Beginning this module I feel it is appropriate to reflect on the last module and also the work I've produced between modules. During the MA so far I have found the experimenting and creating of the work easier than the documenting my process throughout, so firstly this is something I need to improve on throughout this module. I miss out a lot of processing in terms of thought processes and physical processes which are just as important as the work itself.
Towards the end of the last module I knew my research into the Hawstead Panels and Greek Mythology was coming to an end, although definitely has informed the work I am now producing. I discussed before how I seemed to be fighting against the force of exploring our relationship with nature. I think it's because I feel it is done a lot, and it's sometimes difficult to make it original, however the force to explore the story telling which links to these connections to nature has pulled and I have decided to finally stop fighting it.
During the break between modules I began exploring other methods and processes such as cyanotypes and Sun/Lumen prints. This came from the end of the last module where I started to use flowers, or rather dying flowers as metaphors. I continued to photograph flowers and created a series called 'Preservation'. I became interested in altering the beauty of flowers/wild flowers, or rather capturing their alternative beauty. I always allow flowers to completely dry out and usually press them so I had a collection already which I could explore and use. I was interested in the different ways we see beauty, and although this could become a bigger project, I think it is just a starting point for the ideas and concepts which have developed since.
To begin with I started shooting digitally in my studio, continuing with the style from the previous module. I allowed the white tulips to completely dry out and finally managed to get hold of some poppies which also linked with the Greek Mythology project linking to Morpheus.
I pressed the poppies and tulips and began experimenting with cyanotypes and sun/lumen prints. I have experimented with these processes in the past and teach them throughout the A level photography course so I am very familiar. I have touched upon these processes in the beginning of my MA but hadn't explored them. I think with spending time at home during lockdown it gave me the time to experiment and revisit processes.
Although I really do appreciate these images, and do think they are beautiful, they are fragmented from my previous work. But I was happy to just explore in between the modules and doing these became a way of progressing the work further. I started to become interested in wild flowers and collecting them either when doing the gardening or on my daily walk. I then created a series within Preservation called 'Undesired Beauty'. I was interested in weeds, and how they are often unwanted, but can be beautiful. I decided to make them oval into oval photographs to make them feel even more precious, vintage and important, similar to a cameo.
After looking at wild flowers, I then began to collect natural forms on my walk, but only ones I felt drawn to and were already on the floor, I found it interesting how these pieces of trees and plants would rot and become part of the trees again through nutrients. I again decided to create some cyanotypes and sun prints with these pieces.
Creating these cyanotypes and sun prints from my walks became a thinking process. It opened up ideas for my project moving forward, I began to think about why I feel certain ways in nature, why I think about stories, why I feel so at home.
Asking all these questions I came back to trees. I took my camera out on a couple of walks and wanted to create a series of images which kept the ethereal feel and story telling but became an alternative surreal world you can get lost in. Similar to the images by Crystal Lebas who I researched during my second module.
I called the series 'Liberation' and again although I've created another series of images, they are just a transition into the concepts I now want to explore. When I initially shot these photographs I was really excited by them, but I seem to progress and move on so quickly that they soon become just part of the process of moving forward.
Creating these two series/projects in between modules has brought my onto where I want my work to progress. The process has allowed me to stop over thinking and just be with the ideas I feel passionate about.
Whilst on my walks within nature I became more aware of why I visit certain places when feeling various emotions. When I am calm I wan to be within a forest amongst the trees, when I am feeling angry or turbulent I feel drawn to the sea. This opened up to my thinking of how other people feel when out in nature, and how aware of it are they. During my next project I want to find other people with similar thought processes to myself or have a strong affiliation to nature. I am interested in exploring why the stories of the past all incorporated listening to nature, looking out for signs and symbols as well as thinking our emotions to nature itself. I want to question why particular types of people live their lives this way and how/why it helps them.
I also created a video whilst out on my walks which reminded me of Bill Violas work. I often look at up the trees and am fascinated by the crown shyness of the trees, giving each other space and room to grow. On this particular day is when I felt the need to produce a project which stuck with the theme of nature, narrative and story telling, but questioned why myths are myths, and are they really? Is there some truth in them? Why don't we believe in the connection and importance of what nature can do for your souls and our being.
I called this video 'Oscillate' because of the swaying of the trees. It enabled me to really reflect on my work to date and move forward, it became a meditative process. It's also inspired me to capture my shoots moving forward in film and create a video/moving image piece for this module, combining all of the shoots to create a narrative.
During this week I have been thinking about the plans for my shoots and what I want them to reflect. I know that I want to base it on the feelings we have when in, amongst and around nature and how that effects us. I decided to write down words which I feel when out in nature and try to make sense of them before planning the shoots. I am going to search for a group of people who I can use in my shoots who also have these similar feelings when out in nature of have a strong and deep connection with nature. I want to know what it does for them, how it helps them, but also is there anything in their past or in their life which has made them feel this way towards nature. Not everyone understands the importance of nature on our being, I know I wasn't aware of what it was doing for me until I allowed myself to become in tune with the different parts of nature around me. From the sea, to the trees, to open fields, to the sun, to the moon.
From each of my shoots I want to record the shoot as it happens to give a real sense of the movement both with the model and in nature. I also know I want to collect pieces from the locations so I can make supporting images and refer back to sun prints, cyanotypes, photograms and lumen prints.
I want to continue with a narrative, and give a sense of myth or ethereal feeling to the images and series of work. I want them to tell a story like folklore, and fairy tales. The shoots I plan I want to create a collaborative process where I link with the model to discuss their thoughts, feelings and emotions when in nature, decide the best location for them and decide on props to enhance the shoot or create metaphors.
Week 2 Continued...
This week I have finalised my models for my upcoming shoots. These first 3 weeks have all been about planning, discussions and realising my intent for this project.
I intend on creating a series of work which shows the connection and bond we have with nature and how it impacts on our soul and our being. I aim to look into folklore, fairy tales and mythical stories which also link with nature to create a narrative series of work which explores these ideas of the past and understand how they have effect our future. Throughout this project I am going to explore various techniques, using a variety of films and camera less techniques. I also aim to create poems to go alongside the shoots and eventually create a video/film and/or a book.
Over week 2 and this week I have managed to find four ladies who are willing to model. Each of them feel differently about nature but it is all underpinned by it being a meditative feeling and time of reflection when immersed in nature.
Kayleigh - Wants to be immersed in the sea, when their is a full moon.
Keely - Wants to focus on grounding.
Katie - Wants to explore the woods, freedom and reflection.
Karen - Wants to explore purity, movement, softness and calm.
Strangely and unintentionally they all begin with K, which is interesting in itself, and they all use nature in different ways, however they are all emotions I have felt, or reflect on when thinking about nature and our connection with it.
I have put together a series of questions I am going to ask each of the models during the shoot to get a better understanding of their feelings when immersed in nature and where it came from, and what it does for them.
What initially draws you to nature?
Why do you think you’re drawn to nature?
How do you feel when amongst nature?
Why do you think you feel this way?
What positive impacts does nature have you on?
Is there anything in your childhood which you feel impacts your thoughts and beliefs?
Would you say you’ve always felt this way or is it something that you’ve learnt, or grown into?
Do you think the stories you read as a child, or the films you watched, etc had an impact on your relationship with nature and the way the live your life?
So this week has really been about planning each of the shoots and making sure all locations are set and props ready to go. I have had some long discussions with each of the models about what I'd like to get out of the shoot and explaining to them how they can express those emotions through photographs, it really has been a collaborative process and liberating to hear how these women think and feel when immersed in nature.
As you can see from the very rough mind map I have tried to think about locations, feelings and objects which can relate to one and other. This week I plan to photograph Katie. Katie wants to focus on freedom, liberation, reflection and a sense of belonging. I decided to order some material for her shoots to show a sense of freedom and movement in the images as well as connecting her to the sky. Katie has decided she wants to do two locations, one in the forest to show a sense of connecting with the earth and her time spent there reflecting. The other location is by the water at sunset to capture the feelings of being at peace and a sense of calm on things ending, changing or moving forward/renewing.
Katie has also recently become very interested in Yoga and using meditation to help clear her mind and become calm. She uses it as a time to reflect, renew, and evaluate, as well as take time to feel emotions and let them pass. She has become a lot more spiritual and using mindfulness techniques when out in nature, which we will hopefully be able to portray in the images.
I decided the best way for us to plan and collaborate was to create a Pinterest board where Katie could see the images I was saving and hoped to create, and she could also add to it if she wanted.
Mood board from Pinterest - Inspiration for Katie's shoot.
Week 3 Continued...
Myself and Katie managed to plan a shoot to be completed in this week, knowing I will be shooting mainly on film I wanted to try and get my shoots done within at least the first 6 weeks, giving me time to develop the films. During the shoot I shot some Instax instant film of Katie so I had some instant images, I use these a way of recording and store them as a record of each shoot and a type of physical memory, also because the wait for the images is so long, and digital doesn't have the same feel. I also experimented with double exposure on the instax film, the camera I bought has a setting which keeps the film in the camera unlike other double exposures I have done in the past. I experimented with this as it is something I have done a lot in the past and wanted to see how it may turn out if this is something I decide to do in the future with the images. This particular double exposure I am not enjoying, Katie is lost within the image which has a nice feel, but the trees are too prominent and it looks a little garish.
The shoot went well, I particularly enjoyed shooting Katie within the forest, I didn't photograph any of these on instant film, partly because I forgot and got carried away with the shoot. I preferred the shoots in the woods rather than the sunset because I could relate more but they also were giving me a slightly darker feel to the images. The sunset photographs looked a little too commercial and 'pretty' but I will see how the film comes out when it arrives, I did achieve some nice shots, but is all they are... nice. Overall I feel I've got some good shots which say what I want them to. It's always difficult using someone new as the participant, but also making sure you achieve what you want within the images, especially within the first shoot in a new project.
Also this week I have been planning my photo shoot with Karen. I intend to complete this shoot early next week whether dependent. For Karen, is she much more soft than all the other ladies taking part. She is a dancer and into movement particularly with the grass and trees. I'm aiming to capture this movement and connection between ourselves and nature. The way we move our bodies and how parts of are are recognisable as parts of nature, such as hair blowing in the wind, or shadows beings cast.
Mood board from Pinterest - Inspiration for Karen's shoot.
The perfect day, and unfortunately landed the same day as the webinar I booked on to share my work from last week. Missing the webinar felt like a real loss this week because I really wanted to gain some feedback on the work so far, and the ideas. Often I am not sharing the work enough which makes it harder to discuss and also harder to know if its talking to the audience in the right way. I often share my work on Instagram to get the work out their and gain feedback, I've also been sharing the work with Mary on the course and her feedback has been invaluable. Our work is similar in some ways and often we can relate really well to each others concepts.
This week however I completed the shoot in relation to Karen. The weather was beautiful but the sun was difficult to work with. Luckily we found a shaded spot amongst the grass. This shoot was really about capturing Karen amongst the grass, moving with it, feeling calm and showing that freedom we sometimes feel within nature. The shots are beautiful, and I am really pleased and they show the softness and purity, but may be a little too nice... again. The instant films I really enjoy as a collection, and the double exposure worked a lot better because of the soft contrast. This may be a way to experiment with the images to make them less 'nice' and pretty, adding more depth to the image. I also really like the first instant film shot with Karen laying in the grass, it reminds me of one of Mariam Sitchinava's images and has a slight darkness about it. I also enjoy the way Karen's hair is over her face, removing part of her identity therefore making the image easier for the viewer to relate to in some ways.
For next week, I am going to experiment with my images so far, have a break from shooting and I have booked on to have a 1-1 with Laura to gain feedback on the shoots so far!
During this week I have spent my time editing, re-editing and sharing my ideas and images. Within my 1-1 with Laura we spoke a lot about my project, what it is really about and where it is heading. The images I showed Laura, shown above, I already felt weren't quite working how I imagined. Although beautiful and I really enjoy some of them, the more close up images, they are a bit too obvious. Laura and I discussed the project which reassured me it was a project worth exploring and to really think about all sides of nature, not just the positive ones. This is something I had already started to think about, we discussed witches, and the power of the earth and nature.
Throughout history looking at why women who were openly in touch with nature or believed in the power of the earth, were seen to be crazy, or rather witches. When actually we originated from living off the land, listening to the earth and believing in a higher power, because after all, how are we even here?
Laura suggested watching the film 'The Antichrist' to begin thinking about those more negative, and powerful sides of nature, instinct along with fears and anxieties. The 1-1 was really positive and gave me the confidence to move forward with this project. To know that it is interesting, has so many areas to explore is exciting, and I am looking forward to researching further into all the different areas and ideas.
Also this week I have been planning my next shoot with Keely. Taking in to consideration what Laura and I discussed during my 1-1 at the beginning of the week I have spoken to Keely about how and where we can to go really get a sense of energy and possibly include a bit more of a sensual darker feel to the photographs.
I have decided to use cloth again within this shoot, as it'll give Keely something to move around with as one of the areas we are going to go are sparse surrounded by dead trees in marsh land. I want the shoot to show strength as well as softness, showing the power of a women within nature.
Mood board from Pinterest - inspiration for Keely's shoot.
Keely's shoot this week ended up being split into two because it started to rain, the first two parts were shoot in a field with daises and the second amongst the reeds. The reason I chose to shoot Keely amongst the daisies was because of what they symbolise. They represent purity and innocence, however I chose to do this shoot once the daisies had started to dry out and die to represent the death of purity and innocence within a woman. During this shoot as well as all the other so far I have filmed parts of it, I particularly wanted to capture Keely plucking a petal from the daisy as you would as a child singing "he loves me, he loves me not". The death of the daisies along with this gesture and their symbolism I thought would represent the death of purity and innocence and show strength and power. I particularly as a single woman often get asked if I am with anyone, or seeing anyone, and actually, I don't feel I need anyone. Gesturing this within the video relating it to the song as a child I feel shows a kind of disregard for the song, and the statements, showing the individuality and independence of a female. During the shoot we were also joined by a white butterfly, just one which was flying closely to myself and Keely, often sitting on the daisies. I captured the butterfly and although may not use it within my final WIP, it added to the symbolism of purity and felt like an omen during the shoot.
Mikaela Rackham 'The Death of Purity' 2020
Amongst the reeds I wanted Keely to look really strong and powerful, with a sense of delicacy. I wanted her gaze to be looking directly into the camera to confront the viewer as though she is asking them a question rather than them trying to read the image. Reeds can often symbolise protection, and I feel within the image Keely looks as those she is protected by the surrounding reeds and well as feeling strong. She looks as though she belongs there, as if going back into nature is her real home.
The second part of the shoot, I knew I really wanted it to become darker as even though I enjoy the symbolism of the other part of the shoot, they are looking a bit too commercial still. Although some of the images are beautiful and do say what I want them to, I have started to think more about how they may be perceived by the audience. The last part of the shoot we went to the marsh land and ideally it happened to be extremely windy which added to the aesthetic of the shoot. Whilst we were shooting, I noticed amongst the marsh land a purple flower all on it's own. I usually don't pick the flowers but this one looked like it needed to be preserved before it died. I plucked the flower and used it within the shoot with Keely, I am unsure what it is but the meaning of the colour I have explored in the past, being power, mystery and magic. Having this flower within the shoot felt important. These photo shoots have become similar to a self portrait, and although are often focused on the females within the image and portraying their connections with nature, during the shoot it feels like a performance, a type of meditation or method similar to Abramovic. Not only are they 'portraits' of the woman, they are a self portrait and also a portrait for the viewers to get lost in and relate to.
Week 6 continued...
During this week I have also been planning what will probably be my final shoot, other than photographing and using the natural forms collected at each of the shoots.
I have considered a self portrait shoot as I do feel more and more that exploring these ideas and connections with nature is coming from my own self reflection during lock down and a transition. I myself, the same as the ladies I have photographed so far, feel at home in nature, have always been encouraged to be in nature, surround myself with make believe and fairy tales and you lose that through your teen years. It has always been within me but now I am really tapping into those thoughts and feelings about listening to nature, and I don't just mean the sounds, I mean listening to the wind, feeling the pull of the moon, the forces that come with all types of nature. I have started to become really interested in the Native American culture in particular. For some reason ever since I was small I have enjoyed their ideas and the way in which they live. Since I can remember I have loved dream catchers and what they represent, so much so to have one tattooed between my shoulder blades. Their stories which link to morals and ways of life they use to tell their children and the respect they not only had for one and other but the world around them. Whatever they took they gave back in some way, and it was all about the negatives somehow teaching you something to become a stronger, better person. All about helping others, supporting others without expecting anything in return but ultimately listening to your heart, to the earth and feel grounded. These ideas are only now starting to surface, although many of the themes are already happening within my work, and the underlining intent of this project is to explore the connections we have with nature and what it can do for us. To create a story within the images others can relate to and think about how it makes them feel, so they begin to self reflect? or do they feel nothing?
For my final shoot with Kayleigh, we are using the night of the full moon. It is a lunar eclipse and a powerful force evoking change, reflection and a bit of chaos within ourselves. Kayleigh has always been a moon child, she listens to it cycles and enjoys how the sea and moon are linked. Using the water as a way to cleanse, but also showing the darkness and power of night, the moon and the strength of the sea.
Mood board from Pinterest - inspiration for Kayleigh's shoot.
This week my film finally arrived back from my first shoot featuring Katie. I shot the shoots all on Kodak Portra 160 and Ilford black and white 120mm film. The black and white photographs were taken using a broken medium format camera, the focus is off, some light leaks often enter and I quite like the experimental images it creates. The black and white images look eerie and add a darker quality to the photographs. The images I feel work well as a series, either as a triptych or a form of typology. They tell a story adding to the narrative aspect of my work.
Some of the photographs are brighter and lighter than I had hoped, looking at Kodak Portra it does give the quality and the colouring I am looking for but I may have needed to shoot an Fstop lower to get a darker feel. My favourite image from all of the film is this one to the left. It has the darkness because I was shooting towards the sun, and I really enjoy the composition as well as the areas of connection and touch.
Also this week I showed some of my film images within a webinar, weirdly enough it was an all female group. This was really interesting to gain all their different feedback and see lots of great work.
During the webinar I discussed my project to date, what was working, what wasn't working so well, and it seems as though the images which are less focused on the female and more on just them in nature work the best, similar to the image above. It was great to hear the concept was working and coming through the images and also that the style was consistent as this is something I have struggled with in the past.
Moving forward I want to tweak the images slightly to make them a little darker to see if I can get the look I am aiming for, although some I am happy with the result. I always find when I shoot in film it enables me to refine my images before I've even looked at them. During a shoot I will use my digital camera and when I am really pleased with a position, pose or view, I then switched to my film camera capturing that particular shot. Although I do still have some different digital images I am also very pleased with, for me it is a type of refinement.
At the end of this week I completed my final shoot for this module, other than photographing the natural forms. I have decided not to explore self portraits for now as this is something I would like to do during my FMP and feel I still have some other areas to explore during this project. I have also sent off all the film now to a company who are going to do them faster than usual at my request!
The shoot with Kayleigh was brilliant, not only did it feel incredible during the shoot, I am really excited by the images. I feel as each shoot has gone on the connections have become more powerful. During the end of the shoot I watched the full moon rise above the water and decided to photograph just the moon, which is always difficult. I again may not include these in my WIP but it felt important to capture the moon, and I could also consider editing it into the background of some of the photographs as a composite image. During this shoot I collected only a pink pebble which I felt drawn too, but had the idea to go back to the same place and create some cyanotypes using the waves, as a pink pebble may not look as good as the grass cyanotypes, or daisy sun prints I plan on creating over the next few weeks. Now I feel ready to tackle the video, the camera-less photographs using the natural forms and begin the editing process.
During this week I was very excited as I was able to get back into the darkroom which meant I could experiment with camera less techniques using an enlarger to create photo grams and other lumen prints.
I have always been fascinated by the photogram technique ever since I research Man Ray at college, and I have always experimented with it, but never felt it was quite capturing what I need it to during my last projects. However within this project it brings a sense of delicacy and a beautiful way of recording the natural forms from each shoot so far. I started with the daisies and during my time in the darkroom creative negative and positive prints. The image to the right is an original photogram, of which I made six various compositions creating a negative print of the daisies. Using that print, I laid it on top of more photographic paper and in the darkroom exposed it light created an inverted image, a positive. I always find the positives to be softer and more delicate, and during my time in the darkroom preferred these prints, however after some time away from the images and scanning them in, I've come to realise I actually prefer the darkness of the original photogram, which will add to the dark feel of my photographs.
Due to the colouring of my current photo shoots I decided to experiment with sepia toning the images. By toning the images I wanted to try and create a coherent series of work where the colours and aesthetic are similar. As originally I preferred the inverted daisies I only experimented with it on those, but would consider toning the negative print to lighten the black and create a softer look to the image. Although I really enjoy these prints as an individual series, I am unsure whether they will work along side the other images I have produced so far. I will experiment over the next coming weeks in terms of layout and composition with other my other images.
During my time in the darkroom, I used all of the natural forms to create camera less images. I used to purple flower from Keely's shoot and the grass from Karens. The only shoots I haven't yet experimented with are Katie and Kayleigh's, as from Kayleigh's all I have is a pink pebble and from Katie's, I did collect some pine cones, and other leaves but these would look too solid and block like as a photo gram so therefore I will think of other ways to experiment. With Keely's purple flower I created the same photo gram twice, but the second time painted on the developer to give it a more experimental, less solid look. Bringing it out of the darkroom I already knew I wanted to sepia tone it similar to the daisies. I really enjoy the solid black negative photo gram but find the sepia toned painted one more interesting and feel it may work better alongside the original photographs. The grass photo gram (above right) I didn't like at all when I created it so this is the only image I have, but once I scanned the image in, I've grown to really like the way the grass leads up the page and the contrast in the tones.
Due to not liking my original grass image, I decided to create a photo gram or lumen print using the negative carrier within the enlarger. I placed the grass inside the negative carrier and projected the grass seeds onto the paper. This gave the images a much softer look and more of a depth. Thinking about the photo shoot these came from with Karen, it felt they worked better and would look better in terms of juxtaposition with the images of Karen. However I felt they were too dark so again sepia toned them which worked well because of the original colours of the grass. I also inverted and toned the images to see if they would push the quality further, and although work well, I do prefer the original sepia toned prints.
After a day in the darkroom this week, I spent time scanning in the images which lead me onto scanning natural forms as I had done previously as part of the coursework. I had picked dandelions from the garden and bought them inside, the reason for this was because during Katie's shoot in the fields leading up the forest there were lots of dandelions and because all I have were pine cones and a few odd leaves from the shoot I wanted to try and add to the natural forms to have a wider variety. I scanned the dandelions behind some black paper because after scanning the white background daisies and creating images during the coursework task, I realised these weren't working as well as the darker background in relation to my other images.
I edited the images to have a softer overlay, moving onto removing the vibrancy, to sepia and black and white. I wanted to try out each of these experiments to see what worked well with my darkroom prints. The digital sepia toning doesn't have the same soft quality and the black and white feels too harsh, so I went with the low vibrancy images. Although I do again like these images as a series, I much prefer using the actual natural forms from the shoot, I know the audience wouldn't know the difference but for me it feels important in my project to have the real thing included.
Enjoying the look and style of the scanography images, I decided to scan 'weeds' I have pulled from my shoot with Keely, as well as the purple flower. Although I had created a photo gram using the purple flower, it still didn't have that contrast between soft and dark I am looking for. Again I experimented with the weeds in sepia, and this time they worked well and would either work as a diptych or juxtaposed next to one of the images from Keely's shoot. The purple flower scan however I feel works the best so far. I added a slight blue filter to give it more of a matte look which seems to work well.
Lastly I experimented with the pine cones. I wasn't sure how the pine cones would look as a scan as they obviously aren't flat. However I feel they work really nicely because of the softness surrounding the cones where they become blurry. I am yet to experiment what they will look like next to Katie's photographs, or they may work well as an individual series supporting the other images. As well as the pine cones I decided as I was there scanning, to see how the daisies and grass would look at a scanned image as I had decided to scan all the other natural forms included I thought I could consider creating a series as I am intending to with the women to create a narrative, but this would be a typology of the natural forms relating to each of the shoots, supporting the other images further.
At the end of this week I decided I had lots of images relating to all the shoots using natural forms other than with Kayleighs. Having seen Meghann Riepenhoffs seascape cyanotypes in the past and was something I had always wanted to try, I thought these would be perfect to support the shoot of Kayleigh. I went back to the same spot where we carried out the shoot and let the waves crash onto the paper. I then stored them in a black light proof bag to expose the follow day. The images below show the cyanotypes and I took them out of the bag and then after they had been exposed to the light.
I really enjoyed the look of the cyanotypes throughout the various stages. When first taken out of the bag before exposing to sunlight for a short period of time, the blues in the image were really bright, however once I exposed them I really appreciated the brown natural colours which were coming through and had hoped some of these would continue to stay after the wash. Luckily they did, albeit faintly, they really add to the natural quality of the images. I created these using watercolour paper because of the texture they also add. These are definitely something I would like to experiment with further during FMP, using the land and natural elements to create images. I am also going to use the other natural forms to create cyanotypes to go alongside these images.
This week my film arrived from my other shoots, just in time for the landings exhibition. I was unsure to begin with what to include but decided to include a wide variety of images to gain feedback on what was working and what wasn't. This gave me a chance to experiment with the juxtaposition between images and start to consider the audience and layout.
Although I am very pleased with the film photographs because of the differing lighting during each shoot it doesn't quite give them the coherent feel I was looking for. The colouring however is similar due to using the same type of film, if I were to shoot these again I would consider under exposing them to give the darkness I was looking for. Some of the film images are stronger than others, some still have that commercial, pretty woman feel to them and that is the last thing I want my audience to see and think about. I want them to connect with the figure yes, but ultimately allow the images to open up self reflection in terms of their morals and relationship with nature.
Below are the black and white film images which work a lot better. Some of them got damp during one of the shoots due to extremely heavy rain and moisture getting in, but it adds to the eerie feel and darkness. I do like the images all together as a typology as it gives the images a stronger narrative.
Below are just a few of my images included in the Landings exhibition, although the first image I chose not to include and had the tree separately. During the display of my images I wanted them to walk the viewer through a journey of emotions whilst connecting to nature. To think about what each of the natural forms symbolise, the emptiness in some images and the closeness in others. I intended for the images to cross over from a softness in nature into a darkness telling a story of emotions. I decided to enter only film images for the Landings exhibition to gain feedback on the style and experimented with creating diptychs contrasting some natural forms with the figure images, or images of the natural forms on their own.
Over the past two weeks I have been putting together the film I intended on creating for this project as well as editing my chosen images. This is my first film using moving image, other than my 'Oscillate' piece at the beginning of the module. In the past I have only used still images to create an installation. It has proven to be a lot more difficult than I first thought. Firstly because the film was second to the images, so the lighting for a film isn't quite right or consistent in each of the sections. I also feel I have ran out of time to record extra pieces for transitions of just nature, and wanted the film to be more about the connection to nature for the audience rather than about the females. The video attached here, in low quality is my first attempt but needs a lot of work and still has no music. The music I intend to put with this piece is there to highlight the connections and darkness in areas, to pull out some intense feelings and other areas of calm and stillness. The film at the moment feels too quick and needs to be shorter with slower moving areas.
Interconnection - First attempt without sound.
The reason I chose to produce a film rather than a book in the end is because my images still feel like they have a lot of work to be done to them, and that really this is only the beginning of this project. There are so many areas to research and so much work that could be created in a response, these images and film really are just work in progress. I still intend on creating a book with the images and poems but during FMP. The film I felt was important for my upcoming exhibition where I will be showcasing all the work I have created throughout each module and this project as the biggest pieces. This video will be playing in the gallery alongside the photographs and the sounds will fill the room.
Below are galleries of each shoot and the final selection of images. They have been edited on Lightroom to keep a consistency in colouring and style but need final tweaks in Photoshop. From each shoot I chose around 30 - 40 images and will work with these to produce diptychs or triptychs. From each shoot I plan to create one triptych and one diptych using natural forms next to an image of the figures. Th edits are a mixture of the figure, close ups of details and some of just natural forms.
This week is the last week I have spent making images with the natural forms. I have had so many ideas for this project and have become slightly overwhelmed with all the images I have created and yet haven't quite had the time to experiment. This project feels very unfinished in terms of how far it can go and how huge it is in relation to research. There is still so much to explore contextually and also photographically, it feels like only the beginning which is exciting but also daunting trying to pull it all together. I am disappointed I have run out of time to create a book, but with the work feeling unfinished, it wouldn't be as good if it was rush and may not have the desired outcome of effect. I am pleased to have created a film and have been working on that this week as well as creating a few last camera less images.
Firstly I decided to use the natural forms to create some sun prints using black and white darkroom paper. The sun was really strong and where I laid the prints on my decking there are some slight lines going through the images, these could be edited out digitally if I choose to include them in my WIP. Secondly I decided to create some cyanotypes due to making the water ones previously. The reason I chose to create a few more images is so I have enough to experiment with in terms of composition and what works well supporting and enhancing the concepts of the figure images. I used the daisies from Keely's shoot as well as the purple flower, the grass from Karens, and some pieces I collected during Katie's shoot. I usually just place one natural form on the page but experimented with the layout and composition. I also tried to be a bit more free with the chemicals and the wash to allow "mistakes" to happen so they are less perfect.
I have also considered toning the cyanotypes including the water ones to create tones which match my other images, however at the moment I am enjoying the blue colouring. This is something I'd like to experiment before or during FMP, creating a bigger series of work, using natural dies such as tea and berries.
I'd also like to start looking into more natural ways to produce my images, especially when using film, this can be difficult but I have begun researching into ways to use coffee, vitamin C and other natural substances to develop film.
The poems I have created in support of my images to enhance the narrative, although only short have taken a long time to create. To begin with they had two or three versus' incorporating the personalities of the women and telling more of a story. However because the images themselves create a strong narrative, I wanted the poems to only enhance that narrative and not alter it for the viewer. The poems intend, like the video, to create a state of meditation and escapism for the viewer. To allow them to think about the words and images and view the work whilst opening up their imagination. Creating their own links depending on their own beliefs and ways of seeing.
The poems are each four lines and incorporate the words nature and breathe in each one. I wanted to keep a link between the poems as I have done in so in the images to continue the story and flow of emotions throughout. I decided to type the poems up on my type writer to allow them to have a personal feel but also keep a consistency and style. To begin with I experimented with allowing the letters to cross over, or the lines be too close together, however I ended with have the lines evenly spaced, giving each work and line the room to breathe.
This week I had a 1-1 with Laura and showed my film for the first time. I had been gaining feedback from peers but I felt it was important to see how it was progressing. Laura agreed it was still feeling unfinished, and it really is a work in progress. As discussed previously it is my first attempt with working with moving image, and thinking about it more in a gallery sense to add to the images. The sounds within the film will be playing throughout the gallery whilst the audience view the images and will hopefully make the links between the poems, film and prints. The sound for the video has been music created in collaboration with my father. He is a musician and we worked together to create an atmosphere throughout the film which adds to the emotions but also creates a meditative state. Discussing with Laura we spoke about adding in some other voices other than the part where I whisper 'close your eyes', such as humming or other words to enhance the concept. I had slowed the film right down due to feedback from my peers but Laura suggested it was slightly too slow and a bit too long, so I am currently working on getting it right before the deadline for our WIP.
Also this week I have been finalising my images and thinking about their layout in terms of triptychs or diptychs to create a narrative between each shoot, but also how they will look visually all together to link the narrative with the film.
The above image I feel works best out of all the narratives, and although I also like the portrait triptych above, after looking at my other images it may not work as well in terms of consistency with layout and composition.
This sunset series, although I enjoy the images I feel they may be too obvious or commercial. I am unsure if I will include them in my WIP at this stage, and will look at them as a whole when displaying my online gallery.
I feel the images are strong and give a sense of freedom, rebirth and transformation, however the colouring may be too bold when next to the other images. I also really enjoy the movement in these images, and the narratives I feel work well. If were to shoot these again I would maybe consider using a different colour cloth and dress so to make the images less bright, and more dark possibly using a dark green to bring together all of the images from this project so far.
The images from Karens shoot I was already pretty certain on which ones worked well together and decided to go with the top right triptych. I experimented with other portrait images and using purely details of the natural forms and Karen, but the narrative got lost.
I also experimented with a diptych to see if it strengthened the two images and kept the narrative, but due to the other images working well as triptychs I have decided to stay with my initial idea.
For Kayleigh's shoot I decided to split the shoot into two parts, the early evening and the night. I couldn't decide which one I liked more and actually having both the series of images included in the WIP will work due to the narrative of the film. It shows a transition from dance and movement, becoming part of the sea and rocks to then being immersed in the night and an alternative power taking over. As though Kayleigh is in a trance like state, dancing with the waves and heavily feeling her emotions.
I am still uncertain which compositions I will include due to thinking about which images I am going to pair up with the natural forms. The image of Kayleigh crouched on the rocks is my favourite image from this shoot, but also a similar one is my favourtie from Keely's so I'll need to make a final decision on which one I feel is the strongest.