Cruel & Tender

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I took this image in Bath last weekend. It got me thinking about the homeless who have dogs for companionship. I have never seen a distressed or malnourished dog with a rough sleeper.

Dogs can offer warmth and comfort during tough times, creating a special bond between two souls that are dependent on each other.

I plan to explore this subject further for the project.

Portraits

800px-lady_with_a_squirrel

Over the last few weeks I have been looking for a classical portrait painting to interpret in the studio. From the very beginning I was drawn to A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Little was know about the lady until this century. It is believed to be Anne Lovell, the wife of Sir Francis Lovell who was an attendant to Henry VIII.

It was common practice to use pets in portraits alongside women and children, and it was initially thought that the squirrel was a pet however it was actually a symbol of her heraldry. The starling is thought to be a pun on the location of the family seat at East Harling.

The simple pallet of light and dark tones against the strong blue background, for me, is a refreshing contrast to other traditonal portraits. The light is directed towards her face and chest. There is a small shadow beneath her nose. The shade appears to the side of her cap, then runs down the back of the shoulder and arm to around her hands.

My aim is to create a contemporary interpretation of this image. I have also been looking at the works of Hendrik Kerstens and Romina Ressia. They are both photographers who take inspiration from classical portraits by the great masters and add their modern twist.

paper_roll2 Paper roll, Hendrik Kerstens

bubble_wrap_2 Bubble wrap, Hendrik Kerstens

dsc_8191ret2-jpg-2048x1566_q90 Bubble gum, Romina Ressia

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Girl wearing sneakers (sitting), Romina Ressia

 

Final selection & Evaluation

I used my digital camera throughout this project because I wanted to create high resolution images that I could easily upload and edit. The final images were printed on gloss and lustre paper, as not only do they absorb colours well, the effect compares to that of the glossy magazine covers which promote fashion.

But I think there is meaning in the use of the digital camera, as this product has increased the popularity of photography. Due to the ease of capturing and storing images in lens based technology, we now produce millions of images every day. Most of which will never be printed. The instant satisfaction of viewing an image immediately after it has been captured, promotes the urge to take more photos and contributes to photographic ‘waste’ on our memory cards, phones and computers. I feel this is symbolic to our throw away culture.

If I had had more time and a working computer, I would have liked to of experimented with slides as they produce images with strong colours. In addition, I would have benefited from developing my skills on a film camera.

This subject has depth and potential to evolve further. I feel the final images contain elements which relate to fashion and image, creating a visual language. I have used lines and depth within some of the compositions which liken to Andreas Gursky’s work and focused on the use of colour; mainly red, pink and yellow. The use of colour and slow shutter speeds has contributed to the style of the images.

Following feedback from the class I printed the ‘Female’ image to add to the final set of images. Initially I felt it was not an overtly interesting image, however when combined with the other images it adds to the overall visual language and style. Given this project started with feminism, it is only right that it should be in there!

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Assessment criteria 2, 3, 4, 5.

Shop til you drop! Part 2

My aim was to capture how shops use visual language on the high street. From the well-dressed mannequins that appear to look down on the shoppers, beckoning them to come inside and get “the look”. To the use of flawlessly skinned models in advertising campaigns, alongside catchy slogans to sell make up.

Following on from my first visit, I was drawn to using slow shutter speeds as I felt the blur helped to demonstrate the hustle and bustle of a shopping area. In addition, I used the shop windows to capture reflections of the surrounding areas, to demonstrate the amount of branding shoppers are exposed to in this enviornment.

The following images were captured on a second visit to Oxford Street, fittingly over the Black Friday weekend. Shoppers were scurrying around with their shopping bags, looking for their final so-called bargains before the shops closed.

On this occasion I used the 18-35mm f/3.5-5.6 lens instead of my prime lens, as it gave me variable focal lengths. This enabled me to change the composition from the same perspective and was less conspicuous than my zoom lens!

I found good examples of advertising imagery and messages in Carnaby Street. Using slow shutter speeds to capture the neon lights, I created blurred abstract images of the shop fronts.

Assessment criteria 2,3,4,5.

Research & development

After several weeks without a computer, I have finally got my new home pc up and running!

This project started to evolve following my visit to the Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s exhibition at The Photographers Gallery. It started with me looking at how female image has evolved in society over the last half century to how women outwardly present themselves through fashion and style.

My previous research led me to focus on consumerism, specifically in fashion, driven by marketing and advertising. My location was Oxford Street and the surrounding areas. I observed how shops use slogans and imagery.

Early in the project I watched a documentary based on the book by social activist, Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Although this was a broader perspective on the rise of capitalism, it did help me to understand why we are driven to consume.

Although most of the Western population play a role in the capitalist model, some are conflicted by the uncomfortable relationship between consumerism and its effect on the natural environment.

On the Association for Consumer Research website, I came across an interesting excerpt from Advances in Consumer Research 1974 Volume 1 in a chapter called Fashion Behaviour – A Consumerist View.  http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/5733/volumes/v01/NA-01

For my research, I have considered some of the contemporary artists and photographers who have addressed the subject of consumerism and mass production.

Pop Art was the first art movement to address consumerism, following the rise of advertising and mass production. One of the first artists to create social comment on this subject was Andy Warhol.

The following image uses repetition which desensitises the eye to the individual image.

200-dollar-bills

Warhol’s first Pop Art paintings were displayed in the windows of Bonwit Teller Department store in New York City, behind a row of well-dressed mannequins.

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Barbara Kruger uses images accompanied with slogans which relate to modern day culture and personal image. Kruger developed the use of this strong visual language through her previous work as a graphic designer. Her work focuses on consumerism and desire.

barbarakruger-i-shop-therefore-i-am-ii-1987

I love Andreas Gursky’s social commentary work on mass consumption and its effects on an ever-increasing population.

Gursky often uses lines and colour to create strong compositions. He digitally enhances the images to distort the perspective.

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andreasgursky-amazon

Steve Cutts is an illustrator and animator who looks at modern day life and highlights the detrimental sides to consumerism and capitalism.

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Sources:

http://www.widewalls.ch/consumerist-art-culture-critique/

http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/5733/volumes/v01/NA-01from

http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/5733/volumes/v01/NA-01

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/shopping-century-art-and-consumer-culture

http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/exclusive-andreas-gursky-richie-hawtin-nicht-abstract

http://www.andreasgursky.com/en/works

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/dla-piper-series-twentieth-century/twentieth-century-exhibition-8

http://www.widewalls.ch/consumerist-culture-art-10-artworks/

https://www.artsy.net/artwork/barbara-kruger-i-shop-therefore-i-am

http://www.stevecutts.com/

Assessment criteria 1.

Dogs!

These images were taken on a recent commission. Photographing more than one dog is certainly a challenge! I had to constantly change my settings whilst they were running around. If they were in the same frame I tried to use deeper depths of field so that they were both in focus, but most of the time I used shallow depths of field to soften the background and let in as much light as possible as it was a grey day!

I did a little editing in Lightroom by adjusting the white balance, increasing the exposure, vibrance, clarity and contrast. Plus adding a little vignette.

Assessment criteria 4.