23rd October 2020

Introduction

Hall Place and Gardens hallplace.org.uk

When I lived in Kent, before my move to Lowestoft, I was the assistant co-ordinator for Centrepieces Mental health Arts Project which I helped to gain charity status.

We encouraged people suffering with their mental health illnesses to come to our studios at The Lodge, Hall Place and Gardens to participate in workshops which I also tutored within. It is while working at Centrepieces that I rekindled my love for photography and all things art.

Although I left Kent and moved many miles away, I was lucky enough to be asked to become a permanent artist with them who would still take part in their exhibitions and Zoom workshops.

The theme for this years exhibition was lockdown and the work we produced within it. ‘Lockdown Art Exhibition 2020’ saw me show work that I had created during Assignment 5 for this course and sculptures that I made to accompany the photographic images.

The following images show the team that I was working with setting up the exhibition and some of the work that was for show.

Concepts in Lockdown

I called my series of work ‘Concepts in Lockdown LIFE’S A GLITCH’ and my artists blurb to accompany the series can be seen below.

For the exhibition I thought about different ways to present my images rather than just the usual, print and frame. Although I have a number of ways in which I want the Assignment 5 images to be presented next year for my solo exhibition, for this one I took the acrylic and instant photograph route.

Acrylic Blocks

For the acrylic images I had them produced at one of my online printing companies, this time I used ‘My Picture UK’ my-picture.co.uk and I chose their 20×15 cm size.

Acrylic Photo Block – Memories You Can Touch

Acrylic Photo Block with Three-Dimensional Effect

The acrylic block comes in a generous depth of 25mm, as a borderless design with transparent edges. The thick acrylic glass will enhance your photo with a striking depth effect, creating shimmering reflections that subtly change with the angle of vision – so your image takes on an almost 3D quality. Watch in wonder as your photo seems to come to life. The acrylic block photo really does bring a whole new dimension to home decor!

Acrylic Block with Crystal-Clear Photo Display

We pour the premium-grade acrylic for our photo blocks in special instalments to make sure each one is flawlessly clear. Printed with our state-of-the-art 12-colour technology, your cherished image will glow with radiant colours and subtle gradients. With its borderless, crystal-clear design, the photo acrylic block will suit a wide range of interior decor styles, and give any design scheme the stamp of refined sophistication

​Premium Decor Item at a Modest Price

Looking for an acrylic photo block at an accessible price, without any compromise on quality? Then our personalised acrylic photo block is for you. The acrylic block is a premium-quality decor item that’s worthy of your most precious photo memories. Just upload a beautiful landscape from that dream holiday to create a stunning decorative piece for your home – or choose a photo of the kids and your acrylic block will make the perfect desktop ornament at work.

Free-Standing Decor Piece

The acrylic photo block is designed as a free-standing item – it won’t need any installation or additional support. Just stand it on any flat surface and watch it become the centre of attention right away! Produced using resilient acrylic glass and coated with a special laminate, it can withstand everyday knocks and scratches with no problem. As robust as it is elegant, the photo acrylic block is sure to look beautiful in your home – or make a touching personalised gift.

My Picture UK my-picture.co.uk

The reason I had chosen the acrylic block format was because the exhibition this year was low on sculpture due to the lockdown and Covid-19 keeping everyone away from the studios. Due to this I decided that I would produce all of my work so that it would be able to be displayed on plinths, the acrylic blocks are free standing and suited my needs well, as I always like to try different ways of presenting my work.

Examples of my acrylic blocks in situ

To accompany the acrylic blocks I printed out some of my images on my FujiFilm Square Printer which produces Polaroid style prints.

Fujifilm Instax Square Prints

Fujifilm Square Printer image from Amazo.co.uk

Once the images were printed I had to think of a different way to show them so that they stood up. I decided to buy some acrylic block place holders cheap from China. On their arrival the acrylic was quite stained with bits floating inside it so I painted the blocks black. Each tiny block has a peg on them to holder the images and they stood up well. To emphasise the images I bought some glass on which to stand the blocks so that they were reflected to play on the concept of glitch.

I also produced two pieces of sculpture to accompany the photographs both of which were also glitches of myself. The first sculpture ‘Life’s A Glitch’, is based on the sliding glitch and shows the mask that I wear slipping off to the left twice. This is accompanied by lines and cuts to represent other types of glitching. Since the sculpture is three-dimensional we get to see the glitches in layers. By adding a textured spray to the completed paper-maché piece I was able to obtain the stippled effect that the interference on video produces.

Life’s A Glitch (1)
Life’s A Glitch (1) showing the layers

The second sculpture was constructed from Modroc which is a plaster bandage which once wet can be shaped and layered according to ones needs. For my sculpture I cast my face with the Modroc by building up rough layers until I gained the desired effect that I was wanting. The effect that I wanted to achieve was rough edges and texture. The reason for the different textures was to produce a glitching effect where the fibres of the bandage looked as though they were broken lines amongst the smoothness of the correct form.

Once my face had dried and had been given a couple of coats of acrylic paint I added twisted coloured wire to it. The wires were bright colours as to match those seen in my anxiety photograph and they travel across the face from right to left and formed a cage around the face. Rather than having the wires attached to the surface of the face I left them gliding over the negative space so that yet again the three-dimensional aspect of these glitches were emphasised.

Life’s A Glitch (2)
Life’s A Glitch (2)

To break the glitch theme up on the plinths I also created a few pattern acrylic blocks both in black and white and in colour. These patterns were designed by myself in an iPad app. I decided on patterns that weren’t random lines like the glitches were, they were mathematical in shape and pleasing to the eye. By breaking up the series and placing them in two separate areas it gave the viewer time to take in the images, pause and move onto the next piece of work. I feel if I had presented just the glitch work it would be quite monotonous and quite a lot to take in on the spot.

The below image shows the pattern blocks together before being arranges on two separate plinths with the acrylic glitch self-portraits.

The pattern blocks

Conclusion

The images that I had used for the acrylic blocks for this exhibition were not ‘the best’ that I had produced for Assignment 5 but they still came together as a series in exhibition well. I believe this is because they were not just prints that were framed but a combination of different ways of presenting photographic images which creates an extra interest.

Using contrasting patterns blocks also worked well. Perhaps I could try making acrylic blocks that would contain actual glitch patterns with out any actual image. I have already designed some when I was experimenting with glitch making so this is definitely something I can trial before exhibition next year.

Another area that I could think about is the sizing of the acrylic blocks. they come in various dimensions. For this exhibition I just used the 20x15cm format but now I know that images work well presented in these blocks I would like to experiment with purchasing different sizes to exhibit together which would provide variety to gain the viewers interest.

Over all I have to say that the verbal feedback has been very positive for my work. I have had interest in that people want to purchase my work but unfortunately due to the fact that 45% of my pricing goes to Centrepieces and Hall Place between them my prices have risen accordingly. If I were to have my solo exhibition as planned with Centrepieces then the commission is a very low 20% which means my prices will drop accordingly and they will be more affordable for the general public to purchase.


7th May 2020

When we look around familiar environment we tend to ignore or ‘not see’ certain things in them. In this exercise, you’ll explore the absence and presence of an object that you’re accustomed to in order to bring to the surface an altered ambience.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg143

This is the house that God built

The disappearing world

Can you see me, hear me thinking?

For this exercise I chose three different themes, a building, nature and a self-portrait. I used Photoshop and Sketchbook to complete these images.

As well as the white negative images I also used fill to replace the white with colour to see if the images change and I also produced some grid work with the completed fills. This extension work can be seen below.

alternative composition grid
More Than One Thought

28th April 2020

Well I am trying to get back into my work and complete the exercises that I missed. My mum passed away very unexpectedly and it has hit us so hard. I have my mental health to deal with without my psychologist, support worker or counsellor due to the lockdown. Then there is the Coronavirus which is preventing us to travel through London to be with the family and eventually to my mothers funeral. Life is, as they say, shitting unbearable!!

I had planned the exercises that I haven’t completed but because I cannot leave the house for my projects I am improvising.

The first improvisation is exercise 4.3 Patchwork. For this exercise I wanted to take textures and colours found in the seaside shop. However, alas it isn’t open for obvious reasons so I have found a few from last years shoots that I will use instead. The down side to using previous shot material is that I am tied to it. I had particular objects I wanted to photograph for this exercise now I am having to choose from a few already saved in the cloud.

Once I had located my images I downloaded them onto my iMac and created a simple contact sheet so the images full compositions were shown.

Once the images had been produced within a contact sheet I uploaded them into my pre-designed grid. I kept reorganising them by switching their positions within the grid, as well as altering their size as well as cropping sections until I was happy with a composition.

Once the grids were completed I reduced their pixel size as asked within the folder.

I produced two finished images for each piece of work, one has the dividing white lines and the second has not.

My completed works are below.

The Drink

To the Seaside and Beyond

Toilet Break

The Exhibition

Each image has its own particular quality that makes it stand out. The bright colours, patterns and textures within the seaside works really do give that sense of sun, warmth and energy. However in contrast the toilet images and the use of green give a cooler and cleaner feel to the work.

Colours play an important role within the patchwork images especially when the objects are cropped closely and become abstract to our eye. The warmer colours, red, orange and yellow appear to come towards us as these are what are known as advancing colours.

The cooler colours however are receding colours. These are colours such as blue and green which help to give a sense of depth to images and they specifically create an illusion of space.

The surface textures used within the images also affect the colour because light can bounce, absorb and reflect light and texture will provide shadows which give darker colour values to an object.

The difference between having the grid lines visible within the compositions and without also give very different visual qualities to the overall composition. With the grid lines present, our eyes see each section as part of an individual photograph and we automatically name the objects. However, when the grid is not present within the image we look around the whole composition and then focus in on the sections. The grid lines therefore act as a barrier within the work and force us to stop and start when viewing rather than sweeping across the whole composition first.

I have enjoyed this exercise although I only used eight rectangles for my grid when it was supposed to be nine or more. The reason is I didn’t read the brief properly, not a good thing if you want to be a professional.

I am pleased with my outcomes apart from the last patchwork called ‘The Exhibition.’ Although it contains different textures and colours I know the lighting within some of the images is poor and should have been adjusted before being used. Due to the underexposure the forms are not as well defined as I would have liked and the flatness this produces just gives a poor quality to the overall completed composition.


06th March 2020

We are asked to look closely and analyse the below photograph by the Canadian photographer Laura Letinsky.

Untitled 12, from the series “Ill Form and Void Full”, 2011
image from ART SY artsy.net

Driven by her interest in “control, accidents, and contrivance,” Laura Letinsky is best known for her exquisitely composed still life photographs, redolent with ambiguity. Early in her career, she photographed couples in the intimacy of their own homes, creating sensual visual narratives about love and relationships. By the late 1990s, Letinsky stopped photographing people and replaced them with objects—a stained napkin, orange peels, half eaten bits of candy—that hinted at human presence. Keenly aware of the rich narrative possibilities inherent in still lifes and influenced by 17th-century Dutch still life painting, Letinsky crafts tabletop vignettes that suggest larger narratives, as she explains: “It’s this idea that the narrative has already occurred; the meal has been eaten, the cornucopia has been consumed, something has been consummated, and this is what’s left in the early morning light.”

ART SY artsy.net

Closely looking at Letinsky’s work, I would categorise it as creative photography. This is because she has created the still life using the artistic skills of collage and then second to that she has used the camera to record the artwork created. It is a tough one, the border between art and photography in works such as these. This is the reason I categorise quite a lot of my photography work as creative photography as it isn’t ‘pure’ camera work as such as it is combined with other creative skills.

I have included some more of her work below as I am finding them very intriguing.

Untitled 29#, Ill Form and Void full series 2011
image taken from Laura Letinsky website lauraletinsky.com
Untitled 49#, Ill Form and Void full series 2013
image taken from Laura Letinsky website lauraletinsky.com
Untitled 53#, Ill Form and Void full series 2013
image taken from Laura Letinsky website lauraletinsky.com

I am personally loving the use of layers, negative spaces and the subtle use of light that she has incorporated into the still life’s. Also the monochrome focus colours which are broken very cleverly with a hint of colour especially the reds and oranges which are very eye catching. For me personally, I love the text and the simple negative shapes that have been cut out to represent objects one would find on the dining table.

The whites and greys give a peaceful washed out feeling and to me symbolises a memory where the less important background, mid ground and foreground details are not present so we focus on the subject which in this case is the still life and Letinsky’s purposely built narrative.

Letinsky’s placements of lines leads the viewers eyes into the composition and sometimes, for example in Untitled 49# above, objects such as the spoon and the plant lead our eyes out of the picture frame. In Untitled 53# the large negative space in the foreground encourages our eyes to travel quickly to the still life which is breaking the picture plain into two and the objects are then encouraging our eyes to move up the image to the top of the picture plain.

The camera viewpoint to my eyes seems to be directly in front of the still life and above it. Therefore we are looking down on the objects as if they are on a table in front of us.

Although the work is a collage Letinsky still has managed in some of the work to give a sense of three dimensions by the layering of papers which are left so that shadows full beneath them or besides them. These shadows also, in some parts of the image, enhance the sharp lines which divide the picture plane into sections.

The narrative connotations behind the work are identical within each image. The objects represent an interrupted meal and give a sense of haste as they have been left in disarray on the table. In some images the objects are placed together as though they have been pushed into a pile or the table has been knocked to the side causing the objects to move and spill.

If we analyse the disarray as a sense of haste the concepts could be that of hasty sex, on the table or they have exited to have sex elsewhere. Perhaps one or both have left the table in haste due to a disagreement.

In the quote paragraph that begins this post it is written, “… the cornucopia has been consumed, something has been consummated, and this is what’s left in the early morning light.” If this mess is left in the early morning after a night of relationship bliss or arguments then the subtle use of whites and greys not only could represent the evenings memories but the early morning light that one gets through the windows of the home.

Definitely creative photography and definitely an excellent concept with equally as excellent execution.


03rd March 2020

Also look at Peter Fraser’s close shots of found phenomena at http://www.peterfraser.net. These photographs either create for find salient and amusing new meanings in everyday objects. The ‘visual’ description of their images is not what the work is ‘about’, but the effect of a juxtaposition, arrangement or phenomenon.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg127

Unfortunately I cannot access this website as BT are flagging it up as a dangerous website. At first I thought it was because I work on Apple products, iMac, iPad and iPhone and I contacted the college but they could access the website with their iMacs. Then my daughter tried to access the web page on her Windows gaming computer and she got another different pop up claiming the website was harmful.

The screenshot below shows what happens when my computer gets to the given url, peterfraser.net

Because of this error I have google searched his work and have bought the book Editor Jeremy Millar (2002), Peter Fraser. England, The Photographers’ Gallery. The book was published to accompany exhibition in 2002 at The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

I am not sure if Fraser’s work on the website is along the same lines as his work within the above book. I, to be honest, am not impressed with the work that I have seen so far. It is exactly on the lines of so much of my work where I look for connections, shapes, patterns, lines, colours and textures as well as oddities which can be found in the smaller glimpses of life. The work is involved in engaging oneself with the whole environment that we are in which includes the smaller parts of it that we always walk by because we do not focus in on details.

However, my initial response is one where I do not know the context of the images. If I research the working concept and method, listen to some interviews and generally delve into Fraser more throughly, would? could? my mind be changed?

I am also wondering if the whole marvelling of this work is because when Fraser originally began to shoot his found images the shift from black and white to colour was new.

Over the past twenty years, Peter Fraser has established himself as one of the most important and influential British photographers of his generation. One of the first in his country to recognise and embrace the poetic possibilities of colour photography, Fraser has created an extraordinary body of work while looking, most often, at the most ordinary of things. In describing his practice over this period, Fraser has remarked:

With each series of photographs I choose different strategy to approach the same underlying preoccupation, which is, essentially, trying to understand what the world around me is made of thought the act of photographing it.

Page 5 – Editor Jeremy Millar (2002), Peter Fraser. England, The Photographers’ Gallery.

Photographer Peter Fraser shows us around an exhibition of his work at Tate St Ives. Fraser has been at the forefront of colour photography as a fine art medium since the early 1980s, emerging alongside peers including Martin Parr and Paul Graham. Much of his work involves an almost obsessive focus on the small details of everyday life.  He talks to TateShots about his approach to image-making, and why he feels his work expresses the mysterious scope and range of the unconscious mind.

TATE YouTube video uploaded 2013

After watching this interview and reading the information within the book that I had bought, I found that learning the context behind his work gives the images more of a context and therefore a little more interest.

I also found Fraser himself (I hope to god he isn’t an OCA tutor), a bit full of himself as he is amazed when standing in an exhibition of his own work because he is confronted with a physical expression of his unconscious and therefore the viewer is seeing a mysterious, scope and range of his unconscious and it is exciting. Actually most GCSEs take on the focusing in on subjects and looking for details as a standard photography learning practice and lots of photographers, me included get down on their bellies to take photographs. I earned a nickname for this as I am always on the ground when out photographing anything and everything, on my back, belly and side – ‘the photographer with no legs’.

He also describes how ‘Two Blue Buckets’ is a marvellous photograph because they appear the same to begin with but as we focus in on them we notice they are different. Well actually you can see from a distance the different blue hues, shape and the rims etc… are different! Sometime I feel he is trying to make up a concept to fit a photograph to make it something more than it is. I could be wrong but I just get that feeling of an ‘A level’ student making something out of nothing in the hope of getting noticed.

So at the end of this research I found that some of his concepts, such as one of his first published works, ’12 Day Journey’ where he concentrated for 12 days and nights solidly on photography backed up his images as a concept but even then the images are just what many, many people take everyday. The concept for this series of work is strongest in the actual doing rather than the end product in that he traveled without ever knowing where or how and took photographs for four hours a day. But even this is quite uninteresting, to me personally, because I do this regularly, jump on trains and buses and just get off and photograph for the whole day… ??

So at the end of this research, again I must stress for me personally, I have not been inspired by Fraser or his works.


28th February 2020

To follow on from my Analytical Cubism post, I am researching the development of the idea of multiple viewpoints and fragmentation of images in the area of photography. I have loved this creative style ever since I had seen one of David Hockney ‘Joiners’ work in London. I must have been about 16 years old and I remember jumping on the train and lying to my mum that I was out around a friends house rather than on a train to London. I cannot remember which gallery I had escaped to, this was in the mid to lates 80’s, but I do remember this huge bridge constructed of multiple photos and I still remember that initially feeling of “Oh shit, this is great, who has done this?” Seeing this work was my first contact with the name David Hockney and I have been very, very fond of his work ever since.

The Brooklyn Bridge 1982 David Hockney
Image taken from Google image search David Hockney Joiners The Bridge

The title of the video below is, ‘What David Hockney’s Brilliant Collages Reveal About Photos’ and was uploaded by Smithsonian Channel, 2016. I am thinking it is part of the interview from the 80’s that The South Bank shot.

What David Hockney’s Brilliant Collages Reveal About Photos’
uploaded by Smithsonian Channel, 2016.
Notes to accompany above YouTube video uploaded by Smithsonian Channel, 2016

Hockney said of his Joiner concept that it was “a truer way of seeing” and that television and movies look unreal to him now.

Space is an illusion but the time isn’t an illusion it is real and accounted for in the number of pictures.

Hockney from the above video

He began experimenting within his new concept with the Polaroid camera. The first trial that he made consisted of 30 photographs all taken from different viewpoints. He has said that the way he composed the images excited him because he saw time appearing within the completed image and if time was present then so was a “bigger illusion of space.”

I actually think Hockney’s earlier images work visually better than his photomontages if we want to be visually true to life, as we see things. For me personally, they work because they are in a grid format and each image has a border which adds as a barrier to the next image. This therefore encourages our mind to stop and relook so the concept of time and viewpoint is constantly changing. I also feel that these works are more closely to how we humans see the world around us, in parts which our brain fixes together and then fills in the gaps to produce a false reality of how it sees these combined.

The two above joiners are amongst the more successful ones because multiple viewpoints can be seen. The two below I feel, although amazing works, do not work as well and remain quite static like a photograph would usually be. I believe this to be because the subjects are face on to the viewer and there are not any multiple viewpoints as such only multiple images from the same perspective that have been placed together.

By 1982 his composite photographs had developed into photomontage. These photomontages are complete images and we do not need to fit the pieces together, they show many different viewpoints at once in one complete composition and the multiple viewpoints and perspectives are easily picked out by our brains because the combination is unreal to us. This is why I feel that the first joiners are more how we see things, in parts, in snippets and our brain pieces them together.

With the photomontages the piecing together of the image as a whole has been done for us so we are then left with the time to view and take in the different viewpoints and perspectives and then to admire the image and the concept at the same time.

Examples of the photomontages that I particularly like can be seen below.

My favourite photomontages that I think work better as multiple viewpoint images therefore giving us the best feeling of time and of reality are the two I have uploaded below.

The first is a self-portrait of Hockney himself and the second is an image that I have taken from the front cover of a DVD on Hockney that I have just bought for this exercise called, ‘David Hockney, Joiner Photographs,’ directed by Don Featherstone, 2012, from the series Art Lives by ARTHAUS MUSIK. The DVD includes footage of Hockney talking about the joiner photographic approach and he shares the creative “joiner” process with the viewers.

Hockney self-portrait
image taken from Google search page (Hockney’s early joiner photographs)
The Crossword Puzzle – image from the front of the DVD –
‘David Hockney, Joiner Photographs,’ directed by Don Featherstone, 2012

To complete this research I have included a link to the website of Daily Art Magazine dailyartmagazine.com The reason I have included this page out of all the numerous others that cover Hockney’s Joiners and photomontage photography works is because it shows a variety of photographic photomontage styles of Hockney with text that is short but very informative.


29th February 2020

Introduction

For this exercise we are asked to experiment by combining fragments of images to create a combined design. We were also asked to research Cubism (link to post) and Brendan Fowler’s Spring 2011 – Fall 2012 as initial inspiration for our work. From this research I also took time to research and post about two of my favourite ‘Joiner’ photographers, David Hockney and his ‘Joiner’ work and my actual favourite photographer Maurizio Galimberti.

I actually own quit a lot of books about Galimberti but I am annoyed because all of the excellent YouTube videos are in Italian with no subtitles or translation. However do have a look at the YouTube videos as they show him actually working and it is amazing.

Fragment 1: After Sue

After trauma counselling sometimes I have a relaxing break at the Wherry Hotel and enjoy a cup of coffee. This time however, I felt a little naughty and went for a mid-afternoon drink. My counsellors name is Sue so this is how I came by my title for this image because after I had seen Sue I had a couple of glasses of my favourite Budweiser.

Below is the contact sheet of images taken of my Budweiser still life. It is a natural shot because I haven’t directly placed things to look good as I wanted it to mimic the scene as it was rather than for it to look ‘perfect’ but staged.

The shots take into account many viewpoints as well as focusing in on some of the text, patterns, colours, lines and textures. I used my new SONY RX100 M4 as it is now my out and about casual camera.

Cross-app Still-life: After Sue

Once I had made a contact sheet, I chose which image I would use as my main subject on which I would build my fragment image. When designing a cross-app ‘fractured’ image I find it easier to cut away and build layers of shape as I go. Once I have a composition that I like, I add different viewpoints onto the first layer.

My chosen image is image 328 because it has more dynamic leading lines within the composition which when fragmented and layered looks strong and provides some excellent angles. Once chosen I adjusted the image and cropped and saved various close-ups to see if the image would be stronger if I focused in more on the bottles and glass.

Below the original image and three cropped images can be seen. The final cropped image (far right) was also straightened so that the emphasis on a correct vertical line becomes the glass where as originally it was the wooden menu holder that I had used as a vertical line which was a mistake I had made.

Chosen image

The above image I had chosen to build multiple views onto. I used both Photoshop and SketchBook for iPad to complete the composition. The working method I used was Layers and the hard eraser tool plus I enlarged and reduced parts of images and cut other parts into shapes. I also adjusted the hardness of the eraser tool for one photograph so that it became slightly transparent. This photograph is the reflection of the handrails within the lager which I then layered over the glass so that I achieved two reflections within the glass. I purposefully left the hard straight lines of the photograph so that it added a fracturing effect rather than blending them in anonymously with the other reflection.

Once all my shapes had been placed on the background image I erased parts of the background so that the fragments could be seen easier. This also made an effective line shape that contained within it mid and foreground details.

I also repeated the foreground so that the leaflet, mobile phone and handout stretched across the picture plane from left to right so that it acts as a bottom frame that anchors the whole image together at the base. This enables the free forms of the bottles and glass to act as visual forms that break the negative space at the top of the composition which is very interesting to the eye.

I didn’t have to use a background to build layers on but this way I didn’t have to cut more shapes than were necessary. It also meant I was able to keep the still life as a theme.

I particularly included as much text as possible so that it brought an element of lines into the composition as well as strengthening the theme. The white handout contains instructions on how to breathe correctly, we humans are belly breathers but because I live in a high state of anxiety most of the time I breathe from the chest area.

When viewing the breathing handout I noticed that the enlarged far right insert that I added is not as sharp as the original text used and is slightly out of focus and the text has a softer outline. So I decided to replace this part of the composition with text from the same handout but place it ever so differently taking into account page and text angles.

If we compare the above two final images the chosen composition which is on the right shows how I altered the text page so that the text is smaller and is angled towards the corner of the page giving stronger leading lines. The text also does not look blurred .

The above image shows the flow lines that I had specifically planned for although within the completed image there are many more flow lines when you begin to study the composition.

A Panographic Image

Panograhic 1:

Once I had completed my final image I used a Panographic app to add some shapes so that the composition looked as though it had been constructed from photographs.

I added a yellow background so that the ‘photograph’ edges were pushed forward to add to the three dimensional shadow effect that was added to the images.


25th February 2020

The idea behind this exercise is to imaginatively combine the different photographs into a single conclusive design. Have a look at some Cubist paintings and sculpture as inspiration. Notice how one object blends into another and how different viewpoints of the same object co-exist in surprising ways. The classic example of this is Picasso’s combination of the front and profile of a face, as in Weeping Woman, which you can see on the Tate’s website.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder Pg 128

My life has always been involved around art and photography. Whether reading about it, visiting galleries or creating it. I have been to two art colleges and have studied with the OCA many moons ago so I was pleasantly surprised to be going back to the good old visual subject of ‘Cubism’.

We are asked to look at the Weeping Woman by Picasso. It has examples of fragmentation especially with the hands as well as multiple views of the head in that the face is presented straight on to the viewer while the hair is shown as the side view. The painting is after the Analytical period of Cubism so it is very colourful.

Weeping Woman 1937 Pablo Picasso
Image from Tate tate.org.uk

Cubism

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed the movement Cubism which represented a reality of an object or a person from different views of the subject within the same picture plane. The resulting images appeared fragmented and abstract. Cubism can be divided into two different stages and it is the first stage called analytical cubism that I am researching.

The objects within the paintings, although abstracted because of the dissection of the subject, multiple viewpoints and overlapping planes which cause fragmentation, can still be recognised. The fragments are usually in the centre of the canvas and often the boundaries between object and background blend together. The other feature about this period of cubism is the simplified monochromatic palette used, muted browns or warm greys, blue and ochre. Black is used for outlines and contours within the compositions which helps identify planes and whites are used to show surface highlights.

Analytical Cubism rejected single point perspective. The artists believed that viewing a subject from one fixed perspective did not depict the truth of an object and that it also did not show the object in multiple different lights of the day. With this as a concern they began to show objects from multiple angles and in different lights so they were therefore producing artworks that showed the objects and portraits conceptually, based on knowledge rather than visual information the way things are seen.

In Analytical Cubism, not only do the planes of the objects fuse with their backgrounds in places but some of the planes are transparent so that you can see the planes that are behind them.

A good example of multiple viewpoints can be seen in Metzinger’s Tea time (2011) which can be seen above. This is a simple example but very effective and it shows the decisive splitting of the cup into two halves and shows the viewers two angles at once, head on (left) and from above (right).

Portrait of Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler 1910 Pablo Picasso
Image from The Art Institute Chicago artic.edu

I chose the above portrait by Picasso as an example of the monochrome tones used and to show how the planes would merge into each other so that object and background in places would become one. You can also see how the fragmented shapes are geometrical.

Quote below about the above painting is from The Art Institute Chicago’s website:

Forms are fractured into various planes and faceted shapes and presented from several points of view. Despite the portrait’s highly abstract character, however, Picasso added attributes to direct the eye and focus the mind: a wave of hair, the knot of a tie, a watch chain. Out of the flickering passages of brown, gray, black, and white emerges a rather traditional portrait pose of a seated man, his hands clasped in his lap.

Art Institute Chicago artic.edu
Bottle and Fishes c.1910-2 Georges Braque
Image from Tate tate.org.uk

Due to the fact that the exercises I am studying are connected with still life I have chosen a still life as the last Analytical Cubism painting to analyse. Here we have Georges Braque’s Bottle and Fishes, 1910-12. The accompanying text for the painting on the Tate website is:

Ordinary objects – a bottle and fishes on a plate, laid on a table with a drawer – have been dramatically fragmented to form a grid-like structure of interpenetrating planes. The traditional domestic subject matter and sober colours in this work can be seen as a reaction against the luminous hues and free expression of Braque’s earlier fauvist paintings.

Gallery label Tate 2012 tate.org.uk

I remember when I had first seen this painting, I was drawn towards the blues and ochre colours with the dark shadow areas. When looking closer the forms began to take more of a shape and as I studied the painting I could make the subject matter out. I love the fragments in this painting as they are like stepping stones and block towers and give such a sense of solidness although they are many parts of objects and surfaces.

Conclusion

I am probably going to annoy quite a lot of art historians with my conclusion. I believe that Analytical Cubism’s strengths lay in its break through idea of producing different viewpoints and light sources for the viewer to respond too. However, I do think that both Picasso and Braque and those who produced artworks within Analytical Cubism’s movement, did not explore or develop the concept enough.

Modern artists and photographers have developed Picasso’s initial idea and I just wished that he had just tried to think beyond the shapes and planes and the fragments and really thought about the visual cleanliness that was needed for the viewer to appreciate the subject. If we take another look at Jean Metzinger’s Tea Time and the cup for instance the clarity that the cup has in providing the sense of different viewpoints is far cleaner than some of the work where the geometric shapes, the many fragments and lines seem to fight manically for a place on the canvas.

Now that I have written my post on Analytical Cubism I will research how this beginning idea of multiple viewpoints and fragmentation has developed in photography and research some great photography work by David Hockney, Maurizio Galimberti and Brno Del Zou. It is a style that so many people now emulate so I will also look at the everyday photographer who has come up with some good takes on FRAGMENT PHOTOGRAPHY.


22nd February 2020

Everyday life throws up many unlikely juxtapositions and symbols. Research online Peter Fischli and David Weiss ‘Quiet Afternoon’ series and have a look at their amusing video ‘The Way Things Go.’

OCA Foundations IN PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE FOLDER PG127

Artists information from The Tate website:

The photographs which make up the series Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon 1984 show precariously balanced sculptures at what appears to be the exact moment before their collapse. Perhaps not such a quiet afternoon then. Everyday items such as vegetables, kitchen utensils, tyres, chairs, and tools, are piled in elaborate configurations that – for an instant, at least – appear stable. ‘We discovered that we could leave all formal decisions to equilibrium itself’, Fischli has said of these sculptures. ‘There was apparently no way to do it ‘better’ or ‘worse’, just ‘correctly’.’

Tate tate.org.uk

Below are three images of still-life photography by Fischli and Weiss from The Tate website.

Peter Fischli, David Weiss Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon
Peter Fischli, David Weiss – NATURAL GRACE Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon
Image from Tate tate.org.uk
Peter Fischli, David Weiss Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon
Peter Fischli, David Weiss – OUTLAWS Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon
Image from Tate tate.org.uk
Peter Fischli, David Weiss Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon
Peter Fischli, David Weiss – Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon
Image from Tate tate.org.uk

Another very good visual resource with many examples of their work is the HIC website, hicarquitectura.com I particularly like this page because, unlike some of the other websites they have the titles of the photographs with each image.

The below video shows some of the ‘Equilibres / Quiet Afternoon’ works in exhibition and gives a simple and quick introduction to the works. The video is taken from YouTube and was uploaded by Museo Jumex, 2016. 

The work, ‘Equilibres’ takes its name from the way the chosen objects are physically balanced and composed with each other. Objects used were everyday household and industrial items which were on hand, for example, chairs, tyres, cups, bottles, vases, string, balloons, brooms and even food, for example apples. The images are produced in colour and black and white.

These objects were then placed on various plinths, bases, studio corners or within environments such as doorways and they would then often use lighting to convey a sense of abstraction. This abstraction would be able to be seen in lines and shapes as well as the shadows which the lights would cast.

The subtitle, ‘Quiet Afternoon’ came about because the duo wanted to put themselves into a state of boredom which would, hopefully give their minds blank slates on which to work, which would allow them to produce sculptures instinctively rather than intentionally and was meant to be fun and playful.

To add to their concepts of boredom and free thinking construction, balance, use of space, shape and line, Fischli and Weiss used humour. The humour can be seen in their instinctive constructions which are made stronger by the use of well chosen titles.

The titles give the viewer a hint to the constructed sculptures representation and/or provide us with a narrative on which to ponder.

Titles such as:

Ben Hur, image taken from HIC hicarquietctura.com
The Car of Evil, image taken from HIC hicarquietctura.com
Mrs. Pear Bringing Her Husband a Freshly Ironed Shirt for the Opera. The Boy Smokes
image taken from CHRISTIE’S Christies.com

On looking at Fischli and Weiss’s work, I thought of the children’s game ‘Buckeroo’ and the ‘Kinetic’ art movement. The reason I thought about these two things is because in the Buckeroo we try to balance an odd assortment of plastic objects onto a donkey hoping that it does not buck the objects off. Where as the Kinetic movement, although they were primarily connected with optical illusions and movement, they too produced sculptures, although sometimes far more complexed, which have shape, lines and shadows which remind me of the work, ‘Equilibres’ by Fischli and Weiss.

Jean Tinguely’s ‘Narva’ 1961
Image from metmuseum.org

Following on from the Equilibres series was the duo’s film, ‘The Way Things Go.’ I found it quite interesting that the film actually does rely on the movement and subsequent interaction of objects against one another so in fact their work now takes on a very Kinetic theme and feel to it. The objects moving and the types of movement and objects used also reminds me of the children’s ‘Mousetrap’ game.

It was actually very entertaining and mesmerising watching the videos and the objects moving, tumbling and touching each other through the use of force. it reminded me of the elaborate domino tracks we use to make as kids that would knock over objects we put in their way which in turn would fall or spin and begin knocking more dominos on the track down.

The Way Things go also reminds me of Rube Goldberg Machines which are also constructed out of everyday objects but unlike Fischli and Weiss’s work which looks unkempt, unsightly, trash put together, Goldberg’s machines look elaborate and new and attractive to the eye, in fact the opposite to The Way Things Go constructions.

There isn’t anyone on the planet who can deny the pleasure of watching a good Rube Goldberg machine. For those of you who don’t know, Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, often referred to as the “father of invention” for his series of comics depicting what we call Rube Goldberg machines: Complicated, deliberately overengineered contraptions that ultimately perform a very simple task. Ironically, they’re rarely (if ever) built by rubes. One step triggers the next in a chain reaction until the final task is complete. Once it starts, it’s practically impossible to peel yourself away from the anticipation of what’s coming next.

Will Nicol 2019, Digital Trends digitaltrends.com

See comparison below:

I have found a series of small clips of a film on YouTube that shows the entire work in parts, this can be seen below. I have found it fascinating watching their kinetic work which is a mixture between, art and film and physics. I also keep thinking of all those films I have watched in the past or comic strips where children and others (adults, aliens etc…) have set up circuits like these as elaborate traps for someone or something to get caught in.

My final thoughts on these still life’s are ‘OK!’ For me I have to go beyond looking at the physics involved or the humour but take in the shapes, lines and colours of the objects and how they relate to each other and to their shadows. Even looking at parts of the ‘sculptures’ becomes interesting and abstract as well as taking into account the importance of the negative spaces and their shapes and lines also.


10th January 2020

Look online at the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher. Note how the composition, framing and lighting is almost identical in each photograph and how this ‘gels’ the series together.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg111

Bernhard “Bernd” Becher, and Hilla Becher, were German conceptual artists and photographers. They are best known for their extensive series of photographic images of industrial buildings and structures, which were often organised in grids format.

The pictures were made over a period nearly five decades – they started collaborating in 1959 and continued until Bernd Becher’s death in 2007 – using a large format camera in the neutral lighting of overcast weather. The structures are viewed straight on, so that verticals remain vertical; the large format camera helps here but the Bechers also worked from raised viewpoints so that we are looking at the structures as directly as possible.

The Tate website is an excellent information source on the Becher’s and their work. I have put different links below to different types of information which include Tate papers and essay, etc…

Who are Hilla and Bernd Becher? This link will take you to the Tate website which has an excellent introduction to the Becher’s and their work. Below are two of the images from this website:

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher Pitheads 1974 
Tate© Estate of Bernd Becher & Hilla Becher
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gas-holders Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, USA, 1966–93
All photographs courtesy Bernd and Hilla Becher

These are links to other pages on Tate’s website connected with the Becher’s.

Tate Papers: The Photographic Comportment of Bernd and Hilla Becher

Tate Website: BLAKE STIMSON

Cruel + Tender, artists, Bernd and Hilla BecherGerman, born 1931 and 1934

Tate Website

Essay: The long look

Tate Website: MICHAEL COLLINS

Germany

I am actually quite interested in how the Becher’s have taken their photographs and then presented them. Also, due to the nature of their images which is industrial buildings and structures, there is a very satisfying subject of geometry and line running through their work. The abstraction of the forms are enhanced by the black and white tones.

I am particularly fond of their water tower series of which there are many. They remind me of sci-fi films, tv series and comics from the 1950’s where there are dome like structures that either the human race in the future are living or other worldly homes of aliens.

The apartment building shot that opens most episodes of The Jetsons (1963)
(image from smithsonianmag.com)

If you Google Becher’s Water Towers you are taken to a page which in itself looks like a patchwork of geometric images which are presented this way as one piece of work. The type of images you will find presented within the search when Googling is below:

The square above which is constructed by images of their work put together in one space, is attractive in its own right. What makes them powerful and gel together as a series, as written in the OCA’s introduction, ‘Note how the composition, framing and lighting is almost identical in each photograph and how this ‘gels’ the series together’ is the reason that they can be presented as a whole together as well. I actually find the composition above very exciting and stimulating to my eye and it has given me ideas on how to present some of my work in the future. I find the text within the above composition adds to the overall feel of the work and this in itself gives me much scope to work with if I produce such a series of work in the future.

To accompany the above research I have managed to find a short documentary on YouTube called, ‘Bernd and Hilla Becher – Water Towers, 1972.’ This video can be found below with accompanying notes that I have made about the towers taken from the video and my own observations.

Notes:

End of 1950’s they travelled the world taking photographs of industrial structures and buildings, for example, mine heads, blast furnaces, gas tanks and water towers.

Image captured from the above video – Water Towers

The Bechers called them objects to be admired and called them ‘anonymous sculptures,’ They took their photographs in a precise way so that each image was concise with the next and they called these ‘families of objects.’

They would use raised vantage points and took each photograph at the same distance so that people could get a sense of scale and understand how big they actually were. The breacher’s would also use large format cameras and long exposures so that they gained sharp, detailed and crisp images.

They displayed their images in grids and rows and would end up with series of images that were like catalogues of structures. Presenting the images in this format allowed the viewer to compare similarities and differences in the structures . However, water towers are not built anymore and many of the ones that appear within their work have been pulled down and therefore the Bechers have documented their existence.

Below are a couple of examples of their work.

  • Image 1 left: View of blast furnace head A of Metallhüttenwerk industrial plant, Lübeck-Herrenwyk, Germany. 1983 (image from cca.qc.ca Canadian Centre for Architecture)
  • Image 2 right: Blast Furnaces 1980-1988 (image from c4gallery.com C4 contemporary art)
  • Image 1 left: Cooling Tower, Germany (image from Pinterest)
  • Image 2 right: Cooling Towers Wood-Steel, 1959-77 (image from imageobjecttext.com IMAGEOBJECTTEXT Ann Jones – Art and Writing)

The information below includes details from an interview with Hilla Becher which I accessed on YouTube, the interview is from: San Francisco Museum of modern Art. The video can also be found below.

Using large format cameras – which is how Hilla was taught and had began her photography career with – the end images were presented in ‘typology’ form which was Hilla’s idea as she was collecting book illustrations that had to do with biology and typologies. With the cooling towers they had noticed a construction pattern which was repeated time and time again with very little differences – statice engineering and architecture. The images were like making a movie/ flip book. The best photo typologies, the best structures were those that were symmetrical.

Preferred to shoot in soft light, if the light was too harsh they would wait for cloud or wait for winter or dawn. These conditions meant that the construction was separated from the sky. This technique is very similar to that of Karl Blossfeldt who we studied for this course, the link is here. He put white card behind his subjects so that they too would stand out from any background.

I absolutely love the grid format with their subject matter due to the fact these purposely built industrial constructions become sculpture of geometric shapes and lines.

Water Towers (image from broad.org The Broad)

The Bechers completed over two hundred comprehensive documentary collections, each ranging from fifty to one hundred images – amazing!