The first photographer I looked at was Giovanni del Sarto who’s work I had seen at the RPS International Print Exhibition. I am a big fan of Polaroids anyway as I like the spontaneity and instantness of them but I was extra inspired by del Sarto’s work as it has a very simple but deep purpose – Del Sarto, like many of us, had heard of the growing refugee crisis when it began to peak in 2015 and had seen coverage on the TV and heard accounts on the radio however she felt a pull to experience it first hand and her first instinct was to volunteer. Del Sarto began a journey around Europe, volunteering where possible and with her she took a Polaroid land camera. Somewhere along the way del Sarto decided to start documenting as many of the refugees as possible in a very personal way -she took their portraits. Of each image one Polaroid she kept and another copy she gave to the subjects – with a simple message inscribed on the back of every one that read,
“Wherever your destination may be – tell me when you feel you have reached a safe place.”
I am really inspired by this project because it feels very special and intimate, a moment between a relatively ‘safe’ photographer and her endangered subjects -each searching for a safe destination where they can live without fear for their well being. Suprisingly and refreshingly, the images don’t show a group of miserable, terrified and haunted people but rather they show a fleeting glimpse of the humanity of these individuals with their grins of joy, embraces of love, the cheekiness of children’s play and the overall resilience these people show despite the terrible horrors they have faced.
http://giovannadelsarto.photoshelter.com/index/G0000DTFoiWNE9pM (accessed on 19/06/2017)
Brief: Go to the artists website and look at the other images in Shafran’s series.
You may have noticed that Washing-Up is the only piece of work in Part 3 created by a man. It is also the only one with no human figures in it, although family members are referred to in the captions.
- Did it suprise you that this was taken by a man? Why?
- In your opinion does gender contribute to the creation of an image?
- What does this series achieve by not including people?
- Do you regard them as interesting ‘still life’ compositions?
Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph. Think carefully about the memory you choose and how you’ll recreate it. You’re free to approach this task in any way you wish.
- Does the memory involve you directly or is it something you witnesses?
- Will you include your adult self in the image (for example, to ‘stand in’ for your childhood self) or will you ask a model to represent you? Or will you be absent from the image altogether? (You’ll look at the work of some artists who have chosen to depict some aspect of their life without including themselves in the image in the next project).
- Will you try and recreate the memory literally or will you represent it in a more metaphorical way, as you did in Part Two?
- Will you accompany your image with some text?
- In your learning log, reflect on the final outcome. How does the photograph resemble your memory? Is it different from what you expected? What does it communicate to the viewer? How?
It might be interesting to show your photograph to friends or family members – perhaps someone who was there at the time and someone who wasn’t – and see what the image conveys to them.
(note to self -use pink towel memory, show to Baggi, show to someone unrelated and ask them what the image conveys to them!)
- Is there any sense in which Lee’s work could be considered voyeuristic or even exploitative?
- Is she commenting on her own identity, the group identity of the people she photographs, or both?
- Would you agree to Morrissey’s request if you were enjoying a day on the beach with your family? If not, why not?
- Morrissey uses self-portraiture in more of her work, namely Seven and The Failed Realist. Look at these projects online and make some notes in your learning log.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMychWgKedA (accessed on 21/06/2017)
Brief: Reflect on the pieces of work discussed in this project in your learning log and do some further research of your own.
Here are a few questions you might ask yourself:
- How do these images make you feel?
Click here to view my Pinterest board for the three artists we were asked to look at for this exercise.
The images make me feel very inspired, slightly freaked out (Wearing in particular), a little sad but mainly I enjoyed viewing the images especially the clever use of props with the self-portraiture.
- Do you think there’s an element of narcissism or self-indulgence in focusing on your own identity in this way?
Mainly I think that self-portraiture is quite a vain venture, although I can understand how it is a useful self-investigative tool. These three photographers use self-portraiture in a more tasteful way than I am used to seeing. With the recent ‘selfie-culture’ it is hard not to think of self-portraiture as attention seeking and often quiet boring. There is nothing wrong with having the confidence to exhibit your body publicly but I think it is difficult to produce work that doesn’t look to self-indulgent. Although I think in a lot of cases, especially when the subject of the self-portrait is naked, the image is bound to have an erotic element even if not intended.
- What’s the significance of Brotherus’s nakedness?
The significance of Brotherus’s nakedness seems to be to portray her vulnerability, especially in the set Annunciation where she struggles with infertility problems and the stigma attached to involuntary childlessness.
- Can such images ‘work’ for an outsider without accompanying text?
I think that this depends on what the artist intended. I think that the images wouldn’t be interpreted in the same way as if they were captioned but they could still shock, intrigue or mystify a viewer – they would definitely evoke or at the very least confuse. There is no way that you can ignore them.
- Do you think any of these artists are also addressing wider issues beyond the purely personal?
I think that Brotherus was addressing the wider issue of infertility and fertility treatment participants and the stigma attached to a woman who is unable to produce children at all or without treatment. It seems to me as though she wanted others to be able to identify with her and in the extract that is in the study materials Brotherus states that she was unable to talk about her failure to fall pregnant but she was able to show her experience through pictures – it was her way of putting her experience out there and to make it available to others, maybe to help reduce stigma, to help others like herself and also simply to help herself to heal.
5th June 2017 1:34PM
A few days ago I first read the brief for Assignment 3 and yesterday I started a diary as suggested. I am very excited for this assignment as I have lots of ideas. My favourite idea is to write a diary entry every day for 30 days, writing about my days in general and adding feelings and events as I see fit and as I feel comfortable. I will leave gaps for Polaroid size photographs that I will crop myself from DSLR photographs that I have taken on each day. I won’t take a specific picture that illustrates what I have written that day, I will take responses to the way that I am feeling on that day. I will submit Polaroids which have been cropped by me and printed by a lab of my choice, the Polaroids will be stuck in the diary. I will send both the diary and full size landscape prints in addition, of the same images but without the crops. It will be really satisfying to complete this kind of project and have a physical log of my life in 30 days, including image responses to my feelings. My next move is to go and research this kind of approach in the work of other photographers. I remember seeing a Polaroids entry in to the Royal Photographic Print Society’s International Print Competition Exhibition at the Somerset Museum so I will start by looking at that again and go on from there. I hope to find inspiration and further ideas for this assignment by researching the work of others.
Assessment Criteria Evaluation:
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I feel that I did well in this category in general. I am growing my technical skills all the time as I become more educated with the camera controls and the use of aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create ‘correct’ exposures and indeed to create the correct exposure for the intended outcome and feel of the image. In this series I didn’t use props as I wanted the whole set to be completely natural, only using what I could find around me and around my main subject (my mother). I think that I used good observational skills in picking out the right objects to sum up the overall feel of the set, for example use of the winged decoration to add a spiritual element to the overall picture. As I didn’t want the images to be in any way staged or set up I didn’t have much say in the overall design other than the camera angles and distances and I think that my design choices in regard to that were good – I think I could have taken more images at a closer range however as there were only a few which had the intended intimacy. I believe that my compositional skills have improved somewhat since my last assignment in which my tutor pointed out that some of my angles weren’t correct -the room was a little wonky. I have been making a conscious effort to level my camera out lining a shot up in the frame so i feel that I have definitely improved in this area.
Quality of Outcome
The set you see as my final images in the series did not start out in that order, it took me a long time and a lot of rearranging and adding and subtracting of images to create a set that was visually consistent in colour, tonal range and subject. I originally wanted the set to have a pinkish tone, with the image of my mum in the pinkish jacket and the birthday card in a pinkish red hue but I didn’t have any further images that fit -I went back for a second photo shoot but couldn’t get anything to flow with it. In the end when I rearranged I realised that other colours would work with the pinkish hues, such as gold as the white of the paper with the four leaf clovers etc. I spent a lot of time perfecting the way in which the set is ordered so I think that the content of this assignment is my best work indeed. I wrote a very long Planning and Research page to accompany my assignment and I really hope that I covered all bases to show that I can apply my knowledge and link other practitioners to my own work – I certainly learnt a lot from this module of the course and received a great deal of inspiration from other photographers both professional and amateur. As for coherence and discernment it is hard to judge that myself but I would hope that my assignment text is clear and concise as I have tried hard to make it so.
Demonstration of Creativity
I did work hard to ensure that my creative voice was coming through in this assignment -having scrapped two ventures for being too plain and not channeling the right energy from me. I have tried to be courageous and not take the obvious route with this assignment, I am trying more and more to take risks and photographing my mum -who really isn’t the easiest of subjects to photograph was definitely quite a trying experience. I would like to think that my personal voice shows through here. I had a definite idea of what I was trying to show and it took several attempts to get to where I wanted to be but I think that the set I have created is true to what I wanted to portray. As for invention, I think my use of available objects shows an ability to invent a storyline although this series is very much up for interpretation so the implied storyline is very loose.
I researched a lot of photographers for ideas fro assignment and alongside shooting my assignment to provide lots of inspiration to draw on. I found some interesting work which resounded with me and helped to motivate me. The work of Naomi Woddis and Bryony Campbell very much helped form my ideas for assignment and I think that that shows in my work. I have learnt a lot from the exercises regarding critical viewpoints and image interpretation and all that extra understanding has helped me to complete my assignments in a competent manner. In future I want to annotate all my contact sheets and add links to other photographers and their work and how it relates to my own etc as I think that will help me to ground myself and formulate new ideas based on inspiration and personal growth.