Saturday, 9 July 2011

Art Photography Course The Constructed Image

We started by asking the question Why do art photographers feel they have to construct an image? Some of the answers were control of the subject, control over light, pondering or commenting on life through images. The amount of construction varied from artist/photographer to artist/photographer. We examined and discussed imaged from Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson, Sam Taylor-Wood, Erwin Olaf, Simen Johan, Nick Waplington and Sandy Skoglund.

We were also given a very interesting handout which was from the bjp online with regards to constructed images.

The constructed image usually applies to scenes or objects which are deliberately set up for the camera, but more recently this has also applied to digitally constructed and manipulated images. The two names which immediately spring to mind are Jeff Wall, due to his set up images dealing with observation, and Cindy Sherman because of her staged self-portraits. The article quotes Olivier Richon, head of photography at the RCA says, stating that he thinks students are thinking more towards this style of photography and ' aspire towards the gallery' because 'In the gallery you can do what you want – it’s a white page'.

Read more:

New photographers highlighted were Danny Treacy, Noemie Goudal, Julia Curtin, Julie Cockburn, Victoria Jenkins and Peter Ainsworth all new names which I shall have to do further research on but for the moment here are a few of their images and weblinks.

Danny Treacy

Grey Area

Les Amants (Cascade)

Migratory Mexican field worker's home on the edge of a frozen pea field. Imperial Valley,                      California.

Left: Crystal 2 | 2010 | Altered found photograph
Right: Crystal 1 | 2009 | Altered found photograph

Experiment 5 (Hydromancy)

A series of activities completed in edge spaces, Leeds, 2008

Most of these new artists seem to deal with physically constructing an installation and photographing them rather like Thomas Demand, which just adds to the confusion of is photography art or just a way of recording art, and making the 3D become 2D, you lose the ability to walk around the art piece, therefore giving it an element of mystique, make you wonder what it is like 'on the other side'?

I quite like the idea of photography being used as an art form, to create surreal imagery, possibly to enhance documentary and therefore may try to incorporate it into my final portfolio, bearing this is mind I have looked further into the work of the Essop twins which I shall write up in more detail in a separate post.

Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall a Canadian artist, is well known for his large back lit images which are elaborate productions involving cast and crew and digital post production. He apparently was inspired to use light boxes after seeing  illuminated adverts.

An interview with him can be found here

It was interesting to read that he isn't concerned about what his images mean stating 'I'm aware that the subjects I choose do have meaning," he says, "but over the years I've found that understanding these meanings is less important for me. My burning issue is how to make the next picture good.'

A ventriloquist at a birthday party in October 1947 1990
Transparency in lightbox 2290 x 3520 mm
Collection of the artist. Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Cinematographic photograph
© The artist

Looking at his images of rooms am wondering if there is anyway I could make my rooms have a surreal touch and photograph them? I don't know what for but could be fun?

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson, born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1962,  and he creates what he calls 'frozen moments'. He does this is the manner almost of film making using a large crew to shoot and then develop the images during post-production. Meticulous planning goes into the production of each image, especially with the lighting. In some cases he introduces extra lighting and effects such as artificial rain or dry ice.

Gregory Crewdson
Untitled from the series 'Beneath the Roses'
Although I find his images captivating and the lighting effects he uses enhance the images due to the huge production crew involved it does seem to me that he is more a 'director' than a photographer? Does give you something to think about if you wanted to construct images for any reason.

Sam Taylor-Wood

Sam Taylor-Wood was born in England in 1967 and is a filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. Amongst her many bodies of work and installations she created a series of self portraits where she was suspended in harnesses, digital manipulation was undertaken to remove all trace of the harness and the chair has no shadow.

Bram Stokers Chair
This is the form of construction which I find I am more attracted having a go at myself, not the suspending part, but the digital manipulation to enhance an image without overly altering the subject and the use of minimal props.

Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf was born in 1959 in the Netherlands. Using a mix of photojournalism and studio photography he documents social issues in what I think is a really clever manner. You double take, as the images are very stylized and commercial in appearance, you then notice the underlying theme.

Royal Blood Di 1997
Not sure I like the whole commercial feel but the idea of creating a contrast this way is a fascinating concept, not sure I'd use it in this way but again his work shows that contrast is a way of making an image work.

Simen Johan

Simen Johan was born in 1973 in Norway and his work explores our interest in fantasy, some of which are quite dark and disturbing. Working with both film and digital manipulation he combines 100's of negatives to create his images.

Not quite what to say about his work, I like it, possibly dark but lots of it makes me laugh, maybe I have a dark twisted side? Clever the way a lot of his images have the same direction of light, small errors in lighting or depth of field can make an image appear too fake, even when you know it is...maybe that doesn't make sense written down but I know what I mean....

Nick Waplington

Nick Waplington is a British photographer who has more recently been exploring the ideas of reality within photography by working with constructed and manipulated images. He uses a large format camera and then digital manipulates these to create his final images.

Bethnal Green Road2004
Roebling Hall

I quite like the idea of taking several images of the same place then merging them together. It helps to show the diversity of the people who frequent that space at some point in time, but without producing a series of shots would not be able to show it. The manipulation is subtle and it isn't an 'untruth' as such. Am coming round to the idea more and more that this could be something I could adapt. Again the light direction seems to be the same or has been manipulated to appear so.

Sandy Skoglund

Sandy Skoglund was born in Massachusetts in 1946 and creates various tableaux of conceptual art. She learnt about photography because she wanted to document them. Her works are noted for her inclusion of an overwhelming amount of one object and either bright, contrasting colours or a monochromatic colour scheme.

Revenge of
the Goldfish

Radioactive Cats - 1980

Fox Games

Although not traditional 'straight' photography these images help re-inforce how important colour can be when composing an image. I really like this work, who knows it's influence may creep in at a later stage in the course. Especially when I have to look at creating a book cover.....


Homework Week Five

As this was our final week we did not have to complete this task, but I decided to combine the ideas thrown up with a project from the original PwDP using many images to construct an obvious montage.(Cubism and mosaics) I have to admit that I did get bored putting it together, also realised that I hadn't taken enough images of the sky so the end result has a flat edge which could be manipulated further had I felt I wanted to continue....lazy I know but it may get completed or altered at some stage.....It was a good experiment into different techniques that can be used to present an image and to be meticulous when shooting the individual shots with which to construct the final montage.

I also experimented with subtle addition, using the ideas gleaned from looking at Nick Waplington's Bethnal Green Road image  and the bodies of work Fast Food and Halaal Art by the Essop twins. Very subtly they merge images together to recreate scenes which are not that far removed from the truth.

Original shot no processing

Two shots combined and colour corrected

Shots taken within seconds of each other but make for a more interesting image when combined using layers and layer masks, I felt the bus balanced the image with the reds being a complementary colour to the green.

1 comment:

  1. Hello friend!! I need your help, actually I am very new in construction photography and collecting best images for it. Can you please share some more images on it?