Experimental Project Evaluation

The theme for this project was experimental photography and I have to say so far it has been my favourite project that I have completed this year.  I enjoyed doing this project because it allowed me to draw from the conceptual ideas of photographer's, that really inspire me as an amateur photographer. For me the most enjoyable part of any project is doing my own contextual research and learning about what inspires and drives people that I really admire as artists. However during this project what I found most interesting was being able to go back to photography such as my portraiture and personal family photos, and take them to a whole new level visually. 

During this project I learnt skills such as creating double exposures digitally, creating collage, a variety of darkroom methods such as chemigrams and solarisation. And I also learnt about other methods of photo manipulation such as adding shapes digitally and painting onto photographs. Looking back at what I've learnt I'd definitely like to learn more about digital techniques of manipulating photographs, and I'd also like to learn how to get more creative with darkroom methods such as chemigrams and damaging negatives with chemistry. 

I researched a lot of artists and photographers during this project, including both historical and contemporary figures in photography. I undertook a lot of research to find not only people who practise experimental techniques of photography, but people who's work I genuinely appreciate and am inspired by. For example I had set in my mind when I received the brief for this project that I wanted to try out creating double exposures. However I didn't really want to end up with anything particularly generic, that to me looks like one of thousands of stock photos. So because of this, I didn't actually create any double exposure experiments digitally, until I came across Davis Ayer's work and really fell in love with the aesthetic of his images, and the mood they create. Which heavily inspired my own digital double exposure experiments.

For me the techniques I enjoyed most in this project were the more artistic ones I adopted during my physical experiments, with medias such as paint and collage. Personally I think my collages and food stamp images were my most successful, as for me they were a lot more conceptual and really translated well to the thoughts that I had in mind when creating the images. I also think for my food stamps inspired pieces in particular, the composition was really crisp, and the materials I put on top of my old photographs were really well thought out, in terms of how they worked with the image underneath, and how they were distributed over my images. Because of this I will definitely be working with this technique again in my future work.

If given the chance to complete this project again, I think I would have definitely spent more time developing ideas from my food stamps inspired work, as like I said I am proud of what I produced and would have liked to have taken that technique further. I would also have liked to have gone and taken some photos with paint application in mind, like in Helen Almeida's work where she knew where she would be putting her paint on top. As in my experiments I simply printed out photos I'd already taken and tried to put paint over the top of them where appropriate, and because of that I don't think they were particularly successful. 

Overall I really enjoyed this project, in particular finding an array of new artists to inspire me and learning new techniques and applying completely different ideas to my photography. I feel that this project in particular will really influence my future work.

Final Darkroom Experiments

More Experiments Inspired By Helena Almeida + David Copithorne

After not being that happy with my Helena Almeida inspired experiments I decided to get some white paint and have another go at painting onto printed photographs. However this time focusing more on creating shapes rather than just using brush strokes to create an effect. To do this I used some photographs that I've taken, that I again I printed onto paper in order to create a grungy look from my images, which I think really works well in these experiments to contrast against the bright white paint. I decided to paint shapes such as circles and triangles onto my images, to add a more geometrical influence into my work which I was inspired to do after looking at work by David Copithorne who adds 3D shapes into his work digitally which I really like.

This image is my personal favourite from my experiments as I really like the minimal composition and the way the bright white circle interacts with the background and foreground.

The effect I have created on this image is the result of me deciding to paint around the centre of my image to leave a circle but not liking the result. Because of this I folded the image in half while the paint was still wet and unfolded it to reveal what I think is quite an interesting effect, considering I wasn't purposefully trying to create anything especially something grungy looking like this. 

Overall I really like the minimal aesthetic I have created with these images and the way I have kept these images black and white which creates a very abstract look to these grainy looking images. However because I hand painted my shapes, the effect isn't as crisp as I'd like it to be, as in some places the application does look scruffy. Because of this I'd like to try experimenting more with adding shapes onto images, but this time in the darkroom where I can use the photogram techniques I have learnt to create a much more crisp and professional look to these images. 

Darkroom Experiments // Splitting Two Negatives


Odette England // Damaging A Film Negative + Bleaching Photos

Odette England is a British/Australian photographer who's work explores personal and historical memories. Her most famous work includes film photos taken of where she lived as a child which she has damaged through scratching, walking on and tearing at the film negatives. I really like the mood these photos have and from them I get the feeling of resentment in that you can't go back to your childhood and the feeling of how easily your memories can be tarnished by little things. 

Above is one of my favourite photos of England's which is entitled "Mum 9 (right foot)" as she taped this negative of what looks like a shed to her Mum's foot and let her walk around and damage it to create this torn effect. I really like this photograph as I think the way the shed has been cut out really adds this feeling of England wanting to take this memory out of this photograph and what this building means to her. I also like the general grunge aesthetic to this photograph as it reminds me of stills from old horror films, especially with the vantage point of the photograph taken looking up at this eery building. 

Inspired by Odette England's process I took a blank negative and damaged it by rubbing it against rough surfaces and tearing at it with a pin to see what effect it would create when put under an enlarger. 

Above is my test strip in which I used 3 second exposure intervals to determine the best exposure time for my film negative. 

After looking at my test strip I decided to expose the negative for 9 seconds. As you can see those areas where I have scratched at the film have come out black which creates a really interesting effect.

I decided after creating my first print of my negative to experiment further by creating a photogram with my photographic paper as well making use of the added texture from my negative. For my photogram I simply put a sweet wrapper on top of my photographic paper for the first 3 seconds of exposure and then I took it off and carried on exposing the negative for another 6 seconds. Because of this the wrapper is very faint and doesn't really add anything to this image.

For my second photogram experimentI used a some keys and a coin which I put over my paper before exposing it to any light, after exposing the negative for 6 seconds I added the sweet wrapper on top so that we'd be able to see it clearer this time. Personally I like the effect of the sweet wrapper immersed into the patterns created from my negative, however I should have done the same with my other objects as well as I would have liked to have seen the effect throughout all of the print. 

As another little experiment I cut two negatives in half and stuck them together. I did this to try creating a very abstract double exposure with my other damaged negative. Above is my test strip which I exposed on 3 second intervals.

I decided to expose the negatives for 9 seconds each which was a bad decision as everything came out too dark on the print. It has an interesting look to it being very dark and abstract but personally I don't think this experiment was successful and if given the opportunity again would take more time to work out the best exposure times to create a good final print. 

Overall I do like the effect I have created from damaging a film negative and would love to try this again and put the effect over a single image to create prints that look more like Odette England's work as I do really like her photographs.

As I have been doing a lot of work with printed photos onto paper I decided to research other ways of damaging photos like Odette England has and decided to see what effects could be created by pouring bleach onto my printed photographs. Like my work inspired by Helena Almeida I experimented with the shape of my media and how it can interact with my subject matter. 

This is my personal favourite from my experimentations as I really like how surreal the effect looks with the green glowing around the strange shape covering my subject's face. Looking at Elena Fortunati's work really made me appreciate the power of anonymity in experimental photography and I think this effect with the bleach works so well because it has this almost paranormal aesthetic to it which really transforms the original portrait photograph and gives it a completely different mood. 

I really like the surreal effect adding bleach can add to photographs, however if I did this again I would make sure to photograph my image while the bleach is still affecting my photo, as at first it gave a transparent green shape to my photographs which looked really interesting however I did these in the evening meaning I couldn't photograph the effect of the bleach as it was happening.