My approach to assignment 5 was that I wanted to learn a new skill to carry forward to the degree in Photography. I was prepared to fail, which can be an important part of learning. However, things are going better than imagined. Here are two snap shots of the embroidery. It’s such a wonderful and enjoyable process.
The top photo is part of a peacock, embroidered on to a self portrait (I’m not posting the completed photo until I post the completed assignment). The second photo is a work in progress of a butterfly.
Life has got away with me and I find myself writing up my review two weeks late.
It was a pleasure to walk into an exhibition and be able to identify 3 of the photographers by their photography. However, I am going to focus on two pieces that stimulated me, one mentally and one emotionally.
What I find most interesting is that I took the exhibition in over three stages. A brief initial viewing, a more in-depth reflective episode, and a third viewing so I could sit with my grief.
Keith Greenough’s exhibit was of a series of pairs of portraits. There were two photos of each model, There was a time difference of 45 seconds between the first and second portrait. I kinda ignored this series on my first viewing, but my god it drew me in second time around. The photos were almost identical, but then I began to see very slight changes of expression. A slight glint in an eye, a minor movement in the lips. It’s incredible how tiny movements of a muscle can alter expression, emotion and mood. I became fascinated by the models, what they may have been thinking or feeling, and considered how we are in a continuous state of flux. All of these minor waves of energy change the nature of who we are in any given moment. I don’t notice most of these subtle shifts. I define myself as being……. But in reality I cannot know all of the intricacies and inflections of my being. The passage of our lives are defined by the passing of seconds and minutes.
Teresa Lanham’s photography was an expression and journey through her experiences of grief, using macro photography of flowers. She says “The work became a way of re approaching my own life in standing still more often and just see what is there now rather than focusing on an unknown future.”
After my second viewing I went for lunch, and unexpectantly started to cry. Teresa’s photography triggered memories of a period of grief. When I grieve I have a need for space, I become overwhelmed by people, and I vanish fir days. I go to a certain place to reconnect with nature. It becomes a space that can contain my pain. Thank so much Teresa, I healed a little more.
To find out more about the Open Art Collective please visit their website here.
OCA student Kate Aston, very kindly sent me two of her photos, from a previous assignment, in which she embroidered over photography. Both of which are of a climbing wall.
- Long stitches
- Creates a shape which I can anthropomorpise
- Creates an anchor and relay
- Alters perspective
- Reduces appearance of size
- Small stitches
- Single colour
- Provide definition and detail
Although I’m limiting my focus to the stitching, as this is research for my assignment, I do wish to pass comment upon this second photo.
The depth of field is incredible, and this draws me right into the photo. The DoF is so narrow that I imagine that an extension tube was used on a 200mm- 300mm lens to create a macro lens. I’m also going to assume that the shot is made on the ground, shooting high up into a join between wall and ceiling, and that the plans have been shifted by rotating and cropping during the development process. I’m probably wrong. But this photo is so intriguing. It’s also very easing aesthetically.
Having seen this work I have decided to use the embroidery from Kate’s first photo to provide the relay between my face and the subject in Laura Letinsky’s photo. I hadn’t considered creating an installation prior to viewing Kate’s assignment. This is the advantage of connecting with fellow artists and photographers.
To see Kate Aston’s Context and Narrative studies click here, to view her on Instagram it’s kate513940
I’m excited, I’m focused, and occasionally a little anxious.
Although I don’t have a moving date as yet, it’s likely that I will be moving at the end of the month. I’m excited that I want to begin having contact with people, especially my peers and others in the creative community. Opportunity beckons.
It’s also getting close to a cut off point for deciding which course to study. Do I continue studying with the Open College of the Arts, or with the University for the Creative Arts. I’m very suited to distance learning, and I know that studying with the OCA provides me with as much opportunity as I wish to develop creatively, and flexibly. I’ve pulled off a coup by connecting with Laura Letinsky, and this tells me that I can create my own opportunities by studying this way. I value the tutors and the course material.
Studying with the UCA will give me access to a dark room, a vast library and work placements, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other students in other fields. But… I’m getting these opportunities with OCA students, and as an undergraduate I can access any university library.
When I put it in black and white like this I can see that I have a preference. Next week I will speak with student services at the Open College of the Arts, and then meditate before making a decision.
Richard and Action Man would like to wish you a happy and creative new year, and year ahead.
Maurizio Anzeri (1969)
Fig. 1. Bernard (left) and Georgio (right)
Some of the most complex embroidery on photography that I’ve seen, I can’t help but admire the attention to detail and complexity.
- Colour can be used to highlight character, as can shape
- Bernard has some smooth, peaceful joy to counter elements of mania, business and disjointed thought
- Georgio is serious, effeminate, passionate and positive
Fig. 2. Louise B
- Louise is complex
- Likes order
- Sees everything
- An active intelligent mind
- Outwardly feminine but internally rigid
Fig. 3. Nadia
I find this to be a deeply emotional and sad photo. There is pain etched upon her face through the burgundy’s that permeate the gentleness and light of the pinks and whites. Those downward looking eyes with the black embroidery which follows her gaze, suggests a deep sense of sadness and loss.
Fig. 4. Peter
Perhaps a person with no sense of identity who lives in a complex state of psychotic delusion. He has a brain which is set to combust and explode, with an overload of neural connections. But also an introvert and unable to express his ideas.
Embroidering on top of a portrait can add a depth of characterisation. This can be done by using colour and shape, and with the right level of technical expertise, an artist can bring out different aspects of an individuals personality.
Anzeri’s art is phenomenal and he is a technical expert. I’m going to have to rewatch the following you tube tutorial to gain some tips.
Figure 1 Anzeri, M; Bernard and Georgio [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
Figure 2 Anzeri, M; Louise B [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
Figure 3 Anzeri, M; Nadia [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
Figure 4 Anzeri, M; Peter [thread on photograph]; AT: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/91702-maurizio-anzeris-embroidered-photography (accessed on 30/12/2018)
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.
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.
Jamie embroiders over the top of appropriated images and cigarette cards. He is a visual artist and is inspired by nature and rainbows (Rawlings; 2018)
Rawlings uses bright colour and a variety of patterns. He doesn’t make use of the variety of stitches that Puentes does, but his patterns can be very intricate.
Fig. 1. Sable Antelope (2018)
Cigarette cards are small, which adds to the admiration that I have for his creative expression. I struggle sewing onto a large photo, and found that the stitches often tore the paper. I could be wrong, but I believe that Rawlings makes use of a hole punch. If I decide to emulate Laura Letinsky, it would make sense to combine this emulation with that of Rawlings. The simple lines would be effective.
I recommend viewing Rawlings’ Wold Animal cigarette cards. I feel that the embroidery is complimentary, despite the bright coloured threads. You can view his art on Instagram here.
Rawlings, J; 2018; Sable Antelope [Cigarette Card and thread]; AT: https://jamierawlingsartist.com/shop-1?olsPage=products%2Fsable-antelope (accessed on 21/12/2018)
Rawlings, J; 2018; About Me; Online: AT: https://jamierawlingsartist.com/about-me (accessed on 21/12/2018)