Well, it’s nice to see an artist that keeps her clothes on!
In saying that she actually abandons her skin in one of her projects, “masks” to reflect her own take own family portraiture and as she is in the shot, adding a strange twist to the self-portrait.
Gillian Wearing is not just a photographer, she is an accomplished artist and adds and thought-provoking take on portraiture.
Masks gives me an uneasy feeling that I believe stems from my childhood whilst watching Hammer horror films as I remember one that appears similar to this piece of work. I just don’t like the masks although I acknowledge this is a good way to express portraiture. It is not a unique way of doing this as another component of masks was Claude Cahun, who die in 1954. They both as the question who am I and question their identity and that of others.
I have never heard of Elina before and let alone seen her work. Having viewed her website and all of her images I am left with the impression of an artist who is very emotional, self-conscious and experiences profound swings in her feelings due to her childlessness.
Elina is a very talented artist and clearly gives her work much thought and bares her soul and body in many of her images. Her work is similar to Francesca Woodman’s but not the same.
In many of her images she is facing away from the lens, giving me the feeling that she is searching for something, whilst feeling vulnerable at the same time. She is less of an exhibitionist when compared to Woodman and is incredibly somber and melancholy in her work, where she is expressing sadness at involuntary childlessness.
Below is my favourite image from her website. I love the anger, honesty and jealousy in her eyes, when contrasted with the eyes of her surrogate child that she is displaying in a rough, unloving manner. Her dog is displayed as a full frontal nude, which has echoes of many self portraiture images created by Elina. I understand her work better than I do Woodman’s work and feel more closely linked with this artist. She offers simple images that express complex messages. For me this displays sadness but not so much of the angst, and depressive qualities of Woodman’s work.
Francesca was clearly troubled but is this is not verified by her photography. Yes her work is different to most I see and that which I like and to the untrained eye her images can be quickly dismissed. However I feel that her work needs to be looked at over time to appreciate it in full. The majority of her images are black and white and a lot are 8 x 10 in dimension. She appears to use the full array of greys that are in between pure black and brilliant white, but without having a set style.
Looking into her background, both parents were artists and this will also have had some influence on her work, as will her settings including the time she spent in Italy and at her home in the USA.
Is her work a cry for help? Not for me. I feel t is somewhat exhibitionist as in the image below.
Woodman is said to have been a feminist, which I can understand, given her images contain many a female nude (mainly herself) but is she exploring her sexuality in a time when this would have been frowned upon? A lot of her work was shot in dilapidated, empty buildings, where she used props to create her images. She was also a great believer in slow shutter speeds, hiding her identity from the viewer. In the image above her identity is also hidden.
Bright, 2010, appears to suggest that her suicide and her mental health were the driving force behind her images, which I feel is harshened not 100% accurate. Yes, her mental health may have played some role, as it does for all photographers, but it is not the overarching meaning and reason behind her images. She may have been trying to tell her parents and friends, through the medium of photography, how she felt about her sexuality and an apparent feeling of emptiness, as depicted by the surroundings she chose. Her shots were planned out, sometimes weeks and months in advance and were even sketched. Her contact sheets were also annotated.
Her suicide has given her cult status in the same way as James Dean’s death, but for me her mental state is not the fullness of her work.
I am not a lover of her work, yet I actually like the images she has created when using the slower shutter speeds. They speak more to me than the other images and make me ask questions such as, why the heels, what is the significance of the straight arms, where was it taken, where is the door she is stumbling though?
Would she be as famous if she were alive and did not end her life so tragically and has the internet helped her notoriety grow?
I want to open up part three with some self portraiture I have previously taken. Both images are very different in nature and depict different things and very different styles of photography. One is a boring selfie (albeit with an interesting backdrop) and the other needs more thought. Let’s see where I go in this part with this type of work.
I’m the one with the camera in the above image! Hi.
Due to being in the process of setting up my own business I have been unable to do the as much self-research as I would have liked. I have therefore limited this and will strive do more next time. However, following my tutor’s feedback my research should concentrate on quality and not quantity. I need to focus on maybe one photographer per week and no more. I should then be able to critique their work rather adopting the broad-brush approach that I did on my previous unit.
What went well.
I am particularity happy with assignment two and the preparation that this assignment required. I feel my images raise questions, rather than answers and anyone to whom I have shown them have been intrigued to say the least. The images invoke a variety of feelings in me and most viewers and their location, i.e. Auschwitz, meant they were not easy to shoot.
I will draw on this experience in my work and I have plans to link this work back into to future assignments.
My blog appears to be working and I have tried to act upon the feedback from my last tutorial, although I am not convinced it is as well laid out as before. I am looking forward to further feedback from Helen.