The Easter break and beyond:
Being fortunate enough to travel to the states for a week enabled me to take some candid street photography that I’ll be able to use in my picture making. I also purchased some vintage photographs when I was there. That, combined with my visit to the Dali museum inspired me, and so my work took a pretty dramatic turn. See my Coursework page for more details. here
Already I have used some of the USA photos and am including some of them in my Portfolio submission.
Since then I’ve been dividing my time between working on the final edits for my Work in Progress Portfolio and writing the first draft for my Critical Review of Practice (and this blog of course!)
One other thing that I’ve been doing is getting to know my newly acquired Linhof camera (without film). This could theoretically have waited until the assignments were submitted, but impatience got the better of me and I wanted to use it in my images too!
Week nine: Peer Review Video Presentations
One of our non-assessed assignments for Informing Contexts was to upload a ten minute video:
Although this task wasn’t theoretically a development of my own practice, I think it’s important to include it here as it does outline my creative thinking to date, and places it contextually within the art world.
- Prepare a 10 minute video presentation which critically reflects and contextualises your own practice.
- Consider the intent of your practice, it’s planned professional location, as well as critically contextualise and evaluate its development e.g. technically, aesthetically, conceptually, professionally.
- You should refer to the Critical Review/Research Journal Assessment Criteria
My evaluation of this task:
- It was useful to put this together as it has helped me to contextualise my work in a way which I may not otherwise have done. Also I will be able to use parts of it in my 2,500 word assignment and am more familiar with the assessment criteria of this.
- The process of making this video has highlighted some inaccuracies in my CRJ which I will be able to rectify.
- The making of this video was time consuming – writing the audio track took a long time, which meant that I did not have as much time putting it all together as I needed. Leaving the country a week before the deadline meant I needed to have it finished early, and it came at a time when I was very busy at work and preparing for a wedding abroad. I did not plan my schedule as well as I could have, so this is a lesson for the future!
- It’s harder to restrict audio work to ten minutes than it is to get to ten minutes (mine is a little more than this).
- I need to find out a better way of adding text to iMovie.
- Even though this assignment is not being formally assessed, I am disappointed in the quality of this video, but recognise that it’s been a valuable exercise in helping me to understand my own work.
- Next time hopefully the sound quality will be improved, and there will be no visual gaps!
Showing what I thought were examples of a successful and less successful image of mine in the webinar was enlightening, as everyone present had the opposite opinion to my own. Already I had realised that I was finding it difficult to step back from my work and dismiss the aesthetic; but it became apparent that this was still problematic when evaluating my own work. The pdf presentation I made in preparation for the webinar can be seen below, and includes the two images mentioned here.
I will need to ensure that within each picture there are transparent visual references to old and new, and that it stimulates the imagination rather than pleases the eye. Generally I am pleased with the way my work is developing, but I should look for new ideas so that it doesn’t become too repetitive or predictable.
Due to the fact that the deadline for video presentations is whilst I am away over Easter, decision making on how text will be added to each image has been put on hold. The plan is to resolve this once the video is complete.
Spurred on by peers’ comments in the webinar this week, I have been more productive and creative, and have:
- Made several more images, to be uploaded to my website (although they are still work in progress, most of them are not finished).
- Created paint-scapes, which may be used as part of ‘framing’ processes.
- Used photo-corners to attach images to a photo album. This was not a success as the resulting photograph looked too modern (below right). A suggestion was made in the webinar to use a vintage photo album rather than a new one, of a darker colour so my images don’t bleed onto the page. Below left is an example of a sheet from the 1950s. I like it’s apparent randomness and remember the times when pages would be reused and updated – and although I emphasise the reuse of images I am unsure how useful this technique would be within my work.
- Scanned the back of my ‘found’ photographs and am considering how to incorporate the text within my work; including exploring ‘found poetry’, mesostics and the haiku. John Cage used mesostics in some of his work as a way of structuring his music – so coming from a music background myself this could be worth exploring. However for now the haiku seems a form that identifies closely with my work through its juxtaposition of ideas (language and image). By using the text on the back of the original photos (in the photo above right I have traced part of an old text) as well as my own I hope to be able to create intriguing and ambiguous narratives within the haiku form as a response to the finished image.
- As some writing on the back of photographs is difficult to read I have used the Internet to research places and investigate where some of them were taken. For example looking at photograph detail I was able to identify the beach on the left here as Bridlington Sands.
(Figure 1: Unknown maker c. 1933 photograph)
Frustratingly, the only creative progress I have managed to make this week has been in my imagination and planning stages. Next week I hope to be more productive.
This week I have made three images which are almost ready for inclusion in my Work in Progress Portfolio. The work so far has included:
- Printing small photographs of landscapes, placing them in the back of my Brownie camera, arranging lighting (fairy lights and back lighting through aperture) and then photographing
- On iPad, juxtaposing this photo with a vintage portrait one
- Using acrylic paints, water, fairy liquid and art paper, creating a colour backdrop based on a photographic image. Scanning the finished image
- On iPad, juxtaposing this image with the one created in step 2
- Tracing the writing on the back of the vintage photographs ready for use within the finished image.
To compete the four images that I have in total for my Portfolio, I will
- Print images
- Stick onto blank page of new photo album using ‘photo corners’
- Transfer the tracing onto a page as a (description) of the image
- Scan the finished image and upload to Portfolio
At last I have made some headway, and have a handful of images that although are still work in progress, are getting there. As I edit (both digitally and hands-on, I scan the results before I manipulate them further. This way, the end photograph becomes a result of many layers, each with its own narrative. I’m currently looking for ways to continue the introduction of manufactured light through all of my images in this collection. I tried scanning photographs with fairy lights in the scanner, but although the lights looked effective on the scan, unfortunately the image itself became distorted.
The photo within.
A vintage ‘lost’ framed photograph is displaced from its original setting, allowing for transference possibilities of memories and narrative.
Currently, I am exploring different ways of displaying and re-photographing old discarded photographs of people, hence the above photograph shows my desk with a framed photograph of a man unknown to me. Although the genre of using vintage images is often termed ‘found photography’, I prefer to think of it as ‘lost’, or ‘re-found’; the items having being deliberately contextually displaced from their original settings. The photographs I use come from flea markets, vintage shops, or online auctions, with a third party being involved in their appropriation. As my project moves forward I will consider the ownership and ethical use of these photographs as I remake them.
Through placing them in different contexts or settings, these anonymous characters with their absent histories will have false narratives for the viewer to imagine and explore, replacing their true, lost ones.
I have started to experiment with the use of light, including projecting photographs onto photographs; and using the aperture in vintage camera boxes to shine light or reflect onto my subjects. Two artists whose work I have looked at this week because of their fascination with exploring relationships between what is seen and unseen are Amy Friend and Bianca Brunner. in Dare alla Luce (Bring to the Light) (2013), Friend shines light through pin sized holes in her vintage photographs; and in Hotel Vacation (2008) Brunner delivers intrigue into empty or sparse spaces.
This week I have arrived at the conclusion that it’s difficult to find something that hasn’t been done already, although at last I feel that I’m making progress with the direction I would like to take my project in.