Friday, 14 November 2014

Portfolio - WK 6 Contextualise and Presentation Questions

Its week 6 and my purpose for doing this project remains the same.  That is to produce beautiful portraits of family and friends.  Throughout this whole process the thing i wanted to emphasis was that my portraits remained true to the subject.  Ultimately I want my subjects to see the beauty that i see in them.  Coming from a culture, maybe even a generation of people which down plays personal successes and self validation.  Being a New Zealand born Samoan there's a heck of a lot of influences which have moulded these ideas.  On top of all that as a youth worker one of the saddest things to see is young people who simply cannot see how beautiful and talented they are.  I guess in some way this is my way of giving those i love an opportunity to affirm themselves.

What is your project about?
This particular grouping of portraits i chose as my final images represent three families, from three ethnic backgrounds.  They are all connected under the umbrella of a blended family.  For this reason i have chosen to name this series: Blended.  It references blended families and the evolution of the traditional family structure.  Each individual brings something to the mix which enriches the flavour of the family unit.

How will these images be viewed?
I have chosen eight portraits for this collection to be printed on Hahnemühle paper A3 size.  They will be arranged in a grid of four.  Below are my portraits.

The portraits are grouped in generations the group on the left are the nieces and nephews and the group on the right are the aunts and uncle.
What do they say about the world?
Blended families deal with a lot of negative undertones from internal and external sources.  The messages which are often portrayed is that blended families are broken or abnormal.  This ideology is echoed through the media, government policies (benefits for families), and even our religions. 
  
How does your presentation affect the viewing of your work?
Using the Hahnemühle paper lifted the images off the paper.  The details and textures are appreciated so much more, especially when viewed close up.  This was evident when the Hahnemühle print was place by the black and white richo print.

Placement of the prints was very important because i didn't want one portrait to over power another.  Each portrait in the grid compliments every other portrait around it.  Placing the portraits in grids give a formal feel to the images.  The formations reinforce clean lines, and order which is influenced by the traditional classic look which i wanted my portraits to appear.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Digital Technology 2 - Wk 3 Exercise: Richard Mosse Interview

Richard Mosse is a photographer filmmaker who focuses on war-torn regions.  He captures images of the landscapes and people who live within these regions.  Our task was to watch his interview and answer the following questions.  Here is a link to the Richard Mosse interview on youtube.  


  • History of war photography
  • Fine art, documentary, photojournalism genres
  • Photos of Eastern Congo, people and tribes in conflict
  • Historical framework (war of Eastern Congo)

What genre does Richard Mosse's The Enclave fit into?
Documentary, War and contemporary fine Art
What is the history that relates to this project?
Enclave = Eastern Congo on the boarder of Rwanda and Uganda.  In the mid 90's the Rwanda genocide happened, the tribes who commited the genocide fled west into Congo.  This whole group has destablized East Congo.
Is there anything in his own history that influences this work?
Since his early 20s he had been visiting spots like the Enclave.  Referring to this as his art practise.  He was bought up in a peaceful village called Bennetts Bridge in Ireland.  Indirectly he was affected by the conflict which was happening in North Ireland during the 80's.  He also references his family's connection with being Quackers as having an influence on his work.
Why did he choose to use the Kodak infared film for the project?
The Kodak Aerochrome is an infrared suveillance film used for military purposes.  It renders greens into pinks and reds.  This was used to uncover camoflauged installations from the air.  All healthy plants or greenery would reflect back as pinks and reds while non organic matter would absorb the colour and be revealed.  In the same way Richard wanted to make visible this "very overlooked conflict".
How does the use of this film fit into the documentary genre?
Richard spoke about the conflicts in Eastern Congo, being a "cancerous cycle of vicious little wars, which is really hard to understand".  His use of the film, works to emphases an experience of the conflicts which he had, giving viewers a taste of what these conflicts have on its people and environment.  
How many times has he been to the Eastern Congo for this project?  Why do you think he has been back so many times?
Richard Mosse has been back eight times over four years.  Richard speaks about this lack of trace, with all the horror and violence happening in Eastern Congo.  I feel that the reason that he is drawn back is to give a voice for the people who can't share their stories.
What justification does he have for creating such beautiful images to represent such horrific events?  
It's a way to connect with the view.  Beautiful images are attractive in doing so he is able to also challenge them to think deeper about his work and the realities of what happens in war torn countries.
Why would he be criticized for this?  How does this differ from other war photographers you have see
He would be criticized for not producing images which reflect the obvious devastation of war ie. dead bodies or mutilated figures.  Richard shared an experience of choosing not to film a group of people who had been slaughtered with machetes and spears, he said that it was too much.  His photography which would be different from others is by using the 16 millimeter motion picture film which is associated by advertising,music videos or MTV.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Digital Technology 2 - Wk 3 Contextualise a photograph by someone else

Graham Billing, Writer
Who took the photo and Why?
The photographer is Reg Graham (1930-2007), this photo is part of a project he began in 1993.  His work consists of portraits of New Zealanders in the arts predominately.
What is his ethnicity and does this influence the work?
He is European.  I'm not sure if this influenced his work but the majority of his subjects are of European descent.
When and where did they take this photo?
This photo was taken in Graham Billing's hotel balcony in 1998
What are his political beliefs and are these relevant to the work?
I could not find anything regarding his political beliefs however he was a passionate supporter of the arts which suffered a lot of funding issues for people and organisations in the arts.  He photographed shows and did publicity photographs for theatres.
What was his social status and background and how does this relate to his subject matter?
Reg Graham spent most of his life in education.  He taught in schools and colleges of education.
In what decade or century was the work taken? Does this influence your reading of this work?
Reg Graham started this project in 1993 and published his book (Click, Portrait of New Zealanders) in 2006.  The portraits highlight the styles, norms and fashion of the time (90's).  The images have a natural feel about them, before photoshop, filters and all the fancy technical vices we have available today.  The quality isn't as sharp or refined which takes a bit of getting use to, especially because my eye is so use to digital images.
Were there events happening at the time that may have influenced this work?
?
How is the work presented?
As a book titled: Click Portraits of New Zealanders published in 2006 by Longacre Press, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Where are you viewing this work and how does this affect your reading of it?
In the privacy of my home, its comfortable for me because i'm in my own space and i can take my time going through the images and doing research into his subjects if i am interested in their stories.