Wip #19

Martin Venezky and Barbara Levine

We Have Been Where You Are Going is a collaboration between Project B (Barbara Levine & Paige Ramey) and Martin Venezky, a response to the archive. I’m already aware of some of Levine’s work and follow her on Instagram. She is both an archivist who collates and preserves in addition to being an artist who uses vernacular images in her work.

Thank you to fellow student Emma for directing me to their fabulous collaborative work.

Whilst both Levine and Venezky collect vernacular imagery, Venezky is draw to the not particularly interesting photographs ‘the lack of aesthetics reminds me how quickly the images we cherish can empty themselves of value’ (Venezky. s.d). While Levine visualises ‘how pictures of apparent limited beauty value often overflow with tension and beauty’ (Venezky. s.d). Their Horizon series was a Lensculture award winner in 2017, it reiterates the poignancy and ambiguity of abandoned (once precious) photographs. The combination of title and imagery encapsulate ‘the blurriness between past and present’ (Venezky. s.d) reminding us that others have preceded our footsteps, had the same desires we have now.

Differing sizes of bold strips of colour are juxtaposed with varying size segments of old imagery. The collages are both visually appealing and enigmatic. New narratives are formulated, they contradict the linearity of time.

My work in progress 

I have been working on some more of my own digital montages using up to 3 images to create blocks of colour (see below). They are combinations of both found and personal archival photographs most in conjunction with contemporary imagery. I’ve re-worked a couple altering the colours. I’ve created a new version of Grandma Tate and also used some of the long exposures taken in Cornwall to combine with photographs from my personal archive.

Despite wanting to continue with my scanography experiments a seaside theme seems to gathering momentum. Although I already have quite a collection of personal archival images I’ve ordered some more beach themed photographs from eBay. I will continue creating my montages and might try adding more segments after I’ve submitted my 2nd BoW assignment which is due by the end of the month.

References / Bibliography

Venezky, M. (s.d) Horizon
At: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/martin-venezky-horizon#slideshow
Accessed 19/06/19

Accessed 19/06/19

 

Accessed 19/06/19

 

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Assignment one: Visual culture in practice

Write a 1,000 to 1,500-word essay that relates your current work (the work that you made or are making in Body of Work) to an aspect of visual culture discussed in Part One.

Your text should be fully referenced and illustrated with your own photographs plus supporting figures where appropriate.

This assignment is diagnostic and won’t count towards the final grade.

Assignment PDF below:

Assignment One. Visual Culture in practice

Self-Assessment

Due to the word limit and because I felt the essay required me to focus on my own BoW in progress relating it to an aspect of visual culture I’ve only included references to three other artists in my essay. I have built up a small knowledge base of practitioners who work with archives and now need to broaden this research further. I have a list of photographers who are particularly relevant to my own practice to follow up. I feel I have a good understanding of the archive, how its context is open to change. The BoW research I’ve undertaken closely interlinks with the CS studies coursework and has fed into the assignment.

Whilst working through the first part of the BoW course I’ve looked at the following artists whose work with archives particularly stood out :

  1. Clarisse D’Arcimoles
  2. Chris Dorley-Brown
  3. Josh Huxham
  4. Taryn Simon
  5. Nicky Bird
  6. Albarrán Cabrera
  7. Claudia Corrent
  8. Astrid Reischwitz

I’ve used primary and secondary sources for my research. I’ve read books, blogs, journal articles, viewed websites and watched videos i.e visual / aural / textual sources. My offline research folder (paper based) includes print-outs of journal articles relevant to memory, family photography and orphaned images.

Although I’ve used the OCA library I’m finding it quite difficult to find relevant journal articles / books and emailed Helen the OCA librarian to suggest a reading list as I will need to read extensively for my Literature Review (2nd assignment) . I’ve had a fantastic reply with not only suggestions but advice on how to search for journal articles /books etc.

I’m reasonably confident that I’ve evaluated different theories and conveyed how these relate to my current practice.

I always find it really useful to print any essay out to proof-read and annotate mistakes that need to be amended etc. Initially dreading writing my first CS essay I found once I started I was able to finish my first draft in just over a week, but it took another week from this initial draft to finalising it. My mind map helped me consider what I felt were the relevant points I needed to consider.  My online blog has a research category. I’ve followed the OCA guide to Harvard referencing.

 

Mind Map

For my 1st contextual studies assignment I need to write an essay that relates my current BoW to an aspect of visual culture. To get started I’ve created a mind map that will hopefully help me begin writing about the conceptual influences in my work. I’ve emailed my tutor today and plan to complete the essay by the end of the month. I’ve got a long list of books to read + research to do — for once the rainy weather is a bonus and it’s not such a sacrifice to stay hidden indoors !

Wip # 18

As a child I loved looking through the case containing my parent’s albums and photographs but there was one huge problem; the cupboard they were kept in was shared by a feather duster. I’ve had a lifelong aversion to feathers and birds that I’m convinced stems from the aforementioned duster. I can remember it clearly to this day, it had a spindly wooden handle with real browny / black feathers (ugh), why I hated it I can’t recall but I still can’t bear to be near birds nor touch feathers.

The idea to re-create this memory was hence problematic, no way was I going to go out and look for feathers, much less pick them up, the thought makes me shudder. However, I found some feathers that are sold for art projects, they are disinfected, steamed and sanitised so I bought them. Rather than take a photograph I decided to scan then manipulate them in PS, I just about managed to touch them but was glad when they were safely back in their packaging !

I wanted my montage to include an image of birds, I wrote about the work of Claudia Corrent who is a big inspiration for the montage element of my BoW in progress (see WIP #16). I wanted to emulate her technique but didn’t have any of my own bird images (in my defence I did try to get some seagull pictures whilst in Cornwall but hadn’t taken my telephoto lens, I wanted the birds isolated in the sky). I’ve previously used Pexels to download images to incorporate into my work so had a look for any that included the sky and birds. The original photograph is HERE , I’ve altered it to mute the tones and cropped it.

An archive and its contents evolve, a photograph’s context is not fixed in time hence working with archival imagery enables me to use the same photograph more than once. With each new montage the original meaning is metamorphosed ‘there can be no last word about my photograph, any photograph’ (Kuhn. p.p 16). The small girl in the montage below (submitted for my 1st assignment)  is still me and yet (I’m sure I’m not imagining it)  I ‘read’ a different look in my expression. Or is it because I am now associating this particular photograph with my phobia and is it too subjective for anyone else to discern simply by viewing them ?

 

My next two montages were created as a tribute to my cousin Peter Phillips on his 80th birthday. It wasn’t intended to become part of my WIP but after posting one of the images on my Instagram feed I’ve decided to include both versions here. As an influential pop artist his work is easily recognisable and I wanted this referenced in the montage so I downloaded THIS IMAGE from Pexels.

I haven’t seen Peter for over 50 years, he was 15 years older than me but always sent me postcards from his travels around the States & bought me a beautiful small transistor radio when I was about 13. The original photograph was sent to my dad (his paternal uncle who was Peter’s dad’s brother) in 1942. Years, distance & death all contribute to losing touch with people yet the connections remain.

+ See contextual studies notes Photography in the global age re archives.

Bibliography / References

Kuhn, A. (1995). Family Secrets. London:Verso

Sekula, A. ‘Reading an Archive: Photography between Labour and Capital’ in Evans & Hall (1999) Visual Culture: The Reader (p.p