Monday, March 4, 2013

FOAM Amsterdam

I visited FOAM in Amsterdam last week which housed a number of photography exhibitions. I enjoyed one by Jan Versweyveld entitled Inbetweens very much. He made scenery for theatre and took a whole series of photographs backstage, during rehearsals and during performances. It got to the point where it was difficult to tell what were real emotions and scenes rather than those that were staged. One in particular that stuck with me is below.

There was also a beautiful one of a lone man dancing in a room filled with only a sofa. He was off to the right hand side of the photograph with light from the door spilling in behind him but I have been unable to track it down online so far.

The other part I really enjoyed was a slide show of pictures by Boris Mikhailov. Many of his pictures were very voyeuristic. He is from Russia (former USSR) and has many nudes in his collection but also some really beautiful artistic shots that caught my eye much more. One was of two woman sharing one shawl in the cold, another of a manequin hand with painted nails resting on a chair. A third was of a ballet dancer balancing in a doorway and a fourth was a soldier with a pink carnation in front of his mouth. These candid shots really captured a moment to me and were beautifully observant. An inspiration and I will definitely be looking up more of his work moving forwards.

Assignment Five - Applying the Techniques of Narrative (1) defines narrative as :
  1. A story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.
  2. A book, literary work etc containing a story.

It defines illustration as :
  1. Something that illustrates, as a picture in a book of magazine.

Most of my experience with illustration comes from reading and enjoying graphic novels and comic books. They reply on the use of illustrations and pictures to narrate a story with minimal dialogue and using other ways to demonstrate the tale. This is easily extrapolated to photography and using photographs to tell a story of an event, documentary, story or idea. Michael Freeman (2) discusses the idea of intent in photography and that “it is key to remain aware of what you are setting out to do, and what results are likely to satisfy you.” He is taking more of a single photograph in this case, but when looking at a narrative it will need some preparation beforehand with thought going in to what message you are trying to convey.

I thought a lot about what to do for this final assignment. I eventually decided to stick with what I know best right know, which is event photography and specifically Burlesque photography. I love going to cabaret nights and trying to get that one shot that sums up the performer and the routine. The pictures that I choose for the assignment have a similar theme running through them but I have tried to mix candid behind the scenes, colour, black and white, portraits, crowd poses and shots taken mid routine. I also like to vary the angle I shoot from with some being standard portrait or landscape and others being at an angle to vary the style and composition of the collection. I took a lot of photographs on the  night and edited many more, but these are ten of my favourites. 

The photographs were picked to tell a narrative of the performers and atmosphere during the evening. I had a few different options in mind such as choosing one performer and using pictures of them to tell the story of their routine. Instead I opted to use a selection from the night to give a little more variety to the set. It is more a collection of snap shots that tell a larger story like Sally Mann does one of my favourite collections Immediate Family (3). The shots do not tell a story by themselves, rather they capture moments in time, but as a collection they document her children growing up and exploring themselves in a rural setting. 

2 Freeman, Michael. 2007: The Photographer’s Eye. The Ilex Press Limited. Sussex. 
3 Mann, Sally. 1992: Immediate Family. Phaidon Press Limited. London.

Project Illustration : Exercise Juxtaposition

I thought I would keep this simple and as my cats are always sleeping I decided to put a small wooden cat mimicking their curled up, sleeping position next to them. There are three cats in the picture (one just behind Morgaine the black cat whose ears you can just about make out) plus the wooden cat. I hope that upon a quick glance viewers assume it is a series of real cats and it's only when looking a little closer that they realise the smallest is in fact a wooden carved cat.