Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle’s work exists on the borders of photography and conceptual art. Her work is rarely aesthetic in the pictorial sense, but setms from her curiosity at realising an idea or action.

At the core of Calle’s work is a child-like curiosity with life and people. It’s not so much about making art as allowing herself to be taken on an adventure by an idea.

  • Her work sometimes raises ethical issues related to privacy, and in return she is very open about her own life.

I think that if you are going to intrude on someone else’s privacy, even if you are doing that in a public setting like a street, then you have to be prepared for other people to do the same to you.

  • What are your moral feeling about following a stranger to make photographs of him?

I feel that following a stranger and taking photos of him is something that I would not be comfortable doing.

Taking photos of people without them realising it, is the basis for Street Photography. Actively following someone in order to take photos of them borders on stalking them.

If you worked for a newspaper or magazine then taking photos of people without their knowledge is part of the job but for someone who doesn’t work in that profession or following someone who is ordinary, is an intrusion on their privacy.

It’s something that I’d feel morally uncomfortable doing.

  • Can you think of an adventure you could go on – however banal it may seem – that would put you in a different position than you are accustomed to when making photographs.?

In a few weeks time I will be travelling to Finland and staying in Lahti in the Lakeland area. After I’ve finished the triathlon I’m there to do I’ll have a chance to explore a bit of the area by taking a boat trip. Taking photographs while afloat isn’t something I get a chance to do on a regular basis.

  • Is there a job you could take that would give you access to a certain kind of subject that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to?

At work our communications department make use of photographers for some publicity work. Changing role and taking on one in that area would provide me with access to aircraft, ships and other vehicles, at various stages of development, that I wouldn’t normally have access to.

101 Days

For the final post utilising the techniques in exercise 5.2 and 5.3 I’m using a final series of photos from when Rhys was in hospital.

At the time we were going into hospital, I’d come across a photography challenge called 101 Days. The idea behind the challenge was to take a single photograph each day that summed up how that day went. With nothing better to do we settled down to take at least one photo from when we started our stay. There were a few days that we didn’t manage to take a photograph for one reason or another, but we managed to capture something for the majority of them.

One of the restrictions on bone marrow transplant patients back in 2008 were that you could only have four named visitors while you were in hospital. We chose Tracey, her Mum, my Mum and myself. Of course Rhys being Rhys, he managed to get an extra few visitors. Tracey’s aunt was one of the hospital friends and so could pop in and see him when the rota scheduled her to be on. In addition to her, Rhys also had visits from a couple of the nurses that looked after him in Yeovil, when they happened to be in the area. The hospital school teacher, chaplain, play specialist and a music therapist also visited. Some days it was like Picadilly Circus in his room.

One Rhys left isolation and was able to leave the hospital, even if only for a short while, the number of people that could visit him increased.

The entire experience was blogged about from before we went in, to the time he got home. Rhys’ Treatment Blog can be found at: https://treatingrhys.wordpress.com/

Transplant Day

Exercise 5.1 – Set up a blog has been covered since day 1 of the Foundations in Photography course as I needed to set up this blog as my learning log.

Exercise 5.2 and 5.3 have been done a number of times throughout the course as I’ve needed to re-size images, uploaded them and create blog posts for the exercises, assignments and research points.

To complete the Exercises in Part 5 of the course I’ve decided to create a series of posts that use the steps from exercises 5.2 and 5.3. This is the first of them.

The photos below were taken a number of years ago when we were attending Bristol Childrens’ Hospital while my son was undergoing a bone marrow transplant. These photos are some of the ones from the day of his transplant.

Self reflection

Throughout this course you’ve been introduced to the work of different photographers to
help give you an understanding of the creative potential of photography. Now it’s time to
question your own work and identify anything you think is lacking. You don’t have to be
over-critical, just honest.

Write down any areas in photography you need to develop. (Your tutor reports should
give you some clues here.)

Research – online research about artists and different styles of photography, reading books about different aspect of photography as well as biographies, writing up the results of my research on my learning log.

Technical skills e.g. use of flash, lighting

Photo editing

Experimenting creatively

Write what sort of photographs you want to take. Just note down keywords.

Candid, Street

Now look through a book like Hacking, J. (2012) Photography: The Whole Story, or Cotton, C. (2014) The Photograph as Contemporary Art (3rd edition) (both London: Thames & Hudson) and try to identify some photographers who have exactly the key elements that you want to attain or just things that interest you. It doesn’t matter if the photographer is contemporary or historic.

Make a note of these key elements.

Now research these photographers online and choose one key photograph to use in the
next exercise.

Researched Photographers

Addario, Hicks and Mieth are all photojournalists. Addario and Hicks, like Robert Capa, have spent time photographing in areas affected by war and conflict. Mieth documented life in the Depression and post-Depression era United States of America. All of these photographers show in their work, things that I aspire to achieve in my own work one day.

Lynsey Addario

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynsey_Addario

http://www.lynseyaddario.com/

Tyler Hicks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyler_Hicks

https://www.worldpressphoto.org/person/detail/2633/tyler-hicks

Robert Capa

Capa is famous for his war photographs. The links below tell more about Capa the person and also highlight some of his work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Capa

https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL535353

https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/constituents/robert-capa?all/all/all/all/0

http://www.artnet.com/artists/robert-capa/

While researching Capa Ilearned about Gerda Taro, his lesser known partner and collaborator. As a result of this I’ve started to read up about her and the work that she achieved in a short life, including inventing the person that would become known as Robert Capa.

Hansel Mieth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansel_Mieth

https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/constituents/hansel-mieth?all/all/all/all/0

https://ccp.arizona.edu/artists/hansel-mieth

http://www.artnet.com/artists/hansel-mieth/

https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/womphotoj/miethessay.html

Don McCullin

McCullin is someone who has photographed a wide range of things. He is most well known as a war photographer. Since starting the Foundations in Photography course I’ve been building up my library and it now contains a number of books about Don McCullin and his work.

I’ve read Unreasonable Behaviour his autobiography, as well as well as the books Don McCullin and Don McCullin In England.

Selected Photographer

In the end the photographer I selected was none of the above. I decided that I was going to look at someone whose work would force me to experiment in order to achieve what I was aimging for. I chose Irving Penn. The research I did about Penn can be found in Exercise 4.11 along with the results of my experimenting.

Photomontage

Brief

Juxtaposition in photography can be as simple as placing two photographs side by side.
But juxtaposition can also be said to happen within the frame in still life when objects are purposely placed together. In photomontage rougher and often amusing juxtapositions result from sticking bits of pictures together. Have a look at the work of John Heartfield and Hannah Höch to prepare for this exercise. Heartfield’s photomontages are politically charged images designed to express social ills: www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/heartfield For more advanced contemporary examples, search for Beate Gutschow’s ‘S’ series.
1. Get a few old magazines or newspapers.
2. Decide on a background picture – for example a large view of space or any place.
3. Now add to it a figure or at least the head and shoulders of a person.
4. Now find some other images that you can substitute for the person’s head (for
example a cabbage) or their eyes (telescopes) or mouth (a pothole). Stick them on
the face.
5. Photograph the result.
As you can see, the process tends to result in bizarre combinations. But there is a deeper
meaning to this process. By cutting and pasting fragments of images, you’re choosing
how a picture should be made and offering an interpretation of the different subjects you choose. You’re also constructing an image in a way that would be impossible to construct in reality.

Research

As research for this exercise I looked at some of the work of Heartfield and Höch as suggested.

Heartfield (2019) has a small selection of his work but the piece Rationalization Is On The March is an excellent example of how you can use different items to make a humanoid figure, with a slightly Steampunk feel to it.

The Art Story (2019) shows examples from Höch’s work that highlight how artists have commented on those in power. Heads of State and Cut With the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany are examples of how different techniques can be used to achieve a result. In the former images of the German president and his Minister of Defence are used with ink drawings to make a statement. In the latter, cuttings are used to the same effect.

MoMA (2019) provides links to a number of pieces of Höch’s work. One that leaped out at me was Postcard to the artist’s sister. Although this has been achieved purely by writing in ink a similar effect could be achieved with words cut from magazines and newspapers.

Azurebumble (2011) highlights the work of Beate Gütschow who is known for constructing landscape photographs by utilising fragments of other images using a computer. None of the images look particularly as if they have been constructed, at first glance, but when you look closer things begin to stand out.

In image S #2 there is a water pump that wouldn’t look out of place on a farm but not in the middle of an industrial area.

In image S #24 there is what appears to be a very large ant in a plastic container and the stairs on the building appear more like something that you would see in a swimming pool with diving boards hanging off them.

Final Images

Exercise 4.7 Photomontage-9493

In the image above I started off by including some text cut from a magazine “The Problem with Anxiety”. I decided that the text detracted from the image and so removed it for the version I finally went with. The set of stairs could easily be replaced with something like clouds or some other means of implying that the child is escaping from things.

Exercise 4.7 Photomontage - -9485

The above image simply came from trying to combine different bits to make something that looked vaguely like a person. I was a bit disappointed with the positioning of the boot on the leg, need to take more care next time.

Exercise 4.7 Photomontage - -9494

Not much to say about the above image, other than I could have been a bit neater with cutting out the camera lens.

References

  1. John Heartfield Website (2019) Heartfield Art. Dada To Graphic Design To Anti-Fascist Antiwar Images To Theater Set Design Available at: https://www.johnheartfield.com/John-Heartfield-Exhibition/john-heartfield-art [Accessed 1st February 2019]
  2. The Art Story (2019) Hannah Höch German Photomontage Artist Available at: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-hoch-hannah.htm [Accessed 1st February 2019]
  3. MoMA (2019) Hannah Höch Available at: https://www.moma.org/artists/2675 [Accessed 1st February 2019]
  4. Azurebumble (2011) Beate Gütschow : “S” Series (Photographic Constructions) Available at: https://azurebumble.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/beate-gutschow-s-series-photographic-constructions/ [Accessed 1st February 2019]

Contact Sheets

Final Selection-1Final Selection-2

Using image layers in Photoshop

Brief

1. Create a series of photographs that include deep shadow in much of the frame. You
could achieve this by using a black backdrop or by exposing in high contrast light as
in Part One Project 2 (Shadows).
2. Choose about four final images.
3. In Photoshop, place the images on top of one another and change the Blend Mode
to Screen (removes the black from the image) of the images above the lowest image.
Experiment with Luminosity and Colour blending modes. You may also want to reduce the Opacity of each image. Move them around with consideration for the sense of depth the image represents and try to create a final composite.
The image below was made by making a double exposure with a film camera. But you can do the same thing by using Layers in Photoshop.
Russell Squires and Craig Hull, Doppelgängerism

Final Images

Space Centre

The series of images below combine 3 photos taken at the Space Centre in Leicester. Two of the photos are of a Soyuz capsule but from different angles. Changing the blend mode resulted in very different effects. The opacity of the images that were used for layers 2 and 3 I found were limited in what I could do. Too high an opacity percentage and they obliterated the other layers, too low and you lost all detail. Getting something that allowed all three images to be seen was a bit of a balancing act.

The blend mode for each image has been added in brackets to the caption. In all cases the same mode was used for layer 2 and layer 3. Using combinations of modes would have led to even more possibilities.

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Screen)
Space Centre (Screen)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Luminosity)
Space Centre (Luminosity)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Subtract)
Space Centre (Subtract)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Hard Mix)
Space Centre (Hard Mix)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Divide)
Space Centre (Divide)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Dissolve)
Space Centre (Dissolve)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Darker Colour)
Space Centre (Darker Colour)

Exercise 4.6 - Space Museum #1 (Colour Burn)
Space Centre (Colour Burn)

Below are the three photos that were combined in the images above.

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What We Worship

In March I visited Cyprus again and for a few days stayed in Ayia Napa. One of the days I paid a visit to the monastery located in the centre of the town and took a series of photos. For the series of images below I used shots taken through an archway of the church in the main part of the monastery.

I then used a photo of a rocket, obtained at the Space Centre, and overlaid the monastery image with this. In set of images #1 I had only part of the arch showing. In iamges #2 I had the full arch. When I overlaid the rocket itwas slightly to one side of the image and so I moved it slightly to the right so the top of the rocket connected with the centre of the arch.

The idea to mix the images of the monastery and rocket was inspired by one of the original Planet of the Apes movies where a group of humans were worshipping a nuclear missile.

Combining the images juxtiposes traditional worship of God/Gods/Goddesses with more modern worship of technology and power.

In both sets of images I particularly like the Hard Mix and Difference blends as they make the rocket stand out more while not overwhelming the image of the church.

The individual images are in the slideshow below.

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What We Worship #1

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship (Screen)
What We Worship #1 (Screen)

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship (Luminosity)
What We Worship #1 (Luminosity)

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship (Hard Mix)
What We Worship #1 (Hard Mix)

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship (DIfference)
What We Worship #1 (Difference)

What We Worship #2

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship #2 (Screen)
What We Worship #1 (Screen)

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship #2 (Luminosity)
What We Worship #1 (Luminosity)

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship #2 (Hard Mix)
What We Worship #1 (Hard Mix)

Exercise 4.6 - What We Worship #2 (Difference)
What We Worship #1 (Difference)

Contact Sheets

Final Selection-1Final Selection-2Final Selection-3