Exercice 4.2 – Constructed Imagery

Brief:- Traditional still life presents a small-scale space to explore constructive photography. But still life doesn’t have to be bowls of fruit and vases of flowers. You can place any object or combination of objects in any setting. And both can be constructed. It may be useful to think of still life as having two key elements – object(s) and setting – and go wherever your imagination takes you with them. Setting/background Choose a space that you can work with over time. You don’t need the traditional wall and table yet, just a cleared space. What does your space present you with? A wall? A floor? A corner? Put your camera on a tripod and aim it at this empty space. Now add to this space one large flat object. It could be a sheet, a painting turned back to front, an up-turned table or a large piece of paper stuck to the wall. Don’t place anything in the middle of space to act as an ‘object’ but rather compose your setting with surfaces, colours and textures. Have a look in the viewfinder. Note every element in the frame: the way surfaces create angles, lines, shapes and planes the way planes create a dimensional ‘space’ the effect of different lighting on this setting. Take a photo. This should be an entirely artificial, constructed image that could even ‘defy gravity’. Objects Now choose a simple object and carefully place it into this composition. Avoid clichéd objects. Take a photo, then remove the object. Replace it with another object, something very different. Place this object in such a way that it’s not emphasised. (Did your first photo emphasise the object?) Take a photo. Now fill the space with a lot of different things (mattresses, furninture, crockery, books, plants, anything handy) and try to create an entirely constructed ‘environment’. It may be very messy, but it should depict a ‘place’ with an identity that only exists inside the frame of your camera.

I shall start with my favourite photo first.

Exercise 4.2 Constructed imagery

I had planned to use my ceiling as the space, and hang objects from it with thread, and something I intend to try in the future. I don’t have the energy to attempt complicated right now, and I need to make some progress, so I have returned to earth.

The brief is self explanatory, so these photos demonstrate the progress through building a scene, and make use of gels with a speedlight to see how colour effects appearance and mood.

The process has shown me that it is possible to create a “set” as it would be called on stage or in film, and that a set is limited to our imagination. One of the main points of the exercise is to help us to see that any objects can be used as setting or object for still life photography. The learning point that I will be taking from this exercise is to think outside of the box. Laura Lentisky’s use of magazine photos which she has cut out, and my initial idea of using are alternate objects and settings. Perhaps it’s about going with the flow, trying something and allowing it to succeed or fail.

Having been put off of still life, based upon what I had learned at seen at school, I’m surprised to have made use of flowers and a vase for my more creative exploration. They were, they were available. But hey – I got to play, create, explore and make photos, and right now that’s just what I need.

Exercise 4.2 Constructed imagery

Exercise 4.2 Constructed imagery

Exercise 4.2 Constructed imagery

Making use of a speedlight is new to me, and it will take a while to get used to. I haven’t found it to be especially useful here, although I quite like the second-last photo above. The directional lighting, which I had covered with a gel, has created the drama that I had hoped for. The way that coloured light impacts upon a scene and objects within it is quite obvious from the above photos. However, I’m still drawn to the red tinged photo above.

Exercise 4.5 Layers

Brief:- Most imagery contains layers of some kind: subject and background, f/g m/g and b/g, for example. In this exercise you’ll experiment with ways of making layered imagery in your camera. In the following exercise, you’ll experiment with using image layers in Photoshop. Look out of a window from inside and make a photograph that includes all three of these elements:

  • foreground detail in front of the window
  • a reflection of something otherwise unseen in the window
  • background environment on the other side of the window.

Consider the light carefully. If there’s a dark area on the other side of the window, it will help the window act as a mirror for an illuminated object inside. It may be best to shoot in the evening or at night to achieve this, but then you’ll have to consider the balance of exposures between the inside and the outside environments.

Having fun exploring layers

Guess who followed the brief fully and completely? I have had so much fun with this exercise. I took all of the photography whilst I was on holiday in London, and tried to find situations where there were multiple layers within the frame. Here are a few of my favourites. These have been through Lightroom for re-sizing and auto-colour neutral only.

Exercise 4.5 LayersOne of the most pleasing aesthetically for me, and additional layers are created by the multiple frames from within the shop.

Exercise 4.5 LayersThe reflection in the window that I am looking out of, a secondary one in the other coach’s windows, and them the layers through the bus station into the car park beyond.

Exercise 4.5 LayersThis one plays tricks with my mind. What exactly am I looking at? Whats outside and whats a reflection from the inside of the bus?

Exercise 4.5 LayersThe repeated reflection, and difference between mirrored reflection and glass reflection is appealing to me, along with the colours.

Exercise 4.5 LayersThe glass cover of the escalator provides a view through to an indoor shopping centre, which is all glass. But what really makes this are the reflections of St Paul’s Cathedral. The dome is enlarged at the bottom of the frame, with a smaller reflection which shows more of the tower in the top of the frame.

Exercise 4.5 LayersEek – Confusing

Here are a few others

Photography Study Update

Recently I have been very kindly and generously given a speedlight, for which I am most grateful. I’m waiting until the gels and remote trigger which I have ordered for it to arrive, and then I will begin exercise 4.2.

Exercise 4.2 requires us to make use of any space with which we have access to for a few days, to add flat surfaces, and then objects, to create a space which only exists within the boundaries of the photo.

My space is going to be my lounge ceiling. I have paper, material and objects, which can pin too and hang from the ceiling. It’s a space which I intend to make more use of as the still life coursework proceeds. Seeing the photography of Laura Letinsky has been the trigger that my imagination has required to find some enthusiasm for this section.

We’ve also been asked to consider visual effect by exploring photographic effect, by making photos of things that have meaning for us. Well, as I’m slowly making these photos I’m realising that meaning and effect are personal and subjective. Yes, there are photographic techniques (composition, lighting, placement, colour, distraction), which positively or negatively impact upon presentation and reading of a photo, but photography, as with all art, is a subjective experience.

I am going to be working a little out of order at the moment. My health has been poor and rather than lag behind I will work on what I feel able when I feel able.

Here’s are some pigs. Pigs are a the spirit animal for abundance, the universe always provides what I need, and the many pigs around my house are a reminder.

A photo of my pigging cup

A photo of my pigging pigs

A photo of my pigging ornament
edf

 

Picture Analysis – Laura Letinsky – David Bate – Pieter Claesz

David Bate bungled-01 2009

Brief:- Have a close analytical look at the photograph above by Canadian photographer Laura Letinsky. You can see a larger version at http:// thephotographersgallery.org.uk/ill-form-and-void-full There is something immediately uncanny in this photograph and in much of Letinsky’s work. Firstly, notice the planes that make up the background and the area on the lower left of the picture. These ‘surfaces’, on which there are objects, shadows and cut-out pictures of objects, create an odd sense of space. It’s difficult to tell exactly which way gravity is working here. There appears to be a table top seen from the side in the middle of the area on the left, but then there’s another ‘surface’ seen from above too. This plays with our sense of dimensionality, the way we as viewers orient our viewpoint on the scene depicted. The objects themselves are simple, everyday items: two spoons, some fruit and cherry pips. Some of these appear to be ‘real’ in the sense that Letinsky has photographed them herself, whereas others have been cut out of magazines. Notice that these cut-out objects had been photographed from different viewpoints (and in a different time and space), which Letinsky has tried to incorporate into the perspective of her own ‘still life’ scene. The spoon on the left appears to rest on the surface and take part in the scene and the other spoon appears above the surface. How many things in your own life are real in the sense that they are in front of you physically? And how much of what you experience and know comes through representations? How do you think this affects people? In her previous work, Letinsky used left-over meals, plates and cutlery to indicate a scene, event or relationship going on beyond the view of the photograph, turning viewers into detectives looking for clues and connotations. Meticulously placed dishes express something about the thinking of the ‘character’ who placed them. In this work, she extends this by looking at the ways people incorporate representations and collective fantasies into their ‘reality’ and their desire. Have a look at Laura Letinsky’s website lauraletinsky.com. Also look at the still life work Bungled Memories by David Bate at www.davidbate.net. For a seventeenth-century comparison with Letinsky’s work, you can look at the paintings of Pieter Claesz here: rijksmuseum Pieter Claesz Write about the following issues in response to Letinsky’s photograph.

  1. Visual description (objects & background/space)
  2. Composition/design/arrangement
  3. Sense of space or ‘dimensionality’
  4. Connotations

Laura Letinsky

Ill Form and Void 12 Laura Letinsky 2011Fig. 1. Ill Form and Void 12 (2011)

Initial Thoughts – Lots of pleasing space. The whites and greys provide a feel of peace, stillness and serenity. The background surface is smooth and has the feel of a photographer’s gallery backdrop. There are three other planes, a vertical line which is slightly diagonal, intersecting with a horizontal line that slopes down towards it, creating a neutral space to the lower left of the picture. Then there appears to be a formica-like surface, which is reflective, and the subjects appear to be resting upon this, and then within that plane there is also the surface of a table which has a table-cloth over it. A spoon with crimson petals rests upon the table-cloth upon the left hand side, and on the right there is a half cut out shape of a plate, and then a whole plate with what appears to be some food remains. A second spoon, perhaps with sugar in it, floats above the table, and two pieces of fruit appear to be both on the table-cloth and yet not on it at the same time. The cherry pips and stalks begin on the formica-like surface and flow down onto the neutral space at the bottom left of the photo. At first glance, the way the planes intersect make the image appear to have horizontal and vertical surfaces, suggesting an upright structure. However, the more of see of this photo, the more that I think that it has been photographed from above, and that all of the objects have been cut from a magazine and placed upon the background. If this were the case then the shadows which appear in the area of light would have had to have been created in post processing.

There is an optical illusion within this photo, which makes it appear to be something which it is not. It has the suggestion of being a scene which was photographed, but is probably a collage, which has then been shot with a camera and developed digitally. I find this to be a clever piece of art, and one that I find enjoyable to look at.

As someone who has grown up with an idea of what still life is, from more traditional compositions, this drastically broadens my horizons, thank god. Letinsky’s composition is completely constructed and the only objects which I can see are pictures which have been cut from magazines, and placed by her onto a paper surface. I’m really impressed.

I have taken a look at other photos from this series (on her website – see references), and I only wish to add that I find this series to be beautiful.

David Bate

David Bate bungled-01 2009Fig. 2. Bungled Memories 01 (2009)

The above photo by David Bate is taken from his series Bungled Memories, in which he breaks every day objects. In their broken form these would be discarded, however, he photographs them and then uses them to create new works of art. On his website he discusses this series in relation to the psychology of “Freudian slips” (DavidBate.net)

I don’t get what he is trying to say with that description. The only thing that I can put in psychological terms is that by creating photos in which the breaks of the subject are completely smooth, almost perfect, and using backgrounds which creates boxes, is that we refine, define, clarify and compartmentalise our memories of events in a style which suits our internal frame of reference, rather than as literal representations of facts.

Pieter Claesz

Still Life with a Turkey PieFig. 3. stilliven met kalkoenpastei (Still Life with a Turkey Pie) (1627)

This is a more traditional still life in which the objects are painted in a manner that is a visual representation of “what was there”. There is no attempt to make the viewer think, no attempt to deceive or play tricks with the mind, and no attempt to ask the viewer to consider that there may be a representation of something un-seen. There is a clear sign of wealth and opulence, but this is also a clear visual representation.

I find it quite interesting that the art world at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th had a debate about how photography was just a mechanical description of what was there. I have always held the belief that the majority of traditional art did just that by using an alternate recording device – the paint brush. Here the photography of Letinsky and Bate take the viewer on a journey through the abstract and challenge the viewer to keep looking and questioning. Bathes was wrong. Art captures what was there, photography invites, questions and challenges (OK, so art and photography can both be factual documentations or original works that invite thought).

Illustrations

Figure 1 Letinsky, L; 2011; Ill Form and Void [Archival Ink Print on Paper]; AT: http://time.com/52027/pictures-of-pictures-the-ambiguities-of-laura-letinsky/ (accessed on 26/09/2018)

Figure 2 Bate, D; 2009; Bungled Memories 01 ; AT: http://www.davidbate.net/ARTWORKS/BUNGLED-MEMORIES.html?pic=96 (accessed on 26/09/2018)

Figure 3 Claesz, P; 1627; stilliven met kalkoenpastei [Oil on panel]; AT: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/zoeken/objecten?q=Pieter+Claesz&p=1&ps=12&st=Objects&ii=1#/SK-A-4646,1 (accessed on 26/09/2018)

References

http://lauraletinsky.com/photographs/ill-form-and-void/

http://www.davidbate.net/ARTWORKS/BUNGLED-MEMORIES.html?pic=120 (accessed on 26/09/2018)

 

Creation – Exercise 4.1 – Fragments

Brief:- In this first exercise, you’ll use fragments of still life images to create a combined design. Arrange a still life set-up that includes a background (preferably an ironed white or black sheet) and three distinct objects. It would be helpful if at least one object was sized at least 0.5m or you’ll be photographing everything in macro. Use either sunlight from a window or one single source of electric light to cast shadows and bring out the 3D form of the objects. Photograph around the objects, both close and wide shots, not all from the front. Capture the edges and the lines of the objects as well as defined shapes within them – for example the sound holes of a violin. Capture edges where light and shadow create a sense of depth or recess. Take pictures of the textures and colours of the objects. Think of this project as collecting impressions and perceptions of these objects and let this guide your camera. You’ll need approximately 20 well-exposed images.

The idea behind this exercise is to imaginatively combine the different photographs into a single conclusive design. Have a look at some Cubist paintings and sculpture as inspiration. Notice how one object blends into another and how different viewpoints of the same object co-exist in surprising ways. The classic example of this is Picasso’s combination of the front and profile of a face, as in Weeping Woman, which you can see on the Tate’s website. Then look at Brendan Fowler’s Spring 2011 – Fall 2012 on the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) website, which attempts similar arrangements with photography. Combine the photos by arranging prints or by using Photoshop to assemble the images as different layers. Cut the images and choose only fragments of each image, matching up lines so they flow and placing shapes in meaningful juxtapositions as defined points in the composition. You should find the composition grows into a large picture. When you’ve finished the design, photograph it or save it as a finished picture.

Creation - From exercise 4.1 Foundations in Photography, the Open College of the Arts, Still Life, Experimentation
Creation

The final result is not as good as I would have liked, and I certainly could go back an rework this photo. It doesn’t fulfill the brief in relation to cutting and layering parts of different images to combine shapes and planes.

What it does do is make use of parts of three different photos, which have been shot from different perspectives, using the same single light source and turned them into a fourth photo. It hints at the kookaburra being created out of the shadows of the other subjects. I followed a YouTube tutorial on pixel dispersion to mingle the shadow from Action Man with that from the first kookaburra. It took a while to get used to, and once complete I felt the image was somewhat flat. I decided then to make use of the third bird, to see if I could make it appear as if it was being formed from the shadow. The result is OK. Now that I have an idea of how to use the technique I could make better use of it in the future.

I haven’t followed the brief if you’re a purist, but I am pleased with my interpretation.

Contact Sheet

Reference

Photoshop Tutorials; 2016; Dispersion Effect: Photoshop Tutorial; AT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xgOWWfurpU (accessed on 26/09/2018)

Exercise 4.1 Fragments

Brief:- In this first exercise, you’ll use fragments of still life images to create a combined design. Arrange a still life set-up that includes a background (preferably an ironed white or black sheet) and three distinct objects. It would be helpful if at least one object was sized at least 0.5m or you’ll be photographing everything in macro. Use either sunlight from a window or one single source of electric light to cast shadows and bring out the 3D form of the objects. Photograph around the objects, both close and wide shots, not all from the front. Capture the edges and the lines of the objects as well as defined shapes within them – for example the sound holes of a violin. Capture edges where light and shadow create a sense of depth or recess. Take pictures of the textures and colours of the objects. Think of this project as collecting impressions and perceptions of these objects and let this guide your camera. You’ll need approximately 20 well-exposed images.

The idea behind this exercise is to imaginatively combine the different photographs into a single conclusive design. Have a look at some Cubist paintings and sculpture as inspiration. Notice how one object blends into another and how different viewpoints of the same object co-exist in surprising ways. The classic example of this is Picasso’s combination of the front and profile of a face, as in Weeping Woman, which you can see on the Tate’s website. Then look at Brendan Fowler’s Spring 2011 – Fall 2012 on the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) website, which attempts similar arrangements with photography.

Weeping Woman by Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Fig. 1. Weeping Woman (1937)

The red, green and purple outlines are marks which I have made for the purpose of annotation. The original can be seen here.

  • Red: – Profile view.
  • Green:- Front view.
  • Purple:- Triangles.

The combination of the frontal and profile view are quite apparent in Weeping Woman, and this painting is evidence that art does not need to be literal for it to make sense. I have used the purple to highlight some of the triangles that Picasso has used throughout the image. They become a visual anchor and can also be found in the womans hat and coat. As part of the head they provide definition to the collar and neck, chin, and movement of the tears. Also of note are the two hands, to the left and  right of the mouth. They are both of the left hand and also shown from differing perspectives.

Swinging by Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944)

Fig. 2. Swinging (1925)

This wonderful painting by Kandinsky is relevent to the brief because of how the lines and edges of the shapes fit together to produce the overall effect. I am aware how easy it is to anthropomorphise, but I can only say what I see. To me, the shapes and colours, as separate elements, combine to become a man who is smoking, sitting down with a blanket over his legs. There is a lamp both in front of and behind him, and he is thinking deeply (highlighted by the yellow triangle above his head with the stream of consciousness flowing out from this). Is this a representation of Einstein? Did their paths cross when Kandinsky was living in Germany?

Brendan Fowler (1978)

Fig. 3. Joel’s Phone on Lauro Table 1, “Looking at Richter Photo With Carol and Roberto” on Computer 2, Pots in Patty’s Window 1, Looking at Richter Photo with Carol and Roberto 1 (2010)

Fowlers photography is certainly abstract and novel, and I can see the connection between his photography and the brief. There are some lines that connect with each other, and these provide a minor similarity with the work of Kandinsky, but only slightly. I think that rather than drawing any comparisons between the work of Kandinsky and Picasso, they should be viewed as stand alone abstract photography. The photo above is one of the better ones in relation to overlapping lines, and his way of creating layers is a new idea for me to consider. The layers, which are created in the physical form, rather than in digital editing software, have a solidity and strength to them, and without the reductionism that generally happens when I or others reduce opacity in Photoshop.. Neither way is better, but it’s nice to have an alternate way of creating layers.

Illustrations

Figure 1 Picasso, P; 1937; Femme en pleurs (Weeping woman) [Oil paint on canvas]; AT: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/picasso-weeping-woman-t05010 (accessed on 11/09/2018)

Figure 2 Kandinsky, W; 1925; Schaukeln (Swinging) [Oil paint on board]; AT: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kandinsky-swinging-t02344 (accessed on 11/09/2018)

Figure 3 Fowler, B; 2010; Joel’s Phone on Lauro Table 1, “Looking at Richter Photo With Carol and Roberto” on Computer 2, Pots in Patty’s Window 1, Looking at Richter Photo with Carol and Roberto 1 [Pigmented inkjet prints with acrylic, wooden frames]; AT: https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/newphotography/brendan-fowler/2_fowler/index.html (accessed on 12/09/2018)

Introduction To Part Four – Experimentation: Still Life

Brief:- Look at Peter Fraser’s close shots of found phenomena at http://www.peterfraser.net. These photographers either create or find salient and amusing new meanings in everyday objects. The visual description of their images is not what the work is ‘about’, but the effect of a juxtaposition, arrangement or phenomenon. Have a careful look around you. Does anything catch your eye? Take a photo of it. There’s nothing to stop you interacting with objects, placing them together and combining them in new ways to create a new meaning. Look at the unlikely arrangement of objects in Nigel Haworth’s photograph. Old fruit, a chopping board and pregnancy tests hang in unlikely juxtaposition. Can you perceive the theme of infertility?

 

My Responses

Peter Fraser

Fig. 1. A City in the Mind (2012)

When I consider the term “found phenomena”, I think of objects that have been discarded in a public space. I was expecting to find many photos of those phenomena in place on the ground, or on a bench or fence etc, but having a look at Fraser’s website I noticed very few of these. Most of the objects have been arranged and they also appear to have been cleaned.

On seeing this photo my first thoughts were about being at school, and having been naughty asked to stand against the wall as a form of punishment. The representation of a woman from the Kayan Lahwi tribe is in close proximity to the upright piece of metal. She is so close that the metal is completely in her face, suggesting that she is forced to endure the practices of her cultural traditions.

Is Fraser, as an outsider, representing his own opinion that the women suffer from wearing the neck rings, which restrict their rights and repress their individuality? Having done a small amount of research it appears that Fraser is repeating the thoughts of anthropologists who have visited the tribe, rather than meeting with the women to discuss their perspective. I don’t believe that Fraser would have placed these objects in such a manner without having undertaken some research of his own. If he is trying to present what I have suggested, then he is off the mark and doesn’t represent the views of the majority of the Kayan women.

However, rings are placed around the neck from the age of five years old, so this practice is therefore enforced rather than chosen. The other aspect is that the rings weaken the neck muscles and suppress the collarbone and ribs. So there is a physical impact upon the women that cannot be avoided.

The metal in Fraser’s arranged photo appears to be in its natural form and perhaps this is the representation of the original, untouched or natural. The rings are usually made of brass, so the metal also gives rise to a literal representation.

Figure.2. Ice and Water (1993)

Those of Fraser’s photos which appear to be in the place where he found them are partially out of focus. Rather than comment upon this photo individually I would like to consider why he would choose to create these photos with a wide open aperture.

Soft focus can often be used to provide a sense of subtlety or romance, but I don’t believe this is what Fraser is trying to achieve. In these instances words such as forgotten, hidden, unseen, fading, unimportant, worthless spring to mind. It becomes apparent that these phenomena will soon be gone, removed from the former owners mind, and at some point will be landfill.

Nigel Haworth

Nigel HaworthFig. 3. Untitled (2017)

I find myself struggling with this picture, not because of the content, but yet again the insistence of the OCA telling me how to read the photo, it makes it very difficult to form my own opinion. This is not the fault of Mr Haworth.

Can I see, as the brief tells me to, the link between this photo and infertility? Yes I can to a small degree. With the four pregnancy testing kits there is a suggestion of the passing of time and the repeated attempts to get pregnant.

The knife adds a sinister element, but I don’t see this as having anything to do with infertility. Perhaps the inference with this photo is around termination rather than infertility. When you look at the pregnancy testing kits closely all but one have two lines which are indicative of a positive test. The fruit tied up with string could appear as bundles. We often use the term “bundles of joy”,or consider a stalk carrying a baby wrapped up in cloth when discussing pregnancy and babies. So there is for me a dissonance within this photo. The knife is an unnecessary element if the photo was to be viewed in the terms of infertility or pregnancy. The only justifiable placement of the knife, in my opinion, would be if the photo was representing termination.

Please OCA, please stop telling me how to read and interpret individual photos and allow me to form my own opinion. Instead of telling me what to see you could ask me how I read the photo?

Illustrations

Figure 1 Fraser, P; 2012; A City in the Mind; AT: http://www.peterfraser.net/projects/a-city-in-the-mind-2012/ (accessed on 03/09/2018)

Figure 2 Fraser, P; 1993; Ice and Water; AT http://www.peterfraser.net/projects/ice-and-water/ (accessed on 03/09/2018)

Figure 3 Haworth, N; 2017; Untitled; In Enoch, R; 2017; Foundations in Photography; Barnsley; OCA.

 

Introduction To Part Four – Experimentation: Still Life

Brief:- Part Four encourages you to use the genre of still life as a laboratory for visual experimentation. Digital imagery offers photographers immense control over the image, making it easy to layer, juxtapose and combine different pictures or parts of pictures.

In Part Four, you’ll learn how to:

  • arrange everyday objects to create a ‘scene’
  • use a range of methods for combining images
  • apply some processes and techniques
  • emulate key visual qualities in other photographers’ work.

Everyday life throws up many unlikely juxtapositions and symbols. Look up Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s Quiet Afternoon series and have a look at their video ‘The Way Things Go’ on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXrRC3pfLnE

 

My Responses

The Way Things Go

“The Way Things Go” is a video rather than photography and it took me a while to understand how the moving image is related to still life. The scene is similar to Domino Rally that I has as a child. You stand the domino’s up one in front of the other, put them on ramps, stairs and all kinds of other structures that come with the kit, and then knock the first one down and watch the chain reaction. Fischli and Weiss’s scene is constructed with everyday objects, placed in such away, that an element becomes a catalyst for change with the next. Each element on its own is still life, but as a single object on the floor, would hold no interest. However, the movement and progress running through the scene is what turns this series of still life into a moving image. The juxtaposition is based upon how the actions of one object/group of objects affects the following. It’s very cleverly put together, not as good as the one I’ve scene on a TV advert (I can’t remember which one), and nowhere near as good as the one which Sesame Street produced for the number 3 many many years ago. I watched that show for years afterwards hoping to see it again, but sadly I never did.

What this tells me as that still life is not necessarily about “Sunflowers” (what actually makes that special???), nor social media plates of food, catalogue of equipment/products nor artifacts.

In this sense it is about relationship, connection, creating something new out of a variety of individual elements. I must say that just from watching that video I feel more positive about this part of the course. I used to think the term “making photography” was pretentious BS to give people the feeling of superiority, but it’s not. Anyone can take a photo of an object (not anyone can paint a vase of sunflowers, suddenly I’m humbled by Van Goch, but only for his talent, I still don’t like the painting). Creating a photograph that challenges perception and provides alternate visual connections is making photography. Anyone could do it, but only genuinely creative photographers will.

Quiet Afternoon

This series includes video and still photography, and on the whole I prefer the videos. The stills are quite messy and mostly lack and finesse, whereas the same objects as moving, dynamic pieces of a larger piece of work is quite amazing. The objects are positioned deliberately, are very finely balanced and leave me wondering how they managed to achieve this. Especially as they were connected to a series of tricks and movement as in the YouTube video above.I don’t believe there is anything symbolic about the juxtapositions of the cleverly arranged subjects. The alternate use of every day equipment/utensils/furniture is good to see, and recycling would be more fun if we were all to give this a try.

My favourite photo from Quiet Afternoon is

Fig 1 Quiet Afternoon 1984

This photo is clean and the shoes are neat and tidy, with a supportive/neutral background. The geometry is appealing as is the one silver shoe. It creates a focal point that keeps my eye on the shoes.

I looked at other series produced by Faschli and Weiss and found Flowers, Mushrooms to be fun, and relaxing to view. OCA photography student Sarah Andrews is producing similar but higher quality layers than Fischli and Weiss, and she pulled her learning and practice together for Assignment 5. Sarah’s photography can be seen here.

Here is an example from Fischli and Weiss

Fig 2 Flowers, Mushrooms (1997/1998)

Illustrations

Figure 1 Fischli, P and Weiss, D; 1984; Quiet Afternoon [C-Print]; AT: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/fischli-weiss/fischli-weiss-room-guide-room-1/fischli-weiss-1 (accessed on 02/09/2018)

Figure 2 Fischli, P and Weiss, D; 1997/1998; Flowers, Mushrooms [C-Print]; AT: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/fischli-weiss/fischli-weiss-room-guide-room-1/fischli-weiss-8 (accessed on 02/09/2018)

My Initial Definition Of Still Life

I am shortly going to embark upon part four of Foundations in Photography with the Open College of the Arts. Although I am not going to begin the coursework exercises until I return from London, I am going to read the manual before I go. I am sure that London will provide additional opportunities for me.

Recently I have been taking some test photos so that I can explore Still Life and what it currently means to me.

My starting point is of course my schooling. Still Life in art classes was focused upon fruit, flowers and pasta in a jam jar. I am aware that still life in art and photography often focuses upon these, and in the days of mobile phones  meals have become very popular to photograph and display upon social media.

I am going to posit that Still Life in art and photography are secondary features of themselves they are  not Still Life.

“Still life is how people organise material or natural possessions, food stuffs, homes, the working environment, and shops. Photography and art develop from our basic need to be organised in order to function, and to possess objects as a means of individuation and pleasure. Often when we hear the words Still Life, we think of works of art or photography, and these are mistakenly believed to be the primary experience of Still Life. This is a misperception, and these are secondary reflections upon how we live our own lives.

Still Life in art and photography is the arrangement, organisation and presentation of objects for display, classification, documentation and study. Still Life is most often aesthetically pleasing, organised and an accurate representation of the subject.”