#Picbod – My Assignment Response
This post is dedicated solely on the research, process, methodology, and creation of my #Picbod final piece.
As soon as I was given the preparation work to complete for my Picbod module, I started by frantically coming up with a variety of ideas for my project. (This was even before the assignment had been handed out!) As this was the case, I have only included some basic plans for each of these ideas, but have followed it with the assignment brief and ideas that took place after I had received it. These can be found below:
- Look into and research the popular trend of “Selfies”
- Take a variety of “Selfies” in a unique and creative way
- Experiment with lighting, background, props/make-up
- Possibly photographed in the studio
- Could be seen as both portrait and fashion photography
- Focus on individual aspects of the body, including intimate areas
- Both male and female models
- Photograph these as macro shots – creating abstract images
- Natural environment and lighting
- Possibly place them in a body shape display – next to each other
Nude Sports Shots:
- Nude portraits of the same model taking part in different sports
- Only the main sport equipment (e.g. ball) to be included other than model
- Intimate areas will be cleverly covered by the sporting position and equipment
- Photographed in the studio
- Abstract nude self-portraits
- Inspired by Edward Weston’s “Nudes”
- Intimate area will not be on show
- Position the body in a way that distorts it, creating a more abstract image
- Studio work – black background
- Came up with this idea after the nude self-portraits
- Have model with their back to the camera, nude
- Show a variety of relationship types through different body language with a single model and two models – will constantly have their back to camera
- Could possibly focus on one relationship – boyfriend and girlfriend – but highlight different body languages shown throughout this one relationship
- “… Weekly sketchbook tasks”
- “… You should produce a single, lens based exhibition-ready ‘photographic-piece’”
- “Themes contemplated within the lecture series should be addressed…”
- “… Should be a finely crafted exhibition submission, with great care being paid to its artisanal qualities.”
- “”Piece” may be interpreted as a single frame…”
- “… Broader sense as a collection of images (still or moving) that form a coherent narrative.”
- “… Primarily be lens based…”
- “… Traditional interpretations of photographic practice can be challenged.”
- “… Singularly unique and finely crafted physical object…”
- “… Infinitely replicable and readily communicable in a digital form.”
- “… Explore and develop aspects of their final piece that exploit the full gamut of opportunities available in both the physical and virtual environments.”
- “…Your work should inhabit and challenge the viewer’s experience in both environment.”
Painting with Light Nudes:
- This idea came after Week 1’s Task – The Self-Portrait, where I decided to experiment with painting with light
- It also takes inspiration from an image from the “Nudes Relationship” Photo shoot idea – having the back of the body straight on to the camera
- Need two models – male and female
- Make four photographs – front and back of each model
- Will paint with light in order to highlight some areas of the body, and not others – perhaps create abstract shapes on the body?
- See Gary Schneider’s ‘Nudes’
What do I like? Nudes:
- This idea came to me after thinking about my boyfriend
- During this thought, I actually caught myself pondering about what I liked about his body
- This lead me to my idea – if both my boyfriend and I sat down and wrote what aspects of each others bodies we loved, I would be able to photograph them
- I would photograph them in available light, but would manipulate this light so that it highlighted the beauty of these body parts
- I would then include the hand written list of body parts along with prints of these images in the exhibition
- This idea came to me after Week 3’s Nude and Naked task
- As I thought that one of my images was really successful, I decided that I could pursue this idea and turn it into my final project for #picbod
- I would, therefore, be photographing nudes, but instead of focusing the camera on the body, I would focus on the background, blurring the body
- I would, however, still want the body’s to appear in a naturalistic environment and bodily position
- I am also yet to decide on whether to photograph using film or digital, but will want to use natural light in my images
- I also feel like I will want to make my images Black and White
- Inspiration – Thomas Ruff’s ‘Nudes’
Unfocused Nudes – Windows:
- After thinking about my previous Unfocused Nudes idea, I soon came up with a slight adaptation to the original plan
- For this photo shoot, I would still base it around the same successful image that I created in the nude and naked week, but instead of photographing simple, naturalistic, unfocused nudes, I would create a series that also revolves around the window and the world outside
- I would, therefore, be photographing a number of subjects, nude, poised in front of a window that they may normally stand in front of nude (i.e. bedroom, bathroom), but focus the camera on the outside world
- In regards to their position, I would very much take a Jennifer Pattison approach and tell them that I want them sitting/standing in front of the window, but would allow them to position themselves so that they are comfortable
- I would also want the subject looking out of the window
- I plan on shooting on digital as I am more comfortable with this technique, and will experiment with colour or black and white photographs
- Inspiration – Thomas Ruff’s ‘Nudes’, and Jennifer Pattison
After not much deliberation, I quickly found that I was easily more attracted and inspired by one of my ideas compared to the rest: my Unfocused Nudes – Windows idea. As stated before, this idea came to me after receiving great feedback from one of my Week 3 – Nude vs Naked images (see below):
What attracted me to this idea was the idea of the voyeurism within the image. Generally, I feel that nude images automatically create a strong sense of voyeurism through the feeling of intruding on someone’s intimate moment, but what I found with the image that I created in the nude and naked week, was that it showed more of a sense of reverse voyeurism through the focusing on the outside world. I therefore hope that these images will challenge the voyeuristic feel usually elicited from nude photographs, and the voyeurism of the images will be the main concept that I am trying to explore through this series.
On Thursday 13th February 2014, I received the go ahead of my idea from our #Picbod lecturer, Matt Johnston. After receiving this enthusiastic “yes” I then attended a lecture about the Artisan and the Artifact taken by Matt Johnston, followed by an Artifact Clinic taken by Chantal and Jon (our two learning assistants). In this session, we were encouraged to put forward ideas regarding the presentation of our final pieces in order to receive suggestions and feedback. Below you can find answers to questions that were given to us in the lecture about beginning to plan our final artifacts, as well as brief notes discussing possible presentation ideas. (Please be aware that these notes are only brief as I am yet to create any images for this final piece, and will elaborate on my presentation ideas at a later date).
I need to take into account that the brief asks for us to (make a):
- “… Singularly unique and finely crafted physical object…”
- “… Infinitely replicable and readily communicable in a digital form.”
- “… Explore and develop aspects of their final piece that exploit the full gamut of opportunities available in both the physical and virtual environments.”
- “…Your work should inhabit and challenge the viewer’s experience in both environment.”
1) What are my desired outcomes?
I want to create a series of physical images as well as a digital representation of those images
2) What am I looking to achieve by the production of this artifact?
The main concept I am looking to challenge is the ideology behind the stereotypical voyeurism that is usually encountered through the viewing of a nude photograph. I also want to produce a portfolio that is completely unique to me and that I am proud of, as well as producing a portfolio that can be enjoyed and viewed by a number of people
3) How can my method of presentation help me accomplish this?
My method of presentation can be used to highlight the theory that I want to challenge through this series (voyeurism and reverse voyeurism) through the way it is presented both physically and digitally
4) Who do I want to experience the artifact?
I would like as many people as possible to experience it through visiting the #Picbod exhibition, as well as allowing those that follow my photographic journey online to view it through this digital platform
5) How can I best reach these people?
I will invite as many people as possible to the exhibition, however, if they don’t turn up, I will have a digital piece that is more readily available and communicable. It would also be nice to have this exhibition travel, or my work to be included in another exhibition, but as this isn’t really realistic, I will need to create a digital piece that further enhances the concepts I am trying to achieve/challenge
6) When do I want them to experience it?
The prime time that I want my viewers experiencing my physical exhibition piece is during the day, as it will enhance the aesthetic side of the images (the exhibition will mainly be open during the day apart from opening night). Again, I would also like it to be able to coincide with another event, but the likelihood of this is minimal
7) What are my resources?
I shouldn’t really have a financial issue with the physical side of the project as, because I want to create the best possible outcome for this exhibition, I am willing to put the money towards it. In regards to my digital piece, I have a number of friends studying a media course that may be able to help me (this work will also be able to go towards their professional practice module)
8) How can I most affectively use them?
I will be calling in a number of favours with both friends and family members in order to share my work as much as possible
Physical Artifact Discussion:
- Want to display my images on the window in order to recreate what can be seen within the images – to display on a window, I could use double-sided sellotape or glue dots
- Want my images to be a relatively small prints, probably standard size of 6×4 in order to increase the voyeuristic feel and emphasize the reverse voyeuristic concept I am trying to show
- If I were to use the window idea, would I need to frame each photo individually so that it is obvious to the viewer that it is a piece, or would that take away from the collection as a whole?
- Could try printing on transparent acetate, but this would loose a lot of the subtle tones – it is suggested that this idea should be avoided
To see what the images may look like when printed on transparent acetate, I experimented with printing my original nude and naked task response onto some transparent acetate. See below:
- Like the fact that it is like a live view of what is happening outside
- Contradictory to the outside world that is portrayed within the image
- Subtle tones are definitely lost
- If there is no window at the venue, or I am not allowed to display on their windows, I could use a light box
- Could also try colour slide but, as previously stated, I am more comfortable with shooting digitally
- How about experimenting with using an instant Polaroid?
- The polaroid film frame could represent the shape of the window
- It is of a small size
- It is completely dependent upon the quality of the Polaroid prints – can’t change the settings and can only use flash?
- Could experiment with having a veil placed over the images – a veil has connotations of purity and could enhance the voyeuristic concept but I am also worried that it will make it look tacky
- Could perhaps experiment with a peephole contraption (look at John Byford’s Peepbox)
- Would these elaborate plans just take away from the image and push the voyeuristic feel too far? I don’t want to hand my viewers the whole concept at once, I want them to take their time figuring it out
Digital Artifact Discussion:
- I would quite like to create an audio-visual presentation of my final images
- Although this seems like an easy option, I feel that it will actually enhance the voyeurism concept as the viewer will have to actively choose to sit, press play, and watch the presentation
- Sitting and watching something elicits a very conscious feeling meaning that you are aware of the action
- What will I include in the AV Presentation?
- All of the final images
- Audio – either a relaxing, classical piece of music or ambient noises from the world outside
- Could include a section of what the final exhibition piece looks like, but this may take away from the narrative of the photos – I will also have to do this after the deadline (is this okay?)
PLANNING MY FINAL IDEA:
After receiving good feedback from the artifact clinic, I then decided that the next thing to do would be to plan my Final Idea in full.
What am I trying to achieve?
As previously stated, my main concept that I want to try and challenge or experiment with is the idea behind voyeurism within nude photographs. I want to try and create a series of images that elicit a sense of reverse voyeurism by focusing the viewer’s attention on the outside world rather than the nude form. In order for me to achieve this, it will not only depend on the images themselves but will also be enhanced through the presentation of my final piece (see “Artifact Clinic” above).
What weekly tasks will help me with my photo shoot?
After re-reading the learning objects, I realized that I needed to include a section, which discussed which of the weekly tasks would affect how I approached my final photo shoot. Below I have included the week task title, along with a brief description as to how it would help with the upcoming photo shoot:
- Week 1 – Self-Portrait:
- From the self-portrait task, I can take my newly found understanding of what it feels like to be in front of the camera and can comfort my subjects in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do before – I can empathize with them
- Week 2 – The Tribe
- For the tribe task, I photographed someone that I knew in such a way as to capture an intimate moment whilst also allowing this image to elicit this intimate feeling
- I will be able to transfer the skills that I gained from this intimate photo shoot, such as communication, relaxation and empathetic skills, towards the final photo shoot
- Week 3 – Nude vs Naked
- For the nude vs naked task, it was actually my first ever nude shoot, and as you already know, it was the week that inspired me to create this collection as my final piece for Picbod, focusing mainly on the voyeuristic aspect within the image
- As I had to use myself as a part of the task, I can also relate with the subjects that I will be using for the nude shoots, and will transfer any calming skills that I gained from this shoot onto my future nude shoots
- I also found that I was very much able to detach myself from the subject matter and think purely of the photographic output which will be helpful when faced with the nudity of my subjects
- Week 4 – Negotiation
- The negotiation task had me engaging with strangers and breaking past the awkward start by making the subject feel more comfortable
- Although the people within my final picbod images won’t be strangers as such, I still haven’t shared this level of intimacy with a majority of them before and it will most likely result in a sense of awkwardness
- I will therefore transfer the skills that I gained to enhance the subjects comfortableness within the photo shoot
- Week 5 – Empowerment
- As nude images and the naked form are of a very intimate and personal matter, I have decided that I will only want to create and use images that the subjects will be happy with
- I will therefore transfer some of the power towards the subject by discussing with them my ideas before the shoot whilst also allowing them to have an input in the final image choice
- For this weeks task, I also worked with someone that I wasn’t used to shooting and so I will transfer these communication skills into my photo shoot
- What have I learnt from all of the weekly tasks? – CONFIDENCE IS KEY! (And don’t forget to smile!)
For my photographs that I want to create, I have a very good idea on the outcome that I want to achieve. Below I have written a checklist of what I am striving for in my images:
- The window – I want to get the whole of the window in the frame, and will leave any blinds/curtains within the image in order to create a sense of realism as well as experimenting with the change in light it will create
- The environment surrounding the window – I do not want to manipulate this too much, but will move smaller distracting objects out of the way
- The subjects position – will be posed in front of their window in a naturalistic position, engaging with their environment and challenging the voyeuristic aspect through their mundane, and everyday pose; I will give them brief direction explaining that I want it to be natural depending on the environment, but will allow them to pose in a position that is comfortable for them (much like the work of Jennifer Pattison – see below under “Photographer Research”)
- The subjects gaze – will either be looking out of the window or interacting with the environment, and away from the lens of the camera; I don’t want to be able to easily identify the subjects themselves in order to create a more relatable series
- I will focus the camera on the outside world
- I will only use available window light
- I will experiment with colour and black and white images – for the colour images, I will need to try and create a calming colour pallet that can be seen throughout all of the images, whereas having black and white images will almost represent the traditional side of nude photography
- I will also experiment with taking the images on a Polaroid camera, as suggested in the Artifact Clinic above
The Audio (Suggested in a later feedback session – see below):
- I will spend time recording the ambient noise found outside the window that can be seen within the image
- To do this, I will simply set up the audio equipment near the open window and record a couple of sessions of a period of about a minute in order to capture a wide range of noises
- Me – Sunday 23rd
- Oliver – Wednesday 19th
- J – Thursday 20th @ 11:30
- Ell and Phil – Saturday 22nd @ 14:00
- Sandwell & Dudley
- Train there 12:42-13:24
- Train back 16:55-17:30
- Emilie – Saturday 22nd @ 10:30
- Shelley – Friday 21st @ 9:30
- Lydia – Friday 21st @ 12
What will I need?
- Canon EOS 600D
- 10-24mm lens and 50mm lens
- Polaroid 600 Instant camera
- Polaroid 600 film
- Light meter
- Edirol R09
What skills will I use?
I will be using a wide range of skills in order to complete my professional photo shoot for this assignment. A number of these have already been stated, but I have taken the time to list others that I will require or gain:
- Photographic skills:
- Understanding of being in front of the camera
- Capturing intimacy
- Detaching self from subject
- Technical skills (Using the…):
- Canon EOS 600D
- 10-24mm lens and 50mm lens
- Polaroid 600 Instant camera
- Polaroid 600 film
- Light meter
- Edirol R09
- General skills:
- People skills
- Time management
PHOTOGRAPHER / ARTIFACT RESEARCH:
After planning out my photo shoot, the next step that I decided to take was to research a number of photographers whose work will influence my image making as well as researching a couple of works that would possibly influence both of the different presentations of my final images. Below you will find the names of the photographers/producers (and their series) along with notes that I made on the collections and how it may influence my final product:
Thomas Ruff’s “Nudes”:
- “Thomas Ruff created his Innovative Nude Photograph Series (NUD) by downloading images from the Internet and Magazines and then digitally manipulating each Nude Photograph so the Nude Photograph is blurred” – http://www.josephklevenefineartltd.com/NewSite/ThomasRuffNudes.htm#.Uv-Kv_3x8pE
- “By blurring the graphic image, Thomas Ruff changes the content and emotional reaction to the sexual image of the Nude Photograph” – http://www.josephklevenefineartltd.com/NewSite/ThomasRuffNudes.htm#.Uv-Kv_3x8pE
- Within each of his nude images, he has created a more painterly image that seems to elicit a more ethereal intimacy and fantasy, rather than the hyper real or the hyper polished form of porn – taken from Matt Johnston’s lecture notes
- By blurring these images of pornographic encounters, I feel as though the voyeurism of the image is deliberately being challenged even though it is still quite prominent throughout these images
- Inspiration – to include the blurred aspect of the photograph in order to create a nude image that challenges the stereotypical voyeurism of this type of photograph
Jennifer Pattison’s “In sight of my skin” and “#1”:
- Jennifer Pattison created a couple of series of images involving nude forms
- In both of these collections she always used available light to light the subject, as well as using a reflector
- She also tended to let her subjects know where she wanted to photograph them but let them take control of their bodily position in order to give them more power and a sense of comfortableness
- She also said (during her artist talk) that she had to shoot through the awkwardness, and once this barrier had been breached, it was a lot easier to photograph the subjects
- In all of her photographs, she also seems to have captured a relaxed sense of being in her subjects that has been emphasized through the soft light source that has been used in all of her images
- Some of the subjects do seem a lot less comfortable than others, but these are just as successful as it adds character to the portraits
- She has also managed to create these nude portraits with such success that the nude aspect of the model seems to come to the viewer second after questioning other items within the photograph – she has challenged the voyeuristic feel of a nude image
- All of these images have been photographed in the subjects natural environment (their home) twinned with a natural (ish) bodily position
- There is also a differing point of having the subject look directly at the camera or away from the camera depending on their character and confidence
- There is also a similar centralization of the subject found within each of the images as well as a soothing colour pallet seen throughout
- Inspiration – to use available window light as the only light source and the use of a reflector; the naturalistic position and environment the subject is in; achieving this natural, comfortable position by giving the subject some of the power; creating images that enhances the nudity as a second viewing after other aspects in the image; challenging the voyeurism within a nude image; creating relaxing feeling images; the similar position of the subjects within the frame and the calming colour pallet
Arne Svenson “The Neighbors”:
- “… Study the daily activities of his downtown Manhattan neighbors as seen through his windows into theirs.
- Svenson has always combined a highly developed aesthetic sense viewed from the perspective of social anthropology in his eclectic projects…
- His projects are almost always instigated by an external or random experience which brings new objects or equipment into his life- in this case he inherited a bird watching telephoto lens from a friend.
- The grid structure of the windows frame the quotidian activities of the neighbors, forming images which are puzzling, endearing, theatrical and often seem to mimic art history, from Delacroix to Vermeer.
Example of Delacroix to Vermeer:
- The Neighbors is social documentation in a very rarified environment.
- The large color prints have been cropped to various orientations and sizes to condense and focus the action.” – http://arnesvenson.com/theneighbors.html
- Throughout Arne Svenson’s collection, the viewer is engulfed by the huge feeling of voyeuristic behavior
- Through the creation of these images without the subjects knowledge of the photographs being taken, the viewer is automatically thrown into a dividing sense of enjoying the photographs whilst being riveted by guilt of viewing the subjects in this manner
- The voyeurism captured in each of his images are automatically enhanced through the methodology behind his image taking
- Each of his images automatically elicit an incredible sense of voyeurism which can almost be seen to overwhelm the individuals viewing the photograph
- As stated above, these images have been created in such a way as to show an influence from the art history of Delacroix to Vermeer, mainly through the calming tones of the colour pallet
- The environment within these images is obviously natural, with the subjects eliciting a natural bodily position (they do not know the photograph is being taken), but it is the inclusion of the window frames that not only enhances the voyeuristic feel of the image, but also the graphic aesthetic feel
- Arne Svenson’s collection looks into the lives of his neighbors from the outside world, whereas my images are going to be looking past my subjects to focus on the outside world
- Inspiration – challenging the voyeurism elicited from my images whilst also questioning the viewers automatic sense of guilt usually associated with this voyeuristic feel; the calming tones of the colour pallet within each of the photographs; capturing the contrast in soft bodily form and graphic structures
Estela Sanchis “Neighbors”:
- Estela Sanchis’ was able to put together her “Neighbors” collection through the agreement and consent that she received from the subjects
- It is very similar to that of Arne Svenson’s work, but differs in the fact that she actually received consent whereas Svenson did not
- This collection does not only include images that she has taken of her “Stranger” subjects, but also images that her subjects have taken of her – very much a Ping-Pong style of methodology
- At the beginning of her e-book she identifies the strange sense of voyeurism that can be sensed when looking through the window and is intrigued by the curiosity gained through this voyeurism
- Although the subjects gave her permission to photograph them, there is still this strong voyeuristic feel that is elicited from the photographs
- For me, when viewing these images, knowing the background and method behind their creation, I still feel a sense of unease in the fact that the subjects agreed to this
- The inclusion of the window frames within each of her images enhances the voyeuristic feel of the image
- For one of her final presentation pieces, she created an e-book (as you can see above)
- The inclusion of the text within this e-book highlights the bizarre, yet strong narrative behind the project, and also includes letters that she sent to her neighbors in order to emphasize the process behind the image making
- This e-book is set out very much like a diary or scrapbook and enhances the very personal, intimate feel displayed within these voyeuristic images – the presentation truly adds to the collection
- It is hard to say who’s work is more successful, Svenson’s or Sanchis’, as they both challenge voyeurism in different ways; one enhances it, whilst the other attempts to hinder it slightly
- However, for me, I feel that Sanchis photographs can appear somewhat staged which automatically decreases the voyeuristic feel she was set out to investigate
- Inspiration – challenging the voyeurism elicited from my images whilst also questioning the viewers automatic sense of guilt usually associated with this voyeuristic feel
John Byford “Peepbox”:
- Photographs taken around Skegness, John Byford included 42 images that he had taken over a two year period in his “Peepbox” project
- The “Peepbox” is a six-sided, hexagon which is designed to replicate the shape and look of the Skegness bandstand
- The exhibit was made to be suitable for all ages and was displayed inside the bandstand itself
- The images within the “Peepbox” were illuminated at noght in order to entice people to “take a peek at what’s inside, explore John’s vision of Skegness and share in his passion for photography” – http://www.byford.co.uk/peep-10.html
- Inspiration – possible presentation idea, but will it overdo the voyeurism aspect that I am trying to portray?
Jared Platt “Mulligan Infant Portrait Slideshow”
- This portrait slideshow was created by Jared Platt to showcase online all of his images taken of infant Wylie Mulligan
- As you can see, this slideshow starts with a simple fade in and out title followed by an arrangement of images, all of different sizes, that also fade in and out
- The font that is used is easy to read and can be related to the images as it is similar to a recurring font that pops up within some the images themselves
- The photos included in this short film haven’t been cropped and instead show the whole of the image with a visible black background
- This is to allow the viewer to understand that the main feature of the film is the photos as they have not been cropped and have been placed on a simple, contrasting background
- The images also vary in size and being in black and white or colour, but the cohesiveness of the piece is upheld by other consistent aspects such as fonts and transitions
- The fading transition works well with the portrait of the child as it enhances the softness of the images whilst also eliciting a natural, calming feel
- The audio within this video is that of a relaxing, acoustic song which not only enhances the softness of the images, but also has lyrics that can be used as metaphors to individual images within the series
- The film ends with a small credit, highlighting the name of the song and who it was played by followed by the photographers logo which allows the viewer to be left with the knowledge of who created the piece
- Inspiration – To create aspects of the video that enhance individual features in photographs including text, transitions and audio (for example, the fading increasing the softness elicited from the portrait images)
Below you can see my final images from all of my #Picbod photo shoots with the different subjects, edited how I would have them if they were to be in colour:
PHOTOS (Black and White):
Below you can see my final images from all of my #Picbod photo shoots with the different subjects, edited how I would have them if they were to be in black and white:
Below you can see my experimental Polaroid images that I took from all of my #Picbod photo shoots with the different subjects:
#Picbod Feedback Session – Thursday 20th February 2014:
On Thursday 28th February 2014, I attended a feedback session, taken by Matt Johnston, which was used as an opportunity to discuss our final ideas with a small group of peers. Within this session, I received some helpful feedback that I have placed below:
(Please note, for this session, I only had my first image of subject Oliver to show, along with the Polaroid image I had experimented with on this shoot, and the previous transparent acetate experiment where I used my response from Week 3’s task.)
- Try printing the colour image on transparent acetate, as the colour image will allow the subtle tones to appear more than that of a black and white image
- As you can see from this image of my second transparent acetate attempt, having a colour image doesn’t loose the subtle tones as much as the black and white image
- However, as you can also see from this transparent acetate experiment, the day light dramatically affects the quality of the image by overexposing the print whilst also creating a live distraction behind the image
- That is why I have decided that I am going to stick with printing my final images on photo paper
- Understand the concept behind it and that I chose it due to the fact that the Polaroid is a window in itself
- Image is strong and could use it as a separate collection – love the image but it is not achieving what I set out to achieve
- The images are not really achieving what I set out to achieve in regards to the challenging the voyeurism of the image by focusing the viewers attention on the outside world
- However, I am successfully challenging the voyeurism of a nude image through the mundane and everyday bodily position of the subject – this might change with more images being created and a similarity of focusing on the outside world being easier to identify
- Like both ideas of having small prints and mounting on the window
- It may work better at night – might want to under expose by two stops, have a high GSM of paper, or get the print bureau to mount on something that is opaque
- Like the idea and why I have chosen to present it in this way
- Instead of including a relaxing, classical piece of music, suggest that I use ambient noises from the world outside
- Also suggest that I treat each of the subjects as a separate piece of work and create an individual video for each (would play one after the other with about a 5-10 second gap)
Having Second Thoughts:
After taking the first four images for my #Picbod series, although I felt that they were all really strong, I didn’t feel as though they worked that well as a series. In my mind, I had visualized showing them in a horizontal line in order to highlight the linear structure of the windows within the image. However, even if I were to experiment with the sequencing of these images (which I will obviously still try after completing all of my photo shoots), I feel that if I were to portray these images in this way, it would only enhance the differences in the images rather than the similarities. That is when I came up with two separate ideas:
Instead of showing them in a horizontal line, I could show them in a cluster, with some of the images being higher than others in order to show the positioning and size of the windows within the image; this would allow the audience to view the images as individuals whilst also understanding that they are part of the same series
As it was said in the feedback session, the Polaroid images are also really strong. I therefore thought about possibly using these as my final piece and wondered how they could enhance the challenged voyeuristic aspect of the images in other ways than just it’s size. I soon realized that they could be used by the viewer to represent voyeurism through the idea of using a Polaroid camera in order to take a quick snapshot. The viewer may therefore think that the photographer actually shares an intimate relationship with the subject and has invited the viewer in to witness this intimate moment. (This idea wouldn’t necessarily challenge the voyeuristic idea behind the images, but may actually enhance it – the challenging of voyeurism would only be seen through the mundane and everyday pose).
As you can see from my thoughts above, I am slightly stuck in regards to my final #Picbod piece and so have decided, if I am still feeling this sense of confusion after taking all of my Picbod images, I will attempt to receive a one-to-one feedback session with my lecturer, Matt Johnston.
My Thoughts after taking ALL of my #Picbod Images:
As you have seen above, I had a minor panic regarding the presentation of my images and how I felt that they did not work well as a series. One of my major problems, however, was that I concluded this without actually printing the images, and by only viewing them on screen. Once I had actually printed these images out as a simple trial run, I soon came to realize that these images do in fact work really well together as a series and that the only, very minor problem, was that I had to change how I had edited some of them to make it a more cohesive piece.
However, once I completed this, although my minor panic was over, I thought that I should still have this organized APT with Matt Johnston in order to understand his views on my work so far.
APT with Matt Johnston:
For this APT with Matt Johnston, I placed forward my final sequence of six images whilst also telling him how big I wanted the images, where they will be placed, what they will be printed on, and how much space would be left between each image (please see “Presentation Options” below).
At this APT, I went in with a couple of questions but really only wanted to hear his feedback on my final idea. Anything that was mentioned in this feedback session, along with the questions he put to me, and the answers to my questions can be found below (my responses can be seen in italics):
- Am I [Holly] happy with the final outcome? – Yes, very
- Images remind him very much of Edward Hopper – research into his work (please see below)
- Feel as though Emilie’s image is different in technique from the rest and can be seen as a distraction when placed in this series – suggested replacing it with Shelley’s photo
- Idea has changed, how does this make you [Holly] feel? – It has changed through creating the reverse voyeurism by focusing on the outside world but the main concept of challenging the voyeurism of a nude image is still in tact; it is now just being challenged through the everyday position of the nude subjects
- Each image is very structured in terms of similarities in bodily positions and very much like the change in leading aspects within the image (i.e. the subject looking out of the image in different ways)
- The structure of the window contrasts nicely with the soft bodily form; Why is it structured? – Have identified that the context has been drawn away from the window but I still wanted to highlight it’s importance in the image; it is one of the aspects that is a similarity through the series, and the strong, structured sequence of the images can be used to represent the structural window
- Having 6 images is a very definite number as even numbers tend to show that the collection is complete, finished; would suggest possible including 7 images unless you [Holly] are attached to the structure of the sequence – I think that, when Anthony Luvera took my feedback session the other week, he suggested that I have a very graphic eye and identified that I very much liked structures (which I didn’t realize until he had mentioned it!) I therefore want to show this within my images
We then tried printing the images out as 6×4 prints in order to get a feel for how I would be presenting them and see if the structural element of the sequence takes away from the collection
- Looking at the images in the way that they would be set out at the exhibition shows that the structural element of the sequence will not be a problem – however, if I had the space, would suggest placing more space between the images so that the viewer would look at each photo individually, enhancing the voyeuristic concept (understand that I want to keep space at the side and am limited in space so will stick with original plan but explain what I would do if I had the space)
- Make sure that the colours stand out – it’s a nice colour pallet
- Could call it something like “Everyday Nudes”
Artist Research Continued… (Edward Hopper):
When Matt Johnston mentioned Edward Hopper’s work in the APT, I very much had a eureka moment as I knew that the style of my project was greatly influenced by someone else’s work, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on whose. After realizing this, I decided that as this work was a great influence for this project (even without me realizing at the time!) that I should research his work in depth in order to distinguish why it was my influence.
Edward Hopper (Mainly Window Paintings):
- Within all of Edward Hopper’s work, he always seems to create a very structured painting through using the available window light as an inspiration to create strong and structured edges that cut through the painting
- All of his subjects have been painted in a very natural, and everyday position, and some of his paintings even include the nude bodily form
- The natural environment that is the stage for his subjects within all of his paintings are also usually mainly bedrooms or lounges/living rooms, somewhere where you would expect to see this natural position
- This, twinned with the position of his subjects elicits a very mundane and relaxed feel to the painting, but the inclusion of the strong, structural window and enhanced, dramatic light can be used to create great contrast within the paintings
- Each of these paintings, however, also manage to elicit a very intimate feel, not only in the nudes, but throughout them all; this is because it feels as though the viewer has been invited in to a very intimate and private moment that has been created through the naturalistic environment and subject positioning
- This, therefore, creates a sense of voyeurism within each of the paintings
- Similarities in work – using available light from the window; creating a structural feel to the image through the inclusion of the window within the frame; the mundane positions of the subjects within the paintings; the natural environment; the intimate and slight voyeuristic feel of the image; creating contrast through the soft body form and structural elements
PRESENTATION OPTIONS (What I chose):
PHOTOS or POLAROID?
After all of the panic regarding having second thoughts that has been previously stated, I decided that I would stick with my digital photos rather than my Polaroid. This is because, although the Polaroid images are successful as a separate series, they do not capture what I strived to set out and achieve from the outset: challenging the voyeuristic feel of a nude image. The digital photos that I have created also show a greater influence of Edward Hopper’s work, and portray the pre-visualised photographic collection that I had in mind.
COLOUR or BLACK AND WHITE?
As you can see from my development above, I experimented with making my images black and white. After doing this, I soon realized that I very much preferred the colour images as they highlighted the subtle tones and shadows within the images whilst also creating a natural seeming colour palette running through the series, creating a more cohesive piece.
WINDOW and LAYOUT:
I previously stated, from the outset, that I planned on displaying my images on a window. This was originally so that it enhanced the previous concept behind the images of reversing the voyeurism through focusing the viewer’s attention on the outside world. However, even though I stated that the photographs in themselves do not achieve my original concept idea, displaying my exhibition installment in this way does. It creates an experience for the viewer, allowing them to switch between the photos and the outside world, much like I planned to achieve in the image (focusing on the subjects then the outside world). It also enhances the aesthetic structure of the window within the image, increasing its importance and highlighting it as a similarity between the prints.
(Please note, although this diagram shows the images at the top of the window, I will actually be placing them near the bottom of the top half of the window at an approximate eye height. I am currently pondering about placing them the same distance away from the horizontal middle frame as they are from each side frame (i.e. 17.27cm))
As for the layout of the images, I again briefly mentioned that I had planned to show my images in a horizontal line, one next to the other. I did this to emphasize the structure of the window within the image.
As both of these aspects highlight the structure in the image, they are also another major feature that lessens the natural voyeuristic feel that the audience would expect to be portrayed by these nude images.
I have also thought deeply about the lighting that will be used in the exhibition space. As I am mounting my images on the window, although light will not be shining through the image (see “Print Type and Sizing” below), the contrast in the outside light automatically slightly underexposes the prints. This will mean that the viewer will want to get closer to the images in order to appreciate all of its detail, enhancing, once again, the concept of voyeurism. However, as I know that the gallery space uses daylight bulbs, I also know that these will elicit light so that my images will be lit enough so that the underexposed characteristic will not hinder the images less viewable.
PRINT TYPE AND SIZING:
For my photos, I chose to have them printed on Permajet Matte Plus 240 paper and mounted on 3mm high-density foam board.
I chose the matte paper as I felt that it enhanced the matte textures within the image that in turn heightened the natural feel elicited from the photograph. I also took into account that the window that I would be installing on would be glossy, and wanted to create a contrast between the textures of the window and the prints.
I chose to mount these printed images on a 3mm foam board as, as previously stated, I didn’t want any light coming through the image and decreasing the subtle tones of the colours. I also thought that this 3mm high-density foam board would also increase the professionalism of my installation.
As for the sizing of the images, I decided to print them a standard 6×4 size. This is because the small size of them will enhance the voyeuristic concept behind the images by making the viewer go up close to the images, without them being too small that it decreases the overall, powerful ambiance of the collection.
As stated in my APT with Matt Johnston, the sequence of my images is very structured and shows my recently realized graphic eye. I wanted my sequence to be like this as it not only enhances the structure within the image, which lessens the natural voyeuristic feel that the audience would expect to be portrayed by these nude images, but the symmetry portrayed by the sequence of the body positions also enhances the flow of the collection whilst suggesting the natural symmetry found in the nude form.
It was also suggested within a feedback session that a border/frame might be needed around each image. Experimenting with this, I found that the border was way too distracting and really hindered the idea of the viewer looking at the images as a collection as the images appeared very much separated and individualized. It also disrupted the flow of the collection by cutting off the subject’s gaze, and the leading line, to the next image. I therefore feel that framing each individual photograph would also elicit the same feeling, individualising the images and taking away from the chosen display of the window frame.
IF I HAD MORE SPACE…
However, as mentioned in my individual APT with Matt Johnston, if I had more space than what is allowed in the exhibition hall, I would increase the space between the images. This would be a better alternative to the border experiment as it will be able to show the viewer that the images are still part of the same collection, but would also allow the viewer to look at each photograph individually. The viewer would be able to take in details of each individual photo comfortably, before moving back to view them as a series. This close viewing of the images would also increase the voyeuristic concept.
VEIL / PEEPBOX IDEA:
Also, as mentioned previously in the Digital Artifact Clinic, it was suggested that I could create either a veil like cover or a peepbox to accompany my images. I have decided against this idea. This is because, as I had originally guessed, this extravagant installation technique would take away from the images whilst also handing the viewer the concept and theme behind the images, not allowing them to spend time figuring it out independently. I have also found that I can/would be able to create the same sense of voyeurism through the small size of the images and the extended gaps between each of the photographs.
As I have previously stated, although it seemed like the easy way out, I felt like creating a video would once again enhance the voyeurism concept behind my images as the viewer would actively have to choose to sit down and watch the digital version. It has also made my project a lot more communicable and readily available to my online followers that are unable to attend the exhibition.
I chose this curvaceous font as I felt that it symbolized the bodily forms portrayed within the images. I also realized that this type of font could be used to represent historical typography within the arts, which can in turn be related back to the Edward Hopper influence in my work.
I chose this simple fade in and out transition between both the images and the audio as I felt that it seemed natural and soft, representing something like that of a blink, and that it enhanced the bodily forms within the images. I also wanted to use the same transition throughout to make it appear as a more cohesive piece.
The gaps found in the video, between the separate images and audio, represent the same thing as having more space between the prints in my physical installation. It allows the viewer to view each photograph individually whilst also allowing them to understand that the images are part of a collection by including them in the same video.
I experimented with the length of time of the gap between the images and the audio and found that this amount of time was perfect. A longer gap suggested that the images were edging closer to being completely separate to each other, whereas this timing allows the viewer to see them as individuals but also place them together as a collection.
I chose this black background colour against my images as it shows a high contrast between the soft colours within the photos and the harsh black. This not only makes the image the more prominent aspect of the video (compared to the background), but it can also be used to symbolize the contrast between the soft bodily form and the harsh structure of the window and sequence of the images.
The audio within this video is based around the original concept I tried to achieve of reversing the voyeurism through focusing the viewer’s attention on the outside world. The ambient noise adds to the mundane and everyday feel of the images and gives great depth to the narrative, engaging the viewer’s imagination and focusing their attention on what could be outside the window.
I WAS GOING TO INCLUDE WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE AT THE EXHIBTIION…
As I mentioned briefly earlier, I was going to include a section at the end of the video where I showed what my physical artifact looked like as an installation at the exhibition. However, I feel like including this in this video would take away from the narrative of this digital version and so I have decided that I am going to make another digital artifact to go hand in hand with this one: “Everyday Nudes – The Exhibition”.
(I obviously won’t be able to complete this before the deadline, but below you will find research for my second video along with a plan involving what it will add to my other artifacts, what it will include, and anything that I will need.)
Research for my Second Video:
Joseph Kesisoglou “#Picbod13 Exhibition”:
- This short time-lapse documentary was created by student Joseph Kesisoglou to document the moments before, during and after the Picbod 2013 exhibition in a creative way
- The film starts with an introductory title of the exhibition before fading into the time-lapse video
- The font used for the title is simple, and easy to read, whilst also representing the standard Twitter font that can further be recognized through the use of a hashtag (#)
- The time-lapse technicality of the video can be used by the viewer to show the documentation of the longevity of the process in a short, and viewable time
- This video has also been divided into days in order to allow the viewer to understand the time frame that is being shown through this time-lapse technique
- This video also includes a couple of sections of slowed down photo snap shots that create a stop-frame motion, adding another level to the film by adjusting the flow and keeping the viewers attention
- The transitions between each aspect of the film are fades which adds a nice, natural sense to the film whilst also keeping the mood of the time-lapse motion
- The audio within this video is that of a relaxing yet upbeat down-tempo and electronic song which enhances the pace of the video and gives the time-lapse and transitions a sense of rhythm
- At the end of this video is a section of credits and thank you’s which show everyone involved with the exhibition
- Inspiration – possible use of time-lapse technique that can be used to show the whole of the exhibition space; up-beat music to be used with this time-lapse technique; credits to be given showing names of possible work that may be shown
Planning the Second Video:
What will this second video add to my previous artifacts?
The original, digital version of my project allows my online audience to view my images via the Internet through a more communicable and readily available adaptation of my main physical artifact.
However, including this second video will give my online audience a taster as to how differently I set out my project in both environments. It will also enhance the projects accessibility and increase it’s professionalism by showing that I have adjusted the project depending on the location of publication.
What will I include in this video?
This video will be a simple, short video, focusing mainly on what my physical installation looks like within the exhibition space. I will introduce my project with a title (“Everyday Nudes – The Exhibition”) and the logo of the exhibition, before including a fast paced walk around the exhibition space, stopping at other people’s work, in order to add context to the video. I will then slow down the pace of my video by stopping on the whole of my installation and leaving it there for about 30 seconds before filming each of the images individually in order to represent the viewing sequence suggested to the viewer. I will then end my video with some short credits highlighting the work that has been viewed and who was involved in the exhibition before giving more in-depth information about my own work.
For the audio of the video, I plan on including an upbeat, acoustic song for the first section (the fast paced walk around the exhibition), but I will record the ambient noise of the exhibition hall for when my installation is being shown.
The plan for this video is to make the viewer feel as though they are actually there, in the exhibition hall, viewing my work. I want it to be an experience rather than just a viewing.
What will I need?
- Canon 5D Mark II
- Edirol R09
- Light meter?
This #Picbod module has allowed me to gain many skills that I will be able to use and transfer later in life. As you may already know, I am a landscape and urban photographer that focuses mainly on photographing architecture. This module has therefore challenged me in so many ways and I have gained portraiture, communication, negotiation, and empowerment skills that will allow me to experiment with a wider range of photographic styles.
After completing both my physical and (original) digital artifacts for this years #Picbod assignment, I feel that my physical artifact is the most successful out of the two. This is not only due to the fact that it has captured and portrayed the concept and narrative strongly, but that, as discussed in Week 6’s “The Artisan and the Artifact” lecture, it shows a clearer Artist Horizon (Hans-Georg Gadamer), and it’s physical embodiment enhances it’s permanence and provenance.
However, with this being said, as you can see in this developmental post, the concept behind the images changed through the creation of the images. I originally set out to try and achieve a reversed voyeurism through my images by focusing the viewers attention on the outside world, but instead, the voyeurism of the nude images were challenged through the mundane and everyday positions of the subjects. However, as previously stated, the original concept of reversing the voyeurism was actually enhanced through my choice of displaying the images on the window.
With this in mind, I therefore still feel as though my final images and physical artifact have successfully achieved the over-arching theme of challenging the voyeurism, which I strived for at the beginning of the project, even if the method of achieving this has changed.
Nevertheless, as with all projects, something that I would do differently if I were to revisit this project would be to try and photograph more subjects in order to receive a greater variety of images, thus allowing me to have more photographic options for the final product.
Unfortunately, as the exhibition is after the deadline, I am unable to critically reflect upon my installment. However, as our lecturer, Matt Johnston is taking the time to mark our product at the exhibition, I plan on discussing with him whether my installment has achieved what I set out to achieve, and what I would change if I were to revisit it (including what I would do if I had more space – see above under “Presentation Options”, “Physical”, “If I had More Space…”).
Digital Versions – “Everyday Nudes” and “Everyday Nudes – The Exhibition”:
Looking over my original digital artifact, as previously stated, I do not think it is the most successful portrayal of my project. My images for this project worked well as physical prints, not only for the permanence and provenance emitted, but also because they worked incredibly well, being viewed together, as a series. The original digital version unfortunately, however, adds a slightly more individualized feel to my images, taking away from the overall, powerful, collective ambience.
That is one of the reasons why I came up with the idea for my second digital artifact, “Everyday Nudes – The Exhibition”. Although I am currently unable to critically reflect upon this version due to it’s creation being scheduled after the deadline, I think that the successfulness of this digital version will be greater than the original. This is because I plan for it to add to the previous artifacts by not only allowing my online viewers to experience the exhibition through a virtual reality, but I also feel that it will enhance the original digital version by adding professionalism to my project by enhancing the differences in the publications of each location.
With this being said, however, if I were to revisit this project again and adapt my original digital version, I would change the audio of the video to ambient noises found within the room (for example, turning book pages or brushing hair). The reason for this is that the original digital version has seemed to have been created to my original concept of reversing the voyeurism through focusing the viewers attention on the outside world, rather than my adapted concept of challenging the voyeurism through mundane and everyday bodily positions. Although I have previously stated that the installation on the window enhanced the original concept, it was very much the form of display that did this, and this original concept has only weakly been reflected in this digital version through the current choice of audio.
I would also experiment with including a section at the end of the film, after all of the photos have been viewed individually with their suggested audio, showing all of the images in the horizontal sequence that I placed my physical artefacts in. This would allow the viewer to understand that they are not only meant to be viewed individually but also as a whole collection which will improve the main problem of this digital version that I stated above (the very individualised and separated feel).
To conclude, although I have said that I would make a number of changes if I were to revisit this assignment at a later date, I am incredibly happy with the outcomes that I have created. #Picbod has been an enjoyable module that has allowed me to push the boundaries of my photographic practice and I have created a series of images that I am sincerely proud of.
Time to prepare for the exhibition!
DIGITAL VERSION 2:
Below you will find my completed, second digital version for my #Picbod exhibition piece. Although this was completed after the deadline, as suggested before, I sincerely feel that the successfulness of this digital version was greater than the original. This is because it adds to the previous artifacts by not only allowing my online viewers to experience the exhibition through a virtual reality, but I also feel that it has enhanced the original digital version by adding professionalism to my project by highlighting the differences in the publications of each location.
As you will notice, I have also made a couple of changes to the film that weren’t suggested during the planning stage (including audio and shots). These changes were made due to the fact that my original plan didn’t work as well as expected so I had to adapt my idea depending on the shots and audio that I created/found.
I hope you enjoy the second digital version, and as this piece isn’t being marked, any feedback would be greatly appreciated!