Annie Leibovitz – Masterclass – Lesson One – Portrait

A precious gift that I recieved for Christmas, from a dear friend, was a subscription to an Annie Leibovitz Masterclass.

Masterclass is an app that provides master-classes by people who are world renowned in their field, it can be optained on Google Play Store and the Apple Store.

Lesson 1

There are a few points that I’m taking away. Which I’ll bullet point below. But the most interesting point was a question one of her students asked. It was raised in relation to to photo-journalism, but I think it applies to all genres of photography. “Where is the line?” I photographed an act of self harm for part four of my coursework and in assignment four, and it was necessary for me to question was my photography relevant, necessary and provided in context. Ultimately this is a personal question and each photographers answer is subjective. It’s of note that Leibovitz says this question is ongoing for photographers.

  • You cannot capture an individual with one photo
  • To capture different aspects of personality more than one photo is required
  • It’s beneficial to return to work with an individual in a new setting at a different time (months or years apart
  • A series created in such manner reveals more about a person than a single shoot could do
  • Take lots of photos and regularly
  • It takes years to learn how to see
  • Keep photos that you’re not initially drawn too, your perspective may change over time

Elf Portrait

btf

btfmdn

 

Anorexia Recovery – Christmas – New Foods – What Is Hunger

Right now I’m very pleased with the progress that I’m making. Food is certainly something that I’m enjoying. The obsessive thoughts that I had around food have decreased considerably, but they are certainly intense when my emotions are strong.

The most difficult time over the Christmas period was when shopping the day after I arrived in Cork. I had a shopping list for breakfasts, lunch and snacks, but I found being in a new shop, in a new town and being around so much food was challenging.

hdrplProfiterole, cheesecake and Ben and Jerry.

I heavily over-ate one night whilst I was in Cork, and I had a couple of nights where I had a few chocolates. So what! It’s no big deal, and I didn’t go into guilt and shame.

I had several foods I hadn’t eaten for a long time, which included Chinese and Asian street food, ham, tomato and salad sandwiches, a full English and Christmas Dinner.

IMG_20181223_222144.jpgSingapore special chow mein.

I cooked Christmas Dinner. I love cooking and I was very satisfied with my cooking. Roast lamb, roast beef, sprouts cooked with bacon and pear, honey glazed parsnips, glazed buttered carrots, fluffy roast potatoes and breaded mushroom for starter. I’m very impressed with the progress that I am making.

IMG_20181225_152729.jpgI cooked this Christmas Roast. 

It also feels like my weight has stabilised. I don’t weigh myself, but I don’t think I’m putting on anymore either – which is a relief.

I’m going on holiday to India next year, so I need to be flexible with my eating, and I want to learn to eat according to hunger and fullness. I experience hunger so infrequently. I didn’t feel it at all when I wasn’t eating, so anytime when I feel slightly hungry or slightly full is a time of excitement for me. I’m focusing intently on my stomach and tummy before, during and after eating. I’ve now had two very subtle feelings of fullness. I can’t believe how excited I feel at feeling hungry or full. Life is bizarre.

IMG_20181223_180751.jpgI can’t believe how wonderful a ham sandwich tastes.

Things are going well. I still get some intense thoughts about eating or restricting, and shopping disturbed me so much that it triggered my neuro-muscular condition, but overall my recovery is going well.

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.

IMG_20181229_143042.jpg

  • 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

 

Mental Health Professionals Stigmatize People With Mental Illness

Sadly there is a host of peer-reviewed research which highlight the reality that mental health professionals stigmatise people with mental health problems.

Although this is a disturbing finding, being on the receiving end of it is far worse. I have experienced this as an inpatient, as an outpatient and also in general.

I’m aware of these attitudes, but today I perceived stigmatisation by a former mental health professional. Yes some of my photography is disturbing, yes I’m aware of this, but do I have to hide my lived reality, whether past or present, so as not to offend you? No! My lived experience is real, and as a visual artist I will retain my authenticity, even if you believe it to be attention seeking. It isn’t, but to describe it so only increases the social exclusion that exacerbates mental health problems in the first place.

At some point in the future I will write a photo essay which explores stigmatisation by mental health care and general health care professionals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16445483/

https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/32/4/709/1934707

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0840470416679413

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)

Photo Sociology Wishes You Happy Holidays And Happy Christmas

Richard and Action Man would like to wish you all peace and joy. May you be well, may you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, may you be happy and have the means for happiness, may you live with ease.

fznor

Cork is one of the most beautifully decorated cities that I know. They really go for it with their Christmas decorations.

IMG_20181224_095020.jpg

IMG_20181224_094944.jpg

Action Man and I took a walk this morning so that we could enjoy the lights.

IMG_20181224_094905.jpg

rhdr

Some of the shop window displays are truly wonderful.

IMG_20181224_094744.jpg

rhdr

IMG_20181224_094649.jpg

IMG_20181224_094616.jpg

fznor

 

Action Man Asks “What The Fuck Is Hurling?” – And A Trip To An AA Meeting

Excuse my language. Richard tells me that I’ve got to get a grip on it, he also says that I’ve been cursing more since I quit drinking.

He was very sneaky yesterday, he said we were going for a walk, yeah, right into the middle of an AA meeting. Which is why I didn’t write my travel log yesterday.

How was AA, Interestingly they said its the first drink that gets you drunk. I shan’t tell you my initial response as it involves more swearing. I always thought that it was the 10th or 11th that got me drunk. But apparently if you can’t stop drinking once you’ve started then it’s the first that gets you drunk.

They said it’s a spiritual program, and the word God was used. Richard’s the one who believes in some spiritual energetic mumbo jumbo, I’m an atheist, so I was adamant that I can’t believe in a power greater than me. How can an atheist work a spiritual program? Well, apparently I can trust the power of the group, a bunch of sober people who most definitely drank like I did, and who are now living sober. Someone even said that I could use G O D as an acronym for Group Of Drunks. I can promise you I’ve turned my life over to many groups of drunks down the pub, in the army, at the football, so I guess I can turn it over to a sober group of drunks.

The crazy buggers even said keep coming back, there’s a turn up for the books. In my drinking most people (not Richard) told me exactly where to go.

Maybe I’ll do just that – go back to another meeting.

Today Richard and I went for an early walk to the Páirc Uí Chaoimh, where Cork play a game called Hurling.

On the way I took a photo of a dawn scene. I like the sky and the reflection, Richard liked the light on the building.

fznor

We were going to take photos of birds on the pond, especially the little grebe (those are on Richard’s camera), and the pond is next to the stadium.

hdrpl

I’ve had to look up the sport of Hurling, cos neither Richard nor me, knew what it was.

Hurling is a traditional Gaelic game that has been played in Ireland for over 4000 years. Players have a stick, and they can use that to hit the ball (on the ground or in the air), and they can also balance the ball on the stick and run with it. It’s possible to hold the ball and run with it, for a maximum of four steps, before they bounce it or pass it. The objective is to hit the ball between the posts, over the cross-bar for 1 point, below the bar for 3.

Quite a tough game to play and can get a bit rough from time to time. You have to wear protective head-gear as well. Maybe I’ll get to watch it one day. Sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s a link to the Cork GAA website.

The pond was dead relaxing. Mostly black headed gulls, a few swans, mallards, tufted duck and 4 little grebe. There were a couple of Herons nesting in the tree, and also what were either cormorant or shag. The colours suggested they were shag, but I’m no expert on spotting the difference.

hdrpl

Behind the pond is the River Lee, which runs into Lough Mahon and then out into the Irish Sea, Muir Cheilteach if you’re Irish. The River is vast and from dawn till dusk you will find people rowing on the river or jogging down the path. People on bikes cycle at the pace of the boats and shout at the rowers. That’s a job I must apply for. I didn’t get a photo of the rowers, but Richard took a final photo of me. Catch you tomorrow.

fznor