This set of photographs was inspired by my research into Claire Falkenstein (11-Mar-2016). I started this Stage of the assignment using an unconventional background and looking to experiment with balance, based on my research on Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016) and discussion in the workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016). The video of “Claire Falkenstein: An Expansive Universe” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr0oUaBUkkA) made me think again about clean, uncluttered, white backgrounds putting all the focus on the works.
That said, there are some major problems with the work shown below. I did it after seeing Claire Falkenstein’s work but before writing it up, so the photo-shoot didn’t take advantage of all the input from my research. It was also a very sunny, hot and humid day in Sydney and I got tired and careless carrying things from my work area in the house out to the garage where I did the photography. I knew I didn’t have a wide enough piece of paper on the tabletop and that the background paper was hanging badly, but I didn’t do anything about it. I’ve also gone for quantity rather than quality. The idea was to give myself options, to make some kind of break through, but attention and engagement was lacking.
There are some positives. I found some thicker slabs to use as a base – cemented tiles from our crumbling front steps – and they provide interesting texture and good height. Working on a tabletop allowed me to photograph from a greater range of angles, including low and straight. I tried a few other specific ideas from the reflection on the first photo shoot (6-Mar-2016), including spacing in the groupings and trying to make more dynamic lines with the horsehair and 3D drawing.This includes an idea from earlier sampling and sketching, with some resin used to suggest fluid spilled from a fallen vessel. I don’t think the (relatively) clean background works with this idea. Also the whole photograph is stretched horizontally, giving a stability that fights with the idea of tipping over. Another element in the foreground might improve things. This photo has some elements of movement and there isn’t a lot of dead space. The resin shape almost looks as if it is pulling back after pushing the tall vessel over the cliff. The scattered black lines give a path into the image (no empty foreground). With those upright strands the tall vessel resembles an insect on its back, scrabbling to turn back over. Scaling of the photograph has resulted in some unpleasant stepping in the lines of some of the plastic horsehair, but a printout of a higher resolution version would address that. The change of sample on the right is not an improvement. It almost seems to have its back turned to all the excitment, and that single almost vertical hair has a quite disproportionate effect in stopping movement. Perhaps something playful would work here – I’d like to trying piling things up, have them cascading down. There’s a little bit of zig-zag going across the image. I decided to explore this a different way, desaturating the image and “tidying up” some of the distracting background.
One difficulty with showing what’s happening is web delivery and managing file size. The thumbnail version to the left will open a large version of the photo, without those nasty judders from the scaling process. If you expand it to full size (probably bigger than your screen), you can see detail down to a few beads of resin on horsehair strands from the lower vessel, complete with matching bubbly shadow. I’ve printed this on A3 glossy photo paper and I think it makes an interesting image. I expected to really like the long diagonal through this photo, but it feels static. The same stack of concrete is getting tedious, but I like this image. The vessels look like a couple of tipsy party animals. The background paper is gathering creases and I prefer this – more interesting but not distracting. It’s slightly away from the centralised positioning which seems to be my default – need to watch for that. Having the lower vessel slightly obscured is more interesting. More interesting, or just that at least I’ve tried a different angle? The arch of black is effective and there is a sense of depth in the photograph. The background works for me. It’s fine – which is damning with faint praise. The black lines in this are great. The small vessel seems on its way out of frame. A lot of texture and different places to look. So many near misses. I like the hint of orange on the background paper – visible in some of the earlier photographs, but I only noticed with the tall vessel leaning in towards it. The blunt line of the tips of black in the foreground jerks my eye as I look around the image. I wish the foreground vessel was in better focus. The different lines don’t quite work together. The negative shape formed under the uppermost piece is interesting, but none of the samples are displayed to good effect here. Ho hum. Much, much worse. I was thinking of the interest of looking through things, as seen in the video of Claire Falkenstein’s work, but this is very bad. This isn’t as bad. Perhaps a V movement would be better, instead of this invitation to any viewer to tip their head to the right. The orange line reaching out of the image is great. I now have time and attention to see the vessel on the left, which displays quite well at this angle. There’s a sort of horizontal zigzag across the image. Altogether quite effective. The placement of the foreground vessel on the right is good and starts to make use of its central void. The whole thing seems a bit flat and low, and the orange line has lost some of its personality. This is fun and quirky. One of my favourites. There’s a bit of imbalance, a bit of crawling movement, a range of interesting shapes and space. I need to move that dratted concrete around more. This is another close-but-miss.
In my next attempt I want to bring things together, fewer photos and learning from samples so far. The plan is to go back to the concrete floor and rusty shelving backdrop, but using the concreted tiles where I want to get height. I like the low viewpoint, which might take some flexibility and manoeuvering. I want to refine or develop some of the more successful compositions achieved so far. I also want to return my thinking to three dimensions, rather than just flattened photographs, so will attempt a video as well. That will be tomorrow morning all being well – another lesson learnt is to use times of lower temperature and higher energy.
T1-MMT-P5-s6 Second photo shoot
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 6: Prototype/maquette-making
Second photo shoot