This week I began really trying to pull together thoughts for my oral presentation.
I’m not really sure where to start and I felt a little lost during some aspects of the week in how to explain what I would really like to do with this project.
With my CRJ I need to have many more references I do struggle with the contextualisation part, I will put more work into this area.
This week the Guest Lecture by Welby Ings was really helpful to my development. In terms of how I might be able to improve my contextualisation.
He explained amongst other things how to write about work – that we have to position our ideas – refer to other practitioners working in the same field as that of our project subject and this will help us to show where our ideas fit. I’m not really sure why this hasn’t clocked before, maybe it was the way that it was put that worked for me.
This lecture really assisted in helping the penny drop for me in essence the first 10 mins of this lecture made me realise where I was going wrong – so it was the perfect week to have this lecture.
It was interesting seeing the works of his students and one of them was looking at the spirit of the landscape. This resonated with me as there are some similar aspects of this outlook that fits with my own work. I am applying a soul/spirit to my objects so that they can keep reinventing themselves into new life.
This guest lecture helped me realise I do actually have a methodology and you don’t need to use long words just to make your point valid. This has also given me a new bit of confidence. My methodologies are the way that I print my work, my contact sheets, presentations. The way I brainstorm. It’s my method and again because it was put so simply it made sense.
I also began looking at the work of Stephen Gill. While reading an article about him in The Telegraph something that seemed particularly relevant to this module was the way he prints his work and also publishes his books through Nobody Books. This way he has control over what happens with his work. I find his methods quite interesting, but what I did love about this, was his reference to the collection A Series of Disappointments. When this was printed and you took the book out of the cover you can hang it on your wall in turn changing a photo book into your own personal exhibition. I feel that this is a really great idea in the way that it allows his practice to reach across borders of what is a photobook and what is an exhibition? What is art?, and this collection can cover many genres.
In the project Talking to Ants, Gill actually put objects into the body of the camera. After the debris had been inserted a photogram was produced but adding these items added more context to the work. The way my work includes dust within the petri dish is an expression of time passing and without this would the passage of time have its context within my work.
This weeks webinar we discussed my work in progress which was really useful I’ve now got my solid foundation of images which I would like to expand upon and some others which I would like to revisit.
Looking at workshops this week I knew I wouldn’t really want to do my mould work as it is somewhat hazardous and whilst I am happy to work with it I wouldn’t want to inflict it upon other people. (This was something that we considered wise at our webinar)
What I would be interested in would be the Macro and also iPhoneography side of my work that had been so pivotal to my work prior to this module. Its also something that people are interested in.
With this technique being quite tricky I would want to keep the group numbers quite small so it would be possible to give everyone a good amount of attention.
With my given skill set I feel I can offer something to people who are not so confident with their camera phones to take some really beautiful images and I am sure that I will also find this very rewarding.
Working on the details for the workshop was a valuable experience and it shows how much work goes in to becoming an instructor, it is certainly making me work to explain myself more clearly and this is something I’ve needed to work on for a while.
Whilst I would work with other people, I think this project has become really quite personal. Working with my mould I am still really excited by this project and this has further been ignited by some of the images I’ve been able to capture this week.
I’m really enjoying the abstract nature and the dreamy nature of some of the images. It reminds me of some of the abstract expressionists work that I studied earlier in the module. Perhaps this research has influenced my work more than I had anticipated.
With this weeks webinar we started to discuss whether my work actually needs to be tied to triptychs anymore or whether they are now powerful enough to standalone not longer also constrained to the square format. From the previous modules in this course, my work has taken a huge leap in terms of my practice. My direction is now very much directed towards an exhibition, I can see the work really taking on its own character in a larger form. I have begun to research where I can hold an exhibition. Although a photo-book is still a viable option and I have enjoyed this element in this module.
I held a 1:1 tutorial as if was the first time I had to carry out this type of task. Not being a hugely confident person it was daunting. Hence I thought this was the best route to take.
I created a Facebook group so that people could get involved and so the images could easily be shared.
I was really happy with how it went and I feel I was able to connect with the student and confidently offer advice but also answer the questions that were asked of me. Most of all I really enjoyed the experience what made it even better was they achieve and image they were really happy with and also happy they managed to get the image they wanted. It has a hugely fulfilling experience.
It has made me understand that there can be a certain satisfaction in working with and helping others.
This week I want my research to be project based and focus particularly on the beliefs behind behind transformation/transmutation and life after death.
One of the aspects that I started with was Memento mori. This is leading from my research from the last module. Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning “remember you must die”. I can accept this my items have to die to be reborn.
I found an example of an image which incorporated the Momento Mori genre the best in my interpretation, but sadly there was no reference with it. It incorporates the skulls, decompostion familiar with the Momento Mori genre.
This type of art was highly popular in around the 17th Century a time where religion played a big role in life with the breaking free from the Roman Catholic church and reform of the Church of England and also the early stages of Puritanism, it was a time where it was a popular belief that life on Earth was simply preparation for the afterlife.
A modern day example of Momento Mori is the work of Damien Hirst. With one of his notable pieces For the Love of God (2007), which is the diamond encrusted skull. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with some of Hirst’s work its good to have a contemporary artist to which I can refer and observe and see how views have changed over time.
My work still has links to this concept particularly in that I am still working with fruit that is decomposing, which is on of the themes of Memento mori art.
I have moved away from the Vanitas side as my work does not feature symbolic objects in the way this genre would. I feel as the work is looking for abstract shapes rather than the still life images that I had been creating, I don’t feel that there is a vanity to my images.
I don’t think my imagery is the same as the art from this time because of the abstract nature of my work (although Pablo Picasso did make some art that should be considered as momento mori), but I can see how the principles can me applied due to growing the mould.
My work can relate back to the religious beliefs of the Ancient Chinese and Egyptians, Tibetan Buddhism, and Christians – there have been quite a few links between my work and religion which I find interesting since it is a route I didn’t think I would be taking.
I find that the cycle of death and rebirth which the Tibetan Buddhists call the cycle of transmigration which consists of the cycle of rebirth and redeath. Plato also believed in an immortal soul that participates in frequent incarnations. This then links into the belief of reincarnation which had been found to derive from the Latin meaning of “entering the flesh again” – Learning of this definition I found surprisingly fitting to the work in my project as my images when the light has been passing through my items has been described as fleshy – like there is a probe inside the body taking images. Perhaps this is something that could link into the naming of my project if rebirth doesn’t continue to be the appropriate title.
Two terms that I have come across in my research is Transmigration – meaning “implying migration from one life to another” and Transmutation – meaning “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form” both of these definitions are so appropriate to the work that I am doing in fact I don’t think I could find better terms to define my work.
The changing state aspect of transmutation is a key point as I am waiting for the items to mutate. I am willing them to change form. This links me back to the work I completed during the informing contexts module on Sam Taylor-Johnson.
“I also explored Sam Taylor-Johnson’s moving image sequences of Still Life (2001) and A Little Death (2002), and they captured what I would like to be able to in stills. Having items in place showing the degeneration – the transformation from one to another – passing – it is the cycle.
The difference in the feeling from the two sequences was quite unbelievable to me at first and then it clicked! With the fruit in Still Life, the mould slowly creeps over, becoming an new organism, this appears quite gentle and almost a beautiful process. To then go straight into A Little Death is quite a different experience. The dead rabbit doesn’t have the dignity curtain of the mould encapsulating it. It is instead eaten from the inside out with the creeping blackness of death moving around it. It is possible to see the maggots coming and going and transforming into flies, in the next stage of their lives. Whilst you are watching you are witnessing a whole new life-cycle which is the whole point to my project, but this sequence comes over a brutal, almost a violent horror story. It is this emotion, these feelings that I want to be able to put into my images. It was another turning point for me to see these moving image sequences. It gave me some motivation back.”
Like Still Life and A Little Death I want to see the changes happen however the meaning behind out work is very different, Taylor-Johnson referred to her work to people who try to prevent the ageing process, where as my concept is different in that I want to see the joy of the rebirth.
I still want to keep the transient nature of the items an important concept as I am capturing different stages of a life cycle and once I have captured it can never capture that moment again as the item moves through its cycle.
Wabi Sabi, Anthropomorphism and Animism will still take a part in my project as I do feel like my objects have a soul that is moving through a cycle but in terms of Wabi Sabi my items are imperfect, they are impermanent and they are incomplete as the question is is a life cycle ever complete? This will lead to some really exciting insights in my future research.
This weeks activity Thinking About Spaces, really made me think, everyone had masses of books covering a broad range of topics which not only made me realise how limited my range of knowledge is, but also how beneficial if would be to broaden this. Whilst I do borrow a lot of library books I feel I need to do more.
The Sorting Images activity was a fun one as this is the way that I like to work when curating my work in progress portfolios.
Putting together the dummy was more difficult than I had anticipated. I thought I had a clear vision but in fact the way that I want to present my images for exhibition is not the same as I would present my images for a photo book.
As it turns out and the feedback received from my presentation at our webinar, I picked the wrong paper, I sized my images incorrectly but the concept worked for what I was trying to say with this dummy.
When I introduced the label to my concept it was because I wanted the item to have a sense of belonging, with the labels having the name of the grower I felt it gave a personal, emotional link to my item going through its rebirth process, but also that there is a sense that there is someone there who will celebrate the rebirth.
I have reconsidered the layout for my photo book and have compiled a sketch from which I will try to make another dummy.
My project is moving away from what might be seen as the morbidity of death and much more heading to the celebration of the rebirth. This is a much more comfortable place and it then allows me to see some of the beauty in some of the images that I am producing.
Working with physical objects was something that I wanted to look at this week. I got the book Photographers Sketchbooks, and its made me realise that this is an aspect of work that I don’t do enough of.
The way I work tends to be quite off the cuff. Everything I use is pretty much digital and I don’t have many tactile notes/plans, I wonder if this is detrimental to my practice.
Jason Evans was one photographer I was drawn to in this book, perhaps due to the abstract style of his work, but he also seemed to work in quite a similar style to my own, but the way that I work is not always successful. When I have been completing my shoots I don’t really pay enough attention to the set up, angles, focal length, aperture etc, so when it comes back to re-shoot I struggle to get the same settings as I used before. So when I came across the diary of Naoya Hatakeyama it was really quite enlightening.
My practice could also gain a great deal by using a diary to plan shoots to the level of Hayakeyama as it would not only be beneficial to my practice for this course but also future projects so I can keep track of what works and what doesn’t. It would also give me something tangible of my projects.
This book also reminded me of the importance of printing my work, I go through fits and starts of this but it really does help my practice when I do. The work of Cahier by Martin Kollar was very interesting and the layout of his sketchbook, the methodology used to put his images together and how they were presented is something I should take note of. It would not only make planning for the end result of exhibition/photobook easier but also planning for the shoots that I still need to achieve.
This piece of research has really made me consider my methodologies and shows me where I need to make changes and improvements – its also made me realise that I want to remake my dummy into something of higher quality.
The thoughts that I have had for my exhibition have been quite varied. Something I know is that I want to keep my images in a triptych format – currently I present a joined frame triptych. This type of presentation works for my work but it is not essential. I still want to maintain the black frame but I’m currently unsure of the background.
I’ve chosen to present in an online format as I’m currently unsure of where my images actually belong. I have commenced curation of my #Landings2018 page.
This weeks webinar was really useful. We discussed how my images could represent flesh due to the colours that have become apparent in my images. We also discussed the connotations of some of my images having seeds. My focus is of rebirth and in essence this is what my work will be focussing on.
There was also a suggestion about the symbolism of my work and it was one I had not thought about in-depth before. The way I present my images have a suggestion of religion the triptych could be associated with religion – the trinity – Father, Son and Holy spirit. Life, Death and Rebirth. Flesh, Stagnation, Decay.
A concept I considered was influenced by Sophie Calle and the exploration of hotel rooms. I really enjoyed the layout and this exhibition and I felt this type of layout would work for my images. The below image shows the type of layout that I would like to use.
The webinar also brought up ideas that could work for my workshop. For example I could talk to others about their feelings on life and death and rebirth and incorporate these into my exhibition presentation and this is a concept that I would like to consider.
When looking at the exhibition layout I was pointed in the direction of the work of Sophie Calle and her work The Hotel, 1981.
The layout of this work inspired a new aspect to my project. The way Calle uses her notes as part of her exhibition pieces left me wondering whether having some form of descriptive piece to work alongside my images this led to the idea of placing the label within my display.
I feel adding in the image of the labels from the gave a sense of belonging as on the labels it notes details about the fruit. I am capturing it like the investigative findings of Calle’s search around the hotel rooms.
I find how Calle puts her investigations into a grid like format would help my images to tell their story. One downside of this format would be by having the images so small a format it may limit their impact and also the beauty in their detail.
The way Calle writes her investigation around the room almost voyeuristic, honestly I find her approach a little intrusive. It makes me question if my approach is also however my objects cannot object. They haven’t been given a voice yet, or perhaps they just haven’t made it loud enough yet. The style of documenting findings is the same but the subjects very different. Calle started her work after feeling as if she belonged, so started documenting the investigation of people and building a story about them. In a similar way I am documenting my items finding their new lives. Perhaps I should have also made diary entries like a scientist documenting how my objects have changed and what has changed about them and that could have then accompanied my work.
As much as I was really motivated by this project and exploring it was very useful in my thinking of what types of layout would work for my project it has also shown me what might and might not work which is a very important step in the process.
Through going through my process this week it has highlighted that I’m not really sure who my audience would be. In this way I’m not even sure how a curator would even begin looking at my work, for this reason perhaps it would be helpful to have the input of a curator.
This weeks work has been really quite stressful thinking in particular about an exhibition where I literally have no idea what I am going to put into it, creatively I’m lost.
The only thing I know for sure is
I will present in Diptychs and Triptychs.
I want to show a process from one form to another.
I’m struggling to get to grips with my new equipment so I need to invest some time into perfecting this technique or perhaps explore microscopic photography, to provide the up close images of transformation that I’m looking for.
This weeks 1:2:1 tutorial was quite a jumble on my behalf due to my confusion over my project.
Questions were raised like:
Do I want to keep going with my inanimates?
Do I want to put more focus onto memory?
With the recent loss in my family in some ways death is not something I’m ready for so do I want to look at where my items come from, an allotment for example.
One thought I have considered is am I really looking at death in particular? I feel more comfortable at present looking at the rebirth – I have particular emotions entangled in my project at the moment and perhaps this is the reason for things appearing more difficult at the moment.
I can see themes of my work, I’m just not sure I am putting this across in the right way.
I think my work looking back could do with the input of a curator I tend to get lost in my project, perhaps there are times where I need an outside input. I hope that they would agree that my images are made to be large abstract prints.
Looking at the work of some abstract expressionists has really opened my eyes to something new and its been an enjoyable experience looking at the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock.
It occurred to me through the art that you don’t have to be able to identify something from an image just to make it have more impact and in fact beautiful.
As some of my images have developed through their journey from an identifiable piece of fruit into their new lifeforms they are gaining more and more abstract qualities and as the mould is developing like a Jackson Pollock painting they have an explosion of new life forms. For example Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950, the explosion of paint can have similarities in the way the mould grows and forms new shapes and levels. I felt the same about Sam Francis, Saint Honore, 1952 and Lee Krasner – Untitled, 1949. The movement of the paint strokes are like the movement and growing/transitioning from one form into another. This is something that I really enjoyed from this genre of art.
In a completely different sense the work April, 1963, by Helen Frankenthaler inspires through the use of colour which I have also tried to experiment with in this module.
One element that I find exciting about abstract expressionism is the freedom it offers to the audience to see what they can interpret from the art. This is a freedom I would also like to offer to my audience. I’ve heard it described as freeing the mind of visual restrictions. Not only would I like this to be possible for my audience but also to open up to discussion the limitations one might place upon the life-death-rebirth cycle.
The way these paintings are exhibited on huge canvases, it makes me think for my work to be exhibited they should also be large enough to make them even more abstract and have more impact – an affect that I think might be lost in a photo-book.
This weeks work has made me consider quite a lot. It is my belief that humans are always involved in someway in the production of images, otherwise we would never know that they had ever actually been created. Even with the Human? activity without human intervention we would never know that any form of image capturing had ever taken place.
Within my practice I wait for natural processes to take their place and then capture them on their journey. So I feel I am a combination of hands on and hands off.
I’m not sure whether people really know how to respond to my work and this is becoming somewhat troubling to me and I am certainly going to have to do a great deal of work on this specifically in the coming weeks.
This weeks webinar was particularly useful to me this week. It did bring up some questions to ask myself:
What are the actual goals of my images?
Science and truth?
Science vs religion?
Science vs art aesthetics?
A butterfly connotation – Transformation
Is time my target or is it the transformation?
It has led me to the collection curated by David Campany – A handful of dust.
A lesson to be learned from this weeks activity Hands Off was how to deal with failure. As we were not able to use our regular equipment and for me this ruled out the DSLR and iPhone, the flatbed scanner was the equipment that I chose. It was not successful so I decided to disregard my work to the groups disappointment, it has given me the motivation to try again and accept my failures.
These are the retried images of my flat bed scanner attempt
Over the next week I want to try to focus on the questions brought up this week and see what I can come up with.
Due to the abstract nature of my images one of the suggestions to take a look at was the collection a Handful of Dust curated by David Campany. This collection features images by photographers such as Man Ray, Ed Ruscha and Jeff Wall along with the work of others and also some anonymous work.
Using the normal and banal to create something completely different, the dust looking like it was making itself into a geographical map with how it has been manipulated and this is something that I can relate to taking the everyday and making look like something more beautiful that it should really look.
Perhaps something else that could be considered from this piece is that the dust is creating a road map type effect, could this be seen as dust being the passing of time showing the direction we should be travelling in having learned lessons from the past. Perhaps this is just my interpretation.
Another image that appeals from the work, and also that I can draw inspiration from because of a direction my work has gone is an image by Frederick Sommer – Arizona Landscape 1943 In webinars it has been mentioned how my images are starting to look like the beginning of a new landscape or a planets surface.
The abstract nature of my own image and that of Frederick Sommer have similarities it shows me how my images could make their way to large prints and still have an impact even though the items I am capturing are small rather than grand landscapes.
What I did find interesting was the images from where the exhibition was help, seeing the artefacts and the arrangement of the displays. I always think that the exhibition would be one large image arranged side by side in a black frame with white walls as this how I have experienced galleries before. As my images are abstract perhaps I should also be thinking this way for my own display.
This week I’ve felt quite torn with some of the concepts that we have covered. In my opinion, no one should be able o reuse another individuals work without explicit consent. The ideas of reusing and reediting to make gain when you haven’t produced the original just does not seem morally right to me.
I think in the event that my work was re appropriated by someone else I would have taken the same action as Meiselas did in the case of the Molotov Man.
Whilst I have been influenced by others I have not taken someone else’s work so I am comfortable in my practice that I am working in the right way in line with my moral compass.
This weeks webinar was really beneficial. We discussed ways that I could make my images more interesting, working with the images I had taken since the last webinar.
I am looking at maybe not taking the whole piece of fruit in the frame, just picking out particular details. this will particularly come into play when it comes to exploring the mould at the end of the cycle.
I have been looking at the work of Daro Montag to see how they make beautiful images from organisms.
I have also looked at the work of Estonian photographer Heikki Leis and his series of images in the collection Afterlife.
Some of the the images I think it would have been nice to know what the items looked like beforehand. this is what I want to achieve with my images, a story of the stage before coming to the rebirth.
During this weeks webinar we discussed what could be potential outlets for my work, thinking that scientific venues may be appropriate for the nature of my images or perhaps even the use of x-ray paper to give my topic a more scientific feel.
I plan to do some research on scientific and aerial photography to broaden my view on the types of images I could possible achieve.
This week also came with researching safety procedures for what my new work might entail.
The concepts behind my work have made me consider the concepts of life and death a little more.to consider if i am actually saying that the development of the mould is a reincarnation or the development of something brand new.
It has also made me consider my own views and beliefs.
Do I believe in reincarnation?
Do I believe that the mould is alive?
Is the transformation from one thing to another just a simple scientific process or is it something else?
In the development of my abstract imagery I have been looking at the work of Daro Montag – Who I met at the face to face event at Falmouth in February.
I have been looking at this work to gain a better understanding of how natural living organisms could be made into beautiful art.
The series Bioglyhs which I discovered on the website:
This work really assisted me in looking at the potential this type of work could have and the direction that it could take. Though it isn’t a direction I’m ready for just yet.
I also gained inspiration from the work in Dialogues with Nature. Not only was the imagery helpful but the examples of how to create a photographers sketchbook was a helpful insight into what I can produce to start and document my progress, especially when coming up to the Final Major Project to document thoughts and sketches as well as imagery. It could also be helpful to my audience to view these sketchbooks – as my work is documenting a period of time (again time will play a pivotal role in my work), it would be like a diary entry that could accompany an exhibition or be a zine that could be picked up at an exhibition.
The work in the This Earth series was inspiring show in the range of colours that could be found in the microscopic world. Whilst it is not in my current plans to go as far down this route it is interesting to see what the possibilities are.
Montag’s work and my own are similar in that we are looking at life-cycles of natural objects. I want to look at what happens after – the next stage of life. New Life.
This week has been a particularly exciting one. I completed my first professional assignment by being a Third Shooter at a wedding – I know I’m just a volunteer but this is a major step for me in my progression as a photographer.
With my practice, working so close up, and with using inanimate objects, being put into a position where my subjects were moving about was a real challenge. However being able to challenge myself and watch two other photographers was a really beneficial experience and I feel this can only improve my practice.
In this weeks work I was particularly drawn to the images of Shimon Attie in particular. The images of the practice of rephotography where a past and present were blended into one another, I felt were really impactful, especially Attie’s “The Writing on the Wall”
I would like to try in my own practice the merging of two images into one. This is also something that could be incorporated into my own work, merging the different stages or elements of a lifecycle into a single image I imagine would be quite interesting. I guess There are elements of different styles that would be difficult decisions to make perhaps this could be why I appreciate the blended images more as they show ans appreciation of the past and merge it into the today as if it is a memory occurring.
Some might argue that this blending of images is too much tampering of an image and making it an untruth of what is actually there – making the photography a liar but I don’t see if that way. I almost feel like the images that are completely blanking out the present day are telling the untruth like they are trying to block out the horrors of today’s society with a nostalgic take on the past.
During the break I decided to take a step away from my project and explore other types of photography, exploring the work or Sirkka-Lissa Konttinen in The Idea of North Exhibition at The Baltic in Gateshead. This exhibition was really interesting showing the development of culture in the North East. It has always been a huge interest of mine to research the region I am born and bred from, and it’s actually making me wonder whether I would like to explore a mini-project about my region and the presentations from this week has made me explore the ideas of rephotography.
When I was looking at images for the Place over Time activity I found images from the early 1900’s and even earlier than this which my family could tell me stories about and this stirred up emotions in me that I would love others to get from my own work.
Memory is such an important topic to me and perhaps it is time to explore this a little further to see where it goes. This was also an element that I discussed on my work experience this week. A wedding album for example is a reminder of a beautiful day and the memories will hopefully last a lifetime.
This weeks webinar left me feeling a little deflated about my work. Some of the pieces I took over the break were triptychs of fruit over a period of time, showing the fruit being taken over by mould in the end image.
I stuck to my iPhone, square format and black and white for these images as I have throughout the course. I have once again had my approach challenged which I have taken on board but when carrying out the request of using the DSLR and colour I really don’t like the results.
I will take these images to next weeks webinar for feedback and see what there is that I can do.
One idea that came from Week 1’s webinar was to blow the images up so large that they become pixelated. i’m also open to giving this a try but with the nature of my images I’m unsure of what the results would be.
With the DSLR I am not achieving the images yet that I would want to achieve I think this may well mean that this module is going to be one of trial and error. Or I may revert to the iPhone.
In the meantime I have found some artists who have worked with mould before so I want to learn about them.
I hope in a week or so to have a contact sheet of images from which I can short list.
I thinking that the theme of this module will be rebirth. It will certainly be an interesting exploration.
Edward Weston has been very an influential part of my development throughout the whole of my Masters degree.
My work has developed a great deal throughout the modules to where my work is at now, this has made me look not so much at the still life of Weston but his landscape work and some of his images taken at Point Lobos which are much darker in feeling to his previous works.
What draws me more to these images more than some of the others is they are of more an abstract nature than his portrait or still life images. This brings me to compare them to some of the newer work that I have been creating. At first it was not my intention to achieve the level of abstraction that my mould could be likened to the landscape of another world and it was something of a light-bulb moment for me.
Whilst Weston, I feel has the basis of his work in making aesthetically pleasing images, which is exemplified in the diary entries in the book The Flame of Recognition. I get the impression that he was getting a joy from creating imagery that is different from other work he produced. This is something I can understand from my own work
Yet in the same way as my work he gained enjoyment from the abstract nature of the Cypress Trees at Point Lobos describing it as “twisted into the most amazing forms” (Weston in Newhall, Pg.28, 1965)
It is this kind of detail that I enjoy and look for in my own work, looking for shapes and textures from the subjects that I work with, but I want to show that in my images that death is not the end and that my subjects are evolving and transforming.
Weston revisited the locations many times shooting the landscape in various different ways. This is quite similar to the way that I am continually re-shooting my objects looking at them in different ways over a period of time documenting their changes.
In Weston’s later years particularly after his Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937, the subject of Weston’s work is noted to have become darker. In some ways this is a refreshing change from his search of beauty. In the Essay A Photographer’s Love of Life by Alex Nyerges noted the subject of his photography did in fact become death. The dead pelican below is an example of this. The work of erosion I feel is also an example of the change in his work.
It has to be said that the diagnosis of his Parkinson’s Disease also had an affect on the work he was producing, being limited to the work he could create and having to accept his mortality which results in the darker imagery.
A major difference in my work this module is that I will be using a DSLR and working in colour. I find that this is a refreshing move away from the still lives and black and white. Whilst I still very much admire Weston’s work I am no longer as heavily influenced to attempt to emulate what he achieve in his still life work.
Weston, Edward (1965), Edited by Nancy Newhall, The Flame of Recognition, Aperture Foundation, New York, Pg 28, 29, 49, 77
This week has been presentation week where we receive peer feedback, this is always an interesting week and this one has been really beneficial.
With regards to my work I received really useful feedback and what I found even more pleasing is that viewers could see what I was trying to do and could even apply some of my images to their own past experience.
It does concern me a little that my use of iPhone does not give everyone a wholly positive feeling. Perhaps now in someways I want to keep it to prove a point that beautiful work can be created using the iPhone – i think using this method will always get a touch of “not proper photography” from some areas. I’m pretty sure that I am OK with this though! I saw this week that Light and Land are now doing landscape photography course in iPhoneography so I think I will also stick with it!
I did have good feedback with regards to the template that I use during my presentations which is also something that I can take forward for the future.
I did forget to mention that my intended audience/display platform at final goal is an exhibition – though I did mention my Instagram sharing, and it is a must to remember both of these things for my Critical Review.
The feedback also put the idea of triptychs into play. It is something I want to consider for future development but not something that I would be able to achieve for this module and I do like the idea at the moment of just diptychs featuring life and death.
Even with criticism I know that it is essential to take everything on board with a positive outlook and take a second look at my work and see if it is applicable and see where I can improve so that I don’t receive the same feedback again.
Watching the videos of my peers also allowed me to learn where I could improve my own work not only in presentation style but also how to critically review my own work better.
It is also allowing me to develop a clearer view of my own work through continually having to justify my practice.
Critical Contextualisation of Practice:
I have covered quite a range of photographers in this module. It is now the time to pull all of the knowledge I have gained from this. I have learnt a great deal from historical photographers such as William Henry Fox-Talbot and later Edward Weston to current photographers such as Peter Fraser and Roger Ballen. I have also crossed disciplines looking at Sam Taylor-Johnson’s work.
Professional Location of Practice:
I share a lot of work on Instagram but I want to see my photographs exhibited and I am already checking on possible locations to make this happen. I do like the social media side of my work though, perhaps because most of the time some form of feedback is received quite quickly.
My work has grown into a project his module and it is starting to make sense. I also feel as though I have become better at analysing my project and making the necessary changes. I also feel I have been able to articulate this to my peers in webinars.
Written and Oral Communication Skills:
Whilst I feel I have made good progress in this area over the module. This is an area that I am still very much working on.
This week was mostly taken up with the planning and recording of my oral presentation. This process seemed a lot more straight forward having a clear direction of where I wanted to get to rather than stretching and grasping at straws.
Revisiting the basics of my newly changed project was great in that I could re-engage with my aims and also pick out pieces of the theory that I had selected that were not working for me.
For example I was trying to include so much into the theory, that I was missing how I was actually going to apply this. I therefore removed the Buddhist beliefs about the four stages of life/road to enlightenment, as the other 4 concepts that I wanted to look at are far more relevant and I am actually able to apply them, but more importantly explain to others what I am doing and why with my images.
To explore more I have this week been reading – The Edge of Vision – The Rise of Abstraction in Photography by Lyle Rexler (2013). As my work is taking the direction of abstraction I felt this was going to offer some further insight. It brought me back to looking at photographers I haven’t considered since the early part of the course, Karl Blossfeldt and William Henry Fox-Talbot.
These two images show how I am able to use natural materials and still have beautifully abstract images. Especially with Blossfeldt’s work using the lessons I learnt about lighting from Edward Weston I am able to learn a great deal about the composition of abstract macro photography.
Carrying out further research I was absorbed by the Curburita (Pumpkin Tendrils)
This image has been carefully thought about in how to capture the curls. when I capture my pencil shaving I use I expect quite a similar process, I perhaps can do more of this to enhance my images further.
There is another image such as #95 Beckmannia Cruciformis (Slough Grass, Fruiting Spikelets)
I think the composition of this triptych how it is showing various areas of light and shade and still manages to contain the detail in the natural forms, this can also be seen in #96 Phacelia Panicle (Phacelia Congesta) where I was drawn in by the complex repeating nature of the plants.
It shows depth and is laid out interestingly to draw in the viewer with some elements of my work I can certainly learn a great deal from Blossfeldt.
Looking at these images led me to take another of my own to use in my presentation:
I wanted to use elements that I had learnt from Blossfeldt and try to put them into action. I was also quite happy to see strength coming from the first image verging into fragility in the second. I want this to be felt by my viewer also.
Rexler, Lyle, (2013) The Edge of Vision – The Rise of Abstraction In Photography, Aperture, New York.