Starting 2nd year: Summer Tasks

“Holiday summer homework level 1-2

Task 1

Building on this terms brief and in preparation for next terms classes you need to make 2 portraits. You can interpret this as broad as you like, but there are 2 stipulations. One portrait must be of a person you know well and one portrait must be of someone you do not know.

Consider how you will approach this brief. Have you approached each portrait differently? What is important in the portrait and how are you going to represent this?

On your blog write a 300word reflection (not description) that discusses how you approached making/creating the portraits. You can use, whatever medium you choose to make these images (analogue or digital). You will need to present and discuss your portraits to the group.

Task 2

Over the summer break you need to visit and review 2 cultural arts events. This can be an exhibition, a play, review a book, a performance or any other event – which is of cultural interest.

As well as reflecting on your experience of the event, your review should be informed by reading other peoples reviews of the same event and should not be purely descriptive. When you are choosing what reviews to look at/reference find something written in the formal press and something written more informally for a blog. Think about the use of language in each and what each approach can offer the reader.

You will need to give a 5-7 minute presentation of your reviews to the rest of the group next term.

Task 3

Choose something from the past years project work (level 1 classes) that you would like to rework. Often due to time restrictions and other commitments projects have more potential than realised in the time frame of the brief and given the opportunity could be reworked to make better work.

Spent time over the summer break, researching and improving one of your projects. This is something we will pick up in tutorials next term. “

Task 1.

The first brief for the summer task was to take two portraits; the only constraint on the portraits was that one had to be of someone I knew and one I didn’t know, which meant I approached each portrait differently. It was important to represent them personally, and to pre-visualize before I took the images.

I approached the portrait of the person I knew quite casually, I recognized that if I was relaxed and acted like I would normally then I would get a nice natural photograph. If I acted like I was taking there photograph professionally I don’t think I would have got such a natural shot from my friend, as they would have acted up for the camera. I created a natural, laid back and down to earth portrait.  I spoke as I would normally with Hannah: as I did so I caught the usual responses of giggles. I have known Hannah since she was born, for this reason I could naturally communicate with her without her being shy or unsure of the camera.

Hannah by Jenny Stonely

Hannah by Jenny Stonely

Hannah by Jenny Stonely

Hannah by Jenny Stonely

For the portrait of the person I didn’t know it was important to firstly engage in conversation and explain why I would like to take the portrait. I had to explain that it was for a University brief, and that I had to take a portrait of someone I didn’t know.  When creating the portrait I had to build up a rapport with the model first; this put them at ease. I wanted to get to know their personality; this helped me when styling the shot as I could pre-visualize what would suit them and what wouldn’t. The professional relationship that was built on shoot helped me to reflect their personality in the portrait. I wanted to create an edgy look to the image, yet keep her friendly personality.

Christina, by Jenny Stonely (taken whilst assisting Henry Ho Digital Flow)

Christina, by Jenny Stonely (taken whilst assisting Henry Ho Digital Flow)

Task 2.

Bill Viola Exhibition Review:

Your senses are instantly brought to life as you enter the exhibition “Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures” by Bill Viola at Blain Southern. You will find yourself questioning and investigating your thoughts and his as you enter the inquisitive world of Bill Viola and his works.

His work is designed to intensify sensation. He creates this powerful and intoxicating world around you that fills your body with a heightened sense of feeling.

One room in particular entitled “The Dreamers” seems to emphasis your isolation in the world; being underwater dulls the noises from outside and makes you feel distant. I agree with “Hunger TV’s” statement, “‘The Dreamers’…is the standout piece of the exhibition”. The entrance to the room is like a dark cave, underneath and away from the rest of the exhibition. All around is muffled noises of water, as if you are in your own water casket with them. Seven underwater video installations displaying people from young to old, varying between men and women, and a mix of races; everyone is included, even the viewer is involved in the experience. The women especially remind me of the Pre-Raphaelite painting “Ophelia”, Christina’s blog (http://asensesublime.com/2013/07/19/bill-viola-frustrated-actions-and-futile-gestures/) also recognizes the resemblance, saying, “One young girl, with long Pre-Raphaelite red hair, which floats around her, resembles Millais’ Ophelia”. The room is tranquil and mirrors the lighting of an aquarium, which is another type of exhibit that involves the viewer in an underwater world. I feel that the vertical positioning of the frames does not complement the angle from which the video was taken. I would prefer the installations framed above the viewer on the ceiling, as if you were looking through the water from deeper down. Others viewers at the exhibition told me that they would prefer to look down upon it, as if looking through the water.

“The Chapel of Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures” is compiled of a 3×3 grid of video screens. The viewer finds the screens frustrating to watch; watching the screens over and over, their eye flicking from one to the other, always missing the moment that something happens; as you can’t watch them all at once. The videos all played along side each other, however they do not loop consistently, and the viewer is left puzzled and confused of how the videos begin and end. There is no clear beginning or end. This reminded me of Paul Smith’s looped video “My Round”. Bill Viola wanted the viewer to feel this frustration from the exploration of monotonous tasks. Each video has sound along with it, these sounds are played as a nine channel mono sound, as Christina has stated in her blog “the subtlety layered sounds add to its hypnotic quality and you are left contemplating the often frustrating hopelessness of human existence.”

Viewers are led round the dark cave like corridors of the exhibition, wondering what they will discover next, the rooms all exploring human existence in different manners. This exhibit allows you to investigate life through the eyes of Bill Viola.

Having visited the exhibition, I looked up a couple of reviews, both professional “Hunger TV” and an amateur blogger review. I used these reviews to help me reflect on the exhibition. The quotations I picked out were used to support my own reflections on the exhibit. I noticed a difference of style between the reviews; the “Hunger TV” had a more formal approach, whereas the blog was more relaxed and chatty. The blogger however did have similarities to the professional review, this may have been because she is an “Artist and soon-to-be trainee art teacher, exploring the art world”, with professional aspirations. Whilst writing my own review I incorporated both styles of writing, I want my blog to be comprehensible for all audiences, as well as having a sophisticated approach as I have my own professional ambitions.

Bibliography:

http://www.hungertv.com/feature/41734/

http://asensesublime.com/2013/07/19/bill-viola-frustrated-actions-and-futile-gestures/

http://youtu.be/eEP1xJvFWrY

Blumenfeld Studio: New York, 1941-1960, Somerset House – exhibition review:

The “Blumenfeld Studio, New York, 1941-1960” exhibition at Somerset House commemorates Blumenfelds’ work from 1941-1960, which includes fashion images, advertising, portraiture, propaganda posters from the Second World War and his experimental pieces. Erwin Blumenfeld photographed for the top fashion magazines, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. His personal investigational works such as his Solarization experiments show his enthusiasm for and success with innovative techniques.

When I first walked into the exhibition I booked onto a talk about his work, I felt that it was important to hear what a professional researcher had to say about him. I put on my nametag and joined the waiting room to begin the tour, excited to see how Blumenfeld’s work would strike me. I felt that the exhibition brought to life the fashion era of the mid 1900’s; Blumenfeld changed the way that photography was seen.  I was in ore of his work as I walked around.  After we were spoken to about a few select images we were given our own time to explore the exhibition further. I particularly liked the “Variant of the photograph published in Vogue US, April 1st, 1950” (fig.1) as I felt it was an interesting take on shoes that I had never seen before. The objects were used in such a way to create an aesthetic and amazingly explorative piece. In his blog Kevin Ricks says that after Blumenfeld moved to Holland he “became interested in French art and Man-Ray which influenced him further to experiment both in and out of the dark room, there are some examples of this in the exhibition”, such as “The Doe Eye” (1950). His work was about making art, rather than advertising the items of clothing etc. However this approach works as the viewer still spends time admiring the work, without even realizing the subconscious thoughts about the subject of it.

“Since his death in 1969, he has been least remembered in comparison with the icons of today including Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and William Klein. This breathtaking exhibition marks his overdue return to the international spotlight” (The Evening Standard). Having gone to the exhibition and seen the work myself I am also surprised. I know of Irving Penn and others from this era very well, however I hadn’t really heard much about Blumenfelds work. Blumenfeld became one of the highest paid photographers of the 1950’s; many celebrities would use him to capture the images that only a select few could: his style was unique and full of experiments, this brought a lot to the world of photography. I agree that Blumenfeld has been over shadowed by his contemporaries and should be more recognized today for his contributions to photography. Maybe this exhibition will bring his name forward again, and he will become more famous as a renowned photographer.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Somerset House as it is a terrific gallery space. Sadly the Erwin Blumenfeld Exhibit ends on the 1st of September 2013, so get down to London quickly to experience the years of 1941-1960 in the studio of fashion’s (once and soon to be again) notorious photographer.

The reviews I have read, both professional and blog posts appear to focus on Blumenfeld himself rather than this particular exhibition. Writing about his style and his experiments and how he came to be this photographer. However I felt that the reviews should have been more centered on this particular exhibition, especially as they were titled as a review of “Blumenfeld Studio: New York, 1941–1960”. The article in “The Evening Standard” by Sue Steward, which I looked at for information to help me with my review uses established professional language, in contrast to the casual conversational language used in the blog of Kevin Ricks. Whilst I read his review I felt like I was talking to a friend about what they had been doing recently. Within the first paragraph I knew of other places he had been and even though fashion photography wasn’t exactly his forte why he had been attracted to Blumenfeld’s work held at Somerset House. When writing my review I have tried to concentrate more on the exhibition and to use a laid back conversational approach to my writing as I wish to appeal to a broad spectrum of people.

Fig 1:

By Erwin Blumenfeld (click to see link)

By Erwin Blumenfeld (click to see link)

Bibliography:

http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/exhibitions/blumenfeld-studio-new-york-19411960-somerset-house–exhibition-review-8628701.html

http://kevinricks.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/blumenfeld/

Task 3.

Looking back over Task3 of 152MC “Working with Light”
https://jstonelyphotography.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/task-3/

Introduction:

Silhouette has led me to look at rediscovering portraiture and how I can challenge what it is and how it is illustrated. I want to explore shape and form, and how an object can be used to form part of an image. I looked at silhouettes before, and how objects can lead to the clues of whom the portrait is of. I again want to look at portraiture, but not by focusing on the persons face, but on the object that forms part of the image. For example a flower could form their skirt ect.. Perhaps the flower I select will show their personality, or mood. I think that this project will best support women’s portraiture, as they are more feminine and elegant, like the flowers.

Research:

Here is my inspiration for this shoot:

http://artsfield.net/tag/optical-illusion/

So often flowers are used within a portrait, as a nice backdrop, or a prop to hold etc, however they are rarely used to create part of the portrait itself. I took inspiration from the illusions I researched and created my portraits with the idea of challenging the representation of portraiture and focusing on shape and form of the flower, rather than the models face.

http://www.moillusions.com/2008/04/flower-face-optical-illusion.html

by Octavio Ocampo

by Octavio Ocampo (click to see link)

Having found these paintings by the mexican artist Octavio Ocampo, it inspired me further to create an illusion with the flowers. I wanted to use the flowers to recreate clothing, similarly to how this artist has used them in his illusion for faces.

http://ciniclips.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/amazing-illusion-oil-paintings-oleg.html

Here is another artist who uses optical illusions in their work, using  objects from nature to create the illusion of a bird.

by Oleg Shuplyak ( click to see link)

by Oleg Shuplyak ( click to see link)

Shape and form:

I looked back over 20th century masters of shape and form, such as Edward Weston and Georgia O’ Keeffe.

by Edward Weston (click to see link)

by Edward Weston (click to see link)

http://r-atencio.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/20th-century-master.html

 

Final Piece:

Final piece, by Jenny Stonely

Final piece, by Jenny Stonely

Conclusion:

Re-visiting an old project from this year allowed me to take a step back and be creative again, as I had time away from it and had new ideas to bring to the table. I have realised that perhaps it would be something I could do in the future, to look back over an old project and to invest some more time into rethinking and recreating something new from it. I am proud of both outcomes I created, the original idea based around silhouette and the new ideas based on illusions. I love the fact that they both look at portraiture and representing someone, yet both ideas challenge the representation of portraiture. I feel that my work reflects the models personality through the object (flower skirts) rather than her face (how we would originally see portraiture). The flowers emphasise her feminine characteristics, she is a delicate, elegant and naturally pretty woman, much like a flower. The flowers (skirts) appear like dancers clothes, suggesting a tutu. The 5 images I have taken, 2 portraits and 3 objects, work well together, and look great framed along side each other. The bright flowers that appear in all 5 photographs enhance the set of images, making the motif of the flower appearance draw the images together as one piece.

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