The Photo Sociology “I Can Do Better Than A Turner” Photography Award – Update

Yay – we have had our fourth entry today, head on over to the gallery to have a look. The question is – have you entered yet?

Have you ever wondered what makes a photographer or an artist famous? Felt that you or others have achieved equal or better results but do not have the same recognition? Who decides that one persons work is worthy of critical acclaim? I saw a winning Turner Prize series of photo’s recently and thought to myself “I can do better than that”.

Do you feel that your photography is better than a photographer that has achieved worldwide recognition? Whether you believe this or not, you can enter a photo into this free competition. You may consider yourself to be a photographer or you may not. It doesn’t matter. If you have a camera or smart phone then you can enter.

There is no entry fee.

Any one over 18 can enter this competition and can submit one photo. I cannot accept photo’s of minors due to the ethics around consent, and any photo that you submit must be taken in a manner that is in keeping with the legal requirements of the country that you reside. If your photo is of an individual then you are responsible for obtaining consent. We will not accept photos of a sexual nature, nor that promotes hate crime or terrorism.

There will be one winner and two runners up. The winner will recieve a £50 Amazon voucher, converted to the currency of the country in which the winner resides, and the two runners up will recieve a £25 Amazon voucher each.

The competition runs from the 6th June 2018 and ends on the 5th June 2019. The earlier you enter the longer people will view your photography and follow the link back to your blog.

How to enter

To enter the competition please create a WordPress blog post with the title “The Photo Sociology “I Can Do Better Than A Turner” Photography Award” and the copy the following text into your post.

“Have you ever wondered what makes a photographer or an artist famous? Felt that you or others have achieved equal or better results but do not have the same recognition? Who decides that one persons work is worthy of critical acclaim? I saw a winning Turner Prize series of photo’s recently and thought to myself “I can do better than that”.

Do you feel that your photography is better than a photographer that has achieved worldwide recognition? Whether you believe this or not you can enter a photo into this free competition. You may consider yourself to be a photographer or you may not. It doesn’t matter. If you have a camera or smart phone then you can enter.

There is no entry fee.

Any one over 18 can enter this competition and can submit one photo. I cannot accept photo’s of minors due to the ethics around consent, and any photo that you submit must be taken in a manner that is in keeping with the legal requirements of the country that you reside. If your photo is of an individual then you are responsible for obtaining consent. We will not accept photos of a sexual nature, nor that promotes hate crime or terrorism.

Please visit the gallery website so that you can submit your photo”

Add the photo that you wish to enter into your blog post, and then go to the contact page and in the comments box provide a link to your post. I will then copy your photo and add it to the competition gallery website with a link back to your page. I will only use your photo on the gallery page and you retain the copyright and license. The winner and two runners up will have their post featured on this blog and the competion gallery website.

I am recommending that you nominate people who you follow to enter the competition, the more entries that we have, the larger the community we create.

Please feel free to Press this post, re-share it, and post it on your social media accounts. Even if some viewers choose not to enter, they may still visit your site and see the wonderful work that you produce.

There will be three judges, including me, who will decide the winner and runners up, and our decision will be final.

Best wishes and good luck

(It may occasionally take me 3 or 4 days to upload your photo.)

1,500 Reasons To Be Grateful

Today the 1,500th person followed my blog. I’m feeling very grateful. I’m aware that people follow me for different reasons. I hope that I continue to create posts that you enjoy it relate to, as well as my studies.

I’ve also made some friends by following you and engaging with you via your posts. It’s wonderful to have friends from around the world.

I welcome any ideas that you may have so that I can create meaningful dialogue.

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I thank you all and I’m feeling very grateful.

I’ve Just Restored Some Deleted Posts – Feeling Vulnerable About My Eating Disorder

This week has been obe in which I have felt vulnerable in relation to my eating disorder, and because of this I deleted many of my personal posts which appeared in my creative writing page. The page has become more of a journal, and I felt exposed by having the posts public. So I deleted them.

Having just restored them I am hoping that WordPress hasn’t posted them to the feeder as if they were new. I don’t want to bore you all with things that you have already read. I will find out shortly.

I am feeling very grateful today. I have been out with my camera, and it is so nice to be out and about with it again. Photography is such an important part of my life, and one of my main motivators for change. To be able to slowly walk around and see through the eye of a lens has been joyous, and it brings me much needed hope.

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Finding Inspiration – Exercise 4.7 – Photomontage

This has been a fun and creative approach to finding inspiration and allowing ideas to develop. I made use of three different styles of magazine – journal, gardening, lifestyle – and added to this with newspaper cuttings.

Following the reviews which I have just completed of Hannah Hoch and John Heartfield, I can see how I can create my montages in similar styles.

The first idea relating to climate change will be in the style of Heartfield, political, topical, a dominant character, more minimalist than the style of Hoch.

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My photomontage which emulates Hoch will be far more busy and explore the underlying feelings and external symptoms of eating disorders.

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Both of these ideas break away from the brief slightly, but this style of art has become increasingly important to me as I develop as a photographer. There is potential for me to develop as a mixed media artist, yes it’s the early stage of exploration, but I don’t have to limit my creativity.

Of course I will follow the brief as well, and Brexit is going to be my theme.

Review – John Heartfield And Hannah Hoch

John Heartfield (1891 – 1968)

Heartfield, J; 1932; The meaning of the Hitler Salute Little Man Asks for Big Gifts Copper-plate photogravureFig. 1. The Meaning of the Hitler Salute Little Man Asks for Big Gifts (1932)

Initial Thoughts – Possibly a magazine cover or a poster. Hitler is depicted as a smaller man, with the benefactor behind him being so large that he fills the full length of the frame, with only part of his head in view. He is handing over large quantities of bank notes to Hitler. Allegorical – Hitler is a small/small minded man who is heavily dependant upon the generosity of others to have his position of power (note – inital thoughts based upon the assumption that hitler was already in power in 1932 – when in fact he lost the presidential election of that year (The History Place; 1996)). The brief is asking us to consider juxtaposition within the genre of still life photography, but more importantly, the aim is for us as students to learn how to take control of the images that we produce. Photomontage is a means which we can employ to become the director of all aspects of our creative output. We can arrange elements in any manner to enable us full expression of our ideas, whatever they may be.

The Dada movement was founded as a political protest against the “rabid German nationalism and Anglophobia that developed following Germany’s defeat in World War I. The Dada artists were closely tied to the revolutionary political struggle; ‘Use photography as a weapon’ was their slogan” (Mulligan, T and Wooters, D; 2016; pp524). Heartfield was a founder member of the dadaist movement, and the term ‘photomontage’ developed from the Dadaists. Heartsfield has turned Hitlers salute into a e plea for power and the resources to obtain it. A very simple image which carries a weighty message.

Hannah Hoch (1889 – 1978)

Hoch-Cut_With_the_Kitchen_KnifeFig. 2. Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany (1919 – 1920)

Initial thoughts – Complex collage that has made use of photo’s and clippings from many magazines and newspapers. I find myself feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of visual information, especially as it relates to an era of which I know and understand little. It makes use of people, words, scenes, charicatures and objects. Although I cannot read the image directly from screen (too much to know where to start) I can see the creative freedom one can achieve with this style of art. I do have a copy in a photography book, so I will take some time to have a look over the scene in more detail, and to read what the experts say.

Notes from Fabian Knierim in Photography the Whole Story (2012); pp194

  • Hanna Hoch the only woman artist in first Dada Fair in 1920
  • Image portrays politic and social upheaval
  • Fragments taken from the press
  • People are from politics and the arts
  • Includes representatives of the old empire and left wing revolutionists
  • The revolutionists are shown as unifying Germany
  • The women are in dynamic poses representative of movement
  • The men are static

 

Illustrations

Figure 1 Heartfield, J; 1932; The meaning of the Hitler Salute:: Little Man Asks for Big Gifts [Copper-plate photogravure]; AT: http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/heartfield/salute_zm.html (accessed on 19/10/2018)

Figure 2 Hoch, H; 1919 – 1920; Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany [Collage]; AT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_H%C3%B6ch (accessed on 19/10/2018)

References

Knierim, F; 2012; Cut With the Kitchen Knife: Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany; IN: Hacking, J and Company, D; 2012; Photography the Whole Story; London; Thames and Hudson; pp194.

Mulligan, T and wooters, D; 2016) A History of Photography From 1839 to the Present; Cologne; Taschen GmbH

The History Place; 1996; Hitler Runs For President; Online AT: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/runs.htm (accessed on 19/10/2018)

 

Exercise 4.6 – Using Layers In Photoshop

Brief:- Create a series of photographs that include deep shadow in much of the frame. You could achieve this by using a black backdrop or by exposing in high contrast light as in Part One Project 2 (Shadows). Choose about four final images. In Photoshop, place the images on top of one another and change the Blend Mode to Screen (removes the black from the image) of the images above the lowest image. Experiment with Luminosity and Color blending modes. You may also want to reduce the opacity of each image. Move them around with consideration for the sense of depth the image represents and try to create a final composite.

This has been an enjoyable exercise. You’ll be surprised to know that I followed the brief, and then deviated from it somewhat as well.

Lets begin with my favourite. For the first composite I have included three subjects that bring me pleasure, although for different reasons. They create a conflict of emotion for me as well, due to the negative impact that heavy industry and aviation have upon nature.

I broke from the brief for this, because I knew what I wanted to portray and the brief wouldn’t have got me there. The bottom layer was the bird, and I left the blend mode as normal, the second image is the coastal heavy industry at Tees Port, I altered the blend mode to screen, and the third is two aircraft from  Armed Forces day in Scarborough, in which I altered the opacity. To remove the backgrounds in the second and third photos I have used the background eraser and changed the brush to Kyle Spatter Brushes – Spatter Bot Tilt. These are free brushes that I had previously downloaded. I progressively lowered the flow and opacity with the brush to try to create a more natural look. The final image is very small because the birds eye was such a small part of the original photo. It’s far from perfect, but it still says something to me.

The Originals

The following two photos were made by following the brief, although I did find that I needed to mess around with the blend modes to get the effect that I found to be most effective.  I will show the originals first, in order from the bottom layer upwards.

The above is my favourite out of five different attempts that I made from the same three photos. The church and the blue background appear as if they could be a stylised satin wallpaper. The bottom right looks a touch messy, but you know what, I like it. It has a surreal and smokey feel and the colour blends in with the blue. The difficulty was removing the obvious line over the vase, from where two layers were not aligned. I can’t remember which brush I used, and It hasn’t come out to bad here, except for the area below the vase.

Layer 1 – Blend mode:- Dissolve, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 2 – Blend mode:- Pin light, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 3 – Blend mode:- Darken, Opacity 59%, Flow 100%.

This hasn’t worked as well. Although it isn’t obvious that I have blended the edge between two layers, it is clear that something has happened. The brush was meant to disperse and weaken the edge, which it has, but not my best work. If I could have somehow blended that edge more proficiently then the overall quality would have been pleasing.

Layer 1 – Blend mode:- Dissolve, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 2 – Blend mode :- Linear dodge (add), Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 3 – Blend mode:- Darken, Opacity 33%, Flow 100%.

A great exercise and one that I am very pleased to have given a go. It’s interesting to notice how I have developed with layering in Photoshop. More practice required, but I will feel better equipped and more confident with experimenting in the future.

 

Exercise 4.4 – Patchwork

Brief:- Make a series of photographs of textures and colours, objects and forms. These can be close or wide shots of essential things like clothes, bricks, bark, grass, sky, etc. Try to render everything ‘abstract’ or not entirely recognisable by altering your viewpoint. Reduce the file size of the images. Save As…JPEG. Image Size > 1500 pixels. Place the photographs together in a grid. Aim to make a composition of at least nine rectangle or square images. Consider how the colours and textures, objects and forms work together and as a whole. Which pictures seem closer and which appear further away? Which colours stand out and which colours (or tones) recede? Save the arrangement with a different file name; call it Patchwork_1. Now remove one of the photographs that appeared distant. Put in its place a photograph of a distant person. Remove one of the photographs that is close, a near detail. Put in its place a photograph depicting a close-up of the same person. Save it as Patchwork_2. What has happened to your interpretation of the finished picture?

4.4c

The pictures which feel the closest are the banana’s, and then the lower two on the right, with the stairwell and plate at bottom centre feeling furthest away. Colour-wise I would have to say that the banana, the wall centre left and the wicker on the centre right stand out the most, with the mirror at top left and diamond at bottom left less so. I find it harder to pick with the colours, because I find that they all have an impact upon me, other than the diamond at the lower left hand corner.

4.4d

The second part of the brief requires to replace near and far photos with a close-up and distant portrait. I’m quite surprised by my reaction. I don’t find that the mosaic works with the near shot image of the man in it. Perhaps it has to do with the cooler colour temperatures, or maybe it feels to impersonal by using a photo in which he is looking away from the camera. There is a positive aspect as well though, and that’s that he ties the objects/scenes together. They could easily be seen as aspects of his life, and I have seen patchwork presentations which have that sole purpose.

The course material that I am using doesn’t make mention of including a portrait to replace near or receding parts of the patchwork, I only discovered this whilst copying and pasting from an earlier word version. So I had already messed around with the photos that I had chosen, trying a few arrangements. Here’s one that I also liked.

4.4a

 

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.

Early Recovery Exhaustion – Following Your Blogs

Feeling exhausted is not something that I expected and it’s a big surprise to me. Perhaps this is because my body is beginning to heal.

The routine of the meal plan has become more comfortable, although I do forget sometimes. I’ve remembered eventually, so it just means I run late. Im used to only eating once per day, so I’m not surprised that I occasionally forget.

The 3 meals and three snacks are mostly what I’m used to eating, but I am managing to introduce some new foods. Interestingly, I’m aware that I need and want to eat more food. My food intake has increased significantly but it isn’t enough to sustain me. I have no idea how to do this in a manner that I can cope without triggering my anorexic response. My therapist and I can discuss this and make adjustments when we next talk. It’s a more complicated process than just eating more. Be told by well-wishers really doesn’t help. Despite their genuine and sincere hope for my wellbeing it makes things harder for me.

My energy levels are very low and I’ve had no motivation to do anything productive. I’ve spent my time with my headphones on, listening to music full blast, and doing some intensely detailed pixel editing in photoshop. It has achieved anything photographically, but it’s stopped me from thinking those negative anorexic thoughts that don’t want me to recover.

My energy has been so low that it’s beit’s been too much effort to read your blog posts. You have become an important community for me, I love being in touch and sharing our lives and I look forward to being able to catch up when I am able.

I wish you all peace, love and joy. See you soon.

 

Change And Growth – Grateful For The Generosity And Love Which Means That I Now Have Professional Support

This week I felt so frustrated with not finding a dietician who could work with me over Skype at a price that I could afford. I didn’t quite give up though. I had the inspiration to contact Lynn Crilly. I discovered her on Twitter two or three years back, and followed her posts. Lynn, set up an organisation called Hope With Eating Disorders, which is now called Hope With Mental Health. As well as being a counsellor working with people with eating disorders, she has a daughter who is now in recovery/recovered (they have different meanings, and individuals use their preferred term in a positivistic way). When I was admitted into an inpatient unit for the treatment of anorexia two years ago Lynn sent me a copy of Hope With Eating Disorders. I  was stunned by her kindness, especially because we had only exchanged a couple of messages on Twitter. Hope With Eating Disorders is a book which Lynn wrote for families who have a loved one suffering from an eating disorder. The book is an honest, but deeply loving account of her family’s experience of living with a child who is really sick with anorexia. It discusses the  difficulties, tension and struggles which the family lived through, as well as her daughters progress as she gradually began to change, get well and recover.

sdrFig tree

I felt overwhelmed with gratitude because somebody whom I barely knew had been kind enough to send me a book which they had written. But what really touched my soul was the love which is apparent in Lynn’s style of writing.

cofFruit bearing fig tree

So I emailed Lynn this week and explained my situation. She called me back and said that she had spoken with a few people that she knows from other organisations, and gave me a couple of numbers that I could try. The first one I called is willing to work me, so I now have professional support. She also put me onto her Hope With Mental Health YouTube channel. Her family are the vloggers, and the love that shines through was beautiful to see.

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Yesterday whilst walking into town, I was crying with gratitude. I felt in awe at the love and kindness which I have received from Lynn, and witnessed within her family.

I am aware that I am growing and changing with regards to my anorexia and all of the behaviours associated with it.

cofApple

Today is the sixth day that I have followed the style of meal plan which the eating disorders unit followed when I was there two years ago. Ok the three meals and snacks are just eating more of the same things I have eaten for months. But my calories are far higher, and although I have a rough idea of what they are I am no longer counting them. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I have introduced two new foods, porridge and jacket potato with tuna-mayo. I’ve got rid of the food I had hoarded, and my kitchen is now one which is condusive with developing a healthy relationship with food.

Reaching out to members of the 12 step recovery group hasn’t been easy. But I have called two or three of them, and a couple of us speech message each other on WhatsApp. I really value the meetings, the identification with other anorexics and bulimics means that I no longer feel shameful about, or alone with my eating disorder

cofMelon

I have hope that I can recover, but I also remain aware that I’ve had hope before. I’ve made progress for a while and then fell back into anorexia. I am trying to focus upon today, this day is all that I have, and today I am ok.

The photos of my plants are included because they are growing with me. I especially like the apple and melon which I planted as seeds.

The following two links are for Lynn’s website and the Hope With Mental Health YouTube channel.

Lynn Crilly

Hope With Mental Health YouTube channel

If you think or know that you have an eating disorder and you are not  receiving help or support, please be aware that help is available and recovery is possible. Please speak to your doctor or talk to a trusted friend. There are also eating disorders charities around the world which provide help, guidance and information.

UK Based Eating Disorder Charities

BEAT

Men Get Eating Disorders Too

Men and Boys Get Eating And Exercise Disorders Scotland

International Eating Disorder Charities

United States

NEDA

Canada

NEDIC

India

The Minds Foundation

Australia

NEDC

Peer Support groups

Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous

Smart Recovery

Over-Eaters Anonymous

Eating Disorders Anonymous