting way to in power skin in terms of how it heals. Also, a time lapse of skin healing from some form of trauma or injury.
This week I have been doing my best to find a dermatologist that is prepared to be interviewed and talk about their relationship with skin. The issue in Singapore is a lack of racial diversity compared to if I was in the UK. However, each age is plentiful here if I can find willing participants.
In terms of fashion, I may reach out to Lindsay Adler and ask her about her relationship with skin and light. This may be a really good work in progress portfolio for a single module of the MA. Which chapter would if serve though?
I am finding dividing the chapters up and shooting solely for an individual chapter a challenge. It seems that with each subject that I meet or converse with there are many strands that they can fulfil and are eager to fulfil. This may lead to a change of process from my part which can be slightly confusing as my initial vision for the project was that within each chapter the specific disciplines would look unique to themselves. For instance the artefacts would be on a coloured background using an iPhone with flash. This would create a spotlight effect in order to highlight the the object/artefact in question.
The placement of the light and lack of shadow are very important components of these being presented in the way I wish them to be. I visualise them with some form of light behind them. Spotlit to a degree. The spatial quality within the frame is also important. A clear border of colour and space around them as if they are physically in the room in a Lightbox... suspended in the air. These images do not deliver the resolution I want. There is a distinct and distracting lack of detail. In order to have impact as a juxtaposition to the 'real' images the background should be plain, whereas in the images above the pencil is almost secondary. Not the brightest thing in the frame or the largest.
Another development would be to focus on it being an image and use it as part of a diptych artefact alone next to the artefact being in it's threatening environment/context.
This week I have found the work of Alvin Langdon Coburn. His abstracts, which he called Vortographs, are just gorgeous. They are portraits that are very experimental in nature (for the time) and remind me of the Alfred Stieglitz portraits of Georgia Okeefe but as a single image, which is a growing and recurrent touchstone in my practice. The idea of using a mirror to depict an image (a mirror in itself) of the layers that we see and might not see. An altering of perspective and perception that is caught in a moment. The fact that the moment is caught 'in camera', without deliberate interference of the subject is important. My aim is to build a Vortoscope using mirrors that I can use in order to create some of the abstract images across the four chapters of my project. Where? I'm not sure but I'll be sure to follow my intuition.
I have fashioned one of my own Vortoscopes, a very simple construction using three mirrors as a pyramid photographing from one side with the subject on the other.
I may have my first tattoo shoot, one of my colleagues from work has a spiritual tattoo in between her shoulder blades. From talking to her about its meaning it is obvious that it fits across two or three of my chapters. I can imagine having seen the tattoo what it would look like abstracted and I’m keen to try this tattoo as a Vortograph.
Heather and her spiritual Tattoo.
As a result of showing some of the test images in the webinar, there were for photographers that were recommended as a reference point. Lee Miller, for her nonthreatening photojournalist style. Documentarian without being a voyeur or pariah. She really brings you into the camera viewfinder with her.
Cornelia Parker, for her photograms of objects. An alternative way to view the everyday. This technique forces the viewer to alter perspective. Timelessly beautiful!
Felicity McCabe, for her still life using mirrors and also for the way that she paints shadows in and then photographs in full light. The Burnt Holly Video is of particular interest as a study. The entropy and movement from a film/moving image background really appeals to me. Movement forming sequence and narrative, what more could I want.
And Sam Hurd, for his use of prisms, Brenzier effect, and to look for his workshops on prisming. This is as a development on the altering of the perception of a person, done in camera. It may not be the end product I am looking for but sometimes you have to chase things all the way down the 'rabbit-hole' until you see what you can use with subtlety.
As a result of sharing my ideas for skin I have found another potential subject. She describes herself as in her words, a Freckled 'South African leopard'. She has been very kind and was curious to see what I could do with the freckles in an abstract way. To explain that further she has had three photographer boyfriends in the past all of which have been obsessed with capturing her freckles.
I have also possibly secured a tattoo session shoot. This may still be stymied due to Covid restrictions but, my subject who is 75% of the way through her current tattoo has agreed to interviews, multiple shoots and will selfie her skills recovery post sitting almost as a skin diary. She is also happy for me to do a shoot while the tattoo is healing. So I’m just waiting confirmation that due to the restrictions I am able to be there during the actual conclusion of the tattoo. I’m hopeful this will lead to forming a working relationship with the tattoo artist, leading to interviews and other potential shoots and possible subjects.
My improvements of macro, or lack of, is still of some concern. I am trying my best to be as experimental as possible therefore looking at new ways to capture high-quality (very close to the skin) macro images. As discussed in week three, the ability to get close to skin and to display and depict skin in a very intimate way will be very important to the end product and the message of this project. Especially when looking at the catharsis element which is part of the chapter of narration, when the skin communicates with us. I found an interesting project called micro sculpture by Levon Biss, that takes macro to a new level by using all kinds of machinery plus a microscope lens on the front of his camera. This is way beyond my scope financially and in terms of time, however his process will surely yield something that I can use.
In response to my thoughts last week about the difficulty of shooting each discipline within each chapter separately, I have had a breakthrough. Rather than seeing this photography journey as a discrete journey within its self, I should in fact call upon my artistic strengths of music and film editing. This looks like me having as much material (or coverage) as I see necessary and then building the end product in the edit. This would entail having a fairly tight script and to be brutal during the edit as I will have way too much content but it should insure a higher quality product at the end, whilst also allowing freedom to shoot whilst in the production phase or principal photography. It does however mean I need to practice and have my shooting styles very close to the front of my mind so that when opportunities do arise I will address the subject with the correct light and look.
I am finding that because my day job involves me working predominantly with females that I have a concern with representing a fair sweep of society. I have no answers to this at this moment in time but I am hopeful that as the photography within the product gains momentum, I may well be able to find a greater balance between the genders.
After building my Vortograph last week I have been experimenting with techniques in order to be able to be completely in the moment and communicating with my subject when I take it on a shoot. I have mainly been concerned with exploring focus and depth of field. I’m finding that when I use my Fuji film XT3 that auto focus is less than reliable. This is something I am not overly concerned about as I have a lot of experience of shooting film with manual lenses. It does entertain me that the more I use the Vortoscope, the more I have to invest in old-fashioned techniques similar to those Alvin Langdon Coburn would have used. I am not going to use a large format camera as he would’ve done as I am happy with the 35mm digital visual style for this part of the project. But the techniques I may pursue would be multiple exposures, with also a rotation between exposures. I may also look at light painting and long exposures, this does have an issue if I am using a human subject, however this would’ve been the same for Coburn.
I have included notes in my images (above) to show the feedback from the webinar this week with Laura Hynd, and also the issues that I have to iron out. One of them is being able to shoot wider than the Vortoscope which can be solved hopefully by placing a bigger mirror underneath it.
The Vortoscope redesigned as a quadrilateral, shot at 16mm in an empty Drama studio. With the studio lights lighting the subject. This didn't allow me the control of the lighting I wanted but has made me resolve to use smaller LED lights in order to craft the effects I want. Taking the mirrors on location was a lot easier than I thought. Trying to make a smaller Vortoscope that fits on the end of the lens (Yes, I bought mirror cutting equipment) has proven to be fruitless as a pursuit. I may shoot into a mirror but Learning from Sioned, using prisms will give me the effect I want for portability.
Of the suggestions made during the webinar by Laura Hynd and David Mitchell use shallow depth of field in order to isolate a specific part (or parts) of the image may be an interesting avenue to experiment with. Using light to flare in on certain panels and prisms to introduce rainbows possibly to certain panels David also mentioned using blocks of colour aggressively in the way Victor Burgin did with "the office at night".
In response to the light painting, Laura suggested that I looked at Mat Colishaw and his work titled "the last meal on death row". These key into the light painting that I wanted to look at last module in order to emulate Caravaggio’s use of light in oil painting. Colishaw also experiments with post processing and printing techniques. specifically the fusion of analogue and digital techniques and processes.
This week started with more experimentation and ended quite abruptly with an aim to narrow the focus. For some weeks now the concern in webinars has been that my process of collating information across the width of the project of skin may not be the most efficient way of doing it. Last week I resolved to allow myself to assemble in that way with no form of guilt or doubt. Creating the format of the presentation in the edit. However with my first meeting with Cemre during my 1:1, she raised some challenging questions that I have spent a lot of time reflecting on since:
The question of chapters, are they actually different projects?
No, My intention is to create a large long-term body of work. Skin is complex and wide-ranging. Any project that simplifies it, is not seeking to learn from it.
Is my approach the most coherent for the upcoming work in progress portfolio?
No it isn't. but with the restrictions I should be able to communicate it as a series of chapters. Utilising the sequence to form a narrative within the portfolio.
Then I was encouraged to go back to the beginning!
Consider these things:
Do I know/have my aesthetics, topic appreciation and understanding of both clear in my mind yet?
Clearly not! I have to spend more time doing this! my process is in a mess and time IS running out.
What do I want to explore within the project?
The complex human relationship with skin.
How does it feed my curiosity?
The comparison of my Keyloid scar with body of water (see above) answers that! How could you not be curious about the skin that you live in and how people react to it?
What do I want to write in history about my subject?
I don't know...yet!
With the added advice of not structuring the narrative before making the work!
These are incredible questions and my initial reaction was one of happiness. That may seem strange but the intellectual exercise is something that I enjoy may be a little too much. It is not a surprise that this might get in the way of actually going out and shooting.
Cemre also asked me the question, what do you enjoy about other peoples work? So I spent most of the next day happily thinking about this, and became increasingly doubtful of what I was able to achieve with this project given the restrictions of Covid. A lot of the experimentation and the chapter on representations was largely within the project full two reasons: the first being that I wanted to expand my practice experimentally and get critique on it in the context of bringing abstracts into a social commentary.
The second was that if I didn’t need people then my ability to complete the course was more assured.
Cemre's earlier observation and suggestion to “not structure the narrative before making the work“ This is counterintuitive to my usual process as a musician and video editor. My big question is am I here to utilise solely what I know or to try something new including my approach. I realise that there is a point where the two meet and this is the point I should strive to find. This has given me a lot to think about and if I'm honest feels very confining.
When showing my work or describing my project I didn't feel 'heard' or my process 'seen'. These are not narrative centric observations but leads to the thought that the experimentation has become a distraction. This is the second week in a row that somebody has misinterpreted my message either verbally or visually, this is a big concern.
The level of experimentation has been exciting, nonetheless and unnecessary distraction. I am still searching for my niche in the photography industry and/or the voice of this project's chapters. I am certain that they will be varied. This is also adding to my need to find a visual style soon. One that is unique and I believe that through playing, or should I say experimentation, I will find it. However deadlines do not move and the need to narrow my focus is here. I still don’t believe the niche in photography for me exists as my aim is to live a hybrid life between teaching in schools, and shooting projects of interest part time. Which is why the photojournalism/slow journalism route is something I wish to focus on during this course.
In the office hours webinar, Anna-Maria enquired as to how I was getting on and I shared my thought process on the one-to-one that I had had the previous day. Anna's insight was comforting and added to my confidence in not holding myself back. The key comment that really freed me was “does it matter “this was in reference to is my project a single project with chapters or multiple individual projects. This allied with Cemre’s observation about not allowing the structure to define the work has given me fresh impetus to look at what I want to achieve with greater clarity.
Narrow the focus week one: So where do I start.
My overriding feeling is one of upset and... shame really. Moreover a feeling of concern that I couldn’t communicate clearly, or my intentions were not obvious without explanation. I failed to communicate why I’m doing this project or what it is about. I have re-centred on the journalism angle, with the emphasis on narrative. I am including soundbites and viewing citizen journalism on the narrow a topic of racial slurs, racial discrimination, and skin as passport: when our skin makes us the outsider. I aim to focus on the key questions… What is the conflict?
What is at stake?
What question needs to be answered?
Ostensibly a journalistic approach.
Integrating citizen journalism is definitely going to be an important part of my work for this project, it has just dawned on me that is part of my work in progress portfolio this should be reflected. By utilising citizen journalism, and in my planning, answering these questions, I will be able to introduce the requisite tension/drama to the viewing experience. Maybe even resolution, however at this point I’m not sure resolution is the right aim, as I wish the audience to draw their own conclusions through discussion after seeing the work. The initial low intensity approach. "A conversation about skin rather than a confrontation about race.
Interviews and interviewing will also be an important part of the project. To this point I have not really thought about how to approach interviews in a fruitful way, the oral presentation may contain one or more extracts of interviews with contextualisation.
Based on the feedback from the one-to-one, and conversations with my family, I really do need to increase the quality of my images and find a consistent style or set up. This will almost certainly mean that I stop taking sample photos and start to shoot in my constructed outdoor shooting space.
Catharsis is very much a theme I would like to pursue. This is a deciding factor in me changing and all renaming the chapters. The work I’ve been pursuing has also moved away from the idea of doing make up and exploring/investigating women’s relationship with make up and their skin. At this stage at least. However the use of beauty products especially in Asia is still an angle I would like to pursue. Finding a narrative arc may well be difficult but is almost certainly the route to making something compelling.
Black History month Falmouth University workshop with Nilupa Yasmin. Titled Decolonising photography: her references and Jesse introducing me to War Primer 2.
This is A for Apple... an idea that will develop into something more
I have photographed a lot more and whilst I’m looking for visual style… I can proudly say that I failed! The important thing is that I have made a journey through my failures. Interestingly it was as a result of doing head shots my wife, I then remembered the tactile pleasure of taking/making images...
Feeling the joy because I have found that the technical aspect of working for other people and achieving a correct set of images had moved me away from doing what I should be.
Which is looking for the beauty in what is in front of me rather than just simply documenting what is there. This is why I have not been happy with my work on my project so far. My mentality is to be intellectual rather than looking for the beauty and taking an intellectual approach to that.
Seal said "When I shoot digital I look for the imperfection when I shoot film I embrace it.",
In terms of skin… I will photograph the catharsis of skin to look for the beauty rather than simply document that exists. It is capturing house/why it exists.
Or as Mozart said the silences or is important is the notes. I think it’s important that I don’t forget my musical roots when looking to find my specific voice visually.
I went into this week having focused on the feedback from my tutor about going narrow with the topic. I feel uneasy about it but I’m here to challenge myself. Then I participated in the webinar and lecture of Nilupa Yasmin. I shared my change of direction with the group and there was a huge sense of underwhelmed anti-climax. Every time I mentioned my project in the past I’ve got used to a certain level of excitement and curiosity, my idea to pursue the visual dictionary has consistently been met with her okay?! It is an idea that I didn’t inspire me and it has an inspired curiosity and anybody that I’ve spoken to. Claire Bottomley talked about questioning the medium and how important that is. This is in two ways relevant: the first being that photography has largely been a white medium, specifically in terms of when you look at how film is balanced. Paragraph the gays has been skewed so that we see white as correct. Secondly, about me and my way and method of pursuing this topic needs to be questioned even in terms of the genre I have chosen to shoot with. I need to find me! With only two weeks to go! I like a challenge!
Nilupa Yasmin: What an inspiring person and Artist. I wonder what her train of thought was that led to figuratively and literally Weaving. It is such a wonderful and self-aware principle and concept. Being of two cultures myself, a son of two homes and a citizen on none, this philosophy and observation was insightful and something I identify with. How does your work reflect who you are if it doesn't identify as being born of two cultures. The obvious answer is to look for it in the end product when really it should be embodied within process. Which is easier said than done and should be discovered and not forced/manufactured synthetically.
Nilupa's work as well as her view of the world is vibrant, heartfelt and respectful. I am looking in the wrong places for my visual style. Technique and personal pleasure rather than culture and experiences.
The tattoo shoot: despite narrowing my focus, I indulged the need to photograph a different chapter. I am so glad that I did. This shoot with catastrophically badly! I haven’t felt so bereft of technique as I did on this shoot. I hope it has been the lack of human contact due to the extensive lockdown that made this such an awkward experience. I’m not sure that I got more than about three usable shots. It was such a great opportunity and I need to make contact with the artist and will work with this artist in future. This was not a total washout of an experience. It was an absolute honour to watch a craftsman work the way that Elson the tattoo artist did. I have been inspired by the level of dedication and precision which has made me feel that I am not doing enough. The use of colour and the communication with the client whose skin was his canvas who is exemplary. Through conversation I learned more about the colonisation of the colours used within tattooing now. Which intrigues me as the history of tattooing would indicate that melanin rich skin would be the origin of tattooing. However modern tattoos much like film in photography has been manufactured in a way that suits caucasian skin (For want of a better phrase) and excludes Melanin-rich skin.
Plus, I had to acquire a macro lens for this shoot. It will be the first time using one on location.
This experience serves to convince me that in order to produce a body of work for the assessment in a few weeks time humans are not really going to be involved. However I do have a few ideas.
Experimentation with off-camera flash and leaf-shutters. I have had a busy week at school and had to squeeze my still life experiments into a couple of short 'sittings' at my teacher's desk.
This may seem unorthodox but needs must and the results have opened up a few pathways for me. Using the X100V which has a leaf shutter allows me to override the ambient light completely. This allows me to use a non-contact lesson to shoot in my classroom. The look could lead me to a digital-still life look, where the direction of the light is key to the success of the image. This led me to think about what look I wanted to achieve and why? I am aiming for a supermarket/advertising look. I feel in the context of the rest of the work this may be a good look for the artefacts as the clean contrast will stop a viewer because of the incongruent yet familiar look of the image and therefore the fruit. As an outsider you can't escape being reminded of that. The artefacts will all be things that are considered as everyday objects with sinister connotations. They should be presented as innocent and proud and not sinister. I realise this seems a risk but in terms of a subtle narative this is how I want it to be.
Feedback from the 1:1 with Cemre
Cemre feels that I don't know what I am doing as I presented different kinds of images. She compared the image of the allergy rash to a medical type of image. Whereas the wave was critiqued as being another type of image. I am happy with that as they are from different chapters (The Wave: Representations and Allergy: Catharsis) and should be different in character. I get the feeling that Cemre thinks this is an accident. I will have to make my WiPP based from one chapter, which I didn't want to do as my workflow doesn't suit this approach and COVID-19's restrictions does not allow for it either.
Peer review session
Although I didn't get to share my work as the flow of the conversation about our work exceeded the time we had, I learned a lot in the best way. Quite often seeing my peers wonderful work leaves me in a supportive and reflective state. Being in that state of mind can inform your own practice. The overwhelming feeling I had was that of how my work was too simplistic and almost insulted the craft of their work. I really enjoyed seeing the narrative of Layla Perchal Neal's work develop and how personal it has become. Whereas, Andrea Taverna's work depicting the journey of his subject's gender identity, which was not only sensitive and empowering but embodies his own photographic style, contrasts greatly with Douglas Stenhouse's work on the similar topic but is as individual, sensitive and unique as the challenges his subject faces and overcomes. The depth to all of their narratives made me realise that I am not in control of the narrative I am apparently delivering.
Not sharing my ill-conceived and quite frankly, disgraceful attempt at something deep was in some ways a relief. I am at a stage where I require some form of creative intervention.
All that aside, I am making progress on the wider project, in other words the chapters that are not assessable during this module. So all is not lost.
Response to Week 9 1:1 with Cemre
After considering the feedback from Cemre on exploring how to photograph an Apple in multiple ways, I have looked at pursuing further work on extracting meaning from photographing an Apple in different contexts and lighting it/them in different ways. The text I was advised to look at was "Science of the Secondary" by Atelier Hoko
I can't help but feel that the majority of my interactions in webinar's recently are focussed on my inability to photograph rather than embodying my narrative. In fact MY intended narrative is given very little time.
My idea to photograph the objects as commercial-still life hybrid in an attempt to illicit a sense of familiarity with the fruit, thus a false sense of security with the viewer and reinforcing the everyday nature of the racial slur. Was dismissed without allowing me to explain. I see this as useful because I will not get to explain to the viewer in person and need to structure how to communicate this somehow. The text being removed from the image and shown on a separate 'page' is an idea that I am considering.
Cemre gave me a great visual note about how text works with images. Which is an amazing note coming from an Artist who is a potential Artbook of the year winner... good luck Cemre!
Duplication of text and image causes one or both of them to be redundant and loses the viewer's eye. When text is used I should aim for evocative rather than descriptive.
I will only present my work on the artefacts for the WiPP in order not to confuse. It is a shame that I will have to leave my experimentations out but I can always use them for FMP...cant I?
This week should be where I am compiling and sequencing my images and working on the oral presentation. I have through many happy accidents and thanks to an inspiring conversation with Anna-Maria Pfab hit a point where I am generating more ideas than I have for a long time. I am shooting more than I have for a while. It has been on the increase for a couple of weeks.
Shoot/ single light background
Feedback from Anna was to try more than just yellow as a background and see if I can produce more energy. I had tried more colours but not more precise lighting so I tried again with grids, snoots and at one point a beauty-dish. Which was not the light I wanted. This was very much an interplay between hard and soft light.
Shoot/ multi light background
I feel it is important that I generate images and stop thinking about it at this point. My reservations will have to be part of my reflection in weeks 12, 13 and 14. I have been seeking opinions and getting feedback from a much wider variety of people. I am living with the images and learning new skills. I am about to take the photoshop course in order to strengthen the quality of the imagery that I’m producing. The level of curiosity in the work that I’ve produced so far is too low for my liking. This has been what I have been working on. I have shown my work to many of my colleagues and students with no explanation and tried to go onto a response. This has led me to keep a much more open mind About what is seen and understood from my work by other people. One instance of a single image really allowed different people to be open and express very different things. This will influence my work as I will use fewer words as in description or context for the work.
The images only really have to make sense to me. This is going to be a challenge that I have to stick with. The context has to make sense to the audience, or at least with this work that is the case.
My influences at this stage of development are:
Thank you Anna-Maria for introducing me to this work. I am in love with the versatility, the geometry and the attention to space, distance, edges and time. The phasing of the third image intrigues me and has inspired me to take the PS course while I am recovering from my operation in January. Humour and wordplay is also very strong within the images. Hot Dogs and Hot Dogs. The wine glass suspended in time and space is beautifully executed with stunning rendering of colours.
The interaction of Background and subject colour is a definite influence on the work I am about to complete. Also, the figure-ground relationship. The subjects are not on the ground. creating a visual interaction that almost converses with the viewer. When I was a wildlife photographer and when called to be a cinematographer eye-level and camera height are of particular interest to me. I will always adjust (or regret having not adjusted) how the camera/lens addresses the focal point. As a headshot photographer it is the starting point. The latter three images below are portraits in my opinion for this reason. This will be important to the success of my adventure with fruit.
Colour, light and sense of humour all come second to the overwhelming simplicity of these images. "Simple isn't easy" as my old composition teacher used to say on my music degree. These images also have that eye-contact quality that 'converses' with the viewer. There is definitely a theme of punchy, primary or pastel colours, that will suit the Satirical book that I am creating.
So to shooting... Not as adventurous as Felicity McCabe's work with a C-stand.
Setup for the outdoor banana shoot.
I’ve even been inspired to try to include Vortoscope images within this part of the project. It may only be in my CRJ but I am sure that the experimentation I did at the early part of the course will prove useful as I progress through this MA.
The lighting had changed again, I went for an umbrella (120cm) for a much more even light as my fill light. However for the mirror shots I used constant light using Apurture LED...
Discussion with Art teachers re: colours and vibrance, and Art lover about the wave/mountain and Fine Art student.
Below is the eventual portfolio: