RESEARCH 9 - Steve Macleod

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. 

REFLECTION 9 - Easter Show Display Experimentation

Prior the Easter show I used my studio space to experiment with the layout of my images. I chose to print images on fine art paper and display them as a grid. I tried displaying in two rows of three images, but it felt slightly boring and not as interesting to look at. Traditional grid, perhaps, doesn’t fit my work and the images felt repetitive. 

For the next few weeks I chose a different type of grid. I printed the images on the same paper and used uneven number of images - five. Four of the images include a person and the middle one just an empty space near the tree. I noticed that people were looking for a body or fragments of it within the image, which encouraged me to experiment with the display. I placed an empty space in the middle and body performances around it. Right away, the work was perceived better and I got more positive feedback about it. 

For the Easter show, I decided to try out my pink darkroom images for a display. I wanted to see what other people think of the work and how it is perceived. At this point, my project title is “Stand Still; Fig Leaves” and the work should reflect the title. The colour pink relates to my childhood memories as well as the fig fruit and I wanted to display an actual fig fruit as part of my display, to suggest that the colour pink is the same shade as the fig fruit. General feedback was good, but at this point I am slightly concerned about displaying an actual fruit, because of its longevity. I am considering to coat the fig fruit with resin which would make it durable. 

RESEARCH 8 - Colour Pink

“Pink has a strong symbolic association with femininity that is frequently exploited in the arts and marketing. This femininity marker is thought to be related to sweetness, and as suggested in many languages and illustrated by the popular song La Vie en Rose (Piaf, 1947), pink also seems to be linked to hope, optimism, happiness and affiliation. Although it is not well documented, there are some findings to back these associations up. For instance, after being exposed to violent and tragic stories, participants tend to be less upset when they fill out a questionnaire on pink paper than when they fill one out on blue or white paper. Along the same lines, pink is seen as referring to desire, happiness and wellbeing.”

- Gil, S. and Le Bigot, L. (2014). Seeing Life through Positive-Tinted Glasses: Color–Meaning Associations. [ebook] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2019]. 

The colour pink resembles sweet and innocent memories from the childhood as well as represent the inner child. It is the colour that symbolises uncomplicated emotions, inexperience and naivety. For my project, the colour pink ties in my childhood memories from Lithuania to London. It resembles the inner colour of a fig fruit, which was found in my chosen location in London. Artists such as Juno Calypso, Maisie Cousins constantly use colour pink in their work. This way they challenge the way women are seen. Dominating colours in Cousins work are pink, purple and blue – exploring femininity. In water, the colour pink attracts tropical fish of a female kind by 80 percent more than male, according to the biological response. (Birren, 1978 p.19). Perhaps Cousins unconsciously uses female body, pink colour and various kind of fish in her work as a natural instinct. “Researchers have also found that human memory of true complexion is substantially on the pinkish side.”(Birren, 1978 p.36). 

REFLECTION 8 - Happy Darkroom Accident

Last week I decided to print some of the images in the darkroom and make it part of my working process. I think the process of the image making is part of why I enjoy producing such work. I took some colour paper and started working on it. Soon I realised that my paper has been fogged or it was kept in a warm place for too long. The colours seem to be incorrect (pink). I made few prints and tried to get out more colour for the leaves, hair etc. and made more tests. The prints were still pink. I know that the prints technically are not correct, but I liked how different they looked and how they made me think of memories from my childhood. I printed a box of prints to show to my tutors for some feedback. I know that I like them and they look different, but I need validation at this point because technically they are “wrong”. My tutor Ania seem to like the idea a lot. I got some positive feedback to reflect on. She suggested looking into different ways of framing and experiment with that. Those darkroom accidental prints may become part of my final show. They are unique and I can’t be sure to produce two exact prints, for example. I have more pink paper left and I will keep it safe for now. At the moment I have to test out framing options and layouts, see how it shifts the work and what it does. 

REFLECTION 7 - Learning About the Figs

When I was around 8 years old I remember at school we had a lesson about spirituality and about our connection to the nature. It was very exciting to learn something new, especially about a topic I didn’t know much about - trees. Each one of us had a talk with the specialist and she told us that every individual has its own spiritual tree assigned at birth and it is important to know what tree we belong to. I remember everyone getting simple trees such as apple, birch etc. When my turn came, she said that my tree is a Fig tree. None of us knew what a fig tree was because, in Lithuania, we don’t have them. As an 8 year old, I felt uncomfortable because I wanted to fit in with the rest of my classmates and be able to talk about this new thing that we learned that day. Once again, I felt like the odd one out in the class - I always felt different and the new fig tree discovery made me feel like a weirdo. Prior to that day, I was told that my name in Greek meant “the nut” and the whole class laughed. Nevertheless, I got over that fairly quickly, although the “nut” nickname lingered for a while. On the other hand, I never got over the fig tree theory. To this day I think of this tree and I get happy every time I see it. To my discovery, there is a Fig tree in my secret location where the whole project is based. I knew the tree was there all along, but never thought to make it part of my experience/ project until now. I realised why I kept coming back there - because of the Fig tree. I am now looking into the botanical studies and looking for the meaning of the tree, which is mostly religious. I want the tree to be part of the project and I will photograph it every other week to examine the changes as the season get warmer. I took some seeds from the location and a twig that I cut off the tree, I am trying to grow it and experiment with that. 

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