Surfaces and Strategies: Week 6. Independent Reflection W/C 06/07/2018

The thoughts that I have had for my exhibition have been quite varied. Something I know is that I want to keep my images in a triptych format – currently I present a joined frame triptych. This type of presentation works for my work but it is not essential. I still want to maintain the black frame but I’m currently unsure of the background.

I’ve chosen to present in an online format as I’m currently unsure of where my images actually belong. I have commenced curation of my #Landings2018 page.

This weeks webinar was really useful. We discussed how my images could represent flesh due to the colours that have become apparent in my images. We also discussed the connotations of some of my images having seeds. My focus is of rebirth and in essence this is what my work will be focussing on.

There was also a suggestion about the symbolism of my work and it was one I had not thought about in-depth before. The way I present my images have a suggestion of religion the triptych could be associated with religion – the trinity – Father, Son and Holy spirit. Life, Death and Rebirth. Flesh, Stagnation, Decay.

A concept I considered was influenced by Sophie Calle and the exploration of hotel rooms. I really enjoyed the layout and this exhibition and I felt this type of layout would work for my images. The below image shows the type of layout that I would like to use.

Layout

The webinar also brought up ideas that could work for my workshop. For example I could talk to others about their feelings on life and death and rebirth and incorporate these into my exhibition presentation and this is a concept that I would like to consider.

Research

When looking at the exhibition layout I was pointed in the direction of the work of Sophie Calle and her work The Hotel, 1981.

The layout of this work inspired a new aspect to my project. The way Calle uses her notes as part of her exhibition pieces left me wondering whether having some form of descriptive piece to work alongside my images this led to the idea of placing the label within my display.

 

I feel adding in the image of the labels from the gave a sense of belonging as on the labels it notes details about the fruit. I am capturing it like the investigative findings of Calle’s search around the hotel rooms.

I find how Calle puts her investigations into a grid like format would help my images to tell their story. One downside of this format would be by having the images so small a format it may limit their impact and also the beauty in their detail.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/calle-the-hotel-room-47-p78300
Sophie Calle – The Hotel – Room 47

The way Calle writes her investigation around the room almost voyeuristic, honestly I find her approach a little intrusive. It makes me question if my approach is also however my objects cannot object. They haven’t been given a voice yet, or perhaps they just haven’t made it loud enough yet. The style of documenting findings is the same but the subjects very different. Calle started her work after feeling as if she belonged, so started documenting the investigation of people and building a story about them. In a similar way I am documenting my items finding their new lives. Perhaps I should have also made diary entries like a scientist documenting how my objects have changed and what has changed about them and that could have then accompanied my work.

As much as I was really motivated by this project and exploring it was very useful in my thinking of what types of layout would work for my project it has also shown me what might and might not work which is a very important step in the process.

References

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/calle-the-hotel-room-47-p78300

Surfaces and Strategies: Week 5. Independent Reflection W/C 29/06/2018

Through going through my process this week it has highlighted that I’m not really sure who my audience would be. In this way I’m not even sure how a curator would even begin looking at my work, for this reason perhaps it would be helpful to have the input of a curator.

This weeks work has been really quite stressful thinking in particular about an exhibition where I literally have no idea what I am going to put into it, creatively I’m lost.

The only thing I know for sure is

  • I will  present in Diptychs and Triptychs.
  • I want to show a process from one form to another.

I’m struggling to get to grips with my new equipment so I need to invest some time into perfecting this technique or perhaps explore microscopic photography, to provide the up close images of transformation that I’m looking for.

DSC_0556-copy.jpg

This weeks 1:2:1 tutorial was quite a jumble on my behalf due to my confusion over my project.

Questions were raised like:

  • Do I want to keep going with my inanimates?
  • Do I want to put more focus onto memory?

With the recent loss in my family in some ways death is not something I’m ready for so do I want to look at where my items come from, an allotment for example.

One thought I have considered is am I really looking at death in particular? I feel more comfortable at present looking at the rebirth – I have particular emotions entangled in my project at the moment and perhaps this is the reason for things appearing more difficult at the moment.

I can see themes of my work, I’m just not sure I am putting this across in the right way.

I think my work looking back could do with the input of a curator I tend to get lost in my project, perhaps there are times where I need an outside input. I hope that they would agree that my images are made to be large abstract prints.

Research

Looking at the work of some abstract expressionists has really opened my eyes to something new and its been an enjoyable experience looking at the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock.

It occurred to me through the art that you don’t have to be able to identify something from an image just to make it have more impact and in fact beautiful.

As some of my images have developed through their journey from an identifiable piece of fruit into their new lifeforms they are gaining more and more abstract qualities and as the mould is developing like a Jackson Pollock painting they have an explosion of new life forms. For example Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950, the explosion of paint can have similarities in the way the mould grows and forms new shapes and levels. I felt the same about Sam Francis, Saint Honore, 1952 and Lee Krasner – Untitled, 1949. The movement of the paint strokes are like the movement and growing/transitioning from one form into another. This is something that I really enjoyed from this genre of art.

Jackson Pollock - Number 1 1950 (Lavender Mist)
Jackson Pollock – Number 1 1950 (Lavender Mist)
Lee Krasner - Untitled 1949
Lee Krasner – Untitled 1949
Sam Francis - Saint Honore 1952
Sam Francis – Saint Honore 1952

In a completely different sense the work April, 1963, by Helen Frankenthaler inspires through the use of colour which I have also tried to experiment with in this module.

Helen Frankenthaler - April 1963
Helen Frankenthaler – April 1963

One element that I find exciting about abstract expressionism is the freedom it offers to the audience to see what they can interpret from the art. This is a freedom I would also like to offer to my audience. I’ve heard it described as freeing the mind of visual restrictions. Not only would I like this to be possible for my audience but also to open up to discussion the limitations one might place upon the life-death-rebirth cycle.

The way these paintings are exhibited on huge canvases, it makes me think for my work to be exhibited they should also be large enough to make them even more abstract and have more impact – an affect that I think might be lost in a photo-book.

References

Hess, Barbara (2005), Abstract Expressionism, TASCHEN GmbH, Koln, Pg 19, 31, 53, 71

https://www.art-mine.com/collectorscorner/understanding-abstract-art/

Surfaces and Strategies: Week 4. Independent Reflection W/C 22/06/2018

This weeks work has made me consider quite a lot. It is my belief that humans are always involved in someway in the production of images, otherwise we would never know that they had ever actually been created. Even with the Human? activity without human intervention we would never know that any form of image capturing had ever taken place.

Within my practice I wait for natural processes to take their place and then capture them on their journey. So I feel I am a combination of hands on and hands off.

I’m not sure whether people really know how to respond to my work and this is becoming somewhat troubling to me and I am certainly going to have to do a great deal of work on this specifically in the coming weeks.

This weeks webinar was particularly useful to me this week. It did bring up some questions to ask myself:

  • What are the actual goals of my images?
  • Science and truth?
  • Science vs religion?
  • Science vs art aesthetics?
  • A butterfly connotation – Transformation
  • Is time my target or is it the transformation?

It has led me to the collection curated by David Campany – A handful of dust.

A lesson to be learned from this weeks activity Hands Off was how to deal with failure. As we were not able to use our regular equipment and for me this ruled out the DSLR and iPhone, the flatbed scanner was the equipment that I chose. It was not successful so I decided to disregard my work to the groups disappointment, it has given me the motivation to try again and accept my failures.

These are the retried images of my flat bed scanner attempt

Over the next week I want to try to focus on the questions brought up this week and see what I can come up with.

Research

Due to the abstract nature of my images one of the suggestions to take a look at was the collection a Handful of Dust curated by David Campany. This collection features images by photographers such as Man Ray, Ed Ruscha and Jeff Wall along with the work of others and also some anonymous work.

This collection is described as “a speculative history of the last century, and a visual journey through some of its unlikeliest imagery” http://davidcampany.com/a-handful-of-dust/

Some of the images by Man Ray espcecially Dust Breeding ,1920, really spoke to me.

Man Ray / Marcel Duchamp – Dust Breeding, 1920

Using the normal and banal to create something completely different, the dust looking like it was making itself into a geographical map with how it has been manipulated and this is something that I can relate to taking the everyday and making look like something more beautiful that it should really look.

Perhaps something else that could be considered from this piece is that the dust is creating a road map type effect, could this be seen as dust being the passing of time showing the direction we should be travelling in  having learned lessons from the past. Perhaps this is just my interpretation.

Another image that appeals from the work, and also that I can draw inspiration from because of a direction my work has gone is an image by Frederick Sommer – Arizona Landscape 1943  In webinars it has been mentioned how my images are starting to look like the beginning of a new landscape or a planets surface.

Presentation 10.004 (2)

The abstract nature of my own image and that of Frederick Sommer have similarities it shows me how my images could make their way to large prints and still have an impact even though the items I am capturing are small rather than grand landscapes.

What I did find interesting was the images from where the exhibition was help, seeing the artefacts and the arrangement of the displays. I always think that the exhibition would be one large image arranged side by side in a black frame with white walls as this how I have experienced galleries before. As my images are abstract perhaps I should also be thinking this way for my own display.

References

http://davidcampany.com/a-handful-of-dust/

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/46392

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/69.521/

 

Surfaces and Strategies: Week 3. Independent Reflection W/C 15/06/2018

For personal reasons this has been a particularly difficult week for me. Collaboration was the very last thing I was able to do.

Perhaps this is more than just this week as when I look back I think in an online capacity I do consciously resist it. Having completed my first BA degree online with Open University the participation levels in collaborative exercises was quite poor and I think these experiences have really tarnished my experience, which makes me resistant to future collaboration.

It could be said however through my project I work with living things. it could also be said that the fruit I am looking at in this module are not alive but when they get taken over by the mould they are living again, so I am collaborating with a living organism every time I get my camera looking at my mould or even when I am encouraging it to grow.

What I did do this week was crowd sourcing. As I wasn’t in a position to collaborate I sent out a social media post asking people to post images of their watches or clocks. A representation of time. Without realising it  Time is pivotal to my project and my re-photography of the items. Watching the mould develop is linked to a time line. I just need to get the images I received into a Zine format to share with the people who helped me. I obtained approximately 70 images which I found astonishing in such a short time frame.

Time

At this weeks webinar I took images using some new equipment I have obtained which is an ultra macro lens.

We discussed how I had created something that could almost be seen as a new landscape, it was therefore suggested to look at some landscape artists.

week 3

Due to the nature of my images it was also suggested to look at the work of Rothko. During this investigation I felt inspired by his work and his use of colour which is normally a great contrast of my own work as I do prefer working in black and white, so using colour is a new challenge for me.

The end of Rothko’s life is  quite a tragic story so the story of the end of life seems to have a fitting link to my work, or this could just perhaps be linked to the loss my family have experienced this week.

Research

I looked a bit deeper into the work of Mark Rothko as I was intrigued to delve in a bit deeper.

Whilst our work is clearly vastly different genres, one photography the other oil and acrylic on canvas. What strikes me about the work of Rothko is how colours can be used to such abstract affects. I have achieved transitions of colour without really realising it.

It made me look more closely at how I capture the colours to allow my images to have more impact.

Grape-Abstract

There are several images of Rothko’s where the colour palette reflects the natural aspects of my own images.

Looking through exhibitions of Rothko’s it is possible to see the possibilities of scale through his canvases. I’ve never really considered that I  could create such large images for my own abstract images. Whilst I had hoped I don’t think I had accepted  that an exhibition is a real option.

Pieces of Rothko’s work that particularly stand out to me are. Untitled (1948), Untitled (1968), No 15 1952 (1952), The Green Stripe (1955).

 

Mark Rothko The Green Stripe 1955
Mark Rothko – The Green Stripe 1955
Mark Rothko - Untitled 1948
Mark Rothko – Untitled 1948
Mark Rothko - Untitled 1968
Mark Rothko – Untitled 1968

These painting all have quite natural earthy tones and colours which I can relate to in my own practice.

Untitled 1948 will most likely become more relevant as my mould grows to bring new colours and shapes to the new life.

References

Baal-Teshuva, Jacob, (2003), Rothko, TASCHEN GmbH, Koln. Pg 14, 47, 58, 80

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/mark-rothko-1875

 

Surfaces and Strategies: Week 2. Independent Reflection W/C 08/06/2018

This week I’ve felt quite torn with some of the concepts that we have covered. In my opinion, no one should be able o reuse another individuals work without explicit consent. The ideas of reusing and reediting to make gain when you haven’t produced the original just does not seem morally right to me.

I think in the event that my work was re appropriated by someone else I would have taken the same action as Meiselas did in the case of the Molotov Man.

Whilst I have been influenced by others I have not taken someone else’s work so I am comfortable in my practice that I am working in the right way in line with my moral compass.

This weeks webinar was really beneficial. We discussed ways that I could make my images more interesting, working with the images I had taken since the last webinar.

I am looking at maybe not taking the whole piece of fruit in the frame, just picking out particular details. this will particularly come into play when it comes to exploring the mould at the end of the cycle.

I have been looking at the work of Daro Montag to see how they make beautiful images from organisms.

I have also looked at the work of Estonian photographer Heikki Leis and his series of images in the collection Afterlife.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/53736797/Photo-book-Afterlife

Heikki Leis – 2017

Some of the the images I think it would have been nice to know what the items looked like beforehand. this is what I want to achieve with my images, a story of the stage before coming to the rebirth.

During this weeks webinar we discussed what could be potential outlets for my work, thinking that scientific venues may be appropriate for the nature of my images or perhaps even the use of x-ray paper to give my topic a more scientific feel.

I plan to do some research on scientific and aerial photography to broaden my view on the types of images I could possible achieve.

This week also came with researching safety procedures for what my new work might entail.

The concepts behind my work have made me consider the concepts of life and death a little more.to consider if i am actually saying that the development of the mould is a reincarnation or the development of something brand new.

It has also made me consider my own views and beliefs.

  • Do I believe in reincarnation?
  • Do I believe that the mould is alive?
  • Is the transformation from one thing to another just a simple scientific process or is it something else?

Research

In the development of my abstract imagery I have been looking at the work of Daro Montag – Who I met at the face to face event at Falmouth in February.

I have been looking at this work to gain a better understanding of how natural living organisms could be made into beautiful art.

The series Bioglyhs which I discovered on the website:

http://www.microbialart.com/galleries/daro-montag/

This work really assisted me in looking at the potential this type of work could have and the direction that it could take. Though it isn’t a direction I’m ready for just yet.

I also gained inspiration from the work in Dialogues with Nature. Not only was the imagery helpful but the examples of how to create a photographers sketchbook was a helpful insight into what I can produce to start and document my progress, especially when coming up to the Final Major Project to document thoughts and sketches as well as imagery. It could also be helpful to my audience to view these sketchbooks – as my work is documenting a period of time (again time will play a pivotal role in my work), it would be like a diary entry that could accompany an exhibition or be a zine that could be picked up at an exhibition.

http://rane-research.org/pdf/dialogues_with_nature_catalogue.pdf 

Daro Montag - Dialogues with nature
Daro Montag – Dialogues with Nature

The work in the This Earth series was inspiring show in the range of colours that could be found in the microscopic world. Whilst it is not in my current plans to go as far down this route it is interesting to see what the possibilities are.

Montag’s work and my own are similar in that we are looking at life-cycles of natural objects. I want to look at what happens after – the next stage of life. New Life.

References

http://www.microbialart.com/galleries/daro-montag/

https://www.interaliamag.org/articles/daro-montag/ 

http://rane-research.org/pdf/dialogues_with_nature_catalogue.pdf

https://www.behance.net/gallery/53736797/Photo-book-Afterlife

 

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