Category Archives: Semester 1

Body Horror

Taylor, J. (1998) Body Horror: Photojournalism. Catastrophe and war. University Press Manchester, Manchester.

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Cheating Visual Reality

Langton, L. (2009) Photojournalism and Today’s News: Cheating Visual Reality. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.

Many of us take for granted the visual images that are served up with our daily dose of journalism. Loup Langton ‘s lucid book tells us where photojournalism comes from- culturally, technologically and philosophically . At its best, photojournalism is a sophisticated and subtle craft , little understood by outsiders: Langton gives us the insiders tour. (John Carroll)

Gerd George – Storytelling

Storytelling Photography.

Both images by Ger George play with photographic elements to tell a short story, a number of events.

Every detail in the image is therefore important as it contributes to the overall context of the image and its story.

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The story will vary with each observer, which makes it so interesting for the individual to look at.

Whilst the Photographer provides the basics of the story, the consumer takes over and colours the story out with personal detail. Trying to figure out what happened in the picture we create a story in our head that has lead to what is depicted in the image.

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THE END

This will be the last post on this blog.

The project for semester 1 of the Intensive Production module is now completed.

Nevertheless I would like to share one more link I have come across today.

http://fuckingyoung.es/unforgettable-faces/

I believe it could be some god inspiration for any future projects that take a similar turn.

On this note I just want to say that I really enjoyed this projects with all the ups and downs and am a bit sad that it is now over.

I could see myself doing a improved version of this project again at some point.

EVALUATION

Evaluation

Evaluation Student No: 11002269

In a world of material prosperity and mass production the identity of an individual is often reduced to the appearance of a person and “you are what you wear” (Williams, K., 2012) becomes a commonly used practice to analyse other individuals’ character.
Whereas most people try to fit in with the conventions of mainstream consumer culture there are also plenty of individuals, such as ‘Goths’, that show resistance to the commonly practiced act of conformity.

My project explores the fluidity of someone’s identity via his or her appearance and the extent to which identities are constructed and idealised within media context.

Conformity is a psychological concept first popularly explored in the 1960s.

Solomon Asch was one of the first to conduct experiments to measure the tendency of humans to conform their response to a task according to what everyone else is doing (McLeod, 2008).
He discovered that the main factor of motivation behind conformity is that humans seek sympathy from other human beings, which they are attempting to gain by sticking to the opinion of the group rather than challenging it (Adams, R. N., p.30-36,1953).

In that moment the individual therefore values the identity of the group over their own identity.
Humans are naturally prone to believe in the word of the group rather than an individual, even if the individual is himself or herself (McLeod, S., 2008). Investigations show that the need of conformity increases by the number of the group (McLeod, S., 2008).

Consequently, the temptation to conform to the masses in relation to the immensity of mainstream culture is becoming increasingly difficult to resist. These experiments conclude the ways in which western individuals perform everyday habits and external appearance based on a set of conventions performed in their social environment.

Whereas science can give the answer to why humans tend to seek conformity, curiosity emerges around whomever is responsible to establish conventions of what is considered the standards of mainstream culture.

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‘Attention economy’ is a term used to describe “ a system that revolves primarily around paying, receiving and seeking what is most intrinsically limited and not replaceable by anything else, namely the attention of other human beings” (Terranova, T., p.2, 2012).

Terranova (2012, p.1-2) explains how this builds on the theory of ‘economy Darwinism’ and the survival of the “fittest”.

Trends and ‘upgrades’ in consumer culture constantly encourage consumers to buy into being “up to date” within a certain lifestyle (Armitage, S., 2013). Even though the term ‘upgrade culture’ is usually associated with technology the principle of constant material obsession to be with the ‘trend’ can be applied to other industries of contemporary consumer culture, too.

Consequently products sold within the contemporary consumer culture are marketed in a way that sells ‘idealised lifestyles’ through various ways of brand-to-consumer communication.
Material goods therefore invite the consumer to pay in order to conform to their desired lifestyle (He, Y.; Liang, B., p.352, 2012).
A “trend” is a marketing strategy that is based on the concept of ‘attention economy’ in order to keep customers buying the newest products.
As a result conventions of mainstream identity often come from ideologies spread within media products, especially advertising.

Books like “You are What You Wear” by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, offer readers a basic guide to how appearance can be used as a key to connect the internal to the external self (Williams, K., 2012).
It describes a way to ‘market’ yourself by controlling your appearance and ‘shaping your identity’.
This is based on the assumption that appearance is directly linked to personality and can be used as a tool to analyse yourself and others.

For my production on ‘appearance and fashion trends’ it was therefore part of the process to research what is considered particularly fashionable in menswear right now in order to be able to construct the identity of a mainstream “fashionite”.

My research was based on magazines and especially window displays of mainstream labels like H&M and Zara, which are commonly known to have “ cat walk” inspired mass-market fashion.
In other words they make the newest trends in fashion accessible to the mass commoner.

The results of my research showed that especially symbols like moustaches, crosses and triangles as well as knit wear in form of beanies or pullovers seem to be contemporary symbols of fashion-ability.

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It is in human nature to seek out for the belonging to a group (Hinshelwood, R. D., p.5 2009).
As consumers of fashion and other material goods, the individuals achieve a certain sense of belonging and self-identity. Freud calls this the ‘ego-ideal’, the self one aspires to be based on the ideologies of the group one belongs to, the ‘group ideal’ that becomes the “primary task” (Hinshelwood, R. D.,p.7, 2009).

Ideology “refers to a system of beliefs that a group, a mass, or a society share concerning the origin and functions of their common social life and the cultural and ethical demands and expectations they hold for society” (Hinshelwood, R. D. ,p.5, 2009).

Conforming to the ideologies of a group is our natural response to hierarchy and power.
McLeod (2008) outlines how hierarchy and status increases the tendency of conformity in the less powerful.

In the context of media products, the consumer is of less power than the media producer and does therefore easily respond with acceptance of the received idea.
This phenomenon was further explored by the famous experiments of Stanley Milgram on ‘obedience’ and why humans ‘obey’ to authorities and adapt their ideals (McLeod,S., 2007).

Identities within media texts are often idealised versions of the realistic image one could be. They outline ‘unachievable’ identities to maintain the need of ‘continuous consumption’.
Once the product reaches the consumer the representation of an identity is mastered to ‘perfection’, this is the ideal the consumer receives and accepts. The finished product rarely shows the effort that has gone into constructing ‘the perfect image’.
The extent to which media context and therefore the image of the ideal is constructed is something we can easily oversee and often forget.

Therefore I have decided to make the ‘production process’ a part of my project.
In order to represent the ‘construction of identity ‘ I have included a montaging technique that appears as if two images have been ‘cut up’ and glued back together.
The two images merge into one identity but at a closer look the viewer is able to see the individual images.
Originally I planned to exhibit the portraits supported by recordings of the actual photo production.

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This would have further emphasised the “construction” behind identity and what happens behind the scenes to create an image that communicates the intended meaning.
Unfortunately I was not able to make use of the recordings I have made as there were issues exporting the files from my phone onto my laptop.

Even without the recordings the overall look and idea behind my portraits will still conclude to outline “the construction of identity”.

During my production I have learnt that every detail counts and that one you should make use of everything one can within the limited space of the image. Everything included in the image should therefore support the overall meaning of the picture.
Consequently it is crucial to have a production plan that considers how to achieve the desired outcome successfully.
One of my subjects I had to shoot twice simply because the amount of planning and preparation I had invested the first time was not efficient enough. The second time I wrote a list of requisites that would best embody what I wanted to bring across, so I went out to buy the required requisites instead of limiting my options by using the items I already had at hand.

The theme I had to plan the most thoroughly was ‘appearance of fashion trends’.
Finding requisites that embody the most up to date fashion trends as well as out-dated fashion styles turned out to be a lot more challenging than expected.

In order to do this successfully I looked for items, which are strongly limited in their life span as ‘fashionable item’.
All items were based on contemporary or long gone fashion trends.
For obvious reasons the list of ‘contemporary trends’ was a lot easier to access than the ‘old-fashioned’ one.

In order to successfully realise my project I had to carefully plan each photo shoot in advance and know exactly what I want the outcome to be, which does not just allow yourself to work more productively but also makes the job of the subject a lot easier.

Obviously not all can be foreseen so I did encounter a variety of struggles during and post my production process.

Studio Photography has the downside of having numerous uncontrollable factors that come into play with your success of completing a good photo session.
These include the ability of the subject to ‘perform’, the presence and functionality of equipment in the studio as well as overall organisation outside your control (the booking system and availability of the studio).

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All of the above I have encountered difficulties with during my production.

There are however a list of benefits of using the studio to take portraits of individuals.
In the studio, you as the producer are in control of who and what is in the image.

It also means being able to have lighting to ‘emphasise’ your subject’s appearance aesthetically as well as contextually.
It creates an image of high quality with focus on the essential content: the subject, nothing else.

Even within the process of production there appears to be a certain level of conformity in terms of the ‘look’ of the image.
There are particular ways in which females are usually lit in contrast to the lighting technique used to portray men.
Similarly I found myself asking my subject to do gender specific poses when communicating with them during the photo shoot.
So I myself had become a victim of conforming to mainstream ideas of what a portrait is supposed to look like and how to best represent certain niche identities.
For example I would work with poses that are commonly associated with ‘lower class’ groups in my photo session on ‘class’ or ask my subject representing ‘subculture’ to come across melancholy and thoughtful as one would stereotypically imagine a person from the ‘Goth’ subculture.
Critically speaking, it would have been very interesting to rebel against these stereotypical representations and explore ways in which they could be more freely express themselves as individual.

For example the man that adopts a feminine identity changed his poses according to his transformation. It would have been interesting to see the subject communicating feminine body language whilst in his ‘masculine’ state and communicating manliness in his ‘female’ version.

This is to conclude that conformity is not necessarily limited to the ‘consumer of media texts’ but is also performed by the producer.

Individuals who define their identity with a niche can be classified as ‘non-conformers’ (McLeod, S., 2008) as they are resisting the natural urge to be part of the mainstream norm.
The five themes I have chosen for my portraits are all identities that exist outside the conventions of mainstream culture and rebel against the performance of conformity within the mass market.

Differentiating yourself from the ‘mass’ means that you are taking an active role in the construction of your identity.

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The identity of the individual then becomes more important than the group’s identity.
Nevertheless being a ‘non-conformer’ does not mean that you do not have the need for a sense of belonging. Often ‘non-conformers’ form groups that are considered ‘niche’ markets in consumerism terms.

The multi-media age offers individuals the opportunity to actively construct your personalised identity without limitations of truth and reality.
Creating your own game avatar is a growing pleasure to escape the limitations of identity in real life (Boot, C., 2007).

Robbie Cooper explores the relation between real life identities and individual’s avatars in his photo collection called the “Alter Ego” (Popova, M., 2011)
He portrays his subjects next to a depiction of their game avatars.
Avatars are the modern age way to forget about all existing ideas of conformity in real life and escape to a world where you can create “yourself” in the exact ways you like.
Facebook offers the user a more bound-to-reality approach of constructing your ‘personal profile’ but also leaves individuals power over things to share with others and build up to a desired “image”.
In real life being a “non-conformer” (McLeod,S. 2008) can be a lot more challenging, especially when socialising with “conformers”.
Being different from the mainstream can often mean being judged and reduced to a cultural stereotype. Everything that is different is unfamiliar and therefore likely to be generalised.

In the 1880s the forensic scientist Bertillon built an entire study on physiognomy the face (Jason, M., 2012).
The Bertillon system evolves around the theory that human beings’ facial features are linked with a genetic tendency to commit a crime. Bertillon claimed that using his method he could determine criminal behaviour in individuals as well as the sort of crime they are prone to commit.

Reducing someone’s character and personality to a person’s appearance is common practice among the population of our society.

The individuals I have portrayed in my project differ from mainstream ideology of class, religion, fashion, (sub) culture and the performance of gender.
Even if their identities exists outside conventions of mainstream culture I am hoping to outline that changing their look will not necessarily change their character.

Identity is something constructed and does therefore not classify certain personalities.
My project attempts to question the idea of appearance being directly linked to somebody’s personality and the part we play in shaping our identity.

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Bibliography:

Adams, R. N., Queene, E. L., Asch, S. E., Dewey, R., Humber, W.J. et. al. (1953) Introduction to Social Psychology; The Development of Human Behavior. American Anthropologist [online]. Volume 55. (5.), [Accessed 11 December 2013].

Armitage, S. (2013) Upgrade Me. BBC Four. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n1hwj [Accessed 13 December 2013].

Boot, C. (2007) Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators. openDemocracy. Available from: http://www.opendemocracy.net/arts/alterego_4620.jsp [Accessed 11December 2013].

He, Y.; Liang, B. (2012) The effect of culture on consumer choice: the need for conformity vs the need for uniqueness. International journal of consumer studies [online]. Volume 36. (3.), [Accessed 11 December 2013].

Hinshelwood, R. D., (2009) Ideology and identity: A psychoanalytic investigation of a social phenomenon. Psychoanalysis, Society & Culture [online]. Volume 14. (2.), [Accessed 13 December 2013].

Jason, M. (2012) The Bertillon System: An Early ID Management System. SecureLinx: integration software. Available from : http://securlinx.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/bertillion-system-early-id- management.html [Accessed 14 December 2013].

Larsen, K. S. (1974) Conformity in the Asch Experiment. The Journal of Social Psychology [online]. Volume 94. (2.), [Accessed 11 December 2013].

McLeod, S. (2008) Asch Experiment. SimplyPsychology. Available from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/asch-conformity.html [Accessed 12 December 2013].

McLeod, S. (2007) The Milgram Experiment. SimplyPsychology. Available from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html [Accessed 13 December 2013].

Popova, M. (2011) Alter Ego: Portraits of Gamers Next to their Avatars. Brain Picknicks. Available from: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/12/14/alter-ego-robbie-cooper/ [Accessed 11 December 2013].

Terranova, T. (2012) Attention, Economy and the brain. Culture Machine [online]. Volume 13. [Accessed 13 December 2013].

Williams, K. (2012). You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal

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About You. Psych Central. Available from: http://psychcentral.com/lib/you-are- what-you-wear-what-your-clothes-reveal-about-you/00012269 [Accessed 12 December 2013]. 

FINAL PROJECT

Below you can see the 5 portraits I have chosen to submit.

SUBJECT !: Class

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SUBJECT 2: Fashion trends and appearance

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SUBJECT 3:  Religion

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SUBJECT 4: Subculture

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SUBJECT 6: Gender Roles

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The link will take you to the same images uploaded onto Flickr.

METHODOLOGY

 

 

First select two images that could work together

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At the beginning of my post production I edited the individual stripe in a separate layer.

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Soon I discovered than it can be done a lot faster…..

Step 1; Adjusting the position of the two images by changing the opacity

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Step 2: Retuning to 100% Opacity

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Step 3: Using the Marquee tool to cut out the stripes you want. The tool also measures the length of what you cut so you can keep an even distance.

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Step 4: cmd X? edit -> cut

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Step 5: Keep going

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MY FAVOURITES

Out of all the experiments I have done these are my favourites

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AESTHETIC INSPIRATION FROM PREVIOUS BLOG POST

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Looking through my older blog post I discovered this entry. It is merely the “look” of the technique that I like about this and becomes interesting stylistically for developing my own aesthetics.

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This is obviously just inspired by the surrealist idea of the “exquisite corpse” but I find it gives the portrait not just interesting aesthetics but also freedom to interpret ate some deeper meaning. In this case the fact that they chose to mix up contrasting skin colours indicates that ethnical background, cultural differences in point of view is what they are referring to in the image.

View original post

RELIGION & HERITAGE

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The cut in the middle works well

and so does the “torn-paper” one.

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Even though the above image looks like a “prisoner of density” I do not think it looks good.

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The image above with the “random cubes” I like because it looks as if it has been defragmented.

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CLASS

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I am not sure if this works. It looks very grotesk.

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I do like the “cut-in-the-middle” style images.

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YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR

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In the book “You are what you wear” by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, readers find a basic guide to how appearance can be used as key to connect the internal to the external self

http://psychcentral.com/lib/you-are-what-you-wear-what-your-clothes-reveal-about-you/00012269

“Dr. Baumgartner is not a stylist, but a psychoanalyst of closets: She runs InsideOut, her own wardrobe consulting business.  She is also a practicing clinical psychologist and a former math teacher, lending credibility to her analytical and psyche-focused approach.  You Are What You Wear centers on how we can learn to see our clothes as a link between our internal and external selves. Only by fully understanding this connection can we begin to improve our whole person.”

EXPERIMENTATIONS

I had a particular look in ind when planning this project and wanted to experiment with the possibilities of what I could do using this technique. This is to find out which method works best for the purpose of the project.. The examples below show different approaches I have tried to achieve ‘a cut-up effect’.

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1. This is the basic idea of my method. The thickness of the stripes can vary.

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2. Because I discovered having horizontal stripes does in this case not show enough of the cigarette or too much I wanted to ry vertical stripes. This works alot better.

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3. Just as alternative to the above I wanted to see if thickening the stripes improves the overall effect. Even though I like it I feel that the small stripes work a lot better.

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4. Same agin but I think it is nicer that image 3.

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5. A combination between the both horizontal and vertical. I do like the idea of this one. Especially because the stripes make something ‘fence-like’. a prisoner to your identity.

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6. Even though this modifies my original ide of “stripes” this still shows “construction of identity (which is the main goal from my portraits)

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7. Reduced to the max. Interesting…

 

 

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8. Because I felt like all the methods above looked a bit harsh I tried to make the ‘cut-up’ look more “handmade” as if you would actually tear pieces of paper.

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9. The opposite of reduced and simple but I do like this effect. The only downside is that the individual images are barely visable.

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10. The same principle as the “fence” above but hand drawn.

 

 

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11. So far this is my favourite because it is still visibly based n my original idea but is more intreating hand drawn. The “handmade” effect refers more strongly to the production process of media text and looks more appealing aethetically.

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12. Exploring the “hand-made” effect further these three images try to push the boundaries of the effect a bit more than the previous attempt. Of the three I think the first one works best especially in the mouth area. I also like how it merges the two images together.

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The Bertillon Systhem

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The Bertillon Systhem

The Bertillon system involves criminal investigations based on the theory that human beings can be categorised as criminal by measuring their facial features.

Bertillon claimed that using his method he could even determine what sort of crime is associated with a particulate set of facial features.

Reducing someones character and personality to a persons appearance is not used in forensic since anymore. It is however still common among the population of our society.

In our everyday life we see a great number of strangers every single day. Wether that is in the coffee shop, the bus, on the street or in the store we can not possibly spend time to get to know every single person we meet. Because we are curious creatures and still want to know things about people we interact with we make assumptions about them. These assumptions are based on things like appearance, body language, clothes and language.

Especially in situations that give the individual the time to observe peacefully like in public transportation it is easy to find yourself ‘giving the people around you certain characters’.

This is partially an instinctual act that originally was to make out friends from enemies. Living in civilisation has not changed that. Some people we meet, or even just next to in the bus we like others we do not. We make the first judgement of a person by their outer appearance.

IDEOLOGY and IDENTITY

“The two kinds of ideas correlate with the two divergent kinds of groups. On one state of mind, ideas belong to the individual and he can use them in an instrumental manner for work and other purposes. In turn, when he uses these ideas he ‘belongs’ to a group with others to whom, similarly, the ideas belong. On the other hand, there is the ideological state of mind in which the person becomes the idea; he is ‘equated’ with it. The ideological group is not only defined by the idea, but so is the individual, and the group pursues the idea for its own sake, because so much hangs on it for the individual and his sense of personal identity and worth. Thus, ideas can contribute to an individual’s personal identity in these two alternative forms, the idea either belongs to him or it is equated with him.  These ‘places’ and idea can occupy can now be explored with Freud’s notions of the ego-ideal and the group ideal in mind”(Hinshelwood, R. D.,2009).

The sense of belonging which is naturally a part of humans instinct results in the desire to be part of a group and to be liked and accepted within the group. The group an individual seeks will be of similar morality and will shape the individuals ideal-ego, the self someone aspires to be based on the ideologies within the group. In relation to my project this explains the basic principle of mainstream culture and how it works based on ideology.

“Ideology in a group takes hold of deeply felt experiences about self and identity, and in turn, how inclement forces that cause distress at the level of personal identity push the individual towards a particular kind of identification with the group ideal. This becomes a cycle in perpetual motion, leading to unfortunately stable states in group culture and ideas as ideologies”(Hinshelwood, R. D.,2009).

Conformity – The Asch Experiment

 

Conformity – The Asch Experiment

Conformity is a psychological concept discovered in the 1960s.

Solomon Asch was one of the first to conduct experiments to measure the tendency of humans to conform their response to a task according to what everyone else is doing (McLeod, 2008).

He discovered that the main factor of motivation behind conformity is that humans seek sympathy and from other human beings by sticking to opinion of the group rather than challenging it (Adams, R. N., 1953).

In that moment the individual therefore values the source of many over a single persons opinion.

Investigations show that the need of conformity increases by the number of the group (McLeod, S., 2008).

Consequently the need to conform in a ‘group’ as numerous as mainstream culture is accordingly difficult to resist.

These experiments conclude the ways in which western individuals perform everyday habits and external appearance based on a set of conventions performed in their social environment.

 

 

Adams, R. N. (1953) Introduction to Social Psychology. E. Llewellyn Queener. ; The Development of Human Behavior . Richard Dewey, W. J. Humber. et. al. Social Psychology . Solomon E. Asch. American Anthropologist [online]. Volume 55. (5.), [Accessed 11 December 2013].

McLeod, S. (2008) Asch Experiment. SimplyPsychology. Available from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/asch-conformity.html [Accessed 12 December 2013].

LAST PHOTO SHOOTING

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In order to complete the photo session on ‘Religion” I had to arrange another photo shoot in the Studio which took place today.

The theme of this session has gone through slight changes from the original idea, which was to portray the muslim girl without hijab. I had to modify this idea after she changed her mind and preferred not to show her hair.

Therefore I have developed another idea that does not involve her without hijab but instead contrasting the ‘classic’ and traditional image of a muslim girl with a westernised ‘modern muslim’.

I am very pleased with the results and glad I have risked to go through with this even so close to the end stage of the project process.

UPDATED PROPOSAL

 PRODUCTION PROPOSAL

For the first project of the Intensive Production module I am planning to produce a series of three Portraiture hybrid images.

 

Unlike in classic Portrait photography I am attempting to construct the portrait out of more than one image. The images will be digitally cut in either horizontal or vertical stripes and combined into one image using Photoshop. Stylistically this aims to create a hybrid between Montage and Portrait photography.

 

The idea behind this is to capture more than one frequency of a person’s life and outline a broader picture of their identity.

One single image might represent just one side to a person’s character whereas two form a more solid outline of a personality. This being said, it would be my aim to capture two characteristics that stay in contrast with each other, to portray the versatility of someone’s nature.

 

In addition I am planning to exhibit the series of portraits with a recorded ‘voice-soundtrack’ of the subject telling a story. These stories I will obtain from interviews before and after the shooting. It is not as much as important to what they say but more to hear their voice as third element that forms the portrait.

The voice is merely there to enhance what you can already observe, just like a soundtrack does in moving image.

 

Our brain is naturally prone to take the visual information passed on from the center of vision and processing it. During this process our brain will be making up for any missing pieces to complete the picture in our head. This is how optical illusions work or it is possible for some visually impaired people to ‘see’ more than they physically able to see.

 

By choosing contrasting backgrounds for the two ‘base’ images the separation between the two individual mages will be easier.

 

Our eye will automatically focus on one of the images more than on the other.

In order to see the second image it will take further concentration and focus of the beholder, which is exactly what I am aiming for.

This effect is attempting to challenge the viewer to interact with the visual material they are looking at.

The idea to create an image that leaves the contemplator the opportunity ‘to figure the image out’ was inspired by Daido Moriyama’s photography.

You have to invest some focus and time to fully grasp what it is you are looking at, as the observer you become more “active”.

 

A further source of inspiration was the basic idea of ‘photo fits’.

Photo fits try to construct an incomplete identity digitally by mixing all the visual sources of a person they already have.

 

Not just does this point out what is technological possible but also that software is able to shape and construct physical features photo realistically. The Photographer Giles Revell took this software to outline the extend to which you can achieve accurate results using this software. This is exhibited contrasting the original portrait.

 

In the Photography industry there is software such as Professional Portrait known to be able to re-shape and form facial and bodily features. Noses, eye shapes and physique all can be formed exactly the way we want it to.

This draws on contemporary debates about the mediation and the amount of editing that goes into media imagery.

The lines between what reality and perfection get blurred and ideology and discourses about identity adapt.

 

Back in the beginning of the Photography history the lens was said to be the factor between the human and reality that, rather than capturing reality, shapes it. The ‘truth claim’ was a topic discussed by many known theorists like Saussure.

 

Referring to contemporary debates on ideology and identity my project is attempting to produce a series that represents the opposite.

It is going to show off the ‘production’ side of the image, rather than hiding it, as well as showing a facet of an identity.

 

The production itself is planned to take place in the St Matthias photo studio, as I will be using the black and the white background for my images.

In order to achieve images that are complementary and work good as layers it will require me to strictly define the position and frame of my subject.

This will involve a fixed position of the tripod as well as certain guidelines for my individuals.

 

I am aiming to find five potential subjects to portray so I will be able to narrow my images down to three different people during the post-production process. This will include several portraits per person to work with.

Ideally I will end up with a range of interesting and unique characters that represent a variety of ages, backgrounds and personalities.

 

My search for potential individual starts now.

SUBJECT VARIETY

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In my project proposal I I have stated that I am aiming to maintain a gender balance and variety of subjects.

My subjects:

Subject 1: Female, 21, Greek/Turkish,Student

Subject 2: Male, 21, Welsh, Student

Subject 3: Female, 24, Libyan, Student

Subject 4: Male, 28, Singaporean, Graphic Designer

Subject 5: Female, 21, Italian, Student

All in all I have not manage to achieve a varsity of age but successfully gathered a group of subjects from different backgrounds maintaining a gender balance.

UPDATE

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There have been a variety of themes I have tried in relation to the project:

I now have narrowed them down to 5 concepts of identity that exist outside the mainstream culture:

• class
• religion and tradition
• subculture
• fashion and appearance
• gender performance

AUDIO RECORDINGS

Originally my project proposal included the recording of the “photo production process”.

What I had not anticipated when I recorded the photo-shootings from my phone was that when they exceed a certain length (8min) they can not be shared via email nor transferred to an computer in any other way.

Even though I did not plan to use them for my project now I can not upload them for reference.

 

SCULPTING identity

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SCULPTING identity

Franz Messerschmidt is a famous artist  known for the extreme facial expressions of his sculptures.

Facial expression shape the way we judge someones charter at first glance. This way people can come across grumpy, friendly arrogant or shy.

Being the ‘creator’ of his sculptures he is the one responsible for the ‘construction of their identity’.

His form of art is based on stereotypical body language to give his work a particular charter. He plays around with all sorts of expressions and looks and it is really interesting to watch the transformation of them in the link above. If you concentrate you feel how you automatically associate a characteristic once you see a change in expression. Some are rather scary others very ordinary.

Watching it in a row makes it look like it is all one person but in different emotional stages.

It appears more like a complex personality rather than many different sculptures.

 

This is interesting in relation to my project as I am doing something similar in a portrait version and reduced to two images.

I am outlining the versatility of a appearances one and the same person can have.

SUBJECT “RELIGION” FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

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During the production of my “religion and heritage” photo shooting many things did not go according to plan.

As stated in the “PRODUCTION DAY 3” there were issues with double bookings in the studio and missing lights that lead to an incomplete photo shooting.

Originally the plan was to portray my subject wearing a hijab and then also without a hijab.

Whereas my subject had agreed to take her hijab off in front of the camera at the beginning some events in her life had changed her opinion on the matter once I could arrange the second half of the shooting (the images without hijab).

This is very unfortunate for my project as I value the quality of the images I got with her wearing a hijab and I developed an idea that could allow me to get around the issue.

Now instead of contrasting conventions of normality by a girl wearing a hijab and not wearing one, I will now portray her twice wearing a hijab.

In the first image she will represent a ‘classic’ and traditional image of a muslim girl and the second image will show her as westernised/ “modern muslim”.

As “modern muslim” she will wear make up, experiment with fashionable ways to tie a hijab, wear “western” clothes and possibly smoke.

These are all things she would do in real life and are things she has developed living in the UK for a long time. In my portraits I am attempting to take this and further emphasis it.

 

POST-PRODUCTION

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The post-production phase has already started and as of now I am busy organising images, selecing the highest quality ones (technically as well as content wise) and creating my “favourites” for each shooting.

Having a selection of the best images of each shooting will make it a lot easier to find the best matching images.

Once I have completed the process of selection my next step is making ‘dummy matches” in Photoshop.

Just when I know which images I will use I will edit them individually.

Favourites

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From all the photo shootings you can find a selection of my favourites on the link

below:http://www.flickr.com/photos/109355492@N02/?deleted=11313768685

PRODUCtIon experience

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Overall:

I am happy with the results of my production some more than others and know that I have learnt lot about Studio use in general. My technique has improved, especially in terms of lighting as I had time to explore different approaches and develop it. I never before have used the studio as frequently and having used the studio for two weeks almost everyday has made me very confident in what I am doing. For future production it will be useful that I now can set up the studio in half the time I did before and know how to best light a subject. The production has taken me a lot longer than planned as there were many things not going according to plan along the way. My idea of time required for completing a successful studio production is more realistic now and I am ver glad that certain changes have been made to the studio facilities even though it was too late to enjoy them for this production. Knowing that the studio is now better equipped with working lights I would consider doing a studio production for my final project next year as I am now confident enough to have the skills I would need to do that (I clearly did not have them before this). Therefore the overall experience of this production was successful especially in terms of self development.

Struggles& difficulties:

I did encounter quiet a lot of difficulties along the way especially with equipment. On occasion lights or the hot shoe work not work or be missing from the studio.

Most of my shoots had time issues as well due to the ‘problem solving phase’ at the beginning of a shoot the actual production wa soften delayed and made me run out of time.

Unfortunately there was not much I could change about it. I usually tried to work with whatever I had which explains the difference in quality between some of the images.

For the first shoot for example I did not have a hot shoe but completed it anyway. For the future I hope to find the studio in a good state so I can get on with my work more easily and given that the studio has transformed into something more organised and equipped I am positive it will.

Overall this experience has thought me how many factors come into play when working in a Studio. Some things like the booking system, availability of equipment and studio as well as the subject itself are all elements that can complicate the situation.

consequently I had to repeat some of the shoots or spread them over two sessions.

There were also issues with my Computer and the availability of Photoshop. In the process of getting Photoshop I also experienced a break down of my internet connection that until now has not been fixed and impacts my flexibility to post regualrly.

Not having the ability to access Photoshop also presents a potential issue for my post-production.

ASSISTING SAYRA

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For Sayras production my role was to assist her during the ‘surveilling’ of her subjects.

Whilst Sayra was focussing on getting all photographic elements right it was my job to ensure that she remained unnoticed by the person she was taking pictures of.

So I would be somewhere close to the subject or where I could watch them and stay in contact with Sayra via phone (using earphones).

Therefore most of the time I was sitting on park benches pretending to read a book/have lunch, look at shop windows or walk around a street. To be honest I felt very stupid at the beginning but it gradually became fun.

However, I would say that it felt kind of wrong following these people even though they knew that they might be watched at some point I felt like I was doing something slightly bad.

Overall I enjoyed the experience and I almost always did my job successfully (we go spotted once). Over the four semesters we have now been doing group work together we have become an efficient team.

I have not seen Sayras images yet but I am sure they will be very good and I might still be able to assist her during the post-production process.

SAYRA’S ROLE DURING MY PRODUCTION:

For my production Sayra helped my in the studio. Her role was to assist me with setting up equipment and studio arrangements as well as coordination of subjects on the day of the photo shooting.

During the production she was also responsible to support me with checking the quality of lighting and image composition.

All in all she performed similar tasks as a Photo assistant usually would.