Friday, 30 December 2011

Shutter and Apertures

Shutter and Apertures is mainly to do with the work I am producing, the results of shoots, and the making of such work. But, it is also on opportunity to share what is inspiring the work. 
I have various other blog-like websites where it would be I suppose ‘easier’ to do it, but we don’t like to do anything easy around here.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Magdalena Oden, October 2011

Photographer, Me.

Artist Statement 2.0

       Moving on from my previous work that explored themes of young male adulthood, and the physical form of body entwined within the landscape, I have now begun exploring ideas that work with and advance my own personal interests, in relationships, intimate connections, passion, trust, truth enclosure and openness. I also believe that this exploration is just as much a personal learning experience to my subjects as it will be to me. 
I have been motivated to carry out this practice work from previous experiences and the focus comes from where my own life is at the moment, the people that surround it, the relationships built and the ones lost, the obstacles and trials and other moments. There is no desire to focus on the form of the body, but the chance to be able to observe human life, and communication, to take note of opinions on areas such as monogamy, protection, ownership, censorship through male, female, old and young, and different sexual orientations. 
Through this process - which is almost like an informal ‘interview’ – In away I am psychological and mental stripping away the personal barriers placed, but also being allowed inside those barriers just for that moment.

Though, this is a single portrait, it is the perfect example of the framing involved when focusing on each couple.

I’ll be working to a strict methodology inspired by the likes of,
  • David Bailey (Bailey’s Democracy)
  • Rineke Dijkstra 
  • Hellen van Meene
  • Koos Breukel (Studio Portraits)
  • Richard Kern (Couples / Class Portraits)
  • Wolfgang Tillmans
Working with the 6x7 medium format, portraits take place inside my home and inside the studio.
Individual Portraits – Studio (Non-place)
Couple Portraits – Home (Place)
Reasons for the individual portraits are to look in to the person when their partner is no longer around, to see their personal character.
The Outcome
  • A series of images with no differentiation other than the people inside them
  • A realised relationship between me and each couple and individual

Friday, 28 October 2011

Monika Sur

This week I had a great chance to photograph my good friend Monika for my current work. We sat and discussed life, work and importantly relationships, her relationship with her partner Mikal and her family. 

Monika Sur, October, 2011
Photographer, Me

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Class Portraits by Richard Kern

Photographs by Richard Kern

Things I have seen

Whilst trolling through the internet I have come across some interesting images, some I've seen before, some I have not. Whether they were done by a famous photographer that we all know or not, I've found them interesting.

Agreement - Draft

Moving on from my previous work that explored themes of young male adulthood, the physical form of body and landscape, I have now begun exploring ideas that work with and advance my own personal interests, such as intimacy in relationships, relationships, human connections, passion, trust, truth and openness. I believe this exploration is just as much a personal learning experience to my subjects as it will be to me. 
I have been motivated to carry out this practice work from previous experiences and the focus comes from where my own life is at the moment, the people that surround it, the relationships built and the ones lost, the obstacles and trials and other moments. I have the desire to not just photograph the body this time, nor the aim to solely look at the male body but to just observe humans in general, and to take note of their opinions on areas such as censorship through males, females, old and young individuals, and sexual orientation. 
This will be one project with two outcomes, I want to work within the studio; an area I can only describe as a ‘non-place’, and secondly a home (my flat). I somehow consider a flat - though it is not their home - is a home, it is a place where life exists, and takes place, a studio is not.
I want to photograph couples together in the flat, and photograph them individually at separate times in the studio, whilst all the time offering conversation in a informal interview way. 
I want to use the time I spend with each couple and individual to find out what their relationship is like by allowing them to explain by any means whether it be with physicality or by words, what it is to them. I want to experiment with giving them words, such as ‘trust’ and see if they have different ideas on what that means and who they lay that word on to.
I have drawn inspiration on ways to do it from artists such as Hellen van Meene for the technical way she has managed to, through portraiture work capture and recreate special moments in young adults and children. Koos Breukel for his work on a specially designed large format camera, making stunning portraits of individuals and couples come to life. Rineke Dijkstra, David Bailey, and Richard Kern for their strict methodology when creating their series of work (Bailey – Bailey’s Democracy, Kern – Couples and Class Photos)
The methodology will be very strict, the only changing thing will be the participants. Shooting on medium format for both locations I aim to keep the framing identical for each location. 
The end result? I would hopefully like to achieve a series of 16 individual people, a total of 8 couples to study, all shot on colour film. To then be able to juxtapose these prints onto walls will complete the series.

Bailey's Democracy

What I enjoy about the work is the artist's strict methodology throughout the series of photographs. His 'self-imposed restrictions were severe," says Desomnd Morris, the introduction writer. The only variation was the subjects, the framing always identical to the last, with no enlargements or reductions. All produced on a large formate 10x8 plate camera.

Some scanned images from the book Bailey's Democracy. Photographs by David Bailey

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bailey's Democracy

An Introduction by Desmond Morris

Despite it's title, this is not a book about politicians. It is much more important than that - it is about the nature of the human species. The democratic process that gives the volume its title is photographic, not political.

Every one of the people portrayed here was treated in an identical way, regardless of who they were. Over a period of three years, individuals visiting David Bailey's studio were asked if they would agree to be photographed naked. None refused, and none was rejected with the result that this fascinating collection is a random sample of humanity as it exists at the start of the 21st century - and it presents us with a unique portrait of our remarkable species. 

Bailey's self-imposed restrictions were severe. Each person was asked to remove their clothing and stand on a mark on the floor of the studio. The removal of make-up and jewellery was also requested, but not insisted upon. A large 10x8 plate camera was positioned about six feet in front of the subject. A single light was placed just above the camera, always in the exactly the same position, and an evenly lit, white screen was set up about twelve feet behind the subject. The framing was always identical and there was no enlargement or reduction, no trimming, retouching or editing of the shots. The photographic paper used was always the same. Crucially, the only variation was in the subjects themselves.

That was what Bailey referred to as his 'imposed democracy'. It forces the viewer of these photographs to confront the human form in the most direct and searingly honest way imaginable. There is no artifice, no computer enhancement, no fancy technical wizardry to make people look more glamourous than they really are, no smoothing of skin surfaces, no soft focussing or subtle shadowing. What you see here is the stark reality of the human conditon. 

The only element of artistic interference that Bailey allowed himself was the selection of the final print. During each ten-minute session, the subject was photographed six times, in varying poses, and Bailey then chose the example that he preferred. Even the poses were not controlled by him. Each person was asked simply to 'be themselves' and to adopt any posture they liked. The result is a compelling document of the human body in contemporary times.

When viewing these portraits it is important to make a distinction between nudity and nakedness. To me, these are naked bodies but they are not nudes. Traditionally the nude has one of two agendas - the aesthetic and the erotic. Nudes have their clothes removed to make them more beautiful or more sexy. The reason for stripping away the concealing layers of clothing is either to reveal the glory of human musculature or to expose the more private parts. To these ends, nude models are usually carefully selected to offer us the idealised human body as we would like to see it, rather than as it really is, in Bailey's book this bias is rigorously avoided. These are not nudes, they are naked people and, as such, they tell us so much more about the species to which we all belong.

David Bailey - Bailey's Democracy

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Dutch Photographers Inspire Me

If you were to say, "List your favourite photographers" chances are the first 7 names I would list would be Dutch.
There is something that connects me to their work. I become so drawn in to the beauty, the reality of their subjects.
To begin naming a few I will start with Hellen Van Meene, Rineke Dijkstra, and Koos Breukel. 
I believe as my work has made the transition into the field of portraits more than anything, I became drawn to the things that tie in with me. Emotions, passions, misunderstandings, reality of everyday life, concerns. Things we have to deal with. 
Looking at the three artists I previously named, when you look at their work they take these things into account, they are able to grab that ethereal moment so delicately. 
When I think of good contemporary portraiture work, I automatically think of the Dutch. I'm not sure if it is their culture or the way photography is practiced and taught but they know how to hit the target.

Koos Breukel, Natasha Jaliuc and Arno Nollen

What I think I appreciate the most is the ability to capture real life, photography is a master of a tool in being able to create dreamy situations, and that can be a beautiful thing no matter what the subject. However, for me as a photographer second, and a human being first, I want to use my tool to express where I am in my life, what are the things touching my heart, moving my mind, causing me distress or happiness. What are these things that I have to deal with? And if I have the chance to record that, I will.


Rineke Dijkstra
Quite possibly my favourite photographer of today. When I listen to her talk about her work and the passion that comes from within her on the simplest subjects, I am moved. 
In the past she has forced comparisons and similarities between gender roles and age groups. 
The photographs I have included don't completely show her off but they are here for my own current research, looking into the adolescence age. On that note I will go on to Hellen Van Meene.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Came across more old work from the vault (2009/2010)
One day over 100 bikers (I am sure) tore through the city, some jumping red lights. I had my camera on me at the time and just snapped what I could.