Constructed Realities Brief -
As part of a move to promote up and coming young photographers, The Tate Modern is hosting an exhibition titled Constructed Realities. The exhibition is open to photographers aged between 16 and 21 years who have a passion for the subject and are open to both traditional and digital techniques.
First artist analysis - Gavin Hoey
When looking at Hoey’s photograph, I was instantly attracted to the way he was able to make his ordinary image look like a beautiful hand-painted piece of art. The strokes created in his image give the photograph a sense of even flow which also enables certain aspects of the image to have a more natural feel to them such as the waves rushing by and the clouds being swept along by the wind. I also really liked the sense of simplicity that this image portrays with the flow and even the soft white & blue colours, which could perhaps symbolize purity and even innocence.
The most visually pleasing aspect of this photograph was the overall use of flow and colours. I feel that these really help give the photos a natural and even almost a dream like effect, and are the main focal points of the image. When creating my own set of images in this style, I want to create the same sense of flow and try to include the same simplicty of colours as I feel this will give the photographs an overall better look.
I would also like to take into consideration his use of composition, not only the way he chose to shoot the image, but also how his focal matter has been positioned. The angle that he shot at helps emphasize the differences between positive and negative spacing, and improves the balance of the image. Lastly, the way he positioned his model shows that the photograph is supposed to be seen as a natural occurance, and it helps the audience see the innocence and purity that is portrayed within the image. If his model was facing the camera and smiling, it would definitely break up the effect and wouldn’t be as strong.
Initial Set of Photographs
I felt that these photographs would be the most suitable to use for this artist. They both link in well because of the seaside and they both have a sense of peace within them. Keeping in mind the technique Hoey had used, I wanted to capture things that could give the images an extra boost. I first of all started taking photographs of only the sea, but it soon became evident that they looked a bit bland and would have no real aesthetic effect when developing. My main aim was to try and capture people, alongside buildings and boats etc. I feel that doing so would give a much more desire appearance when developing these images at a later stage.
1st Developmental Set of Photographs
I feel that my set of photographs really capture the same aspects and possibly even emotions as Hoey’s does. When digitally manipulating my photographs, I paid particular attention to the flow I was creating and the use of colours I had in there too. After completing my photographs, I experimented a bit more with the overall flow and contrast of the colours. This helped me come to the conclusion that my photographs look better with more flow than Hoey originally used, and also more contrast added to the colours. Even though this slightly detracted away from the sense of innocence and peace that Hoey’s created, I still feel that this was the better choice as it created an overall better look.
When creating this set, I wanted to try and take my set a little further than Hoey’s. So, in order to do this, I edited each of my photographs through Photoshop making sure to create strong definitions between colours and bring out the blacks and clarity of the images. After realising my set would look better with more swirls, I used various tools such as the smudge tool, the blur tool, dodge and burn. This gave me a good base for my set, I then went further by using the liquify tool to distort particular sections of the photographs. After finding something that looked aesthetically pleasing to me, I then used a photoshop filter to add a paint overlay to the photographs, adjusting settings accordingly to my liking.
Vincent Van Gogh
When creating my initial set, I was aware of how strong the link was between my set and some of Vincent Van Gogh’s art. Upon looking at his work, I was very inspired by the use of strokes he had, and how well the overall image flowed, but most of all I was intrigued on how some of his images were beautiful, yet had a dark and somewhat mysterious look to them. Also, it made me question myself whether he tried to symbolise something behind this or if it was just purely because he preferred it that way. When developing my first set, I want to try and create a sense of mystery one way or another within mine, and possibly even make the audience question if it symbolised a hidden meaning like Van Gogh’s piece did for me.
Second artist analysis - David Carson
I was instantly attracted to Carson’s ‘Ray Gun’ set because I felt it had a really mysterious and strange feel to it. The way he has certain parts of his photograph out of focus gives it that edgy feel and could also potentially symbolise a hidden meaning/hiding something. His use of colours here are very broad, which help make the photograph very prominent.
In this particular photograph, I really like the use of having different depths of field combined with the strong, bold colours. These two techniques help the photo have more of an impact on the audience as it could be seen as being more visually pleasing. Also, the use of these two techniques combined help break up the negative and positive space slightly. This is because the blurred section could be seen as the negative space, but he has also added the bold colours to this section so at this same time it draws you in. The same technique was used with the little photos in focus at the front, they are in focus but at the same time are quite faint in comparison to the rest so it breaks it up a little. When looking further into this image, it became evident that Carson had used a projector to create this effect. The projector is something that I feel could enhance my photographs quite a bit so I will experiment with using it and see what outcomes I can achieve.
When creating my set in the style of this, I want to use the same techniques he has used by using blurred sections of my photos and also by adding some colours to them. I feel that this will help make the images not only look more visually pleasing, but will also help draw the audience in more so by doing this.
2nd Set of Initial Photographs
Second Set of Photos - Evalutation
I feel that my second set of photographs were successful and linked well with my chosen artist. In order to create my photographs I had to use layers of acetate and coloured sheets. I printed my selected photographs onto acetate and used a lightbox to give the desired effect. By layering and overlapping these sheets in various different ways, I was able to get a whole different variety of images. In some of my photographs I added coloured sheets to not only add some extra detail and make it more prominent, but to also help break up the negative and positive spaces. Within my photos I have also included differences between the depths of field which can also symbolise perhaps hiding something just like Carson has done. The actual acetate sheets themselves are black and white, which helps enhance that ambiguous imagery that Carson achieved.
In each of my photographs, I tried to give the effect that some sections of the image could be slightly hidden. Not necessarily always behind something, but slightly more blurred than other parts. This was done purposely to make the audience feel that something could be hidden within the photographs, perhaps each photograph has a hidden meaning behind them? I wanted the set to make the audience think about what they was seeing and what it could represent, and to also have a sense of mystery within them.
Taking into consideration the symbolism that I tried to add, although I feel that some of it works, I do however think that there isn’t as much of it as I would have liked to have achieved. I do like the way I have added it, but I feel that if I had thought more outside of the box then I would have been happier with the end result as it would show a greater depth of symbolism and could perhaps be portrayed in an unusual way. In my opinion, the way that I have shown my symbolism isn’t too strong, so this could perhaps enable the audience to understand it a little better because it doesn’t turn into a mess and get confusing.
Overall I think my set is a good link, and I learned something new about photography and ways of experimenting which will make me a better photographer in the future.
Third artist analysis - Artist unknown
When looking through various different artists’ work, I come across this photo which really caught my attention. The photo itself is fairly simple, yet it has quite an impact. The first thing I noticed was how the photographer used the image of the flowers with the projector. Instead of using a small section of the models body to project on he used almost the entire body which makes the model look as though she has a full body tattoo, which in return makes the audience question whether it’s there to cover up imperfections of the models skin. Also, the other thing that struck my attention was the strong link between this photo and my other sets because they all contain nature.
What I have found to be the most visually pleasing about this photograph is the way how the projection suddenly stops before her neck. Reasoning for this is because although the projection makes it look as though the model has a large tattoo covering her body, and could mean the photographer was symbolising trying to hide imperfections, it also shows that the models face has no need to be covered and that she is natural looking. This aspect of the photograph then causes the audience to think whether the tattoo-like projection was really to cover up imperfections or whether it was just design purposes after all.
2nd Developmental Set of Photographs
Second Set Development - EVALUATION
Within my second set, I feel that I achieved the same effect as Carson did with breaking up the positive and negative space, though at the same time I felt quite restricted with the possible outcomes I could achieve because I was only using a few acetate sheets. When developing, I realised it would be the perfect opportunity to try and create some new designs because I would be able to combine different outcomes together. What I found to work best, was when I cut along the lines of the acetate sheets within the images and pieced them together with other sections from another photograph. This not only added more detail to the image because of the use of colours and the patterns within, but it also created a sense of mystery to the photographs. It gave the effect that more and more layers were added to each image which further enhanced having that symbolism for hiding something behind the blurred background that Carson achieved. Also, I took into consideration the strong use of colour that Carson used and felt it was necessary for me to try and combine more than one colour within my photographs. I wanted to do this so the images would not only be more prominent for the audience but would also have the essence of trying to ‘break up’ the positive and negative space. All of that combined would give the images a harder focal point and make it much more visually pleasing, as well as potentially intriguing the audience even more so because they try to understand what the image could be about and perhaps see if it holds a hidden meaning – Which is the effect I wanted to achieve.
I feel that in this developmental set I have achieved the right amount of symbolism that I wanted. In this set I wanted it to be quite hard to figure out, and to not just fit perfectly into place. The only downside to this is that some sections of my photographs could possibly get lost within itself, but I tried to drastically stay away from that happening. I think the audience will be able to look at this set and figure out the symbolism, it will take a lot of looking and thinking outside the box though, but that’s exactly what I wanted to achieve with this set. I wanted it to somewhat confuse the viewers.
Final Pieces - Evaluation
I feel that all my final outcomes have been very successful. For my very final outcomes I wanted to strictly stick to the set of photographs that I felt were stronger not only visually, but also symbolic. For me, this was my set I took in relation to David Carson’s ‘Ray Gun’ work. In the developmental set I tried to break up the positive and negative spacing and add the effect that much more layers were added to perhaps symbolize a meaning of hiding something behind the focal points, giving the image a sense of mystery. By completely shifting the colours of the image, it gave the photographs quite a ghostly feel to them which I really liked. This not only helps add to that mystery effect I was looking for but could also potentially entice the audience more so than before. I was pleased with the outcomes, but felt I could take it an extra step to create a more aesthically pleasing set and to also show stronger symbolism. I used a bed sheet and a projector in a studio to further enhance my images. I wanted to position the projector so that it would be distorting the image in some way or another. Projecting into the corner produced some good outcomes, but everything was completely visible. I wanted some parts of the image to be distorted and hidden. Using a bed sheet helped with this. With the bed sheet being held in certain angles, I could get really distorted looks as well as have some bits shadowed out. I felt this was a very good effect as it improved the symbolism of hiding something, and also made it much more interesting to look at visually.
Constructed Realities - Project Evaluation
In my opinion the overall project I produced was a success. At first I found it quite hard to find the right artists suitable to the sort of work that I wanted to produce, and I found it quite difficult to actually finalize on what it was I was going to do. My choices in the end were definitely the right ones and enabled me to create some very productive outcomes. I feel that the sets that I produced worked well, and with the artists I chose, and taking into consideration the sort of emotions their images gave, I felt that I created the same sort of vibe as they did, and therefore giving the audience something to not only look at, but to also think deeply about. Also, when developing my sets further I think that the way I did this was the best choice for me in order to create that same set of emotions as my artists did, and it really helped me create something that was symbolic, but at the same time visually pleasing. Both my sets, for me, come across as very strong but I think the second set was the better one out of the two. Reasoning for this is because the way I used my imagery come across as a lot stronger, and has more emotion within them. I feel that the second set had more complexity to it, which in return could be better for the audience. When comparing the two, although I think they are both strong, the first set could be seen as a bit boring in comparison because it doesn’t have as much symbolism as the second set. In the second set there are so many hidden points which will intrigue the audience further. The whole project was very fun to create, and I learned a lot of new skills and techniques which will make me a better photographer.