Surfaces and Strategies: Week 1. Independent Reflection W/C 01/06/2018

This week has been a particularly exciting one. I completed my first professional assignment by being a Third Shooter at a wedding – I know I’m just a volunteer but this is a major step for me in my progression as a photographer.

With my practice, working so close up, and with using inanimate objects, being put into a position where my subjects were moving about was a real challenge. However being able to challenge myself and watch two other photographers was a really beneficial experience and I feel this can only improve my practice.

In this weeks work I was particularly drawn to the images of Shimon Attie in particular. The images of the practice of rephotography where a past and present were blended into one another, I felt were really impactful, especially Attie’s “The Writing on the Wall”

I would like to try in my own practice the merging of two images into one. This is also something that could be incorporated into my own work, merging the different stages or elements of a lifecycle into a single image I imagine would be quite interesting. I guess There are elements of different styles that would be difficult decisions to make perhaps this could be why I appreciate the blended images more as they show ans appreciation of the past and merge it into the today as if it is a memory occurring.

Some might argue that this blending of images is too much tampering of an image and making it an untruth of what is actually there – making the photography a liar but I don’t see if that way. I almost feel like the images that are completely blanking out the present day are telling the untruth  like they are trying to block out the horrors of today’s society with a nostalgic take on the past.

During the break I decided to take a step away from my project and explore other types of photography, exploring the work or Sirkka-Lissa Konttinen in The Idea of North Exhibition at The Baltic in Gateshead. This exhibition was really interesting showing the development of culture in the North East. It has always been a huge interest of mine to research the region I am born and bred from, and it’s actually making me wonder whether I would like to explore a mini-project about my region and the presentations from this week has made me explore the ideas of rephotography.

When I was looking at images for the Place over Time activity I found images from the early 1900’s and even earlier than this which my family could tell me stories about and this stirred up emotions in me that I would love others to get from my own work.

Memory is such an important topic to me and perhaps it is time to explore this a little further to see where it goes. This was also an element that I discussed on my work experience this week. A wedding album for example is a reminder of a beautiful day and the memories will hopefully last a lifetime.

This weeks webinar left me feeling a little deflated about my work. Some of the pieces I took over the break were triptychs of fruit over a period of time, showing the fruit being taken over by mould in the end image.

Processed with MOLDIVProcessed with MOLDIVProcessed with MOLDIV

I stuck to my iPhone, square format and black and white for these images as I have throughout the course. I have once again had my approach challenged which I have taken on board but when carrying out the request of using the DSLR and colour I really don’t like the results.

I will take these images to next weeks webinar for feedback and see what there is that I can do.

One idea that came from Week 1’s webinar was to blow the images up so large that they become pixelated. i’m also open to giving this a try but with the nature of my images I’m unsure of what the results would be.

With the DSLR I am not achieving the images yet that I would want to achieve I think this may well mean that this module is going to be one of trial and error. Or I may revert to the iPhone.

In the meantime I have found some artists who have worked with mould before so I want to learn about them.

I hope in a week or so to have a contact sheet of images from which I can short list.

I thinking that the theme of this module will be rebirth. It will certainly be an interesting exploration.

Research

Edward Weston has been very an influential part of my development throughout the whole of my Masters degree.

My work has developed a great deal throughout the modules to where my work is at now, this has made me look not so much at the still life of Weston but his landscape work and some of his images taken at Point Lobos which are much darker in feeling to his previous works.

Edward Weston - Cypress - Point Lobos - 1929
Edward Weston – Cypress – Point Lobos – 1929
Edward Weston - Oceano- 1934
Edward Weston – Oceano- 1934
Edward Weston - Point Lobos - 1930
Edward Weston – Point Lobos – 1930

What draws me more to these images more than some of the others is they are of more an abstract nature than his portrait or still life images. This brings me to compare them to some of the newer work that I have been creating. At first it was not my intention to achieve the level of abstraction that my mould could be likened to the landscape of another world and it was something of a light-bulb moment for me.

Whilst Weston, I feel has the basis of his work in making aesthetically pleasing images, which is exemplified in the diary entries in the book The Flame of Recognition. I get the impression that he was getting a joy from creating imagery that is different from other work he produced. This is something I can understand from my own work

Yet in the same way as my work he gained enjoyment from the abstract nature of the Cypress Trees at Point Lobos describing it as “twisted into the most amazing forms” (Weston in Newhall, Pg.28, 1965)

It is this kind of detail that I enjoy and look for in my own work, looking for shapes and textures from the subjects that I work with, but I want to show that in my images that death is not the end and that my subjects are evolving and transforming.

Weston revisited the locations many times shooting the landscape in various different ways. This is quite similar to the way that I am continually re-shooting my objects looking at them in different ways over a period of time documenting their changes.

In Weston’s later years particularly after his Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937, the subject of Weston’s work  is noted to have become darker. In some ways this is a refreshing change from his search of beauty. In the Essay A Photographer’s Love of Life by Alex Nyerges noted the subject of his photography did in fact become death. The dead pelican below is an example of this. The work of erosion I feel is also an example of the change in his work.

It has to be said that the diagnosis of his Parkinson’s Disease also had an affect on the work he was producing, being limited to the work he could create and having to accept his mortality which results in the darker imagery.

Edward-Weston-pl42-bi-1-pelican-1942.jpg
PL42-BI-1 Pelican, 1942 – Photograph by Edward Weston

https://www.kimweston.com/edward-weston-photographs/pl42-bi-1-pelican-1942-photograph-by-edward-weston

A major difference in my work this module is that I will be using a DSLR and working in colour. I find that this is a refreshing move away from the still lives and black and white. Whilst I still very much admire Weston’s work I am no longer as heavily influenced to attempt to emulate what he achieve in his still life work.

References

Weston, Edward (1965), Edited by Nancy Newhall, The Flame of Recognition, Aperture Foundation, New York, Pg 28, 29, 49, 77

https://www.kimweston.com/a-photographers-love-of-life-alex-nyerges/

http://ccp-emuseum.catnet.arizona.edu/view/objects/asitem/People@2434/248/title-asc?t:state:flow=74cb3031-b90c-42e9-855b-5fa42da3b1a6

https://www.edwardwestonphotography.com/chronology/

https://www.kimweston.com/edward-weston-photographs/pl42-bi-1-pelican-1942-photograph-by-edward-weston

 

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