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)

Tutor Feedback For Assignment Four – Responding To A Theme

Jayne invested a considerable amount of time and energy into my feedback, for which I am most grateful. There were many points for further development, praise for my strengths, and guidance as to how to improve this assignment and develop it’s presentation. We also discussed which photographers to focus upon and review, and ways in which to develop further as a photographer and artist. Here is the formal feedback provided by Jayne, my notes and reflections are below, and then I conclude with a plan of action based upon the given feedback.

Two aspects particularly please me:- Jayne called me an artist. External validation from Jayne leaves me feeling proud of my photography and art. I am passionate about photography and I have become deeply creative and expressive. The exploration of mixed media photography has changed my perspective of myself as a photographer and artist.

Jayne completely understood my theme, and the motives that I had in producing this work. Jayne:- “This is very potent work, Richard, which I have to say is at first shocking, horrifying and worrying. It’s not just the cuts that shock but the words you literally inflict on yourself here. The initial impression does give way, though, to an understanding that the act of self-harm and self-abuse has been a part of life for you; and the “message” of the work manifests as being about your growth towards self-love/self-respect/self-care.“.

Hell yeah I am proud of this comment. I invested myself heavily into this assignment. I had something to say, a message about my process of change, a presentation of my reality, my self-hatred and the effort that I put into self-love. I am a visual artist, and as an artist I want to provoke a reaction, provide an opportunity for others to pause and reflect, and to feel. This piece of photography has given me the opportunity to do the same. I use photography for my personal development, which is my primary goal, the desire to provoke is secondary, but it is an important aspect of the work which I produce.

Jayne:- “This is brave, authentic and powerful work that expresses so well those difficult (and often buried) struggles with identity through opposing internal and external forces.

Identity is a theme that I have explored throughout my coursework. Self identity and the identity of others. Being authentic leaves me feeling vulnerable at times, but the support I have received has been such a blessing. Thank you to all of my peers and online community, I feel very grateful for your compassion and sensitivity.

Jayne:- “You raised an important point during our conversation about the inner resistance you noticed and felt through executing the self-harm element in the work – in that sense, it seems as though the work might perhaps have helped you feel, experientially how far you have come in the last two years, in all sorts of ways.

My photography has changed and developed, and I have developed mentally and emotionally. The resistance that I experienced was in relation to cutting words into my leg was intense. I didn’t want to do it, but it was a critical statement that I needed to express. It was something that I used to do in rage at my own existence, fueled by a deep resentment of being alive. I chose to self-harm for this assignment, to show the hatred that I had towards myself. To fall naturally into self-care after cutting was a surprise. It was completely unforced, and thus enabled me to see the results of my kind and compassionate self-care over the past two years. I have put in an immense amount of effort into these daily practices of compassion and dignity. It hasn’t been easy.

Jayne:- “experimenting with materials, and writing, are going to play a key part

Experimentation and collaboration have become important aspects for me. Collaborating pushes my boundaries. Working with others and responding to their art forces me into new ways to explore and express. I have some ongoing and upcoming collaborative projects.

Jayne:- “Your written commentary is important here. You write well – perhaps think about ways to weave the text and image together through future work & experiments.”      and      “The diptych format feels a good way to go in the sense that the self-harm comes before the self-love, in as much as a diptych might be read as a ‘sequence’”      and      “The over-sewing works well & is really effective… try to capture your thoughts around the ‘mask’ effect and your choice of colours for the thread.”      and      “We talked about how you might present the work in a way that allows for the white space around the images – which you mentioned arose through accident & feedback – while also making sure the images are large enough to reveal detail, like the reflected image in the droplet on the berries. One way would be to create a gallery mock up, to scale, and play with appearance and effect.”      and      “We talked about the possibility of somehow moving away from the straight edges and rigid corners of the images and into some form that might translate the sense of arising/emerging and disappearing.”

The initial idea in response to Jayne’s feedback:- Print photos full size, buy three length of fabric that allows space  for each diptych, sew the background fabric with the appropriate colours for the self-hatred and self-love, over-sew into the edge of each photo. Each diptych to be displayed onto separate walls. Create a sound recording of prose or verse to accompany each photo, this will give the viewer insight into the emotions, thoughts and language which reflect my internal dialogue. I like Polly Apfelbaum’s use of space and colour as an installation (reviewed here), how can I make use of the floor space to add depth and emotion?

Jayne:- “The self-portrait in particular represents a massive step forward  for you.”

I have made tentative plans with an OCA degree student (AK) to be photographed for his assignment and also for my personal development and healing.

Jayne:- “We talked about the staged photographs and your effective use of lighting. Brilliant to hear that you’re learning from another student on this score. I think you’ll enjoy experimenting more with using lighting to create atmospheric effects. Again the work you produced here is brave and affecting.

I’m incredibly pleased with these comments. Lighting is an alien field to me and one which I have had to overcome resistance in order to begin to use it. I am grateful for the support and generosity of JK. I need not be afraid to ask him more questions and seek his expert guidance.

Jayne:- “The final image on your contact sheet is strangely beautiful, relates to the Letinsky coursework perhaps?

It’s fair to say that I find Letinskys art very enjoyable and beautiful to look at. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to emulate her work, and there are some similarities with its simplicity, space and planes. Although I did not consciously try to emulate her with this photo, I did want to create something pleasing and simple. The only reason this did not make it into the final six is because it lacks the religious symbolism of the cross in the selected image. The cross represents the shame that I have felt through out my life, the shame of never being good or worthy enough. Why the fuck am I even alive?

During our telephone conversation Jayne reflected upon the positive impact that my work has upon others, that I have a positive effect upon those who view my work. It is important to make use of meditation to find my inner voice. I am aware that meditation is an important aspect of my creative process.

 

Actions to carry forward

  • Update assignment to include the image quality, colours and mask concept re over-sewn photo.
  • Meditate
  • Gallery layout
  • Collaborating with others – OCA collaboration group and TL
  • Continue to use thoughts and feelings as drive for my photography
  • Consider using prose and verse more frequently to enrich photography
  • Build up mixed media skills
  • Be photographed by AK – journal my reactions to the shoot and the photos, use the journal to create prose and verse of the experience
  • Mexican Votive painting
  • Continue emulating Laura Letinsky to develop this technique further
  • Read about lighting and ask JK when neccessary
  • OCA London regional group
  • OCA TV

Reading and viewing

  • Diane Arbus: A Chronology – I relate to Arbus’ character and motives of fascination with self and other.
  • Stick close to Arbus over the next year, dip into her photography and also those critiques of her, especially Sontag.
  • Gregory Crewdson: Beneath the Roses – Look for the message of yearning to be, or for, something other than the mundane/seeking escape. Also view Twilight to explore effective use of lighting and colour temperature.
  • Ochi Reyes: Mother and Revelations
  • Daniel Regan and his Arts & health Hub and Fragmentary (London calling!!)
  • Claude Cahun – use of masks
  • Gillian Wearing – use of masks

Also

  • William Eggleston
  • David Lynch

 

 

 

Responding To A Theme

Self Hatred – Self Love

Disclaimer: This article covers sensitive subjects, including a photograph of the act of self harm, which may not be suitable for certain audiences.

Self-Hatred-and-Self-Love

The theme of self-hatred and self-love felt like a natural progression from exercise 4.12 Presence/Absence (here). Self-hatred was a prominent aspect of my life for many years. With lots of practice and the development of new skills, self-love and self-care have become important actions in my life. 

My initial plan was to create three photos which represent self-hatred and a further three for self-love, and to display them on opposing sides of a cube, as if they were a dice. Often it has felt like pot luck as to how I feel about myself.

My initial idea developed after speaking with a friend, and I opted to use a Rubik’s Cube. The self is not dualistic, different traits are apparent sometimes, and we can have many elements present at the same time. Using a Rubik’s Cube, and moving the images so that they mix with each other, would highlight the spectrum of love and hate. Moving the cube would provide a dynamic interaction between the photos and the representation of self-harm and self-care. Sticking the photos to the cube was almost impossible with super glue and PVA, which made the Rubik’s Cube unworkable. Because of this I stuck with the original cube idea. Presenting the photos in grid format (above), with space around each photo, was an idea developed because of the feedback of OCA photography student Andrew (Andy’s Blog). I have been able to move towards self-care and love by allowing my self-hatred to be surrounded by the love of the universe. Allowing it to exist in the vastness of space has meant it can be loved and nurtured. 

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Although my assignments are presented on-line, I wanted to feel and interact with my photos. Too often they are left on my hard drive, and I want more than that with my photography. Art is nebulous, sometimes flowing and at others grating. I want my art to be more than a visual and mental act.

I also wanted to over-sew two photo’s in the style of Gerhard Richter’s over-painting. Mixed media art has become important to me, and I am eager to experiment.

I’m quite disgusted with the photo of myself. I struggle to look at any image of myself, so I chose the worst photo and with poor image quality, and I then stitched over the top. It’s a tricky process and overall I’m not impressed with the results, but I do like the lips, and the white dots from where each stitch manipulated the photo paper. The needlework looks like medical stitches, and I’ve previously had many self-inflicted injuries sewn up in A and E, the correlation worked well. However, over-sewing a photo was awkward. If stitches were too close the paper would tear, which meant I couldn’t produce the fine work that I wanted to produce. I chose not to apply this technique to a second photo because it’s too cumbersome. However, I am going to practice this in future. There is a saying that shame is about who I am, guilt is about who I am. The colours of the over stitching are about shame and guilt. The guilt is represented by red thread, I’m a guilty sinner who requires a blood sacrifice for salvation. The purple and black represent shame. They are dark colours, heavy, dreary and dirty.

I chose to create the photo of the cross with blood because it has religious symbolism, which reflects the shame I have experienced just for existing. The shame that springs from my childhood experiences was exacerbated by the religious upbringing I had. I could never live up to the expectations of those in religious power, nor of the scriptures. Apparently I am a sinner, and not only are my actions sinful, but so are my thoughts. I’ve paid for my sin’s in blood.

Self-harming has not been an easy or enjoyable behaviour for this assignment. But as it was a daily behaviour for many years I felt it was a justifiable action to take even though I hadn’t self harmed in over two years. I used to cut derogatory words into my legs, and I chose the words “fat cunt” because there are times that I internally call myself this. It’s hard having an eating disorder, and it’s correlation with body-dismorphia it’s obvious within me. However painful these thoughts are, I am proud of the changes that I am currently making. I often find I am in a place of nurturing myself in response to a cruel inner monologue.  On the whole the self harming for this assignment has been a positive experience. It has affirmed that I’m no longer in a place of self-hatred, and I was able to naturally practice self-care for a couple of days afterwards.

Producing photography that involved the act, and results of self harm is pushing the boundaries of what is graphically acceptable. Because of this I have posted trigger warnings on my blog a few hours prior to posting any images. The truth is self-harm is a part of my history, and I am a visual artist who uses photography to explore and express myself. Personally I believe that my photography has been authentic, as tasteful as possible for the content,  and I have presented it within an appropriate context.

My self-love photo’s included macro photography, the side of my bath, and a card that I wrote to myself.  Macro photography is pure enjoyment and a spiritual connection for me. My bath has many fossils, rocks and minerals, and I always have a multitude of shower gels. Having difficulties with body image has made it necessary to have a safe bathing space. I regularly write myself texts telling me that I love myself.

Love is not a feeling, it’s an action, and I need to practice loving kindness towards myself on a daily basis. I cannot afford to wait until I feel better about myself in order to take affirmative action. I have to act my way into feeling better about myself.

The lighting was a combination of daylight and incandescent. I opted for the ambience provided by natural daylight, and I didn’t feel that it was necessary to use flash or additional light sources for this assignment. However, I changed the white balance on the photos of the bath and the card to add some warmth.

My execution of this assignment has, at times, been emotionally challenging and also rewarding. I feel excited about the use of the cube and the over-sewing. It’s wonderful to push myself, to learn new techniques and experiment, and to play with physical photos.

The biggest joy has been the realisation that I love myself, I may not like how I look, but hey, progress is progress.

Photography is so much fun, and it has helped me to take care of myself, to connect with Goddess, and it has improved how I feel about myself. It’s hard to convey the extent of how photography has changed my life.

The Individual Photos

Self Hate

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oznor

Self Love

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The contact sheets can be seen here

Rubik’s Cube Update

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Following feedback from OCA Foundations in Photography student Jonathan Kiernan (here), I made a second attempt with the Rubik’s Cube. This time I cut the photos into cubes prior to sticking them onto the cube, and tried to stick them into place by using double-sided tape. This technique was better, however, cutting the tape was a nightmare as the tape kept sticking to the scissors. Making use of a five by five cube meant the photos were divided two small to be neat, and didn’t provide a large enough surface area for the tape to stick the photo’s. The solution would be to use a larger Rubik’s Cube which is also only three by three. I think the best technique to glue the photo’s to the cube would be to use PVA on the cube and photo as a surface primer, and then to make use of super glue as the adhesive.

 

I always welcome constructive feedback and critique. Please feel free to comment and explain either what you like or don’t like, and why. 

 

 

 

 

Assignment Four – Responding To A Theme – Initial Ideas

The brief asks us to create a series of 3 – 5 still life images that respond to a theme. Exercise 4.12 Presence/Absence gave me the opportunity to explore self harm and suicide, and I have an idea which will give me the opportunity to build upon this.

  • Self hatred juxtaposed with self love
  • 3 photos relating to self hatred
  • 3 photos relating to self love
  • Crop photos with a 1:1 aspect ration
  • Create a solid cube from wood
  • Attach self hatred and self love photo at opposing ends of the cube
  • The cube becomes a still life object

Emulating Laura Letinsky – Exercise 4.11 – Emulation

Brief:- Remember, there’s no need to make a direct copy of a photograph, for example a Man Ray photogram; make your own photographic experiment as Adam Fuss did (you can compare their photograms online). If you chose to emulate Man Ray, you might seek out interesting objects that can be rendered graphic shapes in silhouette by shooting them against a white background. Or perhaps you want to emulate the uncanny, liminal sense of space created in a Laura Letinsky photograph but using landscapes. Make the image your own. Artists rarely copy each other, but they do learn from each other. Try to identify exactly what it is in the photograph that appeals to you: the visual quality (tones, colours, light and dark) the composition or design the subject the concept the photographer’s viewpoint the way the photographer has influenced or constructed the image. When you’ve identified these elements, plan what you’ll need: equipment location models.  When you’ve organised all this, make the photo.

Final Two Photos

I need to begin by saying that I am not happy with the results of either photo, but there are aspects to each of them that I do like.

The first photo is the one that I most prefer, and makes more use of colour and planes. Yes it is far busy and less subtle than a Letinsky, but I ensured that it used two planes, and it is also 3D in nature because of the net which drops down from the main canvas, and the roses which are hanging down from the light socket. It is aesthetically pleasing to me, it’s pretty and beautiful.

The second photo has more movement, which I prefer. I love how the sheet hangs, and envision this as being similar in nature to the roof of a marquee. But the second plane that I tried to create, with a petal at the end of each piece of thread, just doesn’t work.

Neither photo has the amount of neutral space that Letinsky makes use of so well. Both photos have finger prints, creases and glue marks, which it goes without saying that I am not pleased with. The first photo also has a gap between the satin effect canvas (pinned to the ceiling) and the net (hanging down).

Technically this was a complicated project. Flower petals shrivel and die, each sheet was three meters by one meter, and very difficult to pin to the ceiling. I made use of super glue to place the petals in the second photo, which was a big mistake. Super glue discolours the petals, sticks the canvas to the carpet, and whilst I was raising the sheet from the floor, a lot of the petals became unatuck. I used PVA glue for the first photo and it didn’t stick the petals to the floor, but still left unsightly marks when a petal refused to stick.

Despite the piece of art that I have created being of poor standard, because of the technical errors, I am pleased with the result of the first photo. I have had a lot of fun, and developing techniques to control the space that I am choosing to work with is good progress. I definitely wish to create art in this style in the future. To do so I would need at least one technician, a large board so the canvas can be ironed, and find an alternate way to glue the petals onto the sheet.

My creation is not a copy of Letinsky, but I believe that I have used elements of her style and technique to make something that is pleasing to my eye.

Contact sheets (here)

Reference

Keys, R; 2018; Picture Analysis – Laura Letinsky – David Bate – Pieter Claesz; Online: AT:  https://photosociology.photography/2018/09/28/picture-analysis-laura-letinsky-david-bate-pieter-claesz/ (accessed on 17/11/2018)

Project 3 – Learning From Other Photographers

Brief:- Research point – Self reflection – Requirement Most visual artists learn from one another. Both historic and contemporary photographers and visual artists can teach you new things and by learning from them you can bring something new to the subject. So how do you learn from other photographers? There’s a tradition of ‘after’ painting, where an artist copies a master’s work – but in his own style rather than theirs. Pablo Picasso often did this for inspiration. Édouard Manet’s Olympia is slightly different in that it’s a critical response to Alexandre Cabanel’s The Birth of Venus and other such romantic and idealised nudes. Cubism’s visual experimentation was influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne, who had a ‘blocky’ style of painting in daubs of paint. Hannah Starkey’s photographs are clearly influenced by Jeff Wall’s tableau pictures without ever being copies. So really you take from the artist anything that interests you: the arrangement of characters in a scene, the pose of a figure, the way light and dark interact, the type of subject matter, the mixing of media, the visual strategy, etc… Research point – Self reflection – Throughout this course you’ve been introduced to the work of different photographers to help give you an understanding of the creative potential of photography. Now it’s time to question your own work and identify anything you think is lacking. You don’t have to be over-critical, just honest. Write down any areas in photography you need to develop. (Your tutor reports should give you some clues here.) Write what sort of photographs you want to take. Just note down keywords. Now look through a book like Hacking, J. (2012) Photography: The Whole Story, or Cotton, C. (2014) The Photograph as Contemporary Art (3rd edition) (both London: Thames & Hudson) and try to identify some photographers who have exactly the key elements that you want to attain or just things that interest you. It doesn’t matter if the photographer is contemporary or historic. Make a note of these key elements. Now research these photographers online and choose one key photograph to use in the next exercise.

There’s one area which glaringly stands out for me to work on. Lighting. Making use of lights to create an atmosphere, using spots, using ambient lighting or controlling background light, I need to develop these techniques. My tutor has recommended observing light in indoor settings and then trying to recreate it at home.

Now that I have a speedlight I am making slow inroads into understanding flash photography, and that’s going to be an ongoing process.

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Mixed media art is also a growing interest. It’s something that’s been developing over the period that I’ve been studying. Exercise 3.5 Photography from text (here) was a good introduction. I’m part of an OCA collaboration group and have enjoyed collaborating with other artists. Toxic Shame (here) provided me with the opportunity to write and narrate prose as part of a collaborative project. People with Autism co-authored Autism: Out Of The Box (here) with me, a project in which I wrote the essay and encouraged the co-authors to produce accompanying photography or art for the essay.

A woman with autism is currently writing her story, and my role will be to support her to make photography which will accompany her writing. This is a role I wish to develop. The OCA collaboration group is on-going, and I have had initial contact with an artist in Australia who may wish to collaborate with me.

I’m very pleased to be studying Experimentation:- Still Life, which is part 4 of Foundations in Photography. This part of the course has opened up my creative potential. I made a sensory collage, just for fun, out of materials left over from the emulation exercise. Photomontage, collage and sensory collage all give me the opportunity to practice with lighting.

Lighting is the way forward. When I return from my travels I will look through my many books to find find photographers who inspire me, and who make creative use of lighting. I will then create some emulation based upon their work.

The piece I produced to emulate Laura Letinsky will be added next week when I return home.cof

Exercise 4.9 – Repetition

Brief:- Repetition of one image or very similar images, whether exactly the same or with slight differences in exposure, crop or image quality, elicits an inquisitive eye. Repetition emphasises the sameness and yet paradoxically indicates a difference. Andy Warhol used this strategy in his screen prints and photographs. In the image below, do you notice how the dog’s ‘stare’ becomes more insistant. Make a still life set-up of your choice, but you can use any subject. Try to emphasise your subject with the use of light. Aim to make around 20 photographs. Choose the best shot and process it to your liking. Now create a presentation of that one photograph that involves six to eight copies. Make some notes on the overall effect.

final

I found the repetition example used in the Foundations in Photography manual (face of a dog) to be quite uninspiring. To be honest I didn’t find that the dogs stare became more insistant. I would go as far as to say that it was full and unimaginative.

Because of this I was reluctant to produce a piece of work that was a simple replication of the initial image  Havin remembered Warhol’s series of Campbell’s Soup cans (a – Warhol, A; 1962), and some pop art posters of Marilyn Monroe, which were based upon his silkscreen canvas diptychs (b Warhol, A; 1962), I decided I would emulate these.

The most challenging aspect is beginning to understand how to use my speedlight. I used gels which cover the flash, but soon found that I couldn’t have them underneath, behind or in front of the camera. The effect was too strong even when the speedlight was on its lowest power output. The amount of light that each gel let through differed significantly, so I had to position the speedlight accordingly. Altering the aperture and ISO was necessary, and I’ve developed the images in Photoshop in order to remove shadows. I’m not comfortable with the speedlight as yet, and it would probably have worked better if I had an assistant with a reflector. Using a speedlight is a new experience, but it would have been harder to create the same result with a gel and light set up.

 

 

References

Warhol, A; 1962; Campbell’s Soup [Synthetic polymer paint on canvas]; Online AT: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79809 (accessed on 07/11/2018)

b Warhol, A; 1962; Marilyn Monroe [Acrylic on canvas]; Online: AT: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-marilyn-diptych-t03093 (accessed on 07/11/2018)

Exercise 4.7 – Photomontage

Brief:- Juxtaposition in photography can be as simple as placing two photos side by side. But juxtaposition can also be said to happen within the frame in still life when objects are purposefully placed together. In photomontage rougher and often amusing juxtapositions result from sticking bits of pictures together. Have a look at the work of John Heartfield and Hannah Hoch to prepare for this exercise. Heartfield’s photomontage’s are politically charged images designed to express social ills: www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/heartfield. For more advanced contemporary examples, search for Beaten Gutschow’s “S” series. Get a few old magazines or newspapers. Decide on a background picture – for example a large view of space or any place. Now add to it a figure, or at least the head and shoulders of a person. Now find some other images that you can substitute for the person’s head (for example a cabbage) or their eyes (telescopes) or mouth (a pothole). Stick them on the face. Photograph the result. As you can see, the process tends to result in bizarre combinations. But there is a deeper meaning to this process. By cutting and pasting fragments of images, you’re choosing how a picture should be made and offering an interpretation of the different subjects you choose. You’re also constructing an image in a way that would be impossible to construct in reality.

For this exercise I produced two ideas boards (seen here), neither of which I have followed through with as yet. Brexit is something which concerns me . IIa  a remainer, I value cultural diversity and I want to remain part of a wider European community. Regardless of my desire for Britain totremain as part of theEU, I feel that the current British Government is making a right pigs ear of Brexit negotiations. When I made the initial collage I had the intent of producing a mixed media image. My final two images include the handmade collage, digital editing I. Photoshop, acquired images from the internet, an uploaded photo, and the Photoshop text tool. I’ve produced two results, one of which replaces Theresa May’s face, as per the brief, and my preferred picture which doesn’t. Overall I’m pleased with the result, but I took far too long in Photoshop when turning the background white.

Original Collage

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First Draft

You Will Regret This Brexit Mayhem

Final (as per brief)

You Will Regret This Brexit Mayhem

Final (preferred version)

You Will Regret This Brexit Mayhem

I believe my montage makes a strong political statement, similar in nature to Heartfield, but Hoch had more of an influence. I like that she makes use of image and text, and the business of her collages were more appropriate for my chosen theme, than Heartfield’s minimalist approach.

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