#Picbod – Nude vs. Naked

 On Thursday 23rd January 2014, I attended a day of lectures dedicated to our #Picbod module. During this day, I was involved in a number of sessions including a brief introduction to this weeks task, a talk by visiting photographer Jennifer Pattison, a workshop on mural printing, self-directed study, and feedback on week 2’s “The Tribe” task. Below you can find all of the notes from these sessions:

BREIF INTRODUCTION TO TASK:

  • Read Matt’s extensive lecture notes that will be placed on the Picbod website
  • In the language of art, “good naked” is conveyed by the word “nude”, while if you say “naked”, you mean “bad naked”. The nude is posed, perfect, idealised; the naked is just someone with no clothes onJonathan Jones
  • Thomas Ruff’s ‘Nudes’

 Thomas Ruff

  • Bill Brandt

 Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt 2

  • Brassai

 Brassai

BrassaiNude, 1932[NY-B-761]

  • Man Ray

Man Ray

Man Ray 2 

  • Adrien Tournachon

 Adrien Tournachon

  • Eadweard Muybridge

 Muybridge-1

  • Nadar

nadar 

  • Sally Mann

 sally mann 2

sally mann

  • Hannah Wilke

 Hannah Wilke 1

Hannah Wilke 2

  • Bertil Nilsson

 Bertil Nilsson

  • Joel-Peter Witkin

Joel-Peter Witkin

  • Building on the session workshops you should explore notions of Nude and Naked through your work. You should make at least one study of yourself and another of someone else. You will need to bring your experiences from task one and two to bear as you explore the dynamics of vulnerability vis a vis yourself, the subject and ultimately the viewer.
  • You should spend time observing the context for your subject. You should look for and work with the different types of light, tone and colour, both in terms of your location context and the effects they have on your subject and the subsequent photographic artefact.
  • Consider Paul Wright’s words on life drawing: “Look at the subject away from the camera – soak up your subject”, “look for the lines that denote weight and gesture”, “consider echoes of movement in a gesture – the image can be messy and doesn’t have to be ‘picture-perfect’”.
    • Think about your vulnerabilities
    • Taking a photograph of yourself and someone else
    • Think about whether you are concerned with anatomy, concerned with eroticism, the document, abstract, narrative?
    • Doesn’t have to be picture perfect
    • Make it a process – enhance your images

 

JENNIFER PATTISON ARTIST TALK:

  • First naked portrait ever took – part of final degree project at LCP
    • #1
    • 6×7
    • Male subjects
    • Quite far away from subject
    • Never has eye contact
    • Always worked with daylight
    • Film and polaroid
    • Quite a lot to do
    • Collection of portraits that are very observational
    • Put herself in an uncomfortable situation
    • Trigger for her wanting to make work

Jennifer Pattison

Jennifer Pattison 2

Jennifer Pattison 3

  • Looking at ideas of identity and looking at yourself
  • Wanted to support herself
  • Had a brief period of assisting – didn’t feel it was for her
  • Got a job at a photographers agency – gives photographers support and manages them
    • Interesting
    • Good introduction to the industry
    • Assistant to Lisa Pritchard
    • Grounding experience to the world of commercial photography
    • Turned independent
    • Advertising commissions, design commissions – completely different world to the artistic background she learnt at collage
    • Given a brief, working with art directors, given a team
    • Worked there for 5 years – learnt a lot about the commercial industry
    • Felt the photography was quite soul-less – coming from an artistic background
    • Very good at creating a natural looking situation in a very controlled environment
    • Felt that inner, creative Jennifer need to come out
    • Wanted to feel stimulated again – felt stimulated for a period of time but lost it after a while
    • Whoever is going to commission you wants to know exactly what makes you tick
    • After the realization of needing to reengage – quit the job
  • Applied for an internship at the V&A – unpaid
    • Freelance as a producer
    • Worked for the photography department
    • 9 months
    • Worked on “Twilight” exhibition in 2009?
      • Robert Adams

Robert Adams

Robert Adams 2

      • Bill Henson – young people in a semi-clothed state; peripheral of cities; atmospheric and moody

Bill Henson

Bill Henson 2

Bill Henson 3

  • Encouraged to research all the time
  • Production work – worked for David Sims Fashion photographer
    • Educational

David Sims

David Sims 2

David Sims 4

David Sims 3

Cameras used:

  • Hasselblad
  • Pentax 67
  • Wasn’t until 2012 that she had enough work to get a portfolio together and a website and focus on her own photography
  • Female portraits – Inside of my Skin
    • Wanted to find this feeling of uncomfortable
    • Women she was attracted to was women that seemed confident in their body
    • Fascinated by this
    • Felt it was quite exotic – something she doesn’t feel
    • What drew here to them was an air of confidence and non self-conscious persona
    • Reflective piece – thinking about her body whilst photographing them
    • Photographed subject in their own home – make them feel as confident and comfortable as possible
    • First photograph called Hatti
      • 800 speed film
      • pushing it to 1600
      • big white reflector as well
      • window is the main light source
      • working with long exposures – 1-2 seconds long
      • long exposure time lend themselves to having a real exchange and medative moment – allowing the subject to just sort of be
      • Very charged experience
      • Photographer felt quite embarrassed

Jennifer Pattison 5

  • Shot this image in Barcelona – Ariadna
    • Way of finding people – word of mouth, friends of friends
    • Still quite far away from the subject
    • Shows environment – tells more about subject
    • Doesn’t tell them how to pose – can see that she is really aware
    • Hadn’t worked with her before – complete stranger
  • Lynn
    • Knew this woman the most
    • Completely relaxed
    • Not inhibited at all
    • Probably about half a year in to the project
    • A lot more closer to the subject
    • Not a lot of other information about Lynn other than the chipped mug
    • As the photographer, she dictates how the portrait goes
    • Role of the photographer and the sitter – the more relaxed she was, the more relaxed the sitter was
    • It was a vicious triangle – constant exchange of confidence or nerves

Jennifer Pattison 12

  • Julia
    • Took a couple of her as she was just a very relaxed woman
    • Can’t decide which one she prefers – likes the one with more environment

Jennifer Pattison 8

  • Leah
    • Shaved all her hair off – very out there
    • Wanted to be like her, wanted the confidence to be like here
    • Therefore wanted to photograph her
  • Hannah
  • Secondary narrative
    • The fact that their naked is more the secondary narrative
    • Because she had such a strong reaction to these portraits – wanted to include that in some way
    • Was creating landscapes at the same time – completely in her comfort zone
    • Paired the images together
    • Really important to try and document what was happening to her at the time of the project through her landscapes
    • If it was only naked portraits included, wouldn’t spend time looking at the women themselves – the inclusion of the landscapes gave the viewer a breath, slowed down the flow of the collection
    • Ponder and question what they are feeling
    • Do these images successfully communicate what she wants them to?
    • Feels the landscapes is an inward representation of herself
    • Mixed reviews of adding in the secondary narrative
    • This is the part that is really challenging her
    • Perhaps using a pinhole camera and photographing herself naked?
    • It’s always a consideration – set out to do something, but if your photographs aren’t eliciting that, you haven’t succeeded
  • Went through the process of allowing her friend to photograph her naked – doesn’t want to show anybody it – doesn’t mean she didn’t like it, didn’t feel that was the point – she did it
  • Want the work either published as a book or as an exhibition
  • Far from finished – grappling with the secondary narrative idea
  • In the final phase – wants our feedback on the secondary narrative
  • Resolving the final bits – watch this space

Questions:

  • When do you know you will be finished?
    • The urgency has left suggests she has finished it
    • Got to a point where it has actually become really hard – naturally as humans, when something becomes difficult, we try to run away from it
    • Maybe she’s fallen out of love with it
    • There’s no right or wrong on how many images are needed
    • Feel that this unresolved secondary narrative is very important – need to sort this out
    • Gone off in a natural creative tangent – want to do, and now she’s assessing things and try and work out why
    • Deadline could be April – going to Paris-photo in LA, get this in a much more concise and finished way
  • Who do you show the work to?
    • Show the subject as soon as she’s finished photographing them – always give them a final quality print as a thank you
    • Only one person has actually come up to pick up their photograph
    • Testament to the process
    • The image at the end is kind of the throwaway at the end
  • Did the women’s confidence remain after the images were taken?
    • They all appeared vulnerable at one point
    • However, the ones that were successful were the ones that showed confidence throughout
    • Majority of the subjects felt liberated after the photo shoot
  • How do you go about approaching the subjects?
    • Approached with her business card
    • Do her pitch
    • Give them the card
    • Look at the website – if they want to be involved, get back to her
  • Has anyone come up to you and asked for their portrait to be taken?
    • No
    • The project is very much based around her choosing the confident women – it would almost be counterproductive
  • You mentioned self-reflection…
    • Doesn’t see herself in them, she see’s aspects she wishes she had in terms of character
  • Do you talk to the subject in order to relax them?
    • She has discussed in depth about body and nudity with the sitter
    • She’s not just going in their and taking their photographs
    • It’s just as much about the experience
  • With your commercial mind, did it influence you wanting to tell them to put objects down?
    • The subject very much takes the lead with the photographs
    • Working with film slows you down and gives the subject time to become themselves

MURAL PRINTING WORKSHOP:

  • Can do high quality prints
  • Use long troughs for chemicals
  • Timer
    • One dial has a 1 under it meaning that the number is equal to 1 second
    • The other dial has a 10 under it meaning that the number of seconds goes up in 10 second increments
  • Dodging means to make a part of the image lighter
    • To do this, you would expose this part of the image for a shorter period of time
    • If you were dodging an aspect in the centre of the image, you would use a thin wire and a piece of paper to cover the required area
  • Burning means to make a part of the image darker
    • To do this, you would expose this part of the image for a longer period of time
    • If you were burning an aspect in the centre of the image, you would have to make a small hole in a piece of cardboard to cover the rest of the image other than the desired part
    • Note: when dodging and burning, make sure to keep moving the paper otherwise you will create an obvious line
  • Unfortunately, I was asked to go and sort out the chemicals for the developing stage of this process
  • This therefore meant that I was not there to listen to the main note taking aspects, so I have tried to write down the minimal notes that I do know

THE TRIBE – FEEDBACK

  • During this “The Tribe” feedback, it was very similar to last weeks “Self-portrait” feedback session. We were asked to place our printed final images on the table before moving around the table writing notes about the other people’s Tribe work. We were then asked to individually hold up our images where we were asked to discuss the images as a group. Below I have placed some responses and feedback I got from my final image:
    • Agreed with the final image being more intimate
    • Looking at the paired image
      • The negative space was a bit too much, increases the jarring feeling between the two images
      • Need to experiment with the pairing image – perhaps photograph both the portrait and the interior to focus on more form and shape
      • Look for/create a pairing image whose structure is similar in both the bodily and the interior shot
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