Archive for category inspiration

Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George photographed every body fluid they could of their own under a microscope, to create this piece. This might be to add to their previous pieces of anger, sex and decay that their mostly known for.

After leaving art school they had little money and little known fame. They decided to send friends and other people postcards inviting them to their performance of, say ‘Gilbert and George Drinking Tea’, and the friends would turn up and literally watch them drink tea. They then became the living sculptures. Other acts included singing and more drinking, be it tea or Gin. This idea then became photographs and other images.

The idea behind using blood, sweat, urine and other bodily fluids in their work came from the notion that we should accept ourselves in every way. Also whilst looking at their fluids under microscopes they noticed that they contained forms and shapes appearing like swords and daggers in the sweat. Furthermore it became about you and you is not just in the head or heart it is all over us, we are made up of it not just in certain areas and without these functioning we would not be alive.

Furthermore all of their artwork became visual letters, they were speaking to the viewer not just a composition, they are the subject of all our thoughts, trying to put their thoughts on the wall.

Consequently they decide to collect images of things that interest them both and then find the moral dimensions within to tell the story, rather than based on there aesthetic appeal. These images then go into an image bank where they are put in contact sheet form and put onto tables for them to see and order.


 In terms of organising the layout of their exhibitions they set out the images in a away that guides the viewer from room to room and within each room they create an emotional experience to the viewer so that the audience do not forget the image or display. The idea of forgetting an image displayed by the pair is seen as failure to them both, as in what’s the point of displaying something if the viewer is not going to remember the pieces afterwards.

The idea of the large scale pictures was a method of showing vast amount of small images in one big piece. Also the separate grid format made it easier for the pair to transport the collect around the world. Consequently this large piece grid format gave the pair a chance to have some control over the composition. This meant that the audience was not completely free to look around the image as they pleases. Therefore Gilbert & George could have some discipline and control over the emotions and feelings given to the audience as well as an order for it.


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Picbod: Research: David Hilliard

One of my main influences is David Hilliard.

In his images he uses triptychs to explore his life and the lives of those around him. This he claims creates an order to the chaos in the world whilst concentrating on the personal. I couldn’t put it more clearly than the man himself so: “the work strikes a balance between autobiography and fiction. Within the photographs physical distance is often manipulated to represent emotional distance. The casual glances people share can take on a deeper significance, and what initially appears subjective and intimate is quite often a commentary on the larger contours of life.” (Hilliard)

He states “This sequencing of photographs and shifting of focal planes allows me the luxury of guiding the viewer across the photograph, directing their eye; an effect which could not be achieved through a single image.”. Which is what I try and create through my images by using the narrative to guide the person through.

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Hilliard, David (-) David Hilliard Photography,, 18th January 2011

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CW1 Inspiration: Melissa Rodwell and Zach Arias

Melissa Rodwell

With Melissa Rodwell’s image above inspired me by trying to use lighting on one side and using the space on the left. The lighting gives the model form and a shape. Also some 1940’s photographers have used shadows across the person to show the shape of the model to bring back feminism.

Zach Arias

Zach Arias

To try something different and new to my images I want to try a mixture of the above images in a studio. The reason for choosing the studio over location for these type of images is that I can control the light more easily for these situations and also easier to hide the tripods that will hold the studio lights to create the starburst of light. The idea of the starburst will bring the 1940’s style into the modern times as it will act like modern paparazzi flash guns going off.

Further more some of the photographers I looked at previously have used a studio to create the images. Therefore I want to try a studio shoot to gain the diversity and range of the photographers I have research. This will give me two different types of images to work with and pursue if necessary.

The video is well worth a watch in itself.

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Inspiration – LordV

One of my biggest ‘heroes’ in the macro and insect world is Brian Valentine or LordV as he is known on such sites as Flickr.

LordV is a retired PhD Microbiologist who enjoys gardening and obviously insects. He likes to therefore document the insects in his own garden. To do so he uses more or less specialised equipment like a MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro lens made by canon. This allows him to take a photo of a creature at up to 5 times life size (1:5) as well as life size (1:1). However he also makes his own diffusers to go with the flashes he uses to get enough spreading light around the subject in order to capture the creature with no blur and for sharper results but to also suit his needs as not all manufactured pieces of technology will do every single job. The diffusers also soften and spread the light making the image more aesthetically pleasing to see. (His Tips and tricks)

I can not pick any real favourite images from him so here are some old and recent images from his stream.

Large red damselfly just emerging from the nymph #3

Large red damselfly just emerging from the nymph #3

Globular Springtail

Globular Springtail

Crab Spider

Crab Spider

Thanks to LordV I have purchased books on insects in British Gardens to help identify and learn about insects and one day aspire to own an MP-E 65 lens to hopefully get closer to the insect world and document it. This is what I feel connects me more to LordV is that we both like watching and documenting the action that goes on without our knowledge and without much thought of the insects until they become pests.

Similarly he has inspired me to take my own images of the insect and small creature world. However since I do not have an MP-E 65 due tot he price, I used a normal 100mm macro lens and some extension tubes that decrease the focusing system. Also I used a off camera flash gun, triggered by an off camera cord to freeze the insect within the picture to get sharper shots.

Here are my best results (Click for bigger):

Orb Web Spider

Darter Dragonfly on my knee

Nursery Web Spider

Palomena Prasina Nymph

What I learnt from this and LordV:

  • Use something to diffuse the light (in this case I used a Diffuser dome that clips onto the flash gun).
  • Spiders come out on the leafs to absorb the Suns heat
  • I need to be more quiet on approach.
  • Insects can get quite close and I must not disturb them (Image of the Darter Dragonfly on my Knee, 2nd one in)
  • Next time I should go out in the morning or evening when the insects are least dormant as it is colder and therefore they have not warmed up to have energy yet.

LordV’s Flickr Stream

LordV’s Website


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Hiroshi Sugimoto

This is some information On Hiroshi Sugimoto as I saw his work in recent lectures and in a few books and liking his style for just simply going out and trying his ideas. Therefore it can be said that Sugimoto is an inspiration to me as I too like the notion of having an idea and then acting upon it by either going out and trying it (flash work with the insects) or by heavily researching it before hand to see if it possible.

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in 1948 in Tokyo. In 1972 however he retrained as an artist at the Art Center College of Art and Design, Los Angeles after studying Politics and Sociology. Here he received a BFA in Fine Arts. Since then he has been honoured the 2001 Hasselblad Foundation International Award (Hasselblad Honour) and is now travelling between Tokyo and New york. Furthermore he mainly works on large format 8×10 cameras.

One of ways in which Sugimoto works is by first thinking of a vision and then acting upon it. An idea that became a reality was his series of ‘Theatres’.

Union City 1993

For this series he had an idea of ‘how can I show a whole film in just one frame’.Time is significantly portrayed in this series. Implementing and playing with the idea that photography is used to freeze time so the image can be studied. Whereas Sugimoto uses a single frame to capture the whole film to question time. Therefore Sugimoto shows time as both stilled and sustained forever.

Here you can see the long exposure at work with the light trails from either planes or stars in the background along with the merged light of the different frames of the film, which adds to the sustained forever feel of time.

This in tern creates a bright white light that has been said to be almost religious as it dominants and stands out from the rest whilst lighting the scene further as well as symbolising the pureness that us associated within religion.

As you can see this sort of style is recreated throughout the different theatres Sugimoto visited.In a way    this could almost be a typography like the works of Bernd & Hilla Becher as the screens are usually central  in the frame and stay constant where the style of theatre and location change, just like the A frames of the  Bechers. The frames stayed the same and only the location and style of frame differed.

What I like about these images is that the only light source is coming from the dimmed theatre lights and  from the screen only illuminating so much but still managing to capture so much detail and capture the  emptiness that Sugimoto talked about.

Another known series from Sugimoto is called ‘Conceptual forms’. This series involved he photographing both German mathematical and English made mechanical scientific models.

The idea behind this series was that he felt motivated to take pictures of the models since they were not made for the use of Art. Therefore with this in mind he had the idea of brining art and science together.  He says that Art resides even in things with no artistic intentions.

This image is of a spur gear that has some more gears inside it to reduce the volume of mechanism. For example in  this image would not be seen as art if it was left on its own or with the other models. However thanks to sugimotos  lighting and plain black backgrounds we can fully appreciate the shapes, patterns and maybe even think about the  functions and purposes that this model was once used for.

This model represents the surface of constant negative curvature. I like the fact that it could be on going out of the  frame, but the fact that Sugimoto did not include all of the model means that the viewer can imagine it continuing or it  can be representative of the on going curve.

With these images I like the fact that he did not photograph them with the harsh, straight on light as this would of  made them look as though they were taken for the use of documentation and science rather than the showing of the  shapes, and the textures, which draw them more to the art side. As well as agreeing with Steff in the Interview on the i  idea that creating shadows often hides things or makes you think about why it is in shadow and what is it hiding

Furthermore it is good that sugimoto photographed a side that is damaged as most photographers would of either  chosen another side to picture or not bother. This shows the models history and even time again, giving more  information to the image.

As said in the interview it is hard to find any particular artist that can be related to Sugimoto, however I think that Karl Blossfeldt’s pictures of the flower heads and leaves are similar to sugimotos work as in a way they are minimalistic despite being for different reasons, Blossfeldt’s images were more for scientific purposes whereas Sugimoto’s is more for the sake of art and time.

Similarly, in terms of lighting he could be close to the work of Edward Weston as the lighting seems planned and thought out. However the background is not as plain.

Likewise his other series ‘lightening fields’ can be related to my recent images of the leaf as both show the patterns and line of the simplistic image despite the fact that my image has a closer focus and not created using electricity. However the natural side of the two images are close.

As well as liking the images Sugimoto has produced I like some of his philosophies and the way he thinks. For example he has an idea and then he acts upon it, even if it does take years to perfect the image or idea that he has in his head.

Information from:

Conceptual Forms, Actes Sud, Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

The Photo Book – Phaidon

Sally O’Rielly

The New York Times – youtube

Villamaninart – youtube

Isbvt – youtube

White Cube

The videos:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Inspiration – iRobot

At the time of this movie release I was pretty sure that I wanted to go in to some sort of Design career.

This car then became an inspiration as to what the cars of the future could indeed look like and could later influenced my ideas as what to include or think about when designing vehicles. For example the covered wheel arches and interior design were all striking and futuristic to me. Plus the concepts were more realistic I feel in this film rather than the totally futuristic vehicles and concepts seen in some films like the taxis in Total Recall.

Another interesting vehicle that appealed to me in this film was the Transportation Vehicle that moved the robots from the factory to the streets. This in itself was loaded with technology. It seemed to drive itself and had big metal balls in each corner turning it around. Very Futuristic and neat if you ask me.

Furthermore the shape or aesthetic of the transportation vehicle was very appealing and striking to me and may inspire me to draw up my own version and tweak it to appeal to my uses, such as a newer version of the GMC PAD

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14/11/09 – Fishbone Gallery

Asha Bantan

To start with I was unable to attend the first talk, which I think was held by the Photographer Kate Rossin, so I decided to attended the talk by the subject himself, Asha Bantan.

Asha Bantan collects “genuine African artworks and European objects with Africa and African people as their theme”. He does this by saving up and going out to Africa to look and buy the pieces or gives others the money to find things if they are heading out that way. Heres an extract from the website:

The images of him were separated over two walls. On one side of the room were the pictures of him surround by his on going collection (Similar to the image above). Whereas on the other side were the portraits of him talking, smiling and laughing against a red background.

One piece of Philosophy I got out of this talk, that I remember was that we should atleast try and accomplish something before the day is over. This is something that I try and remind myself of each day.

Fishbone Exhibitions
Photographer-Kate Rossin

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