Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Influences for Assignment 5 and More of My Most Coherent Thoughts Leading up to Assignment 5: Personal Project

Now that I had conceived a much more concrete idea for the fifth assignment, I realised that at least subconsciously, there were a few influences that I had discovered, which may well have helped provoke such ideas that led to this one, strong idea I described in the previous post: (A Selection of My Most Salient Thoughts Leading Up to Assignment 5: Personal Project for DPP).

   One of my main influences was Arnold Newman. This wasn't surprising to me since I had looked very closely at a lot of his wide-angle environmental portraits and the aspect that resonated with me most in much of his work was the sense of depth and extra information captured around the subjects, compared to usual portraiture. He achieved this while still effectively portraying the sitter's expression.

   Another, less obvious detail I garnered from Arnold Newman was actually a quote. He said in a quote I found that: '[Photography] is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world'. I discovered the quote when researching his work and the website I found it on was: http://museum.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/newman/ (accessed 12/3/2014). I found this interesting in that it backed up my conclusions I had been drawing, where photography is simply a representation of life, which the photographer has a degree of control over. I also found this quote helpful because my fifth assignment asked me to produce a project that was personal and I decided it would make sense to photograph people close to me in order for me to create my 'own private world' - Arnold Newman.

   Two more photographers' work that influenced me were: Alejandro Guijarro's 'Momentum' (2010-2013) project and Janine Antoni's 'Inhabit' (2009) project. They both for me challenged the frame but in almost opposite manner. Guijarro actually filled the frame fully each time, with a blackboard containing equations to do with quantum physics. This made the viewer challenge what they were seeing: was it a photograph or 'real life' and how should they interpret this concept?

   Antoni, in contrast had a seemingly more conventional photograph, with a mother in the middle of the frame and lots going on around her. Relevantly though, amidst this busy frame was a picture within a picture. Inside this picture within a picture was another scene altogether. The main photograph was printed so large in the exhibition that the picture within the picture could have been a standalone photograph itself, if viewed up close. This made the viewer question the contents of the photograph: how did the picture in the picture relate back to the main photograph?

   Another photograph I stumbled across in a photography magazine (Aperture - Winter 2013) was by Paul Trevor, called 'William Henry Street, Everton, Liverpool, 1975' and this again challenged the frame but also was very impactful because of the relationship between the frame and setting of the photograph, the literal frame the boy was holding and the boy himself; particularly his expression. I knew I liked this use of the frame but had been unsure how to incorporate into my own work in a different way.

   Lastly, I was reading about John Goto and found an interesting passage at: http://theoxfordculturereview.com/2013/12/23/lovers-rock-an-interview-with-john-goto/ (accessed 2/2/2014). The actual photograph can be found at http://www.johngoto.org.uk/portraits/Meltzer/pages/Dr%20D%20Meltzer.htm (accessed 2/22014). Here he digitally substitutes the window and also the painting on the wall with different things and it is carried out so well that the viewer (or at least me) wouldn't have known otherwise. I did consider digitally placing the picture within the picture  inside my main photograph but decided to manually place it in the scene at the time of taking each photograph. This was because I realised it could be placed almost anywhere in the scene realistically and look authentic.

   All of these influences undoubtedly for me changed how I approached the set of final photographs in terms of preparation and also how I conceived the main idea in the first place.