More performative portraiture
There are a couple of Terry’s photos which show him and a friend with their arms in litter bins. They are smiling as if they are pranking around (an unusual gesture within the albums).
To mark this I wanted to use the bin as a stimulus as well as the roses, so I opted for a spot of gardening. I dressed in dungarees and had my hair in a ribbon – I thought these were pretty timeless items of clothing. I didn’t want a 2018 look. I’m not sure how successful I was.
Probably the most effective of these is the first one, as the angle of my arm works well with the arm angle in the album.
The Jersey week, July into August.
12 red roses…
‘Only my wife would buy herself a bunch of roses when we’re on holiday, two days before we go home…’
I saw them in M&S and couldn’t resist, knowing that I wanted to experiment with different methologies of photographing them.
They came down to the beach with me, still in their plastic wrap. I also took my camera and tripod, iPhone and two sheets of photographic paper, hoping to do some camera-less photography too.
Some of the photos in the ‘Terry’ albums have him by the coast standing by boats, in another one he is rowing. I know that he collected images of boats amongst other modes of transport, so I hoped that I would be able to take some photographs which had the three themes of roses, boats, and self-portraits.
The first few images I took were self-portraits. I struggled with the shadows in these, and also I could not find a pose that was relevant to my project.
The larger image above is punctuated by a boy walking behind me, although this makes the photo seem more natural, and the colour of his t-shirt joxtaposes with the roses well; unfortunately I’m looking at my phone setting the shutter timer.
Boats can hardly be seen in the smaller images here, and I am not sure what the viewer would make of them alongside other images in my project – why/who/where …what are their purpose (do they need one) ?
Next I photographed the roses on black rocks, before inserting a sheet of photographic paper between two of the flowers and the cellophane, and immersing in the sea:
Here is a short video taken of ‘the artist’ at work with the roses and photographic paper:
I kept the flowers in the sea for some time, holding the stems down with stones. As waves washed over them and into them, I clicked the shutter. Some pleasing results followed, and now I have quite a few pictures that I could potentially use in my portfolio.
The prints made with photographic paper had mixed results. I prepared them in layers – flower in the sun, flowers in the sea, rocks with flowers, cuttlefish and cellophane wrapping (I tried to get some of the words imprinted). Obviously there was no scanner on the beach, so I took quick snaps on my iPhone, and then put them into a dark bag – to be unpacked once I’m home.
Back at the hotel, I placed the roses in the bathroom sink – they had miraculously survived their ordeal! Looking at them I was reminded of Sophie Calle’s work ‘The Hotel, Room 47’. Whilst working as a chambermaid Calle looked through suitcases and personal belongings in the rooms she cleaned, as well as photographing the unmade beds and toilet. The picture below is my reference to Calle’s work. Although not a stranger’s belongings, the anonymity and functionality of this bathroom scene is quite ordinary, as in Calle’s hotel rooms – with the exception of the roses.
Using the same set up as my other self portraits (camera on tripod, controlled by an app on my iPhone), I visited a local transport museum to see if I could take some photos that could be placed next to one of Terry’s – there is an abundance of him standing by buses, trains and steam engines.
1. Standing in front of a steam roller. This is my first attempt of the day; I feel, and look, awkward.
2. This image of my by a steam train is over exposed. When I am home I may see if I can improve it in Photoshop. I’m feeling a little conspicuous as there are a few people around, but strangely beginning to enjoy acting a part.
3. This is the same train, this time I’m inside a carriage looking out through the open window. I’ve done some post-processing with this on my iPad Pro. I like the result, but as yet am unsure whether I can use it as those it would sit alongside are very different in style. By now I’m feeling confident in my role play.
Here it is, less processing, cropped:
I will do some more of these, time permitting.
Photos with glass…
Experimenting with reflection and colour. Maybe to use as background or textural contrast in one of my images.
I’m not happy with these results, they are too cheesy and not useable within my project.
Old large format film. Left in the sun for two days with paperclips, magnets and small bulldog clips. Scanned.
I made a stencil from a rose photograph and placed it onto photographic paper. I then covered it all with petals and leaves, inside a transparent wallet. I was surprised to see the imprint of the foliage, even where there had been no cut outs in the paper.
Re-using photographic paper (the buttons were done a few weeks ago). I cut out parts of a rose photo, placed the stencil onto the used paper, smeared blueberries over the top, then scanned.
A spot of mixing – the photographic paper with one of my recent photographs. Some blueberries were involved in this one too…
It’s the first day of the school holidays, and I celebrated by experimenting with a couple of photos from the last few days.
In each of these examples I printed the original image and made a stencil from it. The stencil was placed on photographic paper and exposed to the sun. I placed foliage over the cut out parts, I’ve discovered that this helps a pink hue to develop. The resulting image was scanned then photoshopped to add more colour contrast. In the third example I painted through the same stencil, and then scanned.
1. Rose and vases
Two images in one Photogram Paint
2. Croyland Hall, Wellingborough
Original Photogram Paint
Over the past three days I’ve had two photography sessions, with mixed results.
- I went to Wellingborough to see if my memory was correct – I thought I had identified a couple of places in the album photographs. I had been right, and although some parts were unchanged there had been significant building work including a new Morrison’s where once a large car park was (as per the burnt out vehicle below); the rebuilding of some offices, and the removal of a lake.
2. I visited my Mother’s house to photograph some green glass vases, as I had referred to them in the inventory of my Photobook.
“On arrival to collect the (albums), (I) noticed a pile of bric-a-brac outside on the street, with a notice saying “do not take the table”. Upon asking, (I) was allowed to take away, free of charge, six small and dirty green glass bottles; at least one of which (and probably more) turned out to be a Victorian bottle for the containment of a poisonous substance. Knowing that her mother collected coloured glass, (I) gave the green bottles to her as a gift.”
I hope to make connections between the glass vases and my purchased albums, as they were all appropriated on the same day, from the same place; and therefore connected by association.
I wanted to see if the glasses would make a pattern on photographic paper (image2) but the result was quite disappointing, possibly because I didnt leave them long enough _ I may try again.
Weeks five and six
Using stimuli from my appropriated Terry albums, I have taken a lot of pictures of roses and white shirts.
Using both red, and cream vases, I photographed a bunch of fresh pink roses in two different settings – the garden and my work space. I clipped a photograph of Terry to a temporary frame, next to other ‘real’ objects of mine. Through these processes I have linked the past with the past, the past with the present, and the present with the present.
In some of the ‘shirt’ photographs, I used a filter to give the impression of timelessness whilst at the same time trying to give them a contemporary edge (for example the burger cafe and the outdoor menu). As Terry usually always wears a white shirt with rolled up sleeves I used a friend to pose for these photos. The barge is a throwback to the images above, with Terry in a boat in front of a Castle, and his apparent fascination with vehicles / transport. The final two are of a crumpled white shirt, as if it has just been taken off.
Following the discussion during the last webinar, I continued to focus on certain elements of the narrative. I’d like to introduce more colour, fragrance, romance and longevity – all represented by roses – into the album under creation. If the original albums are to be taken at face value, then ‘Terry’ (as my subject will hereafter be known) led a quiet life. These are the characteristics observed or deduced during my scrutiny of his albums:
a) Terry was close to his parents
b) He never married or had children
c) He was meticulous in his organisation
d) He travelled to seaside places in the UK, and to Paris
e) He lived in Northamptonshire, possibly Wellingborough
f) He was interested in transport and collected photos of buses, trains, steam engines etc
g) He wore glasses, and usually a white shirt
h) Terry was fond of dogs and owned (at different times?) a black Poodle and a Jack Russell
i) He enjoyed a cuppa, and possibly a beer
j) He had a good sense of humour
k) He was also fond of flowers, particularly roses
My aim is to add another dimension to what we can ascertain about Terry’s life, with roses as its theme. So at the weekend I made a wedding bouquet out of flowers from my garden. I dressed up in a vintage wedding dress and red accessories, and posed as Terry’s bride. I set the camera up and controlled it remotely. As I believe Terry enjoyed sharing humour, I wanted to introduce playfulness into my role play. Here are some of the images I took:
Only one of these will make the final edit, and may by cropped to a square format, as most of Terry’s are square. Some of these are a little dark. Next time I must shoot in RAW instead of jpeg so that I can adjust levels afterwards.
Some of the flowers and foliage from the bouquet has been preserved in a flower press for possible future use within the album. Also some of them were used in this week’s activity, as seen on my Weekly Activities page.
Currently my reading list is continue to grow, as I explore the relationship between memory and the family album.
The story telling continues. I have taken a few more photographs that I hope to be able to use in my project – which is to re-fill a used family album that I purchased recently. I’ll be stepping into some of these pictures. In my webinar this week, my tutor also suggested that I continue work ing on the ‘roses’ theme, and introduce more props. I’m excited by this and looking forward to the tale I’m about to tell. The examples below are work in progress, and won’t necessarily make the final edit.
Some work in progress – working on storytelling within found photography. My tutor this week was positive about the idea of discussion / conversation between the pictures. Following on from last week’s discussion, I got the camera out and concentrated on picture taking, rather than picture making.
During our webinar this week my tutor suggested that I should make my work more forceful and less polite, and that although my strategies were working well, the surfaces needed an extra ‘something’ to keep the consumer’s interest.
Therefore I have given new thought to my work, and although I don’t envisage changing my methods entirely, the pieces will need to be injected more ‘punch’.
Also this week I came into possession a large number of photo albums and postcard albums via a local auction. Looking through them afterwards revealed that most of them are likely to end up back in an auction as they are not relevant to my work. However, there are a number of photographs that will work well. Interestingly, there is no text or information given on any of the pictures, not written in the books. It’s obvious that they all belonged to the same person, but who he is/was is a mystery. Although knowing names, dates and places adds interest to old photos; this anonymity has sparked further intrigue, and will allows for greater storytelling possibilities.
How my work will be presented still remains a challenge; although the reuse of old photo albums (including original photo corners) is one idea worth consideration.