Exercise 3.5 – Photographs From Text

Brief:- History painting was a specific genre of painting that depicted scenes from religious, historical or mythological texts.  Choose a text that has meaning for you. It can be anything from a poem to a newspaper report, a biblical passage or a scene in a novel. It can be a long text, but it would probably be best if it was reasonably short, even a few lines. You’ll need to know your text by heart, so read it repeatedly.

Try to generate visual ideas that communicate something about the text. Discuss the text with other people and find out what images spring to mind for them. Write down any ideas you get from the text. They can be visual ideas or thoughts about the subject.

How would you turn that text into a photograph or a series of photographs?

  • Begin by thinking of a literal translation from the text, like a movie or a biblical painting.
  • Next, try to think in more metaphorical and symbolic ways. Text can be didactic, but you don’t have to illustrate the text; you can use it as a starting point for your picture making or you can create a broad interpretation based on the intuitive or emotional meaning the text has for you. For example, the Resurrection may cause joy and this joy could be metaphorically expressed in an explosion of colour, as in the work of Polly Apfelbaum.

When you’ve finished your work, place the photograph or photographs you’ve made with the text, side-by-side.

Leisure

by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Leisure by William Henry Davies

Reflections

What a lot of fun I have had whilst making this sequence, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Because I read the course manual before I started Foundations in Photography, I had planned to use Leisure by William Henry Davies from the outset. It is probably my favourite poem, and one that is etched in my memory. My intention had always been to make this as close to a literal representation as I could do.

Technically this has been quite straight forward, with the only challenges coming from using Photoshop to remove an electric fence in the scene with the cows, and also from trying to get the text size correct. This has been difficult because I have taken the photos on four different cameras, each with their own dimensions, and because they have all been cropped to different ratios so that I could make each omage how I wanted them. I felt that it was important to get the text correct on the full size image, rather than the 1080p that I have saved the photos as, so that if I need to rework a photo then I have the original in its complete form.

The text has not worked out, and this is easy to correct by saving the original without text to 1080p and then increasing the canvas size and adding text, which can now be added at the same size.

I am going to go back and do this, but I felt that it was important to, as my former school teachers would say, show my workings out not just the answers.

Because this has been planned for a long time, than I have had the opportunity to take these photos in many places that I have visited, although I have had to include two from before I began Foundations in Photography so that I could retain the narrative, and two portraits from previous coursework.

 

 

6 Replies to “Exercise 3.5 – Photographs From Text”

  1. Wow!! As much as you enjoyed making this, I enjoyed going through this. How fabulously you have narrated the poem through your pictures. I looked forward to reading each line and the corresponding text to it. Wonderful results Richard. 🙂 Great!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Archna. I’m now going to try the exercise again in a totally different way. I’m going to use appropriated images and text from newspapers and journals to create a collage in the style of Gerhard Richter.

      Like

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