Assignment 1: Combined image

Brief:

Produce either a series of four to six portraits (looking at Stezaker and Stenram) or a series of four to six landscape-based images based on your immediate surroundings (as with Gill’s Hackney Marshes series). Complete Parts 1 and 2 of the assignment and upload the finished images to your learning log together with a short reflection (500–1,000 words) on your motivations, references and methods for both parts of the assignment.

Part 1 Use traditional ‘cut and paste’ techniques (scissors/scalpel and glue) to produce a series of simple photomontages using elements from two to five original or found photographs. These can be found images and/or images that you’ve shot yourself. Re-photograph your finished photomontages and present the work in your learning log as a digital file.

Part 2 Using digital montage techniques (Photoshop or similar image-editing software) produce a digital montage using elements from a minimum of two and a maximum of five digital files. Use components that you have shot yourself rather than found images for this exercise. 

Preparation and Planning
A couple of weeks ago I came across this funny image (montage) online, made by a smartphone (face swap) application (see fig.1.) The application is programmed to find recognisable features of human faces and exchange them to produce funny effect. As it can be seen here, the application mistook a part of a stove for a face. I thought this could be a starting point for my montages, so I “hired” my children to look around the house and find things that could be recognised as faces in their surroundings. I made several images of, for example, a socket, and other things they had found, but concluded that it is just an amusing exercise and nothing more. I decided to look for another way to approach the assignment.

funny-baby-face-swaps-10-5a0c3c4589bd6__605.jpg

Figure 1. ChuckieC, 2017

 

The next idea that came to my mind was to use a kaleidoscope on well-know images in order to see famous works with fresh eyes (Hisaji Hara, Jeff Wall), so I did a couple of examples. I liked the result visually, but than again, besides the visual element, I had no concept behind it.

With the “cut-and-paste” technique, I was afraid of producing something too messy, so I thought maybe I could do it by placing one photograph next to the other in order to produce a new contest, and did several examples with some of my photos.

The next idea that came to my mind was to use a kaleidoscope on well-know images in order to see famous works with fresh eyes (Hisaji Hara, Jeff Wall), so I did a couple of examples. I liked the result visually, but than again, besides the visual element, I had no concept behind it.

335A5844-B788-4DEA-98AF-6EDC288694716C8DD772-85EC-4D3C-BF0E-482ECCD8AAF3IMG_9371

With the “cut-and-paste” technique, I was afraid of producing something too messy, so I thought maybe I could do it by placing one photograph next to the other in order to produce a new contest, and did several examples with some of my photos.

IMG_9446IMG_9448 2IMG_9449 2

After a while, I thought it was cheating, I needed to take a scalpel in my hands, so I did. I found the catalogue Mois Européen de la Photographie – Luxembourg 2011, that was the first photo book I bought when I came to live in Luxembourg, and I cut out parts of the photographs that could go well with my photographs from the project Luxembourg à pied. That way I combined parts of the images that unconsciously contributed to my exhibition and my input to the Luxembourg photography community.

I used a different approach for the second part of the assignment. Here I chose landscape-based images rather than portraits. I felt that I was involved with people enough in my last course (Identity and Place) so landscape was a welcome change. I didn’t find something that I would like to experiment with among the given references, it was the work of Lucas Blalock under the last link that I found interesting. It was based on reduction rather than adding, and that, for me, was something worth exploring.  In the montages I reference the masters of painting (Picasso, Kandinsky, Bacon).

Link to my Assignment 1

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zsb3hhelirkv615/Radman_Combined_image_190218.pdf?dl=0

Checking my work against the assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
As I mention in the text of the assignment, I am better with digital manipulation than working with scissors (maybe because I am left handed and scissors are my enemy). I can easily produce digitally the idea that is in my mind. The traditional ‘cut and paste’ technique was for me more demanding and less flexible in relation to its size and how it fills up the frame. But photography montages leave freedom and don’t necessarily try to imitate reality directly. I think that the grey background that I left in the frame acts as a “pass-partout” and at the same time holds the whole set together nicely.

Quality of outcome:
Coming from the graphic design background, I was afraid that the final work would be too messy, but at the end I found it interesting. However, I still prefer the digital manipulation over traditional. I can’t help it but it always reminds me of Terry Gilliam’s animations for Monty Python and it can’t get any better that that. Regarding the digital manipulation, I am very satisfied with the result, which is something that I could work on in the future.

Demonstration of creativity/Context:
Using styles/effects of famous painters and trying to apply them onto my photographs gave me interesting results, which is something that I haven’t explored before. Since this assignment became a project based on aesthetic values rather than contextual aspects, I have decided to combine the two headings under one. In the traditional part of the assignment, the creativity lies more in the context than in the execution. The idea was to combine the images of others (who influenced me) and my own in order to connect me, as an outsider, with the Luxembourg photography community.

Tutor’s response

I enjoyed looking through the work you’ve produced for this assignment Ivan and in particular, the way in which you have used the city you live in as a starting point for your exercises and assignments (congrats on your recent showing of your work. I thought you might be interested in look at Horizons by Sze Tsung Leong as I think this artists approach (both in terms of the works subject and the ways that the artists chooses to display this work) might be of interest to you

Horizonshttp://www.szetsungleong.com/horizons_index.htm

Good install shots here: https://collectordaily.com/sze-tsung-leong-horizons-yossi-milo/

Exercises:
Thorough and well presented. I particular enjoyed your exercise 1.3 on collage and thought the work that you had done there was original and of a good quality. Similarly, your presented your exercise using found photographs of a local bridge in an appropriate way.

Combined Image – assignment:
Most interesting I though was your work using your own street photography (black and white) and juxtaposing one image with another. Here you have gone for a very simple pairing approach but I can see how this could be developed in a more complex way to produce some very interesting work. I like the idea of layered narratives and complexity that this presents.

For the second part of your assignment, you have produced a series of digital montages of landscapes (not unlike the landscapes used in your recent exhibit in Luxembourg). These show geometrical forms placed in the landscape made up of elements of the landscape itself. You may be interested in having a look (if you haven’t done so) at the work of Noemie Goudal, who makes interventions (real and digital into the landscape to powerful and often startling effect. She manages to use both analogue and digital methods to create images off great power, mixing both the ‘messy’ (i.e. the sculptural) with the digital: http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/8002/noemie-goudals-lunar-landscapes

In the past of your assignment where you combine your images with the work of others seen in Luxembourg that has inspired you, I think the image below is by far the most successful as you’ve chosen two image which visually echoes and mirror each other (the shapes of the torso and the repetition in the draped fabric) rather than simple cutting elements out of existing images and inserting them into shapes and structures.

In this respect, you might be interested in looking at the current issue of FOAM which looks at artists and photographers who mix both analogue (19th and 20th century technique) with digital concepts. There are also some excellent essays in there: https://www.foam.org/magazine/about-foam-magazine

Ivan, while you have some exhibition reviews on your LL, you now need to begin to develop your research and reflection section. Choose one of the photographers mentioned in this report and write a 500 word illustrated blog post on an aspect of their work that interests you. That will get you started with the research into contemporary photographic practice. You’ve got off to a good start in DiC.

Student Feedback:
Pushing myself to unknown waters with this course made me a bit nervous as I was waiting for my tutor’s response on the first assignment. I wasn’t sure if I was on the right track to producing something good enough to proceed with my next assignments or if I would get stuck right at the start at the first one. Luckily, the tutor was more than supportive and inspirational.

We talked about my street photography project and how that could be just the first step for future projects in that field, but next time filled with the knowledge of the contemporary tools and practices that I am discovering through this course. I found this very satisfying, because I love to combine my previous work with the new one. Giving the old projects a new and fresh context is something that the photography medium is capable of doing. In a way, I see it as my ‘diary’ where one thought leads to another and the link is recognisable, rather than finishing one project then forgetting about it and jumping into a completely different one (if that is even possible anyway).

On that note, the tutor mentioned my other landscape project, where I combined the images from different periods and places and made a connection between them by creating an artificial horizon. The tutor noticed that I am making comparisons between my old and new home, which I (unconsciously) did with the street project, and how thorough that the political and sociological aspect is readable in my work. I found that very interesting, because I thought that I was driven by none of the political connotations, and that I was more in line with experimentation (what can and can’t work together). Now I see that one is always connected to the other, the comparison in itself is a part of the political spectrum, and it can’t be separated.

As my tutor mentioned, I now need to begin to develop my research and reflection section, which seems to me the hardest part of studying, but I am hoping that will help clarify my thoughts and opinions as much to myself as to my tutor.

For the written report of a chosen photographer mentioned in the report, I will choose Noemie Goudal, whose work I now find interesting, but didn’t pay any attention to before this course. I find it more and more interesting how the artists produce their work rather than just what impact it has on me.

Bibliography:

Rodolphe Janssen (2012) Lucas Blalock At: http://www.rodolphejanssen.com/artist/lucas-blalock (Accessed on 19.02.18)

issuu (2011) Mois Européen de la Photographie – Luxembourg 2011 At: https://issuu.com/emopmember/docs/emoplux11_luxembourg (Accessed on 19.02.18)

Luxembourg à pied (2017) ivanradman OCA Photography – Identity and Place – [online blog] At: https://ivanradmanblog3.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/luxembourg-a-pied/ (Accessed on 19.02.18)

Illustration:

Figure 1. ChuckieC [Photograph] At: https://www.boredpanda.com/possibly-one-of-the-best-face-swaps-2/?utm_source=iosapp&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=iosapp (Accessed on 19.02.18)

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