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Mary Frey, http://www.maryfrey.com

David Legge, ‘Bamboozed’ , Scholastic Trade (March 1995)

 

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Upon choosing an art movement at the beginning of the project, I struggled. I was adamant not to choose one I had researched previous to this assignment, however, while reading through the texts, my idea sprang from a text on Modernism and appealed to me greatly. In hindsight, I’m glad I chose a movement I was familiar with because it meant I had far more of an understanding for its methods and beliefs than I could ever have had for a new movement.

This project gave me this exact opportunity to work within Photoshop which is a big passion of mine. Although the outcome and ideas behind my final images are not directly linked to Modernism, the ideas that generated the proposal came from a text which spoke about capturing a moment within a photograph with new technologies. This made me start to question the nature of a photograph and whether the entire photograph is relevant, or just the subject.

This led me to my idea about shifting the focus of the photo. Instead of the foreground being the main focus, in my final image, the background is vital. My intention was that a viewer could just glance at my image and see nothing special about its general nature – the viewer would have to look deeper into the detail of the image to see its true meaning. I think I have achieved this feat.

Looking at the images now, i can see small things that I would probably have changed if I had the skills. However, because my Photoshop skills aren’t at a professional level, the images created are not perfect. Nevertheless, in a way this aspect makes my images more like the traditional photograph. No photograph is ever perfect, not even a manipulated one, if it is a snap shot.

In regard to the presentation of my images, I am very happy. I think the presentation is a prefect match for what the images are communicating. The thing I found most difficult during this project was trying to capture the images themselves and trying to choose which type of image would work best. It is not easy at all to try to photograph an area with potential for manipulation. Nonetheless, I feel I did my project proud with its lead photograph, and also with the manipulated images that accompany it and so am very happy with my outcome.

 

My lead image:

This image has been edited to make it lighter and more viewable, and also the man was originally holding a coat which i edited out to allow for more manipulations to be put in and for, in my opinion, a generally better image.

The original photograph:

These are the features i edited into the image:

I’ve been pondering how I would like to present my work a lot recently. Last term I made a small book with writing to accompany my images, but this term i want to do something different. The obvious options are to put an order up on my blog to show how I want them to be viewed, I could hand them in on a CD, present them in a powerpoint and have them projected onto the wall, make another book or print them out and stick them onto card.

However, because my final image has been made to look like a mundane photograph until the viewer looks into the background to see the variety of odd little changes, these photos need to be shown to the viewer and presented in a bog standard way which causes no confusion or suspicion. Because of this, I thought about how traditional photographs are displayed. The most obvious way, although dated, is to print them out and have them in a photo album or just as straight images like my parent have from printing film pictures.

This gave me the idea to go to Boots and use one of the printing kiosks to print out my images and present them in a normal fashion in the usual package that people would pick their photographs up in.

However, the assignment brief very clearly states that ‘one [image] should be printed and presented as the lead image with the others as supporting material.’ Because of this I needed a way to make it very clear which of my images is the ‘leading’ one because although this is very clear to me, I don’t want any confusion when marked.

The simplest and most traditional way to make one image stand out from the rest was to put it in a frame. I have bought a very simple frame to put the ‘leading’ image in and the rest of the images in the package are ‘supporting material’.

 

Although the project brief says we can produce a ‘minimum of three images’, I plan to produce around 8 – 10 photos. This is because although I wanted my final piece to be a real scene, much like in ‘Bamboozled’, I also made many images of manipulated objects which I am proud of and think are relevant. However, even if I hadn’t planned to hand them in to stand on their own they would still have a valid place in the project. This is because the main scene incorporates many of the manipulations I had previously made and I tried to take a photograph that my other manipulations could be manipulated into.

How to take the photograph?

My project proposal states that: ‘I plan to create a photograph complied of other photographs where on first glance the image won’t be particularly capturing, what will look like the main feature will be very mundane. The depth will come from looking into the background to see peculiar things happening. This work will make the background far more important that the foreground.’

Because of this, I needed to take a photograph that had a main subject which would portray why I took the photograph.

I explored many types of photograph to find one that would fit my context. I did this because during a crit session with Paul Smith he said something along the lines of, people will wonder why you’ve taken that photo if it doesn’t have a purpose for being taken’. This made a lot of sense because if I didn’t have a min subject then my whole concept wouldn’t have worked.

My project is about what is in the background of an image rather than the foreground, but because of this it is imperative that there is a foreground to look past.

Types of photography I looked at:

Going out and night life:

The issue I had with this type of photograph is that there wasn’t much I could do to manipulate them. I considered manipulating the cards in some of them and reflections in others but it didn’t seem like a big enough change.

Holiday Snaps:

Holiday photographs are usually of people or scenery, there really wasn’t much I could do in the way of changing them. As well as this, these photos all have a lot of light in them, so in order to manipulate them or add features I’d have to also recreate the light which would have been very difficult.

The area I chose:

Although 3 of 4 of these aren’t particularly useable, the 4th picture has a lot of potential because there are lots of open spaces like the walls, ceilings and backgrounds. It also has a main feature to be in the foreground which allowed me to place my previously manipulated images into the background of this image. Obviously, the fact that this image’s context fit with the photos id already manipulated contributed hugely.

 

Sally Mann, ‘Immidiate Family’, Phaidon Press Ltd; New edition edition (Sep 1993)

Wiebke Leister, ‘Source’ , Meanwhile

Wiebke Leister, ‘Photography & Culture’

Jill Greenberg, ‘The British Journal of Photography’, Just Kidding, 26-27

Jill Greenberg, ‘Personality’, Surreality Star, 39-40

Jill Greenberg, ‘Arts & Minds’, YouTube.com

Jill Greenberg, ‘GMA’, YouTube.com

A. Moore, ‘Night’, YouTube.com

‘Amaryllis Growl’, Youtube.com

 

Overall, I’m really happy with the outcome I’ve produced. I enjoyed using Final Cut Pro fairly easy once all the basics have been learnt. The aspect I’m most proud of I think is the content, I think the question I fathom from the text is interesting, well researched and linked to quite a few Photographers. I’m really happy with the amount of research I did and with the interview with Pete Lord (Second Year Photography Student).

The task was to create a video essay and I feel that is what I did, I made points and backed them up like I would on paper. However, although I’m happy with the results, I think it could have been made better by having a more camera friendly subject in order to eliminate using fading transitions during sentences where they’ve been spliced and stitched back together. But apart from this, I think the video clips included were relevant and helped build on what I was saying and so I’m proud of my first attempt.

‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. I am ‘injecting’ USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. You are invited to go to these places (so far 5 in NYC) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your files and date. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file explaining the project. Full documentation, movie, map and ‘How to make your own dead drop’

This idea of creating a ‘Dead Drop’ for anything to put their files is an amazing way to see work and get your own work out there. Not only does it allow for others to view your work (which, for students, is ideal), but it also allows people to view others work. This idea is very similar to the way we (on the photography course) are using our blogs. We can upload our own work to our blog for others to view, and we can also go on each others blogs to view the work they are making.

This new way of sharing allows people to get ideas and inspiration from complete strangers. An interesting aspect of this idea is that it’s made fun by having the ‘Dead Drops’ in strange and random places. This adds an aspect of fun to the whole scheme. People can look out for ‘Dead Drops’ rather than having a point to go like a phone box.

RELEVANCE TO ME:

Although the idea of this is really interesting, there is another reason why I chose these images from the wide selection we were given. If you’ve been following my blog (or can just scroll down), you will have seen that at the moment my main line of work is revolving about photo manipulation and i am creating images which have an element of surrealism about them. The images that were born out of this idea are quite surreal to look at before you know what the scheme is about. On first glance, this could be a photo manipulation.

The following images are from:

http://www.flickr.com

This text speaks of the reproduction of art through the means of technology, namely, photography. ‘Technical reproduction had reached a standard that not only permitted it to reproduce all transmitted works of art and thus to cause the most profound change in their impact upon the public.’ I believe this is talking about how seeing a piece of art work in the flesh, the original, is an experience that is becoming rarer and thus more compelling. This is because the original is the one that holds all the personality or the ‘aura’ as the text says. All this personality and aura that is transmitted through authenticity is lost when a reproduction is made because then it just becomes a photograph of an amazing piece of work, rather than an amazing piece of art. ‘Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.’

The text talks about how photography has allowed reproductions of images to be seen anywhere. People no longer have the adventure getting to see the work of art, all they have to do is type its name into an internet search bar.

‘The nineteenth century dispute as to the artistic value of painting verses photography today seemed devious and confused. This does not diminish its importance, however; if anything, it underlines it.’ This to me says that although photography is reproducing art left right and centre, it does not mean that the originals are losing their appeal. Looking at the situation logically, reproduction can be seen as a form of publicity. Children in school can be taught about famous art works and they can strive to one day see them in real life and feel the aura they have.

The text goes on to compare the viewing of art and the viewing of film. ‘The distracted person, too, can form habits. More, the ability to master certain tasks in a state of distraction proves that their solution has become a matter of habit.’ What I draw from this is that it’s saying that to view and analyse a piece of art, the viewer has to concentrate to take in its entire meaning. However, when viewing a film we can subconsciously watch and use very little thought. ‘At the movies this position requires no attention. The public is an examiner but an absent minded one.’

Things like Facebook, Twitter, Flikr and so on prove that Walter Benjamin was right. Google images archives millions of images which can be seen by the click of a button. Very few people actually go out into the world to experience these things for themselves.

As a Derren Brown fan, when I found this article in a magazine I was reading to pass time while waiting for someone, I jumped at the chance to read something by Derren. However, what I found actually was interesting to me in relation to my assignment about manipulation.

As I’ve already posted on my blog, my assignment 2 work is going to feature heavy manipulation in order to make the viewer confused and have to look twice. While showing some recent work to a fellow course mate who lives in Coventry she said that she didn’t recognise the area id manipulated which was exactly the result I wanted. She walks through the area every time she comes into uni, if not more and had to look twice to understand where it was even though I don’t distort my images in anyway.

In the article Derren talks about how to manipulate the people around you into doing what you want. For example, turning their music down on the bus or telling you their name because you’ve forgotten it. He also speaks about how he once avoided a fight with a drunk man by confusing him.

In a sense, I am also dissuading my viewer by confusing them. My images throw people off track and are not what they expect. Much like the drunk man with Derren, my images create a sort of ‘Wait, what?’ reaction.

I thought this was interesting.