For personal reasons this has been a particularly difficult week for me. Collaboration was the very last thing I was able to do.
Perhaps this is more than just this week as when I look back I think in an online capacity I do consciously resist it. Having completed my first BA degree online with Open University the participation levels in collaborative exercises was quite poor and I think these experiences have really tarnished my experience, which makes me resistant to future collaboration.
It could be said however through my project I work with living things. it could also be said that the fruit I am looking at in this module are not alive but when they get taken over by the mould they are living again, so I am collaborating with a living organism every time I get my camera looking at my mould or even when I am encouraging it to grow.
What I did do this week was crowd sourcing. As I wasn’t in a position to collaborate I sent out a social media post asking people to post images of their watches or clocks. A representation of time. Without realising it Time is pivotal to my project and my re-photography of the items. Watching the mould develop is linked to a time line. I just need to get the images I received into a Zine format to share with the people who helped me. I obtained approximately 70 images which I found astonishing in such a short time frame.
At this weeks webinar I took images using some new equipment I have obtained which is an ultra macro lens.
We discussed how I had created something that could almost be seen as a new landscape, it was therefore suggested to look at some landscape artists.
Due to the nature of my images it was also suggested to look at the work of Rothko. During this investigation I felt inspired by his work and his use of colour which is normally a great contrast of my own work as I do prefer working in black and white, so using colour is a new challenge for me.
The end of Rothko’s life is quite a tragic story so the story of the end of life seems to have a fitting link to my work, or this could just perhaps be linked to the loss my family have experienced this week.
I looked a bit deeper into the work of Mark Rothko as I was intrigued to delve in a bit deeper.
Whilst our work is clearly vastly different genres, one photography the other oil and acrylic on canvas. What strikes me about the work of Rothko is how colours can be used to such abstract affects. I have achieved transitions of colour without really realising it.
It made me look more closely at how I capture the colours to allow my images to have more impact.
There are several images of Rothko’s where the colour palette reflects the natural aspects of my own images.
Looking through exhibitions of Rothko’s it is possible to see the possibilities of scale through his canvases. I’ve never really considered that I could create such large images for my own abstract images. Whilst I had hoped I don’t think I had accepted that an exhibition is a real option.
Pieces of Rothko’s work that particularly stand out to me are. Untitled (1948), Untitled (1968), No 15 1952 (1952), The Green Stripe (1955).
These painting all have quite natural earthy tones and colours which I can relate to in my own practice.
Untitled 1948 will most likely become more relevant as my mould grows to bring new colours and shapes to the new life.
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