The Last up-date

In a few blog posts I have talked about the development of my dissertation project work, as a way to making sense of what I’m doing through writing about it. I also thought it would be interesting to share with you how I go about creating my art. On Sunday 9th I finally finished taking all the photos I had planned, and after 4 months I can finally announce this project as officially done…well with just the editing left to do but let’s go along with the delusion that I’m completely done.

Being the first time that I have a created a whole body of work in just digital photography, it  has allowed me to learn quite a bit about how to use my camera efficiently, as well as learning more about my own identity as a photographer. Along with several realisations, I have also learned a few lessons, such as never have just one battery when going out for a long photoshoot,  how lighting is able to transform ambiance and don’t be such a control freak, it’s ok to let things flow once in a while.

To recap, in a previous blog I have discussed how I had to start from scratch after admitting to myself that the house I was using simply wasn’t harmonizing with the detached ambiance I wanted to create.  As it was a highly decorated house, it was creating a type of identity, hence a feeling of attachment to the place. Luckily for me, one of the other models offered his apartment, which happened to be more minimalistic with plain furnishing, that created nice sharp geometric shapes. This by itself helped me to better establish a cold disconnected mood which I was aiming for, making me feel more comfortable in the direction I had taken. I kept using the house along with direct light, the direct light aided to emphasise that I’m not documenting life but rather staging it, in a theatrical or rather cinematographic manner.

Progressing with the series, I kept three rules in my head; think in shapes, don’t over stage scenarios and use a light source. The first rule revolved around creating a composition in terms of shapes, I tried to integrate as many geometric elements to that to also unify the images all together. The second one… which maybe is the most important, was not to over direct the models, most of the time I got better Images when they started feeling comfortable in the scenes and adding their own character in them, while the third is for the reason mentioned above.  The last step is now to edit them, title them, print them, frame them, and then upload the series onto my Instagram for everyone to see. Until then, here is another sneak peak of what is to come, so stay tuned.

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Another up-date

In my 2nd titled “A good Decision” and 6th titled “An Up-date” Blog post, I blogged about my progress in relation to this project work in which I used digital photography as my main medium. These blogs serve more as a way for me to analyse and document my process which you can read if you are interested in the way I work. From that last blog I had some reflections to do so I was not convinced with what I was producing. My main problems where two, the aesthetic of the house I was using and the sense of “authenticity” I was not managing to achieve.

The problem I was having with that house, was about how the house was elaborately decorated which gave it a lot of character or rather, a sense of identity. Also the physical structure of the house, which was decorated with beautiful patterned tiles, columns, decorated doors etc, and certain features couldn’t be cropped out of the photograph resulting in a poor composition. To resolve this issue I had to find another house which had a cold aesthetic with minimum or very geometric décor, this would create a mutual mood with the scenes that would be happening within the house, as so far most of the scenes revolved around a sense of tension, quarrel and betrayal. Luckily enough, the third model I was working with suggested that I would go over to his house and see if his apartment would do the trick. On visiting the block of apartments, I could already tell that it could work, as that block was relatively new and had a minimalistic and clean outer aesthetic. The inside of the apartment was the same, with plain walls, doors and windows with minimum decoration. After a quick inspection I decided to work with only one of the model and see what happens.

Another problem was that I wasn’t managing to achieve a sense of “authenticity”, what I mean by that is, that as digital photography is very commonly used for commercial purposes it can easily make a Fine Art project look commercial as well.  As was previously suggested by my tutor, I though off maybe shifting to analogue photography, hoping this would help as it has a more authentic aesthetic, but due to the time constraints and not really believing that it solved my problem, I disregarded the option. As a plan B, I had done a course of how to develop your own film in the dark room, which was really interesting, so if I changed my mind and switched to analogue at least I would know how to develop my own photographs. The solution was less drastic, I decided to use a direct light source, which was suggested to me by a previous Lecturer, to create a more dramatic and theatrical effect and also increase contrasts in the photos. Also I’m now using Adobe Lightroom instead of Photoshop, which I personally found gives a larger range of options that can help you lift your image. For example, Lightroom gives you the option to control how white you want your white areas to be and how black you want your black areas to be. For me this was enough to increase further the contrast I wanted, which in turn added a more dramatic effect.

To give you, the readers, a more solid idea of how the project is evolving I added some photos, which if you like, you can compare with the ones in the other two blogs;

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An up-date

In my second blog post titled “A good decision”, I discussed how for once, I took the right decision being to use digital Photography, instead of painting, as the main medium for my dissertation project. I also mention how I managed finding three of the most co-orporative guys who have volunteered to pose for me, making my life a little bit easier. Before reading this blog post I would suggest you read the previous blog post so what I’m about to blab about.

Since my second blog post, I managed to pick up momentum and conducted another three individual “photo-shoots” and I though by writing a blog post about it would help to re-evaluate on what the hell I’m actually trying to do. So far things have been going smoothly, but self-doubt appeared again, so I decided to become friends with it and give it a friendly new name, which is Sem, short for “self-evaluation mechanism”. Basically the idea has officially shifted towards creating an ambiguous narrative revolving three males, where their relationship in constantly on edge, making it questionable as I give no conclusions, just subtle hints. The new paranoia my head that is to not create cliché photos which you can easily find plenty of on tumblr and pintrest but rather create unique images that can stand strongly within the context of contemporary photography.

To try and achieve this I went back to an old technique which I commonly use, that being automatic writing, which simply consist of writing whatever comes in your head. In my case I tried to write random sense which would then be reacted by the three models, ranging from “a male standing in a stiff manner on the dinner table” to “a hand can be seen on the floor behind an arch way” and many other pleasant things. I’m also playing with this idea of using object to create more ambiguity, such as placing female object within a scene, but no female character never shows. I also got the idea of adding a child in the mix of the scenes which would question her/his relations with the three main characters.

I still think it’s too early to say where this project might take as I still have the rest of March and all of the month of April to develop it. I want to create a photographic series that has a story and a meaning but will be presented in an encrypted manner that will make you itch to find out…that is my goal. In the meantime, enjoy the three sneak peaks attached below.

 

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A good decision

As I briefly mentioned in the previous blog post, in my dissertation I’m analysing ambiguity in artworks, of a recognizable nature. This basically means an artwork that is somewhat “realistic” and the viewer can make out what the depicted objects are. Ambiguity, as many other things, has its own spectrum and can manifest itself In different ways, but to keep it simple I’m more interested in “what is happening ?” rather than “what is that ?”.

A few months ago I was still undecided regarding what medium to choose for the final artwork in relation to the dissertation, which would then be exhibited at the end of the year exhibition…….I hope. I wasn’t sure if to create a series of painting or a series of photographs, but after realizing how much I wanted to include the element of the narrative and how much of a slow painter I actually am, I decided to go with photography.

It was Saturday 25th February, around 3:30pm and I had just arrived home. I had a glass of water (because I’m still struggling with the body weight issue), opened my laptop, put in my SD card and realized I had taken the right decision. I had just gotten home for a photo shoot I had planned with three of the friendliest and cooperative guys I have ever met. With their help, and the fact that two of the guys who are a couple volunteered their house, I was able to start creating this ambiguous narrative featuring these three characters within the same house. Playing with the idea of relationships, sexuality and discomfort.

As they have never done a project of this sort and I haven’t either, the beginning was a bit of a test and adjust kind of scenario. Things quickly changed when I stopped being such a control freak and left them act as they normally would within certain boundaries…then things started moving smoothly. Below you can see a picture of me acting as if I had an idea of what I’m doing.

This is actually another reason why I’m glad I chose photography, for the first time I’m working with people rather than being closed within the walls of my small makeshift studio. In a way, I see more as a collaboration between me and them as they complete the image with their unique characters and facial expressions which make the image look more natural and unplanned. I honestly can’t wait to see how this project will shape up after I complete all the shootings, in mid-May. In the meantime enjoy these two behind the scene photos.

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