Project 3 – Conclusion

Criteria P2, P4, P5 (tasks 3, 4, 5)

I received earlier last week the final prints for my final submission for this term’s project (the third and final project of the year).

I am happy to say they came out good but I am, as predicted particularly pleased about the print in photo rag Hahnemuhle paper. It really looks beautiful. I reckon, when I have more time and have made a decision regarding the framing situation, a few photos from this series might end on my walls in that paper.

I should also say that I would have liked to get the prints framed for the deadline but sadly during last week’s class, I had such little time to get feedback on my work that I did not have a chance to even discuss this aspect of the project. I really felt incapable of making a good decision on my own, I really needed guidance and rather than make an awful choice I decided to reflect on it and make it another aspect of critique of my work. Ria suggested we experiment at home, by placing paper border, chopstick, or any other material we may have to see by ourselves which framing would be adequate and I regretted I did not even think to do that myself! This is yet another piece of advice I will remember when thinking of framing options.

In class today, Ria and the rest of the class gave me some encouraging feedback. Yes, indeed the Photo rag paper is a lot nicer ( and I guess having one photo printed in the paper allowed a point of comparison). My impression was like the quality of the paper made me, as a viewer, more attracted to get into the heart of the photo. Ria confirmed my feelings, the natural colours that are produced with that paper take you inside the photograph whereas, the lustre paper bounced back reflections which were far less inviting. With my series of photos, I want the viewer to be part of the subject.

In today’s class, I was finally able to get some guidance from Ria regarding framing. I left this aspect to consider too late in the process which did not help. I had some concern anyway about the budget as well as how those frames would be kept in good condition up until the exhibition.

Ria and a few fellow students advised that having a floating photograph would an interesting idea. The white spacer would also be required. The key when considering the framing would be not to obstruct the floating movement from my photos but rather find a solution that would enhance it. The photos grouped in 3’s in my presentation would benefit from being framed together.

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https://uk.whitewall.com/photo-lab/framed-products/shadow-gap-frame

or

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https://uk.whitewall.com/photo-lab/framed-products/solid-wood-artbox

In terms of the colour of the frame, Ria mentioned that a black colour frame might constrain the image and be like a concrete border which would be too abrupt on the eye. I suggested a wooden frame and Ria said it would be wise to have then a thin one which does not lock the viewer in the photos. A possible alternative would be white. A thin border would also work best.

As for the glass to possibly add on top, Ria mentioned investing in a non-glare glass. She advised that it is more expensive but worth the money.

These are definitely aspects I will remember to use and put into practice when I have more time to consider which prints I may use for my home decor for any photo competition.

I would like to give the title of ‘Invitation‘ for this series. I would like my viewer to feel they received a request inviting them to go somewhere with me. To revisit a place they know and see it in a different light (for those who know the Isabella Plantation) or invite them into that enchanted place I create throughout my photos; ‘That place in life where fantasy and reality become one and the same’. I would like to touch my viewers’ senses: let them imagine the smell of the flowers and the earth, see the shadows and lights, imagine the noise as they walk through space, hear the birds awaking and feel an inner calm …

 

 

If this project seemed overwhelming at first, I am so glad I went with my choice to experiment with intentional camera movement. I had never taken enough time to take shots and compare the quality of my photos therefore never had the confidence to do more work based on the technique. It was a big learning curve but I have really enjoyed the creativity that the subject and technique gave me, I was not sure I had enough in me to produce a solid series. I felt a bit more confident to produce something ‘different’ from my usual style after seeing the exhibition ‘The Shape of Light’ as there was such an interesting range of conceptual shots and photos that you cannot find as easily in magazines or on display.

I feel overall pleased with the quality of my series. Not everything went according to plans but somehow, when I looked at all the pics with a personal satisfaction.

It was interesting to see that everybody else in the class went with less classical and traditional subjects and more for abstract imagery. I must say, if I learnt enormously from Ria and Zig’s teaching this year, I also learnt so much from my fellow students. I learnt from their success and their mistakes, from their research and from the discussions we had in class talking about each other’s work. I am filled with emotion, joy and sadness at the same time. I will miss the weekly teaching, the challenge and the fantastic people I met during my 3 years studying photography at RHACC College.

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Project 3 ‘Transformation’ – Final submission and review of my work

Criteria P1, P2, P4, P5 (task 3, 4, 5)

On recommendation from Ria, I ordered 6×4 format prints of my favourite photos to help me make my final selection. The prints came out in the post, I had about 20 photos that were contenders in my eyes. However, as soon as I put them all on the floors, some came out much stronger – some of which Ria had pointed out to me as being more interesting in previous sessions.

It was challenging to make the final selection, I was a little bit anxious at mixing in the brighter shots with the darker one.

Listening to this Andante movement from Schubert trio op 100 (one of my favourite pieces of classical music) made me re-think my position and my insecurities, listening to this piece of music made me realise that within a piece of music there are different movements, intonations, rhythms and my series of photos could also reflect this by showing a different kind of lights, blur, atmosphere….


I decided to make a pre-selection prior to our class at College and position them in a certain way in order to take my viewer into a journey. Interestingly, earlier this term Ria talked to us about the framing of photos as well as their positioning in the exhibition. I have really started paying more attention to this aspect of the recent exhibitions I visited on my own or with the class. The choice is not always straightforward. It may sometimes be restricted due to the available space, the size of the images….however it is important photographer can have their say in that decision-making process as this is another aspect that may give the viewer the type of experience and feel you created for your body of work.

Below are examples of displays that I saw at the Photographer’s Gallery and Tate Modern lately.

I got the seal of approval from Ria and the rest of the class when I presented my work with regards to my preselection as well as my idea for the placing of the images. One image though caused me trouble – I really like it but I struggled to see it part of the final submission.

Ria made a great suggestion, as this photo was a horizontal (landscape mode) one (different from all the other shots who were presented in vertical portrait mode) and placed it in the middle which I thought worked well, there was almost a build up in colour leading to that photo and then the tones were brought down descrescendo with the final 4 photos.

I was quite chuffed that this worked out as an entity and looked more like a cohesive series too.

Would I have preferred though to have a work with the same atmosphere? Probably yes but on the other end, it was also interesting for me to produce images with another kind of atmosphere. I guess ICM is a technique I could easily keep working on for my personal satisfaction and I could finish off something that could complement one set of colour tones or the other.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating those images, there was a lot of attempts and a lot of failed ones. I had 358 photos after my first photoshoot at the Isabella Plantation and hundreds more from the following ones too.

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To come up with a selection of 9 images was not an easy job at first but thanks for the feedback in class from Ria and my fellow students, I started looking at my work from another perspective and was able to make the final cut.

I then had to make a decision with regards to the choice of paper. I initially wanted to use the German Heching paper. German Etching® 310 gsm is this heavyweight etching board is velvety smooth with a fine surface texture. German Etching® is one of the most popular media worldwide for artwork and photography. However, Ria advised me to reconsider this decision. She mentioned the fact that my photography bears quite a lot of details and this might not come across so well if the paper was texturised.

If I had printed all my selection in a 6×4 format to help me select the photos to submit for this assignment, I strongly believed that this was not the right format and should be printed bigger.  I decided to go for a 9×6, a format I have used in the past for previous assignments and which seemed like a decent compromise for the size of my series.

Although I would have loved to print my 9 photos on the Hahnemühle photo rag paper, the quote for the printing job would have gone to £70 + which was more than the budget I wanted to allocate. I decided to print out only my very first picture of the series, and maybe my personal favourite in that type of paper to compare from the rest of the series.

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I think I will probably realise afterwards that having the whole series in the same paper would have been nicer, I was not in a position at today’s date to spend that kind of money on prints. I chose instead to print the rest of the series with a laster finish which would be more compatible with the Hahnemühle photo rag paper. I also think that having a matter paper would engage more my viewer into the depth of my photos and avoid distracting reflections on the images.

I look forward to receiving the delivery of the final images later this week and submitting my work next week at College.
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Project 3 ‘Transformation – My main source of Inspiration: The Impressionists

Criteria:  P1,P2,P3 (Task 1 & 2)

One of the great sources of inspiration from this project was actually the work we did in the previous term about using a painting as a source of inspiration. The previous project took me back to see the permanent collection of a couple of museums which I had almost taken for granted. I revisited the National Portrait Gallery and the Wallace Collection and I was amazed as to how differently I viewed things now that my love and interest for photography has grown so much.

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as well as look at looking at art books and this is when I almost rediscovered the Impressionists while doing my research then.

The Essentials of Impressionism

Impressionist art started with a rebellion by four art students and friends – Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazille. They knew each other from common painting classes where they learned conventional painting. Conventional art in France was then done exclusively in studios with subjects centred around history and Greek mythology and with dominant dark colours.

The four young artists thought this was rather boring and one day they took their easels, went to the nearby forest of Fontainebleau and started painting in the open air. Working ‘en plein air’ was a fundamental principle of Impressionism along with a need to be in tune with the contemporary world and the fleeting experiences of urban life. Working on small, portable canvases in the open air, they achieved sparkling effects, not by broken tones and contrasts, but by a division of colour, applying the paint in short, fragmented brushstrokes.

Showing the effects of light on a subject was paramount for the Impressionist art movement. Claude Monet later painted several series of the same subject at different times of the day.

Another very visible difference of Impressionism was the use of light and strong colors. The Impressionists loosened their brushwork and lightened their palettes to include pure, intense colours. They aimed to capture the transience of nature, the fleeting moment  They abandoned traditional linear perspective and avoided the clarity of form that had previously served to distinguish the more important elements of a picture from the lesser ones. .For this reason, many critics faulted Impressionist paintings for their unfinished appearance and seemingly amateurish quality.

In the beginning the Impressionist painters were nothing but ridiculed by the public. Art critics called the paintings unfinished and declared the artists as madmen.

In newspaper cartoons pregnant women were warned not to enter an Impressionist art exhibition because of the danger of a miscarriage. In other caricatures it was proposed to fend off the Prussian enemy, who was marching towards Paris in 1870, by showing them Impressionist paintings.

It took nearly 20 years until Impressionism was finally recognized and appreciated in France.

Paul Cezane

Paul Cézanne ‘The big trees’

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Camille Pissarro ‘Landscape at Saint-Charles’

Pissaro 1

Camille Pissaro ‘Meadow at Bazincourt’

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Camille Pissarro ‘Forest Path’

Pissaro

Camille Pissaro ‘The Big Walnut Tree in Spring

Claude Monet 1

Claude Monet

Paul Cézanne ‘Montagne Sainte Victoire’

Claude Monet - Nymphea

Claude Monet ‘Nymphéas’

Renoir

Claude Monet

Claude Monet

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Willow tree by manet

Claude Monet ‘Weeping Willow’

Works of the Impressionist period are characterized by small, yet visible brush strokes; open composition; an emphasis on accurate depiction of light and its changing qualities, ordinary subject matter, depictions of movement, and unusual visual angles.

The Impressionists sought to capture the optical effects of light – to convey the passage of time, changes in weather, and other shifts in the atmosphere in their canvases. Their art did not necessarily rely on realistic depictions.

 

 

Richmond Park has been widely photographed and so has the Isabella Plantation during the blooming season. I wanted, with this project and inspired by the impressionist to bring another vision to a well-known place and add this enchanted woodland atmosphere. I also wanted to bring my viewer to see what I now see with my photographer’s eyes, create an impression, rather than delve into details. The Impressionists loved painting out of doors. The ever-changing face of nature lent itself perfectly to their interests in capturing fleeting moments of light and color and I hope I managed to capture that feeling with my series of photos

Sources:

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-monet-impressionists-paved-way-modern-art

https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-impressionism-artists/reference

http://www.theartstory.org/movement-impressionism.htm

https://eclecticlight.co/2015/11/08/trees-in-the-landscape-4-pissarro-from-barbizon-to-post-impressionism/

and many more sites.

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Project 3 ‘Transformation’ – Review of my work so far

Criteria (task 3, 4 and 5) P2, P4, P5

It was really interesting to get feedback about my latest batch of photos last week.  Getting those feedback helped me to look again my own work with a different perspective. It is certain that some shots worked better than others. A number of photos used the same technique and lacked depth, other were moodier and more atmospheric such as the one below.

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One of the issues that concerned me was how different the lighting between my 2 batches of photos was and how it impacted the cohesion of my selection for this assignment. (photo on the left was taken on a bright sunny day, the second, on the right, on a dull cloudy day)

On Ria’s recommendation, I ordered online a small print of the photos deemed interesting enough (about 20 of them) to review them, position them on the floor and see how I could put forward a work I felt happy with and with a flow that worked well.

My idea would be to find a tempo, a flow with my images that reflect the music in my head and make sense of the different tones and atmospheres. Music is often a huge source of inspiration and I would love to find a way where my 2 big passions in life come together. Maybe keeping some music in my mind helps me to decide how to position the photos when presenting my final images, ie: how grouped or spaced the photos should be shown, the sizing of each of them…and look at them as a piece of music with its different movements and moods.

I kept looking at the work of other photographers for guidance and inspiration. As mentioned before Erik Malm’s work was probably a serious influence

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The photos below are the ones I sent out for printing and which are contenders for the final selection. This is based on my own thoughts and feedback received in class.

 

I have also managed to produce a few more photos after returning twice to the Park and I am now wondering whether the photos below could be added to my previous work. I am finding it hard to stop working and producing more images.

I guess part of the assignment is also to make the right decision as to when to stop, take time to reflect on the photos that were produced and learn from the experience. I shall continue reflecting on my content and talk more about my inspiration in the following post.

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Project 3 ‘Transformation’ – More ICM photos

Criteria (task 3,4, 5) P2, P4 and P5

Before the holiday, I received some encouraging feedback from Ria regarding my ICM photo series. However, some of the shots simply did not work and I think I sort of knew those particular pictures did not show a real interest.

One of the things that Ria got me to think was whether I wanted to show more the ‘painting’ effect in my photos or engage with my viewer and take them in a form of enchanting space.

I guess on reflection, I am interested in mixing the 2 ideas but inviting my viewer into a space that they cannot totally identify and is an eerie, dreamy place was appealing to me.

I was totally unable on holiday to work on the College project, family holidays are wonderful but not necessarily the right space for experimenting and working on artistic projects. So yesterday was my first and only possible time to head back to the Isabella Plantation (where I took my first series) to take more pics before the class. The weather was not as glorious as during my first visit so the contrast will be different as well as the light of course. I felt under pressure and was a bit frantic, I took about 400 different shots and narrowed it down to a selection of 60 before selecting those could make it to this blog post. So here is my new series. I worked again with my Tamron lens, my gradual ND filter and I worked manually on all the shots. I used ISO100 on all the shots and tried the manual mode as well as the TV mode and the aperture priority mode to see which one was the easiest/quickest/most successful mode to shoot.

I enjoyed working near some water too this time and I realised also that working in a more shaded part of the Isabella Plantation showed a better result.

I look forward to discussing this new series in class tomorrow and learning how to make a cohesive selection to print for the assignment

 

When it comes to post-processing, I only did some light editing in Camera raw: bringing down the highlights, accentuating the contrast and add a touch of clarity as seen below in the screenshot. I don’t necessarily think those photos needed extensive editing. The aim was to produce straight away the right kind of images and only touching up the highlights and shadows and possibly add some details. My focus was on the image taking and since ICM requires a lot of experimenting, this is where I dedicated all my energy and efforts.

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Project 3 ‘Transformation’ – Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)

Criteria P1, P2, P2, P4  – task 1, 2 and 3

After my fun experiment playing with my camera and motion earlier in the month, I realised that for reasons of time, location… I should ditch my idea to produce a  body of work around skin transformation and focus on a project I could run locally without wasting too much time trekking into Central London.

Inspired by the test trial photos I took 3 weeks ago at the Isabella Plantation (ISO 200, f32 no filter and 1/20s and 0.3s), I decided to research a bit more the work done in the field of Intentional Camera Movement and look into more details at the best technique to use

WHAT IS INTENTIONAL CAMERA MOVEMENT?

In intentional camera movement (ICM), a camera is moved during the exposure for a creative or artistic effect. This causes the image points to move across the recording with producing an apparent streaking in the resulting image.

The process involves the selection of an aperture and the use of filters to achieve a suitable shutter speed. Proponents experiment both with the duration of the exposure and the direction and amount of camera movement while the shutter is open. Generally, exposures of 1/20 to 1/2 second give the best results and an optimum seems to be 1/8th of a second to retain the shape of the subject, but strip away surface detail. The effect depends significantly on the direction that the camera is moved in relation to the subject as well as the speed of the movement.

If light levels are high the use of neutral density filters will reduce the light entering the lens, thus enabling the exposure to be extended. A polarising filter can also be fitted to the lens. This has a dual effect of reducing reflections within the image and reducing the light by about two stops. Photographers set the camera’s ISO setting to the lowest available on the camera (commonly 100), as this reduces the camera’s sensitivity to light and so gives the slowest possible shutter speed.

The direction of movement of the lens has a dramatic effect on the results. Patience is required along with much experimentation to establish where and how to move the camera to achieve the desired effect. The camera can be moved upwards, downwards, to the right or left or away from or towards the subject while being handheld. The camera may also be turned, angled, and rapidly moved back and forth.

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION:

Leading proponents of the technique include Ernst Haas,

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La Suerte de Capa, Pamplona, Spain 1956

Douglas Barkey

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Alexey Titarenko

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and (from as early as 1962) Kōtarō Tanaka.

Source Wikipedia

I also totally fell in love with the work of photographer Chris Friel (see his whole flickr gallery here, it’s impressive!

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the work of Doug Chinnery

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The Soul of the sea

and the work of Erik Malm

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To help me progress in my thoughts, I produced a mind map

I toyed with the idea to capture iconic places/monuments in London using the ICM technique but considering the short time frame and my own schedule, I thought best to choose a subject close by. I happen to LOVE the Isabella Plantation which turns into a pink haven comes April/May. Nature is behind its usual schedule which is serving me right as the Isabella Plantation is at its best at this moment in time.

GEAR

I used my Canon 7D Mark II as well as my TAMRON lens 17 to 50mm which was useful to shoot the kind of landscape I was about to photograph.

I brought with me a neutral density filter to work with it as the day was very sunny.

Neutral Density (or ND) filters are grey in appearance and are designed to reduce the amount of light entering the camera, thus creating the need for an increase in the overall exposure time, but giving no change in the colour or hue of the image.

Why should you want to increase the exposure time? Well, because it will enable the creative use of movement and blur in an image. For example, you may wish to produce a blurry misty effect on a waterfall or the sea but the sun is too bright and even at a small aperture the exposure may not be long enough. By applying an ND filter, the exposure will be increased and enough time will be created for the water to move during the exposure. The longer the exposure, the more silky blur is created.

Not only is using an ND great for creative water shots but also for any image where there is movement, such as cityscapes with people and traffic moving or where clouds are moving through an image. Using an ND filter will open up new and exciting ways of looking at the world around you.
Read more at http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/technique/expert_advice/neutral-density-filters-3479#XlVEbAqkHrhSk3If.99

As a matter of fact, using the neutral density filter gave me the chance to experiment with a variety of shutter speed. I worked handheld as this gave me total freedom of angle and move.

I knew I would be doing a lot of experiment so I dedicated more than 2 hours to try out different locations within the Isabella Plantation and try out the different technique to move the camera as well as different shutter speeds. I used ISO 100 on all photos.

Here is a little selection of what I produced. I tried to take a neat photo of the location as often as possible to show you what I started from and what I achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE INFLUENCE

As a child and since I was lucky enough to be taken to museums from a young age to appreciate some of the painting masters; I always remember the strong impact ‘the impressionist’ did on me. I reckon I tried to give the photos I took this little impressionist painting effect.

Impressionism developed in France in the nineteenth century and is based on the practice of painting out of doors and spontaneously ‘on the spot’ rather than in a studio from sketches. Main impressionist subjects were landscapes and scenes of everyday life (Souce Tate Modern). Funnily enough, photographer Eric Malm mentioned above, talk about the ICM technique as ‘painting with the camera’.

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I took more than 350 photos that day and it was a real case of trial, errors and more trials. I thoroughly enjoyed the process even if there was a fair amount of fails, I felt enormously pleased when a shot came out great after trying many different setups.

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TECHNIQUE:

I used ISO 100 all the time to retain picture quality.

I used the aperture priority and manual mode to see which one gave me the best result

I tried all sort of exposure time from 0.5s second to 6s.

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I had tried during my previous visit to work without the neutral density filter (using a high f-number and underexposing) but it proved really useful to use the filter on most photos as I was able to have a lot more possibilities and work more efficiently as well (especially as, during this second visit the Isabella plantation, the weather was very sunny and bright)

I tried to move my camera in different kind of motions: up and down, down and up, rotating the camera, zoom burst, shaking randomly, moving the camera very slowly, side to side, at different speeds….

 

HEALTH & SAFETY: 

I was mindful of my position when working at the Isabella Plantation, working out of the main paths to avoid disturbing other visitors. I looked at where I stood to avoid tripping on roots or stones. Since I did not use my tripod, it made my life easier when it came to avoiding falls and injuries

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Project 3 – 3 exhibitions that made an​ impact on my project

Criteria P1, P2, P3 (Task 1)

This term I visited 3 fantastic exhibitions:

  • The Sony Worldwide exhibition at Somerset House

This year The Sony World Photography Awards celebrates its 11th anniversary. It is one of the most respected and influential photography competition. Every year the Awards gather the best photography from around the world and this year is no exception. We are presented with the most breath-taking photographs by both professional and amateur artists

I enjoyed the quality of the photos exhibited and the stories behind each photo. Those photos made me feel a lot of emotions which is something I connected with. I like how an image can make you feel of sorts of feelings and I hope I can bring some emotion too in my photography.

  • The Shape of light at Tate Modern (College class trip)

The Shape of Light, a show at Tate Modern, aligns photography with abstraction and asserts quite definitively that nothing has to “have been” in order to become the subject of a photograph. Many of the works on display – which begin in the early 20th century, alongside the work of painters who were vorticists, cubists and expressionists – were created without cameras, using photosensitive materials to produce works on paper that echo what contemporaries were doing with paint.

The exhibition did not get good reviews in all the major newspapers and websites but for me, this exhibition made quite an impact. It showed me how anything could be used to create interesting images, how texture could become such a fascinating point of focus, everyday object become something extraordinary by using new angles…. I enjoyed how this exhibition made me think more out of the box. Photography can be your own interpretation of life, your own vision.

 

I also paid a lot of attention at the presentation of the photography: how far apart they were presented, what kind of paper was used, I also paid attention to the framing. There is really a lot of difference and I started looking more at how all those aspects could impact the viewer’s experience.

 

 

  • Under Cover, the story of crossdressers at the Photographer’s gallery

The images came from the personal archive of Sébastien Lifshitz, who trawled flea markets, garage sales, junk shops and eBay on the lookout for photos showing people dressed in the apparel of the opposite gender. As such, names and back-stories remain largely unknown.

The brilliance of the exhibition was it showed the great variety of ways people have used ‘male’ or ‘female’ clothes to construct identity. Along with photos of the ultra-glamorous Bambi, a 1950s French transsexual cabaret performer, there are images of The Washington Community, a group of men who chose as their fashion inspiration the pie-baking suburban housewife.

Another highlight was the mock wedding photos taken on all-female US college campuses. Designed as a practice run for a woman’s Big Day, the popular events were banned by Wellesley College in 1910 out of fear they promoted lesbianism.

Aside from the topic, this was a gorgeous set of mainly non-professional photographs celebrating the transformative effect of fashion – whoever you are.

This exhibition made me appreciate the variety of subject that could become the theme for a series of photos and how fashion could have easily be another good subject for our Transformation project and the role it has in building people’s identity.

I found looking at other people’s work when I am gathering my thoughts for a project to be a particularly good time to find guidance and broaden my horizons. This was once again the case with those 3 excellent exhibitions.