Thursday, 26 April 2012

Michelle Monique Analysis.

Michelle Monique is a self taught photographer who spent many hours as a child practicing with her favorite model: her cat Kissy. 10 years later she is now working with companies such as the Penguin Group, Random House, F64, and Advanced Photoshop among many others.
She also specialises in digital editing on photoshop which relates to some of the work I have done with my dream like photographs.
Looking at her work inspired me because of the editing, it looked more unrealistic even though real humans were involved, fantasy and something that I wanted to produce were involved and the bright colours caught my eye.

This particular photograph below can be found on her biography website under the Retouching/manipulations page. I liked how I can see that a fairly simply taken photograph can become something that looks almost impossible to take and looks so magical.

Created for herself, untitled, simply says 'last' in the caption underneath on the website, from growing up creating her own work from imagination we can see this has developed and influenced her with this piece of work. It could be used for art because of the precise editing skills which have clearly taken up time 'painting' on and creating. it doesn't link with history at all or even culture but instead looks modern in a sense of digital and technological aspects, but could be seen as quite timeless or ancient in a sense of the sea-like pirate looking theme on the final edit. Created in 2012, a very new creation which I have guessed because of editing and the advanced equipment we can see in the background of the original photograph, it is quite individual and doesn't link to anything seen today, for example billboard advertisements or fashion because it isn't showing anything for a purpose although it does look quite like it could be in a film and possibly a cover image or thumbnail for one, it could be similar to something seen in something like 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.
The final is so perfect in a sense that it looks airbrushed so much to a point where it could be painted although it still looks alive and shows the woman clearly, the original tells us that it is a creation from a photograph and has been turned into an art piece with only technology. The scale of the actual work is unknown from sources I have accessed, although I assume it is something like A3 because too big would make it too hard to simply look at and grasp the amazing appearance unless it was used in a gallery with large wall space which it wasn't, too small wouldn't allow us to see the delicate details involved in it, the high quality image original and edit. There is a sense of space in the final, the plain background looks like mist or even a thin bumpy textured sheet that could be hiding anything, because of the surreal elements of the ship in the mirror and fantasy like make up we assume that anything is possible in the imagination of what illusion in the space can be created, it could even be endless night or the middle of nowhere, the difference between the edit and original is that the original takes away the magic in a sense of we can see it is just a home set up photograph and looks more like fancy dress than a fantasy illusion. The composition of the photograph is quite odd in terms of the usual landscape image or a portrait of somebody, fashion photography would show a portrait on the shoulders upwards in quite a symmetrical composition although here the photograph has been taken from a slightly lower angle than the basic full on shot, and shows a maneuver of the arms as if they are moving, it takes up the majority of space and fits it well although the dark gap above the mirror is what creates the space mainly, I think it works well and is different but I wonder if the image was a full body shot of her and in portrait layout it could possibly work better because more will be seen and it would show the full character like some of her other work does. Formal elements used mainly are colour because of the editing, the original colours have been dramatically changed to something more earth like and like a dark ocean, they're dark appearance and strong contrast with the light reflected on her skin colour (certain light would have needed to be set up in the process for the original photograph for any effect, so there is light to play around with and edit in photoshop), tone is also important in the individual colours to create depth in the photograph, texture as well, we can see a bumpy appearance in the background but a very smooth looking feel to the skin of the woman's face, although the nets or scales of her stand out very well and look how they would feel, whereas they are non-existent in the original and it looks much more flat because the colours, tone/contrast haven't been brought out to their fullest yet. 

The genre of the photograph is fantasy, it could fit in with fashion because of all the accessories even though it isn't involved in that aspect, also as mentioned - films. The absent title doesn't really help to tell us what the picture is about but leaves it to us to interpret our own meaning or see why she has chosen the particular materials (clothing, props, editing with scales and sea elements). The thought of being at see in terms of fantasy is definitely the theme here, it could be inspired by movies with creatures at see or even myths and legends, which brings us back to a very early time period. The idea of the mirror, the ship, scales and almost mermaid appearance with lots of jewelry was chosen to fit the sea theme and represents it quite well, perhaps a maiden at sea with treasure typically admiring herself and the background representing a dark ship of perhaps evil people. In reality we know the original is just a woman but in the edit if we hadn't seen the original then we could assume she is a mermaid or a fairytale creature who lives at sea, the photograph could fit with fairytales because of the ship glowing out of the mirror which is similar to aspects of classic Disney film 'The Little Mermaid' which Monique could have taken inspiration from to produce her own interpretation of a female creature. The fact their is just one woman involved should create a sense of loneliness with her being in such empty space but instead because of all the jewelry that she has and her vanity we see her as someone who could be very selfish or even a gold digger for anything with value. 

My first reaction to the work was that it looked magical and really complicated to set up a shoot like that, although when I saw the original I was shocked that editing could be that advanced and work so well to create such a result that looks so surreal in a sense of its subject and the colours which couldn't be real. it reminded me of a female character that could have been in a fairytale, not one in particular but a new creation, I am first drawn to her face which then leads me on to looks at her expression and see what she is looking at as I acknowledge the whole photograph. It evokes a sense of soft touch and even water because of the sea, even a smell relating to it. It doesn't produce any emotions, it is not depressive at all but it isn't happy either, instead it is more something amazing to look at rather than create feelings towards. I don't think there is a set narrative for it although because of the life style we assume the woman leads, we could think what we wanted for her and see a whole story of her lonely life perhaps seen as nothing else is revealed to us about her. Overall I like this piece and feel that it has inspired me for my exam unit because of the fantasy elements again relation to dream like experiences, although I want to perhaps include something more creature like in my ideas now so that an encounter could also be shown and show elements of Monique's work as well as fitting my own theme and following my own desires for my result.

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