Archive for category Photographers

Nick Veasey – Exposing the Invisible

‘I travel beyond the surface and show something for what it’s worth, what it’s really made of, how it really works’ – Nick Veasey

Nick Veasey does not use conventional methods to capture images. He uses x-ray format to see deep into the plants, human skeletons and other objects to see how they work. This is the kind of thing I am looking for in my project. To create portraits using items we do not tend to see. Bones and other tendons beneath the skin is something which we do not always associate with portraiture, unless the subject is dead and is part of the documentary photography genre.

Nick also likes to show the workings of the items he photographs. With clothing he would like to show the layers and stitching produced to pull the garment together. In humans it would be what pieces us together, what makes us stand, walk and bend. In one section of the video Veasey talks about seeing the cells within the plant structure he is creating. This is close to my level of work again. Similarly I to want to show the workings and inner beings of the human body by showing what goes on beneath us. He does this in a contemporary way by presenting the ‘models’ in life like day-to-day situations we are all familiar with. This makes the audience more connected to the piece since the association of their normal, daily lives is presented in front of them.

However I am going to have to find another way in which to do so, as it would be a challenge to find a ‘model’ in which to x-ray. However I can try and get access to some Orthodontic x-rays that I had taken in 2007 as part of a treatment. These x-rays would show the inner work of the tooth structure and create a real shocking abstract piece.

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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.

Presentation

 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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Exhibition: Taryn Simon

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One of the exhibitions, at the Tate London that was relevant to my course work pieces on the narrative was the exhibition by Taryn Simon entitled ‘A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters’.

This exhibition featured 18 ‘chapters’ or pieces that showed the bloodlines and relative stories behind people like feuding families, victims of genocide and the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday.

Each ‘chapter’ is in three sections. On the left the images are portraits of the bloodline descendants in a systematic order, whilst moving onto the middle panel we see Simon’s notes on any information gathered about the family in question. Followed by this is a further panel that contains photographic evidence to support the narrative being presented. The narratives show external forces of territory, power, circumstances of religion that collide with the internal forces of the psychology and physical inheritance.

Stepping back, this series is similar to the way I produce my work with the splitting up of the overall narrative with the separation of the different sections.

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Robert Capa

I decided to look at Robert Capa in terms of his well known quote “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”.

History Of Photography Program Notes:

  • Used Leica
  • Photojournalist
  • War photographer
  • Famous for capturing decisive moments.
  • 1939 – He brought fame, heroism and charisma.
  • Worked for Life Magazine
  • Rules of photojournalism:
    • 1st – Get close,
    • 2nd – To get closer
  • Believed the prints because of his name under it
  • He captured reality
  • Chose battles
  • 1st wave on Omaha Beach
  • 4 rolls of film, 1 survived, 11 pictures saved
  • Image: ‘Dying Loyalist Soldier’
    • 1936
  • After war he went to Hollywood

The Leica, launched in Germany in 1925, was a revolutionary development in camera technology. Compact, quiet and with the latest lens technology it gave birth to a whole new style of instant photography.

“It allows you to be really present in the moment and glide through the moment. The thing about it is that the window is here on the corner, so that when you look through the camera your other eye is open so that you can actually watch the world. Most other single reflex cameras go in front of your face so they block off your vision.” (Joel Meyerowitz, Photographer)

The Leica was the chosen tool of Hungarian-born photo-journalist Robert Capa who became famous for capturing the ultimate in decisive moments – the death of a Spanish Civil War soldier cut down by a bullet in 1936. When Civil War became World War, in 1939, Capa bought fame, heroism, and charisma to the war photographer. Working for Life Magazine he recorded that the first rule of photojournalism was ‘to get close’ and the second, ‘to get closer.’ It earned him a reputation as the world’s greatest war photographer and its first real celebrity.

Robert Capa, Images of War (Book)

  • Appreciation by John Steinbeck
    • Camera is an extension of mind and heart.
    • He knew you could not photograph war because it is largely an emotion
    • Showed emotion by shooting beside it.
    • Show horror of a whole people in the face of a child.
    • Camera caught and held emotion.
    • Found truth in war; he loathed it, but understood it and stayed close to the front lines.
    • Spain
      • Recorded for the first time the kind of scenes he would face over and over again.
  • England
    • Capa moved for a lose up of a pilot but
    • quote: ‘the pictures of the dead and wounded were the ones that would show people the real aspect of war’

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Thomas Shahan

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Thomas Shahan is a artists at heart who photographs, makes small films and draws. The main area I am going to concentrate on with Shahan is his close up portraits of the local residents of the insect and bug kind. Shahan is a fan of the small world that lies around us, and feels that this is going unnoticed and unappreciated. He has then decided to photograph the different variations of the Jumping Spider. The series is called ‘spider in Focus’

Through the images taken I feel that he has captured the spiders in a more up beat state to go against general negative stigma that is placed upon these tiny creatures. The colour is cheerful and bright throughout the series to add to the up beat state. Also the spiders are in a non threatening pose nor featured with pray to add to the friendliness that Shahan is trying to portray.

Therefore to relate to my question as to why we like to get close, for Shahan the answer would be to simply to spread the awareness of these critters to the general public to get them to overcome their fears and previous negatives thoughts about them.

Photo Journal: Spiders in Focus – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine. 2012. Photo Journal: Spiders in Focus – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine. [ONLINE] Available at:http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/12/photo-journal/shahan-text. [Accessed 06 February 2012].

Flickr: Thomas Shahan’s Photostream. 2012. Flickr: Thomas Shahan’s Photostream. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opoterser/. [Accessed 06 February 2012].

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Brian Valentine

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I have always been a fan with Brian Valentines work and often refer to it when looking for inspiration before going out into the garden to see what insects I can photograph.
Since Valentine was a Microbiologists in a previous career, he is now retired, I thought it would be interesting to see his take on macro photography after spending vast amounts of time looking in microscopes.
Questions:

What does macro / getting close mean to you?

Not certain if you mean what is my definition of macro or why do I like macro.

Definition- Seeing detail in a subject not visible to the naked eye. I just like seeing the hidden beauty/interest you can find in the macro world

Have you always been interesting in nature and looking closely at the world?

Yes I have always had an interest in nature and also a keen gardener, Used to use magnifying glasses etc when I was a kid.

Is there any particular reason why you mainly focus on nature with your work?

I just shoot things I find interesting and guess natural things are inherently more interesting for me.

As a microbiologist, is macro photography a release for you?

Not really, I only took up macrophotography after I retired so if anything it was more a continuation of scientific enquiry

Do you see much difference between macro photography and microbiology?

You find interest and beauty in both but fairly obviously microbiology tends to be more of an applied science

What is the transition like from looking in a microscope compared to the real world and through a camera lens?

The difference is not huge- one of my macrohotography lenses is a 10X microscope objective attached to a set of extension tubes, however I enjoy the “hunting” aspect of shooting insects/ bugs which you don’t tend to get with a microscope.

Since photographing things closely and getting closer to items in doing so has this changed your perception or way of looking?

Yes, you learn to look at things properly, you miss such an amazing amount of beauty until you really start examining things properly.


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Rineke Dijkstra Presentation

The bathers project was produced in two areas of the world, one in America and another in Europe. Dijkstra chose to use the name of where and when the photographs were taken rather than use the participants name. Through the position of the participant you can see a consistent objective treatment throughout and the differences between each sitter start to stand out like the different types of bathing costume used, is it a hand-me-down or a brand new trendy one? Also the position and pose in which the sitter holds themselves becomes noticeable, and the idea of being influenced by modern, western fashion sense comes into play for these teens that are going into adulthood. The the idea of these youngsters going into adult can be symbolised through the means of the threshold of the sea and land. Also showing the gap between intention and effect.

Botticelli’s painting of ‘the Birth of venus’ is said to express the same thoughts and stances as ‘Bathers’ with the use of the hands, colours and expressions shown on the protagonists face and posture.

After ‘Bathers’ Dijkstra broke her hip and photographed self portraits to show her rehabilitation periods.

Other series included ones like bull fighters or another well known one, ‘New Mothers’ which used the same positing as ‘bathers’ making it again another typography and differences between the individual present in the scene.

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