Assignment 2 Vice Versa – Notes

Vice versa

K.Allen_402873_PH4IAP_A1

This was more difficult than I first thought and took some time to pin down exactly what I wanted to cover.  In my mind, I had the work of David Hockney and Nadav Kander who both did portraits using sections of people’s bodies: Hockney did polaroid montages, Kander did a grid type structure. To get a consistency in the images, I used the same subject throughout and as I took more and more photographs, I kept coming back to the simpler background and getting closer to the subject.  This meant that the focus was on the person and the background was inconsequential.  I also had in mind Robert Mapplethorpe who closely cropped portraits on occasions as well as simplifying portraits into black and white.

 

Originally, I was looking at the idea of what we show or hide when having our photograph taken.   Barthes said in Camera Lucida (1980) that we change to whatever the photographer is wanting us to be, and how there is some sort of subconscious reaction to being photographed, that we change ourselves:

“In front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.”

 

Barney (2 of 5)
I focussed the camera on the tattoo on his arm,
he closed his eyes while he thought the lens was pointing elsewhere,
and finally I caught a glimpse of what I was looking for on his face when I loaded the images.

 

Barney (3 of 5)
There is a “How long is thing going on for?” look here.

 

Barney (4 of 5)
Much more exaggerated dark vs light.
This is why it doesn’t work, this is too literal.

 

I had been struck by how Barney was willing to sit for me but his expression gave nothing away at all which is where I started. The theme of dark and light did not work as I was unable to capture the differences in the way that I thought.  This morphed into more an exploration of what the tattoos suggest about the person, the culmination of the tattoos into the whole being.  They are specific to each individual and chosen for reasons that I am sure sometimes are not very clear.

These tattoos bring together the things that are important to Barney: his music, his inner strength, his belonging to a social group and with the leg tattoo, a nod to his favourite rugby team.  The individual parts make up the person that he is and form part of his identity and how he sees himself.  I am from another generation where tattoos were simply not seen and not highly thought of as though they defined a certain subculture. Now they are displayed with pride and can be intricate works of art tailored to the individual.  They are an expression of individualism, a way of setting you apart from everyone else but also a way of belonging to a type of club, a tribe.

I came back to the ‘body parts’ approach after lining up several different sets of images, and this approach has a symmetrical look at the artwork on his arms and legs with a left and right, arms and legs and then finally the whole person.  I did set up a studio of sorts with plain white background and did several variations of what I had shot before to compare the blue background to the white. My feeling was that the sets with the blue background worked better overall as there was a more casual, less ‘setup’ feel to them.  I keep on looking for the expressions hoping to catch them but I have realized that we all hide when there is a camera there, and are unwilling to show anything that might be misconstrued.

 

 

Books:

  1. DVD: Mapplethorpe – Look at the Pictures, Bailey,F & Barbato,R, Dogwoof Studio, 2016
  2. Barthes, Roland (1980) Camera Lucida. Translated by Richard Howard 1981. London:

Vintage 2000

  1. Eskildsen, U (edited), Street and Studio: An Urban History of Photography, 2008, Tate Publishing

 

Websites:

https://www.nadavkander.com/ (accessed 4.10.2017)

Looking again at portraits of people that he has done.

 

http://www.davidhockney.co/works/photos/composite-polaroids (accessed 4.10.2017)

Composites and montages of people to make up a portrait overall

 

http://www.derekridgers.com/gallery2/y0agitkrozyrsnxafqqfncdh08eo5i(accessed 4.10.2017)

Smiler, 1984

Tattoos and set up of portraits

 

http://www.derekridgers.com/ih3d6jdsec7knjsoohijw6dkm5uoq9 (accessed 4.10.2017)

Carpet Face, Soho 2015

Tattoos.  Seen at a local exhibition in Torquay.

 

http://www.mapplethorpe.org/portfolios/portraits/(accessed 4.10.2017)

In addition to the DVD and other books read concerning the work of Mapplethorpe.

 

https://www.nadavkander.com/portraits/grids-panels/single#11 (accessed 16.10.2017)

David Beckham, 16 Pictures, 2015

Looking at the use of sections of the body

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s