Work in progress : Assignment 3

I originally planned to finish the third section and Assignment 3 by the beginning of August but have reset my deadline to the 1st September. I’ve been taking photographs for a few weeks now trying out different ideas and ways to communicate time and memory . What I planned to do was reconstruct shared memories , mine and my mum’s , in a way that contrasted mum’s life now with her past. My initial working title following on from my 2nd Assignment: Precious Memories is ‘What’s Left ?’ a narrative about age , time and memory.

As I’ve spent more time doing this I realise the memories I am visually creating are my interpretation of events — on discussing these with mum we have different recollections of the same incidents. Some happened before I was born but seem as real to me as my own personal memories , I have assimilated them and made them my own , a concept explored by David Favrod ( see my earlier research ) .

Some of my ideas worked , others not so well , however having discovered a new technique to try with my digital camera I re-assessed my approach and decided to take a series of double exposures. I made the decision not to use the live- view mode in my camera to compose the multi exposures , whilst this would enable me to compose and see the resulting combined image before I press the shutter I prefer the unreliable outcome. “Double exposure can be used in a planned way , but it is always difficult to predict what will happen -and that is part of the excitement” (Fox, A & Caruana , N , 2012 , p.g 87) Each image for the double exposures can be taken at different times and with different lenses too.

My poor mum , who will be 90 in November , makes a very patient ‘model’ putting up with all sorts of indignities in order for me to get my photographs !
Due to her poor mobility I generally need to take most of the images of her indoors.

28/6/15
Indoors / 24-105 lens / window light

The Yellow Hat

This represents a vivid memory of mine but strangely one my mum doesn’t remember at all even though the incident included her. I used a bunch of fresh chrysanthemums , also known as mums , and an old sunhat to make her a crown of flowers.

I remember , aged about 14 , waiting in the corridor of my grammar school for my mother to arrive for a meeting , but I cannot remember why or what for. Other girls were waiting for their mothers too. The school had a quadrangle surrounded by glass windows through which you could see people walking on the other side , I can see my mum now ,wearing a bright yellow hat which resembled a flower bobbing along , my mum loved hats ! The other girls waiting with me , on seeing her walking along the other side of the quadrangle started laughing about her hat , I was mortified. As she approached me I snarled at her “why are you wearing that stupid hat you look ridiculous ” , she looked hurt but said nothing . How I regret those thoughtless words , yet she remembers nothing about that day . Strange how small and inconsequential moments last a lifetime . I might try a double exposure again as I am not going to use this as it is in my assignment, but finding the right image or object to create personal meaning is important .

The yellow hat

Documentary assignment 3-2812

Documentary assignment 3-2807

4/7/15
Outside / 50mm prime lens / side light

A shy child mum was known as ‘saucer eyes’ at school . I took some close-up portrait images with the idea of perhaps doing a diptych of her and my eldest granddaughter who has huge eyes. Again I won’t be using these as stand alone images , whether I try some double exposures with them is something I might consider .

Documentary assignment 3-2856

 

Documentary assignment 3-2825

8/7/15
Outside / 50mm prime lens

My first attempt at double exposures  .
I put on red lipstick and ‘kissed’ the paper !
As a young woman my mum wore bright red lipstick , she told me how my nan, dad’s mum , and aunts laughed saying “Ken will be smothered in red kisses when he comes home” . The acquired memory makes me smile , my parents young and in love.
As I want to keep all off my backgrounds black I need to re-do this but not sure if red lipstick will stand out on black card—will have to try .

Double exposure lips

 

Documentary assignment 3-2884

11/7/15
Outside / 50mm prime lens

Made mum wear red lipstick -something she never does now-initially with the idea of using one as a stand alone image , but these didn’t turn out that well and I’ve only posted this one , not brilliant but as an idea of what I was trying to do.

Documentary assignment 3-2915

&

Indoors / 24-105 lens

Mum’s hands –I want to take a double exposure later .

Documentary assignment 3-2925

15/7/15
Outside / 50mm prime lens

Double exposures of mum’s hands and an old knitting pattern book. Mum was always knitting when I was young and continued knitting for my children when they were young. Over time a badly broken finger that was never straightened and arthritis mean she is unable to pick up her knitting needles any more.

Documentary assignment 3-2955

Double exposure wool

18/7/15
Indoors / 24-105 lens

Mum told me a story from when she was very young of a red woollen beret she wore . The dye ran down her face when it rained and I attempted to recreate this using fake blood -not successful !!! But I took a couple of shots of her in the beret sans the ‘dye’ , which I felt were better and could possible use later .

Documentary assignment 3-2997

Documentary assignment 3-2999

 

19/7/15
Indoors / 24-105 lens

Mum moved to Birmingham as young woman in the late 1940’s and was teased about her strong Geordie accent. She frequently played cards with my paternal grandmother and aunts , who laughed at her pronunciation of eight. A shy person she wanted to blend in not stand out and consequently set out to deliberately lose her lovely accent. I remember if we visited Northumberland or she spoke to relatives on the telephone she immediately reverted to a Geordie accent but at home in the Midlands she had no discernible accent. Interestingly as she gets older I hear the Northumbrian lilt more frequently.

I made the ‘saucy’ 1940’s playing cards from a screenshot printed and pasted onto card.
Again I had an idea for a stand-alone image with the playing cards held in front of her face rather like a police mug-shot but didn’t like these. Hence I did some double exposures.

playing cards

Mug shot with cards

Documentary assignment 3-3060

Documentary assignment 3-3063

Double exposure playing cards

25/7/15
Indoors / 24-105 lens

I have a wonderful photograph of mum in a knitted swimsuit that she told me ‘grew’ when wet , I even downloaded an original 1940’s knitting pattern but needed someone who could knit if for me , unlike my mum I cannot knit , I planned to take a photograph of mum in it ! This idea never materialised.

untitled shoot-3118

Another idea was to make a diptych , mum now and me as a 7 year old child , the age she took me every Sunday for swimming lessons. I can swim like a fish but my mum was never confident in the water and never got her face wet , hence the arm bands and walking frame in the picture I took of her.

swimsuit diptych

Documentary assignment 3-3064

untitled shoot-3105

29/7/15
Outside /24-105 lens

Double exposures using the swimsuit image

Documentary assignment 3-3109

Documentary assignment 3-3111

Documentary assignment 3-3106

Documentary assignment 3-3178

Double exposure mum swim web_-2Double exposure mum swim web_

 

untitled shoot-3169

untitled shoot-3171

untitled shoot-3173

Double exposures using the red beret image.

Double exposure beret web_

Beret pics : ones I am not using

My mum is the tall girl on the right

untitled shoot-3101

Indoors / 17-40 lens

I laid out some of my collection of old photos to spell the word time , I think this would be an ideal image to begin the narrative. It was more difficult than I anticipated and hard to compose and frame. My knees are nearly always very painful and I got stuck on the floor more than once setting this up !

Documentary assignment 3-3150

Documentary assignment 3-3140

Documentary assignment 3-3130

Documentary assignment 3-3130

30/7/15
Outdoors / 24-105 lens

I took a double exposure of two old photographs , me aged 7 and my mum in her knitted costume in her 20’s. Happy holiday memories of our younger selves.

Double exposure me and mum web_

Double exposures using the pictures taken yesterday. Not sure that these work really , I think I prefer them as taken yesterday.

Documentary assignment 3-3166

Documentary assignment 3-3162

Documentary assignment 3-3160

Documentary assignment 3-3158

 

Outdoors / 24/105 lens

This image represents a really strong memory of mine about my dad and paternal grandfather.

Documentary assignment 3-3186

My granddad and dad both smoked pipes , dad’s seemed to be always in his mouth even if not lit. When my granddad died Nan threw his pipe away but I remember her relating a dream she had later after his funeral — he had told her off for throwing his pipe away , I never forgot that. When my own dad died and me and mum were clearing his things out I was adamant his pipe could not suffer the same fate as that of my granddad’s . My mum doesn’t remember nan’s dream but we kept the pipe and it sits on my bookcase to this day .

Dad and his pipe below

Documentary assignment 3-3185

Documentary assignment 3-3182

 

TO BE CONTINUED …………

References / Bibliography

Fox, A and Caruana, N. (2012) Behind the Image: Research in Photography. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA

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6 thoughts on “Work in progress : Assignment 3

  1. Stephanie Dh.

    I really like all the portraits with your mum, I find them so strong that I am not sure that (for me) the double-exposure images work that well. May be you should try with simple juxtapositions. Your mum as such a strong presence and your relation to her is so vibrant, you are very present too as a photograph and I love this intesity. It is fascinating, it works really well. I think that the overlapping of time and memories is already embedded by her presence. It is just a personal point of view Judy, that I wanted to share as a viewer, I hope that you don’t mind. I think you are really developing a strong project, it has a rare intensity and urgency. Thanks!

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  2. Judy Bach Post author

    Hi Stephanie ,
    Thanks , and I don’t mind at all . I really appreciate your thoughts on this as I need to know how the work is perceived by viewers . I did wonder about using juxtaposition and am going to scan the images I want to use to make diptych’s and see how they compare with the double exposures . My original plan was to take portrait pictures of mum and use simple and brief captions explaining the context i.e. my memory of the event , I then started experimenting with the double exposure idea. I would like to include some double exposures in the assignment but need to see how all the images work as a set.
    Hope all is going well with you ,
    Best wishes Judy .

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  3. hollywoodward2013

    This is wonderful work, Judy. Your mum looks so feisty and full of life, despite her frailty. I agree with Stephanie that the double exposures are not quite as strong as the portraits. I particularly liked the placing of the one of her wearing the waterwings next to the old photo, so perhaps side by side might be the way to go, rather than overlaying the images? Just a thought.

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  4. Judy Bach Post author

    Thanks Holly, and I agree with both you and Stephanie about the double exposure images of mum losing some of their impact. Interestingly my hubby had the same thought but hadn’t dared to say anything in case I got upset ! I really appreciate the feedback as it helps to know what others think. I think diptych is the way to go .
    Best wishes Judy

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  5. Catherine

    In some respects I agree about the double exposures, except for the one of your dad and the pipe. A Diptych is a good compromise I think. Your mother’s eyes are so penetrating, with such a strong gaze. The one that really speaks to me is the one with the red hat! I think the collaboration between the two of you is remarkable.

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