Tuesday, 29 June 2010

No glass?

For the exhibition, I am toying with the idea of removing the sheets of glass from the frames. I came to realise that a piece of glass will reflect the lights in the room and more importantly, it will reflect an image of the audience member. Both these points distract the gaze and affect the intimacy associated with the work.

A reflection of the self while looking at the work shuts off the opportunity to really ponder the person who occupies the space depicted. Usefully, Camilla Brown comments on the interior photography of Anne Hardy who actually wants to use glass to make the viewer aware of the self;

"Hardy's work when printed large and covered in reflective plexiglass, similarly shows the viewer's reflection as they look at the work. This not only disallows the viewer's 'entering the scene' , but it also makes them self-conscious of their process of looking, reflecting their gaze back at them." (Brown, 2006 in Lury, 2006: 74)

The obvious issue with removing the glass from frames is the possibility of audience members touching the prints and leaving finger marks. Hopefully they won't. I quite like the idea as it assists with earlier notions of not forcing a person to gaze on the work, it aids the desire to simply invite a person to consider the work. It offers a warmer, less clinical feel.

While navigating texts regarding audience viewing, I found Anne Hardy's work quite inspiring. Although the scenes she photographs are imaginary and created by her, they offer similar unsettling and uneasy undertones present in some of my test images. I really like her work and it is useful to dissect components relative to camera angle, lighting and mood. Some of the images looked at are displayed below;

Hardy, A. (2005) Untitled VI

Hardy, A. (2003-4) Lumber

Hardy, A. (2003-4) Swoop

Audience considerations

Still life photography in the context of this project, requires constant thought regarding how an audience will interact with it. I felt it useful to consider how still life painting is received, what a closed and intimate scene presents an audience with. Norman Bryson (1990) in his book 'Looking at the Overlooked' comments;

"Still life is in a sense the great anti-Albertian genre. What it opposes is the idea of a canvas as a window on the world, leading to a distant view...the vanishing point is always absent...It proposes a much closer space." (Bryson, 1990: 71)

The images for this project must consider that although there is a backstory to the scenes and objects depicted, the nature of the genre to an extent shuts this off. This kind of research is bolstering the need for a concise context for the audience. Text, captions and a written piece need to be available within the exhibition to support the images.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Context thoughts

I keep returning to the core of the project to consider what exactly my images mean and what I desire to communicate to an audience. It is crucial to understand and pinpoint the audience appeal for a successful exhibition piece, I need to keep this in the forefront of my mind and balance the personal resonance accordingly. A key point is that the project plays on the voyeuristic tendencies many of us associate with looking into new rooms and spaces.

From a personal stance, the piece is a cautious peek into the turbulent and unpredictable life of my brother. The whole project has been in many ways difficult to carry out, and after much thought the audience should be given the information that the images are partially a personal exploration of a space that was once familiar to me but now is virtually unrecognisable.

The transformative element is useful as it underpins the initial idea of examining how a young person has gone about curating his personal space since the loss of his mother.

The transformation and evolution of the space is fluid and will probably continue as such, the sequence of images can be viewed as a snapshot of a point in a journey. The journey is of personal and emotional development as the occupant carves out his own path. The images seek to illustrate the navigation of emotions while living alone in a rural cottage.

The points conveyed in this post will be given to the audience with additional information within the exhibition setting. This is to ensure that the audience has a handle on what the images are about. It is now more apparent than ever that a defined series of images is essential to the project's success as one or two on their own would have no context. An attempt has been made to select and edit some images from the two shoots to date to give the reader an idea of what the exhibition will entail.

With the images displayed, it is clear that the provision of strong context (as summarised above) will be important for an audience.

Mother's Room

Mother's Room 2

Mantle Piece and mementos

Learn Korean

Frozen Kingfisher

Monday, 14 June 2010

John Blakemore

Black and white still life work has been useful to examine. Although i'm not working with black and white images, Terry Hope's book offers some advice relating to style development. A comment from John Blakemore reads;

"An extended period of photographing the same subject matter leads to new ideas and to unexpected responses and possibilities. The intensive exploration of a subject has always been part of my working method" (Blakemore in Hope, 2001: 38)

This project deals with well defined subject matter for extended periods. This process can be argued to be similar to that John Blakemore follows. Terry Hope focuses on tone, texture and contrast heavily throughout his book 'Still Life: Developing Style in Creative Photography' (2001). These parameters will be important to consider during the capture and image selection phases for this project.

Considering tone, texture and contrast at all times can assist in developing appealing images for an exhibition setting.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Yoon-Jean Lee

The South Korean photographer Yoon-Jean Lee focuses on still life depictions of Eastern and Western aesthetic collisions. Her work is important to consider as the images captured for the exhibition piece will present interesting aesthetic collisions between my brother's life and beliefs and my mother's. Coupled with this, my brother has accumulated objects from all over the world, images will explore how these occupy his personal space.

Crucially with all the work of Lee's i've examined, the angles she has used suggest a fleeting glance or a natural curiosity. This ties in with earlier research in which it became apparent that an audience should be invited to engage with the work and not cajoled.

It seems vital to consider how my images should speak to the audience, with a change of angle key to changing the tone of a scene. "Diverse perspectives" (Lunsford, 2006: 32) can make for an interesting exhibition and tap into an audience's curiosity.

Lee, Y-J. (2003) Still-Life No.22

Lee, Y-J. (2004) Still -Life No.32

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Photography and text

The final piece will feature images of private space that require close attention, and 'reading' to unravel what is being depicted. As the scenes have personal/emotional resonance i've got the bit between my teeth at the moment to try and figure out how to welcome an audience into the images and make sure they understand what is shown.

I'm reading this at the moment to try and get a handle on using text in conjunction with images and how an image is read;

Morris, W. (1999) Time Pieces: Photographs, Writing, and Memory, New Jersey: Aperture Foundation Inc.

Some key points so far include the idea that the practice of reading images rather than simply looking, is an integral part of its rise. This apparently began in earnest during WWII when aerial images were closely examined and a textual/vocal explanation provided. All pretty interesting.

Another point to fall out of the early sections that can be seen as justification for using text in conjunction with my work relates to the notion that few things observed simply by one individual can be considered 'seen'. For a wider meaning to become incarnate, text can be used to anchor.

"The multifaceted aspect of reality has been commonplace since cubism, but we continue to see what we will, rather than what is there." (Morris, 1999: 4)

My images have definitive things to say regarding a person's life experience so it seems prudent to provide some kind of clarity via text. I'm keen to avoid misinterpretations when dealing with family loss, trauma and my brother's home.

During the early sections of the book there seems to be a hint that since the advent of photography, words have been seen by some quarters as surplus to requirements. It strikes me that this may could be argued as a crucial oversight by society, although there is a line to be identified between support and spoon-feeding.