Week 1 

After receiving feedback from my last module I have found it difficult to get back into the work. 
I tried to work more systematically, what I felt was more systematic, as a result of feedback from the first module, but it seems to have backfired in that now I have fragmented my work and it is too organised, therefore maybe doesn't flow or make sense as a whole piece of work.

I am finding it difficult to make the work clear in terms of it's purpose so I decided to go back to the beginning where it all started with John. I wanted to create a piece which showed the positive uplifting feelings John always pushed in me and taught me to have. The titles of the pieces are there to reflect these feelings but also to remind myself that doing the MA is about growth and development to be able to thrive. 

I got all of the natural forms I had collected during the project so far and spent time in the darkroom making large photograms. The images took around two and a half hours to make and eight attempts until I was completely happy with the composition, depth and tones. The difficultly I find with photograms is that they are so solid in terms of black and white and this doesn't feel connected with the other images I create. I inverted a couple of the images and these became much softer but even still when next to other pieces I am working on they don't work as a collective. I also tried adding some colour in photoshop, adding a gradient and layered them further to see if these made them more coherent.


These pieces may just be a way to get started again and a process I need to go through to get back into my project.

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'Thriving'                                                                     'Flourishing'                                                                   'Thriving Experiment'

Week 2 

During this week I decided it was best to plan a photo shoot looking back at Greek Mythology and the Hawstead Panels. The Greek God I chose to base my next shoot on was Adonis. Adonis is known for his beauty and was admired by Aphrodite. "The central idea of the myth is that of the death and resurrection of Adonis, which represent the decay of nature every winter and its revival in spring. He is thus viewed by modern scholars as having originated as an ancient spirit of vegetation." (Augustyn, 2020) 

The Hawstead Panel which inspired the choice of Adonis said, 'Tell me, what sort of person will you be?' This brought me to Adonis as I fixated on how so many people in society are focused on their looks rather than their personalities or progress showing who they are. They seem to define themselves by the way they look, which then led me onto choosing the model I did. Looking at the work of Benjamin West who painted Adonis, he was rightly portrayed as a clean faced beautiful soft man, but why does that define beauty? 

The shoot itself, I was happy with the outcome but I am still not reaching the style or visual language I want to create. Also the images feel very staged. The sun was shining and everything looks bright and colourful, I'm not sure this is the style I want for my images. I experimented with the colours and tones but I feel although I like these images, they just aren't working as well as they did in my previous module, they aren't quite saying what I want them to. So it is back to the drawing board...

Fig. 1 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%27Adonis%27_by_Benjamin_West,_Dayton_Art_Institute.JPG

Adonis - Greek Mythology - https://www.britannica.com/topic/Adonis-Greek-mythology (Accessed Jan 2020)

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Fig.1 Benjamin West 'Adonis' 1800

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Primary image from the Hawstead Panels at Christchurch Mansion

Week 3 

During this week I have been working on a shoot linking the Narcissus. This Greek God came from the Hawstead Panel which stated, 'The face is not trustworthy'. This straight away was an easy link to the Greek Gods and Narcissus because of his story. 

Narcissus pushed away the love of the Nymph Echo which resulted in Nemesis the goddess of revenge and retribution deciding to punish him. Nemesis led Narcissus to a pool where he fell in love with his own reflection. "Although he did not realise in the beginning that it was just a reflection, when he understood it, he fell in despair that his love could not materialise and committed suicide."

(greekmythology.com, accessed Jan 2020)

Looking at the work of others who have portrayed Narcissus in paintings and other mediums, I chose to look at the work of Peter Paul Rubens. He depicts Narcissus clearly leaning over the pool draped in a robe gazing at his reflection. For this shoot I wanted to have a similar position of the model, but I wanted to try and make it more about the reflection rather than Narcissus himself. 
Visually I wanted the image to be layered with the surroundings as though the reflection becomes lost to signify the suicide of Narcissus. I edited the images making them darker this time, and I am beginning to achieve the colours and tones I am looking for. However these photographs aren't my strongest and I feel they could be improved, maybe either using a different model or just making the reflection sharper. They aren't quite how I envisioned them to be and are actually too busy in comparison to what I wanted to achieve with this images. In terms of the narrative, I feel that is clear but I am not completely happy with the overall series of photographs.  

Fig.1 https://www.myartprints.co.uk/a/peter-paul-rubens/narcissus-4.html

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Narcissus/narcissus.html

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Fig.1 Peter Paul Rubens 'Narcissus' 1636

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Primary image from the Hawstead Panels at Christchurch Mansion.

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Week 4 

After having two what feels like unsuccessful weeks of shooting, I decided to try again and revisit John's Bench. I feel going back to the beginning helps me refocus. I went out with the idea to take some photographs to add as layers to other images I am hoping to create over the next few weeks. Most of my work in some way involves natural forms and in particular trees. I have always had a fascination with trees and looked into this during the last module. I looked at the work of John Sexton and his book listen to the trees which consisted of images next to poems. 
Alongside these images I wrote a poem. Throughout my work I have been writing poetry in relation to my images but haven't shared any at the moment as most of them need finalising and I am a little reluctant as poetry has always been an outlet I have kept to myself. 

The images themselves I am really pleased with, I like the quality and tones the polaroid gives to the images and I am interested in having a physical unedited photograph, where there is only one copy which can't be reproduced exactly. Although these images aren't directly linked to my current work relating to the Hawstead Panels and Greek Mythology, I will be able to use them within my video I am developing from the 'What's left behind?' project inspired by the impact of John. I will also experiment with using them as overlays in future images. 

Look up.

Look at you, 

Bare branches

Showering your raw and fragile self.

Look at you, 

Twisting branches

Showing your rare and unique self. 

Look at you, 

Delicate branches

Showing your vulnerability and growth.

Look at you,

Stripped back and ready to take on the snow.

Look at you, 

Quiet and still.

Look at you,

A beautiful silhouette within the winter sky.

Look at you tree, standing there, being all that you are and everything you can be. 

Written Winter 2020.

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Week 5

During this week I really focused on trying to achieve the visual style I have been aiming for. I shot this shoot on film as well as digital but at the moment only have the digital files until I get the film developed. I am interested to see how the film images will compare to the digital photographs. 
For this series I focused on the Hawstead Panel which stated, 'I have hope and I have perished'. My instant thought was to research into Greek Mythology focusing on the word 'hope'. I found the myth of Pandora's box where all spirits escaped except Hope who remained to behind to 'comfort man kind'. Hope is often depicted as a young woman holding flowers or a cornucopia full of fruit and corn. Her name is Elpis and wasn't highly regarded by the Greeks and only features in the story of Pandora. 

For this shoot I took the symbols of Elpis and tried to create a Pre-Raphaelite style image. I took some of just the details and other showing the model looking 'hopeful' to try and convey the myth. I have shown these images to a few people and ask them to tell me what they feel, or 'get' from the images. All of them have said she looks hopeful. This is the first shoot this module I am happy with and when showing my images to one of our tutor's it seemed to be heading in the right direction. I did try to create an image by layering all the elements but on my 1-1 we discussed how I had taken it too far and it wasn't needed and instead to just have a series of  two or three images showing the model fully and then some images of the details. The way I edited the images was to make the colours richer and darker, linking back to the colours within Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Overall I feel it is now moving in the right direction and I feel positive about the next series of image I hope to create. 

Fig.1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_(Burne-Jones)

https://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Elpis.html

https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/elpis/

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Fig.1 Edward Burne-Jones 'Hope' 1896

Primary image from the Hawstead Panels at Christchurch Mansion.

Week 6 

During this week I have focused on planning and carrying out my shoot and developing my film from my previous shoot. 

I shot the 'Hope' shoot in black and white using my Kodak Retinette, I developed the black and white film myself and printed a few of the images. There was only really one image I felt was successful and have decided I prefer the digital. Although I do like the film images and they do have a similar feel to one photographer I had always been inspired by, Ellen Rogers, I  prefer the digital ones due to the colouring and feel of the images. I experimented with editing the image by scanning the negative and adding more of a sepia tone which gives it more of the style and feel I am looking for but still doesn't compare to the digital colour images. I have thought about printing the images at Lith prints, or possibly hand tinting the images similar to Ellen Rogers to given them more of the aesthetic I am trying to achieve. 
 

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I think they would have been better shot on colour film. I sent over some of the images to Analogue Wonderland and asked them which film would be best to achieve the style of the digital images and they suggested I tried Kodak Portra with an ISO 160 and under exposing it slightly. So I am currently looking into ordering the film in 120mm as well as 35mm. 

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Week 7 

During week 6 I shot the following shoot and have spent this week editing. I focused on the spirits within Pandora's box, continuing to link them to the Hawstead Panels. The Hawstead panel I chose to look at was the one which stated 'Non Fugitiva Fides - The trust which does not run away.' On the panel you can clearly  see a hand reaching out from the top of a tree to an animal. I wanted to link the image to the word trust and thought the spirit Pistis would fit perfectly."Pistis was the personified spirit of trust, honesty and good faith. She was one of the good spirits to escape Pandora's box and promptly fled back to heaven, abandoning mankind. Her Roman name was Fides and her opposite number were Apate (Deception)." Within the image I wanted to create a soft, elegant image by using delicate flowers and clothing. Due to the panel I tried to create a form of trust between Pistis and the land, displaying the trust in the earth. I chose to look at the work of Louis Janmot and his representation of Pistis. 

I am really pleased with these images, the colouring is exactly what I wanted to achieve. I shot them as the sun went down to create a soft lighting to add to the aesthetic. I did shoot these on colour film however the Kodak Portra hadn't arrived in time for this shoot. Although I do like the film images, I prefer the colours I've been able to achieve with the digital files. I have taken the aesthetic of the Pre-Raphaelites but also tried to create my own style and colouring. 

Moving forward I would like to continue with this style and hope to test the Kodak Portra film to see if it will push the images even further and achieve the perfect aesthetic.

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Primary image from the Hawstead Panels at Christchurch Mansion.

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Fig.1 Louis Janmot - 'Flowers of Fields' 1845

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Week 8 

A bit of reflection of my projects so far...

This week has been an interesting one with all of the changes happening in the world and has been full of thought. With the measures put in place in terms of social distancing I am unable to carry out my shoot with a model, which was going to be based on Morpheus and my final shoot for this module.

This time has really helped me to focus on my intent and where I see my work heading in the near future. I have had a lot of conflict during this module and having this time to think has forced me to make some decisions.

My work so far has felt quite fragmented and I am always drawn back to natural forms, especially trees, and I have been asking myself why this is. I have been adamant that the images needed to have a person present to make the narratives work. However with the restrictions in place and the fact I am always returning to natural forms within my work, I am starting to think about how I can do this differently. 

I am still interested in the same concepts and ideas, the context of my work hasn't necessarily changed. I have been resistant towards focusing purely on natural forms because I always feel I could do more, or it has been done too much and I want to be different in some way This time is allowing me to let go of those thoughts and feelings and forcing me to pull everything back and really focus. 

I am still very much interested in stories and narratives, as well as dreams and the imagination, but I am thinking more how I can link these ideas to those of Nature. Although it is too late to completely change my project and I don't feel the need to, I have ordered some books on Native American culture. Thinking more about their beliefs, stories and relationship with nature. 

 

All of the Greek Myths I have explored and the links I have made with the Hawstead panels so far have always been shot within a natural environment and showing a relationship between humans and nature. I feel my work is developing and progressing in the way it should be, but having this time to really stop and think, quieten down the noise of everyday life, has really allowed me to be creative in my thought processes and become clear. I am finally feeling excited and ready to produce new and interesting work. 

Week 9 

After a lot of reflection last week I decided to adapt my idea of recreating the myths within Greek Mythology. 

The idea originally came from looking at tulips in my lounge that were beginning to die. I thought about how I am trying to preserve or continue the idea of the Greek Myths, show how they impact us on a day to day basis and how their stories have continued to influence our beliefs or morals. However I have been too focused on including a character within in the image, where I realised I should be focusing on the viewers response to the images.

As I looked at these tulips I thought about how beautiful they were although they were beginning to dry and wilt. The deep colours of the tulips reminded me of the images I'd seen of Morpheus, and resulted in setting up a studio space try to create the narrative of Morpheus using these flowers. 

Morpheus was the God of dreams and sleep, he would often mimic humans, animals and other things and enter peoples dreams. According to the Greeks, Morpheus was born of Nyx, the personification of night, however the Romans believed he was son of Somnus, the personification of sleep. I wanted to try and create this aesthetic within my images of the tulips as well as show an element of preservation. 

 

The Hawstead Panel I had originally looked at when deciding on Morpheus was one which stated 'Both hidden, and openly'. I thought this was representative of Morpheus due to his symbols and becoming hidden behind another being or reflecting. Being hidden, yet being open to the dreams and alternative world. 

I shot the tulips on a black background to give the feeling of night, initially I tried to light the tulips from the sides and slightly behind, but this wasn't achieving the 
aesthetic I wanted. I waited until the sun started to go down and use natural lighting, a similar time to my previous shoots to achieve the same style. 

I am pleased with the outcome of these images, but I am going to consider how I can take them further. I like the feel and think they are representative of Morpheus in their own way. This is something different compared to what I am used to trying to achieve, but it feels a lot more like the work I feel I want to produce in the future. 

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Fig.1 Jean Bernard Restout - 'Morpheus' 1771

Primary image from the Hawstead Panels at Christchurch Mansion.

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Week 10 

Thinking more about how I could develop my Morpheus shoot further I looked a little more into his symbols. Morpheus was said to sleep in a cave full of poppy seeds whilst he 'shaped and formed the dreams, through which he could appear to mortals in any form.'

I didn't have any poppies but I did have more tulips which were closer in colouring to poppies. I wanted to experiment with the colour background but ultimately this shoot was to try out reflecting and merging the tulips. 

I shot the tulips on a brown background to be a similar colouring to my previous shoots, as well as shooting at the same time of day. Using a 50mm lens on the last shoot with the tulips worked really well and I was pleased with the composition so I shot the next lot of dried tulips in a similar way. Using Photoshop I created a mirror image of the poppy to symbolise the mimicking and reflecting within mortals dreams. 

I prefer the colours in the previous shoot but that is due to personal taste, where as I feel these images work better in terms of narrative. I experimented with using one of the purple tulips but it didn't have the same feeling as those images weren't meant for the purpose of reflecting, but more about creating an atmosphere that could be representative of Morpheus.

The images I created reminded me to begin with of Georgia O'Keeffe's flower paintings in particular 'Red Canna', particularly because of the colouring but also the close up of the layers looks as though they could be reflected, the images also have an element to them which reminds me of the floral patterns on decorative vases. 

I do feel happier with this shoot in terms of the context, although the colouring is something I feel I need to experiment with to make my work in progress look coherent and not fragmented in any way. 

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Fig.1 Georgia O'Keeffe - 'Red Canna' 1924

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Fig.2 Sèvres porcelain factory - 1882

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Week 11

During this week I have spent my time creating lots of images, due to the lock down I haven't physically been at work and although still working from home I have found myself being more creative. This time has given me time and space to think more clearly about where my work is heading and the visual language of my images. 

I really enjoyed photographing the flowers in the studio setting and decided to try and build some images go alongside my previous images created during this module. In particular the earlier shoots with the male, and to give my work in progress more variety and a stronger narrative. 

I used  flowers which I had either been brought or I found, I am not a great believer in plucking flowers. 

The first shoot I completed was again of tulips, these ones were red and dried out. Although the images do have a quality to them I like, I feel as though they are slightly unfinished. I linked these again to 'Morpheus' to try and create a series. Whilst creating these images I also felt I was trying to preserve them. Preserve their new beauty or their life by photographing them. This reminded me of how I am trying to push forward the stories of the Hawstead Panels and the Greek Myths. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The next shoot I completed was of the white tulips. These tulips symbolised purity and love, I chose to shoot them in relation to Narcissus. I have already spoken about the story of Narcissus and how he dismissed the love of the Nymph 'Echo'. These tulips I felt could represent not only Echo herself and the love she felt for Narcissus, but also the love he felt for himself. The leaves of the tulips remind me of the reeds surrounding Narcissus in many of his depictions and the white is pure like the love of Echo.  These images felt stronger and had a clearer link, they also look beautiful when they are printed, the tulips look like silk. 

I didn't feel as though I needed to create more images to link to 'Elpis' as I had already created a series using the oranges and lemons, as well as close ups of the props in the shoot. However I wanted to create some images with the same style and feel to link to 'Pistis'. I chose to use Eucalyptus for this shoot which was in a bouquet of flowers I had been brought. 

"At a spiritual level the eucalyptus has a purifying effect. Negative energy disappears in the place where you burn a eucalyptus leaf." 

Thinking about the spiritual meaning of the Eucalyptus I referred it to the quote on the Hawstead panel more closely about trust and then the honesty, or 'purity' of Pistis. Out of the new set of images I created I felt these were the strongest, and although the colouring is slightly different to the images I created of Pistis, I think they work well to explore the narrative further. 

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Week 12

During this last week has all been about finalising my work. Considering if I need to shoot anymore or if I feel I have enough. Last module I included too many images, because I was including film and digital, however this module I have decided to focus purely on the digital images and creating a narrative either using a typology, triptychs or diptychs. 

After a 1-1 to my tutor Sarah I felt positive about the new images I have created and she suggested seeing what they would look like matched up with one and other to create one final image. I had laid them out on the presentation in a very similar way and could already see the links emerging more clearly. It was reassuring to know that Sarah agreed the images worked with my earlier ones to create a stronger and more interesting narrative. 

I printed all of the images I thought I may wish to include in my WIP and began to lay them out on the table.  Once I had finalised my selection, I popped them all in a folder on my computer and they looked good as a collective but I still felt their were too many of the tulips, and Eucalyptus included, I matched them up on Photoshop experiment with the layouts and merging shoots together to see what worked, creating mainly triptychs, or diptychs. 

Below are a selection of the experiments I went through to get to my finished WIP. 

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During my experimentation and selection I chose to include some images as stand alone images, although still part of the various series, as they didn't work as a triptych or diptych. I also took some images which I felt didn't work together or weren't consistent with the narrative or style of my work. Overall I am happier with the refinement of my images for this module and the layout of the work in progress. It has come along way since the beginning of the module and developed into a finished project with a different outcome I wasn't expecting.

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