The life of Venus
John & Judy
We Can Do It, Too!
The Guitar Guy
♯ Pearl Earring
Even though I had done this image the weekend before already I thought it could not hurt to try to perfect it if there is an opportunity.
With the Bristol 10K on Sunday the 11th I took the opportunity to play around with the pose.
Unfortunately the weather and atmosphere was not quite as good as on the day of Park and Slide which made it hard to work.
Also my flatmate who helped me take these images was not very comfortable using an SLR and com positioning the image.
I believe He did a good job though and we tried what we could.
It was defiantly worth trying!
One thing would be really cool about these images. I could call it “The Millennium Square kiss”
Coming home after a day of 3 photo shoots (Sunday, 11th of May) I saw this guy with a big beard and blue torn jacket with several bottles stuffed up his sleeves and I just had to ask him if he would be interested in taking couple of pictures with me.
I had to drop of some things at home first because I was still waking around with all the bags from the Venus photo shoot so I told him to meet me in front of the Watershed in half an hour.
I was not entirely sure if he would be there because he did not seem to have any sort of device that would tell him the time and he was also drunk out of his mind.
On my way to the Watershed I see him sitting on a bench that, how I find out later, is where he always is and where I could find him if need be.
After 30 min of very very slow walking and drunken mumbles I cannot even guess we made the way from the floating harbour bench to the Watershed.
We got quite a few odd looks walking down the harbour side as well…
When finally he took his position as the Guitarist he stared playing the guitar (kind of) and humming some song.
He stayed in exactly the same position for the entire photo shoot first playing a bit with the guitar, then just humming and very shortly he fell asleep!!
That was a very unique experience for me and probably for him too.
I was a bit scared that if I got him money he would buy more booze so I gave him food and sweets in the same value instead.
He was very happy about that, stuffed it all in his jacket and told me that I could find him on that bench if I need to do it again….
This time I had an extra LED light and a Reflector with me. The images is still relatively dark because it was not very sunny outside at that point but most importantly it was lit more evenly.
In addition to that I had three times the amount of towels with me (6 extra large luxury towels) to make the shell appear bigger.
It still looks quite small because of the angle but it was impossible to get more because I was struggling a lot carrying one IKEA bag full of towels and other requisites, a set of LED lights, the Reflector, Tripod and Camera.
Having said that I really enjoyed this photo session a lot and am very pleased with the results.
After speaking to Katy I took the advise to worry less about the yellow background and do all that in post- production.
This made everything a whole lot easier because I was not limited to the little piece of fabric I mounted to the wall as yellow background.
At the beginning of all this I thought that this pose is one of the easiest because it is so iconic.
It turned out that it was one of the hardest though.
Firstly because my model has not the same shape as the woman in the original and secondly because the illustration of the original is slightly unnaturally proportioned this pose was very challenging.
After 6 hours of hard work in the studio I felt like it is impossible to make it look exactly like the original but playing around with the background on phtotshop makes a massive change and I am very happy about this image now.
This photo was one of the hardest to restage out of all the images. And it was probably the one I had to do the most. Before I did it twice in the photo studio I had several rehearsals outside the studio facilities.
It was very challenging to get the right angle, light and especially the position.
The first challenge was building a scenery in the studio that looks similar to a sofa and a beige carpet.
With stacks of blankets and the tables in the studio I set out to do that.
After reviewing the images from my last “John&Judy” photo session I felt like both aesthetically and and context wise it would improve the picture of the doll would wear trousers.
In the original of John Tenon and Joko Ono I personally feel like what makes the image so special is the contrast of her being dressed and him naked.
In my picture this also adds subtlety in ways that you do not immediately notice that “she” is a sex doll.
Not exactly Times Square but close as I can get to it in Bristol: Park Street on the Park and Slide day.
Sunny weather and lots of crowds makes this venue the perfect event for the Black and White kiss.
There is something about this pose that looks very unnatural almost like I am forcing myself on my boyfriend…..
I find that very interesting because It does strike me as a weird unnatural pose but if you would swop the position of the man and the woman it would be totally normal (except for the dress of course).
Partially this being a gender untypical pose and it is also increasingly difficult because of the height difference which is why I tried to do this pose with high heels.
I also Tried to do it with different heath sidewalks and steps but that did not work at all. See the pictures on Flickr.
As I am planning to do this photo again on the 11th of May when the Bristol 10k Run takes places there is one thing I would try to change and that is my position.
I believe that it would look a lot more natural if my legs were closer together and I would stand slightly behind my boyfriend instead of oposite him.
Which is also how the man stands in the Times Square kiss originally.
I was very confident that this subject would be perfect for this image as I know her personality. She is lous confident and strong. However I felt like she was not very into it during the shoot and she even told me that she feels like she is not really cut out to do this, also because of lacking body confidence.
Nevertheless this shoot taught me a lot of things to be considered for the next session:
– It was not lit the right way
– The skin tone undershirt looks better than the blue one
– The subject has to face me and not show me her prfile
– If the subject actually beliefs in femminism and girl power it will come across
Even thought I was already very happy with the images from Day 1 of this production I scheduled to do this again for two reasons:
1. I found a blouse that had exactly the same tone as the blouse on the original (not so clear in the pictures unfortunatly)
2. I had to try the composition with the iPhone being next to her not in front of her face.
All in all this was a very quick and straight forward photo session followed by one of my other images “We Can Di It, Too!” which did not quite run as smoothly.
Unfortunately I had technical issues during this shoot which affected the overall quality of the images.
Also, coming in the morning instead of afternoon like I did for the Rehearsal, turned out to be not as good light wise.
Having a limited source of internal light made the scenery a lot more grey and cold than I hoped for.
I used the opportunity to experiment with different angles.
Venus being a goddess I thought it might look good angling the camera from slightly below.
However, I have problems with the wooden sealing and want to reduce the amount of post production as much as possible.
Therefore I decided that I will have to do this session again not only for the sake of the photo quality but also in terms of light equipment and composition.
Because I did not know the location before I got there I thought it would be wise to have something like a rehearsal session to see how well it is working for the photo.
Being in the facility before they open also means that I am very limited in how much time I spent before there are people in the pool.
The pool opening at 7.00 am the latest (just Sundays) already meant being there at 6.00 am, so having a rehersal to try out different things seemed very helpful and it was.
I tried different combinations for the outfit and with her hair.
The model has long dark hair naturally but we also experimented with a grey wig.
Although I like the results from this photo session I still think they can be perfected.
Because the doll is wearing swig that is too big for her head it kept sliding down, it would be a lot nicer if you could actually see her face a little more.
Also I think it might be interesting and more like the original if the doll would wear jeans. Because what makes the original image of John Lenon and Joko Ono so special aesthetically as well as contextually is that she is dressed whereas he is not.
.By applying this to the picture it might be more aesthetically similar to the original
Perspective wise this is as much as I can push it towards the angle of the picture. In order to do this shoot I stood on a high ladder with my back flat to the seiling having limited control of what I am seeing.
A turquoise silk scarf and and a beige one to be transformed into the “turban” the Girl in the original painting wears.
Of course the Pearl Earrings…
A creme base blouse and a dirty yellow kimono like in the original.
As an alternative I found this beautiful dark yellow silk blouse. Not exactly the colour as on the original but a nice comination with the other colours and fabrics.
An iPhone to be used as the instrument the girl uses to take a Selfie.
SUBJECT: Genan/ Esra
BACKGROUND: Yellow blanket
LOCATION: St Matts Studio
Finding a Red and White dotted scarf was a bounty hunt. There seem to be no red and white polka dots scarfs in all Bristol and I did not even find a plain red one I could have worked with.
At the end I managed to find this scarf on Ebay.
In Islam ladies do not really show their bare arms so I had to get something to cover them even if she would pull up the bouse.
Experimenting with the Standard blue blouse I was not very happy with the look so I decided to get a sailor/ uniform like dress instead.
Looking really closely at the original Rosie the Reveter has a very slim waist and I believe the reason is that she wears a fitter waist skirt over her blouse. In order to get a similar effect I got something like above.
Because I wanted to minimalise the extend I have to edit my images I decided to get a yellow background instead of changing the studio background in Photoshop.
-White button (optional)
– Retro Orange Nail Vanish
– Strong make-up
Subject: Ted (wants to remain anonymous)
Location: Carpet in my flat with beige blanket
Shoulder length like on the photo and relatively natural looking plus glasses which are not on the photo but might be worth to experiment.
This is Judy a classic novelty blow up doll not a sex doll. She is not asian but I think the idea will be recognisable.
My Subject: Theresa
As a guideline for the colour palette I would use for requites I chose colours that exist within the original painting.
By doing this I hoped to underline the reference to the original subconciously.
The grey hair is to exaggerate that it is not a hong Venus.
I chose to use a yellow bathing suit in reference to the Venus’s blonde hair that covers up her body. It is also relatively skin neutral and does not contrast the skin tone of the subject too much.
The towel will be on the floor behind the Venus, replacing the role of the shell hence the shell colour tone.
Optional accessoires like a turquoise sarong or a shell belt might be added experimentally. (All within the colour rangne of the painting)
The birth of Venus (Borticelli)
This will be set in the modern environment of a swimming pool instead of the beach. The shell will be replaced by a towel that the Venus holds behind her (probably in a similar shade)
Embodying youth beauty and femininity, I want my venus to challenge the concept of this image especially addressing discourses around age, beauty and gender.
Which means I will have a Venus who is at least over 40 years old. According to my research in fashion magazines mid- 30s is the latest age group represented, therefore I thought it would be interesting to work with an age group outside this zone.
The old Guitarist (Picasso)
The Old Guitarist will be restaged with the help of a homeless person.
The Girl with the Pearl Earing (Vermeer)
Looking back over the shoulder as if she was seriously fought in the moment. One could argue that to some extend painting are to some extend very staged and unnatural even though the end product seems to reflect something very natural and spontaneous.
Similarly work selfless in todays world. They are often made to look like random snap shots but do indeed involve a lot of staging and acting.
Therefore the girl with the pearl eating in my version will take a Selfie of herself providing a two framed image.
So rather than commenting on the meaning of the image itself this would refer to the meaning of portraiture and phortography.
We Can Do It (Propaganda Poster)
V-J Day kiss aka “Times Square kiss”
The gender roles within this picture are very classically and traditionally separated. Woman white (innocent), lower than the man within their position (submissive) and looking a bit more passive than the man. Man in black (strong, mysterius), on top (dominant) and very obviously acitivly leading the situation.
Aesthetically the colour contrast is what makes this picture interesting which is why it is curtail that I maintain it. However in my production I will swop the roles of man and woman.
This means that the woman will be in black and the man in white as well as chaining over the positions.
The crowds in the background will be a local demonstration, parade or marathon.
Love and Harmony with Yoko Ono and John Lenon
Yoko and John were often referred to as a perfect harmonious couple in their time. Whereas some might argue that this was not the case this image of the two does do well in embodying all these values: Harmony, trust, affection and love.
Therefore I will be aiming to provoke this meaning by a reference to something embodying the consumer culture of a sex driven generation. I will replace the role of Yoko with a Blow up doll.