Exercise 3.11 – Visual Evidence

Brief:- Make four photographs that document the place where you’re reading this and the act of reading it. Be as neutral, as dispassionate as possible. This is visual evidence. Space usually means a wide photographic description. Act may require a series of ‘shots’ as a movie does: ‘1I am 2reading this 3text in this 4place.’

Other than the image “I am” I have only used the auto tone in Lightroom, and re-size during the export procedure, so that I could follow the brief as closely as posible. My home is lived in. I utilise all available space, so although my floor appears messy, it is a working space which is for the things that I make most use of, and whatever I am  currently working on – I am feeling embarrased to post these.

I am

Exercise 3.11 Visual Evidence

Reading this

Exercise 3.11 Visual Evidence

Text in this

Exercise 3.11 Visual Evidence

Place

Exercise 3.11 Visual Evidence

When considering this exercise in relation to the brief relating Richard Billingham’s Rays A Laugh (seen here), I still cannot see that collecting visual evidence is an exercise that can be neutral. Maybe if a photographer was making scientific eveidence, a record of artifacts, medical and crime scene photography, then yes. But we as humans are designed to respond to other people and their lives. I bet that you do not look at the four photos above without having some kind of response. Again its clear that your response may not be the same as my own, but you will have a reponse. These photos have been made purely to collect visual evidence for a brief, for one of the exercises in my studies. They have been made over a very very brief instance of time, and yet I, and you, have either an emotional or cognitive analytical response. When people are involved in general life, there is no neutrality.

Review – Cecil Beaton

Cecil Beaton (1904 – 1980)

Beaton,-C;-1941;-Fashion-is-indestructable-[----];-London;-Thames-and-Hudson;-p342Fig. 1. Fashion Is indestructible (1941)

Initial thoughts:- How beautiful and elegant. The opulence of the hall with its strong verticals, the luxuriance of the photographed women, the soft pastels of their clothes, the surreal illumination of the lighting, and the movement created by the dresses that the woman are wearing, all combine to make this beautiful work of art. A photograph which looks like a painting.

The strengths are in the lines, flow/movement, lighting, composition creates interest around the whole photo, pastels work well with lighting, dresses compliment the hall.

I could be in the room and making this photo, I’m so drawn in, this is the first photo where I have felt that I belong in this scene, that I am in the hall as a viewer. Powerful.

Reflecting upon a previous review, The Conversation by Buhler-Rose (see below) Buhler-Rose’s photo has a strong disconnect, a lack of feeling, the photo is a staged lie, whilst Beaton’s is dynamic, alive, natural and appears captured ‘as is’. His subjects are comfortable and relaxed.

The-Conversation-Alahua-FL-2006Fig. 2. The Conversation (2006)

Beaton,-C-1930,-MarleneDietrich-[Gelatin-silver-print],-;-Cologne;-Taschen-GmbH; p 552Fig. 3. Marlene Dietrich (1930)

Please excuse the resolution of the scan, I didn’t change the scan settings to photo, silly boy.

Initial thoughts:- Avant Garde, art, reminds me of the theatre comedy and tragedy masks which in this case is symbolic of Dietrich’s role as an actor. Subtle. No distractions, simple composition. 3 props – hair piece, choker and mannequin. Lack of foreground and the background which is immediately behind the subject, means that Dietrich, with the opposing pose of the dummy are immediately seen by the viewer because there is nothing else to see. She’s elegant and beautiful, but what I sense most of all is that she is looking out, she is the viewer instead of the actress who is been viewed on the screen. A creative change of roles.

Beaton,-C;-1928;-Miss-Nancy-Beaton-as-a-Shooting-Star-[silver-print];-London;-Thames-and-Hudson;-p264Fig. 4. Miss Nancy Beaton as a Shooting Star (1928)

Initial Thoughts:- Avant Garde, experimental, photography as art, a character from a fantasy novel, radiant. The light source in the background sets the scene for a surreal illustration of a fairy godmother, which is added to by a light in the foreground which brings out the texture of Nancy Beaton’s dress. The staff in her right hand adds poise to this portrait. The prop worn on the right of her head doesn’t look right, it detracts from this photo, although I do understand why he’s used it to reflect the shooting star of the title, sometimes you just have to simplify an idea Cecil (says me as if I am an expert – but I say as I see). Despite that god damn awful head-gear. I do not see a photo, I see a dramatic characterisation of a person from a fantasy novel or early film.

A whole load of props here, but only one is unneccessary. Staff, head-gear, stars, cellophane? fabric, dress, curtain. In fact I think that everything in this photo is a prop, including Dietrich, and this creates a set of a theatre production. This goes way beyond a formal portrait and is a work of art, and it could be a master piece without the head gear (get over it Richard).

Illustrations

Figure 1 Beaton, C;-1941; Fashion is indestructible; IN: Photography: The Whole Story; p 342; London; Thames and Hudson

Figure 2 Buhler-Rose, M; 2006; The Conversation; At: https://news.syr.edu/2014/03/new-geographics-features-photography-of-michael-buhler-rose-56929/ (accessed on 23/11/2017)

Figure 3 Beaton, 1930, Marlene Dietrich [Gelatin-silver-print]; IN: A History of Photography; p552; Cologne; Taschen GmbH;

Figure 4 Beaton, C; 1928; Miss Nancy Beaton as a Shooting Star [silver-print]; IN: photography: The Whole Story; p264; London; Thames and Hudson

Review – Thomas Struth

Thomas Struth (b 1954)

For this review I have tried to find photos made by Struth that I haven’t seen reviewed by other Foundations in Photography students. This is so that I can keep my initial thoughts as my own. However I am going to start with one portrait that I have seen reviewed by others because it is highly relevent to exercise 3.10 A Formal Portrait.

The Late Giles Robertson (with Book), Edinburgh 1987 1987 by Thomas Struth born 1954Fig. 1. The Late Giles Robertson (with book) Edinburgh (1987)

Initial thoughts:- I like, grace, calm, dignity, poise. It captures thoughtfulness, contemplation, a good example of how to capture a still portrait with a busy background. This is done by making use of the space in the foreground, the thoughtful expression, the side lighting from the window, shot in daylight so the background remains subdued, small aperture, distance between subject and background. The ‘props’ do not appear to be staged, they are what Robertson has gathered over his lifetime, things he values, and maybe some things that he has inherited. A man who values ‘things’ because of their emotional connection to events and people, memories. Dressed quite formally, smoking jacket? tie, very natural in them, this is his style of dress, smart, traditional. He has a heritage that is upper-middle class? Upper class? Old money. Culture and art are valued, and the landscape appears to be Constable or Gainsborough but I cannot be sure of this.

There is symbolism in relation to the depiction of age, the old way, and possibly a representation that the traditional life and values are ageing and will soon be lost. But I believe that is a minor consideration and Robertson’s values and character are more important to both the subject and photographer.

 

Hannah Erdrich-Hartmann and Jana-Maria Hartmann, Düsseldorf 1987 1987 by Thomas Struth born 1954Fig. 2. Hannah Erdich-Hartman and Jana-Maria Hartman, Dusseldorf (1987)

Initial thoughts:- Mixed thoughts about this, soft focus and large aperture (maybe even a photographic background) create an image of love, tenderness and gentleness. The position of the girl’s arm around her mothers neck and Jana-Maria’s hair also add to that sense. Jana-Maria’s expression changes between warmth and a touch annoyed/questioning, and Hannah’s expression is almost a challenge to the photographer and viewer. Dianne Arbus often forced her subjects frustration by delaying pressing the shutter so that people would eventually let go of the mask the ywant to present so tha the real self was revealed. In this photo it appears that Struth has done the same. Although I don’t consider this to be a formal portrait, and there is a tension between flattering and challenging, I wanted to include this photo because it presents a challenge to me with regard to reading and understanding it. It’s also of a different style than the other images that I’m including in this review. I feel that I am walking away from this photo confused.

Kyoko and Tomoharu Murakami, Tokyo 1991 1991 by Thomas Struth born 1954Fig. 3. Kyoko and Tomoharu Murakami, Tokyo (1991)

Initial thoughts:- There is something about this particular photo that I find appealing, although I cannot put my finger on it, especially considering that I do not find emotion within the photo. There is a gulf between husband and wife, and I get the inkling that this was shot in a place of work, probably outside of the home due to the size. I am viewing this photo from and Western European background, and there maybe cultural differences and formalities that are hard for me to fully comprehend, and I say this in response to my perceived lack of emotion and a formality that borders on rigidity. I find the light very interesting. There is more than one window in this room, and it/they are large. I don’t see obvious signs of flash and the light coming through the window is bright daylight. The only apparent prop is the chair, so that the woman can sit down. The chair doesn’t fit in with the desk/work bench. On second thoughts there is a space on this side of the bench that would give her space to work whilst having the direct light from the window. The combination of vertical/horizontal and diagonal lines may symbolise structure, a structured and organised lifestyle reflective of the wider community?

 

The Shimada Family, Yamaguchi, Japan 1986 1986 by Thomas Struth born 1954Fig. 4. The Shimada Family, Yamaguchi, Japan 1986

Initial thoughts:- Is this a formal or informal family portrait? Do I understand formal group portraits outside of a studio or wedding? Can a formal portrait include people in various degrees of relaxation and formality? Is this merely a reflection of the characters of people who are of different generations to each other?

I enjoy the composition of the family and the lines they are placed in take me backwards and forwards between the people. No one individual stands out and this means that the photo brings the family together as a group, a collective, despite the space between them. I’m quite impressed with that actually. My knowledge of group portraits is of the tradition British style of everyone being close together. This is a pleasing and comfortable photograph to look at, and I find the contrast between this grouping and the group photo’s that I am used to to be quite refreshing.

I also like the contrast between the grey rocks and green shrubs/bushes. A planned/formal/structured garden that represents prosperity. Although I say garden (and I mean the garden of the family’s home when I do), it could be a formal community garden/park/or visitor attraction. I am still more inclined to think that this is their garden and the live on the edge of the suburbs or a rural community (maybe I’m just and old romantic at heart).

The colours and tone of the clothing provide a contrast with the garden and this brings out the people as subject. The trees that form the background keep my eye within the photo and they act as a frame. No use of props, and none required.

Reflections

Four completely different styles of portrait from one photographer. Struth clearly is a people person and he either spends the time tgetting to know the people who he shoots so that he can bring out their personality, or he already knows them. Despite the styles being different between the four photo’s, the similarity is the capture of character. There are very few signs of props, and this is worth remembering, subtlety is paramount. Getting to know people is important as is liking people, in a general way. You may not necessarily like or know someone enough to like in order to make formal photographs, but there must be a genuine value of other. If portrait photography is undertaken without this then its going to come through and will over ride the  individuals character.

Clothing is important for two reasons, it signifies personality and individuality, and if the clothing is not what the subject is comfortable with then it will be hard for them to relax. This made me think of the photographer Rankin and his work with charities.

He uses a team of lighting, make-up, fashion, studio and design staff with clients who use of charities for support. He meets his clients in his studio on the day that he shoots them (sometimes over a couple of days). He brings out the best in these people, and some of whom really struggle with self-image and self esteem. In my opinion he is a genius and I envy and admire his sense of humour and the ability to create a strong rapport with people very quickly, in what is a very strange and difficult environment to be photographed in. Having a large range of clothing and accessories gives his clients the opportunity to look good and to find an outfit that they feel comfortable in, but his personality is the glue that brings the very best out of people. Maybe working with a background team ensures that he can spend his time creating a relationship with the person he is going to photograph.

Illustrations

Figure 1 Struth, T; 1987; The Late Giles Robertson (with book) Edinburgh [colour on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/struth-the-late-giles-robertson-with-book-edinburgh-1987-p77746 (accessed on 24/05/2018)

Figure 2 Struth, T; 1987; Hannah Erdich-Hartman and Jana-Maria Hartman, Dusseldorf  [black and white on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/struth-hannah-erdrich-hartmann-and-jana-maria-hartmann-dusseldorf-1987-p77747 (accessed on 24/05/2018)

Figure 3 Struth, T; 1991; Kyoko and Tomoharu Murakami, Tokyo [colour on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/struth-kyoko-and-tomoharu-murakami-tokyo-1991-p77751 (accessed on 24/05/2018)

Figure 4 Struth, T; 1986; The Shimada Family, Yamaguchi, Japan [colour on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/struth-the-shimada-family-yamaguchi-japan-1986-p77745 (accessed on 24/05/2018)

Feature Image Rankin; 2016; Here as I am (pic 20); AT: http://rankin.co.uk/portfolio-charities/#/pic20 (accessed on 24/05/2018)

References

Rankin; Online AT: http://rankin.co.uk/portfolio-charities/#/pic0 (accessed on 24/05/2018)

Redcar Windfarm – Exercise 3.9 – A Significant Place

Brief:- Think of a place that holds meaning for you. Note down the reasons why it matters. (For reasons of practicality, choose somewhere accessible – see Exercise 3.10.) Think about how you could photograph that place in a way and in a light that reflects its meaning to you. Is there a particular viewpoint in your mind’s eye? A particular time of day? Make a photograph exactly as you have pre-visualised it and try to convey its special meaning to you in the photograph. Does the photo reflect your memory at all? Do the colours seem right? If not, change them – and anything else that would help the photo resonate more powerfully.

Redcar - A Significant Place

This is my favourite photo and the one that captures best the spirit of Redcar and its on-shore wind farm. It is quite small when viewed in the post but much better when viewed on full screen.

Redcar is a place that I feel safe, connected and alive. I find the wind farm to be so beautiful, pleasing and reassuring. I can’t explain why I find it so, I just do.

I didn’t take this photo as a planned photo as suggested in the brief, although I have been back several times and taken many photos for this exercise. It’s a long beach that covers over 8 miles from Marske by the Sea to Teesmouth, and I wanted to explore the visual impact along the stretch of coast. I also visited Seaton Carew, which is the other side of the Tees, and made some photos from that perspective.

The process has been very enjoyable for me. To re-visit a place that I feel so connected to is a pleasure. Evaluating all of the images and selecting a final three hasn’t been easy. I could have chosen over 20 that reflect how I would want to show this beautiful place.

The reasons that this photo resonates with me are the contrast between the foreground and the sky, slightly under exposed, creates a peaceful but warming feeling. Winter can also be a time of mixed emotions for me, a time in which I can feel both subdued and energised.

Seeing this photo full size means that there is a visual tension between the town and the wind farm, which isn’t apparent when viewed directly on the blog post. The leading line draws the eye up to the town and then my eye moves to the turbines and blades. I have thoroughly enjoyed the making of this exercise. See you soon Redcar.

Here are the final three.

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Exercise 3.10 – A Formal Portrait – Planning – Self Portrait -Gender – Identity

Self-portrait-2

This is a scary one for me because I am going to need to make this a self-portrait. As you are aware I do not have anyone that I can work with on this, and although I had initially considered working with one or two people who I know who are homeless, my mental health currently leaves me unable to approach people.

I have anxiety about revealing myself, so I am going to build upon my tutors feedback with regard to assignment two. She suggested that I explore identity by making portraits of people and by using masks where possible.

The brief is quite specific about what a formal portrait is, and I am choosing to break away from it a little, otherwise I will not be able to complete the exercise. I hate my face right now, so I cannot create a formal portrait of myself in which my face is revealed, it wouldn’t help my mental health.

So I am going to create a multi layered approach that will include the use of masks, clothing, and current books and camera, to explore questions around gender identity along with practice representations of my current lifestyle. The use of masks will mean that I am breaking away from the brief and also respecting my needs with regard to keeping my mental wellbeing as well as I can.

The photos in this post are self portraits that I have taken in a manner that I can cope with sharing with others.

Richard Keys

Exercise 3.7 – Planning – Judaism – Christianity – Object Of Devotion

Having given some thought to the exercise I have decided that I am going to make use of two approaches.

My altar is highly personal, but at the same time it is calm, peaceful and a refuge, and as such I would like it to be photographed early on a sunny morning so that natural daylight provides an element of grace. Other people will also have significant objects of devotion and I am going to send out a group email, blog post, and a couple of personal emails to ask others if they would collaborate with me and send me a photo of their object within its environment, and taken with the same lighting and composition, as the brief asks.. This is my prefered option because it retains the individual and personal connection that I feel is important.

The second option is to use a photo that I have already taken of a church altar, and then to find a local synagogue and ask if I can make some photos there. Having never been to a synagogue and having no connection with Judaism then I know very little of their faith or objects of devotion.

The importance of Jewish faith and culture to me is that I believe that Jews, for at least the past 2,000 are the second most persecuted group of people in the world (women being the people who have been the most persecuted), and because I find that when I read about the holocaust I am left feeling utterly bereft.

Exercise 3.8 – Re Photographing – Portrait

Brief:-

Sometimes re-photographing a photograph or collection of images can help different elements in a composition to gel into the same visual ‘space’. Portrait Take a photo of a person’s face. Make a print about life-size and ask your model to affect their portrait – the print. The purpose here is to allow the sitter’s personality to affect their appearance. They can do anything to the print from drawing the classic spectacles and missing tooth to writing on it or cutting and tearing. When they’re done, ask the model to hold the print up to their face, possibly so that the features match, and make another photograph of the model. Of course this will depend on what they’ve done with the print. Print out this photo. It’s the second remove from ‘reality’ and it represents two distinct times and two experiences. In this way, the resulting photograph contains a creative process.

tryptich

This isn’t entirely according to the brief. I do not have anyone to model for me at the moment, so I have used a portrait from earlier on in the course and done the best I can.

To be honest I am not happy at all. It’s not that I don’t like any of the photos, it’s that I feel that I have cheated myself, and completed the exercise for the sake of it.

However – what becomes apparent for me from this is this gents eyes and mouth, his smile. This is a good portrait, one that I am very pleased with. His eyes become more emphasised in this series because of how I have distorted them in the third photo, and his smile is stronger because of how I have altered his mouth in the second and third.

He looks so cheeky in photo 3, the Captain Spock ears, the elongated chin, he still looks obviously happy (I had to sing happy birthday to him in order to get him to smile).

The second photo looks like a lie at first glance. Referring back to Leisure – No time to wait till his mouth can, enrich that smile his eyes began. His eyes, you can see within him because of those amazing eyes, and that makes the words seem false. However, we don’t know the masks that an individual is wearing, we don’t know how somebody feels inside, people dont wear self-hatred as an outward manifestation, so we can never really tell.

So I can see  the benefit from having cheated in order to complete the exercise. Here are the individual photos.

Diversity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Diversity

Review – Bernd And Hilla Becher

Brief:- You probably own many significant objects, from a wedding ring to old clothes, trophies of achievement to mementos that recall special events or times of your life, like toys or records. Choose one of these to photograph. This mustn’t be a general thing like ‘flowers’ but something entirely specific to you. Respect the fact that this object matters to you. Photograph it carefully, thinking about how this object ought to be viewed through the camera. Consider the framing, viewpoint, background, placement, light and composition. Does the photograph (the representation) have the same meaning as the object itself ? Is there a difference? Now develop this exercise into a series of three photographs of similar objects. For example, if you chose to photograph your wedding ring, ask friends if you can photograph their wedding rings. If you photographed your home, photograph other people’s homes. Use exactly the same viewpoint, framing, lighting (as far as possible), background, etc., for each. This will help the three final photos fit together as a conclusive series. Look online at the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher. Note how the composition, framing and lighting is almost identical in each photograph and how this ‘gels’ the series together. 

Becher, B and Becher, 1959 to 1973 H Framework HousesFig. 1. Framework Houses (1959-73)

Bernd Becher (1931-2007) Hilla Becher (1934 – 2015)

Initial thoughts

Not Tudor, not imitation Tudor. I haven’t seen frame houses that are neither Tudor nor imitation. Maybe from the USA or parts of Europe that I havent visited. Orderliness, structure, unusual perspective, is there actually a house there or are these just mock walls like a film set? Very little background/vegetation and no people, but would like to see on a gallery wall for a closer inspection. The structure of each house is highly visible because there are no distractions. Routine – each house fills roughly the same area of the frame, and with only minor fluctuations in exposure and tone. All black and white so there are no contrasting or colours to distract. Very few windows, what do the residents do for daylight? Vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines – this appeals to me. Although there are slight differences it is possible to suggest that they were built by only three different builders (see the framework/bricks between the slopes of the roof’s).

I find myself only able to agree with the course manual in relation to the composition, framing and lighting. The routine and conformity highlight the shapes and lines of the buildings and their frames, and its interesting how the small structural differences and patterns are noticable and quite intriguing. Obviously this could not be the case if a single photo was exhibited alone. I think that if the series was to be taken and displayed with the same houses but shot at different angles, the detail would be lost. The 3D structure of the houses would alter the perspective greatly, and the backgrounds would then be a distraction. This is a great technique for photographing similar subjects if you want to highlight differences in detail and have an orderly presentation.

Stacy McCarroll Cutshaw (2012) describes the Becher’s work as being an important change of direction in landscape photography, moving away from the old romanticism and into a systemic approach, which is also more scientific. “The idea of topographies as applied to the photographed landscape stems from the exhibition ‘New Topographies: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape’ held in 1975 at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York… The Photographs were not romanticized images of the vast outdoors of the American West but depictions of everyday suburban sprawl. They focused on manufactured, industrialized landscapes, paying particular attention to the environment altered by human kind… Works by the German collaborative photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, such as Framework Houses (1958-1973…) also featured in the show. Their oeuvre is pivotal to a generation of European and US photographers who cultivated a systematic approach to photography.” (Hacking; 2014; pp 400 + 401).

My significant object

This maybe a tricky exercise for me. The most important object to me is my Gohonzon. The Gohonzon is  a scroll that is used by practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism. It contains the Mystical Law of the Lotus Sutra written in Japanese text. It is the centre piece of my alter, sitting above the fireplace with several crystals and candles. I would not want to use anything else for this exercise.

My difficulty is that I do not meet other people regularly. In fact outside of appointments that I attend I have only met up three people, and a couple (all friends and family) this year. Currently I have no plans to meet up with anyone.

At the moment I see my options as being – find a church that’s open and photograph the alter, or make use of a photo that I took in Lindisfarne. It would be better to photograph my alter first and then go and shoot in a church. This would mean that I could control the composition, although the lighting will be significantly different (however I could make use of bracketed exposure, 5 stops each way and convert to HDR for the inside of the church). Then to find a different religious building, or a group, or individual and photograph their alter or significant spiritual object.

My second idea would be to make my photo first and then email it to several people and ask them if they can make a photo of their spiritually significant place, using the same composition and similar lighting if possible.

Difficulties are just solutions playing hide and seek.

Illustrations

Figure 1; Becher, B andBecher, H; 1959-73; Framework Houses; AT: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/127884 (accessed on 19/05/2018)

References

Hacking, J; 2014; Photography: The Whole Story; London; Thames and Hudson

Picture Analysis Sophie Calle

Sophie-Calle-4Fig. 1. Untitled (1980)

This exercise appears in the 2014 version of the Foundations in Photography manual, and does not appear in the 2017 version (Enoch, R; 2014)

Brief:- Sophie Calle’s work exists on the borders of photography and conceptual art. Her work is rarely aesthetic in the pictorial sense, but stems from her curiosity at realising an idea or action. Calle had been following strangers in the streets of Paris and one day met one of these strangers in a gallery and overheard that he was going to Venice the next day. She disguised herself and followed him to Venice. The premise and narrative of Suite Vénitienne is her seeking, finding and persuing this man. In literary terms, you could say it’s an ‘odyssey’ where the main protagonist is the narrator (the photographer) and she doesn’t know how things will turn out. Calle documented her adventure with photographs, as if she was a ‘private eye’ hired to tail someone. She used a mirror attachment on her camera so she could shoot at 90 degree angles (around corners!). The work is related to a series of conceptual photographs by Vito Acconci, which show him following people in the streets of New York. One main consideration here is that the follower is being guided along by the subject. There is a sense of relinquishing the usual ‘control’ of the artist. At the core of Calle’s work is a child-like curiosity with life and people. It’s not so much about making art as allowing herself to be taken on an adventure by an idea.

  • Her work sometimes raises ethical issues related to privacy, and in return she is very open about her own life.
  • What are your moral feelings about following a stranger to make photographs of him?
  • Can you think of an adventure you could go on – however banal it may seem – that would put you in a different subjective position than you are accustomed to when making photographs?
  • Is there a job you could take that would give you access to a certain kind of subject that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to?

Ok, so, I have to disagree with Enoch on a few points. I find his notions are a romanticised version of the events. She was neither following as if she was a private eye, nor was she being guided along, and neither did she relinquish control and she was not taken on an adventure. This has no relation to casual street photography in which a photographer may take a few photos of an individual, and then a different person and so on. This is planned and pre-meditated stalking.

Fig. 2. Untitled (1980)

There was no guidance by Henri B, she chose to follow him, she called numerous hotels and pensione’s in Venice to track him down, she enlisted the help of friends, hotel workers, strangers that she spoke to on the street, and friends of friends in order to track down where he was staying, and then follow his movements. Once he had spoken to a person, she would then go and speak with them and gain more information about him. This was no adventure or child-like curiosity, and although I appreciate that Enoch has a different perspective than me, I find his statements to dress up how intrusive, intense and relentless Calle was.

“A young man and a dog notices me and speaks to me. His name is Pino… I tell him I’ve lost track of a friend…Pino agrees to call certain hotels for me to see if Henri B by chance is registered at one” (1).

2 p.m. “I Settle down in front of the telephone at Anna Lisa G.’s place. The Venice hotel list, not including the Lido, comprises 181 names… I will call them all in their respective order.”. (2).

11.50 a.m. “To disguise my intentions, I wait in front of 2788 Calle Del Traghetto, as if the door were going to open for me.”. (3).

4.00 p.m. “Back at Locanda Montin it appears to me that Martin G., the owner, is staring at me curiously; Would he have recognised me this morning? I decide to talk to him; I need allies. I address him like this ‘I’m looking for a man. I don’t want him to know I’m in the city. His name is Henri B. and he’s staying at the Casa de Stefani. Could you help me?'”. (4)

10.05 a.m. “At last its him,… I find him changed. His hair is longer. A woman is holding onto his arm, her head covered by a print shawl.”, and “I follow them from a short distance.” (5).

They take this route which is approximately 1KSophie-Calle-6

Fig. 3. Untitled (1980)

8.10 p.m “The man who had stared at me for a long time leaves La Columba. He stops and speaks to me… I tell him I’m in love with a man – only love seems admissible – and this man has been in Luigi’s antique shop since 6.15 in the company of a woman. I ask him to join them, alone, and to tell me what he has seen when he comes back.”. (6).

5.00 p.m. “I ring at Dr. Z’s house…He must be sixty years old. I like him. I tell him the whole story… Dr. Z agrees to lend me a window on the second floor.”. (7).

9.00 a.m. “With my Leica equipped with the Squintar, I approach the window. I am just a few meters from the entrance to Casa de  Stefani. I wait for him, bent over… If I see him going out, I will not follow him. I only want to watch him one more time in hiding, photograph him.”. (8).

Clearly these are not the words of a follower who has relinquished artistic control!

Fig. 4. Untitled (1980)

  • What are your moral feelings about following a stranger to make photographs of him?

Hmmm, did I not express that clearly enough? I have very strong feelings that this is harassment/stalking. Just because we, as photographers, can legally take photographs of people in the public, does not mean that we can invade the privacy of a person so as to cause them fear, alarm or distress. Henri B did approach Calle, and took her following of him in good spirit. However if this was to happen in the UK today, and it caused distress to a person then a photographer could find themselves in a difficult legal position, and would run the risk of prosecution.

A description of stalking taken from the website of the UK Crown Prosecution Service.

“Stalking – Whilst there is no strict legal definition of ‘stalking’, section 2A (3) of the PHA 1997 sets out examples of acts or omissions which, in particular circumstances, are ones associated with stalking. For example, following a person, watching or spying on them or forcing contact with the victim through any means, including social media.

The effect of such behaviour is to curtail a victim’s freedom, leaving them feeling that they constantly have to be careful. In many cases, the conduct might appear innocent ( if it were to be taken in isolation), but when carried out repeatedly so as to amount to a course of conduct, it may then cause significant alarm, harassment or distress to the victim.” (CPS a; 2017). It goes on to give further examples, “a) following a person,
(b) contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means, (c) publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, or purporting to originate from a person, (d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, (e) loitering in any place (whether public or private), (f) interfering with any property in the possession of a person, (g) watching or spying on a person.” (CPS b ; 2017)

  • Can you think of an adventure you could go on – however banal it may seem – that would put you in a different subjective position than you are accustomed to when making photographs?

At some point, and hopefully soon, I intend to visit London, and, if possible, catch up with some peers from Foundations in Photography. I could plan a walk around part of London and mark some points on a map where I would stop and make some street photography. It would also be possible to pick a theme such as shoe shops or tourist attractions and ask a member of staff if I could make their portrait, this could be even more fun if I had one prop and asked them to hold it whilst I was taking the photo. Maybe I could visit a place that I am familiar with but aim to get photos that would help me explore the place from a different perspective. I do not go out at night, so going on a shoot at night would be a completely new experience for me.

  • Is there a job you could take that would give you access to a certain kind of subject that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to?

Taking a job would not be appropriate for me right now. But I could still explore this. I have quite strong left-wing leanings, and like to take photos of people who are marginalised. It would be good for my development as a photographer, and personally, if I were to explore a different side. Maybe photographing people as they come out of Harvey Nichols or Harrods and ask for a brief interview about their life as well as making their portrait.

Reflections

This has been an interesting review for me. It brings up my feelings of vulnerability, which is linked with the paranoia that can manifest as a part of my mental health. I have expressed my opinions strongly, but I also recognise that an artist/photographer, has the right to create their work in the manner that they are comfortable with. We are also responsible for our actions and the consequences that come with them. Although I have strong opinions I respect everyones right to make the kind of photography that matters to them.

Illustrations

Figure 1; Calle, S; 2015; Untitled; Los Angeles; Siglio Press

Figure 2; Calle, S; 2015; Untitled; Los Angeles; Siglio Press

Figure 3; Calle, S; 2015; Untitled; Los Angeles; Siglio Press

Figure 4; Calle, S; 2015; Untitled; Los Angeles; Siglio Press

References

1  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 6

2  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 13

3  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 19

4  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 23

5  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 27

6  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 43

7  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 73

8  Calle, S; 2015; Suite Venitienne; Los Angelese; Siglio Press; pp 77

CPS a; 2017; Stalking and Harassment – Legal Guidance, Domestic abuse , Cyber / online crime; AT: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/stalking-and-harassment#a02a (accessed on 18/06/2018)

CPS b; 2017; Stalking and Harassment – Legal Guidance, Domestic abuse , Cyber / online crime; AT: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/stalking-and-harassment#a03da (accessed on 18/06/2018)

Enoch, R; 2014; Foundations in Photography; Barnsley; OCA

Bye Bye Carbon? – Exercise 3.6 – Mixing Genre

Brief:- In this exercise you’ll make four photographs that mix genres together. Choose a subject you’d like to photograph. It can be anything at all, a place, a person, an object or a story. Landscape – Now decide on how you can enhance your subject’s meaning by joining it together with a place – a landscape. Make a photograph of your subject in or associated with a landscape or place of your choice. But choose wisely; there needs to be a ‘resonance’ between the subject and the place. For example, you could place a friend outside the house where he or she was born. You may not think it’s possible to combine landscape with other landscapes, but have a look at Beate Gütschow’s work and you’ll see it can be done (www. beateguetschow.net). You can also place images side-by-side to be read as a single piece or make one picture out of several pictures. You may even be able to mix all four genres in one picture. Portrait – Make a photograph of your subject in combination with a portrait – the presence of a person. If your subject is a person, then you could add a second person, like a relative. Still life – Make a photograph of your subject in conjunction with an object or collection of objects. You could place an object in a landscape for example, as in Penny Watson’s photograph.  Story or event –
Make a photograph of your subject involved in a story or event. This could involve creating a narrative situation or a sequence of photographs that represent an event happening in time.When you’ve finished the four photographs arrange them together as a series, either in a computer program or as prints on a wall. When you view pictures repeatedly over time, they ‘work on you’ and you begin to notice things that don’t work and other things you’d like to improve. It’s a good way of learning from your own photographs.

A couple of months ago when I was visiting Redcar, I walked up the dunes and saw 50 – 100 christmas trees which had been planted into the sand. Dead christmas trees. Trees that are no longer drawing in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen. Instead, they have been uprooted by human kind, to be used for our pleasure for 12 – 30 days, so that they can then be re-planted into an area that they will never grow in.

You can probably tell that this sparked a photographic fire within me. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the wind farm juxtaposed with these trees. How many times must we find to destroy the planet, then find ways to correct out destruction, just to create more destruction and need newer inventions to counter our further interventions, and ad infinitum.

Watching current affairs also highlights climate change deniers, and those “leaders” and carbon heavy industries who are desperate to cling hold of fossil fuels rather than say goodbye to them and make use of renewables.

I have included both two and three genres to create a narrative within the one image; still life and landscape or still life, landscape and portrait.

bye bye carbon

bye bye carbon

bye bye carbon

Reflections

The narrative is promising here and I’m pleased with how combining different genres I have been able to create a narrative within a single image. I think many photos naturally make use of more than one genre, not all, but a fair few. However the process of deliberately trying to make use of different genres places an emphasis upon deeper consideration of what it is that I want to convey. Slowing the process down is always good for somebody with my make up, who tends to run with an idea without considering alternatives or depth. It’s when I slow down that my better work is produced, it has become a deliberate ploy since beginning Foundations in Photography.

The developing of the second image has not worked for me, the white balance is wrong and has too much warmth, and the yellowish tint doesn’t look right, although its composition is strong, maybe even the strongest of the three, simple but bold.

The first image needs the top cropping slightly, I like the composition, and I like how the red of the rose draws my eye into the cross.

Ok, the third image. This has the potential to be a strong photo, with the model offering the flowers to the trees, almost as if he is pleading to retain the use of carbon based energy, not wanting to let go and allow it to die in peace. But it needs to be re-photographed. I need to go back to Redcar and take this photo in the morning so that the mans shadow does not lean into the trees. I find it off-putting. maybe the toy cars could go from this photo as well, or be re-positioned as they detract from the composition in my opinion.

Hand on heart I am not always great at following the brief. I had read the brief in advance, a month or so, but I did not re-read prior to going out and shooting. At some point I am going to have to get on top of this. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased with how my intuition and mind work together with some of my ideas, and this one particularly, and they have lent towards the brief in this instance. However, there will be times, either in higher education or with commissioned pieces where following the brief will be essential. With the times that I have deliberately chosen to go against the brief, and this has generally been once I have followed it for the first go but have wanted to explore, then that’s fine, thats personal development. However, I have said it before and will say it again until it sinks in, follow the brief.