Beyond Entropy – Part 2 (Reeds)

Ed Coveney, a student studying on the Masters in Landscape Architecture (at Writtle College) invited us along to see his installation created with ‘reed’s.  Ed has created a framed representation of what happens with reeds in a river and recreating this within a controlled environment.  He is studying the phenomenon of the reed that is making the patterns.

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When I saw the piece I realised that this would be the ideal opportunity to practise my black and white photography and so returned with my camera the following day.

The reason why I saw this installation as an opportunity to really start to see in black and white, is that I observed the lighting  (the way the light shines in from the window, falling onto the reeds changing the positive and negative spaces within the installation), and movement/ shape,  the way the reeds seem to change shape depending upon the way the light hits them, creating a contrast within the image and a change in composition.  I had to re-visualize the images in my mind before taking the shots and this is something that I have learnt to do as I have developed as a photographer.  Not all photographers do this though and some just take a picture and do not think about the subject matter first.  William Eggleston was known to take one shot of something and if it didn’t work out he would move onto the next without retaking the image.

Within my black and white photography I am looking at lines and shapes and not the overall components of the installation to enable me to create quite abstract results.

I emailed the photographs that I had taken to Ed and he was very pleased with them.  I have his consent to display two of the photos I took of his work in my exhibition (confirmation email dated 30th March 2012).

I have been reading ‘Light and Lens’ by Robert Hirsch who talks about photographers ‘learning to see’.

‘What determines the success of an image is not the camera, but the knowledge of the person operating the camera.  The principal job of a photographer is looking, which defines all photographic processes.  Good photographs are made by learning to see.  Good photographers become skilled at following their eyes and seeing things others overlook’.

This exercise confirmed to me, that is what I am exactly doing.

The clothes we wear

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As well as studying people, I also wanted to take a close look at the clothing that people wear, especially discarded clothing, linking this in with my ‘left behind’ work.

When I look at clothing, I am also studying the person wearing it, as clothing can represent so many different things about that person.  Clothing conveys to me the person’s gender, class, maybe where they come from eg. different cultures, level of education and if that person has strong beliefs eg. reglious, cult or follows a particular movement.

I am also taking notice of the sculptures that are made from clothing which have been hung up or dropped on the floor, abandoned by its owner, like a shedded animal skin.

I have been looking at Christain Boltanski’s ‘pile of clothes’ installation where he focuses on the themes of death and memory.  In his words he states ‘Someone’s photograph, garment or dead body are pretty much the same thing: there was someone there, now they’re gone.” Garments are also vestiges or marks that bear testimony to a life now past’.  http://www.centrepompidou.fr/education/ressources/ens-boltanski_en/ens-boltanski_en.htm

Detritus (part 2)

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Whilst watching a carrier bag twirl round and round in a wind trap it made me think about the fact that once a carrier bag has served its purpose it is discarded and cannot be recycled.

My memory cast back to a film I had watched called ‘American Beauty’and the carrier bag scene which had me mesmerized at the time by the beauty of the clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHxi-HSgNPc

In my work to date I have been studying themes regarding entropy and the breakdown of systems that are sometimes then put back together again to once again create stability.  I have decided to use this theme to make use of an item (in this case a carrier bag) which is often thrown away by creating the above into sculptures of beauty.

I created these pieces by letting the bag fall naturally, once I had crumpled it, onto the black cloth to see whether it formed a paritcular shape.  I would then pull the bag and maybe tear or rip it to develop the sculpture.  I was actually taking charge and determining how this piece would look which was a contrast to most of my other work.

Finally I would take a few photographs of the piece I had created and pick the best ones to display.