Learning outcomes end of part five (constructed realities and the fabricated image)
Part five has considered photography in terms of ‘setting the scene’ using a setting as a way of articulating a story or narrative. Just like in literature, where every word is there for a reason, likewise in photography, every prop, costume, location and detail is there for a reason. The learning from this part of the course has been around staged images and how they tell their story.
I have been particularly interested in how some practitioners (Hannah Starkey, Jeff Wall and Tom Hunter) are inspired by literature (poems and novels) and by paintings; this is something that I feel that I could engage with and pursue myself; having a literature background.
Creation of images that demonstrate a practical and conceptual understanding of the appropriate use of techniques
The single image for assignment five had to be staged using props, costume, models, location and lighting to contribute to the meaning of the image.
Practically, for assignment five I had to use models and an outdoor setting, in the dark. I had to liaise with my models to arrange times that suited all of us; my first ‘date’ was hampered by rain and had to be cancelled. I had to make sure the lamps were available on the arranged date and had to wait for it to be dark enough, before the shoot could begin. I knew I would need my tripod for a ight time image to avoid any movement blur with long exposures. Practically, I understood how I needed to work to produce the final image that I wanted and used lighting, positioning and staging, as well as camera settings in order to achieve it.
Conceptually, I knew that my one image had to convey my idea. I also knew that all my decisions regarding the image had to further that idea. Firstly, I wanted my image to actually resemble the Godot image in its night time setting, bare branches, black sky, two characters, bare setting etc. I feel that my staging and technical decisions achieved that. Secondly I wanted to infer Beckett’s themes of the absurdness of existence and its pointlessness by showing two subjects waiting while engrossed in their virtual lives.
Demonstration of an emerging critical awareness and ability to translate ideas into imagery
Consideration of the many practitioners that we have been introduced to in this part of the course has highlighted those photographers that are inspired by other forms of art (like Tom Hunter and Jeff Wall), those that consider real life (like Jeff Wall and DiCorcia) and those that consider the mis-use of photography (like Taryn Simon). These different uses of staged photography show how constructed work is used to further an artists message.
Regarding the staged image, I had a clear vison of how I wanted my image to look. I also knew what I wanted to say. Interestingly I have found it more difficult to articulate my message in words and for me, the picture ‘explains’ it all a little easier. However, I can appreciate that someone unfamiliar with the play might not appreciate my anguish in trying to articulate what it means to me but regardless, I think the image raises interesting questions in itself.
Conduct research, development and production in response to the themes raised in this course
I have studied part five and have engaged with the work of many practitioners as a result and have understood the concept of the staged photograph and the importance of setting the scene. It seems funny now that before I started this course I would probably have commented that a staged image was ‘fake’ and as such not as worthy as a ‘real’ photograph. However, I can now see the error of my ways. In addition, I have found myself mentally deconstructing my own image by trying to imagine seeing it for the first time as a viewer would and interpreting it through its symbols.
I hope that my final image for assignment five has showed how I have considered the themes raised in the course particularly in the way that images can be influenced by other art forms and in my case, by literature.
Show a critical understanding of contemporary imagery in relation to historical practice and theory
Tom Hunter’s work often rethinks classical paintings in their style while giving a modern day interpretation. See below for details on Hunters work ‘Living in Hell’ that has been influenced by an older painting.
My intention in Assignment five was similar to this. I took an image of a 1948 play and interpreted it to be relevant to 2018. I like the way that ideas are reinterpreted and used as inspiration to create new images. I feel that it is a bit like ‘Chinese Whispers’* where each successive image is different to the one previous and creates something new, but still connected.
I was interested in how Friedrich’s image was the inspiration for Beckett’s play and now Beckett’s play has been the inspiration for my image. See this post for more details; an interesting point
I think I am getting braver and more confident. With this final assignment I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and have created an image that has been influenced by literature in order to comment on a contemporary issue.
- Chinese Whispers. I have used this phrase with no intention of racism in the slightest. I have researched the origin of the phrase and am happy that it should not be considered as offensive in any way.