Reflective Evaluation Part 2

My new learning during this project has extended my technical skills substantially in which I have learned new lighting methodologies when shooting in studio. Other learning involving observing the work of others has also made major impacts on aspects of my final artefact.

William Eggleston has been the most dominant influence to my work in terms of narrative, layout display and visual style.  Eggleston’s ‘Nightclub series’ particularly influenced my practice in working with low key photography to create subdued atmospheres.  It was these images in particular that embodied my visual ideas when photographing my subject matter for my final series where the background is pitch black and the subject is lit with intensity.  Other images in Eggleston’s collection have also influenced other ideas throughout my project in which other portraits set within interior spaces brings a sense of sentimental value.  From this, I was influenced to create my own interior settings with a weighty mood and one individual being present in the space.  Although this experiment was not developed further, I still benefited from experimenting with narrative concepts in terms of how to manipulate subject matter by placing active changes of character that are almost interfering and unexpected.

My early still life experiments in studio gave extensive progress when devising various techniques to create alternative lighting styles.  This session was particularly beneficial towards my understanding of how I can use certain lighting tools to bring across a mood or an effect with a deeper sentiment.  These experiments presented possibilities of how to make my subject matter appear more abstract, for example, using gels to reflect light through created unique colour effects that separated the foreground from the background and the subject matter.  This practice was technically challenging and this has encouraged me to bring more productive quality when lighting a scene.

When pursuing my experiments with portraiture and still life together, the experiments presented mixed results; the production was further developed where larger props were used, however, the narratives at this stage were not strongly progressive. The studio portraits which presented a theme relating to the element of ‘Air’ possesses little development in the narrative and the general setting appears over staged. The subject matter brought across a fashion photography style which was not my intention.  Despite this, these experiments did develop my skills in how to use props more efficiently when observing elements of form and shadow.

Producing the final artefact for this project has also given me new perspective when managing post production.  My choice to feature two larger images has shown me the importance of being critically analytical of the images and I have also learned that images often appear different when printed.  As my final images give a dark appearance, aspects such as exposure and unwanted markings needed particular care to avoid creating prints that appear too dark and faulty.

Other influences for the final piece including Richard Vantielcke and Gregory Crewdson have given me further reminder of integrating the element of performance.  I feel this has been accomplished effectively with this final practice as the image content presents a cinematic quality.

In conclusion to the Major project, I am profoundly satisfied with the final outcome and I find the series presents a touching subject that all can relate to.

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.

Installation Production

Following the completion of the final series, I have chosen an open space consisting of three large walls with additional wall space at the entrance.  I have decided to choose a selection of the images so most but not all images will be featured in the final display. As the space is quite large, I have decided to divide the space into two sections; one side will feature the photography series and the other side will feature the question box in which I intend to place this on a table or plinth.  For the question box which asks the audience which tool of light they would use themselves, will present a black theme where all contributing components will be black.  I aim to cover the plinth with a satin cloth and the box will also be black.  Paper pencils will be provided for viewers to post inside the box.

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Gallery Space

Installation Wall Diagrams

Below are three different diagrams depicting potential placement of the images. I have chosen to feature two larger portraits on the walls adjacent to the main wall space at the size of A2 or A1 and the rest of the images will be A2 or A3 sized depending on measurements.

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This first arrangement has 11 images within the wall space.  This arrangement works well, however there is a lack of flow with the images in terms of following the narrative.

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This arrangement features the portrait still life of the torch at the centre.  However, this does not work well as the images appear too consecutive against each other which gives a lack of the loose arrangement I intend to display.

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This arrangement works well as the portraits and still life images are evenly spread and there is a good flow of narrative which the viewer can easily follow.  From the left, we are introduced to the individual and following this large portrait, we see the individual addressing the viewer and  finding the acorn on the floor before reaching an emotional state and then deciding to follow the path of light.  The series ends with the final large portrait of the individual becoming one with the light.

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An extended version of this sequence features additional prints of the glass shards and a third image of the torch.  Outside of this arrangement, the side view portrait and the portrait with the individual facing towards the light would be at A1 size as separate images from the series. This will be my final chosen arrangement.

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This diagram presents a visual impression of the installation of the images against a dark coloured wall.

Question Book

Following up the idea of presenting a question to the audience, my original plan was to feature a box in the space where viewers can place answers inside.  However, upon further contemplation, this method of activity only asks the viewer to leave something within the space but does not give anything back.  I have now decided to feature a comment book where people can write down their answers so that others can also see them.  This method will be more diverse as people shall be leaving their ideas in the book which will be open for others to take something away from the comments.

The Plinth

The book and the Artist’s Statement shall be placed upon the plinth. The plinth is to be covered with black satin fabric and shall be placed in the centre of the room space or near the entrance.

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Plinth Installation Production

Other Interactive Question Ideas

Which tool would you use to find your way out of the darkness? Torch, lantern or lightbulb?

What is the source of light?

What is light? What is dark?

How does one find their way out of the darkness?

 

Black Envelope

  • Artists Statement

Freedom ‘The Path To Light’

Presented by Taneesha Prince. 2016

The photographic series ‘Freedom: The Path To Light’ presents an intense narrative sequence featuring a selection of portraits and still life photography.   The narrative follows a personal journey of one individual who is searching for a light in the darkness, in which there is a bonding relationship between them and the ‘ultimate’ source of light.  The purpose of this series is to present a thought provoking experience to communicate the potential of elemental power that may reside in all of us.

The series expresses a perception of encountering a mental challenge, where a personal connection relating to natural forms and man-made resources are linked together within a harmonious partnership.

Throughout the visual story, we explore the personal developments of the  individual in several stages.  This installation also features an interactive activity which directs a question to the audience.  ‘Which tool would you use to find your way out of the darkness?’  Could it be the torch, the lantern or the lightbulb? These aspects of the narrative each play major roles in the development of the character.  The torch represents a tool of strength and solidarity and the lantern represents something that has been left behind. Meanwhile the lightbulb represents a potential contender that may provide the answer to the mystery of the light energy the individual witnesses.

My resolve for the series is to bring a message that highlights how we must appreciate the resources of energy we have available to us within the natural world as well as the man-made world.  The series represents light both as an artificial tool and as a natural life source where this teaches a lesson of understanding the roots of elemental power and to not take anything for granted.

  • Other images that did not make the cut to be featured in the final wall installation shall also be featured as small prints inside the envelope.

Installation Production

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Repainting The Wall Space
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The Plinth in the centre covered in satin cloth material
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Left View of Gallery Space

‘Photo of the Week’ and Week Review

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D. Dolron. ‘Xteriors’. 2001-Present

This week’s ‘Photo of the Week’ observes photographic Dutch photographer Desiree Dolron who creates staged photography within interior spaces.  Also working as a photojournalist, Dolron’s work has been featured at the Guggenheim Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  Dolron also regularly works as a photojournalist as well as working with conceptual narrative photography.  This image from her series ‘Xteriors’ depicts women wandering within interior hallways.  The length of the space is suggestive that this series is set within a wealthy victorian house as the women’s appearance reflects a victorian style and the general atmosphere presents an old fashioned quality.  This image is particularly intriguing as it demonstrates a scene that is in limbo.  As the woman gazes out of a window in the distance, a second woman watches her as she passes through the hallway.  It appears as though this second woman was searching for her or perhaps has spontaneously found her in a moment of solitude.  The mood of the images in this series is quite dark and depressing as Dolron uses low key lighting and dull colours with both the space and the individuals who walk through it.  There is also a sense of perfection with the characteristics of the subject matter as there are no items or furniture in the space and there isn’t a hair out of place with the women’s appearance.

I admire Dolron for how she brings across this haunting feel to her images that is compelling and almost intimidating as the figures she uses present themselves in a dark, overly controlled manner that is uncannily suspicious.  I also admire Dolron’s inspiration from traditional painting as her use of soft lighting gives her visuals a textured appearance that could almost be mistaken for a painting rather than a photographic image.

Week Review

In review of this week’s progress, I am now ready to begin the production stage of the project installation. My next step is to research into my options of framing or mounting in which I aim to gather the materials needed over the course of the next week.  My intention is to create an impact with the images as they bring a dark, alluring theme so I am keen to use frames for the presentation.  However, this depends on how the frames compliment the images for if they do not, I shall mount the images onto foam board as a secondary plan.  I would also like to provide an artists statement within the viewing space of the installation.

References

ARR Photomuseum Den Haag (2016) ‘Desiree Dolron‘ [Online] Available from: http://www.fotomuseumdenhaag.nl (Accessed 24/08/2016)

Promotional Video

To create my promotional video, I shall be addressing the viewer directly against a dark background and I shall also feature several images from my Final Artefact series throughout the video.  I have chosen to present the video similarly to a trailer where I shall present an emotional atmosphere where I shall bring focus to the story of the photographs and the message it brings as well as featuring cinematic music.

During the editing process, I used the opacity tool to create fade in/out effects between each segment of the video content.  I have done this to bring further emphasis on the dark mood within the film.

Video Script 

”For my final project, I have chosen to explore the theme of ‘Freedom’ which represents both ‘Sanctuary and Acceptance’ as key elements within the theme.  This has led me to take a vast range of approaches where I am looking at the natural world and the man made world.

All of us occasionally feels trapped or anxious about going for something in life and a lot of the time, there may be something that is holding us back.  My aim is to represent this through portraiture and still life photography as a narrative series of digital images.  The narrative for this series focuses on one individual and an object.  In the story, the individual is searching for a light to find their way out of the darkness and the only thing they have as a small source of light is an objet such as a torch or a lamp.

This person is desperate to find their way out and to develop a bond with the natural element of light.  The moral of the story is to bring a message that there is always a path to follow. It’s like they say, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and that’s what this concept is all about.  It’s about finding the inner strength to move forward to something better.

My intention is to create an emotional experience to bring across the struggles that we all go through sometimes when we are up against something that is bigger than we are. The narrative is not just about finding our way to get to where we want to be.  It is also about appreciating hat we have available to us as a source of energy than can help us get to our destination.

And where would we be without light.  Without light, we probably wouldn’t even be here, nothing would grow and we wouldn’t be able to see. If anything, light is perhaps the most important energy source out of all of the natural elements.

Without light, nothing would exist.”

Youtube link-

References

ARR Bensound Royalty Free Music Copyright (2016) ‘November‘ Available at: http://www.bensound.com (Accessed 23/08/2016)

Final Ideas and Decisions

Following my final interpretation for my final artefact, I currently intend to enhance the installation space to match the dark atmosphere of the final images.  My approach to this will require using other materials to contribute to the immersive experience I aim to achieve.

Narrative Series

As I have produced serrate outcomes for both still life and portraiture photography, I have chosen to feature the images within the space as a wall collage photo display.  I plan to have the images of different sizes within grouped sets where they would be spread out as a collage arrangement rather than to be viewed as a consecutive display.  I have chosen to do this because as my final images represents a diverse range of content, this will make the installation of the images more visually interesting.

Installation Space

Following my recent visit to the National Portrait Gallery,  I also hope to change the colour of the wall and floor space to a dark pigment such as black or a dark grey to match the dark shadowy content within the images.  I am eager to pursue this as it will further address the theme relating to aspects of darkness and this will also contribute to the immersive experience where it could have the audience feel as if they are also standing within a dark place.

Additional Features

For viewers to play an interactive role within the installation space, I have devised an idea that particularly focuses on each light source seen within the photographic series; the Torch, the Lantern and the Lightbulb.  The question would ask which of each of the light sources they would choose to find their way out of a darkness.  The audience would be provided with cards to write down their answer and these answers can be placed inside a box.  I may consider featuring the objects themselves within the space to stand atop a plinth or perhaps feature images of the objects alongside the question as a visual reference.

At this stage, these final decisions are still provisional as this current stage, however, I am eager to follow through with these ideas.

Phase 3 Practice: Final Shoot Part 2

For the final still life images, I have chosen to photograph three different objects as different representatives of light energy sources; these are a torch, a lantern and a lightbulb.  I have chosen these objects to feature as part of the series as are all unique from each other in which they conjure light in different ways.  The torch is a representative object of ambient artificial battery powered light, the lantern uses a natural flame and the lightbulb sources its light from electricity.  The way I have photographed these objects once again produces dark surroundings where the only thing that can be seen in the object and lit in the darkness.

Contact Sheets

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Post production

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During post production, I mainly adjusted the lighting in terms of contrast by using the curves tool.  I also used the spot healing tool to erase unwanted marks in the images.

 

Still Life Final Outcomes

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For the torch, I have captured three unique compositions as I intend to bring variety to display its simplistic form.  When lighting this object, I used one light to be turned slightly away from the set up to cause a flagging effect on the background so that only the foreground could be visible. For one of these images, we see the torch lit within a direct thin path of light with the object facing toward the right.  To do this, I used a large cardboard materials to mark a shadow on either side of the torch with the light passing through the gap.  The importance of the torch within the narrative is to act as the main tool to guide the individual towards the light source ahead; the torch is the individual’s most valuable tool.

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I lit the lantern in a similar way with the background flagged out, however, there was some limitation of compositions I could use for this object.  The most effective way to light this object was to lie it down on its side with the lantern door compartment open , this gave more shape to the lantern where we could see all aspects of its form and function.  Having the hatch open also brings a sense of mystery as to how it opened and who has left it there.  Within the narrative, the lantern is representative of what the individual has left behind; the lantern is old and broken and can no longer assist the individual with their occupation.

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To photograph the lightbulb, I worked with two of these items where I shattered one to create a more intriguing background for the other unsheltered lightbulb.  This brought some drama to these images as there is a sense of absence and presence and brings question of how the lightbulb was shattered.  The content of the final subject matter gives three different perspectives which includes a view across the surface with the glass shards out of focus in the foreground.  Other perspectives brings a viewpoint from above and at lower angles where in one image, the lightbulb is absent.  The lightbulb acts as the most obscure object out of the three; a light is seen and the individual is searching for it but what is the actual source?  Could it be the lightbulb? Why are there glass shards on the floor?  The lightbulb is a potential contender as the key to the ultimate source of light energy and this is something I intend to leave the audience to question.

Conclusion

In conclusion to this final shoot, I am satisfied with the outcomes as they present content that is very intriguing and suspenseful which assists in leading the narrative to how each object plays a role. There is a good connection between the portraits and still life imagery as they are relatable and bring matching atmospheres.  From this still life session, I have particularly learned the importance of keeping the set up clean and dust free even more so when working with objects in dark conditions. Overall, the images match well with the rest of the series.