8th April 2020
For this exercise we were asked to look at and create our own boxed repetition image similar to that which Andy Warhol produced within his screen print work, without the colour differences.
Unlike Warhol however, we were asked to set up our own still life of any subject and then choosing a shot and processing it accordingly, we were to present it within a grid format and then to make notes on the overall effect.
Coupled with the image we were shown in the OCA Foundations in Photography course folder pg 140, which shows just a dogs face, our completed images will contain more than one focus point.
What can I say but ‘I am loving this exercise!’
Repetition and still life
Because I am working on using photography as a natural and factual source of information I have chosen still life themes that are part of my everyday life. This is similar to how I approached Project one, 100 Photos. I didn’t stage the photographs, I took images of what was in front of me, however once the images had been taken I cropped close into them therefore presenting only part of their composition within the repetition grid.
Some of the images created have negative spaces within the still life which enable the viewer to see the contents of the picture plane differently to those images that have solid information to decode. The negative spaces enable us to separate the objects and to look at them for longer. However, those compositions that lack negative space become more abstract and we acknowledge lines, shapes and colours more rather than identifying the objects as a whole.
Below are my still life repetition images, I have three series of work. The first three are grids with similar images, the second is still life with the same image repeated and the third set of images are miscellaneous in subject matter and show experimentation with the content as well as the layout.
First series showing very similar images:
This grid formation shows a still life that has been taken from slightly different angles. When processing the images I noticed that the lighting and colours of the work differed in some photographs. This meant the the cat, which was the focus of this grid had a different hue in many shots. I didn’t like this and chalked it up to an epic failure on my behalf to monitor the images as I took them and therefore I didn’t alter the cameras settings as I went.
The contact sheet on the left shows the still life images that I had taken and they also show the flaws as well.
Different colours and a couple of out of focus images.
When I had noticed my technical error I thought rather than wasting the shoot I would practice with the images. Altering the tones as much as I could to try to get similar hues across all of the images I then cropped into them creating a focus on the cat.
From here I added the cat images into a pre-designed grid which I had already altered specifically for this exercise. From here I noticed that the cats differing colours were distracting to the eye but their composition within their own grid was significantly good enough for me to experiment further.
Due to the error in lighting I decided to covert the image into black and white and then sepia to see if this would make a difference to the final images problem. Although the tones are different our eyes are drawn away from this technical error and the texture is viewed more. Due to this I decided to trial one more experiment. Liking the texture but not wanting to highlight the different tones I cropped a few more cats from their still life and then worked on two tones in Photoshop – Duo Tone. The colours I had chose are very pale because I wanted to create something different from the vivid colours that are usually used.
The outcome is much more pleasing to the eye and definitely takes away the obvious flaw in lighting. I also like the colours that I worked on to achieve within Photoshop. The completed work, ‘Kitty-cat’ can be seen below.
Although I have completed this piece of work, I am still not overall happy with the composition of the cats within the grids. I spent about fifteen minutes swapping the grids around to find an end result that was pleasing to my eye, but I never seemed to quite get there. Finally I ended with this composition but even now looking at it I keep thinking, ‘What if?’
This grid was definitely more straight forward to create due to the main subject . The natural un-uniformed growth of the the enables the composition to take on any layout that I wanted it to without having to worry as much about negative spaces.
For the tree shots however I did crop each image into half, so that each landscape image provided two portrait images. This enabled me to have more images to select from for the composition.
After cropping the images into portrait sections all I had to do next was create my grid and to re-arrange the images until they felt correct to my eye. The positive about working with this type of multiple image is that many different variations can be made due to the differing heights and positioning of the buds etc…
The two completed images are below.
Second series showing identical still life images repeated:
Books, books, books
The image is filled with books which have been purposefully displayed to fill the right side of the composition.
The model Frankenstein’s head is high in the left hand corner so that our eyes are drawn to his head first and then we follow his gaze downwards and to the right.
Around my desk 1
Here we have the familiar messy working area that I have on the right hand side of my working station.
I placed the camera in the top right corner and it is angled so our eyes are drawn to where the lens should be. This then directs our eyes right and downwards.
As our eyes travel down the picture plane, they take in the pink of the card and its text, the pill box and he badge until we pick up on the friendship bracelet and the citizen card that it is partially covering. It is here that our eyes end up focusing. I cropped it this way so that the focus becomes the information of the citizens card which is emphasising me as the photographer.
One part of this composition that I do not like is the top of a metal straw which was protruding from a Pepsi max can that I had cropped out. If I was to re-design this image I would have cloned out the straw by replacing it with the black of the camera.
Within this composition I have left two larger, important negative space areas which break the objects up and isolates them enabling the viewer to see them as individual things to look at and to study. The spaces enable our eyes to follow the direction that I wanted them to because they act as a pathway and a surround to the citizenship card.
Around my desk 2
This image has far too much information contained within it for our eyes to actually settle on anything. Everything seems to be lost within the picture plane and therefore the overall image becomes abstract.
Indeed the composition seems to be broken up into three distinct parts, background, mid-ground and foreground. If we look at the diagram below we can see the three sections that the compositions has.
It is interesting to look at, chaotic and definitely shows the mayhem of my working area.
This final grid image actually reminds me of a neutral coloured kaleidoscope and it holds my attention because I am eager to be nosy and see what ‘the chaotic’ photographer has around her desk.
Around my desk 3
I find this composition quite eye catching. It is not my usual still life as it is quite jolly with Eeyore and the sausage dog box within it.
A happy feeling dare I say?
The image within this composition works well as a repetition grid because it has distinct sections which has been strengthened by the use of shelving as a layout. The shelves introduce a further grid system into the composition so that each repetition section that I have designed becomes further sectioned off into squares.
The top section holds two bold shapes, a box and Eeyore and the bottom section contains books. These books lead out eyes upwards and we rest on the objects above them.
Therefore the splitting of the section with the addition of two large shapes, lines and colour within this composition makes the overall finished image stronger than one just filled with objects to look at.
10th April 2020
Third series showing
I couldn’t just leave this exercise having completed the objectives of producing a repetition grid of a still life, especially as Andy Warhol had been mentioned and the image in the course book was also of a singular subject. I wanted to extend the exercise with other photographs and cross-app images of mine.
I also experimented with layouts to see how they could be extended. I am actually quite keen to research and trial more of these for my own work because I could work on specific conceptual images. For example, the bottom layer could have a photograph of my scissors and the top layer could have an image of my cut arms from self harming. So much could be developed this way it becomes exciting.
The second layout I experimented with was adding one related image to the grid to extend the viewers knowledge of the repeating images. Again this could be taken and extended where I have a grid of self portraits then one specific grid had an image of my medication or a partial crop in of text from a letter from my psychiatrist, Dr etc… the compositional value for conceptual art by taking one section of the grid out could add so much to the overall work. Exciting!!
My final images are below.
I had to stop myself from creating more as I was up into the early hours of the morning creating these extra grids and I was becoming so obsessed with how I could place different images of mine together to created different feelings from interest, joy and sadness etc…
What can I say? This is definitely an area that can be developed in so many, many ways. In fact it turned out to be quite addictive for me and I did become over stimulated at one point.
Overall using a grid format can act as visual stimuli so that we focus in on a specific subject. There is also something pleasing about repeated images. However I asked peoples views and although some people had similar things to say as me, my daughter who has autism and an older gentleman found that they couldn’t access the information well because the repeated images caused them not be able to focus and also the overall effect seemed ‘clunky’ and too much information made them shut down and not be interested in what they were looking at.
This is interesting to note. People respond to grids and the information held within them differently. The simplier the grid images, the more information is obtained and they are often seem as aesthetically pleasing. However, the more information that the completed image has means that it is viewed as a creative genre or a conceptual one. So people already begin to have assumptions about the overall use for individual grids before even looking at them and studying them depending on their deposition in life and their ability to process information when presented in a grid format.