Reflective Evaluation Part 1

During the course of this project, my creative decision making has led me to explore a variety of conceptual approaches where I have observed still life and portraiture within different perspectives.  Following my original proposal, my plan was to create a series that pursued a narrative where an individual experiences an encounter with natural or spiritual elements.  I feel this has been achieved, however the artefact does present some change in what was originally visualised but nevertheless, I am satisfied with the outcome.

My first experiments which explored the ‘four elements’during the first phase of my creative practice proved to be the most experimental period during early project developments.  The experiments which observed ‘earth’, ‘water’ and ‘fire’ within a dark setting against a black background were the most successful overall as they presented the most effective atmosphere where there was an almost threatening impression of the objects used.  Reflecting back on these first images has also influenced my creative thinking towards the final artefact when considering a presentation using a darker theme.  The later weekly experiments which saw still life observations against white and coloured backgrounds also proved to be interesting, however, these experiments were weaker in bringing across a sense of character in the subject matter.  As these experiments presented the objects in well exposed conditions, there was no sense of mystery or development behind the subject.

The second phase of my experimentation brought my narrative ideas to life where I began to experiment with studio portraiture photography as well as self portraiture within an interior location.  My choice to investigate both of these styles brought good results in terms of visual quality, however there was still a lack of narrative drive in both sessions. I chose to explore interior settings to determine how I could create a narrative in a space where objects and furniture are already set in place.  I found this difficult to manage as I was limited to using the lighting effectively as well as changing the surroundings.  The self portraits do possess a provocative outlook on concepts of personal space and wanting to escape.  However, there is no occurrence in the images as the individual remains in the a repeated position.

The third and final phase of my experimentation saw one final experiment involving light trail photography together with portraiture before moving forward with the final artefact. This experiment was the most technically challenging and so I chose to dismiss this idea.  This was because the appearance of the images I intended for involved separating the background as a dark void and lighting the model in the foreground only.  This proved to be too complex and it was difficult to manoeuvre the model within the space while capturing the light trails simultaneously.

My final decision to use light itself as the natural elemental representative proved to be a successful lead as this allowed me to control the light in diverse and unusual ways.  For the installation of the images, I have been strongly influenced by American photographer William Eggleston who’s recent collective display at the National Portrait Gallery was presented the images in a collage fashion.  The intention of featuring objects within the gallery space has also been amended due to complications of choosing the most suitable objects that challenges the audience.  The interactive question concept was a better option as this allows for people to connect with each other by writing and viewing comments relating to the work.

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