Week 1 - Photography - The Shape-shifter
Thinking about the intent of my practice it is to create a body of work in relation to the Hawstead Panels and Greek Mythology. Looking at how the stories within our lives have impacted and effected what we do and how we think today.
Growing up I have always been interested in stories and the worlds in which they can transport you to, but it is more than that. It is about the beliefs and morals and how they shape my thinking, taste and culture. They were never just entertainment.
Many stories throughout history are like fables or have moral points. It is incredible how these stories really survive the test of time. Greek Mythology for example was BC and yet the themes and words are relevant today in contemporary society.
I intend to create a body of work that is representative not only of the Myths within Greek Mythology but also linking to the Hawstead Panels. I started this project in the last module but still feel it has a long way to go. The Hawstead Panels in Christchurch Mansion have always resonated with me and for a long time I have wanted to create a project around them.
In terms of the contexts in which my work could be consumed in, I am interested in holding exhibitions as well as sharing the work online. I have an exhibition planned in April to gain more feedback on the work I am producing and see how it fits in the art world. I want to create a world with my photographs which immerses the viewers, leaving the edges of the photograph open so the world continues beyond the frame. Moving forward I would like my work to be used for campaigns, possibly magazines, but for now I feel I am very much an artist sharing my work for the purpose of evoking emotions, passing on stories and for pure enjoyment. I would like to consider creating a book with all of the Myths I have produced, whether that will be at the end of the module, or the end of this project, I am unsure.
In relation to other visual practices and critical ideas, I am interested in how the photograph creates a world beyond the edges of the frame, a world in which the viewer can find themselves transported to and questioning the narratives, as well as their own beliefs.In the past I have experimented with processes such as painting onto images, using expired film, creating camera-less images, printing onto various surfaces and distortion of the image, to create a new meaning or way of seeing. In the first module I carried out a lot of these techniques and it work well, however in the last module when I experimented with these techniques it made the images seem fragmented as they did not look like a coherent body of work. In the future I think revisiting these techniques is definitely something I would like to experiment with but for now I feel like focus needs to be on the intent of my images, as well as creating a visual language and style I am happy with.
Week 2 - The Index and the Icon
What interested me the most this week was the idea of iconic, indexical and symbolic characteristics of a photograph. Due to the nature of my project, recreating Greek Gods and Goddesses, these could be seen as iconic figures in history. However using a model in my images which may or may not have a resemblance to the God/Goddess would make a difference to how the narrative is seen. Although the subject matter to myself resembles the God/Goddess that is because of the choices I have made in how I see them and the symbols I decide to include. I also think it make's it difficult in terms of the indexical context due to the viewer not having a relationship with the subject, or feeling a way towards the subject. I know each of the models I work with personally, where as the viewer is trying to understand what or who the model represents. This brings me to the symbols I include within the imagery, trying to piece the narrative together for the viewer because of the conventional connections which can be made.
I am creating a narrative, which for me is a truth but can also be seen as a lie. The setting is staged and the character is only based on one in the past but the subject has no real connection to the myths only the connection I make myself and try to convince the viewer of this narrative through the symbols and sometimes iconic imagery. I am not using the land where these Myths were once created but alternatively creating my own world where these Myths can be carried forward and preserved.
The context in which the viewer see's my work would and will be affected. If I were to place my images in a white walled gallery, frame and printed at a smaller size, 10"x 8" maybe, this wouldn't give the viewer the immersive narrative I want them to feel. I think my world needs to be seen outside, either in a forest or something similar, or in a gallery where the work is printed larger and fills the space, with other objects around the work to link it all together. Alternatively in a book, to represent the stories and myths. This would make it a precious objects, and give it a quality and longevity, just like the stories being told.
I don't feel my practice is 'peculiar' in any way due to the themes being explored through many artists and photographers. Tim Walker for example uses fairy tales and mythical beings to create a Wonderland. The artist John Everett Millais painted 'Ophelia', a character taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Both of these artists took the ideas of narrative and characters and recreated them in their own vision using iconic, indexical or symbolic characteristics.
"A sign is anything that can be used to tell a lie" (Eco, 1979 p.7)
Fig.2 John Everett Millais 'Ophelia' 1852
Fig.1 Tim Walker - Tilda Swinton, ‘Mr James’s Daydream’,
Las Pozas, Mexico, 2012
Week 3 - Constructed Realities
In terms of my photography and where I see myself in relation to the 'farmer or hunter'. I feel I am mainly related to the 'farmer' theory. I construct my images or the narrative I am wanting to portray. Although I am often looking within the frame as a 'hunter' for something I have no quite constructed and works as part of the narrative.
I have chosen quite an obvious series of images in which the theme is one that has been explored by many artists and writers, and continues to be explored today. That of which is the story of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. Previously I have looked at the work of Lewis Carrol, also known as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, in terms of the character and style of his images. The photographs I have chosen which are representation of Alice, are those of Annie Leibovitz who explored many 'Disney' characters and themes. Leibovitz quite obviously portrays these characters in a series called 'Once upon a time', however they are only obvious to those who know the stories.
I chose to look at the recreations of 'Alice in Wonderland' not only because I have been fasinated with the story sine my childhood, but because they were inspired by Alice Liddel herself. The story created by Lewis Carrol was based on imaginative wonderland adventures of Alice Liddell. As a photographer he would also construct images from past stories in history such as Saint George and the dragon, so his themes and interests were consistent those contemporary artists who recreate his stories and images today.
The images produced by Leibovitz are staged as though they could be a shot from a remake of the film however they were used as campaign in Vogue. The extravagant clothing used in each of the images was advertised alongside the campaign and Leibovitz created the narratives of each fairy tale to fit the aesthetic and style of the clothing. Leibovitz clearly staged iconic parts of the story, which has been represented time and time again in reproductions relating to cinema, illustrations and photography, making the link clear recognisable.
Fig.2 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Xie, Herbert, Hugh, and Brook Kitchin in “Saint George and the Dragon,” June 26, 1875
Fig.1 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson 'Alice Liddell, Summer' 1858
In terms of my own practice, unfortunately I do not have the set, assistants and garment's to produce such high production images, this would be the dream, but the concept is very similar. I am trying to recreate a story by using symbols or ideas which relate to the particular character or elements within the stories themselves. I do like the aesthetic of these images, the rich colours and bold characters and props, however in Leibovitz series Once upon a time, there are some images I am not overly keen on due to the editing process. From looking further into these images I can see that my photographs could be used in some sort of advertisement, whether that be for fashion or something else, as it is apparent these themes have been explored many times before in a vast majority of visual practices.
Fig.3 Annie Leibovitz 'The Mad Tea Party - Once Upon a Time' 2003
Fig.4 Annie Leibovitz 'Drink me... - Once Upon a Time' 2003
Week 4 - Into the Image World
The intent of my photographic practice has always varied and one of the reasons for completing the MA was to find my intent and visual language. This is still on going. I find myself fragmented as a photographer, I have a commercial photographic business where I shoot weddings, portraits and families. Then my other side where I see myself as an artist. The commercial I enjoy but it is more about capturing those memories and earning money, I think because I never felt as an artist my work was enough to earn a living.
Since starting the MA, producing more artistic work with concepts and context, I feel more confident in my own work. I have shared the work online and gained feedback which has been encouraging and helpful in terms of constructive criticism. As an artist I have always fallen into the trap of overthinking my concepts and comparing with others, lacking confidence in my abilities.
The intent of my photographs is to make the viewers feel how I have always felt when looking at art of photography. I aim to create an alternative reality or world, where the viewer can escape but also relate to. Creating photographs and art has always been a way to make sense of my existing reality but also escape into another world. I want to transport the viewers into that world.
I try to create this by using visual elements which are recognisable. Similar to when you are dreaming, you have a dream with elements that you can relate to and then there's this uneasy or often pleasant alternative world you're in. The images in terms of style are linked closely to the Pre-Raphaelites, and I aim to create an ethereal feel. I analyse the work of other photographers and artists who have explored myths, fairy tales or stories. I take conceptual ideas from Shakespeare, poetry, music and our relationship with the world around us.
With my intent I sometimes feel I am being too literal, and at the moment it feels very fragmented. However I can feel my projects developing and progressing in their own way, which will hopefully transform them into the intent I intend on creating. The more I keep researching and looking into the conceptual and contextual elements of my photography I feel it becoming stronger and clearer.
Week 5 - Gazing at Photographs
The 'gaze' has always been something that fascinates me because of how we all see the same thing differently. Within my work the gaze is about creating my own world from the way I view the existing world. It tries to question whether the audience is aware of the impact the world, and the people within it, has on them, their gaze, their thoughts, their reactions, etc.
Completely different to the work of my own I have always been interested in Sally Mann's work and in particular her series 'At Twelve'. This series explores the developing identities of girls the age of 12. I am interested in the series because as female I am curious about the cross over between being a young girl and entering 'womanhood'. At the moment I am watching my niece who is 9 develop from a child into what seems like a teen, she says or reacts to things differently to that of a year ago, and for me it is watching her grow and develop her own personality and identity.
Mann's 'At Twelve' series similar to her other work, in particular her Immediate Family Photographs, provoked a lot of controversy because of the way in which the girls are portrayed, their stance, their clothing, or absence of clothing. However doesn't that all depend on our own form of the 'gaze'. When I see the images I don't see them in a sexualised way, but clearly from past articles read a lot of audiences do. 'The problem with some interpretations of Mann’s work — namely the controversy around the handful of Immediate Family photos that show her children nude — is that some reduce her photographs to an objective interpretation based on a singular historical, sociological or symbolic correlation. Wasn’t Walt Whitman correct to say the self is “large and contains multitudes?”' (Faith McClure, 2015) I see these images as celebratory, a passage all young girls go through to develop into themselves. Some of them have a certainty and others still have that sense of being a girl young slightly confused about this transition. I have never gazed at them in the way in which so many critics discuss, but I can also see how and why this may be.
This image by Mann is one I have looked at a lot and discussed with my A level students, it is interesting when I initially show them this image and their view points. Most of them see a young girl at a party, who has had enough of socialising and simply wants to sit and eat some cake... taken more than likely from their own experiences. Some however so start to look at the confidence in her pose and the clothes she is wearing and begin to think further into how others may gaze at this image. "She boasts the confrontational gaze so startling in Édouard Manet’s Olympia, who she resembles in both pose and adornment. She is nothing less than a prize and is well aware of it, even if just for the moment. Does her pose reveal a certain sexual awareness? No, not really. But might she have a slight inkling of her own prowess? Perhaps." (Faith McClure, 2015) Again looking at this photograph, it is all dependent on the girl within the image gazing back the viewer, but also our own beliefs, views, values, experiences, which impacts on the way we see this photograph, the gaze we hold with the girl will depend on whether we are male, female, or any other, as well as our own experiences as a child and an adult.
I intend to create images in which the viewers are influenced to either look at the world the way I see it, or take their own experiences and look at the images (my world) in a way which evokes feelings, thoughts or emotions. My images are a way of documenting my experiences and trying to inspire people to reflect on their own. The work I have produced linking to the death of my tutor John, isn't about his death but more his impact and the reflection as a result of his death. It forced me to look at the world differently, or rather think about how I was already looking at the world but take notice, and notice the impact we have on each other.
Stories to me are a way for us to make sense of the world, and all of the feelings and experiences that go with it. The images I have been working on more recently are trying to create stories, and similarly trying to stimulate reflection. I have been using people and objects to create a narrative within a world where it forces others to reflect upon their impact and their experiences, but also the impact of others on themselves which they may not notice.
From the article by Laura Mulvey, 'The conventions of mainstream film focus attention on the human form. Scale, space, stories are all anthropomorphic. Here, curiosity and the wish to look intermingle with a fascination with, likeness and recognition: the human face, the human body, the relationship between the human form and its surroundings, the visible presence of the person in the world.' I am using people and objects which are familiar to cause a curiosity that makes us question our impact, our view, and our experiences. Although this may not always be clear, the point of the work is to force the viewer to ask questions. The way the viewer see's the subject in my images, may be different to how I see them, but that is the purpose. The images below have a title as well as a statement that go alongside to help the viewer think more about the purpose of the images, but they are vague and/or sometimes unfamiliar to again evoke their own thoughts relating to those words and the imagery.
Again from the article by Mulvey she discusses how film gives the "spectator an illusion of looking into a private world." Looking into a private world and creating a narrative within that world is part of the purpose of my images. I am letting people into my world, but also a world they already know and can relate to. I am looking at the world, documenting it as a way of reflection, but using those images to visually create a world where others look in, the way that they see if however, will depend upon their own experiences and ego.
McClure, Faith 2015. Review: Sally Mann captures complex psyche of girls in “At Twelve” photos at Jackson Fine Art
Available at: https://www.artsatl.org/review-sally-mann/ (Links to an external site.) (Accessed 23.2.2020)
Mulvey, Laura 1975. Visual pleasure in narrative cinema.
Available at: http://www.luxonline.org.uk/articles/visual_pleasure_and_narrative_cinema(printversion).html (Accessed 23.2.2020)
Fig.1 Sally Mann, Untitled from the “At Twelve” Series (Lithe and the Birthday Cake), 1983-1985.
Mikaela Rackham 'Elpis- I have hope and I have perished' 2020
Week 6 - A Sea of Images
I think my current photographic practice is still slightly fragmented in terms of the outcomes. I am working hard to find the right medium as well as aesthetic. Looking at the work of Madame Yevonde has allowed my concept to feel stronger and has given me more confidence. I am also considering as a result of looking at her work to bring more of a personal edge to the images in relation to the model. Madame Yevonde used females in her images who she linked the Greek Goddesses to as a result of their lives and personalities. This is something I may consider in the future with my photo shoots more, I think I do have an element of that as the female I have chosen has a distinct relationship with nature, her musician name is 'Forest' and she sings mostly folk songs which again link with myths and stories.
The more I research into Greek Mythology and others who have produced artwork in relation to this topic, I feel I am being selective with the ones I choose, not only because of the influence of the Hawstead Panels but I tend to lean towards the more natural world related stories and myths. I seem to always be bringing it back to our relationship with nature, but it is more than that. I don't want to just explore this idea, I want to explore the psychology behind why we feel the way we do in nature and why/how stories linked to nature have remained for so long. Just looking at the world around us with the use of plastic for example, people are trying to revert back and fix the planet, because nature after all is the one thing we can live with, but cannot live without. I have began thinking more about the Native Americans and their stories and myths. They have a strong affiliation with nature and use it to live their lives through their beliefs and morals. The stories would be transferred through tribes and their ancestors and this is a contextual area which I feel needs to be explored within my practice.
My practice could be seen to be specific to those ideologies of women in nature and mother nature. However I have used male models as well and it is more about the narrative of the character and their surroundings. It could be said I use very obvious symbols and signs within my photographs to make them relatable and often stereotyping these characters from the contextual research I have explored.
The impact of this could be that I could attract people who are more interested in the earth and their relationship with it. Those people who are interested in exploring an alternative world and escaping. Rather than a wider audience which is my aim. The wider audience are more than capable of exploring this area because it will and can resonate with each of us, just differently. All of us have had stories read to us as some point, or told stories, fairy tales and myths. Although that particular viewer may not know the story of 'Narcissus' they would recognise the word in the title and be able to create their own experience with the image, or take elements from the image they can relate to on a personal level.
My practice could be seen to be adhering to a specific ideology in relation to artistic forms who explore the relationship between nature and humans. It is becoming more and more apparent in my work that I tend to explore my myths within a natural environment. I am not trying to create new modern alternatives to the myths, but rather take elements from historic paintings who have explored those characters. For example Mat Collishaw explored Narcissus in a contemporary way, taking the very obviously elements to show the story of Narcissus but in an urban environment. Where as I tend to use the ethereal link with nature to give my narratives an everlasting concept which is that of our relationship with nature but also myths and stories.
Fig.2 Madame Yevonde 'Lady Anne Rhys as Flora' 1935
Fig.1 Mat Collishaw 'Narcissus' 1990
Fig.2 Avaliable at: https://www.madameyevonde.com (Accessed March 2020)
Week 7 - Tutorials
In relation to how I critically articulate the intent of my photographic practice I do this both verbally and in writing. I will critically analyse my own work but writing notes on contact sheets and on the backs of prints which may or may not have worked. I also write notes on how successful the photo shoot and images were ready for writing in the project development part of my CRJ. Verbally I often share the work with others asking their opinions and taking note of these. I have shared my work with peers to gain feedback and constructive criticism, as well as taking part in tutorials. As well as my tutorial with Sarah I have also had one with Paul who was my tutor during the first module and has seen my work develop. Speaking with Paul recently allowed me to focus my intent more clearly and feel better about the images I was producing, reassured that the narratives of the work were successful. My 1-1 with Sarah was on the discussion of getting my CRJ up to date as there wasn't much on there in terms of contextual research. Although the research and note taking is completed before the shoots I carry out, I often find it difficult to keep up with the work load and get carried away with producing the finished images, rather than completing my posts.
I often share my work on social media platforms to gain feedback on whether the intent of my practice is successful. I also show the work to others without the titles, as these make the intent of my photographs quite clear, and ask them to respond with how they feel when viewing the images and what the narrative may be. My practice is therefore critically informed by the analysis of others, but it is also critically informed by looking at the work of other artists and photographers. Viewing the work of others who have explored the same themes as myself, such as Madame Yevonde allows me to analyse and question the intent of my work. Exploring the work of photographers and artists informs my work by allowing me to feel confident in my intent and using their concepts and ideas to push my work further and critically analyse its success. Visually I merge elements from nature, as well as Pre-Raphaelite paintings and a touch of surrealism. I take visuals from books linked to stories and fairy tales as well as films such as 'Legend'. I have a mixture of visual elements which have informed my work but have all explored narrative, myths, or stories, often sharing an ethereal feel. Contextually my work is informed by all of which I just mentioned, but also through poetry, film and stories, as well as personal experiences. I have been researching into Greek Mythology to inform my practice as well as the Hawstead Panels, using both of these as a starting point then go onto create my photographic responses.
Fig.1 Still from 'Legend' 1985
Fig.2 Still from 'Legend' 1985
In relation to reflecting on my practice, as mentioned I share this with others to see how successful the images may be but I also critically analyse them myself. I look back at my initial notes and plans for the shoot to see if I was successful in achieving the look, style, composition and aesthetic. I will make notes on the actual images before the editing process to reflect on how the images could be improved or the narrative made stronger by using various layouts. For example my series created based Narcissus didn't feel successful and I felt this was because it was too focused on the reflection rather than capturing the whole essence of the story. Therefore during the next photo shoot I made sure I was creating a narrative throughout the photo shoot, exploring the surroundings, textures and props.
In terms of the professional context my work should be seen is the same as those who explored myths and stories in the past. I want my work to be enjoyed by others and transport them into another world which doesn't feel too far away, but far away enough to feel like an alternative reality. It's like an escape from our reality into the imagination, still aware of the structure and pulls of every day life but allowing yourself to be free for a moment and enjoy the narrative. I have an exhibition planned for April, during the Easter Holidays, where I am aiming to create an immersive experience for the viewers. Transporting them into another world which is relatable. Of course I want to also sell some photographic pieces for people to enjoy and escape to in their own homes.
I see myself as an artist, exploring the ideas which have been explored by many before. My aim is to create photographic pieces which resonate with each individual viewer in a variety of ways as a result of their personal experiences, thoughts and imagination.
Mikaela Rackham 'Narcissus - The face is not trustworthy' 2020
Mikaela Rackham 'Elpis - I have hope and I have perished'
Fig.1 & Fig.2 Avaliable at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089469/mediaviewer/rm837904896 (Accessed March 2020)
Week 8 - Responses and Responsibilities
My work could be seen as a 'message' in relation to our relationship with nature. The images all include some part of the natural world and show the model within a natural environment. Although my project has had to slightly change the message or rather narrative is still the same. I am working on creating some images within a studio which is completely different to my previous shoots but because of the recent pandemic I have had to alter my photographic practice. It feels as though it may have been heading in a similar direction anyway because of feeling as though some of my images were unfinished in relation to the narrative or 'message' because I hadn't photographed the props or surroundings in detail. I am aiming to create studio images which show nature and link to the photographs I have already explored as well as trying to find another way to manipulate or transform the images to show the concept.
The 'message' I want the audience to receive from my images is about exploring an alternative world where our reality was formed. In other words taking elements which are relatable and creating images which look ethereal merging reality with our imagination and transporting the viewer so they can escape the 'real world' just for a moment. It is also about the impact of stories and myths throughout time and how these have had a sustained impact on our lives, mostly without people really noticing as they become part of our subconscious.
The titles of my images give them their context, they are relatable, however depending on the viewers personal experiences and imagination they will interpret the images differently. For example if someone were to the view the image of 'The Lady of Shalott' by Waterhouse for the first time without looking at the description or title, they would piece together their own narrative of the lady in the boat. Some may say she looks like she is escaping, others may say she looks sad, some may notice the details in particular the candles and try to think about what they represent. These initial thoughts by the viewer will all be dependent on their own personal experiences and how they relate to the lady in the image. It is only then once they read the description, learn the story or read Tennyson's poem the inspiration for the painting that they then feel differently about it, but they will still explore these ideas in their imagination in their own way. This is how I want the audience to view the work of my own, I want them to escape and think about what the narrative is trying to say and then piece it together with the name of the piece. My practice however is more open than 'The Lady of Shalott' as each of the characters such as Narcissus could be interpreted differently depending on your own thoughts and experiences of the word Narcissist. The statement within the title again pushes the viewer to think more broadly, questioning themselves as well as the photographic image itself.
Fig.1 John William Waterhouse 'The Lady of Shalott' 1888
Week 9 - Enter the Academy
The Modern Myth: Drawing Mythologies in Modern Times exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art which took place in 2010 would have been an exhibition my work would fit into. Although the work is mainly of drawings, adding an element of photography in the mix of artists would have given an even broader range of works produced researching similar thematic enquiries.
The Modern Myth: Drawing Mythologies in Modern Times Press Release:
March 10 – August 30, 2010
"Throughout history, humankind has sought to make sense of the world through myths. These stories, often taking visual forms, have been both preserved and transformed over the years as they have been repictured and retold. Artists have long considered mythology part of their aesthetic language, a tradition continued by modern and contemporary artists who address and reinterpret mythologies in their works. The Modern Myth features works on paper from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art that engage elements of ancient mythological narratives, incorporating them into new visual repertoires. Arranged thematically, it includes work from 1797 through 2008 beginning with Francisco de Goya and continuing through today’s contemporary artists."
Organized by Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings, with Luis Pérez-Oramas, The Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art.
The intent of the exhibition was so show a vast range of work throughout history into contemporary work produced, all exploring a similar theme, myths. It is about how throughout time myths have been explored and helped us to understand and explain the human condition. These stories and myths are retold over centuries and the exhibition celebrates this theme. My work would be included due to the themes I have been exploring. As stated my work would be photographic so not physically 'drawn' onto the paper but photographically drawn. The characters and myths are being retold through contemporary photography but using ideas, techniques and symbols from throughout art history.
I think the reviewers would be able to easily relate my practice to the other work shown by the thematic enquiries explored as well as the style and aesthetic of the work. I have looked at the work by other artists throughout history who have explored these themes and taken symbols or similar elements within the images to make them recognisable and relatable. The very obvious link would be how the characters from these myths are portrayed throughout the various artworks and my own. Also the work displayed isn't purely about Greek Mythology, it is about all types of mythology which would link to the representation of the Hawstead Panels. My latest work is exploring those ideas around mythology is a less obvious way but still keeping elements within the photograph and the title to link to the myths and stories. Within this exhibition the work is broad, from having some artists work which clearly shows and states the concept of the piece is, to being less clear and obvious to the viewer. In the piece 'One Hundred Lavish Months of Bushwhack' by Wangenchi Mutu depicted is a woman who looks slightly aggressive in her stance and gaze. This work was created using collage techniques and embodies the 'contemporary narratives of African culture and tradition'.
"Mutilated and unstable, she is supported at her ankle by a lilliputian creature. The artist has described women as “sensitivity charts”—their bodies function as “barometers, tracking the health, or more often the sickness, of any given society’s own body politic.” In One Hundred Lavish Months of Bushwhack, conflict and strife have literally scarred the female figure’s body." (MoMA Highlights)
Within this piece Mutu has created a mythical being or character which has elements within it which can be relatable, particularly to those who explore African culture and tradition. Making the work relatable and recognisable although still mythical was the aim within my work so even though the themes vary, the concepts and narratives are very much the same.
Fig.5 Pablo Picasso 'Bathers in a Forest' 1908
Week 10 - Peer Review
Evaluating my practice in the context of applying critical awareness of a diverse range of contemporary photographic practice to the development of my own work I feel has been successful. I have researched a broad range of artists and photographers, as well as using historical, philosophical, ethical and economic contextualisation. For example I have looked at photographers such as Madame Yevonde who explored very similar themes as well as painters throughout history. I have used contemporary photographers such as Mat Collishaw to explore the ideas around the long lasting impact of these mythologies and the recognisable symbols and signs society can relate to today. I have used this contextual research to inform and critically evaluate my practice as well as develop my project further. Researching historical artworks as well as theories behind the mythologies, Hawstead Panels, and Freudian theories has given my practice a diverse range of contextualisation and development of my project, pushing it further to become the less obvious and more sophisticated work it is now.
Establishing an understanding of the range of professional contexts for the dissemination and consumption of my contemporary practice has been a difficult one as I have found myself a little lost at the start of this module. However since working through the coursework and looking at exhibition spaces as well as sharing my work online, I have found confidence in the dissemination of my work.
Unfortunately due to the current pandemic I was unable to share my work at an exhibition. The plan was to have an individual exhibition to gain feedback on my work and hopefully sell some too. Instead I joined in with an online 'Market' to share my work and see the type of interest I would get. This has been hugely successful, selling a number of my prints from this module and encouraged me to set up online to sell limited addition prints. I have always been fragmented with my photography, having a commercial side and a more artistic side having a Fine Art background. One of my aims for the MA was to make a clearer link between the two so they became less separated and become an overall photographer exploring a wide range of practices and themes. I share my work regularly online through social media platforms as well as reworking my online gallery. My hope once the pandemic is over to continue to exhibit in individual and collaborative exhibitions.
Throughout this module so far I have made personal observations and formed critical opinions to analyse and appraise my own work. I have looked at the outcomes of my photo shoots and critically evaluated their success, making developments and adjustments during the next shoot. As well as this I have used contextual research to inform my practice and develop the work further allowing my critical analysis of other practitioners work to enhance the work of my own. During this module I have been involved in webinars where I have looked at the work of my peers and other practitioners, which has informed my practice, giving me inspiration and ideas on how to push my work further. I have regularly been in contact with Mary who is also on the course to share and evaluate each others work. We have shared ideas and critically analysed each others work throughout. We have a similar background which helps to understand the work of each other and be able to confidently discuss the concepts and themes. Although our concepts are very different we work in a similar way, although a different style. We have had tuned into webinars and had many conversations over the phone to discuss how we can both develop our work further, we have looked at and given feedback on our CRJs in particular the project development.
Over the next couple of weeks I plan to critically analyse my work further by printing, refining and finalising the work for my WIP. I have a 1-1 with my tutor and have also arranged to share the work with peers and other audiences to gain feedback on the success of the work and make sure the intent is clear.
I have articulated my ideas through a range of formats for example I have submitted work in a physical exhibition as well as online. I have shared my work through various social media platforms as well as my blog and my other website, been involved in 1-1 reviews and webinars. I've articulated my ideas through both digital and analogue formats and used a range of practical and material based processes to communicate ideas. I have been able to communicate with lots of different audiences and tailored my work to be appropriate and meet the audiences needs. The intent of my work has become clearer and more confident and the communication of this has become more successful. In the near future I hope to hold a physical individual exhibition as I had originally planned, however if this isn't possible for a while I will continue to share work online and consider virtual exhibitions in a broader capacity.
Week 11 - Consolidating Practice
I have been critically analysing the intent of my photographic practice by sharing the work with others including my tutor. During my 1-1 this week I was able to show the most recent work I have created and gain feedback on its success. We discussed how the work pushed my earlier work in terms of narrative but still keeping and developing the same theme and style. In terms of how to display the work I was already considering triptychs or a typology, however the way I had presented my work for review in twos seemed to work, so I am aiming to experiment with diptychs, merging my earlier work with my more recent to really emphasise the narrative and give more context to the work. I often have discussions with my peers and others to see if the intent of my practice is successful. I will hold back information about the photographs and ask them to give me feedback on what they gain from viewing the images which is mostly successful. I add the titles to the work to help the viewer piece together the narratives and form their own ideas around these myths and character, as well as what they mean to them in relation to their own morals.
My photographic practice is critically, visually and contextually informed by frequently reviewing the work of other practitioners. I am often visiting exhibitions and more recently viewing exhibitions online, to gain inspiration. I view the work of my peers and other creatives as well as watch the webinars on guest speakers to help inform and evaluate my own practice. I am always looking for ways to collaborate with other creatives whether that be other photographers, artists, performers, etc.
I reflect on my practice by looking through contact sheets initially to view the successful images, I will then separate these into a file and begin to tweak and edit the most successful images. I tend to edit around 8-10 images and choose maybe 2-3, sometimes even one out the ten which is the most successful. I will refine my images by printing out the most successful and gaining feedback from others, whether that be over webinars or in person with friend and family members. It has been a little more difficult this time round but I have just shared the work digitally. My WIP has changed at least 4 times since I refined my images, and after my 1-1 this week I will be experimenting with diptychs which will again develop the narrative and refine my images further.
I have worked hard this module to develop a visual language and style which has come through digitally through my editing processes. I am hoping to achieve this aesthetic through analogue photography during the next module into the FMP. The lighting has had a real impact on the style and look of my work, the times when I have shot outside during the day haven't worked as successfully to those which have been shot as the sun goes down into dusk.
The professional context my work should be seen in is as an artist. I am to create photographs in the same way writers create stories, and poets create poems. The work is there for enjoyment but also to inspire and engnight something within the viewer. To make them question themselves, their morals and release their imagination. I want my work to be viewed as a piece of art which has impact on the audience in a way which can resonate with them, sparking emotions, thoughts and feelings. I see my work selling for viewers enjoyment and being displayed in exhibitions and gallery spaces. I will be continuing to develop my online presence to share the work with others especially whilst we are in the struggles of a pandemic. I have found creators, artists and photographers to be thriving somewhat in this environment, they are using their creativity to cope and lots of people are sharing their work as well as audiences purchasing that work.
It is not and has not been about creating work to sell initially for me, and that has always been a real struggle to find the link between being an artist and being an artist who sells work, but it finally feels like the two are coming together. It has been more about creating an immersive experience for the viewer. I would like to create an exhibition in the future which is more about a journey into the images, whilst on an actual physical journey maybe through a forest or something similar. My work is created to bring joy, reflection and an immersive experience where the viewer can escape reality and get lost in an alternative world.
Week 12 - Reflection
I have used this week to reflect on my practice and the work I have produced this module.
I didn't initially have the confidence in my work after the last module and found it hard to get off the ground but now I feel I am excited to begin the next. My visual language has become clearer and the work has developed into more sophisticated a refined pieces. I have worked hard this week to finalise my WIP going through various layouts and juxtaposing images together.
I am finally pleased with my WIP, it doesn't feel rushed of over complicated and it has become something I didn't initially visualise as well as more refined. The work took a turn towards the end of the module due to the pandemic, however it didn't overly impact the intent or concept. The intent of my work has stayed the same, however it is beginning to develop into a more refined concept exploring the ideas in a different visual way, less literal.
Moving forward my work is still going to explore myths and stories but linking it with more of the natural world side. Questioning how and why we always return to nature as I have throughout my practice. I want to seek out those myths and stories in relation to plants, trees, water, even sounds and look at how they have impacted us and allowed us to make sense of the human condition.
This module has really enabled me to focus my intent, think about the context in which I want my work to be seen and given me confidence in my practice.