Consider an issue (social, political or environmental) that you feel strongly about. Design an image that you think will have a persuasive effect upon a viewer. This could be a deliberately rough photomontage or something more polished. You don’t necessarily need to make the photograph or tableau; this is an exercise in generating ideas, thinking about communicating an idea and taking an ideological standpoint. Annotate sketches and any other work and enter it into your learning log.
I decided to create a poster for the disappearance of tigers. When I was younger I was quite the Eco-warrior and very passionate about saving the world, I still am but back then I made my own posters and everything. I remembered one I had made from that time and decided to recreate it in Canva.
As the words disappear so do the tigers. Which will be gone first? The words fade into the background and eventually disappearing into the dirt the way the tigers may one day. Dust to dust. I experimented with the words covering the tigers face but this wasn’t as effective as the two were distracting. Composing with only half the tigers face reinforces the disappearance and the fragility of their future. I wonder if the poster could be strengthened with the use of a caption.
‘How many will we lose before we choose’
‘Choose or lose”
“How far will you let it go.
‘By the time you read the final words, it will be too late.”
“Which will be gone first.”
Find three examples of landscape photographs (or the collective efforts of a set of photographs) that are being used to assert a particular ideological point of view. Look at images that have been used in advertising or other commercial applications, as well as within fine art and documentary photography. This might be a very explicit message, or something a lot subtler. If text is used, consider how this relates to the image. In your learning log, make some brief comments (around 300 words) describing how the photographer or designer used the photograph and how the image communicates its intended message.
When I read the brief one image sprang to mind, a symbolic image created by the WWF that I had reviewed earlier in the course here
The image doesn’t lurk in the background of the mind, it doesn’t use hidden meanings to illicit a response, it slams into the viewer with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer. The mind acknowledges you are looking at a forest, but instantly the shape is of lungs. The forests are known as the lungs of the world yet the charred, rotten corner where deforestation has taken place grips the viewer, you can see it is due to deforestation but it is more powerful than that, just as these lungs on a human could mean death, so could this cancer of the earth. The death of the forest. The depiction of lungs brings it into comparison with humanity, the forest as a living creature that is being savaged and ripped apart and it implores you to help. For me it brought me back to a time when I was at a science museum in Scotland and saw a smokers lung savaged by Cancer. As a child that was quite a shock and that same response is felt here. The orange stands out, a rotten part of the forest that could soon stretch to engulf the entire organ polluting the rivers, the veins of the lung. Despite the fact that it’s photo manipulated, this doesn’t come into effect, the pure unaldulterated emotion cries out to us, it screams! You can hear the forest screaming in your head. And that is where the power comes from, it generates a guilt feeling. It’s one thing feeling the emotions the photo had intended to provoke, but how easy is it just to walk away. The tag line is the final slap in the face, or a hand reaching out to you, “Before it’s too late.” This is subtle. It doesn’t initiate the usual paragraph of ‘this is up to you! Help save the planet, save your home.” It doesn’t ask for help. Instead those simple words grab you in a way a paragraph of pleas could never do. It is a plea from the forest directly to you. It’s almost a choice, you don’t have to help but won’t you feel a terrible human being if you do look away.
Billboards and advertisements are everywhere but to find them near places of beauty tarnishes the landscape and detracts the eye. The artist Jennifer Bolande changed the billboards to scenes of the mountains and landscapes around the billboards.” By placing images of the environment beside the roadway Bolande hopes to point passersby back to the landscape itself. ”
On the Tate Gallery website I came across this image.
At first I assumed it was a quote image, featuring a beautiful scene with equally moving words. The type you send to loved ones or use as a wallpaper on your phone. This image seemed similar evoking the same emotions, a scene so pure and natural it seemed almost like an image of a fantastical land, grass waving in a gentle breeze. I expected it to be like one of these images. And the appearance echoed with harmony.
Then I read the words and suddenly the image took on a much different darker twist. Beginning with words evocative of the photo, “The music from the balconies…” it feels like you’ve been taken back to Tolkein’s world and you can hear Elves and other beings. Then the tone switches instantly, “overlaid by the noise of sporadic act of violence.” The image and the words don’t match, it grates against you as they are each a stark contrast of the other, beauty and violence, together seemingly beautiful yet fractured. It makes the viewer ask ‘why?” “what is the violence’ The words are taken from the novel by J G Ballard and features a high rise building that splits and gives rise to violence acts and strange happenings but for me it is the clash of the painting by Ed Ruscha coupled with the unfitting words that capture the imagination and say very clearly they don’t belong together. Two opposite poles of a magnet fighting against each other and invoking the viewers response. The Tate writes “For Ruscha, ‘the phrase was a powerful thought coupled with a pictorial idea that ends in a gentle kind of clash’.”