Work in progress / by Miranda Spendiff
24th April – 5th May // Week 7&8
The two week buildup to the final show and exhibition is here, and after a successful easter break following book work, painting and clarification of ideas, i have moved towards choosing my final location for my final show. During week 7, i reviewed my shoots over the previous weeks and the direction my idea has moved towards. After looking at the beginning of my journal and online posts and comparing, i realised that the main theme of my idea has been apparent throughout all my work. This being a focus on social housing and development, the beautifying of these areas through my edits and what is there or left behind, aswell as the documental side, exploring and looking further into the local areas that have surrounded me for years. I then began to move forward with the idea, realising that it is very different to what i have previously explored, usually focusing on more architectural and minimalist aspects. However, i have enjoyed the change and challenge of communicating ideas in a new way, pushing myself to create an exciting project that is personal to me, whilst overcoming and working with issues that have arisen.
During a recent group crit i explained that quite a few of my friends have lived on estates for as long as i have known them, and strangely i have always been fascinated in the development and community side to these places. I also explained my decision so far to leave people and friends out of my imagery, as i wanted to purely document the style of housing and building types. Social estates have been a huge influence on modern architecture and utopian type community areas, pushing idealistic boundaries of living. Choosing to start exploring the idea fit in perfectly with the timing of UCA, as i have always wanted to document the areas that have been strangely fascinating to me. Possibly creating a book or sequential pieces in large format and presenting as a final idea is something that i have always wanted to do, and concluding this project with this is an exciting ending to a year that has been important in me finding my style and place within lens based work.
I began week 8 looking and preparing for my final shoot by revising previous images and drawing imagery from these, aswell as using feedback to conclude my final layout for the exhibition. I would have liked to have had these shoots done by end of week 7, however, the weather did not work in my favour aswell as my planning for what i am looking for. I am cutting it very fine as the real challenge is creating this imagery within a week and a half of the final shots being needed for exhibition, however i believe that this only pushes me further to go and explore my idea. I also have enjoyed being a lot more open and easy with my work in the last couple of weeks, allowing me to explore without the ‘boundaries’ of having to create and plan. Essentially I aim to have the shots ready by the start of week 9, ready for editing and printing for the book and walls, whilst still developing book work and playing around with my final concept.
Week ending 2nd April // Week 5 // Practical Skills
Week 5 is underway and having previously been a tad ‘stuck’, the weekend helped clarify my ideas so far. The Monday morning lecture was on practical skills and what the criteria looks for in terms of understanding aesthetic awareness and using imaginative and flexible processes. Essentially the ‘aesthetics’ of photography are the most important part of the work that we create, understanding the way art looks and how it is put together, something that runs through into the book workshop. We looked at Valerie Belin who photographs mannequins modelled on supermodels. She combines her photographs with vector graphics from the internet, using skills and aesthetic awareness to create final outcomes. Her work is visually exciting and complex, using layering, shape and composition to create imagery that reflects her interests and style.
Imaginative and flexible processes? Dictionary definitions
- Imaginative – Showing creativity or inventiveness
- Flexible – respond to altered circumstances
- Processes – methods/actions
We also looked at Hannah Hoch who worked on a women’s magazine during 1916. She produced images for magazines and the studios would cut and paste different images together. She used experimental processes such as juxtaposition, collage and placing in order to create pieces, using skill and knowledge learned. We mainly looked at artists who have overcome issues by using skill and experimentation in order to further their work. Another artist was photographer Francesca Woodman. We discussed the camera she may be using, the style she is aiming for, her subjects, and what she experimented with. This covered shutter speed, aperture, pose’s, gaze’s and so forth. Essentially, we looked at how extensive enquiry can develop creative solutions allowing our attempts to focus on different ways of addressing current ideas and being open to changes in direction.
By using my journal work and sheet development, i allow myself to experiment with my ideas visually, however, now being in week 5 i do believe it has come to the point where i want to really try different things, therefore creating a book with my work as an example seems to be the boost my work may need. After the lecture, i evaluated my ideas so far within my journal, exploring the ideas behind my interest in social housing having been influenced by friends who live on estates and these somewhat utopian inspired area’s created on community basis. Although some may view these areas as dingy neglected areas of society, i find some enjoyment out of this idea that they all connect in one place. The hidden beauty they also have through the flowers, statues and odd pops of colours are also fascinating, truly looking past the parts that may not be aesthetically pleasing to all and focusing on these random pops of unusual beauty.
By the end of this week, i had created a book using the method ‘Perfect Binding’ aswell as clarified my concept and ideas using the shoot i had completed that week. During the week i also experimented alot on photoshop with my images, creating and using different techniques to create graphical images that were transcriptions of my work. What was really interesting was planning and choosing the images i wanted to see within the book without being to picky. I also learnt how to design a book in different ways using indesign aswell as viewing how the book was glued together. The images looked more raw and real in the book form, an interesting viewpoint in to how i will showcase my work at the end of the FMP. However, as a sample, the book taught me that i need to evaluate my sequencing and cover work, therefore choosing what goes together and what should and should not be included.
Week Ending 5th March // Week 1
The final major project has begun, starting the week off by looking at ‘Context’ on Monday during the group lecture. We looked at work by Tim Burton and Anna Gaskell, observing the story and meaning behind their work. This was useful as Narrative, in all its forms, is important in all work i do, whether it be simplistic in nature or the key to the idea, so understanding how these artists and storytellers compose their work was a really interesting topic. I have begun by looking at artists who have influenced my work up to this point, including Lewis Baltz and photographers who influenced the topography movement. From the research i have painted their compositions, lines and details from the photos onto wood and cardboard in order to gain influence from their compositions and style. I have also looked at social housing and the architectural style, from brutalist to modern day developments such as work from Bjarke Ingels and Ernő Goldfinger. Work from Sergiy Barchuk has also been interesting to view, observing his unique eye for colour schemes and compositional practice within the book, Smoke Room 3. Essentially, this week has been exploring the artistry work behind my initial ideas, and looking at colours and compositions that i can bring in to my first experimental shoot for the FMP.