Thursday, 26 April 2012

Fairy Photographs/Cottingley Fairies.

Thinking of aspects of fantasy and dreams, fairytales seems appropriate to look at, my idea of photographing my friend looking at a 'fairy' which I could edit into the print would be a good idea. The idea was inspired from photographs I had seen from 'Cottingley Fairies', these were a series of 5 photographs taken Elsie Wright who was 16 and Frances Griffiths who was 10, cousins who lived in Cottingley, Bradford in 1917 the first 2 photographs were taken and more in 1918 and 1920. The story was that the girls would play by the stream in their back garden and were claiming to have seen fairies, Elsie's father had his own dark room for his camera which she borrowed to develop the photographs, he dismissed the fairies as cardboard cut outs. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a writer of literature used them to illustrate fairies. Their rooms were searched and photographs explored but the public seemed convinced that they were real rather than faked, it wasn't until various publication and attention had been given that in 1983, the cousins admitted in an article published in the magazine The Unexplained that the photographs had been faked, although both maintained that they really had seen fairies. Elsie had copied illustrations of fairies from a popular children's book of the time, Princess Mary's Gift Book, published in 1914. They said they had then cut out the cardboard figures and supported them with hat pins, disposing of their props in the beck once the photograph had been taken. But the cousins disagreed about the fifth and final photograph, Elsie maintained it was a fake, just like all the others, but Frances insisted that it was genuine. In an interview given in the early 1980s Frances said It was a wet Saturday afternoon and we were just mooching about with our cameras and Elsie had nothing prepared. I saw these fairies building up in the grasses and just aimed the camera and took a photograph. Both of the girls claim to have taken the 5th photograph. below are the photo graphs in order that they were taken.
I could perhaps edit more than one fairy into my prints.
Woods shown here, links well to my setting for the photographs of my friend, the method (darkroom) of developement would also work well because it gives it a more older effect than a digital print, more like something from fairytale times.
I had seen this photograph before and it was what inspired me to look at the topic more.
My favourite, her clothing also looks like something a fairytale princess would wear too.
Shows just the fairies.
I wanted to produce something very similar, for the actual fairies that would go on my photographs I decided to stage a shoot with a friend dressed up as one, I kept the back ground very simple because it won't be part of the final so props in the back ground didn't matter, shutter speed was kept very fast at 1000 and flash was used, flash was also on unless stated. Below are the SLR prints.
Above is my text strip, I tried this with the contrast on full because this always adds to the effect of the prints making them more bold and dramatic, I put the light on 11 which is quite dull, 8 usually not enough contrast because its brighter so less exposure time not giving enough contrast, 16 too big of a jump so in seconds (because the majority of my prints accurate timings were around 2-4 seconds, I exposed each part by a second (lightest end) and added one on as it gets darker, 3 seconds looked perfect so for these negatives I kept to the same timings and lighting and it worked fine.
Lower angle, direct look for her being caught with valuables as fairies are thought to hoard or micheviously steal.
Composition for the silouhette to be used. Later tried a more relaxed natural looking stance for improvement.
A favourite, could look great when put into the other photographs.
Turned away, shy or hiding.
Same as above but no flash used, slightly less contrast but velvet of the corset shows up more.
Leant over pose, could be good to put onto the ground, cat would add a surreal effect because of its size, and witches have been known to have pets so more creature elements can be bought in.
Flying stance, gaze could be direct at my friend.
Inspired from the fairies in the grass, this pose would be good for sitting her their.
Gazing out of the window, nature is seen, would be good for a double exposure, flash also looks like a halo when refelected on her hair.
I took this photograph of the tree outside because I thought it would be a good idea to put a few of the fairy poses onto it.
A favourite, would be good for double exposure of negatives, closer shot showing more detail in face.
With cat again, slightly off accurate composition but with other shots I have improvement is shown.
A favourite, first attempt not exposed enough, too bright, shape of wings not visibile enough, below is my second attempt and test strip to test what exposure time would work better.

Pose looks as if she could be blancing, a photograph with a branch could be used.
Window glance at angle wher eher face is visible.
Portrait shot, could be overlayed with another negative.
A least favourite, pose looks too forced and not a good view of what would look good on another print.
Looking back at something, could use this with the photograph of just the fairies or as a double exposure.
Portrait, taken as if she is looking into distance, would have worked better as portrait lay out rather than landscape.
High angle shows small scale of her, would need a high angle photograph for here to be put into like this though.
Been spotted.
Apart from the missing foot this would have been perfect for her flying.
Looking rather sad, could be put onto the grass.
Finally, is turned away, not wanting to be seen.

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