Category Archives: Assignment 5

Assignment 5 : Tutor feedback 

I have had some fantastic feedback from Keith who comments “ I think you have just really tapped into something that you enjoy exploring” . Before submitting the assignment I was rather anxious about whether , as a set , they were visually consistent but Keith said ” the series of images worked so well together and were literally flowing with reference——-It is a very well informed work , which in my opinion is well grounded in research into contemporary practice

I have sent Keith A4 prints for all my assignment submissions which he said were “always very well / professionally presented –which is great to see!”

Following Keith’s support and advice I felt secure enough to use historic and contemporary images as well as newspaper extracts . He wrote ” I really liked the variety of imagery on offer here …some were very complex in terms of overlaying and others , really simple in terms of a single newspaper clipping detailing a specific narrative. It is bold to be able to submit a photographic project of this nature …you display confidence within what you are submitting” . Keith concluded ” a very important and valuable piece of work in my opinion. Very well done!

He suggests I look at :
Sherrie Levine ( After Walker Evans )
Michael Mandiberg….anything
Evidence by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel

He also recommends reading W.G Sebald’s Austerlitz , which I know I had an unread copy of but can’t find it anywhere ! . My library has a copy so I shall borrow it from them.

Keith notes my blog “is all in order–I can’t fault your log really in terms of content” .

The assignment  was one of the toughest I have worked on yet so I am exceptionally happy to have had such a positive response. At one point I honestly didn’t think I would even manage to complete the course on time , even though I had been granted a 4 week extension . But the hard work has been worth it and I can’t thank Keith enough for his invaluable suggestions and input which enabled me to reach this point.

Assignment 5: Reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I have used a variety of focal lengths and techniques . Encouraged by my tutor Keith I have additionally used historic photographs to support my narrative as standalone images. For both my 2nd and 3rd assignment I used a plain black background , something I decided not to do throughout this series , but I was rather concerned about creating a visually consistent set and had doubts as to whether this was a good idea. However it forced me out of my comfort zone and once I made my final choices and put the work together I was pleased with the outcome.

Quality of outcome

Choosing the images , both historic and new , and how to present them , was quite a task. Completing the assignment has taken me far longer than I initially anticipated. I feel they successfully convey a narrative but also believe they do need to be seen with the written component in order to be understood in context . I have added a gallery to my blog that allows both image and text to be viewed together that I think works well.

I have printed and posted all the images to Keith at A4 size on my favourite paper , Permajet fibre Base Royal 325 , which unfortunately has now been discontinued. The historic images have been scanned and printed on the same size paper but at a smaller scale . Prints will always form a part of any work I produce and send for assessment.

I am going to work on an initial pdf version using Blurb to sent to Keith over the weekend , and intend to order a book that can be sent for assessment alongside the prints . I am very pleased with the book I have recently received from Blurb of my assignment 3 work. I need to spend some time in the future looking at various photo-books and how they are laid out , but I shall keep it simple for the time being. I would love to make a home-made photo book but am totally unsure of how best to do this , it is something I will attempt at a later date.

Fellow student Stephanie’s post about designing books here  is really informative and interesting.

https://stephaniedhlearninglog4.wordpress.co

I wavered between presenting the work in b&w or colour , finally deciding on the latter. As the course has progressed , and having to produce the 3rd assignment in colour , I have come to really enjoy processing my work in colour rather than b&w , it is perhaps more contemporary.

Demonstration of creativity

The documentary course has enabled me to use photography as a means of exploring subjective and personal emotions that over three assignments have evolved into a small body of work about time , memory and loss . I feel quite confident that the work shows elements of creativity and as in assignment 3 I have used some double exposures , a triple exposure (Evacuation) , along with diptych and triptych’s as a method of conveying personal thoughts and ideas.

Despite having used historical photographs before , and including them in either a diptych or double exposure , using them as standalone images is not something I have attempted for previous assignments . (Following Keith’s advice I amended my assignment 3 book dummy so that the historical images were each on their own page ) .

Context

I have really struggled to keep up with the coursework owing to personal commitments and a nasty chest infection earlier in the year that put me back by a few weeks. However my blog is now nearly up to date , I have just a few exercises for the final section that need to be written up . I have researched some very interesting artists as suggested by Keith–* see list below–and found a few more when searching the internet too.
Their practice really influenced my approach to this final assignment. I have not visited any galleries recently nor managed to attend a student study day , which is something I really want (and need) to participate in but logistically it is not always possible . I am in touch with a few other student via their blogs and find this an invaluable source of support .

*
Researched / read as suggested by Keith
Joachim Schmidt
Tacita Dean
Erik Kessels
Joan Fontcuberta
Snapshots.Geoffrey Batchen.Published online 18 Sept 2008.
+ I am currently reading G. Hughes . Game Face :Douglas Huebler and the Voiding of Photographic Portraiture , write up to follow.

Assignment 5. The Boy who Looked like Me

My 2nd and 3rd assignments were explorations of time , memory and loss. Further research into how other artists interpret these concepts has been a great influence and encouraged me to try and emulate their practice but I hope that I am slowly developing my own individual ‘voice’. Continuing with these themes my 5th assignment is about a man born in 1915 , the man I called ‘dad’ and whose early childhood was spent in Marazion ,Cornwall.

He has been dead for many years now , he hardly spoke about his past. As a child I was fascinated by the snapshots and mementoes kept by my parents in the small green case that now belongs to me . His possessions and old photographs are signifiers of his existence although he is no longer here.Yet the photographs of my dad as a young man conceal as much as they reveal.

I have incorporated dad’s once personal images to tell a story , yet the original photographs were never taken with that intention in mind.I have come to realise this assignment is a much about me as him , what I remember and how I choose to interpret it , my memories not his. Is it possible to ever know the truth about another persons life? I have tried to form an impression of him as a man but this is undoubtably biased by what I was told and remember , and also because of how I felt and still feel about him. I can only imagine and make up stories through my photography in an attempt to relate a brief and subjective retrospective narrative of his life.

Snapshots are becoming obsolete , memories kept on hard-drives , shared via social media and very rarely printed , imperfect images and mistakes easily erased. Hence ‘the advent of digital technologies means that this kind of photography has now taken on an extra memorial role’ which ‘suffuses snapshots with the aesthetic appeal of a seductive melancholy , whatever their actual age or the particularities of their subject matter’ (Batchen ,p.g 130) . As well as their status as an aide mémoire snapshots are also documents , they record private and communal histories. Personal and family photographs are amongst our most treasured possessions , ‘often said to be the thing we would rescue from a burning building’ ( Batchen ,p.g 136 ) .

‘There is a story told about the war criminal Ratko Mladić , who spent months shelling Sarajevo from the surrounding hills . Once he noticed an acquaintance’s house in the next target . The general telephoned his acquaintance and informed him he was giving him five minutes to collect his ‘albums’ , because he had decided to blow the house up. When he said ‘albums’ , the murderer meant the albums of family photographs. The general , who who had been destroying the city for months , knew precisely how to annihilate memory. That is why he ‘generously’ bestowed on his acquaintance life with the right to remembrance. Bare life and a few family photographs’
Dubravka Ugrešić
            The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (p.g 5)

My double exposures are intended to suggest both the transient life of the snapshot album and how easily these tangible memories of my dad could disappear. I have included a few original photographs that have been scanned and printed as well as newspaper clippings in addition to the 15 images needed for the assignment. I hope my work helps in someway to immortalise him for the future generations of my family when I am no longer here to keep his memory alive.

References / Bibliography
 
Barthes , R (2000) Camera Lucida . London: Vintage
Geoffrey Batchen (2008) SNAPSHOTS, Photographies, 1:2, 121-142, DOI: 10.1080/17540760802284398
Berger, J. (2013) Understanding a photograph. Edited by Geoff Dyer. London: Penguin Classics.
Mark Godfrey. Photography Found and Lost :On Tacita Dean’s Floh , October , no. 114 , Fall 2005 , pp.90-119
Holland, P. (2000) Family snaps: The meanings of domestic photography. Edited by Jo Spence and Patricia Holland. London: Virago Press.
Timothy O’Grady (2006) Memory, Photography, Ireland, Irish Studies Review, 14:2, 255-262, DOI: 10.1080/09670880600603729
Rainbird, S. (2005) Tacita dean: Berlin works: [published to accompany the exhibition Tacita dean: Berlin works, 8 October 2005 – 15 January 2006, Tate, st. Ives]. United Kingdom: Tate Gallery Publish.
Semin, D., Garb, T., Kuspit, D. and Boltanski, C. (1997) Christian Boltanski. London: Phaidon Press.
Sontag ,S.(1979) “On Photography”  . Penguin Books , London ,England.
Ugrešić, D. (2007) The museum of unconditional surrender. United States: New Directions Publishing.
Translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth
Websites
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Working towards Assignment 5

Some rejected images that for various reasons I am not happy with and some other ideas I have been trying out . I have printed them out as what looks fine on screen does not always seem to work as well in print.

This for example I quite like as a diptych but when printed I actually preferred the double exposure and newspaper clipping to be viewed as two separate pieces.

Somewhere in France jpeg

+ another rejected version here

Somewhere in France jpeg print

I cloned out the ring from the right hand version , again I not using either of these.

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These were printed as triptych’s but I was not happy with them so have re-printed yet another version that will be included in the final assignment.

Triptych 1

Tryptich 2

I took a series of photographs of dad’s cufflinks and cigarette case , each has been processed slightly differently and I have one selected for the assignment.

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Again I did not particularly like the look of this printed as a diptych

Dad & shirt diptych

These double exposures were too faded and when printed looked even worse.

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I was going to use this as a full page image but have now created a triptych including written information about the Chindits

Assignment 5 jpegs-4

I do have my final selection but am just finishing printing and labelling them so will put my post up when this is complete and ready to post to my tutor. I have decided to work in colour and also have printed the historical photographs on A4 paper but scaled smaller than those taken for the assignment. The assignment has taken me far longer than I anticipated and I need to write my coursework notes up too but want to get this completed first.

I use Perma Jet Fibre Base Royal 325 paper for printing and am mortified to find it has now been discontinued. I have enough for this assignment but am considering printing all my work at A3 size for assessment so will have to try some alternatives . It is still available from a few sites but this might be a good opportunity to experiment with different papers.

Working towards assignment 5

I still need to keep taking more photographs but have been experimenting again with double exposures and also processing in colour again . Initially I wanted to work in colour , changed my mind feeling that b&w were the better choice , but now find myself preferring the colour, they are perhaps more contemporary. I have printed a couple and am pleased that the tones are not too bright or highly saturated , aesthetically this would not work .

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I re-processed the triple exposure below

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I have emailed Keith about the use of historical images for the assignment as stand-alone photographs . He suggests these be used in addition the 15 needed . Not too sure which I will use or how many yet , I shall be scanning some more but below are the scans of a couple of my original photos , a newspaper clipping and a letter sent by my dad whilst in India . I intend to use some individually and a couple will be used to create diptych’s. I will write more about the context of the images when I do my final write up.

Dad & tiger 002

India001

Newspaper clipping001

Dad's letter002

Dad's letter001

I will be printing the photographs , as always , but want to do another book. This needs to be presented differently to the prints . This is something I needed to amend for the PDF element of assignment 3 by placing all the historic images and scans used in a diptych on their own page . I am also wondering whether to print any of the historical stand-alone photographs I include along with the larger prints I will do, perhaps smaller 4×6. The originals will go back to the green case where they have ‘lived’ for quite some time.

A diptych of dad’s Chindits badge with one of the scanned  photographs above– taken presumably in a studio ! Dad is the young man sat down in front of the tiger on the bottom right.

Dad :Tiger : Chindits badge

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I re-photographed the letter in the diptych below but will probably use the scanned version if this makes my final edit.

Letter : India x 1

Another diptych / a  double exposure and scanned newspaper.

Dad evacuation diptych

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A single exposure using another photograph with the clipping and postcard.

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Some of the double exposures work some don’t but I want to include a few in this assignment . I like their ambiguity , how they allude to hazy half-forgotten memories as the opaque layers of history are slightly revealed. A few more of my experiments below–some more successful than others.

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I like the one below , the connotation , which suggests how he has been silenced , by time and death.

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A diptych and a single exposure below

Dad : tribute

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Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean , British b1965

Floh (German for flea)

Dean studied at Falmouth University and after her Artists Residency in Berlin finished in 2001 she continued to live there.

‘Her long-time preoccupation with serendipity , coincidence and unforeseen outcomes as a leitmotif for her artistic method , governed her wanderings through the street markets of Berlin and elsewhere , which produced a harvest of visual materials. These served as the basis of several works consisting of found images’ ( Rainbird ,p.9 )

Floh consists of informal snapshots found in flea markets by Dean that she then organised and curated into a book. It contains a mix of 48 colour and 109 b&w unrelated images .

Additionally limited edition digital prints from the book were available at an exhibition held in 2001at the Frith Street Gallery in London. The prints , like the photographs in the book , are ambiguous and open to interpretation. No text accompanies the unidentified photographs hence the original context remains unknown leaving the viewer free to conceptualise their own narrative.

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Photographs are not only physical objects they also prompt speech but Dean states she wanted “to keep the silence of the flea market ; the silence they had when I found them;the silence of the lost object” . It is rather sad to contemplate who were the original owners of the abandoned photographs and why have they been discarded ? Imagine the stories they could they tell , which is precisely what the viewer is left free to do.

This is interesting essay —Mark Godfrey Photography Found and Lost :On Tacita Dean’s Floh HERE

References / Bibliography

Rainbird, S. (2005) Tacita dean: Berlin works: [published to accompany the exhibition Tacita dean: Berlin works, 8 October 2005 – 15 January 2006, Tate, st. Ives]. United Kingdom: Tate Gallery Publish.

K.K DePaul

I came across her work as I was looking for ideas on Pinterest and think it is really fascinating. She describes herself as a teller of tales , “my themes are memory and secrets . I have always been fascinated by multiple interpretations …double exposures and ambiguity

The images she creates are intriguing and capable of evoking a multitude of emotions. She describes “the layering of paper and photographic imagery as being similar to the way our mind organises memory…at different depths…one over another…constantly shifting.” Like Christian Boltanski , Joachim Schmid and Erik Kessels she searches flea markets looking for old books , maps and photographs to use in her collages . Similar to memories some parts are well defined whilst others more insubstantial , there is a surreal quality to the pieces .

Between the Lines
Collage work exploring family secrets which DePaul talks about HERE
Her grandfather was hanged for murder in 1929 , never spoken about by the family . DePaul inherited a box containing his private possessions following her grandmothers death. She came to the conclusion her grandfather had been guilty , something she feels her grandmother knew and wanted her to understand but had been unable to share in her lifetime. The work explores how women use deception , not in an malicious capacity , but as a safeguard for themselves and their relationship with others.

Only Child
Mixed media exploring the ambivalent nature of the daughter / father relationship.
DePaul’s project started following the death of her father , the son of her grandfather hanged for murder. Her father’s dysfunctional upbringing led him to attempt suicide twice , her relationship shifted as he became the one who needed to be cared for , a reversal of roles.

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Accessed 3/4/16–some interesting work in the Blurb book  including DePaul’s
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