Thursday, 24 January 2013


The brief of this project was very open. Titled 'The Personal Project', this was our opportunity to present whatever work we wanted to, something that appealed to us personally and didn't have to relate to a specific theme, obviously we would have to produce build up work and explore a range of ideas but the subject matter of our photographs and how we enhanced them and presented them was left up to us, I felt it was a really good topic because we could show our personalities in our work and produce was we desired to.

The project evolved very well for me, I explored a range of digital experiments on photoshop to dramatically enhance my photographs and I also recreated the darkroom experiments which I had enjoyed most from the last project, for example handmade negatives but this time putting them onto my photographs. The journey started quite easily because of dress up days in college I had opportunities to photograph fellow students in fairy tale costumes relating to the fashion theme I was continuing from the last project out of choice. My theme this time I felt was made much more obvious because of the over the top costumes which worked very effectively in creating something fantastical which was what I had wanted to do since starting photography. 

I looked at digital photographers such as Viona, Beate Pischl and Annie Leibovitz, mixed media photographers such as Bec Wonders and I also looked at darkroom work by Wawi and Idris Khan. I felt that the first load of photoshop work and experiments I did were purely for ideas and prior to the journey, I felt the journey truly began when I focused a lot on presenting my work in ways which they had done and combining more than one way of doing this together to see how it would look, this method worked well for me because often these combinations worked but even if they didn't, I could put my own twist on them which would give a personal outlook on thew result as well as showing inspiration from various photographers. For example, when I painted the mouths on my Alice in Wonderland photographs (inspired by Wonders) I felt it looked too plain and from also trying reticulation of my negatives, even though it was unsuccessful I imagined the outcome to be quite crackled and shattered, because of this image in my head of the shattering (also inspired from the photoshop tutorial I did on shattered glass) I decided to cut up my photographs and arrange them in a shattered way, this then led me onto mixing the photographs with other photographs. I felt at the start that this could be a final outcome but after seeing how unsuccessful it looked in terms of presentation and relevance it decided to move onto producing larger scaled blurred photographs inspired by Khan. The journey continued by me personally deciding to rearrange these blurs on various pieces of photographic paper and presenting them as one composition speed onto various sheets with the same photograph blurred, this was technically too difficult and didn't give me the most accurate results in the darkroom because of the tonal different win the blurs looking like they were wrong and out of place rather than intentional. 

For what I then didn't know would due my final idea, I decided to produce one largely scaled blurred photograph and one unblurred one of the same photograph and I began mixing them around to see how many blurs worked best. I felt that paint splatters could work well with the photograph and began looking at Jackson Pollock and combining his styles of splatters with my Khan inspired blurs. Out of personal taste I also put handprints in paint on them to see if this would make them visually more interesting or too crowded, I liked the result. I felt that one large version of these wasn't enough for a final so I produced 3. I still wanted to take this further by adding another personal touch of collaging. I wanted this for more colour and more enhancing. The prints were all split into four because of there being no large paper so i decided to link the Alice in Wonderland narrative and present each piece as a different colour looking tiled and vibrant. I experimented with various colours and chose was worked best. I also presented Khan styled work by scanning my images onto coloured or tracing paper (to collage with) and rescanning them in a different position to create blurs even more. The surreal look of parts of the photograph being collaged related to the Alice film too.

I felt that my final outcome went well but the one problem was the time I had to do it, I spent a lot of the time limit experimenting and had this been a real timed exam I would not have finished in time, next time I will know to be more prepared and ready. I felt that my experimentation work went very well and did help lead up to my final being much better. I feel that the placing of my photograph fragments used for the collaging could have been printed and placed more accurately, although I do not feel this ruins the piece because it is only very slightly out of place. I am happy with my final outcomes and feel that they sit well together, I am happy I chose the same colour scheme for the collaging on each photograph because I feel this has stopped it from becoming too busy and over powered.

Overall I enjoyed this project, I feel that because of the previous project involving so many experiments (some of which I like some I didn't) I felt much more clear on what to do again and what to avoid, also how to take these even further and have a clearer mind on what to explore to create a successful outcome. My opportunities to take photographs of such advanced costumes that were so full of effort also really helped with my narrative and subject matter, also the presentation of the fashion within them.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Experimentation For Final Outcome.

Here I decided to muddle up the simple portraits I had taken (with intention to reticulate) and combined them with portraits with the same compositional distance as a contrast between male and female, fashionable and casual. The shattered idea was inspired from the shattered glass photoshop tutorial I previously did. Also, as an alternative to reticulation my teacher suggested I cut up my actual negatives and re arrange them with other photographs, I knew this wouldn't work because of the various exposure times used on each individual photograph, the pieces of one negative could be very contrasted and perfectly printed, and the other pieces rather dull and under exposed, so instead I did this practically with existing prints by cutting them whilst they were stuck back to back with blu tac and laying the pieces down in place removing the top photograph in specific places to reveal the other photograph underneath. I had this in mind as a final piece if it had worked so I porduced these on larger paper than all of my other experiments which are 7x9 inches and did these 7x11 inches, here are my experimentations -
This one worked very well because of how well the photographs fitted together, I should have included more parts of the male photograph to allow the mixed idea to come through more.

This second attempt worked very well too, I liked this idea very much, I think it is the compositional choice of photographs that make it work so well, also the emphasis on the fantasy styled fashion in this photograph and a similar emphasis on the casual clothing.
I felt that the pieces on this one were slightly too large and took away the effect of the shattering because they looked too soft and large rather than small and snappy, allowing them to mix more. I like the view of both models hair here but feel the composition of the casual photograph may be too large to be able to match up to the Alice photograph.
To make these pieces more interesting I thought that I could sew the pieces together and see if this would work. I liked the way it looked when I started but it was very complicated to sew the pieces when they weren't originally attached to eachother, I didn't like the effect enough to do the rest of it so I rethought my ideas and began to experiment on something else.
A close up of the stitching, it looks better close up because I feel that the larger sized pieces above took away the impact of the threading, or perhaps it was too thin to be seen and didn't have much of an impact on my work.

Before I moved on I decided to paint on the mouths of these compositions (inspired by my previous work on Wonders) to see if this made an impact on it at all, Instead it looked too small to notice in detail and rather messy where it was cut, I didn't like how random and irrelevant it looked. These pieces worked better being stuck onto black card rather than white to emphasise the shatters.
Here is a test strip of the photograph I wanted to use to create more Khan inspired blurs on the 7x10 inched larger scale. I did it in sets of 3 seconds, F16, filter 5, the highest exposure was 15 and still underexposed so I chose to go by 20 seconds.
I split the exposure time into 3 (roughly 7 seconds each blur) and tried to create blurs that were similar to what I did before but this time going off of the page. I wanted to see if I could use another sheet of paper to create the rest of the photograph that was missing in these blurs onto this.
Using a timing of 26 seconds (9 seconds each blur), F16 and filter 5 I wanted to do the same with this photograph to see which one worked best.
On this sheet I used the same timings for each blur as the first attempt and tried to produce the other side of the composition to match up to that first attempt, where I had to cover up half of the paper to produce the blur on the right, the inaccuracy of this caused an unexposed line down the middle of this. I tried to do this more accurately another 4 times (in my stekchbook) but the line was either under exposed and white or over exposed and black which didn't look technically good to be used as a final outcome so I thought of another idea instead.
Using an existing print I experimented with paint splatters inspired by Pollock. I chose orange because it contrasted the black and whit eof the photograph and was an original colour in this costume. I felt that it wasn't noticed enough and wanted something more dark and less transparent.
I chose to try red and do it on this composition because of the original colour of the Queen of Hearts character is red, I liked the combination of splatters and blurs but wanted to peronalise this and enhanc eit even more.
 I decided to collage a texture and try to print my blurred photographs onto it, I chose neutral colours of tissue paper, card and coloured paper so that my photographs didn't look too over powered, I thought that the texture would be the most interesting part of this piece and this wouldn't work because the thick texture of the collage wouldn't fit through the pritner to allow me to scan my blurred photograph onto it. Above is the one successful piece that did go through the printer (the collage had to be cut into 4s because I used 4 sheets of 7x9 inched paper for my one photograph so that it was overall A2 in size, much bigger than what I would normally go for and relating to the size of Khan's blurred photographs). I decided to put hand prints of paint onto my photographs too, this and the collaging idea was a personal add to the inspired blurs and splatters, I thought it would work well and fit with the theme of the project over all.
I scanned my collage onto paper and  printed my blurred photograph onto this instead to see what it would have looked like as a whole composition. I felt that the neutral was too dull and that brighter colours wouldn't be overbearing so I wanted to try this out next. All four parts of the photograph were blurred 4 times for this composition, I thought that this was too many and made the subject matter slightly unclear so I decided to produce another 4 sheey composition and this time use 3 blurs. I also then decided to leave half of the photograph unblurred to allow stills and detail of the fashion to come through so I could still clearly show off my theme.
Here I produced my collage by cutting up the actual prints, also scanning parts of them onto tracing paper and coloured card to see what worked best, I used these blurs combined with my collaging and added splatters and hand prints, I was very pleased with this outcome and wanted to make a series of 3 for my final piece, I felt that one would be too empty and it needed more to it. The colours represent the vibranc eof the costumes, I knew that when creating the other 2 pieces for the final (I used this one because I liked it so much) I would have to keep the colours the same and follow the same pattern of thems o that it didn't become too random and confusing.

Progress Review.

Throughout this project I have experimented with a range of techniques. I have used photoshop quite a bit to produce digital experiments, I did this on my darkroom photographs as well as my digital ones. I mainly experimented with creating make-up for a more dramatic effect, for example the zombie tutorial, also creating dark effects like my gothic scene, I stated at the beginning of this project I wanted to produce something fantastical, or something involving fictional characters or creatures, I also felt that I could do this effectively on photoshop because of looking at works by James Davies and Patrizio de Renzo and seeing what they had created. Often in past photography assessments I have struggled to think of ways to enhance my photographs in terms of things in the darkroom because I have wondered if it will ruin the effect of my photographs, so I tried effects on the tones and look of the photographs I had taken by themselves rather than with things manipulated into them, for example posterizing and the nuance effect. Darkroom experiments I tried were handmade negatives on photographs rather than by themselves because I had enjoyed that before and I wanted to put the effect to a better use. I also created sandwich prints but this time focused more on the subject matter. I also tried muddling photographs together to create a shattered effect inspired by a shattered glass effect I produced on photoshop. Reticulation was something I tried that didn't work as well as I thought it would, I suspect the lack of different between the hot and cold chemical temperatures was the mistake I made. Inspired by Bec Wonders I attempted combining prints by painting onto the photographs (mixed media) and also I did this by using darkroom prints giving it a ripped off effect on the base photograph, with the gaps being filled with another photograph of appropriate subject matter.

I have developed my ideas imaginatively by taking the costumes in my shoots much further and of higher standard (inspired by Viona and Beate Pischl), I also used experiments such as handmade negatives to give a snowy effect which like fashion shoots by these artists, would be used to create a mood or an advanced and difficult scene to produce. The idea of involving supernatural elements by experimenting on photoshop with zombie make-up and backdrops inspired by Disney's Alice in Wonderland which is all seen on my blog. This helps add to my aim of fantasy in my work rather than something realistic and normal.

I have researched photographers such as Bec Wonders, Viona, Idris Khan, Beate Pischl and analysed their work in depth. Photographers I have looked at in past work include Dan Mountford's double exposures which I had my own take on by sandwich printing, tracing on my photographs for patterns on top of them was inspired by Wawi, a photographer I briefly looked at and mentioned seen as they didn't inspire me that much because the work I produced based on them was something I didn't want to take further. I am still yet to look at Jackson Pollock, although he is a painter, his effect created with paint splatters looked appealing to me if combined with a photograph which I wanted to think about trying out for a final piece.

I have explored a wide range of ideas for my theme, I have tried producing work to build up to a final by using my Idris Khan blurred photographs, paint splattering on them (Pollock, which also led me to collage things and colour onto them as my own idea for an alternative to paint or something to combine with it), putting Bec Wonders' paint on the mouths idea on my photograph but cutting them up to create a different enhancement. Also having my digital experiments as well as darkroom ones helped me choose which direction I wanted to take for my final. I found my main influence to be Idris Khan, because just producing darkroom prints that were slightly blurred because of his work, I combined these with collage, paint, and partially blurred the photographs leaving half of the photograph in focus which bought in relations to other photographers work and inspired me to put my own twist onto them, leading to a successful idea for a final outcome. This showed my refinement of experimentation, when the blurring was too simple I added collage, when this still looked empty I added paint, I tried this by itself, I also realised Wonders' paint idea with the shattered photographs didn't work well so I scrapped taking that idea any further. Also with the blurred photographs on a collage, I experimented with what I would use to make them, I tried photocopying my photographs onto the collages and also putting my collage onto my actual prints from the darkroom, I realised this worked best so I took this further. Pollocks use of colours was quite minimal, e.g. around 3 colours rather than loads in a painting, I kept mine similar by not using too many colours because I thought that this could become distracting or over bearing to my photographs.

I have annotated all of my work on my blog to easily see what went well, what didn't work and what needed improving. In my sketchbook I have variously toned prints from the darkroom of the same thing, this is because if one was over/under exposed or lacking contrast I would do another test strip to improve the outcome of the print, I have annotated them with their timings and put them in order of worst to best to show the improvement and development of making my results as good as they can be.

I found my photoshop experiments which change the filter of my photographs rather than manipulate them least useful because of how they lacked fantasy and enhancement, they looked boring compared to experiments like the handmade negatives which had an illusion of what is real and what is fake to them. My reticulation attempt was useless seen as it didn't work how it was meant to, the photographs I took for this were portraits of people which I thought I could combine with my Alice photographs seen as I had planned the shattered effect with, I didn't put much thought into these portraits incase the process didn't work. Overall my paint splattering and blurred photographs were what I decided to take further because of how they worked well together by creating a childlike element which follows the narrative from the film, but also lets my work show the creative fashion side of it.

I=To develop my idea for the outcome even more, I will need to experiment with what colours of paint and collaging materials (such as paper and tissue paper) to use. I will also need to see if these designs work best by themselves or in a series of photographs, the scale needed to be decided to, I was using 4 sheets of large paper to produce something larger and more noticable. I felt that tho shade a change to normal sized prints and made more a statement, possible because of the large size of pollocks paintings the splatters were seen very easily and these would become big and overbearing on small photographs and also not give as much of an effect because of the lack of space.

Ideas For Final Outcome.

Jackson Pollock.

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionism movement. I chose to look at his work because I felt that I could enhance my own with paint splatters which I had previously seen of his work.

This painting titled 'No. 5', 1948, consisted entirely of paint splatters, although the effect of it by itself didn't inspire me, the idea of using this style on my own work could be interesting.
Below are experiments I did by splashing paint onto my blurred photographs to see how the result of the combined enhancement worked.


Reticulation is the distortion of the emulsion layer of the film strip. This is caused by taking it from one bath of chemicals to another with a dramatic change in temperature. The effect achieved it an over exaggerated grainy effect which I thought could look quite ruined which could work well in contrast with my photographs showing fashion. 

My idea of the actual photographs on this film strip wasn't thought through too carefully, I took lots of portraits of people with a plain backdrop so that I would still be able to successfully paint onto them (continuing my Bec Wonders idea) and have it look effective still, it was a last minute idea for experimentation so continuing my costumes idea wasn't successful here.

I decided to do this because it was an experiment that hadn't been done in college and I wanted to see if I could take it further assuming it would work. I could possible still stick to blurring images with it being an extra enhancement, I could even involve the paint with it from my inspiration from bed Wonders.

1. First of all I mixed the appropriate amount of developer to develop my film but I put it in the fridge first so that it was stone cold. The usual developing time is 7 minutes and I increased this by twice as much so that the photographs could develop clearly for longer because of the temperature change.
2. For the stop, the water which is mixed with the chemical had to be at least 70c in temperature, I boiled it and added it to my film, this should cause the emulsion layer to fizz and bubble. The timing is twice as long to allow this to happen as much as possible.
3. I fixed the film normally and washed it normally too.

The result was unsuccessful, when my negatives were fully developed they looked completely normal, when under the enlarger they still did, thinking back I thought maybe the cold developer wasn't cold enough so the change in temperature didn't take place as effectively.

Here is my contact sheet of photographs, although I didn't print them separately because my aim was unsuccessful I aim to experiment on a few of them with my other ideas (Wonders, Khan).