The Pain Of Making Self Portraits

Firstly – I know have a working title for my assignment… “The Emotional States Of Anorexia”. The emotions that I’m photographing all relate to different emotions that I have experienced that relate to my anorexia.

Defiance (fuck you! I won’t eat and you can’t make me)

Pride (Yes – another target weight hit)

Rage (I fucking hate my self)

Joy (I can wear those new skinny jeans now I’ve hit that weight)

Fear (I’m so fucking scared of eating, l will have to kill myself if I do)

Grief (I hurt so much I can’t cope anymore)

Now I know that you know that I hate my photo being taken. I hate seeing photos of myself. It’s taken me sometime to build up the willingness to photograph myself. Tomorrow and Thursday I have the pain of seeing my face when I develop them. Fuck sake. Why am I doing this. I could have used someone else as the model.

Thing is I can’t. I know that these emotions are extreme and trying to work with a model and talking them into these states is gonna be challenging and time-consuming. I know these emotions and the thoughts that go with them. They’ve been a second skin that I’ve lived in. Consequently it’s taken me an hour to make these photos.

I’ve not liked doing it at all, but, I’ve got the photos that I need. I’ve captured the emotions. Am I putting them up on here? Not bloody likely. Once I’ve embroidered over them then I will publish them, but they, of themselves, are not the final piece of work. They are just part of a still life audio, visual installation that will be juxtaposed with the Laura Letinsky photography.

If I put my displeasure about the photos of myself to the side, I feel excited. This is coming together. My creative vision is clear, I can see the outcome.

Will I exhibit the six pieces I am creating? Damn right if I can get the right curator and the right space. It’s weird how I can feel so confident of that when I can’t stand seeing my photo. Perhaps it’s because my portrait is just a part of a larger piece of work, that my face will be sewn over? Perhaps it’s just a dichotomy of the human experience.

Kate Aston – Review

OCA student Kate Aston, very kindly sent me two of her photos, from a previous assignment, in which she embroidered over photography. Both of which are of a climbing wall.

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  • Long stitches
  • Creates a shape which I can anthropomorpise
  • Creates an anchor and relay
  • Alters perspective
  • Reduces appearance of size

img_5725

  • Small stitches
  • Single colour
  • Provide definition and detail

Although I’m limiting my focus to the stitching, as this is research for my assignment, I do wish to pass comment upon this second photo.

The depth of field is incredible, and this draws me right into the photo. The DoF is so narrow that I imagine that an extension tube was used on a 200mm- 300mm lens to create a macro lens. I’m also going to assume that the shot is made on the ground, shooting high up into a join between wall and ceiling, and that the plans have been shifted by rotating and cropping during the development process. I’m probably wrong. But this photo is so intriguing. It’s also very easing aesthetically.

Having seen this work I have decided to use the embroidery from Kate’s first photo to provide the relay between my face and the subject in Laura Letinsky’s photo. I hadn’t considered creating an installation prior to viewing Kate’s assignment. This is the advantage of connecting with fellow artists and photographers.

To see Kate Aston’s Context and Narrative studies click here, to view her on Instagram it’s kate513940

Crystalising Ideas For Assignment Five

  • Installation
  • Photo of my face, over-sewn to represent emotional/mental states of anorexia
  • Positioned 90 degrees to photo from Laura Letinsky
  • Stitch on Laura Letinsky’s photos to pick out detail
  • 1 inch in front of Letinsky’s photo will be plain card of same size
  • Cut out shapes so aspects of Lentinsky’s work can be revealed and others remain hidden
  • Revealed areas will be related to food or eating
  • An object from Lentinsky’s art will be placed between the two photos i.e. Cup, plate, squashed water melon
  • Long stitches to go from my face over to the revealed areas in Letinsky’s photo (in the style of Kate Aston (review to be written up shortly). This will further emphasise emotional state.
  • Sound recording which emulates specific thought patter relating to each of my mental/emotional states
  • There will be six states represented so I will use six self portraits and six of Laura Lentinsky’s.

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Assignment Five – Refining My Idea

I’ll be making my own portrait with 6 different emotional expressions relating to my eating disorder. Justaposing them with 6 different photos from Ill Form and Void Full (Laura Letinsky).

Both photos will be placed side by side on a white surface, with a white backdrop. The surface will become a space in which I will place a piece of fruit, or other food which will match that from Letinsky’s art. The photos will then be squashed, twisted, torn or altered in some way. I’ll then photograph the still life I’ve made and then stitch onto the final photo.

 

The stitching will be done in a manner that uses shape and colour to emphasise the emotional expression.

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Stitch Sampler

OK, so this is not the greatest idea of a sampler, but it’s been good practice to try out different stitch samples for my fifth assignment. The majority of the artists who stitch over photography tend to use a long stitch, rather than different styles of stitching. And hey, their work is fantastic, so maybe the idea is to keep it simple. However, I like chain stitch and diagonal tent stitch – and I can see how they can be used, and perhaps cross stitch would be good over eyes.

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  • Blue – herringbone stitch
  • Yellow – running stitch
  • Orange – Cross stitch
  • Pink – Back stitch
  • Red – Tent stitch
  • Green – Diagonal tent stitch
  • Brown – Chain stitch

Thank You Laura Letinsky – Refining My Idea

I recieved the most wonderful and exciting news yesterday. Laura Letinsky responded to my email, giving me permission to use 6 of her photos as the basis of my fifth assignment.

This assignment is exploratory in many ways, and I will use it to develop my embroidery skills, embroidering on top of photography.

Letinsky, in her own words, “cannabalises” her own and others photography. In anorexia the body moves into the metabolic state of catabolism, in which the body eats its own proteins (muscles) in order to survive. One idea is to make use of photographs of my body parts from when I was really ill, justapose them with photos from Letinsky’s I’ll Form and Void Full, and use embroidery to distort the shape of my limbs, picking out cours of the foods from Letinsky’s art.

The other option is to photography my face, capturing different emotional states, embroider over them in the style of Maurizio Anzeri, and justapose these with relevant parts of Letinsky’s art.

I’m not sure how I am going to develop these ideas into a concrete plan as yet, so time for some meditation.

Laura Letinsky

Maurizio Anzeri

 

Assignment 5 – Why Embroider Over Photographs?

Coming to the end of Foundations In Photography with the Open College of the Arts, I find myself in a position in which I want to prepare myself to study for a BA in Photography. Assignment 4 can definitely be the basis for a further body of work, probably by using masks or embroidering on top of photographs to represent aspects of self, especially those hidden repressed aspects. Sewing over the top of my own face was successful, if painful for me to view.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Staged photography and still life, and found a means of being authentic with these genres.

I’m very keen to explore these themes further, and I believe that sewing on a photograph provides an additional means to enhance or hide emotion and mood. It also means that I can distort my images and create harmonious fine art photography or to create visual and emotional discord and discomfort.

I’m going to use assignment 5 as a stepping stone to develop a secondary skill, and so that I can use photos as the basis of mixed media art.

Review – Laura Letinsky

Laura Letinsky (1962)

  • Still life
  • Staged photography
  • Controlled accidents
  • Food
  • Destructive nature of human behaviour
  • Domestic life
  • Food as feminine – social construct of domesticity
  • Pastels
  • Lighting – bright, natural
  • Space
  • Broad White backgrounds
  • Half eaten foods, non desirous {unlike traditional still life of food)
  • “half eaten apples, dirty dishes, and scattered cake crumbs are a common motif in her work” (Amy Lin (2016))
  • “I realized that still lifes were a vehicle to explore the tension between the small and minute and larger social structures.” (Sholis, B (2013)
  • Uses other photographs, including her own, highlighting consumption of photography and relates this to consumption and homogenization
  • “Using images already in the world, including my own earlier works, is akin to using objects in the world. It’s all raw material ripe for the picking, so to speak. Alongside its ability to provoke sensations, photography has a way of homogenizing experience. A piece of schmutz and a Tiffany diamond become the same thing once they’re photographed—they become photographs. I have a love/hate relationship with this power of the camera to flatten difference.” (Sholis, B (2013))

IllFormVoid31_620_webFig. 1. Untitled 31 from Ill Form and Void Full (2011)

Untitled-no-18Fig. 2. Untitled 18 from Ill Form and Void Full (2011)

08_IllFormVoid_49_2013-1024x787Fig. 3. Untitled 49 from Ill Form and Void Full (2011)

Having looked further into Letinsky’s Ill Form and Void Full series I have decided that I am going to make use of her style of still life photography for assignment 5. I’m already producing a body of work on eating disorders, and Letinsky’s style of cannibalising photographs adds an additional element that I can use to explore anorexia. Catabolism is a state in which the body turns its own proteins (muscle) into energy which can then be used so it can function. The body destroys itself in order to preserve itself. I am going to seek permission from Letinsky to use her photography in order to do so.

Illustrations

Figure 1, Letinsky, L; Untitled 31, Ill Form and Void Full [paper
Archival Ink Print]; AT: https://aperture.org/blog/interview-with-laura-letinsky/ (accessed on 26/12/2018

Figure 2, Letinsky, L; Untitled 18, Ill Form and Void Full [paper
Archival Ink Print]; AT: https://aperture.org/blog/interview-with-laura-letinsky (accessed on 26/12/2018)

Figure 3, Letinsky, L; Untitled 49 [paper
Archival Ink Print]; AT: http://lauraletinsky.com/photographs/ill-form-and-void/ (accessed on 26/12/2018)

References

Lin, A; 2016; Laura Letinsky; Online: AT: https://www.widewalls.ch/artist/laura-letinsky/ (accessed on 26/12/2018)

Sholis, B; 2013; Interview With Laura Letinsky; Online: AT: https://aperture.org/blog/interview-with-laura-letinsky/ (accessed on 26/12/2018)

Addition References

http://lauraletinsky.com/photographs/ill-form-and-void/ (accessed on 26/12/2018

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura-letinsky (accessed on 26/12/2018)

Review – Jamie Rawlings

Jamie embroiders over the top of appropriated images and cigarette cards. He is a visual artist and is inspired by nature and rainbows (Rawlings; 2018)

Rawlings uses bright colour and a variety of patterns. He doesn’t make use of the variety of stitches that Puentes does, but his patterns can be very intricate.

rs=w_600,h_600Fig. 1. Sable Antelope (2018)

Cigarette cards are small, which adds to the admiration that I have for his creative expression. I struggle sewing onto a large photo, and found that the stitches often tore the paper. I could be wrong, but I believe that Rawlings makes use of a hole punch. If I decide to emulate Laura Letinsky, it would make sense to combine this emulation with that of Rawlings. The simple lines would be effective.

I recommend viewing Rawlings’ Wold Animal cigarette cards. I feel that the embroidery is complimentary, despite the bright coloured threads. You can view his art on Instagram here. 

Illustration

Rawlings, J; 2018; Sable Antelope [Cigarette Card and thread]; AT: https://jamierawlingsartist.com/shop-1?olsPage=products%2Fsable-antelope (accessed on 21/12/2018)

Reference

Rawlings, J; 2018; About Me; Online: AT: https://jamierawlingsartist.com/about-me (accessed on 21/12/2018)

Review – Maria Aparicio Puentes – Research For Assignment 5

I have now made the decision that I am going to embroider on photography for assignment 5. I’m not yet sure if I will work with emotional expression or something in the style of Laura Letinsky. Whatever I choose, I am looking forward to sewing over photo’s.

Maria Aparicio Puentes (1981)

  • Puentes “hand-stitches over images. She works closely with the existing structure of the photographs, overlaying geometric shapes with thread.” (Frankoski, 2015)
  • She uses a wide variety of stitches
  • She mostly embroiders over black and white photo’s, adding the dimensions of colour and texture
  • Some of her stitching is complimentary to the photography
  • Some are quite garish and out of place
  • She collaborates with other artists and photographers

Be-brilliant-05_2xFig. 1. Be Brilliant 05 (2014)

This photo conjures up two ideas to me. One is of a person who is both singing and plucking music out of the air. It has a beautiful, sensual nature, and represents a positive, joyful connection with the universe.

The other thought is around bulimia. Of a person expressing the high of vomiting. Bulimia may sound quite disgusting if you are not bulimic, but for many who are it can bring relief and sometimes joy, especially in the earlier period of the illness. There is potential for me to use this style.

M.-Aparicio-Puentes-Sasha-MademuaselleFig. 2. 01

The above collaboration works well. It’s crisp, simple and the three pastel colours make the art very natural. It’s so subtle that the stitching could quite easily have been on the jumper itself

Illustrations

Fig. 1. Puentes, M, A and Wierzbowski, L; 2014; Be Brilliant 05 [photographic paper (semi-matte finish) and threads]; AT: https://www.mariaapariciopuentes.com/Be-brilliant (accessed on 21/12/2018)

Fig. 2. Puentes, M, A and Mademuaselle, S; ; 01 [photographic paper (semi-matte finish) and threads]; AT: https://www.mariaapariciopuentes.com/01 (accessed on 21/12/2018)

Feature Image Puentes, M, A and Radičević, T; 2014; Be Brilliant 02 [photographic paper (semi-matte finish) and threads]; AT: https://www.mariaapariciopuentes.com/Be-brilliant (accessed on 21/12/2018)

 

References

Frankoski, E; 2015; Maria Aparicio Puentes; Online: At: https://www.pifmagazine.com/2015/07/maria-aparicio-puentes/ (accessed on 21/12/2018)

Also viewed

https://www.frankie.com.au/blogs/art/artist-interview-maria-aparicio-puentes-photo-embroidery (accessed on 21/12/18)

http://www.escapeintolife.com/artist-watch/maria-aparicio-puentes/ (accessed on 21/12/2018)