My over all view on this course was that it was ‘Vague’.
I wish it had been more to the point in the coursework, my tutor kept on saying research , research , research but in the coursework they were only a few requests to look at the photographers stated in the texts.
So if you didn’t follow other students blogs and just followed the coursework to the letter and also by being an international student with a lack of study group participation you will come up short.
I wish that it was stated,
‘ Do more work than what is in here ‘, research everything that is mentioned and then some.
It should state the minimum amount of exhibitions you should see.
As stated before on a previous post, I also wish that the book that was sent with the coursework folder was ‘How to write about Contemporary Art’ instead of ‘The photograph as contemporary art’. This would of been more useful because it gives you clear instructions on what you have to write when it comes to reviews and research. It helps with the process.
The students that are studying photography obviously have a passion for photography otherwise they would not be paying for the module and even though we are all at different levels of education it is obvious to me that we all need guidance on the ‘Artistic side’ of photography. Some times I got the concept that we were asked to research other times I was disconnected and at a total loss at what to write about. Who do you talk to then about it ? Do I honestly want to announce on the OCA facebook page/ online chatroom that I just don’t get it? Do I email my tutor with every concern ? No I muddled through by myself.
What I take away from this course is that I need to make more of an effort interacting online with other students but I am genuinely worried about sharing my opinion with people online and how opinions come across, things can be misconstrued. People ask for honest opinions about images but rarely are they given. I would love it if we were assigned a OCA student rep that actually critiqued images and progress on the blogs themselves. Pointing out blurred images, Framing and cropping issues and highlighting the short comings not negatively but constructively, asking the student questions and engaging with them one to one.
Overall, I have increased my knowledge about art and historic photographers but I am still so unsure of myself and my work and where I am heading photographically speaking. I feel that I started off being confident with my photography and then I lost my way by assignment 3. I tried too hard to be ‘arty’ with my ideas, when all I needed to do was trust myself and carry on doing what I was doing.
I am sticking to my tutors wishes that I only post the odd comment from the report and not the whole report.
So I have used his comments that are relevant to rework or research of the assignment.
Another strong collection of images that show that you are developing a voice and an understanding of the brief
It may be worth looking at some of the images and definitely expanding on your reflection and consider producing more research.
Feedback on assignment
As you have progressed your work has improved and this final assignment shows that you are continuing on the path
Concern was shown over my use of the iPhone images for macro shots ideally I should use a macro lens for my Fuji.
When I can afford one I’ll buy one. I had an image in my head that I was after and I used what I had to get it.
Exploring all the possibilities of a flower is ambitious and I believe you have produced some interesting images unified by the black background
my tutor suggest looking at the processing
using a modified curve to increase contrast slightly, ensuing that the highlights are retained, this is very subtle, but it is that degree of control and technique that lifts the images
My tutor suggests I seek out the floral photography of Karl Blossfeldt and Robert Mapplethorpe
The approach you have is often more akin to the food photography that you have previously worked on , maybe that explains why some images as they look like beautiful ingredients from a recipe book
Could this approach be developed further?
No, not that keen on food photography, I just prefer black background.
The graphic quality of such images as the ‘sunset’ ( image 1)could be improved by going wider, looking at the series, it may be worth considering producing more alternatives or more moving images as a single image in the series stands out and maybe worth exploring more of this approach.
For the exercise 5.2 my tutor then suggests that I have
‘produced some strong work although inconsistent, they are some strong portraits and maybe this can be developed at a later stage.’
He recommends that I research Richard Avedon , his use of natural daylight- in the American West
You show commitment to the exercises but you now need to improve on the research and critical feedback on your own output.
Nothing new there, must try harder.
Research and learning log
You have produced strong research, however as stated before, it would maybe benefit from more visual support where possible, the research is so very important.
have to step it up a gear
Suggested reading and viewing
My tutor recommends that I visit the Tate Modern and see ‘ The Radical Eye’ , Sir Elton Johns personal photographic collection.
All artists never stop studying, researching and seeking inspiration from many sources.
After a long journey you are starting to produce strong work and are taking on new ideas and developing your own voice.
In a Nutshell I need to research more and document more reflectiveness. I have put together a gallery of the motion images of the flowers I used for Assignment 5 from my contact sheets.
After receiving my final tutor report I would like to thank my Tutor for his helpful comments. I have taken his comments on board ready for rework of this assignment for submission for assessment in July. My learning blog will be updated accordingly.
I booked to go on an art walk round Dubai’s art cluster in Al Quoz called Alskeral Avenue.
I decided I was not going to research what was being exhibited but to go with a fresh pair of eyes, take pictures of what I liked and then come home and research the artist.
Al Quoz is made up of three areas numbered 1,2 and 3 predominately an industrial area Alskeral Avenue is situated on 8th street in area Al Quoz 2. The whole art area is made up of warehouses which have been split up to make galleries and cafes. It reminds me of the mini industrial units you see on industrial estates back in the U.K. There where a few outdoor art installations in open spaces in between warehouses. Each warehouse was labelled with numbers but still lots of us booked on the walk got lost trying to find the initial start up point. This ‘broke the ice’ between the group as we noticed each other asking the security guard the same question. “where is warehouse 90?”
Everyone walked from gallery to gallery listening to the tour guide. I didn’t catch her name but it was obvious she was French and an expert in Art History.
First stop was Warehouse 45 which is occupied by Jean-Paul Najar Foundation.
The exhibition on show was Christian Bonnefoi: Double Take, November 13,2016-February28,2017. Curated by Sylvie Turpin.
I looked at all the mixed media pictures. There was mixed paper with tissue and other delicate materials to make a collages. These pictures reminded me of the fashion in the 80’s abstract I know, but I couldn’t shake the sense of MFI furniture with red and yellow handles and I half expected to see a person in a blue shell suit as I wondered round the gallery. It was bizarre how my mind worked when I was staring into the chaotic pencil marks on the paper. I found one image that had a different vibe I took a photo using my phone so I could note the contrast between the majority of the artworks and this one piece. This piece to me was the end of the series of work. Unfortunately it got deleted off my phone so I am going to go back before the exhibition finishes to get another image.
Carbon 12 was the next gallery. The gallery space was all white and deceptively small, the exhibition that was on was
Olaf Breuning : The Good Old Revolution, 13th November 2016-10 January 2017
Olaf Breuning born 1970 in Switzerland is New- York Based and he is a multi-disciplinary Artist. The exhibition consisted of several black and white penned drawings framed and hung on the walls while the twelve mini sculptures were displayed on stands around the gallery.
I picked up the Press Release and deciphered the following
‘observations of the human experience with absurdist drawings serving as the starting point alongside a new series of miniature ceramic sculpture’s’
His monochromatic line drawings are delightfully cheeky in layers of context, reference and interpretation with which he engages.
He addresses cultural and political issues and infuses his art with the realness of a world dominated by media, pop-culture and globalization…
Constituting of humorous art without ridiculing art.
Carbon 12 Press Release – Katrina Kufer October 2016
This guy’s work did make me smirk as I was walking round. It reminded me of the doodles you draw when your stuck in a boring meeting. I really wanted to buy number 21. We are so Violent for my Kitchen. So my kids can see it everyday and ask questions about it. His artwork raises questions and I liked the simplicity of them.
Ayyam Gallery in contrast to Carbon 12 was a very large gallery and in two locations in Askeral Avenue. One part for was used just for large art installations the other for walled displays.
Mouteea Murad : Thresholds 13 November 2016-7 January 2017, curated by Murtaza Vali
Again deciphering that press releases I pieced the following together
Mouteea is a Sharjah based painter
The artists experiments with the use of Mathematics and geometric abstractions, an approach to non-objective art that he developed over the course of a decade.
He has returned to Dubai with large scale works that use the Fibonacci number sequence as a starting point for his large scale compositions.
Murad applies the Fibonacci series to grid- like patterns that partially conceal the interactions of polygons and lines, thus creating an illusion of depth.
The mural Rainbow – rain and light and love (2016), the artist uses uniform bands that seem to decrease in width towards the centre of the composition. The painting is divided into seven distinct planes that are organized according to similar hues and contain intersecting lines. Here colour relativity also plays a central role in creating a vast space.
I asked the lady behind the desk in the gallery what the price was of the mural, 90,000 aeds. It took a month to make. I must say it was quite impressive and I stood and looked at it from afar and then up close. I examined the corners and how fine the divisions were between each colour. I love hearing and seeing blends of science and art. This mural could easily be placed in a boardroom or a large hotel reception area. The effect worked best from afar and if you didn’t know that the artist had used the Fibonacci series as a starting reference you could easily say a child could do that with masking tape, a ruler and paint but you would be wrong.
Second location for the Ayyam Gallery
Khaled Jarrar : Castles built from Sand will Fall 13 November 2016- 7 January 2017
Castles built from sand will Fall provides a condensed over view of Jarrar’s focus on this issue with a range of work in different media. Featuring installation, photography, video, sculpture and art objects, the exhibitionoffers a look into the various strands of his creative practice.
We were told before we went in the gallery about the artist Khaled Jarrar. He was born in Jenin in 1976 and lives and works in Ramallah, Palestine.
His art installations and documentary work has won him several awards and accolades (see link) He broaches difficult subjects where he asks the viewer to rethink the intersections of life, politics and visual culture.
I don’t know why but I couldn’t help but hearing Don Mclean lyrics from the song ‘Castles in the air’ which was totally inappropriate for the exhibition content.
Past the through the wall was a video installation, Journey 110 documents a hidden 110 metre passageway beneath the massive wall in the West bank.
I think the artist wanted to show the absurdity of the situation when partitions and segregation are involved. Highlighting the depravity of the situation in Palestine
Student pop up exhibition from Sheik Zayed University
This exhibition was interesting. The student Asma Khoory had done portraits of construction workers and taken audio samples as well as the GPS coordinates of the construction sites the workers worked in Dubai. The audio stories were made for the benefit of the workers families back in their respective countries.
I noticed that all the workers where from the same company but different sites. They were also at different levels of management within the company. Now I know, because I have tried that you are not allowed to photograph workers and display the images without permission from their sponsor. I hope Asma Khoory got permission.
Anyway the images reminded me straight away of the Open for Business Exhibition. I seen it in July 2014 at the National Railway Museum, York UK. Particularly the Bruce Gilden images. ( see link )
The walk was well organized and information was readily available. It was ok, I wasn’t enthused by the area and some galleries weren’t open. I actually feel you can’t enclose art to just one area in a city. It should be seen everywhere. I will definitely book another art walk as the experience overall was interesting.
For this assignment the subject I chose to photograph was a flower. Nature is efficient and amazing, its full of patterns and beauty if you only stop and look using a photographers eye.
I have picked the simplest subject I could think of and not actually taken a picture of it as a whole but made up a series which when put together represents a flower. I have tried to show different perspectives of a Chrysanthemum, from beginning at its base of a flower head to its deconstruction then to it being turned inside out and remade back into a flower showing progression.
I kept it to a black background for contrast to make the image look more abstract, so it is beauty in the simplest of forms. My aim for the images were to look like paintings with eye catching compositions. The camera I used was my Fuji X-T1 with a tripod. A ND 32 filter was attached for image 4. My iPhone 6s was used for images 1, 2, 3 and 10.
Ten images of a flower
What worked well
The deconstruction of the flower was exciting to do, I enjoyed playing with compositions and thinking creatively. Figuring out how to make the background more black using Photoshop wasn’t has hard I as had imagined. I have been practicing with my camera, the settings are becoming second nature. I am pleased with the simplicity of my results.
What didn’t work well
when I researched floral photography and a flower clamp was mentioned, I thought I would not need one of them but not having a flower camp hindered me a bit, if I was to become a serious floral photographer I would definitely buy one. More practice is needed to perfect the spinning flower image which I think is my weakest image there are other images in the contact sheet which are seem better but there are with different types of flowers. I wanted continuous flow using the same flower if I was making a concession by mixing portrait and landscape orientations. The close up shots where done with my iPhone which I feel is cheating, it’s not as professional as my DSLR but I was very pleased with the results.
Improvements for the future
Get some studio lighting then I won’t need to use photoshop as much. Invest in a macro lens so I can get close up shots instead of using my iPhone camera. Develop this idea to take images of other organic objects deconstructed.
Demonstration of technical skills
I learnt how to do multi exposures in camera and I also used long exposure techniques which demonstrates the use of technical skills, I processed in Photoshop more than I usually do to get the finished image. This assignment was a lot of computer time, correcting the background using curves and getting rid of dust and pollen that showed up on the final images.
Quality of Outcome
I am really pleased that I chose to do this idea as I have learnt a lot about floral photography and I feel my series works well. There is progression and the images are more art based.
Demonstration of creativity
I think I have demonstrated creativity using ideas adapted from other artists and photographers to show a flower is made up of different parts and can be shown differently. see links for artists
I kept in mind the Indian fable highlighted in my last learning log entry in the link below. Each image I took I would try and make sure that a question can be asked. What is it?
Please see learning log entries for research links
After much deliberation I decided to use flowers as the subject for my fifth assignment.
After reading the assignment brief I thought about how images can be taken out of context and how certain types of images need time to be absorbed and thought about. Then I remembered the Indian fable about the blind men and an elephant. I decided I wanted to do a series of images that were not obvious but if you looked closely you could decide what it was that you where seeing.
There are two fundamentals in all picture taking- where to stand and when to release the shutter… so photography is very simple
(Jay & Hurn, 2001,p37)
So photography is simply viewpoint and moment… but what about subject? The simplest subject is the moment. You can record the moment in a snapshot, but when you review the photograph later you find you didn’t actually record the moment, you just recorded the ‘event of photography’
It might take a very long time to simplify the whole world and its infinite framing into a subject that makes sense to you. Roberts Adams said ‘Sooner or later one has to ask of all the pictures what kind of life they promote’ (Grundberg,1999,p34). For now, though you should just feel comfortable with your subject. It should say something about you and in the end, you like it.
With this quote in mind I then read the brief and made these bullet points for the requirements
The brief for assignment 5 states
Each photo must be an unique view ( must contain new information)
Attention must be paid to the order of the series. There should be a clear sense of development
Should explore your reason for your choice of subject by asking ‘what is it about?’
Check notes prior to submission
Attach a link to exercise 5.2
Check work against the assessment criteria
Make notes on how well your work meets each criterion
Ideas for assignment 5
They say ‘shoot what you love’ and people will be able to tell that you have passion in your work. I am interpreting this assignment to be about showing different perspectives of the subject.
I came up with several ideas here are the top eight runners
A different side to Dubai
I would photograph the back streets of Dubai in Satwa, Deira, Bur Dubai and Naïf areas. A comprehensive look at the life behind the glitz.
Follow a Sikh for a day
Sikhism is something I don’t know much about. Our Handyman is a Sikh, he is a star and I like talking to him about the world and the way it works. He was in the British army in India then he moved to Dubai. He has had a very interesting life so far and I would love to document it. He thinks I’m mad because I like doing DIY jobs myself. So we get on. I’ve been looking at Sikh photographers and images that have already been produced.
Long exposure images of different views of traffic. I am enjoying taking long exposure images. This would be especially creative since some roads here are eight lane highways but would it show different perspectives. I’m not sure
I researched the photographer Qi Wei Fong , his images are of deconstructed flowers, so it got me interested in floral photography. Flowers are simple and elegant. It is possible to show different aspects of them and their life cycle.
I’ve recently had a lot of contact with a stray abused dog . I contemplated doing images from a dog’s point of view or showing images of the impact of taking in an abused dog for a pet.
The Boozy brunch
Really want to do this idea for a series but I reckon I would get my camera taken off me if I start taking pictures of people getting more progressively drunk in posh hotels. It would start with everyone civilized in their designer clothes then it descends into drunken carnage and gluttony as last drinks order is called.
Interview and take images of maids on their day off. This would entail shadowing them and the maids that have agreed to be photographed go to church on their day off and are quite religious which makes me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t enjoy the time spent on this assignment and it might come across in the images. I wouldn’t want to offend so I need to find maids that do different things on their day off, ones that have hobbies.
Zabeel park at night.
This would be another artificial light indulgence for me. There is a spectacular exhibition of illuminations of all shapes and sizes in Zabeel Park which I want to photograph.
Henri Cartier- Bresson’s Photograph Behind the Gare Saint- Lazare
For exercise 5.3 we are asked to look again at the photograph Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare from part 3. We are asked about the ‘pivotal point’ of the photograph and the information it contains.
‘Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare is considered one of Henri Cartier -Bressons most iconic images. It was taken in 1932 at the back of the Saint-Lazare train station in Paris. Henri Cartier -Breeson admits to placing his Leica camera in between a gap in a fence that was a construction site and waiting for the image, he got it. A man jumping from the ladder to the water as he was in a hurry to get home.
This image for me shows a lot of symmetry, replication and reflection. Henri Cartier -Breeson liked geometry. There is the man jumping and his reflection, the man behind the fence which mirrors Henri Cartier-Bresson position as he takes the picture, the symmetry of the fence and the reflected fence. The arc’s of scrap metal and the geometric shape of the station roof.
There is irony seen with the poster of a dancer showing a leaping poses which mimics the guy leaping off the ladder, six leaping figures are seen in total. The image contains the back of a train station and the ladder looks like a railway line, the word ‘Railowsky’ is repeated twice on an advert and four times in total.
The picture has both movement and stability. My eyes are drawn to the distance between the man’s legs and his reflection, its almost triangular for my vision. This pivotal point for me is the observing and recognising of the movement of the man, its the action. It is life mirroring art.
Photographers… are in pursuit of possibilities that are still unexplored in the camera’s programme, in pursuit of informative, improbable images that have not been seen before
For me this quote is referring to perspective and the forever search to show something different that hasn’t been seen yet.
The quotation above refers to photography as ‘information’, which is an important term in media theory. Light is the carrier of information which is collected by the camera, then stored and transmitted in order to communicate something. A well-exposed photograph would generally seem to contain more, or better quality, information than an under- or – over-exposed image. But then what kind of information is included in the photograph on the front cover of Rinko Kawauchi’s book Illuminance, shortlisted for the Deutsch Borse Prize in 2012?
I looked through some of Rino Kawauchi’s images . To be honest I thought the image that was shortlisted for the Deutsch Borse Prize was too simple I get the concept but there where better images to use and the image below is my favourite one. This is such a beautiful capture, the light is radiant . I might have to get this book so I can just sit and look at this picture when I need to remind myself of a simple existence. I like the lines of light and the softness of the image. The blur suggests movement and the legs look like children’s legs which for me adds innocence and reminders of the past. The green is subtle and reminds me of clean, clear seawater.
more course work notes
The word ‘Photography’ means ‘light writing’. In Towards a Philosophy of Photography (2000, chapter1 p8ff). Vilem Flusser makes an interesting distinction between photography and writing as information systems. He points out that when you read a sentence you read from the beginning to the end in a linear way; you don’t repeatedly return to different words in the sentence and read them again. But when you look at a photograph your eye returns to a certain elements again and again, almost as if to re-experience them. Perhaps there is a kind of ‘eternal return’ within an image, a magical aspect that doesn’t function within the normal flow of time. Time is repeated, looped, closed in a circle . Maybe this is why if you live with a photograph you love on the wall you never get bored of it.
I printed off the PDF, read it and have made notes in my written log.
John Berger discussed a similar idea- seeing the whole of the image in a single glance- within the context of painting:
In a painting all its elements are there to be seen simultaneously. The spectator may need time to examine each element of the painting but whenever he reaches a conclusion the whole painting is there to qualify or reverse his conclusion.
I found this episode on You tube. This is the first of four. I recommend watching them.
Walter Benjamin expressed a similar idea in his essay ‘The Storyteller’:
The value of information does not survive the moment in which it was new. It lives only at that moment; it has to surrender to it completely and explain itself to it without losing any time. a story is different. It does not expend itself. It preserves and concentrates its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time.
(Benjamin,  1999,pp89-90)
So a photograph even a digital one is more than just information- it can contain a story. And the photographer is more than just a recorder of information- she’s a storyteller.
of course pictures tell stories but only the good ones are interesting stories.
We were asked to go through our personal archives and pick a couple of shots which celebrate the influence of other photographers in your work.
This was easy for me to do I have so many images where elements could be associated with other photographers styles. I enjoy learning and developing my photographers eye because you can get inspiration from anywhere and anything.