Evaluation

Throughout this project there have been a variety of positives and negatives that I have come in contact with, which have challenged me, but mostly I have been able to overcome them and make my work to the best of my abilities. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the requirement to quarantine, I was unable to create my third and final photoshoot and image that I wanted, to create a trio of images. This led me to focus a lot more on editing the images that I already have to the best of my abilities, making sure to try out a variety of different techniques, but it also allowed me to concentrate a lot more on my research, and having more of an understanding into the subject I am choosing to work on. When starting this project, I wanted to give myself a challenge, as I was originally inspired by Gregory Crewdson and his elaborate staged set ups. One major aspect of his work that drew me to start this project, was the surreal feel that I got when viewing the images, and this is what I wanted to achieve with mine. This then inspired me to think about dreams, and how this could be a good way to create surreal images. I did not want to make these dreams up, so I decided to do a survey, and ask people around me if they have had any strange dreams, in which I received a few.

Whilst creating these images, it was quite a journey, as I had to do a lot of testing and research to be able to understand the lighting and set up I would have needed for each shoot, as well as become more confident in using photoshop, as this was the main tool that I used to create my images. I found using the studio to be very useful, and was an aspect that I wanted to incorporate into my project, as I feel it is the strongest area of photography for me, and I wanted to demonstrate this within my work. I experimented with props, outfits, and also models, which is something that I had not explored deeply within all my other projects, and looking back on the final images that I have produced, I feel that the experimentation within different aspects of creating the images has allowed me to create the best image that I could have.

When looking at my final images I am very happy with the results that I have produced, as I feel that not only have I been able to produce the best images for the situation that we are in, but I have also developed my skills in photography further, such as photoshop and preparation for photoshoots. Overall, in the circumstances that we have been put in, I am very happy with the way my project has turned out, and do not think I could have done anything further.

Arthur Rackham Research

Arthur Rackham (19 September 1867 – 6 September 1939) was an English book illustrator. He is recognized as one of the leading literary figures during the Golden Age of British book illustration. His work is noted for its robust pen and ink drawings, which were combined with the use of watercolor. Rackham’s 51 color pieces for the Early American tale became a turning point in the production of books since – through color-separated printing – it featured the accurate reproduction of color artwork. Some of his best-known works include the illustrations for Rip Van WinklePeter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.

I found it beneficial to look into the work of Arthur Rackham, as his way in which he illustrates creates a very fairy-tale feel, which is due to the fact he illustrates for books. I wanted to research his work, as the dream-like nature of his images inspire my work. It also makes me think that with dreams, you are able to create anything within your dream, as anything is possible. Rackham is able to create and draw anything that comes to mind, which makes me think about the ways in which I can further emphasize the dream aesthetic within my images. In the two illustrations above, I chose these examples of his work, as the color palette of both images, as well as the subject matter, relate heavily to my chosen subjects. The way in which he uses the dresses to mirror the surroundings makes them feel one with their environment, whereas my goal was to separate them from their environment and create contrast within the images. Furthermore, the use of animals within the images helps to create a story, which is also what I wish to achieve with my work; with the viewer looking at my work and able to come up with a story for the image. To conclude, I find Rackham’s illustrations to be very eye catching and whimsicle, similar to what I wish to achieve. This could be a route that I took when choosing the dreams that I was going to portray.

Tom Hunter Ophelia Research

Tom Hunter--The Way Home-Opehlia by Millaist1b

‘Life and Death in Hackney’ paints a landscape, creating a melancholic beauty out of the post-industrial decay where the wild buddleia and sub-cultural inhabitants took root and bloomed. This maligned and somewhat abandoned area became the epicentre of the new warehouse rave scene of the early 90’s. During this time the old print factories, warehouses and workshops became the playground of a disenchanted generation, taking the DIY culture from the free festival scene and adapting it to the urban wastelands. This Venice of the East End, with its canals, rivers and waterways, made a labyrinth of pleasure gardens and pavilions in which thousands of explorers travelled through a heady mixture of music and drug induced trances.
All the images draw upon these influences combining the beauty and the degradation with everyday tales of abandonment and loss to music and hedonism. The reworking of John Millais’s ‘Ophelia’ shows a young girl whose journey home from one such rave was curtailed by falling into the canal and losing herself to the dark slippery, industrial motorway of a bygone era.
By taking on some of the attributes associated with the Pre-Raphaelite artists, such as social engagement, which has been largely erased from the cultural understanding of this group, and the obvious intertwining of beauty and nature Hunter has reinvestigated his much maligned inner city landscape and society to create an unusual chronicle of contemporary, urban Britain.’

I decided to look at Tom Hunter’s ‘Life and Death in Hackney’ series, as his image named ‘Ophelia’ relates both to my train scene image due to the water, as well as the forest scene due to the fairy like image. The image pictured above presents a much darker feel, as it is about a girl that had fallen into a canal and lost her life. The colours used to present this really help to emphasise the dark nature of this image. This is interesting to see, as the images that I have created for my forest scene are a lot brighter, but still present that underlying tone of being lost and encompassed by nature. The positioning of the subject within the image above is similar to the positioning that I have chosen for one of my edits, as they both lay within the scene, covered by nature. I think this helps to make the landscape within both images become more powerful, which is what I wanted to achieve within my dream, almost as though she is surrendering to nature. Furthermore, the use of water within the image enhances the notion of being encompassed even further. This image allows me to get inspiration for both of my images that I have been able to create, as the water within the image is very dark, matching closely to the clothing of the subject as well as the surroundings. This is something that I have struggled with when creating my train scene images, as I wanted to be able to choose a type of water that would integrate well with the surroundings. This would be difficult due to the train being the scene, and water not naturally flowing there, whereas in the image above it works perfectly.

Overall, this work by Tom Hunter has allowed me to see the different ways in which I can create a similar feeling to an image and how this effects the view on it. Furthermore, when compared to Gregory Crewdson’s take on Ophelia, it is clear to see that there are different ways to create a similar image, whilst portraying similar feelings and emotions.

Exhibition Space Plan

Due to the fact that we are not able to have the show, I will demonstrate how I would have wanted my work to be presented. Due to my subject matter being quite adventurous, I realised very quickly after starting the project that I would only be able to produce a few images overall for this project, but to a high standard. This made me think about the scale that I wanted to have my images to. I decided I wanted them quite large, as there is a lot of detail within each image, and due to the vibrancy of the ones that I have produced, I feel as though bigger images would create a more lasting impact on the people viewing them. I am unsure on the space in which we were meant to be presenting our images, but I decided not to make them too large, as sometimes this can make them inaccessible and difficult to place within a space. I thought that the size A0 might be more practical, as this would have allowed me to print them easily using the university printer rather than having to get them printed elsewhere. When printing, the paper that I would have used would be lustre paper, as I have always felt this is the most practical to use. As in a gallery space, the light in the room might obscure the image. Furthermore, I would have wanted to mount them onto hardboard, as this is a sturdy material that does not add too much bulk to the overall appearance of the image, and this is also a lot easier to find in larger sizes. Due to the large size of the images, this would also keep the weight of them down, which means there is less of a chance of them falling once displayed.
The three images that I have produced for this project have all been landscape, which is very fortunate as this creates more of a uniformed look when presented. There are two ways that I wanted to present these images. The first way would be to have them vertical, so that they were on top of each other, but on further thought, this would be difficult and would not be good for viewing, as because the images are large, this means they would be quite high up on the wall, and viewers would not be able to see the top image. The other way I wanted to present my images, which is more practical, is to have them horizontally next to each other. This is more practical, as it allows me to be able to place them at eye level, which has more of an impact on the viewer, and they can see it a lot better. Furthermore, this also allows me to have the text underneath each image, whereas the other option would make this more difficult. I wanted to provide text which gave a brief overview of each dream that I am recreating, as this allows the viewer to have a better understanding of the emotions and feelings I am trying to portray in each one. These would each roughly be around A6 in size, as this allows me to write a substantial amount on each image without it looking too small in comparison to the image. This would also be done on lustre paper, for the same reason as I would have printed the images. Overall, I am confident that the way in which I would have presented my work would have been effective.

Final Images

AMBER TRAIN 2forest refinementAMBER TRAIN BETTERFINAL AMBER 1 FOREST second edit

With choosing my final images, my original plan was to have three different scenes of dreams, but due to the coronavirus, I have been unable to shoot the third scene. This has left me with just two final images, and I was thinking on ways in which I could improve this. I decided that I was going to include my two best edits from each of my shoots, to show a variety, and my skills within photoshop.

With my forest scene images, I chose two very different poses from the model to break the images up. I think they both portray a sense of fairy-tale and wonder, allowing the viewer to explore the story in their mind. With the first forest image, the lighting allows for a more light-hearted dream of an image, whereas I have decided to contrast this within my second forest image, where it is darker, as well as the forest being denser. I tried to mirror the emotions portrayed within the image, on the background that I chose to incorporate. For example, the first forest scene shows the model laying down sleeping, looking comfortable and happy. I have mirrored this by adding lots of light and space, emphasising the beauty of the forest more than anything else. Whereas with the second forest edit I decided to add a thicker wooded area, with more shadows, as the model is in a distressed state. This is why I chose to use both of these images rather than just one for my final images, as it explores both sides of the dream, with it being both beautiful, yet slightly scary.

With the two train scene images that I have chosen to use for my final images, they differ in the time frames that the model is pictured in. I wanted to experiment with how realistic I could get the image to look even though there is water flowing into it. With the first final image pictured, there is a modern twist on it, with the model being pictured in an underground tube, which allows the viewer to relate more to the image. and feel the fear within the models face. Whereas the second edit has a more dream like feel to it, as the model matches the type of train that she is in, with it being very old fashioned but higher class. I made this edit as it shows that within a dream you can create whatever comes to your mind, with the options being endless.

Overall, I am happy with my final images, as I feel they show a variety of skills that I have presented, whilst also exploring different emotions within each image, that the viewers may feel within the dreams.

Forest Shoot Refinement

_K7C0411forest refinement

I wanted to experiment with my forest shoot further, to see if I could use any different images from the shoot to create a similar feel to the first image I created, an then compare the two to see which one was more successful. I decided to use the image above as I wanted to link it in with the idea of dreams, and how this could be the lady who had the dream, sleeping within it. I chose this background, as I like the lighting which almost creates a spotlight onto the forest floor. This was not too difficult to rectify on the model, as she was lit in a similar way. Similarly to the other image, I created a drop shadow to further enhance the lighting and make the subject look integrated within the image. I also added stuff within the foreground to add more depth to the image, rather than the subject just laying on the forest floor, which I similarly did in the other image. I enjoy the way this image looks, and due to my editing skills that I gained from the other edits, I was able to do this fairly easily.

When comparing the two edits that I have created, I have decided that I prefer my first edit, as I feel as though there is more drama within it, which is what I was hoping to achieve, as I want to emphasise that dream state as much as possible.

Train Scene Refinement

AMBER TRAIN 2

I decided to do a refinement of my train scene image, as I have received opinions from other people on ways that I could improve the image, and I wanted to see if this would work better. The first way that I wanted to refine the image was by creating a more modern scene. As my lecturer stated, a dream can mean anything, and anything can happen, which suggested to me that I can alter it in any way I wanted. Furthermore, I was told that the previous image that I created did not resemble a train well enough, as it was too old fashioned.

To improve from the criticism I received, I decided to use a more well known version of what we perceive a train to be, and that is the underground. I chose this scene as the way that the seats are positioned allows for the subject to be easily placed in the middle, as well as creating leading lines towards her. As well as this, the lighting in my previous image did not completely match the lighting on the model, whereas in this image it matches slightly better, as it is above the models head. Furthermore, the colour tones of her dress are cool which match the train colours better than the previous image. Finally, I wanted to match this cool tone with the water, in which I wanted to continue with the running water, from the previous image. This worked well to enhance the sense of flooding on the train.

Overall, I prefer this edit of the train scene, as it is a more modern twist on my previous image, as I have taken the constructive criticism into consideration and improved from it.

Gideon Mendel Research

SubPortsWeb-1SubPortsWeb-2

I chose to research Gideon Mendel, due to the images pictured above. I found this project interesting due to the reflections and the use of water within the images. Due to my train scene images, I wanted to research water and reflections within them, and thought that Gideon Mendel’s work, was a good example of it.

Since 2007, Mendel has been working on his project ‘Drowning World’, which is an advocacy response to flooding, and his take on the climate change in the world. This has a very personal feel to it, as he is interlinking his feelings on the subject, within the images. This can be seen in the images, as many landscapes are taken from far away, capturing the whole scene, whereas Mendel has got very close to the subjects. The way in which the subjects have eye contact with the camera helps to emphasise this personal feel to the images, and has more effect on the viewer. Furthermore, the angle in which he has chose to shoot the images, for example the two pictured above, almost looks as though he is also emerged in the water. The reason I was so intrigued by these images in relation to my project, is because the reflection of the water plays a large role in the feeling of the entire image. In both of the images the reflection is very clear, where you can see the faces of the subject, but they are all distorted. This relates well t the subject that he is trying to portray, as it shows the climate change is distorting the earth. This relates to my work and the reflections I have trying to create, as I want the water to portray distorted images, as this further relates to the dream like state of the image.

Overall, this work has helped me figure out the importance of reflections within these images, and how I can use this to further my work and emphasise the feelings and subject matter.

Water Reflection Research

Due to the exploration of my train scene image, I have decided that it will be interesting to look into reflection in water within photography, and the different types that I could use within my image. With the test shoot that I have already created, I used a very rough water, which allowed me to create less of a reflection within the water. I was advised to try a variety of different water, which would mean exploring the way that my subject and her surroundings will be portrayed within the reflection.

Reflection in still water

Even just the different conditions of a body of water will lend a unique feel to any reflection photograph. Taking shots of calmer waters with reflections lets you show ideal symmetry in your images while taking shots of more turbulent waters gives the picture more character, as textures in the water come to the forefront. Oftentimes, going out to a body of water early in the morning affords the best chance at getting calmer waters for your reflection photography. Note that finding a completely still body of water is very hard to do and will take a lot of patience because wind can easily disrupt the water surface. Don’t forget to take a compass with you: this’ll help you locate a subject in the west that’ll light up very nicely as the sun rises, making for an ideal reflection in the water!

Reflection in more turbulent water

When you have ripples in the water, you get a shot at a different kind of beauty in reflection. Abstraction will occur because of added texture to the water’s surface. This will make whatever subject you have reflected appear more surreal as well. Note that you don’t even need to wait for some wind to churn up the water a bit. Just shoot with a longer exposure to duplicate this effect successfully. A longer exposure allows for extra time for the water to move as the shutter is open. At the end, you’ll get a dreamy, abstract appearance in your photograph.

Whilst looking at the two different water textures that I could explore for my image, I am instantly more drawn to the turbulent water, as this is more dramatic, and as stated above, the reflected appearance is more surreal. I will explore both options within the train scene, making sure to use the correct reflection within it, but I feel as though turbulent water will support the overall image more.

Sam Taylor Wood Research

Sam Taylor-Wood born in 1967, is an English visual artist, filmmaker and photographer. Her father abandoned the family when she was just nine. Her mother is an astrologer and a yoga instructor raised her. She has a younger sister and a maternal half brother. Taylor-Wood went to Beacon Community College. In the early 1990s, she began displaying her fine art photography skills. At this time, she was in a relationship with Henry Bond, artist. Later, she married Jay Jopling, an art dealer, in 1997. After 11 years of marriage, they wanted to separate.

In 1994, she exhibited Killing Time, a multi-screen visual work in which to a opera score four people mimed. Since this retrospection, Taylor-Wood began focusing on such style. In 1996, she made Traversty of a Mockery and Pent-Up. Her first solo show was held in Chisenhale Gallery in East London. She was one of the nominees for the Turner Prize, 1998 but she was defeated by the painter Chris Ofili. However, in 1997 in Venice Biennale she won the Illy Café Prize for the category of the Most Promising Young Artist.
In 2000, she created a photomural for Selfridges, the department store in London, whilst it was being restored. The mural depicted twenty one cultural idols including Alex James, author; Ray Winstone and Richard E.Grant, actors; and Elton John. The figures were a reference to popular art works and past and present films.

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The image above is the reason I hose to research Sam Taylor Wood, as her video of David Beckham sleeping is very interesting when looking at dreams. Entitled David, the video portrait is 67 minutes long and will be shown on a continuous loop for the next year.
“I wanted to create a direct, closely observed study,” said artist Sam Taylor-Wood who created the footage. “Filming while he was asleep produces a different view from the many familiar, public images.” The Real Madrid midfielder has been at the centre of media speculation about his marriage to former Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham following newspaper allegations about his private life. Sam Taylor-Wood, a contemporary of British artists like Damien Hirst and Jake Chapman, called the footage a “reverential and vulnerable image”. I found this very interesting. As Taylor-Wood states above, this shows a very well known celebrity in his most vulnerable state. This makes me think about the significance that dreams have on us, as in our most vulnerable state, our mind is able to reveal to us our inner thoughts.