Time off. But now I’m back on track.

Over the past month, I have been in the process of setting up my own business and have also been on holiday. Not a combination I would recommend. I am now in my own studio and splitting my work with my degree. That should be fun.

Let’s see where this goes.

My first job back is to study my tutor report, understand it and learn from it where possible prior to submitting my next assignment.

I feel that the month off has given me further chance to grow and develop and I have some wonderful images to share.

Please watch this space this week.

 

The use of Captions

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“Lionel Messi: Net worth: €200 Million ($218 million).”

Image and text taken from Wonderlist (Not known) Top 10 Richest Footballers in the World, Available at: http://www.wonderslist.com/top-10-richest-footballers/ (Accessed: 11/04/2017).

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You are so beautiful

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Where are your ears?

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I demand an answer

ANCHOR

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Messi gets to keep the match ball after another hat-trick

RELAY

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Why should he be in my picture, I am the best?

The original caption states how much Messi is worth and with the image gives the context to one of the riches footballers.

I have added my own captions, playing on the (false?) assumption that footballers are not the most intellectually challenging people on the planet. Each caption changes the context of the original image. Some offer ambiguity, others offer humour and challenge the original context of the image.

Captions therefore have to be used very carefully in order to work well with an image and add value. A well worded caption can bring added benefit to the image. They can change the meaning of the original image and may potentially detract from what you are wanting to portray/say. They can also offend, as in my captions.

Anchor and Relay both have their place, but the setting, and use of the photograph has to be considered, along with the image’s genre.

Country Doctor compared to The Dad Project

Country Doctor by W. Eugine Smith

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  • Black and white
  • Followed one person interacting with people he cared for.
  • Actions were photographed
  • Expression and feeling were captured directly
  • Not much left to the imagination
  • Central character of Dr Ceriani featured in most shots
  • Documentary/reportage style
  • What was in the frame was the story
  • Easy to read
  • Excellent way of reporting what a country doctor in the 1940s did
  • Informative for the public
  • Had acceptance of the photographer
  • Did not have a beginning, middle or end
  • Not chronological
  • Shot over a definite period of time.
  • Informative at the time it was shot
  • Not abstract
  • Dramatic
  • Not beautiful, but factual
  • Each image has context due to the angle it has been shot from i.e. you can see the surgery or the car where an impromptu needle was required.
  • Each image can be a story in its own right
  • Not what I understand as postmodern
  • Cropped
  • Captioned, but factually
  • Educational

The Dad Project by Briony Campbellcampbell.jpeg

Image taken from Campbell, B (Not known) The Dad Project, Available at: http://www.brionycampbell.com/projects/the-dad-project/ (Accessed: 11/04/2017).

  • Colour
  • Includes self portraits
  • Follows one person through to end of life. Has a conclusion of sorts.
  • Feelings were portrayed rather than actions
  • Images such as the empty milk bottle used to portray thought, feeling and emotion, rather than this being shown by a face.
  • The images work very well together and add to the narrative, where as on their own some do not have clear meaning
  • Captioned in a way that portrays the artists feelings
  • Postmodern
  • Not so easily read. You need to think more outside of the frame in reading them and referring back to other images
  • Beautiful, poignant, meaningful and delicate.
  • Had a starting and an end point
  • Is the artist using the camera as a tool to deflect, or collect her grief. Is it a proxy for holding her dad’s brief case that she used when dressing up as her father, when she was a child
  • The series took amazing strength, character and courage to shoot
  • Was abstract at times
  • Inspiring
  • Insightful
  • Personal
  • Not all the images will fall into one genre as in the image above

Chronologically Briny Campbell’s story does has an and, due to the sad death of her dad. However there is no end to how we all react to death, as this is one certainty in life, and the learning process in how we grieve will also carry one. It may be that she sees death as not end, but another part of the human journey and she may believe that she will be reunited with her dad. I also feel that she means her story making, was inspired by this brave project and that she will continue to reach and make inspiring stories. This is evidenced by her other projects on her website such as “Love in Translation”.

Part two Narrative Project 1 Telling a story – research

Post modernism

  • Not all technological progress is beneficial
  • Not just men can be artists, introduced greater diversity
  • The viewer became more important, even in some examples being used as part of the art
  • Removing barriers between “high art” and “low art”
  • Started possibly after 1950s
  • Breaks down genres
  • Challenging beliefs and structures in Western cultures
  • There is no single style/genre that can define postmodernism
  • Born through scepticism and suspicion of thereupon behind art
  • Introduced complex layers of meaning
  • Introduced contradictions into art
  • Can even combine different styles
  • Challenges convention
  • Personal styles and voices were developed, rather than sticking with tradition
  • Has no boundaries
  • Can be offensive
  • Staged images
  • Creates a version of reality but not capturing reality

 

Examples of postmodern photographers and some of their work; –

Ken Josephson

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Image taken from MoMA (2017) Ken Josephson, Available at: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/45859?locale=en (Accessed: 10/04/2017).

Garry Winogrand

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Image taken from MoMA (2017) Garry Winogrand, Available at: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/55862?locale=en (Accessed: 10/04/2017).

Lee Friedlanderfriedlander.jpeg

Image taken from American Suburb (2015) Lee Friedlander The American Monument, Available at: http://www.americansuburbx.com/2014/03/lee-friedlander-the-american-monument-1976.html (Accessed: 10/04/2017).

Cindy Sherman

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Image taken from MoMA (2017) Cindy Sherman, Available at: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/56618 (Accessed: 10/04/2017).

Richard Prince

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Image taken from THE MET (2017) Untitled (cowboy), Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2000.272/ (Accessed: 10/04/2017).

Jeff Wall

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Image taken from Tate (Not known) A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wall-a-sudden-gust-of-wind-after-hokusai-t06951http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2000.272/ (Accessed: 10/04/2017).

Assignment one reflection

This is the first assignment where I have used my own printer. I have printed the images on A4 matt paper and the prints are slightly darker than I would have liked, however they are still of an acceptable quality. I have allowed an equal border round the images so they can be easily handled without the image actually being touched. The size of my prints allows the images to be compared side by side and does give the feeling of the “two sides of the story”, which I have created. I am not sure if I like the matt finish and will use Gloss for my next assignment.

The assignment was planned in advance by searching the internet for the boundaries of S66 and where would give the the two different sides of the story and a complete juxtaposition.

On reflection it may have been more interesting to have more people in the images, however there was no one around in the rural settings and at the industrial estate, I was subject to some unwarranted abuse! I can cope with the verbals, but I did not want my camera damaging.

I am pleased with my final selection of ten images and the choice of keeping them in colour has added to the narrative.

Thinking about being a “thinking photographer” is interesting and something that has crossed my mind before, but this has never been a conscious part of my workflow. It now is.

Part one has given me the opportunity to view many different artists’ work and their styles and this is evidenced by my comprehensive reference list. I have particularly enjoyed looking at the work of Sander, Parr and Paul Seawright’s work. Some of this was familiar and some was not. The number of hours spent on this section has been immense and more than more previous course, Expressing Your Vision.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this part and have learned so much e.g. how captioning can change an image, as in Seawright’s work, how context can affect how we read an image, how to think about the photographer’s (political/personal) perspective in taking the shot etc.

I am looking forward to starting part two.

Part 1 research continued ….

Walker Evans

“Walker Evans began to photograph in the late 1920s, making snapshots during a European trip. Upon his return to New York, he published his first images in 1930. During the Great Depression, Evans began to photograph for the Resettlement Administration, later known as the Farm Security Administration (FSA), documenting workers and architecture in the Southeastern states. In 1936 he traveled with the writer James Agee to illustrate an article on tenant farm families for Fortune magazine; the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men came out of this collaboration.

Throughout his career Evans contributed photographs to numerous publications, including three devoted solely to his work. In 1965 he left Fortune, where he had been a staff photographer for twenty years, to become a professor of photography and graphic design at Yale University. He remained in the position until 1974, a year before his death.”

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Image and text taken from The J. Paul Getty Museum (Not known) Walker Evans, Available at: http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/artists/1599/walker-evans-american-1903-1975/(Accessed: 05/04/2017).

Andre Lhote

André Lhote was a French Cubist painter, art critic, and teacher. He was born on July 5, 1885 in Bordeaux, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, initially influenced by the post-Impressionistic works of Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne. Lhote later fell into the influential Parisian Cubist Group known as the Section d’Or, which included Marcel Duchamp, Jean Metzinger, and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. His major works during this period include Cordes (1912) and Le Porte of Bordeaux(1914), paintings that combined the aesthetics of Cubism’s angularity with the bright palette of post-Impressionism. After serving in the French army during World War I, Lhote began contributing articles to the Nouvelle Revue Française and founded his own painting school, instructing artists such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Margaret LaFranc. He was awarded the Grand Prix National de Peinture in 1955, and in 1957, Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris hosted a solo exhibition of his work. He died on January 24, 1962 in Paris, France.”

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Image and text taken from artnet (2017) André Lhote (French, 1885–1962), Available at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/andré-lhote/ (Accessed: 05/04/2017).

Peripeteia

“Peripeteia is a sudden change in a story which results in a negative reversal of circumstances. Peripeteia is also known as the turning point, the place in which the tragic protagonist’s fortune changes from good to bad. This literary device is meant to surprise the audience, but is also meant to follow as a result of a character’s previous actions or mistakes. According to Aristotle, peripeteia is the single most important and powerful element of plot in a tragedy. Peripeteia is meant to cause fear and pity in the audience upon witnessing the tragic twist of fate which abruptly ruins the life of the protagonist. Peripeteia provides a point of shock and dismay in a complex plot, often ironically weaving previous actions with their present effects. Peripeteia provides the tragic plot with surprise and emotional complexity.”

Text taken from LITERARY TERMS (Not known) Peripeteia, Available at: https://literaryterms.net/peripeteia/ (Accessed: 05/04/2017).

Assignment one

Two sides of the story

 

First side of the story – Rural S66

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New growth
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Failed corn just outside Thurcoft
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New shoots near Hellaby
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Braithwell farm
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Braithwell farm and some local housing

Second side of the story – Industrial S66

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Hellaby Industrial Estate
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Hellaby Industrial Estate
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Hellaby Industrial Estate
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Hellaby Industrial Estate
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Hellaby Industrial Estate

I have gained my inspiration for this project predominantly from two sources. Firstly, a book written by Julian Baggini, entitled “Everytown” and secondly my first assignment from my Expressing Your Vision course,  entitled “The Square Mile”. I will now provide the context to the above narrative of my ten images.

My home is in Rotherham and my postcode is S66 1WG. This very postcode was used by Baggini, a philosopher and author, for the basis of his afore-mentioned book. S66 1WG, is geographically and demographically,  the middle of Britain. So Baggini set out to enjoy and explore life living in my area, which he did for six months. His aim was to establish what it is like to live in an average town in Britain (what it is to be typically British) and compare and contrast his new home, to his usual and familiar life, of living in Bristol. The Square Mile exercise also made me think about what is on my door step and how this can be photographed and explored.

The Square Mile theme has been expanded upon to cover S66, which is really the Hellaby ward for electoral purposes and is much wider than one square mile.  In S66 there are a number of contrasts, rich/poor, elderly/young, dead/alive (due to a number of local cemeteries), black/white, male/female, schools/public houses, industrial areas/country side, people/empty spaces etc.

Photographing in an around my town attracts some interesting comments from its’ people, mainly abusive, but some inquisitive. Rotherham’s background is somewhat tainted by a number of issues and distrust from the general public, recently centring on the child abuse scandal, for which it has gained national notoriety, On this shoot, I have been sworn at, spat at from a lorry and stopped and asked what I was doing by a farmer’s wife.

I have decided to present just two sides of S66, Rural and Industrial. There are five photographs in each set. The story behind each set is intended as a juxtaposition to the other, one set documenting wide open green spaces, the other being closed down by steel fencing and a general feeling of industry. Which is the real S66?

I have kept the images in colour, with very little adjustment post production, other than the odd slight crop and a tweak of the shadows. Both series were shot on the same day and not in the order as they appear my final selects. Some of the selects are out of chronological order as I feel they work better that way. I believe the images work as two distinct sets of five images, and I also feel that each image contains its’ own narrative.

The reasons for the sequencing is as follows ; –

  • I have viewed the set as contrasting pairs
    • Pair 1 Both images contain strong lines. Rural has a strong leading line, leading the viewer into the field to the church in the distance, where as industrial one has vertical lines applying a prison like feeling inshore contrast to the rural image.
    • Pair 2 Both images contain strong verticals and a similar amount of spring blue sky. However the signs that can be read in both images are very different.
    • Pair 3 Green is the predominant colour of both images. Green of the grass against the green of the disused tug and the green weeds which are over growing it.
    • Pair 4 Both images are filled with blue and green. One contains rural machinery in a rural setting were as the other has industrial machines in an industrial setting.
    • Pair 5 Both images contain some sort of storage. The hay bails in the rural image and the chemical/refuse storage in the industrial setting. The rural image is showing a wide open view, where as the industrial image is framed by the factories fence. Note that both images do contain some sort of fencing/walls but there is a distinct difference in the way both work and are photographed. The rural image has nearly all of it in focus, compared to the industrial one, which only has a portion of the fence in focus, making you search the image for what it contains.

My contact sheets are in chronological order and my final edit was chosen after much reflection on which images to choose.

Having recently read a book on the work Martin Parr, I feel that there has been some influence from his later (colour) style and may be from the work of William Eggleston.

The images were shot from a different variety of angles and heights. All images were taken with a Nikon D750 and a 24-70 f2.8 Tamron lens. No filters were used and all images were handheld.

Contact Sheets

Contact sheets-1Contact sheets-2Contact sheets-3Contact sheets-4

 

Martin Parr – Book Review

The first thing to comment on this book is the size of it. It is approximately 6 x 5 inches and not the best size when viewing images taken on a medium format camera.

There is a very interesting introduction talking about Parr’s life and his house moves from being born. It talks about how career, his studies, his family and his influences and chronicles his work. It is well written and with some new information coming out of this for me. BUT the rent is very small.

The book then starts with his black and white photographs moving into the colour ones. The images are all titled and come with some excellent commentary.  The majority of the images are on single pages but there are some double spreads too.

The images are Parr’s observations and are narratives in their own right. Some are part of a series, which are all coherent parts of that series. The comments and titles do give them captions which help place the image in the intended context, which is important for students such as myself. The image of the sausages does not make sense to a causal viewer, but with the commentary you can further understand what this is telling us.

I am glad I have bought this but, but let the buyer beware. The images/book are too small to gain a full appreciation of these documents. I have found using the book in conjunction with the book helps gaining a better sight of the images.

 

Project 5 The manipulated image continued

Does digital photography change how we see photography?

This is a really interesting question and one that cannot be answered with a yes or a no, even though the question leads us to use either of the two words. My first thought and that of other people I have asked this question to is YES, but is that the case.

In order to answer this fully we have to look at the earliest photographs.

One point about the earliest photography we need to consider is the long shutter speeds that were given to the earliest images. Street scenes would potentially lose people, moving rapidly our of shot as in this example They would be erased with the camera’s in-built clone tool i.e. its’ slow shutter speed . How many people are in the image really? How many  would have been visible at 1/125 shutter speed? Is this a true representation? Does it class as manipulation and is it a naturally early “photoshopped”  image.

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Image taken from Wikipedia (Not known) Street photography, Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Boulevard_du_Temple_by_Daguerre.jpg(Accessed: 30/03/2017).

Digital technology certainly makes manipulation easier and its’ applications are way beyond the slow shutter speeds of Daguerre’s age.

Definition of truth (taken from Merriam-Webster, Incorporated (2017) Truth, Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truth (Accessed: 30/03/2017).) ; –

  • the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality
  • sincerity in action, character, and utterance
  • the state of being the case
  • the body of real things, events, and facts

I feel that the term “photoshopped” is now so commonly used, even by my own children and its’ understanding are such they people now feel all photographs are manipulated. This can be evidenced by the selfie craze that has swept through social media, where ,most photos are filtered and altered prior to their sharing. This is much so that certain campaigns have been launched with many people deciding to show real/truthful images just to show people are not perfect.

Into this argument the photographer also needs to take centre stage. What I mean by thesis their position, both real and political, my affect the truth in an image that is unaltered. In the early days of photography, most portraits were staged, with props added so the images mirrored the classic paintings. Therefore this detracts somewhat from the reality or truth of an image.

Can the truth really be seen. Are there any neutral photographs out there? Every image was taken or set up by someone with a purpose in mind and their representation of the truth from one angle may be different to another observer of the same vent from a different angle or time.

The black and white medium was seen as truth in photography as was photography in its’ origin and myself and other artists have converted to black and white to show the truth. But this is in itself a manipulation and therefore a dilution of the truth as our sensors now record in colour. Black and white film would be closer to the truth than a desaturated image from a modern digital camera.

Montages were common place prior to digitization and double exposures were common once this was invented and the Victorian were great exponents of this as in this image below. ghiost.jpeg

Image taken from Jeff (2014) Oh, by the way, Available at: http://ohbythewayblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/victorian-ghost-photography.html(Accessed: 30/03/2017).

True/Not true?

This muslim lady was slammed for not caring after the terror attack in London March 2017. This was a disgusting racist slur on her, but it does show how photographs can give you different truths!

Please see the image below this one that gives this image balance. The images show the power of photography and show how truth can be used. This will also be depending on the context and the narrative people want to tell. Neither image from my understanding have been manipulated, other than via a crop, but even a crop can alter the meaning.

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TRUE.

I feel so sorry for this lady as she has received so much abuse, due to photography mixed with political feelings, racism and pure ignorance.

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Images taken from The Sun (2017) SHE WAS HORRIFIED, Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3168904/london-terror-attack-photo-muslim-woman-trolled-truth/ (Accessed: 30/03/2017).

Every photograph is taken from one point of view, but there other points of view that need taking into account. The whole truth cannot be told by a single image, even if un-manipulated as there have been personal decision made about, things such as what, why, when, how where who. These will all have a baring on the narrative and the context given to each image will affect how it is read.

There differences between reportage and documentary photographic style are very blurred as the both aim to capture an event or moment. Reportage is more allegorical than documentary, which is more neutral but the boundaries for me are blurred and overlap.

Photojournalism is more about collecting photos for a news story and editing them to fit a narrative, even if this is different to what the photographer originally intended. Similar to documentary and reportage but the photographer really lose control of their work, which can lead to a different narrative being told when compared to the photographers original intention.

Art photography does not have a clear defined definition but this is down to the creative decisions made in camera. Art photography is a contrast to documentary style, which aims to show a specific account of a specific event. It should express the emotion and the perception of the photographer. It should promote various aesthetic values.

Defining the above styles is not easy and the experts have been trying to do this since photography was accepted as an art may be as far back as Alfred Steiglitz work in 1892 in his series Winter, Fifth Avenue.

1858 may have been the year of the first photographic exhibition,which took place in the South Kensington Museum in London.

My idea of documentary photography was originally any photograph that showed as scene that was real. I now understand that real and truth are interesting words and think about this differently. For me the boundaries in photography are blurred and may be all boundaries are blurred e.g fiction and non fiction in books. Some non-fiction to me is fiction as it is written from a different political perspective. I am now asking myself the question is the truth out there, in a slight X-files way? I am now not only more critical of work, deeper thinking, analytical, but also sceptical in my search for the real, the facts or truth behind any image.

Very interesting open set of exercises that have introduced me to context and narrative in photography.