Construct a stand-alone image of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to make a
series, elaborating on the same theme.
As the culminating assignment for the course you may wish to draw upon skills learned
from Parts One to Four – using various forms of narrative, using yourself as subject
matter, telling stories and reading images. The only stipulation is that you produce work
that has been controlled and directed by you for a specific purpose. Remember to create
a story with a specific context like the artists you’ve looked at in Part Five. This means
you need to have an artistic intention, so a good place to start would be to write down
some ideas. This could then form the basis for a 300-word introduction to the piece. You
may find it helpful to draw storyboards to help you visualise your ideas.
The aim of this assignment is to use props, costume, models, location, lighting, etc. to
contribute to the overall meaning of the image. (Use flash/lights if required but available
light is fine as long as it is considered.)
If the narrative is to be set in a different era then the elements of the image must reflect
this. Also consider the symbolic meanings of objects and try not to be too literal in your
approach. For example, don’t automatically use red roses in a love scene but try to be
subtle in your ideas to obtain a more true-to-life scenario.
For this final assignment, you should also include an illustrated evaluation of the process
you went through to produce your final image(s). Include snapshots of setting up the
work and write about how you felt your direction went, how you found the location,
props, etc. How did this process affect the final outcome? Write around 1,000 words in
total (including your 300-word introduction).
Send your final image(s) to your tutor, along with your commentary and relevant pages
of your learning log (or blog url).
This blog entry is my final submission for Assignment 5, Making it up. I will provide an introduction to the image, the thought processes and approach that went into the creation of the work and finally reflection on the work.
I have related blog entries: An initial image where I gathered feedback (see here), the submission to my tutor (see here) Research that informed/influenced the image (see here) and the book Photography is Magic (see review here).
The main point of this section is to discuss in detail the process I went through in order to produce the final image. I also, briefly, describe some of the technical aspects.
Process of producing final images
(Click to enlarge)
The diagram above shows the high-level approach I took to get to my final image. I will take this as a basis and flesh out with more details.
Selection of subject
All through the section Constructed realities and fabricated images I was thinking about a potential subject for the assignment. Ideas that I toyed with were exploration of cubism, photocollages in the style of David Hockney or using Venice as a backdrop to something deeper. I had a short trip to Venice planned and felt there was potential there. I have in the past read Death in Venice by Thomas Mann and seen the 1971 film of the same name by Luchino Visconti. I was captivated by the story and decided to research both book and film to see if I could do an hommage. Another film and story that I contemplated using was Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier, also involving action in the city of Venice; however, I decided that the Thomas Mann story simply interested me more.
I reread Death in Venice by Thomas Mann and watched the Visconti film once more before my trip. I then looked at critical reviews of both. This led me on to Friedrich Nietzsche and his introduction, in his book Birth of Tragedy, of his philosophy concerning Dionysian and Apollonian forms of art (see my research here). This resonated with me and I started to see similarities with my own artistic progression, which in turn emboldened me to head in this direction. I decided that on my trip I would look for images that illustrated Dionysian and Apollonian forms of art. I looked for potential locations but decided in the end (primarily since I was with others) that I would not go to predetermined locations but simply look for opportunities as we visited.
Capturing images in Venice
As we went around Venice I took photographs in a number of locations, some well known (e.g. St Mark’s Square, Doges’ Palace), others less so (e.g. District of Cannaregio), looking for subjects that might be useful in interpreting Dionysian and Apollonian forms of art. In addition, I simply took shots of other subjects that I found interesting. Each night I reviewed what I had taken and this informed me as to the type of images I should concentrate on the next day. I also spent time in the art museum Galleria dell ’Accademia where a number of paintings caught my attention, particularly some triptychs by Hieronymus Bosch. I have always liked the idea of photographs capturing multiple dimensions of time as well as space and this seemed an option worth exploring.
Visualisation of final image
Back home I thought in depth about the final image I would create. I also saw this as an opportunity to learn to use Photoshop more effectively. I started crudely sketching out what a final image could look like. The background elements were clear to me, but at this stage the main subject was not. I decided to go ahead and start to construct an image and see what happened. I had already decided on a single fabricated image rather than a series. I also decided to make a high length to height ratio image, reminiscent of the Bayeux tapestry. I was also influenced by a book that I had read, with the explicit aim of finding out where contemporary photography was heading; Photography is Magic (see review here).
Selection of images
In Lightroom, I culled the images that I regarded as no good and then carefully reviewed them to find a set of three that I felt could act as background when merged together, moving from a Apollonian view to Dionysian, mirroring my desire to progress from mostly cerebral to more “passionate”. I also identified a number of images that I could add to reinforce this journey. In addition, I looked at photographs I had taken whilst on the OCA course and found a small number of others that I felt could fit. However, I was still missing the main subject.
Working in Photoshop
I have, up until now, limited experience of using Photoshop. I had an idea about what I wanted to produce and so used a number of online help videos, including those from Adobe to understand how to do this. I practiced and made a prototype that went in the direction I wanted to go. It was rather clumsy, especially in cutting out individual shapes so I decided I would start afresh. This also had the advantage of reinforcing my Photoshop learning.
Deciding on main theme
Having created a background image I decided that I need additional shots to provide the main subject. It was natural to make it a self-portrait. I decided that I wanted to mimic some of the carnival costumes associated with the Venetian Carnival, but with a hint of the Aschenbach character in Death in Venice. So I dressed in old university gown and added a Panama hat. With this I took a number of shots including some seated in a deck-chair, again echoing the final scene in Death in Venice.
Finalising the image
I added the self-portraits to the image and tidied up a little. I decided not to polish at this stage, but to submit to critique to see what the rection was. The result is here. This was generally very positive, so I decided simply to make some minor changes based on this feedback plus some other minor improvements I could see. I also printed the image on my own printer to see whether there were any overt problems; I did not see any.
At this point I also put some thought into the final presentation. I was intrigued by the idea of introducing interactivity into the image and on prompting by my tutor I investigated Adobe Animate as a tool. My main aim was to draw the viewer into the image in an interactive way, and through the use of text and movement reveal more of my intentions.
As a final submitted image my tutor proposed using a folded image approach (similar to old fashioned LP covers) to display it. In order to create this image I took a series of images that I had printed myself to a local book-binder to create the final item. Photographs of this I show below.
For the photographs I used a Canon 6d with a 24-105 mm lens. I stored, did minor adjustments (contrast, exposure) and selected the images using Lightroom. I used Photoshop to merge and adjust a number of photographs in order to create the final image. I imported the images into Adobe Animate in order to create the interactive version. I printed images that a local book-binder used to create the final presentation.
The submitted work is a folded image book, this is supported by an interactive version (see below).
In order to view the interactive version the following must be performed on a PC:
- Ensure that your browser has Flash enabled
- Ideally a screen resolution of greater than 1700 pixels is best
- The two files (HTML, SWF) need to be downloaded to a local directory.
- The HTML file needs to be open in the browser and Flash permitted to run
The link to the directory with the two files is here
The following are images of the final presentation:
Searching for a muse
As folding triptych
The following contact sheets contain the main images that I considered or used for the work.
(Click to enlarge)
This section is a summary of the points from above and from supporting log entries. Now that I have one course (Expressing Your Vision) behind me, I use this as a reference and try to quantify this work by a rating in comparison to my previous EYV work, and using the overall result from this course as a guide. I am not attempting to compare against other students working on the same course.
I am very happy with the end result and the way that I achieved it. I believe that it shows a well planned, strong visual image with degree of creativity that is based both on personal and academic considerations. In producing this work I learned a lot concerning art theory as well as deepening my technical skills in Adobe Photoshop and Animate plus interacting with local book-binders. By introducing interaction into the work I feel I have created a work of a contemporary nature and I am very pleased when I compare it with my first assignment. I feel I have come a long way.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I believe that the photographs I have taken that make up the image are more than adequate in telling the story. The way I have used Photoshop to combine them is, I think, also up to scratch; here I admit I still have more to learn and practise. My use of Animate to create an interactive work was also reasonable. Where I think the work is strong is in its composition. (7/10)
Quality of outcome
I believe I have been able to take research and emotion and combine them in a coherent image. The image tells a story, albeit not easy to discern for viewers who are not aware of Nietzsche’s philosophy nor Death in Venice, but I also think it has the ability to work at different levels and is complex enough that it can tell differing stories. (9/10)
Demonstration of creativity
Again (by my levels) I find the work relatively imaginative; the way I have tried in a single image to bring together a number of different concepts in an engaging manner required more than my usual inventiveness. (7/10)
The process I followed and the research I performed I think are satisfactory. I have looked into a number of sources of information and used them to strongly inform the work. (7/10)