Reflection Part 2-Self Directed Project (1000 Words)

Reflecting on my self directed project, I have found exploring installation and photography as a combined concept an exciting investigation towards how I push the boundaries in presenting work within the public space.

In the early stages of this project, my experiments of photographing the ‘ball’ object echo my geometric experiments of observing the ‘box’ object during the staff initiated project.  I found co-ordinating the materials for these experiments challenging as I found it difficult upon selecting suitable objects within a suitable background.  My first two experiments seen as the ‘Blue Ball’ series involving using patterned materials as a supporting background brought me to question the significance of the background content in relation to the main subject matter as this was unclear. I found the later experiments using a plain matching background material worked more harmoniously as this resumed my intentions of producing attractive colour contrast to bring across balanced visual content.

My strongest influences towards my practice include Victoria Ivanova and Laura Letinksy as I find these artists communicate well in using narrative concepts in still life that brings the object themselves to life. I was distinctly inspired to use the ‘less is more’ initiative in which my practice involved putting things in and taking them out again.  For example, I find my narrative development was largely improved in ‘The Pebble and the Acorn’ series and this helped me to understand  visual story telling in more depth.  I find this series was the most engaging and as visual pieces, I find the series works well because it makes the viewer think differently about ordinary items.  This practice also allowed me to bring focus to natural specimens, thus taking the opposite intention of photographing nature as a space but instead as an item.    The process of ‘placing’ and ‘replacing’ made the practice more interesting as my images changed frequently in which this assisted in conducting development in the story telling.  I also found I held more control over the scene as instead of choosing my location for the setting, I was able to make it independently.  This enabled me to consider further opportunities to change my subject matter as I wish.

Gallery visits including the Nude Tin gallery were particularly inspirational towards my practice in terms of managing aspects in photography involving lighting and technique.  i found my visit to this gallery also offers me further opportunity to promote my work as a freelance photographer.  Making my investigation into participating within local arts communities has given me further encouragement to enter into competitions and events as well as making engagements in the business side of the photographic industry.

Overall, I find this project has developed my learning of exact preparations towards organising an exhibit as a freelance photographer and I find my practice has taken to a level where I can recognise my own unique style in still life photography.  My final chosen theme which explores ‘Acceptance’ will also be a partner theme with my previous concept exploring ‘Sanctuary’.   I find both these themes would work well as a combined concept as they both consist of similar elements.

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Reflection Part 1-Staff Initiated Project (1000 Words)

Reflecting on my recent practice, I find my work has developed on an entirely new level in terms of visual content and theme and this has brought me to develop a different genre of photography that brings focus on a variety of subjects.

Practitioners I have found particularly influential towards my practice include Yayoi Kusama and Clare Strand. I admire how Kusama realises her work as a visual, interactive experience and this has motivated me to work on a larger scale.  Clare has influenced my ideas in the observation of simplistic forms in which this has led me to experiment further in exploring geometric form and the everyday necessity.  For example, I found my work progressed well within the ‘Red Box’ series in which I learned to be more selective in colour in all aspects of the image content.  I found this series projected my work in a new direction where I take advantage of the qualities of objects and space as well as in depth meaning.

My visits to the Photographer’s gallery was strongly inspiring towards my ideas development of installation concepts in which I particularly admire Trevor Paglen for his diverse use of media.  From visiting the show, I have learned to be more open to other resources that may involve using a different medium altogether.  I also learned how I could  correlate different media used in relation to my chosen theme.  For example, Paglen featured images of drone’s but he also featured text describing more about them.  This concept helps the audience to become more educated in the subject matter as well as understanding the subject visually.  This influenced my practice when considering other formats that can be used for the Major Project.  For instance, my conceptual idea of using objects within the space as well as their counterpart photographs correlates the images with the ‘real thing’.  I also found Laura El-Tanwany’s piece influential in terms of enhancing the mood of the space by using audio sound and this is something I intend to use within my Final Major exhibition.

During the course of the staff initiated project, I found my experimentation with featuring interior based objects within an exterior environment challenging as I found my range of selected subjects too specific.  Although my final experiment of this worked well within the ‘Red Box’series, I found it difficult to consider how I would develop the concept further within a narrative sense.   Speaking with photographer Maxine Beuret was beneficial towards processing my ideas of considering and researching further opportunities involved with the Arts Council England.  For example, setting the exhibition in a public resource space presented was another possible objective in which the installation acts as a space with regards to its environment.   Overall, I found this first short project gave me satisfactory practice in still life photography based outdoors and this has encouraged me to try something new with the exclusion of the individual as a subject matter.

 

 

Ernesto Neto- Major Installation Influences

 

Ernesto Neto is a sculpture and installation artist who integrates elements of the 5 senses within large interactive walk through pieces.  His work brings focus on themes relating to nature, man made artefacts and the spiritual world in which he works with a large variety of materials where he induces elements such as scent within the experience.

Following his studies in Brazil, Neto has exhibited internationally in which he has displayed at museums including the Tate Gallery in London and the Guggenheim museum in New York as well as many other artistic establishments.  Neto represented his country in the 2001 Venice Biennale Event and he has also participated in various other biennials and group exhibitions.

Neto’s installations are charmingly engaging as he allows the audience to physically explore space like an alternative world.  Neto transports the viewer by inviting them to interact with the space within a leisurable setting that enables viewers to almost become lost as his works often work similarly to a maze structure.  Neto is often known for an unusual element in his pieces which sees lumps of material mesh hanging from ceiling height creating a rounded sac shape; these have been used in many of Neto’s works including the Anthropodino installation in 2009.

I strongly admire how Neto establishes the interactive element within his pieces and I find that he also brings a sense of freedom and fun to his pieces.  I particularly admire his netting installations where the audience can walk to higher level above ground which brings an exciting new perspective for the viewer.  In works such as ‘Madness is a Part of Life’, Neto brings a jungle gym similarity in these pieces and this makes the installations all the more entertaining.  I am inspired to bring the element of fun toward my Major Project Outcome as I find this will attract more attention in terms of encouraging people to play a role.

References

ARR Bomb Magazine (2008) ‘Artists In Conversation-Fernando Gomes and Esnesto Neto’ [Online] Availble from: ‘www.bombmagazine.org (Accessed Winter 2008)

ARR Tayna Bonakdar Gallery (2016) ‘Ernesto Neto-Selected Works’ [Online] New York Base, Available from: http://www.tanyabonakdargallery.com (Accessed 15/04/2016)

Still Life – Plantation – Series 6.5 continued

Continuing from my experiments with natural still life objects, I chose to photograph a leaf and an acorn shell as bonded companions.  I find these images work well together as a series and conducts simplicity to a strong level.  There is no narrative but only observation of the bond between these two subjects.

During post production, I cropped the images and made minor adjustments to lighting in terms of contrast, brightness and other adjustments such as colour balance as the images did appear quite warm.  Once again, I used ambient lighting.

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Still Life – Plantation Narrative – Series 6.5

For the second part of my experiments involving natural still life photography, I chose to photograph several more plant subjects as grouped compositions.  I chose subjects of different textures, colours and form as my intention this time was to test how different subjects appear together when contrasting these elements.  The narrative for this short series presents a similar intention where bonds are made and then change and I also wanted to bring across how bonds are formed in unexpected ways.

Post production

During the editing process, I made simple adjustments including cropping and improving the brightness of the lighting.  I also used the spot healer tool to diminish any unwanted marks in the background. One again, I made these images as wide view landscapes.

Outcomes

I find this image presents the strongest composition and variety in colour.  I chose to use natural resources completely in this still life shoot as I wanted to engage further in the observation of nature within an empty space. Here we see three very different subjects together as a bonded group.

I experimented with taking one subject out at a time and testing different compositions within smaller group images.  For this shot, we see the subjects next to each other.  Here I also tried placing subjects on top of each other.

For this shot, I tested subjects of similar colour pigments to create a matching set.  I find this works well as  I recognise how certain subjects may relate better than others.

For this shot, I tested photographing two subjects to present a more simple one on one bonding relationship between the subjects,  I find this image is slightly weaker as there is less interest due to there being less subjects.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I find this practice has been a successful experiment and I intend to consider exploring this style of photography more in my upcoming major project.  I have found exploring Letinksy’s work very influential within these pieces particularly and I have found it beneficial to practice shooting in this way.  I find this style more simplistic and somewhat laid back as it brings pure observation but still relates a narrative that connects things together.  I find making connections in still life is now becoming a central part of my practice and I find the theme of making connections is crucial in the process of acceptance.

Still Life – Bowl and Leaf Narrative – Series 6.0

Following my findings of still life photographers including Laura Letinsky, I decided to put to practice a simplistic still life set up where I experiment further with natural resources against a white backdrop.  I still intend to maintain my practice in using man made objects and so for this shoot, I chose to create a basic narrative series focusing on a bowl of water and a leaf.  For this shoot, I wanted to experiment with bringing a man made and natural object together as a development towards my proposed idea of creating a companionship between the man made and natural world.  The narrative series represents investigates further into how bonds can be affected or perhaps broken and then re-established.

Post Production

For the shoot, I used ambient lighting as my intention was to create a soft tonal value to the imagery.

During the editing process, I firstly cropped the images to square landscapes to present even space on either side of the subject.

I also made minor adjustments using the curves tool as the lighting needed slight improvement and I also wanted to create more contrast.

 

Outcomes

The first image of the series shows the leaf sitting on the edge of the bowl of water.  The water is still and all is peaceful.

The second image of the series sees the water begin to ripple, representing a disturbance is emerging within the companionship.

This image shows the leaf’s disappearance as the water continues to ripple.  This image represents absence and the disconnecting or breaking stage of the companionship.

This image shows the return of the leaf when the water resumes to its calm state.  This image represents the reconnecting stage of the companionship.

This final image of the series shows the bond is re-established and renewed as the leaf is now one with the water in the bowl.

Additional Image

An additional image (separate) from the series featured shows a close up perspective of the leaf resting on the bowls edge.  This image brings a strong composition and gives us more of a personal connection with the leaf.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I have found this series continues to represent my exploration in the theme of acceptance as once again, I find there is observation of bonding developments represented through objects.  I find this series is perhaps too basic visually as a narrative due to its short length, however I find the image content is very precise and sentimental in which we see two to three different elements merging together as a joint fellowship.

 

 

Beetles and Huxley and Atlas Galleries

Beetles and Huxley Gallery

The Beetles and Huxley Gallery is a leading contributor to the display of contemporary photography.  The gallery is ever changing in which it has hosted exhibitions since its founding in 2010.  Photographers featured previously include Irving Penn as well as many other highly recognised photography practitioners.    Upon my visit to the space, I witnessed the work of Chinese photographer Zhang Kechun where the exhibit features a series of landscape works in which Kechun explores urban moments bringing focus to the Yellow River in China.

This project brought Kechun to navigate along the yellow river to explore its significant place in the Chinese culture in which Kechun captures moments surrounding the river’s banks.  Although it was not his intention, Kechun also identifies the environmental state of the area where he came across issues concerning pollution and modernisation.  His imagery presents the river as a tranquil, open space where Kechun evokes a sense of curiosity as he captures found subjects that rest on the river’s shores.  Various images in the series reveal ruined structures, vehicles, people and oriental monuments that reveal historical and progressing events.  One of his most quaint images titled ‘A Man Standing in the Middle of a River’ (2012) gives an intense perspective of the rivers size as Kechun photographs the subject from a distance.  Another image pays tribute to Chinese figure Mao Zedong in which this image depicts decorative inflatables and an image of Zedong floating within the river alongside supporters.

I find Kechun’s exhibit of this series very compelling and the way he has presented the series as large scale prints allows the viewer to be absorbed into the series where finer details can be recognised in terms of what is happening in the images.  The series presents a raw, saturated quality that brings soft, clean appearance which adds to the setting.  Kechun has approached photographing the river with delicacy and I admire how his use of composition as he creates very silent but also dramatic scenes.

Atlas Gallery: David Drebin Exhibition – Chasing Paradise

David Drebin is a contemporary fine art photographer who captures subjects relating to emotional experiences in which he often portrays cinematic within ‘dreamy’ scenic imagery set in locations from cities to poignant landscapes.

Following his studies in New York, Drebin went on to establish a solo career in which he held his first show in Berlin.  Drebin has become known for his dramatic dreamscapes and has exhibited in many countries across the world.  Within his success, he has also published various books, featured in major art fairs and is represented by high profile galleries including the Camera Work gallery.

I find Drebin brings across a strong theme of beauty in his work that is unique and I admire his use of colour filtering as well as his use of other media including light box technology.  Drebin is an influence towards future projects in which I intend to return to using individuals within subject matter and from the images in this series,  Drebin has influenced my ideas for how to pose an individual against a certain type of background to bring across in depth drama.

References

Beetles and Huxley (2015) ”Zhang Kechun-Exhibitions’ [online] Available from: http://www.beetlesandhuxley.com (Accessed 21/04/2016)

David Drebin (2016) ‘BIO-Exhibitions’ [Online] Available from: http://www.daviddrebin.com (Accessed 21/04/2016)