For the next assignment, I have chosen ‘Things’ as my theme. Looking at Mårten Lange’s work, I was very tempted to do heads (I had my beautiful dog or birds in mind), but chose Things over it for a few reasons. There are two conflicting thought processes going on in my head for some time now – One is to develop a strong body of work on one project theme, like birds in my case, and take it through the various parts of this unit, building up a coherent body of work with diverse and varied photographs. The second opposing thought is that since I haven’t had many opportunities or the inclination to do something with things as I am never home for such a long period as this, this seems to me a perfect opportunity to do something different. My other reason for choosing things was that I feel that photographing things, with the ideas that I have in my head, will be more challenging and creative for me than attempting the other two, which I am quite comfortable with as they form a part of my commercial work. This course is all about getting out of your comfort zone and attempting to learn new things and I haven’t really ever done this; so temptation and logic fought over and again and logic eventually won- and Things it is – Collected and Found.
My initial thoughts for developing this assignment are varied. There are a lot of take-aways from the various artists whom I am inspired by, but since there is only so much one can do, I am going to keep it simple and combine my own thoughts with a few ideas that I want to explore. Firstly, I was very inspired by the book, my review of which can be found here – ‘The Photographer’s Eye – John Szarkowksi’ and loved the way the book was divided into – The Thing Itself, The Detail, The Frame, Time and Vantage Point. I personally loved this thought process and I want to think about these five mantras before I take on every project for sure. Ever since I read the book, it stuck in my head. I started to think about my assignment in terms of these five things ever since.
Secondly, I was blown away with Mona Kuhn’s work. Her working with nature, light and hues of gold created some remarkable photographs. I related immensely to her thought process and the way she has worked through her projects. My detailed research about her work can be found here. Much before I had researched about her, I had been thinking of using shallow depth of field, the golden hour and soft focus with whatever I would end up doing. Looking at her work just made me doubly sure.
Albert Renger-Patzsch’s photobook ‘The World is Beautiful’, the title of which was changed from ‘Things’ to ‘The World is Beautiful’ as a marketing strategy by the publishing house. Albert Renger-Patzsch was not happy about the decision. His photographs, in which he has explored the elements of light, texture, lines, repetition, rhythm, depth, etc. to make ordinary everyday objects look beautiful, are superb. It goes to indicate that every object has its innate beauty that can be brought about in a simple photograph. Besides the simplicity of Patzsch’s images, I relate to his insistence on capturing the whole image in the camera, refusing to crop his photographs. I feel the image must be made in the camera as much as possible and then it should just be polished and finished in post processing. And that is what I aim to take away from him.
‘There must be an increase in the joy one takes in an object, and the photographer should be fully conscious of the splendid fidelity of reproduction made possible by his technique’.Renger-Patzsch, A.)
Andrew Langford’s ‘Species’ is photographed against a black backdrop and reminds one of specimen photography as followed by art museums. It’s effective, a great representational example and focuses attention to the subject solely. My first idea is somewhat on the same lines, though I only saw Langford’s work now. Presenting Hiroshima By Ishiuchi Miyako is again a simple photobook documenting collected objects from the atomic bomb site at Hiroshima There are many examples of this approach in various artists works in history that is a clear way of documenting objects with great precision and clarity.
I have explored and researched about Edward Ruscha’s work in detail earlier during FiP as well and the simplicity and nondescript yet impactful way of his presentation of it in the self-published book is indeed noteworthy. I document my works in photobooks from time to time. So I can relate well to his idea of self-published books. The simplicity of the books like Ruscha’s ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations’ and Evans’ ‘American Photographs’ are simple books designed and showcased in a manner where the photograph simply is the focus. The simplistic and highly effective design has inspired many books until now, our look books as design students during D-school also reminiscent of the same style. I aim to document my work in an album for this assignment also.
I have looked at other research points as well for heads and views but since I have decided to go with Things, I am not going to reference them here. Currently, I have two ideas about how I want to go ahead with Assignment Two – I don’t know what will work and what won’t, but my thoughts about my two approaches as of now include:
- My first idea is to simply represent each of the things against a black background for two reasons – firstly to practice the technical skills as well as represent an object with no additional distraction that will take away from the focus on the object – more like a referential documentation for collection of data.
- My second idea involves working with soft focus, shallow depth of field, warm colour tones, natural filtered light and of course in aperture priority mode, as is the pre-condition for this Part. I want to work with the golden light in the evening to naturally add the colours that I want into my set of images. I want to use shallow depth of field to create partially focused attention on the object so as to create a somewhat ambiguous mood for memories for collected and found objects. I want to do this as I want these to go into a scrap book of memories like an album; I feel personal memories to be documented into an album will be more effective with an approach like this rather than a sterile or a straight approach as the one I will attempt to do in the first set against a plain black background.
Both approaches are important for me and I would like to attempt them both in order to see the results between two different technical approaches.
Benjamin, W. (2020) A Short History Of Photography. At: https://monoskop.org/images/7/79/Benjamin_Walter_1931_1972_A_Short_History_of_Photography.pdf (Accessed 08/02/2020).
Colberg, J. (2020) Presenting Hiroshima By Ishiuchi Miyako. [Video] At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csVx_QRPvps (Accessed 04/6/2020).
Langford, A. (2002) Species (1999-2002) – Andrew Langford BA MA Phd |Andrew Langford. At: http://www.andrewlangford.co.uk/projects/species/ (Accessed 08/02/2020).
Tallis A-Level Photography. (2020) The World Is Beautiful. At: https://tallisalevelphoto.weebly.com/the-world-is-beautiful.html (Accessed 08/02/2020).
Tate. 92020) Edward Ruscha ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations’ 1963 | Tate. At: https://www.tate.org.uk/about-us/projects/transforming-artist-books/summaries/edward-ruscha-twentysix-gasoline-stations-1963 (Accessed 08/02/2020).