The film screening sessions has pretty much turned into my responsibility and my project. In all honesty it doesn’t raise enough money to be a beneficial factor to the Manchester to London exhibition fundraising fund. However, I have, since the beginning original idea thought it was a great opportunity for people on the course, and more importantly people from other art and design courses to get together to see a film that has at least one connection to an art and design field.
The films that have gone have been,
Thursday 19th January - Snowtown
Thursday 26th January - Bill Cunningham’s New York (Couldn’t be screened for legal reasons)
Thursday 2nd February - The Beginners
Thursday 9th February - Happiness
Thursday 23rd March - Shooting Robert King
Thursday 1st March - Project Nim
Thursday 15th March - Annie Lebovitz Life Through a Lens
After the easter break I am looking to show more photography orientated films, more documentaries. The first film will be Sally Mann, What Remains, almost a biopic of the very well known and talented photographer Sally Mann. The introduction speaks about What Remains like this,
Sally Mann: What Remains presents this celebrated photographer’s most recent body of work, a five -part series that explores the ineffable divide between body and soul, life and death, earth and spirit. The project is organised into five sections that visually depict the eternal cycle of life, death, and regeneration. What Remains draws upon the artist’s personal experiences as inspiration for a haunting series about the one subject that affects us all; the loss of life and what remains.
I know I personally want to watch this film because I feel it connects with the work I try to produce.
The film I am hoping to follow What Remains is the very compelling film Manufactured Landscapes, directed by Jennifer Baichwal focusing on the photographer Edward Burtynsky. A film that has us seeing slag heaps, e-waste dumps, huge factories in the Fujian and Zhejiang provinces of China, and a place in Bangladesh where ships are taken apart for recycling. This moving film is a must watch I feel because it makes the viewer think a lot about how powerless they are in this world and the effect their lives are having on this damaged world.
Thursday 19th April - Sally Man; What Remains
Thursday 26th April - Edward Burtynsky’s Manufactured Landscapes
This comes as our second large fundraising event after the Link Gallery print auction. The pop-up fair print and publishing fair is such an exciting and prosperous event. It means we can make quite a bit of money for our future exhibition at Redchurch Street Gallery in Shoreditch London, and also publicise ourselves as artists, networking with the attending hopefuls.
I have some prints going up (along with others in our exhibition group), in the style of the well known photocopyclub. The prints included come from my series ‘Travelogue’ and ‘Transient Bodies’. I wanted to add a little bit more than this to possibly sell on the stall tables but due to a busy schedule and admittedly a lazy me I did not get anything else done. UNTIL TODAY.
Again in this photocopyclub style of displaying images, I printed pictures from both series on a smaller scale with intentions to put 9 images in a blue letter pressed A4 envelope. I printed the images on different coloured paper (Cool Tan, Harvest, Misty, Pistachio, New Blue, Sorbet Yellow) as black and white images. Below is the result!
I have ideas to do some things with my work like this, some small mock-up books, however time is short. I graduate soon, need to use the facilities and the help as much as I can.
The titling of my work has been put to the top of the list this week. It is up there and circulating at the front of my mind as I continue to shoot images for the project.
I always knew I would change the current title which is Walls, because though the project is about boundaries and psychological barriers, it really has nothing to do with physical walls, nor did I have intentions of photographing wall based constructs (though I think about it would have made life easier).
Instead what I have been interested in is the recognised beauty that comes in the form of nature, particularly blossom trees. When I began looking at the kitsch design hanging plates I was admiring its structure. This loaded object filled with symbolism and beauty would always add in fine detail a wreath of flowers.
We attach flowers to many of life's events and therefore associate them with a beauty. After paying close attention to my photograph Cherry Blossoms 2010, I thought about the life of blossom trees, there symbolical references, and the duration of the life. In japan the Cherry Blossom is a cultural icon. The Japanese track down blossom trees when they begin to appear in season so as to not miss a second of its passing time. The cherry blossom can therefore be a reminder of our own humanity - morality.
Some of the words I got from its references were, transience, Hanami, and Mono no aware (Buddhist saying).
My work now since the beginning of 2011 has been about the transient moments in life. These moments that we are not in control of but can only record as they pass us by. Therefore the focus of my camera eye wants to track down more blossoms, pink, white, red. I am to photograph them absorbing the whole from. With a viewpoint from the ground, that the only thing you can see is the background of which is the sky, the abruptness of the twigs and branches and the blossoms.
Thoughts on the exhibitions of this work. I am trying to recreate the structure of my own hanging plate in terms of the layout of the images.
As you can see above, there is an arrangement where the couple is centrally situated, next comes the portraits of them as individuals, and the wreath of flowers surround that. These layers of boundaries and ‘walls’ is the theme I want to focus on.
We (all years of the photography department) have been given the job to create work for a new building just built opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital by the Ronald McDonald (RMcD) charity group. The building is designed to provide a friendly, easy and almost home like environment for the families who have younger members staying in the hospital for a period of time.
We were briefed in on the requirements, and expectations, with the general attitude to it being to ‘just create work!’. Due to my other commitments such as my own projects and the time involved in our London exhibition planning/organising I wasn’t really able to get my hands fully on to something worthwhile.
So I found myself trolling through old work (like you do) to hope something will almost suffice.
It was only a day or two ago though did an idea or shall I say an idea with an actual motor drive underneath it surfaced. An idea that I will pitch right here shortly.
This idea came along side another piece of work I have mentioned before on this blog but at the time it was so stagnant, with not a promise on how it would be created. Fortunately, now there is some structure to how it will work. With a title still in the making (Polish-Britain, maybe) I aim to shoot a portrait documentary typed work with one or two still life frames of various friends with Polish backgrounds.
Back to Ronald McDonald Charities work!
There are six areas to work around with this all based around one large theme that is Manchester.
So, you have
City Firsts (the first creations that happened in Manchester)
The two areas that interested me the most was City Explored and Culture. City Explored, more for the fact I could have used a lot of old archived work! However, with Culture I thought it would be interesting to do something for it. When a lot of people think of culture and especially culture in Manchester, the first association is the ethnic culture in Manchester, which is very rich.
As great as that is, the word culture means many things. One of those things is how we live, our lifestyles. I wanted to produce something more portrait based. It may be liked, it may not be liked.
These portraits would take a look in to the residents of Manchester, and the workers of Manchester out and about doing their daily jobs. Almost inspired by Greg Thorpe’s interviews of Manchester Residents which I myself was apart of - Manchester: In Residents … #6: Matthew- but mine would be a visual piece of work only.
Once I have this collection of portraits I would set them up in the view of a grid. They could work individually spaced out through different rooms, but I think they might work very well gridded up on say a corridor wall, 5 images across, 5 images down.
Tuesday 13th March
Tuesday 13th March! Well, yesterday! Yesterday the plan was to combine a few of these projects onto my list and get out and make some images. Now remember I am still working on The Dog Walkers, and these happen along the Fallowfield Loop. I had also begun to brainstorm ideas around photographing mundane things with symbolic representations (flowers, dense shrubs, roads, paths, roundabouts) and I knew of a couple of roundabouts that visually might work, depending on how it was photographed. This I suppose can only make sense once I show you and myself. And to top if off, beginning this portrait series for the McDonald charities.
I have to say now, it was one of the most productive days as a photographer I have had in a very long while. I had my 35mm Nikon F80 with me and the 120mm 6x7 Mamiya RB67. I shot all RMcD work on the 67 with Fujichrome Provia400X professional. Throughout the day, I managed to photograph Mike the Postman, Steven, Terry and Graham, who are all retired Manchester residents.
I have almost made friends with Terry and Graham who have seen me quite regularly up and down the Fallowfield Loop over the past year and a half. I stopped for around twenty minutes each with them both talking about things. Graham who already stars in my Dog Walkers was more than happy to pose again this time for a self portrait minus Chalky White (his dog). And I got into a lengthy conversation with Terry discussing hikes and travel trips to Scandinavia and a great location not far from us in Manchester called Hayfield.
The one concern with the portraiture work I have embarked on is the need to have model release forms. I suppose for my own safety I will produce a couple of forms explaining of what the images will be used for, however, I do discuss these things with each person before I go ahead and snap the photograph and all previous participants have been more than willing to take part, so we shall see.
I have been shooting recently, if just on the whim of attention or the things I have been actively seeking out, but I have been very interested in images of trees, plants, shrubs and other things sourced with nature.
Cherry Blossom, June, 2011
I came across a photograph I took in the early part of June last year of a pink blossom tree, full bloom. An image that I liked back then when I developed it and one I still enjoy looking at today.
It was only when I begun to look at hanging plates that my attention moved on to wreathes and flowers in arrangements. But, really, what does it all mean?
Hanging plates themselves hold this kitsch, increasing their value. These plates which originated in China, can be seen everywhere, from Europe to North America. They have purposes as ideal gifts, and for household decorations. The ones I am more interesting in though, are the ones that carry a motif, almost a moral motif. In themes of relationships, life morals, and so forth.
These kitsch designs are interesting, there form and structure relates to the ideas of my work.
The plate as an object is surrounded by a golden edge, the first barrier. Within that is the second barrier, the wreath of flowers, and inside that are the some-what special words.
It was from this I begun noticing the involvement of nature with the portraits used in Walls. Now I have also been shooting portraits for a different series of work that looks at males in their own ephemeral landscape that has been on going for over a year Liam #1, June 2011 and Carter, 2011.
So I want to get out and photograph more images similar to Cherry Blossom, June 2011, and see how they look visually alongside my portrait work, as a trial.
Liam #1, June, 2011
Around the same time I was discussing work from Canadian photographer or more correctly artist Jeff Wall. In the past he has made images such as The Crooked Path, 1991. A photograph that is a study of human understanding in the simplest forms of how we read a landscape. How do we get from point A to point B? Not to mention with my previous post looking at the work from Photographer Maureen Drennan, you can see now why I connect with her work so well. There are visual similarities that I enjoyed reading, the colours, the composition and the eye for detail.
The Crooked Path, 1991, Jeff Wall
And so, these are some of the things I have found myself looking at, and being highly interested in, no matter how visually mundane they may appear.
Forest, Dovestone, 2012
Dried Stems, March, 2012
Tangled Shrubs, 2012
Finally I even have this image, which I haven’t scanned in correctly at the right size, or sorted the colour balance correctly, but I wanted to just be able to see if it had any qualities I wanted to keep. I suppose I like the variation within it.