POWER ARTIFACT

 

(This page is the link and information directly relating to the Power Artefact we were required to create for 310Mc.)

 

Please follow the following link to the images stored on flicker:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43679094@N02/sets/72157622886688037/

An Example of one of the images in the set:

This piece is based on my thoughts ane work around the idea of Identity and Power.

 

Description

This is a set of images that I have chosen from about 30 images I shot on the day, I decided I wanted to take inspiration from Diane Arbus and get to know my subject and shoot her whilst talking about what she thought about her own identity. I asked her to have three props available which she felt showed her identity. We talked about the three items and also about her feelings towards the items and having known her for about two years we also talked about life in general. I hav posted on the main blog some of the other images captured during the session that I have not used and explained why I have not used these images.

The set of images that I have used are all about how she felt and how her personality came across to me during the session. After the shoot it was evident to me that to show her identity best it was about who she was not what she owned. Diane Arbus actively looked for the obscure and unusual. What I found when being with my subject was her unease in being in front of a camera even though she is a professional freelance photographer herself. I also noticed a lot through the shoot that the way she liked to deal with the objects she chose and the way in which she talk about her life presented a very different side to her than you would be able to see with the naked eye. The best way I found to relate this was by using the camera in such a way to create an effect of dreamy illusion and inabiltiy to control even through she strives for control/order in her life.

 

Research & Influence

The main influence for this piece has been the work of Diane Arbus but I have also been researching other photographers who deal directly with portrait photography who include, Jane Wood and Abi Moore. Another artist I have been looking at is David Hockney and his photography work looking at perception.

I found Arbus inspiring as the was she worked was to try to intimatley understand the subject and take a number of shots, looking for the obscure or abnormal in the subject, this has to be put into context as at the time there were few artists especially women who were venturing into the world that she entered into. I researched more than just the images she took but also her philosophies on life and quotes she had given on life in general, her life and photography. These quotes gave me inspiration to not structure the shoot to much and to see what happened on the day and with the subject. This was a risk for me, due to time constants I needed to be able to capture and produce something that I could use and only had a couple of days to work with the subject.

The difficult thing I found about Arbus and her work was that it all seamed very negative, especially towards the connotations towards the unusual but then when I think about it these were the first times these sort of images were going to be displayed to the world how should they have been presented?? What I mean is that it almost seems as if Arbus herself was forming or conforming towards a judgemental stereotype when shooting these images, they are almost intended to be displayed as freaks of nature like a paper version of the freak show. This was something I did not want to do, but I did want to discover something about my subject that I may not have previously known.

I found it useful to talk to current photographers who take a lot of modern portrait’s because I wanted to find out how to interact with people and break down there defences within a short space of time, looking at there work I found Moore to be very of the moment, her images have a level of spontaneity to them and I found this a useful trait to digest as it seems to me looking back at the event that you should always be ready with your camera, however Moore works within designed situations that accept the presence of the camera. Wood however works differently taking time to compose the shot (I think there is an element of capturing the moment) always looking for the light and form of the shot carefully in her mind. This made me think carefully about using the equipment I had to its full potential trying to get different effects from the experience. However I dd find both Moore and Wood’s current work to be work that presented a one dimensional view of the subjects, whether they be portraits or landscapes this i think is a product of the modern consumer society, they produce what sells. They produce the happy smiling portraits the consumer wants and pays for or the beautiful image of the flower and not the decaying image of the flower on its way out.

I looked specifically at Hockney’s work because he is an Artist who has transitioned through many mediums learning something new from each to produce different levels of work that inspire me a lot. When I say inspire me a lot I mean they make me think about the levels of interpretation in my work. particularly in his photography he looks a lot at perception of the subject/enviroment he is working within. He tries to show the audience that everyone’s point of perception is different when you are looking at an image/situation/painting/landscape. I identified heavily with this as I have always believed I se something others don’t when I look at a situation or a person. Photography can be a one dimensional way of seeing something, you just see what is presented to you, but Hockney tries to present this differently giving the audience multiple avenues for interpretation whilst saying this is how I see it. Hockney in turn takes his inspiration from the Cubist movement, Pablo Picasso in particular.

 

Reflection

I think that this project is what I would view as a starting point, again I have stuck with the medium of photography and not tried out moving image or sound (tried but felt I failed at this). If I had more time I would like to work on this concept more bringing another level to the artifact. I think that if I could make this into a web-based artifact where you click on the displayed image within certain areas it leads you to another image this would bring it another dimension. I also think that taking it even further I would like to use moving image and create a visual portrait of the subject, editing it in a way as to understand her identity without being directly lead to it by an image. Overall I think that this is an acceptable starting point but not a finished project, having more time to develope and refine this idea would improve it greatly and fulfill more of the learning outcomes and my own personal goals I set myself at the start fo term.

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