Project 3 Maria Kapajeva

Her images are very staged as suggested in one of her titles e.g. a Constructed Encounter.

The series portrait of the artist is a substituted self absented way of presenting herself, by using models posing as herself. She is the least exhibitionist of all the artists I have looked at in this part of the course and is still one that is making the case for femininity.

There is some of her work I do not like such as, I am a usual woman. Whilst I understand the principles behind the work and agree with it too, the work appears almost child like and I do not feel fully represents women. May be this is what she wanted us think.

Her images are all about the story and are not necessarily the most beatify images to look at. They are nothing like the work of Sally Mann, whose work I adore.

I am glad I have come across Maria’s work and will revisit it at some stage, but at the minute I am happy to move on.

Primo Levi – Survival In Auschwitz

This book is not related to photography, however it is a great example of literature relating to one project that is dearth my heart. That being the KL’s of the Nazis in the second world war.

I bought this book in Auschwitz for 55 Polish Zloty, which is approximately £11.

Unlike many of the books I have read on the subject, it is a relatively short book, consisting of 185 pages.

Primo Levi is an Italian Jew, he is a chemist by trade and he is a survivor by nature.

He spent approximately 12  months in Auschwitz and the book describes, by way of prose, the dehumanizing effect that the camps had on the inmates and their daily struggles and rituals which were all at the whim of the cowardly Nazis.

His description of the Kapos and other block leaders was particularly interesting and sad and it shows what levels we as a species can stoop to.

The book is really well written, as he intended, in simple English and is a testament to the courage of the inmates and how man can endure what is thrown at him/her.

The original title of the book was “If this is a man” and was changed to its current title  by the American publishers. For me the original title is better.

I have read so many books on the KLs but this is one that I have enjoyed more than others, if that is intact the right way to describe this. There are no images to accompany the book, but the words conjure a myriad of images and will give me inspiration for my life and for my future studies.

You should read this book if you want to know what life was really like. Passion and intensity abound in the book and there is never any form of self-pity from him.

What an amazing book and what a gent. I have kept the review short as everyone should read such a book and make up their own mind.

God bless him and all who were imprisoned and to all those who are in captivity today.

 

Project 3 Sophie Calle

She clearly is a very talented artist, who can work/perform across multiple disciplines. Looking at her work though, I am unsure at first how she made money!

Following a man and dressing up, disguising herself, was one of her first projects. This is a cracking project well thought through, slightly insane and may even be called stalking these days.

She is not afraid to bare her soul, not body, and does so in a way which exposes herself to answers she may not like.

Her projects are attacked with a statisticians viewpoint, at times, canvassing the feelings of many a person, including in one case a parrot!!!

Her mind must always be working and looking for an artistic angle in all aspects of her life.

Suffering becomes a medium through which she can make art and must be part of the healing project and it is clearly a cathartic exercise for her. This is a common theme with artists of this ilk and one I can understand, given my own creation for my childhood memory.

 

Project 2 Childhood memory

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Aged, cracked, confused and blurred memories.

I have decided to make a composite image conjured up from a number of memories. My childhood on the whole was a happy one, with great parents. Yet I was abused and it is the abuse that is the driver for this image.

  • Holidays were great times
  • I always wanted a dog
  • Religion became important after the abuse
  • Aged black and white for my memories

All three of the above points are played out in the image, which is deliberately blurred and aged, like my memories. This is partly due to the time that has passed and partly due towhead happened to me when I was about 8 years old.

I’m not sure I like the image, it reminds me of what happened, but it is how I wanted to recreate my memory, which is part of my healing process. It has left me with PTSD.

Project 2 Jo Spence (self research)

Having spent some considerable time looking at Jo Spence, I find myself pulled in different directions. Firstly I admire her bravery, her work and how she speaks (or photographs) her mind. She is like me. I say it as it is. On the other hand the Libido Uprising project is just not my cup of tea, although I do understand what she is doing and why. Jo Spence appears to have influenced Gillian Wearing, whom I encountered earlier and I am convinced she will have given strength and courage to anyone who has seen her work.

Her life is somewhat tragic, being blessed with breast cancer and then leukaemia. My heart went out to her when I read her story. The illnesses have also been a catalyst for some of her best work.

The Cancer Shock project, must have been hard to work with, but also cathartic. Is there an element of exhibitionism again in there. I’m not convinced that many people I know would bare all. I understand why this is done but again this is not my cup of tea. I’m also unsure if the general public wold understand what the project is really about or the necessity get get one kit off.

Below is my favourite image that I have seen relating to Jo’s work. My reasons for this are laid out below the image.

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  • I am of an age where I actually remember using Squeezy washing up liquid. It was cheap and naff.
  • The images behind Jo also add to the message about the role of women in life and society.
  • I’m not sure but in the capitalism works poster, the main character appears to be the macho man Clint Eastwood.
  • The mask adds to the fact she is saying woman are being suppressed.
  • The gloves hint at what would have been classed as “women work”.
  • I think artists like Jo, will have awakened some ladies to take up the fight to strive for equality.
  • She is also wearing a wedding ring to add to the fact that she belongs to a man.
  • I am a believer in equality for all.

Project 2 Self Research

I am torn between doing some research on a number of photographers. They are ; –

  • Andy Warhol
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Richard Avedon
  • Man Ray
  • Robert Mapplethorpe
  • Jo Spence

Ok, I have made my choice. I am going to look at the work of Jo Spence. The reasons being, I know her work less than the others, she is a cancer sufferer,and involves herself in politics. My research will not be an in-depth study, but will be a broad brush approach, opening my eyes to a new artist, which fits in nicely with the work I am currently doing on C&N.

Project 2 Masquerades Trish Morrissey

First thing that I want to say is that I am commenting here on the Front series (2005-2007) and nothing else.

This work is similar to Nikki Lee’s as previously commented, but for me this takes it one step further, she actually wears the clothes of the missing person within the group. She transforms into to that person. The family snap becomes the non family snap, but something from the film, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

They are a performance and a snap shot, that is not a snap shot, but something that is well planned, well executed and a snap shot that includes a 4×5 camera, a tripod, an expert in photography to stage the overall image. It is a great big whopping lie, with humorous and yet serous connotations.

Her work has echoes of Cindy Sherman and I am more drawn to these than the work of Nikki S Lee, possibly due to the subjects and the settings used. They also make me feel easier about the image than Lee’s work, although I can’t explain why. It’s simply a gut reaction.

I would love to know what thoughts were going through the mind of the kids in this image above. They both seem relaxed enough,  although I can see some stiffness and awkwardness is Morrissey.

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Image taken from : – Morrissey, T (Not known) Trish Morrissey, Available at: https://www.hawamediaplatform.com/nikki-s-leesimply a gut reaction. (Accessed: 02/08/17).

How would I feel if I were approached, well that would depend on who was asking, the weather and the overall project. Having seen these images I would also ask why they were recreating work that has already been done.

 

From now on I will discuss some of her other work.

The Failed Realist series, is simply childish expression in the form of face painting by Morrissey’s daughter, from something that she has just experienced. The paintings are pure innocence, yet to an adult they conjure up different ideas than what were intended at inception.

If this is the tooth fairy, I would hate to see the clown from It!

Clearly when viewing images our own psyche and consciousness takes over and may give the viewer a different perspective of the truth. The truth is specific to the viewer and shows how images can be interpreted.

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Image taken from : – Morrissey, T (Not known) Trish Morrissey, Available at: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/works_pages/work-tfr/workpg-11.html (Accessed: 02/08/17).

Seven Years is a prop driven series pulling apart the traditional family photographs. It explores the differences between relatives and explore how these differences can create tension. They are all a lie that aims to give answers, but I am not sure the answers you get are the truth as the foundation for the images is does not start with the truth.

Clever work, that creates tensions that may not exist in an original image. The series are thought provoking and not displeasing to look at. They have made me think, but once more this type of work is not my bag.

Project 2 Masquerades Nikki S Lee

I think the first thing I want to say about Nikki S Lee, is that she is clearly talented and brave and narcissistic. Substituting herself into others’ groups and images, becoming fully immersed into the subject group. She is an actor and a challenger as wells an artist.

How I read her images is simply, Concept Is King. The quality and the composition of the photograph becomes unimportant, in comparison to the actual narrative she is trying to fit into and portray.

This interpolination appears to transcend different mediums of art and can also be seen in performing arts, animation, painting and sculpture.

What is she really searching for?

Does she like seeing her self in other people’s shoes?

Is she a lost soul, searching for a new and own identity?

Is it my cup of tea, most definitely not, but I do understand that it asks some fundamental questions with photography? The main ones being –

  • Does an image ever represent the truth?
  • What is the truth and how do we know when we see it?
  • Who are we as individuals?
  • Can you capture the true essence of a person/group in an image?

I believe that she exploits the good will of the group for her own vanity. This then loses the actual identity of the group, as she is in outsider imposing herself fictitiously within it. The group is not “the group” any more, as usually one of the group is missing (photographing the new group) and there is an imposter in there, creating a visual lie, albeit a humourous one.

I do see and understand what she is doing, but this type of work is simply not for me. It’s all acting, posing, and far too self indulgent for my liking. Yes it raises questions, which is good, but I simply don’t enjoy it.

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Image taken from ; – Scharf, A (Not known) Nikki S Lee Conceptual Framework Photography, Available at: https://www.hawamediaplatform.com/nikki-s-lee (Accessed: 02/08/17).

 

KL – Nikolaus Wachsman

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This is the most comprehensive book I have ever read on the Nazi’s Final Solution and the concentration camps that were established.

It documents  the inception, the running and the demise of them and looks at individual stories of survivors and those who died, including Kapos and Nazis.

The amount of research done to complete this book must have been immense as Wachsman source list is lengthy.

In parts the book describes in detail the treatment of hundreds of victims from the gassing, to the vile experiments that such “people” like Mengele carried out.

72 photographs are added to the book in two places. They show a wide variety of KL related scenes and some are obviously very upsetting. The photographs themselves are simply incredible as a result of the fact that photography was banned in most places these we taken. They are a remarkable record of this shameful event in human history.

Of all the books I have read of the Holocaust this has surpassed all the others.

If anyone shares my interest on this subject, this is a must read.