Saturday, 8 November 2014

Wk 6 - Portfolio presentation the saga continues

KILL me NOW!!!.... times ticking and i'm still trying to figure out my portfolio final edits.  This week i decided to cancel any further photo shoots i had in mind (i had about five people lined up!).  I have a good body of portraits to work with, so now its just a matter of what's going to go up and whats not.

After going to the wall and seeing the possibilities, I've been milling over whether i want to present six photos or more.  Money is the main player in this game so i have to be very considered as to what i want to do.  The last thing i want is to produce work that looks and feels unfinished or lacking in something.  I remember seeing the work from last semester and being really inspired to produce a solid body of work.  At the end of the day, i want to be proud of the work i do and i want people to see the effort that I've gone through to present it.  It's not just a tribute to me but to all those who have participated in this project with me.

Below are my experiments regarding my final presentation:
The wall i'm using is 255cm x 234 cm - This is an arrangement of 10 portraits
 I edited two photos because Tua's photo was too large (bottom left) in comparison to the rest of the group.  The second photo of Taga's, in comparison to the rest of the group, her photo didn't quite fit (second row, right).
 I bought back Tua into the second row.  Her and Montel sit well side by side and Montel sits well by Fou.  The grouping still doesn't seem right though.  There are some photos which work well together because of lighting or because they balance out each other, but as a whole it doesn't seem to work.

Just playing around with the order again!! hehehe I feel Tua's photo seems to over power the others and Chris looks tiny beside her.  I'm really liking Fou's photo, its reminiscent of the Mona Lisa.
I think i like this alot.  Had a good debate with the family about the different layouts and photos.  I found that i had pretty much chosen the images i wanted to present.  My justifications were that although they were all individually strong photos on their own, as a group they exist to support one another.  In this formation, i feel that no one image takes over the other.  The outer images cradle the images in the centre.

Wk 5 - Portfolio

I've been asked to consider how i would like to present my portfolio.  If i had the time and finances i would present my final work as an A3 embossed book.  The reason for this is because my photos are personal pieces.  I think that having the photos in a book provides a sense of intimacy and personalize each portrait.  The book requires the viewer to get up close to the portraits; while also giving them the opportunity to reflect over the images at their own pace.

Framing was another option.  I really liked how Allan McDonald's photo were framed.  The framing allowed people to get close up to the works, it was consistent and reinforced the lines which appeared throughout the photos.

  • Cost of printing at MIT ranges from $60 - 1 metre of double weight matte, glossy or photo paper or $100 - 1m for Hammulher paper (Fine Art print paper)
  • Binders - University Binders Cost for binding is about $66 however as i was binding under 10 prints they were not that keen to take it on.  The person i spoke to said that they could definitely do it but its time consuming and they don't really make any money on it
  • Framing - Basically you get what you pay for! Factory frames: At the lowest end $69 A3 frame with standard glass, $87 A3 frame with non reflective glass, $100 A3 frame with uv protection glass, $107 with standard glass with acid free mat - 
Portraiture research
Photographers i've research to see where i fit into this genre: - 
  • Sally Mann -  "Most of the pictures I take are of the things I love, the things that fascinate and compel me" - 
  • John Miller (South Africans vs All blacks) - documentary photographer and film maker.  He has a strong focus on Maori political history.  His images are shot on location, showcasing the people in their environments.  His photos show his subject quite up close and frame significant protests and events in New Zealand history.
  • Thomas Ruff (portraits) Shot in studio between 1981 and 1985.  His photos are photographed in a similar way, formal passport looking images with the upper edge of the photos situated just above the hair using even lighting.  
  • Cecil Beaton (portrait photographer, produced glamour photos shot in monochromatic film) -  renown for photographing his subject with unusual poses and backgrounds.  His work focused on cultural icons of his day documenting its famous, beautiful, fashion and intriguing figures.
Portrait photography and how my photos fit into the genre -   They are shot in the studio and are known as traditional or classical portraiture.  The purpose of a portrait is to depict a visual representation of the subject.  Common portraits have subjects looking directly into the camera.  Portraits can include head shots, two thirds or full body frames.

My photos are studio portraits.  They consist of mainly head shots.  My subjects have a variety of poses which maybe directed formal shots or playful, unaware shots.  My main focus is to capture a photo which which show cases the essence of the subject.

In terms of photographers who i can relate with, i would say Sally Mann is a photographer i really admire.  In preparation for her exhibition of Proud Flesh she wrote an essay for Conscientious to contextualise her work.  As much as i would love to be able to capture a photo that i believe represents the essence of a bit person.  This body of work definitely nails it.  She challenges us to look, and not be ashamed of sharing the truth.  This  highlights the depth of her art and the strength of her photographic voice.  In terms of my photography, i'm definitely at the beginning of my journey.  I love the photos that i have and the opportunities that photography has afforded me.  I still can't believe how much i have learnt or experienced over this short period.  Being a part of this course has provided me with a huge number of firsts ie: experience working with lighting, photographing in a studio, learning from experienced teachers and meeting amazing Top New Zealand photographers!.  The more i learn, the better my photography will get and the closer i will get to capturing photos which truly represent my subjects.

Cecil Beatons portraits have a classic symmetrical feel about them.  The composition of the subjects are quite linear, he uses a lot of lines and patterns in his photos.  In his works, the eyes are an integral element to the photos, this brings an intensity to the subject.  I love how elaborate his photos can be, which is reflective of his theatrical costume design background.  He has an eye for connecting with the subject to bring out vulnerable moments on film.
I'd love to delve into Cecil Beaton's work a lot more, he was a master at composing shots using props and varied backgrounds which i would really like to experiment more with.  My photos rely on lighting for the background, which works with the effect that i wanted.  I chose this lighting effect mainly because it aids in bringing the subject out more.  Defining spaces in the photo emphasises where everything sits in relation to each other.

These two artists are almost worlds apart.  One records personal portraits of family and friends and the other showcases the beauties of those in elite positions.  They both have made an impression on me in terms of my photography and where i wish to be.  From Sally Mann it is her need to define exactly how she portrays her subjects which really interests me.  I am both challenged and fascinated by her unconventional approach in a minimal setting.  As for Cecil Beaton, i love the glamour portraits with elaborate props and backgrounds.  With my own work, i'd say i sit between these two - I shoot portraits of people that i am closely connected using classic poses, lighting for that dramatic effect and in black in white to keep the focus on the subject.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Aaron K

Aaron K - Commercial fashion photographer

Aaron K is an advocate for photographers to maintain copyright of their images.  As executive director of AIPA he shared some important information regarding our rights and various resources we can access to ensure that we retain control over how and where our images used.  Here is a link to the AIPA website.

Cecilia and I put together an invoice for a job we did photography food for MIT School of hospitality.  Prior to the job, we did not get any formal agreement on paper, which Aaron say's should be the first port of call.  This job was done before our meeting with Aaron K, so the invoice was just an indication of what we did and what the school had offered us.

I think that as a student having these precautionary measures outlined early on will ensure that you are not taken advantage of or that your work is not used in ways which may compromise your values or ethics.

In terms of my portfolio, i really liked Aaron K's portrait of Hollie Smith.  I liked how he captured her.  She is not looking at the camera, with her arms showing her tattoos.  She looks really quite vulnerable, appearing quite thoughtful and relaxed.
Below is a photograph of my nephew.  With this photo i captured my nephew i continued to use the same photographic techniques which i use for my portfolio.  In this photo my nephew is reflecting on his grandfather.  His tattoo is the name of his grandfather who had passed away some years ago.  Similar to Aaron K's photo of Hollie Smith, i wanted to use my subjects the position of his arms and hands to lead the eye to the face.  There are a lot of triangles in Aaron's photo which can been seen in her tattoos.  These adds interest.  I also wanted to draw some attention to my subjects tattoo as a part of who he identifies with.   

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Portfolio Wk 6 - presentation ideas

My plan for printing this week has been halted because i have two options in mind.  Last week i was really pushing to get some tests prints done so that i could make a decision on which paper to print on.  The four images i chose were ones that i thought signified the vision of my work.  This is to produce images which showed the nature of my subjects.  An embodiment of their personality, from my perspective.  These four images were strong edits i thought, and captured a side to my subjects well, these came out of a natural flow and connection in the studio.  In terms of paper i have chosen the Hammulher paper, mainly because i like the warm tones that it gives to the black and white images.  I also like the defined details in the textures which elevate the photos when they're viewed up close.  The test printing was valuable because i was able to see the images on the prints, which gives me a better perspective as to how the work will be viewed close up.

I got on the buzz of presenting my work as they are shown below, i really like the impact that the eyes had on the print, which is not that obvious in the larger image of the subject.  I decided to print each image on an A3 paper, because on reflection i felt that the images worked better as individual pieces and the framing of the previous format was distracting and took away from the vision of my work.  It was a spur of the moment thing which didn't quite gain much traction in the end.  I feel that to really appreciate the images i want the viewer to be able to get up close and be captivated by the inner beauty of my subjects.

Presentation Idea - The images are printed as one piece, framed by the eyes of each subject

Option 2 - I have 10 images that i have chosen, at the moment its all about how i want them to be placed on to the wall.  The area where my images will sit on is on a large wall dimensions to be measured with a lot of natural light flooding in from the ceiling and the entrance way on the left.  The wall is in the shape of a triangle.  Below are possible presentation ideas i have been playing with.
 These are the images i have selected, there are 10 portraits to work with.

This is an animation of different photo arrangements i took with my tablet.  I chose a different photo for Pela (smiling photo) to a high angle close up shot.  I changed it because her previous photo didn't seem to fit into the grouping of photos which i had.  I feel this shot brings another element of expression to the collection.
These are the six photos that i'm liking at the moment.  I think that they sit well together.  I like how the top row sits.  The position of the top three look three dimensional, which adds depth to images as a row.  This easily moves the eye from one photo to the other.  The bottom three, i'm still undecided about, i like how the brightness of the light matches each other.  The movement from one photo to the other seems to go in one direction.  It seems a bit unbalanced because Pela (bottom right) appears larger because her portrait is close up while the other two seem to withdraw to the back.

I did a practise print on the richo printers so that i could see how the photos would look on the wall.  I decided to change the middle photo.  I thought that this photo fitted well.  It looks visually balance.  As a grouping i feel like these portraits compliment each other.  I'm still considering their arrangement, but i'll let them sit on the wall for a bit and see how it goes.

Allan McDonald and Contextualisation

McDonald is interested in the role of photography as an archival tool, and believes it is important for photographers to chronicle their specific time and place. This idea "goes back to photographers like Eugene Atget, a Parisian photographer of the late 19th and early 20th century. He was the model of a particular type of photographer who records and documents things about to disappear because of the forces of change. I align myself with that role and feel a part of that tradition."
From the article A cry for protection from The NZ Herald.

Allan McDonald Talk
Genre: Documentary photography, Street photography and Fine Art.
Ideas which are present in his works:
The Unstable City -

  • The theme of these works came out of the Christchurch earthquakes and the issues which arose during 2010 and 2011.  
  • His aim is to document or shoot images which are quite historic.  
  • Using this as narratives to develop thinking about what may have been or is to come 
The freedom farmers show / Relocations and demolitons
  • The images in these shows represent the opposite of what the home represents - stability, comfort, the central unit for families.  
  • Allan shared that the tension between the two was what he found interesting.
How do you as the viewer respond to his images?
Prior to Allan's visit, i didn't really find his images that appealing.  I didn't relate to the concept behind the images, the structures appeared quite dull and stagnant.  When he shared his approach of finding material as well as the conceptual context that the images reflected i could appreciate the images so much more.   I was able to understand why it interested him.  I chose the photo above because i liked how resilient the building appears, although it has been stripped right back, it seems to stand as if is unwilling to fall.  
Research of genre and how it relates to my work
I looked into the genre of documentary photography.  It is seen as the collecting or chronicling of significant or historical events as well as everyday life.  Allan spoke about the influences of Bernd and Hillas who are widely acclaimed for their extensive series of photographic images which they names typologies.   They started shooting typologies from 1956.  The common themes which they share is the use of images to portray the environment in which their subjects live in.  The Becher's body of work became iconic because they were records of structures that were slowly being replaced by modern architectures and landscapes.   Allan references the Becher's by producing works in series, as well as sharing the idea of structures which no longer fit the constrains of its evolving environment.  In terms of relevance to my own work, i would say that with my portfolio i am capturing a series of portraits of people that are very dear to me.  They represent my environment, values and also are a strong reminder of who i am and where i come from.  I believe that the works of all these artists reflect that in there works.

I wanted produce a series of photographs which chronicled the demolishing of my old church.  The site which the church sits on also housed the primary school; this has been flattened to make way to new homes.  

St Annes Catholic church opened 29 May 1927
St Annes Catholic Church was opened by the Archbishop of Auckland, James Liston, on 29th May, 1927. It was not until 1947 that a local Priest was appointed to the Church, when Father Michael O'Carrol arrived and the Manurewa Parish was created. In 1957 St Annes was extended to treble the size and a seating plan of 400, by a building placed around the old structure.

Below are my photos of the front building over three days.  At the moment the church is being stripped of all its good parts.  Once all that is done the demo team will come in and flatten the structure.  It may not be a significant event for some, but the building holds a lot of memories and historical value to all associated with the church.  In these photos i tried to included the rubble in the front, similar to that of Allans photo above.

These photo show the progress made each day as the roof is dismantled.  I wished that i had taken a photo at the same spot so that the progress could be seen clearly.  Each time i visited i felt as if i was saying goodbye to an old friend.  Its an eerie feeling to be standing in front of a structure as its being dismantled and broken down.  At the moment the weather has affected the work that has been happening at the site so the building sits idle as it waits for the final blows.