Elena Fortunati

Elena Fortunati is an Italian photographer living in Rome, she is studying art history and uses her photography to translate her creative thoughts into reality. To do this she uses lots of different mediums such as pencils, scanning, her camera and old photos. Elena's work has a very surreal vibe in the way she is very much inspired by the artificial in our everyday lives which she gets inspiration through her surroundings, observing other people and the day to day interactions in our everyday lives. 

Elena Fortunati says her work is very much inspired by works from surreal artist Magritte who's work was very much focused on composition and conveying a message which was both witty and thought provoking. Elena translates these ideas into her own work through using framing and composition in a very clever way to create a very minimal aesthetic to her work. In many of her piece's the subject's faces are either covered or they are facing backwards, this draws the viewer's focus away from any distracting detail's on the subject's face or their expression and makes us focus more on what the figure personifies in the image, and to look for a deeper meaning. 

The photo above demonstrates how Fortunati takes a lot of inspiration from seaside photos from the 50's, where subjects would be photographed from behind to focus on the landscape in front of them. I really like this style of photography as it has a really retro vibe to it and I love the contrast of people against such a beautiful background. Pastel blue shades feature in a lot of Fortunati's photos which give a real feel of serenity and a sense of well being to the images. I really her wide use of the colour blue especially in the photo above which provides a real fresh and chilled out aesthetic to the photograph. Symmetry is also very powerful in the photo above and in many of Fortunati's photos which really adds to the composition of the photo and really adds a surreal sense of control and balance, which I think is quite a witty thing to do especially in front of more manic surrounds like the sea. I really love the photo above, the way the woman holds her hat down looking like she is taking the view in like we are and also just the minimal look to this image which really removes the unnecessary and lets us focus in on this simple but beautiful view. 

A series of photos from Fortunati that caught my eye comes from a project of hers entitled FENSTER, which explores the relationship between old and modern photography. To do this she selected old photos as a background and on her Mac computer put photos of herself over the top through using the Preview application. The photos of herself on top are all pale in colour, her face is covered in all of the photos and she always seems to be struggling in some way in the photographs. For me this takes more attention off of her appearance and gives a real mood from her body in relation to the image underneath. The photo on the top right is my favourite which shows underneath a photo of some women trying to get a glimpse of the queen through their compact mirrors. Fortunati's photo of herself on top shows her concealing her eyes with her T-shirt as if she does not want to be looked at. I find this quite humorous because to me it seems like a comment on her own sense of vanity which I find quite relatable. 

Fortunati's FENSTER project has inspired me to try this image making technique myself, however building on some of the themes from my collage work I worked with vintage images and screenshots from some of my favourite films.

Overall I am fairly happy with what I've produced and really like this form of image making which adds a more crisp effect to creating a collage. After looking at Fortnati's work I want to try taking my own photographs using some of the elements that Fortunati makes use of in her work such as surrealism, composition and minimalism. 

Lisa Sorgini | Daily Patterns

After loving Lisa Sorgini's food stamps series I decided to look at more of her work through visiting her website and Tumblr blog where she posts little experiments and more personal work. A series called daily patterns really caught my eye in which Sorgini took black and white photographs and added shapes digitally. Like her food stamps series the patterns affect the mood of the original photograph by making our eyes look in specific places and follow the movement of the shapes on top. 

The photograph above shows a woman who appears to be sleeping at a table. The white dots Sorgini has added gives the effect of tears coming from the subject's eyes into the milk glass, which to me gives off this feeling of hopelessness. Because the subject fills the frame it really allows us to draw our focus onto her and be affected by this feeling of disheartenment. I also like the use of black and white which really emphasises the shapes and contrasts rather than the colours in the image which gives more emphasis to the bright white shapes she's used.

Looking at these photos by Lisa Sorgini has inspired me to try adding shapes onto my own photographs. I decided to do this with paper at first onto my printed photographs to experiment with shapes and positioning.

This is my favourite from the printed experimentations as I like how the shape tilted with my subject's face which creates a path for the viewer's eye to follow. As printing the photos on normal paper creates a more grainy quality I worked with the more grunge texture by ripping my paper into a a rough shape to create a more damaged look to this picture, which I think is quite effective.

I also tried cutting shapes out of paper and around some of my pen drawings inspired by Claude Heath. I'd like to try creating more imagery with this technique as I think it really adds my own personal style to the image. 

After adding shapes to my printed photos I decided to try adding patterns digitally to some other photos I've taken and experimented with different shades of grey as well...

This is my personal favourite from the digital experimentations as I like the composition and aesthetic quality that the triangles give to the image. To me this image gives the feeling of hopelessness in having a lot to deal with, "having a lot on your plate" so to speak.

Overall I do like this digital collage technique and would like to use it more in some of my future photography by planning out the entire image more in terms of the initial shot I want to take and what I will add over it. This has inspired me to try out more ways of creating collage type images digitally.


Pierre Cordier's Chemigram

Belgium artist Pierre Cordier is known as the pioneer of the chemigram in establishing it as a form of artistic expression. A chemigram is where substances are used on light sensitive paper as an artistic medium in the form of painting on oil, varnish or wax, and combining these materials with the chemistry used in the darkroom. To develop images that look very abstract and often resemble watercolour paintings.

Pierre Cordier's work is very intricate which I find particularly interesting as I really don't know exactly how he achieves such precision and detail. Whether he has used something to manipulate the light hitting the paper or dripped the product on delicately I do not know. To me his pieces look like woodcarvings which is emphasised by the use of earthy colours, for example the piece above reminds me very much of some kind of organic forms such as mushrooms because of the use of curves and the use of the colour brown in various shades. The use of pattern in Cordier's work gives a real sense of rhythm and mood to his pieces as if they were made with the intention of being some kind of album artwork being influenced by music and sound.

Inspired by Cordier's chemigrams I went and created some of my own trying to focus on circular shapes like those used in some of Cordier's work and using substances such as tea, mayonnaise and bleach. Once I had assembled my substances onto a piece of photographic paper I then exposed the paper to 4 seconds of light. Then I painted on a high concentration of developer onto the paper to create a higher contrast of shadows and highlights on my chemigrams, to really emphasise the shapes created by the materials rather than show a great deal of tone.

In reflection I like the high contrast I used on the chemicals such as bleach and tea on the photographic paper. However next time I want to experiment more with how I apply the developer and fixative and  also try adding more substances together on my paper and think more about composition and intricacy like in Cordier's work.


Sheffield Botanical Gardens | Non Project Photos

Inspired By Lisa Sorgini's Food Stamps

After falling in love with Lisa Sorgini's Food Stamps series I had to try the technique out myself. Instead of using National Geographic Images I used photos that my Dad had taken with his SLR camera years ago including photos of me and my sister. I chose these photos because I love the look of colour film photography and wanted to experiment with adding something new to photographs that have a personal connection and sentimental value to me. I also used food that I found in my kitchen cupboards and set out to experiment with composition and anonymity to really twist the original mood of these photos.

This is my favourite of the photos that I took inspired by Lisa Sorgini's Food Stamps. The photo I used underneath is a photo of my Dad and his fellow nurses at a clinic he used to work at. I decided to use flour on this photo because it reminds me of a crushed pills which associates with health care. For me this has given a much more sinister mood compared to than the happy group photo that it is underneath, I really do love how this simple technique can be used to completely change the tone and meaning of an image. 

Overall I am happy with what I've produced in these experiments, although next time I would like to take it further in terms of adding my own style. Through doing these experiments I've learnt more about creating mood in photos and how composition and the addition of other objects can impact the aesthetic quality of an image. After doing this I now want to try more techniques to manipulate images.

Lisa Sorgini | Food Stamps

One of my favourite blogs at the moment is Ignant which is a Berlin based blog that features creatives in art, photography, design and architecture. Once I was given the brief for experimental photography I knew I would have to spend a good hour or so on this site working my way through the abundance of experimental artists and photographers. The one photographer that instantly inspired me was Lisa Sorgini, particularly the feature on her food stamps series. Which I think is so visually unique and captivating and I knew I would have to try the technique myself.

Food Stamps
'Food Stamps' is a somewhat accidental collage project in which a beautiful and entertaining union occurred between a collection of old National Geographic magazines and food from my kitchen.

These serendipitously came together to create a series of images with renewed and implied meaning'

Lisa Sorgini's Food Stamp series combined National Geographic images with food she found in her kitchen to create an 'accidental collage project'. I added her personal description from her website of her series above as it really defines exactly what I love about this series. The fact that this serendipity adds something really refreshing to these old images that you can really interpret for yourself. I love the composition of these images in particularly and the way she has positioned the food in very purposeful ways to add rhythm and flow to the images, for example in the two images above the food is used to connect the subjects in the images making our eyes flow from one to the other. The use of anonymity is also very powerful in this series in how Sorgini has covered the subjects faces to really allow you to read and interpret this picture for yourself, which really transforms what are very standard National Geographic images.

This photo is my personal favourite from the series. I just find this so funny and love the way Sorgini has managed to change the tone of the original photo in such a small but humorous way that completely throws the purpose of the original photo completely out of the window for the viewer.

Every detail of Sorgini's work is just so aesthetically pleasing to me and I cannot fault a thing she's done. She has inspired me to try this technique myself and I will definitely be looking into more of Sorgini's techniques in the coming weeks.