I have finally finished the last amendments to this assignment. Time has been productive for me I think with this one and I have taken on board the comments made by my tutor concerning the aesthetic of the digital threads. When I submitted the original idea, I had gone as far as I could with it without ‘finishing’ the full idea. I had got to the point that I was fiddling around the edges while being blinded to the changes that needed to be made, both in the minor tweaks of the images and in the final presentation of the images together.
I was happy with the images as they were and although a bit rough and ready in my manipulations in PhotoShop, I did not want to start all over again from the beginning. I have removed the digital threads as suggested by my tutor and by doing so, and leaving them a little while, I can see that the images appear cleaner and more straightforward. The threads that are the metaphorical ties between heaven and earth are now physical threads that I have sewn onto the printed images. There is no particular theme on the colour, it is more what I had available. I did feel that it was important to retain the original idea of tying the people to the bench and the flowers so that they make up a whole unit, with each person being bound loosely by the threads. Each one is slightly different.
I have changed the titles so there is a more poetic flow to them. They are various lines from songs that seem to fit the idea of the assignment. The original assignment had scans of dried flower heads with the titles on them, and these were sewn into the interleaving pages of the scrapbook that held the whole project. This was clumsy and actually was too cluttered with threads everywhere and small pieces of transparent paper printed and sewn. I have changed this so that each photograph with its threads is mounted onto paper card, as they would be in a scrapbook so keeping the original idea, and a page of semi-transparent tracing paper with a small photo of a flower plus printed title is before each one. I have had them bound together with a spiral binding and plain front and back covers, therefore keeping the scrapbook idea but now it is cleaner, smarter and flows better as the threads are all contained rather than running from page to page. The small photo is black and white which I chose to contrast against the colour of the sewn images and make it clean and simple in presentation. The overall theme is black – background, mounts, spiral binding, writing and small photograph and therefore it creates a symmetry in the final book. The iris has the symbolism that earthly life is transitory and fragile. Maybe this is also what my tutor wanted me to think about when he suggested looking at the notion of vanitas paintings, although this is not strictly what this means. My main concern is the notion that we define ourselves through relationships with others, particularly family, and we want to retain those links with them when they have gone on to a different world. We can achieve it through memory alone or a physical place or thing to focus the memory. My adding photographs of people that have links to my own family and past is my way of humanising the names that I do not know.
Overall, I am much happier with my final presentation of my idea and by refining the threads, I believe it is a stronger version of the original idea of life and death, love and loss and connecting ourselves to who we are through a physical place.
Here is a PDF of the finished book: K.Allen_402872_PH4IAP_A5
A few close-ups of the sewing on the images: