Duane Michals is a practitioner who explores narrative through the form of black and white sequential photography in which Michals is well known for her practice in creating photographic series that places images consecutively within a single frame. Michals also features text alongside her images, usually as titled headings or as short subtitles. Michals has exhibited internationally and has featured in galleries including the Museum of Modern Art and the International Centre of Photography in New York.
Michals explores rather dark narratives that often present uncanny subject matter. Her series often feature individuals in an unexplained encounter as Michals presents each image as a continuous development from previous stills. Michals is experimental with her subject matter as she also refers to surrealist form where she often creates harsh exposures and blurred effects. Michals also merges images together to create ghostly transitions in her visual stories.
One photographic sequence I find particularly interesting is the series titled ‘Bogeyman‘ (1973) which presents a narrative of a young girl who experiences a paranormal encounter with a coat that is revealed as the dark ‘bogeyman’ figure watching over her. This series brings intensifying suspense that is effectively spooky and Michals is playful with movement in this series as well as creating efficient contrast. The lighting from the window in the room shines upon the young girl; this could potentially suggest how she represents a subject of innocence and light. However the coat figure is dark and casts a shadow as this subject matter potentially represents darkness and danger as the result of the series ends with the ghostly figure taking the girl away.
I find Michals influences my ideas in terms of how I can experiment with interior space and harsh lighting. I find the effects Michals uses brings more intensity to the atmosphere of the space.
Ingrid Pollard is another influence towards my creative practice. Pollard is a photographer who creates photo story sequences that explores subjects of representation in which she refers to history, culture within landscape. Pollard works with a variety of media and has exhibited internationally in which she has featured work in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Pollard brings the sensory element alongside visual content in her ‘Seaside‘ series where the images depicting stills of varied subjects at a beach location in Hastings also feature objects attached underneath them. Pollard relates the printed to physical subject matter in which the object memorabilia recalls moments from a tourist visit, allowing the viewer to picture what is happening in the moment the photograph was taken. For example, an image that shows an anonymous person’s shoes with the attachment of a bag of sweets relates the idea that the anonymous person was perhaps consuming this candy treat.
Pollard strongly influences my practice through how she connects different formats together to tell the visual story. This brings about new perspective on using materials to support an image and let the viewer initiate independent thinking. I find using this concept brings more immersive experience to the subject matter as it invites the audience to physically see the influence concerning the images up close in a materialistic way. This inspires my ideas to identify object materials as key studies by considerably taking them out of the image and trusting responsibility of visual subject matter with the audience.
D C Moore Gallery (2016) Duane Michals [Online] Available from: http://www.dcmooregallery.com (Accessed 03/01/2016)
Ingrid Pollard (2012) Ingrid Pollard Photography [Online] Available from: www.ingridpollard.com (Accessed 18/12/2015)