Throughout the year I understood a lot more about my work and the ways I tend to approach new projects. I started this year not knowing what my project is, but kept researching and working inductively. I photographed my friends in order to see my ‘blurry’ project idea in images. I started off photographing my close friends in odd body positions on the ground, within the fields or laying on the staircase. I would then analyse the images, research the artists working within the same themes and try to understand what it is that I am trying to portray. Non intentionally, I kept coming back to the same location, which always felt welcoming and personal to me. As the time went by, the project gained more contextual research and I understood the concept better which switched my working approach deductively. I started photographing myself, because I understood that the location I kept coming back to felt personal, therefore I had to be there alone. Looking at Gregory Crewdson, Valie Export, Polly Penrose and Erwin Wurm work helped me to contextualise my idea and further develop the concept.
I started using my body as a performer and photographed myself in odd positions, which felt natural at the time. I kept thinking of the fig tree and its memories from my childhood. I would go to ‘the secret’ location and use that area as my own place to recharge my thoughts and feelings which were related to home. Having the access to the darkroom also meant that I had a creative freedom to experiment with the printing of images myself. I wanted to make the full creating process of the project to become part of my work. Accidentally, my darkroom prints came out pink which I didn’t intend at the beginning. After few tutorials with my tutors and external visitors I understood that the colour pink works well in my project, because pink represents the memories, childhood, femininity and it is also the same colour as the inside of a fig fruit. I understood that artists use natural or artificial colour in their work as a representation of certain mood, like Steve Macleod, for example. This darkroom ‘mistake’ lead me to thinking of the nature of my work and the meaning and value of traditional photographic techniques.
After developing the concept of my project, I learned to talk about my work to external visitors as well as peers. I also understood the importance of appropriate use of approach for relative competitions and galleries. I applied for many free and paid competitions including British Journal of Photography, Palm Prize, Another Graduate Show etc. with my current project and planning to carry on after I graduate. I learned that it is very important to keep on trying to get my work seen by industry professionals even if I don’t get selected for competitions, because some of the jury might remember my name or the work by glancing at it many times.
Recently, I have been involved in a traumatic personal experience which delayed my work and its development. I learned that it is very important to back up digital work twice and to store physical work in protective boxes or portfolios, in case of an unexpected accident at home. This event made me realise the fragility aspects of my project and its uniqueness. Once I loose my original portfolio prints, there is no other copy like such. This also encouraged me to invest in good frames and treat my body of work as an unique edition. I think it is important to print an image more than once in the darkroom if possible, in order to have a backup for of every print.
Overall, I have developed my creative style and approach, I learned to develop a project using both deductive and inductive research methods. I learned to overcome my personal difficulties in order to succeed without failing. I call myself visual artist, instead of photographer, because of the different approaches in my practise and the methods that I use.
I looked at different framing options at Print Space in Hoxton and The Print Foundry in Croydon. I went to both places to see what options or suggestions they might have. I was considering framing without mounting, with wide or thin mount, also black, white and oak frames. Nevertheless, after the research that I have done previously, I already I knew what I wanted. I am looking for floating walnut frames with two inch white mount. I have seen such frames in Paris Photo, Photo London etc. Usually, frames as such present handmade prints, because of the craftiness involved. I think my work would fit really well in floating frames with a glass, because of the uniqueness of my photographs. I want my prints to express not only the image, but the process of making.The Print Foundry presented me with the best option according to the quality and price ratio. I chose five walnut floating frames with glass. I was sent a photoshop file of square frame which I adjusted to my image accordingly.
Anna Barriball: Fade
Anna Barriball is a British artist based in South London. She was born in 1972. Her work evolves around visual arts including moving image, sculpture, painting, photography and mixed media. Her work has been published in various magazines, articles, also shown at the galleries and museums. I am looking at the exhibition setup at Frith Street Gallery of Anna Barriball’s exhibition - Fade. There are elements of installation: there are 3 large walls which have the the projection screening of the video/stills and on the other wall there are framed prints. This exhibition features a large-scale three-channel video which is projected directly onto the gallery walls. Entitled Fade, the work shows the landscape surrounding a wind turbine on the edge of the town where the artist grew up.
I like the way it is exhibited, it is interactive and people can walk around. I would like to borrow some ideas from this presentation. I would have 1 or 2 walls of projection and on the facing wall I would like to have framed prints as well as a fruit of a fig, coated in resin for longevity.
I went back to my “secret location” to shoot the projection. I chose an angle showing most of the fig tree but also the playful shadows along the brick wall on the right side of the video. On the left size there is a fraction of one of the shoot locations from my performances. I filmed this video for approx 5 minutes using a tripod. My intend is to portray the calmness and stillness in the area. I tried filming different sides, up-close and further back, but I felt like the wide shot works the best, because there are fractions that may come across unnoticed at first, but the longer one stares, the more appears. I imagine the video projected in a wide corner space - on one side. The other side of the wall would be used for framed (pink) darkroom photographs.
Hala (ora/halo in Arabic)
He calls himself ‘pictorialist’ artist rather than photographer, who uses camera as a tool to produce the work. The colours of the photographs is completely false. It reflects the mood, which is important for someone with bipolar disorder. He pours the paint into the negative plates fitted to the camera when taking photographs. He refers to the colour chart or the cognitive behaviour therapy for a colour which represents the current mood; Blues and violets represent the emotional depression. Yellows - happiness and so on. He is going to places to seek isolation. “Quest for nothingness” is seemed as commitment to self.
I had a chat with Steve Macleod about my work. I talked through roughly about my project and what it is. I explained that the work is about a location where fig tree is located and that connects me mentally with my childhood and home. My body performs as a responsive tool to my emotions on that day.
He told me, that he finds the work interesting and sees me as an artist rather than a photographer, which I think is a compliment, because I always felt like I am an artist using photography as my favourite medium.
He suggested me to look into film and/or possibly moving “still” image which I have actually tried out, but haven’t reflected on it. I filmed myself coming into the frame and taking a photograph of myself and moving away from the frame. And this is what he suggested to do. I will do this with a digital camera rather than the phone.
Also he said that he likes the way I talk about my work and it might be that it could work well as part of the display - headphones with my voice telling a story about the work that I am making and how I am doing it. I feel positively after the talk with Steve Macleod. He gave me good ideas to reflect on and complimented the work, which motivates me to carry on.