Exercise 3.1 – Searching

Brief:- Take at least a couple of hours or more to wander around. Don’t be shy; you won’t be arrested, you’re not breaking the law. You’re doing exactly what most photographers do every day. When we search we don’t necessarily have a clear idea of what we’re looking for. However, the act of searching is never aimless because to search implies an open-ness to finding. It also helps us to hone our ideas, to sort out what is and isn’t relevant. There will come a time when you need to consolidate a body of work, but for now you’re free. When you’ve uploaded your photos decide whether to arrange them as smaller images in a scroll that reflects the journey you made. Or pick out some individual images.

The exercise was a lot of fun. I went out to a small village called Danby on the eastern edge of the North York Moors. It was a place which I haven’t been to before, was accessible, and it’s always enjoyable to photograph in a new place. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to go to the Moors National Park Centre, nor the Inspired By gallery. That is on my agenda for a future time and an earlier train, maybe a bit of sun as well, its good to be warm.

The first thing that I photographed when I got off of the train was a small bush, and a large Monkey Puzzle tree (Whitby Jet is the fossilised monkey puzzle). I started photographing and texture, lines and geometry became an unscripted theme to explore. I photographed footprints, stones, trees, tree bark, plants, landscapes and an RAF Hawk trainer/fighter.

My difficulty has come with deciding how to present the photos. The review of Michael Wolf (seen here) was inspiring, but his series are so well presented that I have had difficulty with selecting photos and grouping them together to try and replicate his quality.

Trees

Grid-no-ayers

Geometry

Grid-no-layers

Macro

Grid-no-layers

I feel that all of the grids are presentable, but geometry more so. The layout for that works well, and adds to the geometric theme, as well as being easy on the eye. It matches concrete with concrete, wood with wood, and post with post.

Macro could possibly have done with an extra photo, but to be honest I wasn’t pleased with the others that I shot on the day. The first two photos are of a good quality technically and aesthetically, although the third lacks clarity towards the edges of the thorn.

Trees is a consistent series but it lacks punch, and that’s because of the first three photos. If I were to take a few more photos similar to the bottom pairing and add those, it would improve the series considerably.

As always I welcome critique and feedback.

 

 

Review – Michael Wolf – My Favourite Things

Hong-Kong-Break-1--5-pieces-2015Fig. 1. Hong Kong Break #1 (5 pieces) (2015)

Initial thoughts – Similar verticles create ease on the eye and link the photographs together. Similar tones. I like the fact that the workers taking their breaks are only partially visible. The apparent poses follow the theme of suggesting a person taking a break. The lines, tone and glimpses of the subjects create a series that has consistency and flow.

Hong-Kong-Flora-1-2014Fig. 2. Hong Kong Flora #1 (2014)

Initial thoughts – Although the photos have different colour schemes they also have a similar tone. The grid format of presentation works well here and emphasis the shapes of the windows and pipes. I believe that this works well because it highlights that the flora is not the main subject per say. These are not biological photos of flowers and plants, but they represent the hardiness and gentleness of nature in over coming the harshness of man made structures. However, I also find there is a beauty in the combination of structure and nature, and I think its the balance that is provided between the hard lines and gentle flora.

The emphasis on part three of the courseowrk is communication and narrative. A story is told in both of these examples of Wolf’s photography, and an individual photo would not have the strength that his series convey. Presentation as a series reinforces the visual alliterative, and the lateral and logical processes required to deconstruct photography and discover a personal interpretation.

 

Illustrations

Figure 1; Wolf, M; 2015; Hong Kong Break #1 (5 pieces); Online AT: http://photomichaelwolf.com/#my-favourite-thing-groups-2/6 (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 2; Wolf, M; Hong Kong Flora #1; Online AT: http://photomichaelwolf.com/#my-favourite-thing-groups-2/10 (accessed on 20/02/2018)

References

Gallery Fifty One; 2018; Michael Wolf : Blind walls and night trees – My favourite things: Online AT: http://www.gallery51.com/?navigatieid=237&exhibitionid=110 (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc; 2018; Michael Wolf (photographer); Online AT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Wolf_(photographer) (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Review – Gerhard Richter – Atlas

Brief:- Take a look at Gerhard Richter’s Atlas. You’ll see that Richter has placed together multiple images of a similar subject – a particular colour in the sky, similar types of buildings, trees and types of portrait. Its called a typology.

Gerhard Richter, 1932, Dresden. Studied fine art, influenced by Lucio Fontana, Jackson Pollock (McCarthy, T; 2011)

Volker Bradke 1966 Atlas sheet 26Fig. 1. Volker Bradke (1966)

Initial thoughts – Two photos of the same person. Possibly a young armed forces recruit, national service, the hair cut and the shirt suggest this to me. The blurred image is symbolic of the person left behind. The personality change from the boy and innocence that was, becoming the man that is, the clear head shot of the new recruit. A very simple typology of two photos that create a narrative. My analysis may be in-correct but this typology does create a story for the viewer to interpret.

Fur 48 portraits 1971 Atlas sheet 30Fig. 2. Für 48 Portraits (1971)

Initial Thoughts – Mahatma Gandhi and Moa Tse Tung are immediately obvious. The other men look like they are men of importance, their dress and the formality of many of the portraits suggest this. Most have a serious and studious expression. These men are considered to be great thinkers, philosophers, scientists and leaders of their time. The photos are displayed in grid format, and there are a further 10 sheets, one of which contains a biography and two are representations for an installation. This typography appears to be documentary and representative in style.

Further reading highlights that Richter found these images in books, and are of prominent people whose portraits were taken in between 1824 and 1904. The men are all white, no women at all. Richter then painted 48 of these people for the German pavilion of the 1972 Venice Biennale. I find it interesting that although the photos in the 8 sheets include politicians and artists, Richter chose not to include these in his final 48. (2018a; Casella, A) Casella quotes Richter’s reflections upon this series “I am interested in the speechless language of these pictures. Heads, even if they are full of literature and philosophy, become quite unliterary. Literature is invalidated; the personalities become anonymous. That’s what is important to me here.” (2018b; Casella, A)

Mountain Ranges 1968 Atlas sheet 129Fig. 3. Mountain Ranges (1968)

Initial Thoughts:- Rather dull monochrome images of mountain ranges. Banal, sterile and the only obvious context is they are a representation of mountains. Does exactly what it says on the tin, with no meaning beyond the representation. However, these photos, as with many of the typologies from Richter’s Atlas, are props for his drawing and painting. The Mountain Range series becomes a tool so that Richter can create both literal and abstract works of art. Richter seems uncertain of what his art represents. He has stated that painting is about discovering the known, a literal representation, and then in the same interview he states that painting is about the unknown and incomprehensible (abstract) (McCarthy, T; 2011). My impression is that different aspects of Richter’s work have different meanings, and ask different questions of the viewer.

Gebirge 1968Fig. 4. Gebirge (1968)

Richter is both an artist and photographer, and he uses these skills in their own right, and also combines them together and overpaints photography (see Overpainted Photographs here).

Illustrations

Figure 1; Richter, G; 1966; Volker Bradke Atlas sheet 26; AT: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/atlas/volker-bradke-11606/?&p=1&sp=32 (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 2; Richter, G; 1971; Für 48 Portraits Atlas sheet 30; AT: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/atlas/for-48-portraits-11610/?&p=1&sp=32 (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 3; Richter, G; 1968; Mountain Ranges Atlas sheet 129; AT: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/atlas/mountain-ranges-11709/?&p=5&sp=32 (accessed on 20/02/2018)

Figure 4; Richter, G; 1968; Gebirge (amphibolin on canvas); AT: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/contemporary-art-evening-auction-l16020/lot.27.html (accessed on 20/02/2018)

References

Casella, A; 2018a; Notes; Online AT: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/paintings/photo-paintings/portraits-people-20/48-portraits-alfredo-casella-10692 (accessed on 20/12/2018)

Casella, A; 2018b; Notes; Online AT: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/paintings/photo-paintings/portraits-people-20/48-portraits-alfredo-casella-10692 (accessed on 20/12/2018)

Richter, G; 2018; Overpainted Photographs; Online AT: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/overpainted-photographs (accessed on 20/12/2018)

McCarthy, T; 2011; Blurred visionary: Gerhard Richter’s photo-paintings; Online AT: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/sep/22/gerhard-richter-tate-retrospective-panorama (accessed on 20/02/2018)