Monday, 7 May 2012

Encounters, Experiences and Meetings Evaluation

Encounters, Experiences and Meetings Evaluation

For this project I was required to research different types of photographic techniques, look up various photographers and explore the theme 'Encounters, Experiences and Meetings'. This project involved me looking at other photographers work and how they created some of their photographs and experimentation with different photographic techniques. The aim of this project was to explore and present a concept of 'Encounters, Experiences and Meetings' in a creative, original and personal way through various experimentation, both in the dark room and digital.

In this project, I looked at Rankin, Johan Thornqvist, Jason Travis, Michael Hallet and Annette Messager. The image I focused on when looking at Rankin's work was one of his photographs from the 'Destroy' series, where a photograph of Kyle, the singer, was 'destroyed'. I liked that Rankin did not destroy Kyle's portrait, but rather destroyed the area above her, which gave it a layered effect. The dripping paint / ink was very effective in portraying emotion felt from music although I was unable to find a meaning for the image. When looking at Johan Thornqvist, I was really enthralled by what he did as I have not seen a professional photogropher draw on their photographs. The image I focused on consisted of a fire hydrant with a city drawn on it. I found this really interesting through the fact that so many interpretations could be made of the image, one being that water helps run a city. When looking at Jason Travis's work, I focused on his persona series as I have never seen a project like it. It was really interesting to look at as you could see whether the portraits looked like they would carry what was in the photograph connected below them. I also liked this series as it showed that even if people look completely different, we can have similarities even just by what we carry around in our day to day life. I also looked at Michael Hallet's work who took many photographs of one area at various different angles to make a more three dimensional image. I like his technique as its not commonly used and is a very nice idea and fun to experiment with. Finally, I looked at Annette Messager who has focused her work on the view of how women see the world. 'The Vows', being the piece that I analysed consisted of many images all hung from string. I really liked this idea as it gave an impact to the images as they were various parts of the human body.

Having analysed Rankin's Destroy work and Johan Thornqvist's work, I decided to work into some of my photographs using paint, an ordinary biro pen and also by using Adobe Photoshop. From looking at Rankin’s work, it showed me that photographs can still be photographs even after working into them with other various materials. So, when I came to experimenting with working into images I had taken of myself, I worried less about ruining the photograph and thought more about recreating the image. Johan Thornqvist’s inspired me to draw onto photographs by using just a biro pen. Although in his images it looks like he has edited them and drawn on them using a computer software, I preferred to draw by hand as I had experimented with Adobe Photoshop when experimenting after looking at Rankin. Unlike Thornqvist who drew people and cities on his photographs, I drew plants and animals as I wanted to add a natural effect to my photographs. Both these photographers made me think outside the box when looking at my prints, which was what led me to overlapping two negatives in the negative carrier in order to create another layer to some of my photographs. Jason Travis did not inspire me much however, I did enjoy doing my own, mini ‘persona series’. By looking at Michael Hallet, his work encouraged me to experiment by taking many photographs of the same place at slightly different angles and placing them together to create a more dimensional image. Annette Messager was very inspirational for me. The photographs she takes are all very powerful from the use of hard light created from well contrasted images. Her presentation of her work was even more influential to me as I have not seen a well-established photographer hang their work before. Her piece, ‘The Vows’ was very cleverly constructed to hang so that the images created a circle. Although I did not create a particular shape when hanging the images on my final piece, the idea for hanging them did come from her work.

I have enjoyed this project as it was an ‘open’ title that allowed me to experiment in many directions, allowing me to come up with more ideas for my work and research a broader range of photographers to be inspired from. In this project, I have been generally pleased with the quality of how my still life photographs, concert photographs, edited / worked into photographs, castle photographs, overlapped negatives photographs and reversals came out; some taken with my film SLR camera and others with my digital camera. Although, when I was working into some of my photographs after looking at Rankin and Thornqvist, I feel now that I could have gone further into experimenting. If I had taken more dramatic photographs of facial expressions then it would have perhaps widened what I did to each photograph. Also, when drawing the small plants and animals, it would have been good to of attempted this on Photoshop as the drawn images would be clearer.

I was pleased with how my final piece came together in this project, and I would definitely enjoy making a more complex hanging system for photographs in the future along with drawing onto images. Mainly from looking at Messager’s work, I consider the presentation of photographs very important has they can help to portray an emotion or to make a particular impact. I would enjoy experimenting further with drawing on images, but should plan exactly what I want to draw so that I can take the base photograph in the particular way I want, so that it benefits my drawings.

Friday, 4 May 2012

My Final Idea

From looking at Annette Messager, I really like the idea of hanging photographs as I find it a very attractive way of presenting photographs. Also as my images are to do with the past and involve memories, hanging them could also be a way of trying to show that.

This the layout I was thinking of doing for my final outcome. After thinking about it for a while, I realised that if I hang photographs, they might spin around. To avoid my final piece looking incomplete, I could stick the reversals of the images on the back so that if they spin around, there is an image on both sides.

As some reversals did not come out quite as well due to the negative space, I could write on them. I came up with this idea from Johan Thornqvist as it would be a nice way of filling up the empty space.

Annette Messager Analysis

Annette Messager set out to become an artist in her 20s. At a time where her only role models were male, Messager chose to embrace her gender. To interpret life through the eyes of a woman –love, beauty, pain, power. In 2005, Messager represented France at the Venice Biennal, winning the prize for best national pavilion.

This photograph, ‘My Vows’ consists of many photographs attached and hanging by what looks like string. All of the photographs have a black frame around them which helps to define each image. The photographs all contain black and white images of different body parts; chins, feet, lips, hands, eyes, tongues and noses. As far as I can tell, the photographs are a mixture of both women and men as some of the chins have hair on and others look quite slender. None of the photographs show enough of the person to be able to identify

I was not able to find a meaning for this collection of photographs. Therefore, as you are not able to identify an individual by looking at one photograph, maybe Messager was trying to hint on that we do not have an identity from our looks but that we create them through our personalities. Also, looking at the name of this piece, ‘The Vows’, and looking at the collection of photographs, it could mean that ‘wedding vows’ are more than just words as a couple would also be committing their bodies to each other and not just their hearts. The close ups of the various body parts could simply just be to show the delicacy of the human body.

I personally really like this piece. The sheer number of photographs that are hanging make a very positive impact for me, as they seem to impose more than just a few hanging photographs would. The whole piece has a heavy feel to it but is still very interesting due to the variety of photographs shown.

Experimentation - Reversals

After I had finished overlapping negatives, I felt like there was more to do so I decided to make reversals of some of the photographs. In order to do a reversal, you must put a piece of photographic paper under the enlarger and then placing your photograph that has already been printed onto photographic paper, face down on the un-exposed paper. I then exposed the light for thirty seconds in order for the reversals to come out.

Experimentation - Overlapped Negatives

Instead of placing one negative in the negative carrier in the enlarger, I firstly placed a negative of Korfe Castle in and then carefully placed a negative of my friend on top and shut the carrier. My first test strip that I had done did not come out well as I did not realise that a longer time is needed to allow the light to travel through both negatives onto the photographic paper. After doing a test strip that tested three seconds at a time, I worked out that I needed to expose the photographic paper to the light for thirteen seconds in order for my merge image to appear.

Preparation Work

Looking back on my photographs of Korfe Castle, I felt like there was something missing. I decided to take photographs using my Film SLR Camera of a friend who kindly agreed to dressing in a black dress and posing for me. These will hopefully aid me when I place the negatives of these photographs over the negatives of Korfe Castle.

Film SLR Photographs of Korfe Castle

These photographs are images of Korfe Castle in Dorset that I had taken with my Film SLF Camera.
 This my test strip so that I could work out what timings would suit this photograph best.

  I particularly like both the image above and below as the castle's structure contrasts almost perfectly against the cloudy sky, which gives an overpowering effect.

 I really like this faded affect as it feels like the castle isn't really there, almost ghostly. I achieved this effect by exposing the paper to only a few seconds of light and by not leaving it in the developer tank for very long.