I had confirmation yesterday from the OCA that I have been granted a deferral and extension for which I am extremely thankful. Hence, I will not be adding to my blog until the 1st July when the deferral period finishes. I now have until November to complete my BoW & C/S coursework & assignments.
I plan to continue (when time allows) with non-course related photography based projects but can enjoy doing these without the pressure of reaching deadlines. It has been a stressful few months and a time of adjustment at home as hubby is now on dialysis. We’ve got lots of re-arranging to do in the house to make room for his supplies (which are all over the place at the moment) but I’m glad to report he’s coping remarkable well doing something he dreaded.
I started re-working my montages as suggested by Jayne over the weekend.
This will be my last post for OCA work until the 1st July (see my next post).
Altering the layers was no problem but I’ve been tearing my hair out with the text ! As I amended each one and saved it the text, despite using the same font & size, was different on some of the images. After speaking to my son-in-law he advised checking the size for each image /canvas so I’m gradually re-doing each one again. I don’t mind as I quite enjoy the process but not when it doesn’t go to plan. The move tool in PS also mysteriously started free-transforming as I moved images around but this was because I had inadvertently ticked a box so that was easily solved. To add to my Photoshop misery the layout of my tool palette has mysteriously altered but I’m not going to try & solve that at the moment. I’ve used Futura font, the sizing of the contemporary images might be changed as they are slightly different at the moment but I’m not sure if this matters much. For the old photographs there is a variation In size like those found in old albums and family collections.
Six of my re-worked Hireth montages below (not in any particular order) :
Frozen (in time) triptych’s with the original + 2 frozen images.
I had a fabulous hour long Zoom meeting with Jayne at the end of last week. Feedback summary below:
Things we discussed (as well as the current surreal situation caused by Covid 19) :
The work is looking good. By narrowing down to a single contemporary and archival photograph for each montage it has evolved into a consistent set. My choice to use colour for the newer images works well.
Jayne was not sure about the font I used for the text and suggested trying a more clean modern one. The captions are what various family members have said about mum and dad’s photographs therefore this style of font will reflect the contemporary voices of the family. She suggested trying grey with a 60% opacity keeping the text small and subtle, if possible download a ‘light version’ of a font set. I’ve changed the font to Futura Jayne suggested I try. I’ve done this on my re-worked images and might make the text even smaller but will have a think.
The archival photographs are from the same era therefore it was difficult to decide on the sequencing. I’m using the accompanying text as a guide rather than a timeline formed by the images themselves. Jayne said the captions were poignant and suggested a good idea to try was to write each caption on a piece of paper, shuffle them about to see what works well sequentially text wise without looking at the images. The sequencing is vitally important for viewing a BoW as a complete series. I am doing this but haven’t come to a final decision yet re the final order.
The vintage photographs preserve memories and are precious artefacts. Because of this Jayne felt perhaps rather than layering and using blending modes they should be seen as the original. I’ve re-worked the montages keeping them simple and actually much prefer them.
One montage Jayne felt was out of place because of the contemporary image I chose was It will always remind me of her and wondered if I had an alternative. I have and hence have re-made the montage with the same archival photo but combined with a different view of the same place. All recent images are now of empty spaces devoid of people.
The Frozen (in time) set works really well but something I hadn’t thought of trying was creating diptych / triptychs that also include the original photograph, Jayne thought it might be worth trying out. I’ve done this and think they complement Hireth perfectly. I am currently working on a few more Frozen images and will post these when complete.
Make a submission of work in progress as a tightly edited, sequenced series. Pay particular attention to how you will use words alongside your images.
Using the contents of my parent’s (analogue) albums my Body of Work explores abstract concepts: memory, time, loss and longing.
Photographs are paradoxical, whilst appearing to offer eternal life and stopping time they also record the ageing process of loved ones; and of oneself. When disrupted by death the photograph is no longer looked at in its original context, becoming instead a visual and tangible reminder of the past and temporality. Regarded as a mnemonic photographs are reminders of who we once were. Photographs are physical objects that have haptic qualities, their context is inevitably altered by history the effect of which endows them with a poignant quality. Photographs alone tell us little but we literally see dead people, we see through the picture and are able to look back into the past.
Montages combining my parent’s photographs and contemporary images of the same spaces, devoid now of the people I loved who once inhibited them.
Like time itself the sea is perennial and ceaselessly moving. In contrast the photograph is a static object, yet an archive and its contents evolve, a photograph’s frame of reference is not fixed in place or time. These photographs originally kept as mementoes of happier times now connote something different following my parent’s deaths. Barthes (2000:96) identifies this correlation between photography & death:
“The photograph tells me death in the future. What pricks me is the discovery of this equivalence—Whether or not the subject is already dead every photograph is this catastrophe”.
Frozen (in time)
Archival images covered with water and placed in the freezer, once removed the ice gradually cracks and melts away. What remains ?
The Frozen (in time) images are analogous with photography, a photograph freezes and preserves time. As the ice melts away it mimics the transience of time and impermanence of memory. The reality of photographs makes them transparent, we see through them to look at the scene that was once before the camera. Whilst we gaze through the ice and look at the past it is nevertheless an unreachable place and impossible to penetrate. Wigoder (2:200) describing a tinted photograph of her grandmother notes how ‘the click of the camera has frozen her and removed her from the flow of time’. Wollen (2009:78) comments ‘photography is motionless and frozen, it has the cryogenic power to preserve objects through time without decay’. Yet, inevitably photographs fade, decay, are destroyed and abandoned. The disintegration of the images caused by the ice connotes our own inevitable ageing and physical disappearance mirroring our destiny.
Barthes, R. (2000) Camera Lucida. London: Vintage
Wigoder, Meir. “History Begins at Home.” History and Memory: Studies in Representation of the Past, vol. 13, no. 1, 2001, p.19. Gale Academic Onefile.
Wollen, P (2009) ‘Fire and Ice’ In: Wells, L. (ed.) (2009) The photography reader. (Reprint) London: Routledge. p.p 76-80
It has been a difficult few months owing to my husband’s more frequent hospital visits and subsequent surgery a fortnight ago. He will shortly be starting peritoneal dialysis at home but firstly will need the training to do so. This obviously has impacted on home life and greatly on my studies. I contacted the Learner Support Team to discuss the situation. They were very helpful and suggested I apply for a 3 month deferral followed by an extension which I hoped would commence from the 1st April. I applied 3 weeks ago and should have received a reply within 21 days but obviously because of recent events (Covid 19) they have been inundated with emails. I’ve had an email today confirming my request and a decision will sent to me by the 27th April or sooner.
I’ve got a tutorial arranged with Jayne for the 31st March and informed the OCA that I would submit my BoW assignment prior to the deferral period. I’ve also contacted Garry my C/S tutor regarding the delay to my latest assignment, he suggested if I wanted I could submit a rough draft of anything I have written.
My plan to return to Marazion in a few weeks to possibly take some final images has been cancelled but I have more than enough to complete Hireth.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
The Hireth montages now only contain one contemporary and one archival photograph. I’ve processed the present day images in colour or subdued tones rather than the sepia tones I’ve experimented with. The photographs from my parent’s albums are clearly visible, the overlays not covering the whole image as in some of my previous work. Mum and dad’s photographs are typical holiday snaps from a bygone era that viewed alongside the present-day images connote a gap in time and of loss. I think as a set they are far more cohesive than those previously submitted despite some slight variations in the actual layout.
I’ve expanding on my Frozen (in time) project and feel it complements the montages, although different conceptually to Hireth both explore similar themes. I’ve chosen not to use text with this set of images, I think the visible disintegration and what it connotes is fairly explicit.
However, using text as relay to convey what can’t be seen is important to communicate the preconceived concept of Hireth (loss, longing, yearning, nostalgia). I found choosing the sequence quite difficult but I think I’ve managed to use the text successfully to convey a sense of loss and time passing in a non-linear way.
I feel confident with my post-processing skills, it is a very important element of the work. I often spend hours creating the montages event though they are quite simple now in design. The frozen images are post-processed too, I’ve tried to create a constant visual appearance.
Quality of outcome
I’m happy with the new montages and have created a workflow for the ice images. I’ve particularly enjoyed working on the Frozen (in time) set.
Demonstration of creativity
I think my Frozen (in time) series demonstrates an imaginative approach to visually exploring the ephemerality of time and of the photograph as a physical object. I enjoy the unpredictable outcome, which is very different to how I create the montages for Hireth. However, I believe the abstract concepts of love, sadness, death and time are communicated well in both.
I haven’t had as much time to write and read as I really wanted but below is a synopsis of what I’ve read, looked at or done.
Frail Sister book by Karen Green / notes on my blog.
Fire and Ice essay by Peter Wollen / notes on my blog
Six Young Men Ted Hughes / Minogue and Palmer (2013) analyse how poetry when accompanied by a photograph strengthens the punctum’s impact / notes on blog
The Gifted Mold Archive byCédric Kouamé / project using old photographs / notes on blog
Gentlemen byKaren Knorr / notes on blog
Level 3 student Zoom meeting 25/01/20 / notes on my blog.
Printing / experimenting with different photo papers / layout size etc. / notes on blog
I’ve written posts about my work in progress as it evolved / notes on blog.
I’ve also read Brian Dillon’s book In the Dark Room : A Journey in Memory / notes to be written up but really enjoyed it. Thanks to fellow student Catherine for drawing it to my attention.
I had a busy day yesterday trying out different photo papers and adding text to my montages. Some iPhone pics below of my progress.
I was originally going to ask family members to write a sentence about their memories / thoughts onto the borders of the photographs but obviously due to the social distancing measures in place this is now impossible.
I tried my own (awful) handwriting then re-scanned but wasn’t happy with the results. I found this siteand downloaded a free unlimited use handwriting font that I feel works well. I’ve experimented with the placement and size of text. I don’t want it to distract from the image but be something that perhaps you need to get closer to the photograph to read, not sure if that will work but it’s easy to amend if I decide to use a larger font.
I’ve printed A4 images at both full scale and at Fine Art Mat. I possibly prefer the latter but will print next at A3+ to assess how they look at that size. For assessment (assuming by the time I submit my work physical prints can be sent) I plan to print the montages at A3+ size and at A4 for the Frozen set.
First image below, resized contemporary image, layer mask altered, hand-written font added in Photoshop. Second image minus text.
Two more of my prints + text / Fine Art Mat
Full size left hand side + Fine Art Mat on right (font position to be altered)
I bought a test pack of Perma JetFine Art Smooth and Textured Inkjet paper, I recommend doing this if you’re unsure which paper to use.
I’ve used 6 different papers from the pack and whittled down my favourites to the first three in the list below.
Alpha Natural Rag 310gsm / smooth / Tone 9 / My prints are nice, subtle and natural colour. * Warmer base tone / whiteness 88.5
Photo Art Silk 290gsm / smooth / Tone 7 mid white / Nice paper, good colour. * Whiter base tone / whiteness 103
Museum Heritage 310gsm / textured / Tone 7 mid white / This is fabulous for my montages, good colour that prints true, a heavy paper. * Natural white / whiteness 91.0
Portrait White 285gsm / smooth / Tone 4 / Lovely paper but perhaps more suited to portraits.
Artist Watercolour 250gsm / textured / Tone 8 / Too textured for my personal liking.
Gallery Etching 310gsm / textured / Tone 7 / Again too textured.
The image below is printed on Artist Watercolour (left-hand side) and Museum Heritage (right) for comparison.
I printed one of my Frozen triptychs onto Artist Watercolour but the almost basketweave texture is distracting. What is does do though is make the image almost look 3D, though that’s rather hard to see on screen.
I much prefer the print I made with Ilford Galerie Washi Torinoka 110gsm, it has an ethereal appearance much more suited to the concept. Again it’s difficult to see this on the screen
I’ve been continuing with my Frozen (in time) project and have been making sets of three showing their gradual deterioration as the ice melts.
I’ve also been creating some more montages for Hireth but this time only using two images for each. Additionally, I’ve processed the contemporary photographs in colour rather than the sepia tones I experimented with.
I had a trip arranged to return to Marazion in a few weeks but am no longer able to go. I also planned to incorporate handwritten text with the montages asking my family to write a sentence onto printed images then scan or re-photograph. As we’re unable to see or visit family at the moment I might just try using my own (horribly scrawly) handwriting instead to assess how it works. I generally give my images a title that suggests what is connoted so I’m unsure if I prefer to simply continue with that.
Family photographs are objects and representations, vintage images of family (or any person) are evocative. They communicate events, experiences & tell stories.They are tangible, tactile, sensory objects that evoke a reaction or perhaps a memory. The humid conditions in the West African Republic of Côte d’Ivoire cause decay and deterioration to printed photographs thus interfering with their potential function as an aide-memoire.
Growing up in the area Kouamé describes himself as a collector, discovering his own family collection were decaying he began to repurpose them. The project expanded when he accumulated more damaged photographs destined to be thrown away. Rather than working with the original image he digitises them. Whilst working in conjunction with local sculptor Soro Kafana, who unfortunately for Kouamé had destroyed hundreds of photographs just a short time before, Kouamé discussed his interest. Luckily Kafana found around another 30 photographs and Kouamé arranged to meet the original photographer from Kafana’s village and his family. The project has evolved to include research and oral histories, stories can be told prompted by the photographs despite their deterioration.
The disintegration of the photographs is a fundamental element of their unusual beauty. Additionally Kouamé prints patchwork images onto fabric to make things, plus is exploring constructions. Hart (2004:14) examines the role of materiality versus subject matter; what the image shows. When separated the contextual meaning of the original photograph is altered. But to visualise what an image is of we need to overlook / disregard its material qualities. Hart suggests that generally when viewed & perceived as a singular artefact the image content becomes of greater importance & interest than the consideration of the photograph as object. She suggests what is done with photographs is as important as what they show.