Posted in Assignment 2 ~ A journey, Coursework, Research and Reflection

Assignment Two – Shoot

Assignment Two Brief, Capture 12 images that convey the idea of a journey.

I returned to Martin Mere nature reserve and rejoined my bird friends on the sedantry boat trip through the reeds. Despite the amount of people there it was so peaceful, a world away from the other side of the reeds and I found myself wishing we could just park up the boat to relax, to listen to the silence around me with just the company of the rustling reeds and the quacking ducks cutting through the water beside my trailing fingers.

Here are the thumbnails of the images I took that day. At the time I had these three ideas for the Assignment in mind

1 – Show the Onomatopoeia of the river. The senses through the use of an 85mm lens.

2 – Include close up images of the birds or their feathers which were blowing around the place as a Typology study.

3 – Macro images of the water to show the journey

 

My assignment had started with the journey of the boat trip through the reeds, then I’d honed it down to the onamatopoeia of the river, the mindfulness and as I reached the water I had a choice, focus on all the sounds and senses of the river, or hone the assignment done to the smallest point, showing the journey of the river, through the water itself.

Starting with the surprisingly sandy bank and the shallow water the images take you on a journey into dark waters which capture the reflection of the trees above, the beatiful pattern like melted chocolate digestives, the mysterious patterns in the swirling water caught by the engine and finally reaching the edge again where the flowers catch sight of themselves in the marbled waters.

I feel tempted to add in close up images of the birds feathers, especially the Hawaiian goose which came and sat right by me, but last time I included too many pathways in my images so this time I’m keeping it tight.

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I thought of what my tutor said, if you were in a University you’d pin a set of images on the wall and change or shift the ideas over the weeks so below are

1 – All of the shortlisted images

 

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2- Close ups of the river

 

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3- Other sets

 

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It’s a good way to remove what doesn’t quite work.

Now I see that if I focus on the close ups of the water then I can’t include the birds wings or the leaves of the trees. But if I disregard the water then are the images left strong enough, or unique enough to convey the idea of a journey.

 

 

Whilst I like the above images I feel the water is different. It isn’t just a mirror image. Does it make the viewer think?

 

Posted in Assignment 2 ~ A journey, Coursework, Research and Reflection

Land Art v Assignment Two

“What’s that sound?” Mum said to me.

“Oh I’m just watching a video of someone throwing mud at a wall.”

Joking aside, the art creation of the River Avon Mud Circle was very interesting, it was fascinating to see how the artist, Richard Long, created a vision of their walk using actual elements found along the way, in this case, the watered down mud. It was a collaboration between man and nature, the mud was the material and the essence of the art whilst man swirled his fingers creating patterns that echoed the Celtic past and also reflected the walk taken, the swirling lines like pathways through the river Avon. It’s a story of walking, a story of art, and a story between the collaboration of man and nature, showing how we interlink and can live harmoniously at peace with one another.

I love the idea of art, nature and photography all coming together in one image, perhaps with Assignment Two, I could use my passion as an artist to bring something to the images. Should I stick just to the abstract images of the river or should I somehow include land art? The issue is, my tutor pointed out in Assignment One that there were too many themes and when we broke it down we could see there were leads for several other projects, witches fingers, moving images, Rorschach blots. So I am wary to say, create a journal blending photography, art and land art. Maybe I could create a mix of zentangle somehow. I can see this image I captured below being infused with art somehow, perhaps to show the patterns. I am returning there at some point and the more I think about it the more I want to stick to the 80mm lens. I don’t want to include wide images, I want the abstract, the art that captures the sensation, the photographic onomatopoeia of the river and not just a mirror image. Franco Fontana said once, ” “This is an ‘objective’ photograph, it is basically a mirror. Who photographs reality captures nothing. You must re-invent, re-enact reality to make it a new one.

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Photo by Chloe Halstead
Posted in 07 The road, Assignment 2 - Preparation, Assignment 2 ~ A journey, Coursework, Research and Reflection

Assignment Two – Contextualisation

I feel I’ve really found the pathway or waterway I wish to take for Assignment Two. I’m so passionate about it, the images are quite different to my usual style yet it is the different images, such as the abstracts that I feel most connected to. I will research some photographers who photograph wide open places in an abstract way.

I do plan to return but perhaps I will return with the same lens. Or perhaps I will just see where the wind takes me and the assignment. With my photography, I had a different lens and that enabled me to experiment and create images I wouldn’t usually. Now I feel very drawn to the abstract portrayal of a landscape. Is abstract photography the onomatopoeia of the photography world? I remember my joy as a GCSE student to discover onomatopoeic words such as ‘crunch, crackle, fizz’ that perfectly imitate the sounds of the words they are describing. I only need to read the word crunch and instantly I feel as though I am hearing someone walking on dry leaves or chomping through their breakfast cereal. And in that respect, abstract photography captures the details, the sounds, the feelings of that place. Perhaps not all abstracts, some may be to challenge the perception, to tell stories but in regards to my assignment, I feel these images below that I captured, illustrate the feeling and senses of the river trip.

 

ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY – Contextualisation 

Nadav Kander created a series of images for his book, Dust where he photographed abandoned and restricted areas wrought by the desolation of man creating photos that are an oxymoron, they are devoid of people yet they are seeped in humanity, their very essence and destruction and responsibility is tied to humanity.  Two small towns that Kander photographed, Kurchatov and Priozersk were not even known until Google Earth discovered them.

He heads his work with the stanza from TS Elliot’s poem ‘The Wasteland’

‘I will show you fear in a handful of Dust’ TS Elliot

I’ve read many thoughts on the meaning of this line, but just like art, poetry is subjective and one meaning may not resonate with another. My personal opinion of this quote in regards to his photography is the dust and the ashes of the place that have been destroyed or been left to rot by man, “I will show you fear” your mind is consumed by what has gone before, here is a handful of dust of all that is left. Let your terrified imagination fill in the terrible gaps. Yet could the quote also be taken to mean, you may be terrified of the world and the darkness and the huge scheme of things but I will show you the fear in the little things, in a handful of dust.”

Illustrating a series with a poem brings me back to my own assignment, I referred to my river trip with Robert Frost’s poem, ‘The Road not Taken‘. Perhaps I myself should illustrate my journey with a poem (written by myself) In fact the more I think about it, the more the rhythm of the river seems to echo the words of poetry. As in the poem Limbo, a powerful tale of the African slaves, the poem echoes with repetition until you feel you are almost swaying with the backbreaking rhythm of the boat as the slaves work the oars.

 

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Photograph by Nadav Kander

 

 

One of the images on his website that grabbed me is reminescent of an abstract painting, a blur of blue and sienna, the raw colours of nature. The image is split into two layers, the sky and the earth, both whipping by as though as though you are viewing it from a moving vehicle. It feels like two stripes of paint, a unity of the sky and earth with no details or barriers to disrupt the rhythm. “My landscapes are really honed to the palm print of man, mans effects on their surroundings…it’s really about the endeavour of man which is behind those pictures.

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Photo by Brett Weston

Brett Weston – He captures the landscape around him in such a flawless abstract style, taking a small square from a vast place and making that the main  His images remind me of the mantra in Rudyard Kiplings, ‘The Jungle Book‘ The strength of the pack is the wolf, but the strength of the wolf is the pack.” So as to say, he takes a very small portion of a vast landscape, turns it on its head to show the small portion is just as powerful as the landscape around him. The landscape draws its power from the details yet the details draw the power from the landscape. The undulating waves of the desert rising like tumultuous waters of the deep. His images can appear as multiple things at once, Is it trees and branches jutting out of still waters, or reflections of overhanging trees. Or are they bent and warped pieces of iron filing or paperclips, a modern piece of art.

Franco Fontana

I first came across Franco Fontana’s wonderful images whilst watching Masters of Photography where Fontana was a judge. Some of the wisdom he offered was so powerful that it has buried itself deep into my mind and often speaks those words in moments when I am studying. I wrote about him here  His images pack a punch of intense colour, the saturation so powerful you can almost taste it. I love the way he sees the landscape, in bands of colours, seeking out the beautiful masterpieces created by nature. Indeed his mantra is ‘to make the invisible visible’