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 10 Land art, Coursework

Exercise 2.5: Text in art

In a similar manner to Richard Long’s ‘textworks’ (see http://www.richardlong.org), write down 12 – 24 brief observations during a short walk or journey by some means of transport. This may be the journey you intend to make for Assignment Two, or it may be a different one. You don’t need to take any photographs.

Consider how you might present your observations.

Richard Long’s textworks were surprisingly miminalistic. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, perhaps some poetic stanzas, some sketches of the walk. However the writing were quite basic. At first I didn’t quite see the art in them. I could feel a sense of the place, the feeling of a gap in the rain and the triumph at that. It seemed more a note to self, a passing observation.

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Textwork by Richard Long

But I found myself smiling when I clicked on the heading of ‘A cloudless walk’

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Textwork by Richard Long

Something so simple as being on a blue background is visually beautiful, gives a pleasant feeling as you connect the images to the background and sum up the words.

To go even more abstract I created the following images as an abstract way of viewing elements in a day. These simple colours and shapes create the feeling of the day described. Photography could be used to create the same thing and it was rather fun to create something quickly.

A Cloudless Walk

Untitled design

 A Rainy Day

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A Rainy day – Chloe Halstead

The more I looked at his written works there were some that appealed more than others, some seemed more general statements whereas others brushed into poetry. I, in particular, enjoyed this one. It’s still much like a statement, but it serves as illustrations in a book. It even gives the viewer/reader a feeling of his incentive to place the cairns. I can feel myself itching to draw the images.

 

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Walk of Seven Cairns by Richard Long

 

For this exercise, I thought of my ongoing personal project/Assignment Six Plan B ‘Snippets‘ using the snippets of the discourse of the area taken over a period of twenty minutes to show the psychogeograpy and a sense of place.

Ohh that one...do you remember, there was such a hoo ha it went

With that in mind, I went to sit on the seafront and capture the Snippets. It was a darker day than last time and this is reflected in the conversation of twenty minutes, there isn’t much discourse, very few people. I myself know the age group of the people who were there but I wonder whether viewers can tell that. It would be interesting to hear any thoughts. I  feel very touched by the two friends discussing the betrayal of another friend, ‘you’ve been a friend seventy years and been a friend more than anyone else.” It’s so fascinating getting a glimpse into these people’s lives, learning a bit of their story, of what their thinking, what they choose to share with others, the amusing, the moving, the sad. It’s humanity playing out through these images.

Ohh that one...do you remember, there was such a hoo ha it went

I’m loving this project the way you can capture the feeling of the place. Without the image could you guess the weather, the season. Whether people are talking about ice creams or muttering about the cold. I also feel the way in which I placed the writing gives a sense of a time-lapse of people rushing by, leaving behind just snippets and echoes of their lives.

 

 

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 09 Mapping and other technologies, Coursework

Exercise 2.4: Is appropriation appropriate?

Have a look at the artists mentioned who appropriate images taken by other people and write around 300 words describing your response to artists and photographers working in this way.

A person walks into an art exhbition showing original photographs of Ansel Adams. They capture macro images, walk next door and hold their own exhbition of these macro photos passing it off as their own.They argue that they found this new viewpoint. Do people flock to see these images and praise them of their talent and vision…no they are arrested in violation of copyright and sued millions. The latter is of course truth so I don’t understand why someone can make profit taking screenshots of the images that Google Earth streetview provides.

It’s simple black and white thinking, ‘Do these images belong to you?” “No.” “Then they’re not yours.” The appropriator didn’t trek around the world with a camera mounted on a car winding down all the back streets No, they sat in their home scrolling tirelessly with a mouse. While Google Earth were recording images in dangerous places, they were sat taking screenshots. Yes the effort was theirs to go around these places, there is a commendation that they discovered such unusual, striking or shocking images that woud have otherwise remained undiscovered; for personal use it’s interesting but for profit it’s completely copyright infringement. If that is allowed then I believe that artists who create fan art (such as creating Harry Potter wands and other props) should be allowed to sell their products instead of being tracked down and having their shops closed.

Yes the appropriator made the effort but they didn’t make the initial effort which enables the images to be there. Without that there would be nothing.

Perhaps the Google Earth appropriator would argue that an artist or in the case of Marc Quinn is allowed to create an image from another image so why shouldn’t they, yet it’s quite different. The artist is creating something from scatch, starting with a blank canvas. I don’t see an issue with obtaining the rights and creating a tapestry based on a photo. Just as an artist may use a photo reference, there is no less skill, in fact there may even be more creating it from scratch.

I struggle to think of an argument against this; perhaps some would believe that these images raise awarness of a world where everyone is being watched, where the word privacy is a myth and we see the realistion of 1984 in our everyday. For instance ‘Mishka Henner’ whos disturbing images taken from google images show prosititutes waiting by roads on the outskirts of cities, he infuses those images into a clip to create the feeling that you are glancing at the women as you drive by.

So it may be argued, should these people be allowed to steal these images to raise awareness of exploitation? Perhaps if Google were to allow them, but in all honesty they could just go out and take the same images. I understand what they’re doing and why and it is imporant to raise issues but is this really the way?

I recently watched the Netflix movie, ‘The Circle’ with Emma Watson which gave quite a chilling insight into a world ruled by technology which we are rapidly shunted into. It feels more like this is a reality than whether or not it will happen.

Some would believe that Google Earth is just a documentation of the earth, anyone could go searching for these images…but they didn’t go out and create those images. They appropriated someone elses.

Edit –

A fellow course mate, Emma Pocock and I engaged in a friendly debate of appropriation which you can read in the comments. She brought up the use of people creating music parodies and as that is permissable should Google photography be too? I didn’t feel so as the Street view ‘photographers’ are taking an  image of an image, a direct copy just like Mishka Henner, he didn’t even create the journey himself, purely using the scrolling function. It should be allowed, just not for profit. A parody however is creating something new based on something else, it isn’t a direct copy as with the photo as the artist recreates it adding their own style and unique flair to it,

Posted in Assignment 6 ~ Transitions, Coursework

Assignment Six – Progress – Five Month mark

It has been four months since I placed the Playmobil house in the garden for Assignment Six, Transitions, showing how nature will reclaim everything back when humanity is gone. At the start of this project I wrote of my expectations on my Assignment preparation post here

  • That the house will slowly be choked with vegetation reminiscent of Chernobyl.
  • The furniture in the house will either be swept away, trapped inside or will become homes.
  • Insects and perhaps even mammals will use the place as a safe harbour. Maggots may thrive, spiders will decorate the walls and windows with their deadly art.

It felt a good time to reflect on the progress of the house and assess my own progress on what was working and what I could do better at.

Below is a slideshow of the transitions of the house over the four months.

MARCH

 

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APRIL

 

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MAY  I was away on holiday for a while and didn’t get any images of May 😦

JUNE

 

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JULY

 

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Nature is truly claiming back the house. It’s getting increasingly difficult to take photos especially in the same composition. Before I was able to stand on the little rock for a viewpoint, now I am blocked by all the foilage and plants that have grown up pushing me back as though to say it is natures house now.

It is astounding to see the diverse collection of plants and flowers that have been born and withered back to the ground in a matter of months. Every time I look a new plant has taken the place of the last. It is the definition of a transition, yet the transition is happening at an incredible pace.

I’m glad I focused on four specific elements. The house is the major point but I also photograph the table and radio, the interior and the childs bike everytime. The child’s bike is completely covered, I can only just see a glimpse of the wheel.

The table was knocked over after a month or so and the interior is clogged with thick leaves and black sludge and something that looks very unappealing.

I feel I should have captured an image every week as opposed to every month (I’m still trying to find out what happened to May) I need to organise better. So much has happened in such a short time and I feel I haven’t captured that. In future I will photograph every week so I can capture all the changes.

I will focus on capturing more artistic images and at different times, early morning, evening etc.

Posted in 08 Typologies and new topographies, Coursework

Exercise 2.3 Typologies

“Write down your own responses to the work of any of the practitioners O’Hagan mentions in his article, and describe your thoughts on typological approaches.”

Before I started this unit I was driving in the countryside and as we reached a junction and stopped we slowly drifted by the hedgerow, instead of filled with chattering sparrows I saw an old glove hanging from a branch like an urban leaf; just along a can was crushed between two branches. I decided to go back and create a photographic collection of the items found in the foliage. In a strange humanised way they almost seemed to belong there (though obviously littering is horrible) It just felt like they had adapted to their surroundings.

Then in the course, I come across Typologies and the Collective photographer which fitted perfectly with my ideas. From never doing personal projects alongside the photography course suddenly my mind is filled with them.

“A typology is a collection of a single type or class, with the collection itself being more important than the individual components.” 

Key points

  • In 1975 the New Topographics exhibition was held featuring 168 photos of the ‘mundane’ captured by revolutionary photographers such as  Robert Adamas, Lewis Baltz and Bernd and Hilla Becher (famous for their collective images of German water towers) images such as streets, urban areas, parking lots challenged the the world’s perception of beauty, twisting it and turning it on it’s head, pulling it away from contemporary ideas of beauty such as Ansel Adam’s images of the National Parks and instead focusing on seemingly inconsequential and banal images of real life. It was met by intense negative reviews yet it also created a new wave of photography echoed in many images created after the exhibition.
  • Despite being an unconventional perception of beauty it carried a warning message of mans ongoing urge to rapidly take over the country, expanding urban areas and eating up the surrounding beauty like an environmental game of PacMan.

I find it quite interesting that the exhibition should have been met with such negativity especially when it reflected their own lives. Perhaps this was one of the reasons they didn’t like it, perhaps they didn’t like the way nature was being eaten by the urban landscape (though it continued)

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Bernd and Hilla Becher 

Personally, I do find beauty in the collection and the images are visually appealing. They reflect real life in quite an evocative and moving way, throughout their images, especially the Becher water tower images; you see rhythms echoed through the architecture just as such echoes appear throughout nature. They are fascinating in an unconventional way, not merely for collections, but for aesthetic appeal on a larger scale. The images are also a time capsule for a time from before. How many of these water towers still stand? They may not phsyically be there, but their presence will always be felt and documented through these images. Then again that brings it back to a collective use when the aesthetic is also felt. I think it is something in human nature to want to categorise, we categorise people into friends and enemies, enemies into rivals and nemisie. Food is into groups, animals into classifications. So it seems natural that photography goes the same way, it is visually pleasing to see such images grouped together, there is a link between them all, it’s harmonious. We see several images of similar things, they may share similarities but also their appeal is in their uniqueness, just as every fingerprint is different, so too are these images. Even if you had two identical towers you would still probably notice some discrepancies. The couple quoted that they photographed ‘buildings where anonymity is accepted to be the style’.

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James Mollison – James and Other Apes

Such images also raised awareness of the outspread of the urban landscape, watching places dissapear before your very eyes but they also raise awareness of issues in the animal kingdom. James Mollison was touched and in awe of the similarities between the faces of man and primate. He travelled the globe to meet orphans of the bush meat and pet trade capturing close up haunting images, ‘like a passport photo’ The name of the typology ‘James and other Apes’ serves to show the connection between man and primate and the similarities are powerful, their eyes call out to you, they are a reflection of our features. For an animal lover like myself I know the empathy they have, how all animals think and feel and are not at all different from us. I do not need to see such images to raise awareness but it calls out to others who feel something stir inside of them. The typology is visually appealing, aesthically beautiful and yet it’s imporantnce is those two factors coming together to create a physical, internal reaction.

Bibliography

http://jamesmollison.com/books/james-other-apes/

https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/95?locale=en

http://infinitedictionary.com/blog/2015/10/21/photographic-typologies/

https://blog.redbubble.com/2012/04/photographic-typologies-the-study-of-types/

Posted in Coursework, Personal Projects

Kindness

Diverting away from my studies for a moment I want to share a rather remarkable event that happened to me yesterday. As I’ve been discussing and writing on my blog at first with this unit I found I was losing the joy of photography something that deeply upset me, it turned out it was something many students find at degree level and finding ways to retain the fun is all part of the journey.

I’m pleased to say my joy of photography was only distant for a few weeks and is back stronger than ever. Some of this is due to just getting out there with my camera, taking photos for the sheer joy of it. The lavender bush in our garden is absolutely thriving with bees, I just love to sit and watch them zipping all over the garden, the sun catching their bulging pollen bags. Every evening in the golden hour I go and sit there photographing the bees. I’ve been experimenting with a variety of lenses, the 80mm was great but the manual focus was a little stiff. The 50mm lens ensured I was immersed in their world and perhaps a little too close.

 

In the last unit, Digital Film Production, I created a short documentary entitled Tiny Cities. I would love to continue with this somehow.

I came across a bee that had run out of energy and was resting on the pavement. It was while I was tempting it with some fresh lavender and being warned away by its skinny legs that an elderly man cycled by. I didn’t know him and it turned out he lived just a few roads away. He told me about his camera lenses, “I’ve got a telephoto.”
“Aw wow! Lucky you,” I said. ”

“You can borrow it!” he said matter of factly.

I was completely taken off guard! “But you don’t even know me!” I blurted out. Twenty minutes later he’d handed over his 70-300mm lens. It’s a lens I don’t own and I am so excited to use it. I still can’t believe it but I am so grateful.  It definitely felt like a sign.