Figures of Authority

Figures of Authority is a photographic project exploring the role of communication and the representation of the individual in the digital age. Just as the digital image is defined by code, the online user is becoming increasingly condensed into information.

Activities such as politics have transitioned to online spaces where electoral candidates have begun to focus their campaigns. In this environment popularity is measured by how many times a statement is re-tweeted and debates can become highly toxic.

In an age where identity is formed using code, there appears to be a significant loss of humanity. If the potential Prime Ministers can defined by a set of figures, it would indicate society is conforming to a transition in identification, which resembles a bygone practice of cataloguing.

 

The project is a photographic response to the issues surrounding online communication, digital identity and the residence of computer technology in society. Building on concerns associated with artificial intelligence and research on the online disinhibition effect it appears as though the online world is becoming increasingly compassionless, impossible to tell whether you are engaging with a person or a piece of software. In this world, information is the key aspect and the individual is being increasingly defined by their digital footprint, constructed of personal information. This inconsequential data, scattered across the Internet using applications and platforms such as social media, is used to form an impression of identity by those collecting it. The idea that an individual can be represented entirely by their information or personal ‘metadata’ references the transition in photography where the image is now made up of information. Visual data is just one form it can take, as the digital image is capable of moving between a latent and manifest state instantaneously. The concept that a person can be completely defined by information is alarming, provoking premonitions of a dystopian future where the individual is recorded and catalogued according only to their online presence.

It has been noted that the transition from physical to online spaces has an active effect on behaviour, with anonymity, disassociation, imagination all contributing to this alteration. The online disinhibition effect is an unconscious change in personality and behaviour; where the emotions of the online user can become detached. This leads to abnormal social behaviour which can take place in two ways, either a rush of intimacy leading the individual to reveal more about themselves, or a release of anger where the individual instigates and engages in toxic activity. Previous excuses for this asocial behaviour have involved the individual disassociating themselves with their actions, believing that their online self is separate. However identity and personality is not thought of as being compartmentalised anymore, but rather as a set of constellations; when an individual enters an online space, certain parts of these constellations align to form a particular arrangement of the individual’s personality. Therefore online identity is not an extension of the self, but is just as much part of them as their physical behaviour. As well altering behaviour, online spaces allow the individual greater control over their identity, with the power and tools available to mediate and construct a picture of their identity with commercial idealism in mind.

The images which form the photographic response are binary-coded portraits of the seven candidates for the 2014 General Election, using appropriated images from their social media profiles. 2010 was a very influential year with a coalition was formed and in the five years following this event, politics has steadily become increasingly discussed in online spaces. Party leaders now have Twitter and Facebook accounts, the General Election debates were trending on Twitter and online quizzes were available to see which party is appropriate for each user. The information from political leaders is notoriously ambiguous, with no guarantee that any promises will be held, or that they aren’t hiding more sinister plans. In addition to this, online spaces have contributed to the mediation of their identity, the careful construction of a positive reputation. The Figures of Authority series is making a new statement, can these binary images be considered as a representation, a portrait of this individual? Although humans can’t instantly perceive what these images are offering, computer technology would be able to instantly read and know what visual data this image is telling them. These constellations and fragmentations of identity physically represented by the mediated profiles of information an individual scatters across the Internet makes online users vulnerable, easily exploited by software. Could a future be approaching where a practice of observing, documenting and cataloguing is reinstated with computer technology assuming the authoritative role over mankind?

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Figures of Authority – Creative Process

The creative process behind my final set of images titled ‘Figures of Authority’ took place over a number of months. As identified in my initial proposal, I wanted to explore the concept of online communication and investigate how interaction in the digital environment differed from in physical spaces. This eventually led me to consider the role of communication and identity in the representation of the individual online through the use of code. This blog post details the process I took to developing my ideas conceptually, eventually reaching the end point which is my image set ‘Figures of Authority’. This blog post only covers the content and form of the image set, other blog posts detail my decision-making process in relation to presentation methodology.

After researching the dynamics of online culture and partaking in anonymous online communication I identified a term that kept cropping up which was ASL: standing for age, sex and location. This is used as a conversation opener in anonymous online communication because it is a quick method to find out three major pieces of information about the person you are communicating with. However the idea that a person with all of their characteristics and complexities could be reduced and compressed into three defining pieces of information. As a response, I decided to make a photographic piece based on the concept of ASL and how the dynamics of online communication could be limitative and manipulative as opposed to face to face communication.

Deciding on what the images would be of and how to approach this idea was quite difficult, as online communication itself can’t really be represented except through through the actual text. Originally I began the shooting self portraits on the idea of trying to represent the transient connection that is achieved in the space of an online chat room. Although the communication can infer a friendship or another sort of relationship, the fact is that there is a complete loss of physicality which is a concept I wanted to try and visually represent. If the images looked effective then I planned to conduct a series of portraits with a variety of different people in environments which would infer the individual is meeting up with a friend. I made the conscious decision to shoot digitally as I didn’t feel shooting analogue would give me any additional value; this project, being highly digital and based on digital concepts it would appear that shooting digital would be more appropriate.

I shot self portraits based on the idea that I was sitting in my room the way that I would be when I was talking to a friend. One I had taken them, I opened them up in Photoshop to experiment with different editing effects to try and make the subject in the photograph appear transient, ghost-like or like a hologram. Examples of my experimentation can be seen below:

DSC_0004
The Original Image

Contact Sheet 03_Page_2 Contact Sheet 03_Page_1

This was my experimentation with imagery at the time of the formative feedback review so I sought feedback from my peers and tutors to see whether the images were actually effective. I received some complimentary feedback however it was identified that there really wasn’t a strong visual link between the content of the images and the ASL concept. It wasn’t being translated and I hadn’t made those strong links to the ASL concept beside thinking about including text alongside the image.I needed to think about how I could change or develop the imagery to progress.

Following the formative feedback review I went back over the notes from my tutorials and came across the advice given to me by David Rule when he said there were different areas I could focus in on. These ideas were the idea of an encounter, the motivation behind the communication and the idea of the online community. I considered all three aspects in relation to the concept of ASL and determined that it suited the idea of an encounter. The concept that identity can be condensed into three pieces of information to make the dynamic of the online encounter simple is definitely interesting. Identifying the aspect I find the most interesting meant that I was in a better position to focus on what to photograph. Perhaps the most well-known genre of photography which approaches the idea of an encounter is street photography, most specifically street photography portraits. This documentary portraiture emerged with photographers such as Walker Evans and continued by photographer Robert Frank.

Following research on these two iconic photographers I set out to undertake my own street photography project for my ASL project. My area of focus was Coventry city centre, I didn’t aim to photograph a particular type of person instead I focused on people who didn’t look like they were rushing from one place to another. The important part of this project was to ask permission from the people I am photographing so that they know what situation they are entering into. An observation from the photographs of Evans and Frank was that in some cases the people didn’t appear to know they were being photographed or looked uncomfortable at the fact they were being photographed. The downside of the person knowing they are being photographed is that they can begin to present themselves in a particular manner however this is an element I feel would compliment the idea of an encounter online. Each person has a greater control over the way their character and personality comes across, meaning they can manipulate and fabricate information about themselves. When photographing I made to shoot a wide range of crops and shoot both portrait and landscape to give me a variety of images to play with afterwards. I didn’t get to shoot as much as I wanted to because the weather turned and it wouldn’t stop raining however I had identified an approach which was effective and I could apply it when photographing over Easter.

When looking at the results of my street photography I found that the landscape images were the most effective:

Street Photography

The landscape images appeared to be better composed and I felt like I engaged with the images differently. Instead of treating them as a typical portrait and moving on quickly I found that I was trying to look at the image differently because it wasn’t the conventional orientation.

ORIGINAL 2 ORIGINAL 3 ORIGINAL

Having shot a few images on based on the idea of an encounter I needed to connect these images to the ASL concept. When photographing I asked all participants whether they would be comfortable to allow me to use their age, sex and the location at which they were born for me to use in my piece. I made them aware that the choice to reveal this information was theirs and they didn’t have to. However all participants were happy to do so, which left me with three images and three sets of information to play with. When thinking about how to include the ASL information I thought back to the talk we had from practitioner David Rule who explores the role of text and the relationship between textual and visual information. The reason for exploring the idea of ASL was exploring how a person could be condensed down into these defining pieces of information, therefore I felt I should experiment with overlaying with the portraits and the information. This idea was influence by the artist Richard Galpin who constructed and mediated the view the viewer would see when engaging with his pieces. With this in mind I decided I wanted the viewer to only be able to see each subject in the portrait through the pieces of information. I have done some previous experiments in Photoshop with overlaying text and thought that this method would be effective in my construction of my images. Examples of my experiments can be seen below:

DSC_4242 black DSC_4242 white

DSC_4250 changed DSC_4250

DSC_4247 black 02 DSC_4247 white 02

An influential aspect I noted when I was making the images was that the black background was more effective than the white. With the white background, the attention is drawn to the shape of the text more than the person in the image, which although could be effective I preferred the effect the black background gives. The text is easily read in both images and I definitely think the viewer can engage and see the subject more in the image with the black background. I presented these images in my second tutorial with David Moore, he drew my attention to the fact I was merging both the physical and digital encounter together in these images rather than contrasting them. He thought that I shouldn’t include the images of the physical encounter in my project and instead I should really concentrate on making a purely digital response to avoid confusion and achieve a more effective set of images. This left me a bit lost for a few days as I didn’t really know where to go from that point, it seemed like I had hit a bit of a dead end and I was finding it hard to think of what images I could possibly produce now.

After a phase of researching I came across the terms and conditions of Facebook and started reading through them properly. I compared and contrasted them with the terms and conditions with that of other social media websites such as Twitter, Instagram and Youtube and there was one resounding similarity. Every individual partaking in these social media outlets, gives the organisation a license and free use of any content posted onto the site; this allows the content to be shared, copied, changed and stored. Use of information is a controversial topic in the digital age, with scandals such as the NSA and phone hacking raising awareness of the fact that the information people attempt to share privately can be easily accessed and taken by professional institutions or any capable individual. In addition to this, the very nature of the image has been changed from analogue photography to digital photography. Whereas the analogue photograph is defined as a physical negative or print, the digital image exists only of information which can manifest itself to resemble the ‘photograph’ on a screen. There is an interesting parallel between photography being changed to a practice of information and the idea that with using ASL as a conversation opener, that a person is being condensed down to information. This key concept of information is something I really need to focus on in my imagery.

Following this thought process I identified that I wanted to take images and change the manifestation of them from the conventional visual representation and instead display the actual information behind it. I research on the Internet how to change images into the binary code which informs them and came across a conversation website which would take an image and change it into different forms of code, one of which was binary. I attempted to input the images in this converter to see what the results would be, the visual results were quite interesting; past converting the images into binary, this engine actually assigned different colours to the code to attempt to resemble the original image. This could be changed to black and white or kept in colour however the engine still attempted to produce this visual representation of the original image. In addition to this I was still using the images from the physical encounters to test, I needed new material and to change this technique slightly for it to be more effective.

35 Male Wrexham

I thought back to the terms and conditions of Facebook and related it to the work of artists I have researched such as Mishka Henner, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin who have worked with appropriate/found photography to counteract the abundance of imagery in society. With this in mind I decided I wanted to work with found photography, specifically the profile pictures of Facebook users as this is a prime example of where an image is used to mediate and construct a certain representation, which in turn communicates a part of personality. I looked closely at the terms and conditions of Facebook to see what would apply to me, whether I could extract the information without the person needing to know or whether I should seek permission. I found that if I was to be using another person’s information I needed to obtain their permission and express to them the exact information to be taken and where it would be used. I went about seeking which profile pictures I could use and achieving permission, I contacted friends I have on Facebook as I felt that they would be more inclined to help my project. It also meant I could try and get a range of different ages, and locations for if I was to do anything with text it would mean that I would have some variance. I then put these into the image converter however I took it one step further and copied the code and opened it in Photoshop. This provided me with a string of white numbers on a black background which looked very effective; like a barcode. It struck me that my images could reference a barcode or a QR code with the additional challenge that instead of representing a price or link, this code would attempt to represent the whole of a person. I took these images in Photoshop and added in the ASL element, integrating the age, sex and location into the binary code.

Becky Woodall smaller

These images were so more effective than the previous images using street photography, there was a much stronger sense of the ASL concept and the idea of the digital age changing both photography and communication. There are distinct parallels between photography and online communication because photography itself is a form of communication through interpretation and I really believe that these images work off this idea. Having produced a series of these images I thought I needed to experiment a bit to see whether the original black background and white text worked, in addition I wanted to see whether it would be more effective to have the text in the same place or to move it around. Although I was comfortable with my original decisions and felt they looked very visually striking I needed to do the experimentation to find out whether another editing choice would be better for the project.

After a meeting with Anthony over my images, we discussed how effective they were and whether the aesthetic of them was actually working. The inclusion of the ASL information in the actual could be too much of a distraction, Anthony suggested perhaps the information could be the title of the piece rather than in the actual image. I would need to experiment around with the aesthetic and the inclusion of information to see which would be most effective. In addition to this, Anthony drew attention to my choice of subjects, asking why it is important we see the people who are in the portraits as opposed to reaching out to friends and family. The subjects in the work are just as important as the process of image-making and I needed to experiment to see which subjects would be more appropriate than my friends on Facebook. The response to the aesthetic and process behind my work was positive however I needed to push it further in terms of understanding why I’m making the choices I am and how this affects what statement the project makes.

In response to my apt I decided to research and think about which subjects would be more appropriate and effective for my project. In the meeting, Anthony mentioned that choosing someone known for being associated with the digital concepts and issues might work better such as Edward Snowden. With this in mind I decided to search the Internet for some curated lists on who are the most influential people on the Internet. I came across the list by Time Magazine of the 30 most influential people on the Internet which featured people as famous as Taylor Swift to a member of the public who ‘broke’ the Internet by uploading a picture of a dress which acted as an optical illusion, provoking a world-wide debate on what the colour of it was. If I was to use this list in my project I think it would affect the presentation method of the project, I wouldn’t want to feature part of this list as there is no obvious method to determine which people to include. This would mean that the project might be a book or some curated online collection. I started collecting images of the people on the list using their social media profiles, as I felt this element of communication was still important to include in the project.

CONTACT SHEET
Some of the 30 most influential people in the Internet

 

Alternatively, I also started considering using the political part leaders who are standing for the upcoming election as it is highly topical considering the election is about to take place and there has been a lot of activity online concerning their activity and intentions. Typically politicians are very well known for being able to represent themselves in a specific fashion, trying to be as appealing and professional as possible to the public to try and win their vote. As a result of this, many people feel that the activity by many politicians is simply an act and a front which doesn’t represent their true personality. The purpose behind all their activity removes all objectivity from their actions and we see a representation that is meant to sway the viewer and observer that this person is the best choice for prime minister. The presence of these politicians has become increasingly prominent online, with most politicians having their own Twitter account and Twitter account representing the party they stand for.

In addition to this, the election debates broadcast on T.V were being continually commented on across social media as they were taking place, transforming this social space into an environment of political opinion and campaigning. Interestingly enough it is at this moment when I observed that the behaviour of online individuals became particularly toxic towards some of the party members, demonstrating the online disinhibition effect I had previously researched. The combination of this change in politics, as well as the confusing and bias representational activity from politicians made the party leaders a very appropriate subject to choose for my Final Major Project. By taking their portraits from social media and displaying the underlying code, it demonstrating another form of information which is presented to us, but in an alternative manner. It would be highly interesting to observe people’s reactions to these portraits, as most people are detached from these individuals so there shouldn’t be many emotive reactions to displaying these people as information. However it is highly conflicting that someone who could have the power to run the country in the following months, can be represented so simply as this, it is a very limitative form of representation.

I really took to the idea of using the politicians in my work, as it is topical, it makes an effective statement and it contextualises my work in a specific time period by associating it with a well-known event. Using the leaders of the political party also gave me a smaller number of images which would mean the project could work as a wall piece, which might work better as I want to try and present these images as a typical portrait would be to try and get the viewer to engage and relate. Following this idea, I downloaded a photograph of each party leader from their corresponding Facebook page and compiled them together, ready to convert into code. As researched previously, the terms and conditions of Facebook specify that by making a page public, the creator allows the use of any content such as images and text to be taken and downloaded from the page.

CONTACT SHEET

Using these images, I converted them into the binary code using the same process I had used for the previous images and made files out of them in Photoshop. It was here that I played around with different colours again to see which was the most effective, changing the background from black to white and the text as well.

David Cameron black background
David Cameron
Natalie Bennett white background
Natalie Bennett

 

The black image looks like the binary code is an extract because the numbers appear to go on outside of the frame whereas in the image with the white background, it looks like there is a border to the image because the white creates an impression of negative space. In addition to this the black image connects to the concept behind Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series; we relate black backgrounds to screens much more because of the original appearance of computers, where there was white and coloured text on a black background. In addition to this the black background looks more sinister which reflects that the pieces have a serious undertone, whereas the white images don’t look very intimidating. For these reasons I decided to keep my pieces as white text on a black background and not even show the images with a white background at my next formative feedback review. I estimated if people thought I should experiment with the colours they would give me that feedback and if they didn’t it would mean that they found the images effective.

In the build up to the second formative feedback review I was trying to make decisions about how big the pieces should be in the exhibition. This process was initialised when hearing we would have to stipulate what presentation method we would be employing after the second formative feedback review. After submitting these requirements it would be very hard and unlikely to change them so I needed to make sure I had a good idea of what size my images should be by the end of the session. I decided to offer a decision between three different sizes, the first a very small print of about 10cm x 10cm, the second a slightly bigger print of 21cm x 21cm and the last a large-sized print of approximately 80cm x 80cm. The largest size wouldn’t actually print out however I wrote down the specifications for the size so people could visualise the image at the correct size. I posed the question of size on my formative feedback review sheet and asked the opinion of the group in the verbal feedback session as to what size I should make the images. The general consensus from the class was the medium sized print of 21cm x 21cm was the most effective because they were big enough to read but small enough to require the viewer to come in closer and examine the images. The smaller prints were too hard to read and the largest sized print would demand any extra attention from the viewer because they would be big enough to read from a greater distance. In addition to this the medium sized print relates to the idea of an average portrait which will hopefully increase the likelihood of my viewers attempting to relate to the images. With my content and the size of my images decided upon, I then moved onto researching presentation methods and how my images would work in the exhibitions in Coventry and London. Overall I’m really pleased with the content I have made, at the beginning of the project I couldn’t have imagined the images I have now produced but I’m glad I have chosen to specialise in this area.

 

Figures Of Authority – Presentation Strategies

Having progressed to a point where the content of my work was interesting and visually strong in my view, I needed to start thinking of presentation methods. In a tutorial with Anthony, we identified that my decisions need to to made from in-depth, informed research; the reason of ‘to attract attention’ is a given and can’t be used as a reason behind any choice. I had to focus down on what I want to achieve, why I wanted to achieve it and what presentation strategy could help me achieve the effect and interpretation I desired. Anthony recommended I start researching different presentation strategies employed by artists and photographers examining a similar sort of area to me, so I could get some ideas on what is most effective. Seeing installation shots or visiting the work in a gallery would give me a greater idea of how the work was intended to be perceived.

Originally when I begun working with the idea of the ASL (age, sex, location) I had the idea of making a database or catalogue type response to replicate what technology does with our information. I originally thought if I could gather together a vast amount of data (portraits and information) from different people I could create an archive of people, representing what the future may look like in terms of how we are represented. This could take me along two different paths, producing a physical artefact like a book or a physical archive, or creating and constructing a digital response. I began experimenting with creating websites both on Dreamweaver using my own experience with web design, and using free templates from hosting platforms. This was a process I had attempted in the previous module Phonar, where I used a blog to try and create a portrait of an individual using the inconsequential data they had scattered across the Internet. In my reflection of that project, I identified that I didn’t have the necessary technical skills to be able to create the sort of effective response I would ideally like to produce. If I was going to attempt a digital response to this project, I decided I would ideally need to seek technical support from a computing student in order to build something really effective. This would mean working alongside another individual a lot as well as trying to research and put all of my own ideas into the design process.

I initially tried to contact the head of the international MA department to see whether I could have support from one of the students, as Caroline had told me part of their module requires them to have commissioned experience. However as I am not a professional company with a registered VAT number, I wouldn’t be able to have an MA student support me in my project.The alternative was to get in touch with a third or second year student to try and have their support however I made a judgement call in that if the student did become busy with coursework, they were highly likely to prioritise their own work and not mine. I needed that guarantee that I would receive ongoing support, something I couldn’t get from an undergraduate student. As a result of this, I decided not to make a digital response as realistically, I wouldn’t be able to achieve the result I wanted by myself and I couldn’t guarantee support from another student. In addition to this, conceptually if I want to make a statement about the digital genre, it would be more appropriate to produce a physical response as it would make the audience relate to it more. A physical artefact is more personal and I want the viewer to try and make a personal connection with my work, despite the fact that I am portraying a distorted concept. It would exaggerate the point I am trying to make if the viewer can physically see the response in front of them, a screen is so much easier to ignore. It has been identified in studies that seeing the world through a screen makes people’s emotions disinhibited and they become detached with what they are witnessing. Therefore a physical response will encourage the viewer to really connect with the piece I present to them.

I moved on from the idea of producing a digital response, to producing a physical artefact. I could either produce a box of prints with each different portrait/information in them, representing a physical artefact with hundreds of people ‘filed away’, ready for anyone to view when necessary. This would be a good way of interacting with the audience and establishing this idea of the audience having a personal connection with the people and their information. I had observed in the second year Picbod exhibition, that an interactive exhibit is very popular with the audience, as they can have a real part of the process and control their own viewing experience. Another method would be to produce a photobook with all of the portraits in, I could make the layout very uniformed so that the audience was encouraged to make comparisons between the different people in the images. I had previously researched artists like Donavan Wylie, who used a uniformed style of photography to represent how banal and similar the inner layout of a prison actually is. The consistent style of photography and layout in the book helped to encourage the viewer to make comparisons in the content of the images instead of the layout itself as the design was consistent. This concept was something I researched in relation to my Phonar content in the book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte who suggested that in order to encourage the viewer to observe fluctuations in the data, that the design must be completely consistent. I start creating mock ups of the archival prints and how I would layout a book with the images to see how they would work in an exhibition. When putting these artefacts together I realised that they looked a lot like a family photo album or a collection of family photographs in a box. The fact that you could still see the person in the image, still kept the idea of the human being involved in the process of their own representation, whereas I wanted to create the impression that technology uses information to represent the human individual. My presentation method needed to be a lot less person, more detached and cold in order to create this idea of objectivity and the process of cataloguing without compassion.

Between this stage and the second formative feedback review, I had my tutorial with David Moore and Anthony Luvera, where I started producing the binary images. These would be more suited to the idea of a photo book or a box of prints however there was still that element of the human involvement. In order to counteract this, I decided that in the exhibition environment it would be more approrpiate to display the images as prints on the wall.  With the second formative feedback review approaching I decided to print off a variation of prints at different sizes to get feedback on which size would work best. I printed off some at a small size, approximately 10 x 10cm, some at a medium size of 21 x 21cm and lastly I attempted to print a larger size however the A3 printers around the university campus wouldn’t work for me. This larger size, if I had been able to print it, would have been approximately 80 x 80cm. For the small and medium sized prints I proposed displaying all seven images of the party leaders, however with the larger prints I would only display two: Ed Miliband and David Cameron as these are the two dominating parties. With these images I put my updated project proposal and simpler summary to make the project easier to interpret for my peers. It was interesting to observe people viewing my work and seeing which size of prints they engaged with more. In the verbal feedback session following, the general consensus from the group was that the medium sized prints worked the best overall as it was small enough to encourage the viewer to come closer and look. A large print would make the viewing experience too fleeting because the viewer would be able to discern the visual content without making an effort to engage with the image and the small prints were extremely hard to see even when the viewer was up close. The medium sized prints achieved a sense of intimacy and interaction without becoming too easy to consume.

With the size of the prints decided we focused on the additional issues at hand which were the printing paper and framing and textual support. It was identified that an absence of captions or an artist statement made it hard to decipher what the work was about and how the images should be perceived. The images became clearer when I was standing there explaining the concept behind it, therefore it was agreed that I should experiment with forms of textual support to provide the viewer with some information without being too didactic. In relation to the paper I would choose to print on, I acknowledged that I wanted to talk to Joanna at the print bureau to seek advice on which sorts of paper suited a dark print as my images are mostly black. It was suggested that I pursue a more fine art quality paper which would help signify the idea of a portrait, people would relate to the physical quality of the print and subsequently try to relate to the content of the image. In addition to this it was also suggested that I could print on newspaper as the repetitive numbers in the images correlate with the repetitive letters in a body of newspaper text. Taking all this feedback on board I progressed on to researching and experimenting with the different methods of presentation.

I went to talk to Joanna and get some test strips done, I asked her which paper would work best for a black print and we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the different paper types. There was a semi-gloss which still had some shine to the paper yet wasn’t completely glossy, this would make the blacks more vibrant and give the picture some protection from damage. The semi-matte however was less shiny therefore you could see the print more, however there are more risks in terms of damaging the print and with a lot of black there could be a loss in contrast. I ordered a test print of my images on both types of paper she recommended to see what the results would be.

In addition to the test strips from the print bureau, I wanted to search around and see whether any other organisations would offer printing and on what sorts of paper. I was mindful that simply going for the print bureau without researching anywhere else would be very close-minded and potentially limit the capacity of my project if I found somewhere else that was more appropriate. I had been recently messaged by the printing company Spectrum about a photography competition they were setting up and that students get 10% discount off all of their products. I decided to get in touch with them to ask about their different papers and they offered me a free collection of paper samples. I took this offer and up had them delivered before I picked up the test prints from Joanna to see what options they had.  Spectrum sent me an envelope of small sized test prints, each with a sample portrait on them with the description of what paper type they were, ranging from ultra-glossy papers to extremely fibrous matt paper. I narrowed it down to three favourite paper types: Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl 310gsm, Innova FibaPrint Semi-Matte 300gsm and Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 284gsm. All these paper types were Giclee and not C-type, Spectrum had previously explained that a different colour profile was needed for the different categories of paper and to be mindful of this when choosing.

I really liked the Hahnemuhle because it had a good texture to it and was matt so the risk of being too shiny didn’t apply, however when comparing to the other test prints I did notice a slight loss in contrast. The Innova Semi-Matte was really nice, it didn’t lose as much contrast as the previous type and yet it wasn’t too glossy however I did notice that it was the first paper type to suffer some surface damage so I didn’t think it was a good choice to pick. Lastly the Ilford Galerie was perfect, with a pearl finish it meant that the print was still matt enough to see without it being too shiny but yet it had a good contrast to the image and a resistance to the print because of the coating. The fact that the paper was also the thickest t 310gsm would hopefully mean that it would be resistant enough to last for both exhibitions without suffering too much damage. The Ilford was definitely my favourite therefore I decided to order a test print in this type paper, I didn’t order a test strip because for the cost of delivery, I assessed that I might as well get a print, then if I decided it was good enough quality I could potentially use this initial print for submission.

As Spectrum was quite expensive I decided to seek a company that did pearl prints but for a slightly lower price to compare the finish and quality. Then if they were similar, I could order the prints from the slightly cheaper company and put more money into getting them on the wall. The company DS Colour Labs has been the choice for a number of my peers because of their good quality, affordable pricing and good customer service. I decided to look at what types of paper the company did to see whether they offered a pearl finish like the print I ordered from Spectrum. They offered a pearl c-type print which I knew would be slightly different to the Giclee paper Spectrum had offered me, however the price was very affordable. So I decided to get a test print of my image done using DS Colour Lab’s pearl finish paper to see if there would be a massive different between it and the print from Spectrum. As with Spectrum I decided to order a full sized print just in case the finish was so good that I could potentially use it for my Final Major Project. I could have ordered a sample print from DS Colour Labs with the ability to input my own image, however the aspect ratio was wrong for my print and I didn’t want to put in a white border around, I wanted to see how the image would be if I was to order it. It was for this reason that I chose to order a proper print so I could compare the two test prints more easily.

After I collected the test prints from the print bureau, and my test prints came through the post, I was able to look at the different papers and finishes to see which I preferred the most. The semi-matte paper from the print bureau was actually quite fibrous, with a bit of texture which was great to feel, however there was some slight discolouration. The blacks were less dark and the paper itself appeared to be cream rather than white, which meant that the white numbers also appeared to be cream as well. The loss of contrast made the image look a little bit flat, like the numbers had sunk into the background as opposed to popping out and capturing the eye’s attention.

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In contrast to this, the semi-gloss paper from the print bureau had a really good finish to it, similar to that of the Ilford Pearl paper from Spectrum which I liked so much. The black was really dark and solid on this paper, and instead of appearing to sink into the background, the numbers stood out and had a lot of presence. In addition to this, the whites actually looked white so the print was more accurate to what I had intended to print.

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The print from Spectrum in the Ilford Galerie Smooth Peark 310gsm proved to be as good as I had envisaged it to be. Although the pearl finish gave it some shine, it wasn’t too glossy to be able to view the image effectively, in addition to this the blacks were deep, the whites weren’t discoloured and the print looked to have a good contrast. Ordering an actual test print allowed me to see how the actual image would look if I went with this company for the final version and I was really impressed with the quality. The total time it took to print and deliver it to me was really good despite there being a higher charge than what the usual first class postage price would be.

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A little while after the Spectrum print had arrived, I received the DS Colour Labs print on pearl paper; as with Spectrum I was really impressed with the delivery time. It came to me within two days of me actually ordering it, this was mainly because I made sure to order it before 1pm which meant they started printing the order the same day. The finish of this pearl paper was quite different to the paper from Spectrum, the DS Colour Labs print was much more glossy, with quite a shine to it however it was still easy to see the detail of the image. The contrast and colours of this print was really good, with deep, dark blacks and a white that almost looked metallic in some lights, giving the prints a slightly futuristic effect.

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Although this print was different to what I was expecting, I really liked it because it provided me with an aesthetic I hadn’t previously thought about choosing. The increase in gloss meant that you, as a viewer, could see slight hint of your reflection when looking at the image, which would really help my suggestion that these images are portraits. Being able to see the shape of a person in what appears to be the background of the print would either help the viewer relate to the idea of the portrait but at the same time challenge them and make them see the contrast between the conventional portrait and the coded representation I am offering them.

After testing out printing companies, I then needed to consider how I wanted my pieces to be up on the wall in the exhibition. As I am getting prints, I had a few choices of how to put the pieces up including framing them, mounting them or choosing a more creative method like using a light-box or making a book. Straight away I could rule out the option of something like a light box, and the option of making a book. In the formative feedback review, the class responded to my work so well as prints on the wall that I felt I needed to pursue this option. A print on the wall is comparative to the environment in which we would see a conventional portrait print; as my prints are so minimalistic in content I assessed that I needed to try as much as I could to convey the notion of a portrait through the way the prints are exhibited. The next decision was whether to frame the print, or to mount it and what materials to use for either option.

 

FRAME

As my black prints are very modern and contemporary, I decided I needed a frame to suit it. I want to convey that these prints are a modern way of representation therefore it would be highly ineffective for me to frame them in an antique-style wooden frame. The frames need to be black so that they wouldn’t distract from the content, and in order to break away from the notion of antiquity altogether I decided they should be metal. This material would reflect the distorted, compassionless notion of portraiture I am offering to the viewer and link to the dystopian future I predict is awaiting us if we continue to classify people by their information. I researched different companies which would offer the frame type I wanted, and decided whether each company’s process was appropriate for me in terms of turnaround time, quality, price and whether they would frame the piece for me or whether they just supplied and delivered the frame for me to do myself. Although I have had some experience working with a framing company last summer, I wanted my pieces to be framed by a paid professional rather than attempting to do it myself for the sake of a cheaper cost. Quality is so important in my final major project, if the quality is not up to standard then the viewer isn’t going to take the work seriously.

At the end of the second formative feedback review, Caroline recommended I research an artist who used box frames for the installation of their work. These box frames suggested the idea of preservation, an act of anthropology that is normally seen in the study of smaller animals such as insects. The idea of putting my portraits in a box frame is really interesting and would quite effective at hinting to a future where technology will begin to research and catalogue the human individuals, in a process similar to that of the colonial photography in the past. I decided to research these options to see whether the price and the quality was going to be good enough for my project and whether I would have to frame the pieces myself or get it framed for me.

 

MOUNTING

In my second apt with Emma Critchley, we discussed using a frame for my project and whether this would be the most appropriate choice. She agreed that the presentation should try and reflect and suggest that of a conventional portrait if I wanted to refer to portraiture as my concept. If I wanted to go directly down the route of portraiture she suggested I change the aspect ratio of my images to a rectangle and make the print size slightly bigger. These choices would encourage the audience to relate to the image as a portrait. I explained to her the idea behind wanting to use a square print as it related to the social media profile I had taken the image from, and that I was considering captions alongside my images. We discussed the idea of using a frame and how this may constrict the meaning I am trying to convey, Critchley suggested that if my images were meant to depict a portraiture relying completely on information, then I too should rely completely on the information in my project. The presentation style needed to be completely cold and adding in a frame would take away from this notion. She advised me to get my prints mounted onto aluminium and have wooden baton fixings made, this would give the impression that the prints were just floating on the wall. This clean, expressionless style would accentuate the cold notion of representation I am offering to the audience, with the captions still providing the audience with the knowledge that these are meant to be considered as portraits.

This left me with the decision to make, whether to go with a frame and make the adjustments to my images that Emma had advised, or whether to pursue the new option of aluminium mounting. There were advantages and disadvantages to each option: with the framing, it would indicate in a more obvious way, that the images were portraits. Changing the aspect ratio would contribute to the idea that this is a different form of representation for portraiture, working to challenge the audience. However it would stray slightly from my original concept, if I wanted the to express the possible future of a world where the only form of representation is information; I needed to opt for the aluminium mounting. In addition to this, I made some important decisions to make the images square as it references the images found on social media which is where my found material is from. This also emphasises the fact that a social media profile, including the profile picture and information, is a form of representation in the digital world and online culture. In order to stay true to my project, I decided to choose the aluminium mounting as the clean, cold style would benefit my concept of a future world relying only on information. With my decision made I started research options in terms of getting my prints mounted on aluminium, as ultimately this would decided where I would actually get the prints done.

First of all I went in to see Joanna in the Print Bureau to ask what sort of options she had in the way of mounting prints and unfortunately she didn’t do mounting on aluminium which meant I had to rule her out of the mounting process, however there was still a possibility of getting the actual prints from the Print Bureau. My second option was Spectrum as I liked the print quality and I had seen mounting options on the website so it was highly likely that they would be able to do the aluminium mounting. Sure enough that was a service they offered and it would also include the wooden baton fixings, however the price was higher than I could afford, even with their student discounted pricing. I then contacted DS Colour Labs directly, on their website it said that they print directly onto aluminium so I wanted to ask them if they could mount prints onto aluminium. They emailed me back saying that was something they could do, however it couldn’t be from prints I had ordered somewhere else and they didn’t offer wooden baron fixings. But the price was in my budget and I could afford to find another company who would offer me custom made wooden baton fixings. For these reasons, I chose to use DS Colour Labs for the printing and mounting of my project. I had to resize and make the prints slightly smaller as the bespoke aluminium for my original size would take too long to be made and I would miss the deadline. However this was a very small size change that would barely be noticed. After ordering the prints and mounting, I got into contact with another company online which would offer me the wooden baton fixings. I discussed my project with them and what the size of my prints were and they advised me what size to order, I would then attach the fixings to the print and the wall myself as the assembly isn’t complex.

When I received my prints from DS Colour Labs I discovered a part of the aluminium mounting process they offer that I hadn’t accounted for, that they came with their own fixings on the back: a hook to be hung on a nail and two foam buffers on the bottom corners to make the print look as though it was floating on the wall. These were glued onto the back of my pieces so I had to make the decision whether to order them again, whether to try and get the fixings off and attach my own wooden batons, or whether to use the fixings given. I assessed that there was no time to get the project reprinted, and as it was my own error not knowing the fixings came with the prints, I would be paying double the amount of my project, money that my budget didn’t cover.  Using the fixings given would same me the fear and the risk of my own error if I attached the wooden batons, as there is a good chance I could attach them wrong or at a bad angle. In addition to this I would risk damaging my prints if I tried to remove the glued fixings from them, for this reason I decided to leave the fixings on that DS Colour Labs fitted them with as they still served the same purpose that I wanted the wooden batons to achieve. The more I thought about the fixings that DS Colour Labs had fitted with them, it became clear that the look of these fixings suited the project much better than the wooden material of the other fixings. The aluminium hook for the nail blended into the background of the print and the black foam buffers weren’t obvious when you looked at the print slightly to the side because they coordinated with the black in the images and helped give the body of work the futuristic look I had attempted to create. In my haste to try and fit to what Emma had suggested to me, I realised I had overlooked the crucial fact that these wooden baton fixings, if seen, would go against the aesthetic of my whole project.

 

TEXT

With my prints and fixings sorted I needed to turn my attention to the other elements I wanted in the exhibition space. It was identified in the formative feedback review that in order to make a point about the people in the images, I would need captions to tell the audience who the portraits are actually of. This was an aspect I was also questioning as it is impossible to actually tell who the images are representing as there is no recognisable indication of their likeness. Initially I decided on captions, these would detail the title of each image and give the audience a bit more information about what the image was representing, it could be that the captions I produced were the names of the candidates. However I needed to research more into the use and text in art to make sure that I was making the right decision for my project, which lead me to reading through the book ‘Art and Text’. It was through researching this aspect of including text in the piece of art that I was able to strengthen my original choice and find the reasoning why this was an appropriate choice for my concept. I started brainstorming what these captions could be and settled on three different options: full names, first names and the designated part colours. I printed out versions of my prints and stuck them to the wall in my room. I then printed off all three sets of captions and put them below each corresponding print, I asked my two housemates, one who did photography and knew about my project, the other who did English and had heard a little bit about what I was doing and asked their opinions. Previous to asking them I had made a provisional decision that I wanted to include the full names however I wanted other opinions to see whether they would differ from mine. I am very aware that my close proximity to my own project can leave me with a certain idea in relation to it’s outcome and that a different perspective is often very useful and sometimes very different. Both of my house mates decided that the first names are definitely the most effective, as it made you relate to the portraits because the names could represent someone real in their life, however when you know that the portraits are politicians it is still easy to identify who is who. The full names were too obvious and didn’t let the viewer interpret the images in any other way, in addition to this, the controversy that surrounds the election candidates could prevent the viewer even trying to relate to them in the first place. The party colours were too ambiguous, instead of representing a person they represented a whole set of people and beliefs, in addition to this some of the part colours are not as expected and therefore it would make it hard for the viewer to realise who the portrait actually is. Despite originally wanting the full names as my captions, I fully saw the reasoning behind having the first name captions and actually this would be the more appropriate and effective choice for my project. The first names would allow people to relate to the images, as it is so possible that the portraits could be of anyone, there is no recognisable likeness for a human to look at. However for a computer they could interpret this code and form the visual represent the binary code describes.

Once I decided the content, I needed to decide the style of the caption and how it would look as this was also a really important part of the process. If my captions didn’t reflect the tone of my concept, the effect would get lost through a mistranslation, so I experimented with different fonts, with reasonings behind each and decided which one would be the most effective.

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The first font was Cambria, the default font I have in Word, I made this the basis for comparison between the other fonts to see the main differences in the one I would usually use and the one I would want to use for my project. I could rule Cambria out pretty much straight away because there was nothing really stylised about it, it is just a font that is meant to be disregarded to concentrate on the content. I wanted a font that would help to make the statement about my work that I am trying to make in the content of the prints.

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The American Typewriter font was quite interesting, I chose this to be a referent to the older practice of catalogue in the case of colonial photography, linked to the process of making files with the portraits and keeping them tucked away as a record of the culture. This is the kind of stylised font I wanted with my project, however I feel this was too closely linked to the idea of a human sitting and typing these captions, although I do want to reference the colonial photography, I want to keep it true to my concept and create the idea that it is the computer making these observations from the information of the human race.

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Bangla was a more modern choice meant to create a sense of contemporary art however on reflection the font is too similar to Cambria in that it isn’t nearly stylised enough to actually make a statement about the work.

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I thought the Engravers font was really interesting and it encouraged a fleeting idea I had about getting the captions engraved into metal to sort of bring a modern, contemporary feel to the work. However on reflection the inclusion of metal into the fray would suggest that I am trying to link my piece to the concept of industrialism and the industrial revolution, this would be detrimental to my work as I am trying to hint at a future society, with conceptual referents to the past. Industrialism is not the concept I want to focus in on with my concept so this font is not appropriate for my project.

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The Orator font was really interesting, and straight away I felt taken to it, however I needed to pin down why I felt it would be so effective. The apparent loss of humanist characteristics in this font is really interesting, as with Engraver there is no trace of handwriting in this font, it really looks as though this was created digitally, to be viewed on the screen, with no intention to look like a human could have written it. This loss of personality is exactly what I want to achieve in my project, as I want to remove all traces of identity apart from the binary information I am offering to the audience, therefore this would be a suitable font for my concept. In addition to this, there is a subtle reference to the American Typewriter font in the aesthetic, the uniformed style with the thin lettering does look similar to that of a typewriter, making it stylised enough to pick up a reference, but not too strong as to make the viewer think that a human was behind the creation of these captions.

 

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Tekton pro was an experiment which I knew wouldn’t probably work having reflected on the other chosen fonts. I wanted to see what it would look like to have a font which resembled what could be perceived as human handwriting, just to see whether it would actually be appropriate for my concept. As expected however I didn’t think that this font would be appropriate at all, because it reintroduced an element of human identity back into the frame, which was an aspect I wanted to avoid at all costs because it detracts from the coldness of the prints in which only binary data is offered. It was a good choice to try this option out however as it did confirm what I already expected, but it allowed me to demonstrate and reflect on why this wasn’t a  good choice.

 

Orator it appeared was the perfect font for my project because of the aesthetic referencing the historic practice of using portraits as a process of cataloguing and the way it removes the trace of a human influence, creating the impression that this font was made entirely digitally, for the use of computer technology. However there was one aspect that bothered me about the appearance of the font and that was the difference in height between the capital letters and the lower case letters, although it would be grammatically correct to have the capitals in there, I wanted to see whether it would look better as lower case.

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This change was really effective for me, the captions appeared to read easier because there was no obstacle for the eye to tackle. Grammar is something that computers are taught in order to help the human being in applications like Word, which we use for our writing. In coding, there are a different set of rules that a computer must apply to, in which the human notion of grammar doesn’t apply, therefore by removing the upper case letters from the captions, not only am I improving the aesthetic, but I am also strengthening my concept.

As well as the captions, I believed my project needed either my artist statement, or a descriptive piece to signify what the project is about, give the audience a bit more information and actually inform them that the images are of the party leaders for the 2015 election. This statement would support the captions and allow the viewer to know who the portraits are of without the captions being too obvious. I wrote a statement for the exhibition catalogue and the source photographic review which detailed the concept behind the project and the statement it was trying to create. I put a lot of work into the statement to make sure that it supported the work but wasn’t too closed so the viewer couldn’t form their own interpretation. The first couple of drafts needed more work because it was either too gimicky or the terminology I used would give slightly the wrong impression. After a process of drafting and redrafting, my final statement read:

‘Figures of Authority’ is a photographic project exploring the role of communication and the representation of the individual in the digital age. Just as the digital image is defined by code, the online user is becoming increasingly condensed into information.

Activities such as politics have transitioned to online spaces where electoral candidates have begun to focus their campaigns. In this environment popularity is measured by how many times a statement is re-tweeted and debates can become highly toxic.

In an age where identity is formed using code, there appears to be a significant loss of humanity. If the potential Prime Ministers can defined by a set of figures, it would indicate society is conforming to a transition in identification, which resembles a bygone practice of cataloguing.

I then needed to decide whether to use this statement or whether to produce something new for the exhibition. I did think about writing another statement which explained the process behind the images and that the representation was in binary code, however I liked the fact that some people might not know what the code actually is, because that represents how unfamiliar we are with the process behind our technology however we continually use it. We couldn’t dream of writing the complex algorithms that are behind the Internet and social media however we trust them completely with our information. Even despite the revelations involving hackers and the knowledge that information on the Internet is rarely safe and ever truly removed, online users still partake in social media, causing their information to be scattered across the Internet. I decided that it would be appropriate to use the artist statement I had previously written, this would also mean that the description of my project is consistent through all the different environments in which it is displayed including web, print and in the exhibition space.

After deciding what the content of my text was going to be in the exhibition, I needed to decide what materials to use to print and put the text up on the wall. There are many different ways and materials which can be used to mount, just like a photographic print ranging from more temporary, light weight materials like card and foam to resistant, long term materials such as MDF and aluminium. The aesthetic and materials used for my captions needed to reflect my concept as much as possible in order to keep the overall effect strong. If I carelessly chose the simplest options for my captions, this might be detrimental to the impact I intend to make with the project and it takes away from the care I took in researching and producing the image content. I chose the company Spectrum, who I was impressed with previously but couldn’t order my actual prints from them because the aluminium would be too expensive. I chose to order on the Ilford Pearl paper, the one which I liked the best when testing my prints because it gave the black and white a good contrast and colour and demonstrated some resistance to wear and tear. These prints were to be backed on 3mm Foamex which is a popular material for mounting giving the appearance of floating on the wall however it is resistant enough to be able be durable for both exhibitions.

With the content and the materials decided, I made the order in Spectrum however a couple of days after I made the order, I had a tutorial with Caroline who suggested I change my captions to the full names and not include the artist statement. This decision was instigated by the last degree show meeting in which Anthony opted against artist statements as it would be a bit too obvious and not let the audience make their own interpretation. As the statements would be available in the catalogue it wasn’t completely necessary to have my statement alongside my work, for this reason I tried to ring the company and stop or change the order. However they had already printed and mounted the order so I had a choice to make, whether to continue with the original order and have the artist statement and first names, or whether to make and pay for another order with the full names. I decided to make the second order however keep the first set of captions with the view of using them for Free Range if my first set of captions got damaged in any way. I wanted to fix these captions on the wall using a detachable system such as velcro to make sure that these could be used again as much as needed or possible.

 

WALL PLAN

With all the materials ordered and coming before the deadline date, I needed to provide a concrete plan of what I wanted the piece to look like on the wall. I had already filled in a gallery requirement sheet at the previous formative feedback review and my request wasn’t rejected so I chose to follow the same plan that I had specified in the first instance. I wanted my seven prints (now 20cm x 20cm instead of 21cm x 21cm as previously suggested) on the wall at head height (approximately 160 centimetres) with an inch in between each print. Although I had already made known what I wanted the images to be displayed like, I created a plan to include with my submission to let the markers know how I wished them to be exhibited, this would also be my process if I was handing pieces to be exhibited in any other circumstances. This was also made clear later as one the required pieces alongside submission, to be used as a placeholder for when the curating team started making decisions about which gallery to put the work, and how to integrate it best with the other pieces. It was at this point I needed to decide the order of the different prints, I had the option of either randomising it, alphabetising it by surname or alphabetising it by forename. I didn’t want to randomise it, because a computer filing system wouldn’t catalogue files in a random order, so it would either be alphabetised by surname or forename. Originally I thought surname however I realised that this is a notion humans have introduced to order themselves, when creating the order of files in a folder, a computer would alphabetise it by the first letter of the first word, therefore I decided it would be appropriate for my concept to order the prints alphabetically by first name. When making the wall layout I made sure to include the title, my name and the materials used for the prints and captions, as this would give the curators a better idea of what the piece looks like both content-wise and in physical presence.

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Overall I am satisfied with the presentation methods I have chosen to use for the exhibition of my work; although there are always ways I could identify to make it better. The one real hindrance to my project was the budget, and although I did work and save money to go towards it, I still couldn’t afford the printing company I really wanted. I recognise that the creative process is all about overcoming the barriers in front of you, so I negotiated with this obstruction and tried to balance quality with affordability, trusting that my concept was strong to challenge the viewer past looking at the overall artefact itself. I feel I have really taken the care and attention to make sure the presentation method is appropriate for what I want to achieve right now with this project. There were other avenues of presentation that I reflected upon in my research that I was really close to choosing, however it was through reflecting that I was able to identify what was right for my concept. The process of deciding which presentation method to use has been as careful as the creative process behind the piece itself, which I hope will really benefit the project which it comes to exhibit it, as the methods I have chosen are the ones I have identified will be the most effective for the idea I am trying to convey.

 

 

Research – Presentation Strategies

Having not taken part in an exhibition before, I wasn’t very familiar with the different options I could take for my own project, therefore I needed to conduct research to widen my knowledge and figure out what would be the appropriate decision for my project. My tutors had recommended I seek the installation shots of the different projects or to visit them in person if possible, this would enable me to see how the prints were displayed and how they worked within the particular environments they were exhibited. I attempted to research a wide variety of different artists, what their work investigates and how they were/are displayed. This would give me my own ideas as well as seeing what sort of methodology is appropriate for the work that is of a similar nature to mine.

 

Kennard Phillipps is a collaborative movement making work since 2002 to respond to the invasion of Iraq; the work seeks to challenge the concept of power and war internationally. Their cause has brought various different people together offering a range of skills to create work for different environments including gallery spaces, printed matter and online spaces. The piece I am particularly interested is also based on a politician, in this case the subject is George Osbourne and his quote ‘Britain is turning a corner’. The piece uses newspapers with economic figures as the basis before using alternative methods to overlay another design and element of subject matter.

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The piece is printed on newspaper which is a really interesting choice to use when responding to political and controversial matter. There is always a subtle indication that anything printed on newspaper, is the news from professional news organisations, our traditional gatekeepers who are meant to have a responsibility towards the public and publish the truth. This notion has been combined with the practice of politics, where information is given to the public in a matter that is meant to sound as positive as possible, being manipulated as much as they can to make sure that no negatives can be taken. A speech or a promise from a politician is always taken with a pinch of salt as they can be no way of knowing what they are telling is true, or what they have chosen not to tell. The medium of print also means that people can really get in close and look at the numbers and figures behind the artwork, looking at the detail may broaden their interpretation of the project. The act of taking something in their hands and looking at each part of it is not available in the online spaces of the Internet, the only function that comes close to this is the ability to sometimes ‘zoom in’ however this does not always achieve the best results. This is something I really need to consider with my images, I had previously thought of displaying them on a screen as this would indicate I am investigating a digital concept, however this would make it hard for the viewer to see the detail in my images. In a printed version of my image you can really see the individual numbers more clearly and a static print on a wall would be much more effective for the viewer and radically improve their viewing experience. These prints could either be separate prints featured on the wall, or all of the images could form a printed book. This piece has also opened up another avenue for my project, using alternative materials to print on as I have identified the newspaper has brought another element to the project. I need to consider whether the materials I use for my project compliment or destruct the notion I am trying to express.

 

Christian Marclay is an artist who explores the relationship between fine art and sound, attempting to produce pieces which explores the dynamics of both mediums. From January to April in 2015 there was an exhibition showcasing a vast majority of the work from Marclay’s work which in turn, demonstrated the vastly different outcomes each project produces. I was particularly interested in the work exhibited in box frames, Marclay took sheet music from songs and put them in frames with warped bullseye glass. The songs themselves indicate onomatopoeia, or reference the art of painting which Marclay envisioned having a dripping, wet sound, therefore the frames reflect this notion by replicating a raindrop.

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These box frames are a really interesting idea and they really help to make the concept behind Marclay’s images clear. The space between the sheet music and the glass means that the audience can still see part of the music to recognise what it would be, without the warped glass becoming too much of a restriction. However the glass adds an extra element which works to convey the idea of water Marclay identified in the creative process. The actual box frame would indicate to me that these portraits are a study, in this case a study of sound. The brown frame, the white mount and the slightly aged tone to the paper of the sheet music all aesthetically reference zoology studies in which the scientist would preserve species such as insects. The idea of preservation and observation could be really effective for my project as it would indicate I am preserving a method of portraiture that might become common place. It could create the idea of the human race being preserved in a way that is convenient and legible for computer technology. In this case it would appear the box frames are a good idea, however when referring back to my reflection on the Kennard Phillips work, I remembered how important is was for the viewer to get close to a piece with detail, especially if the detail is the most important part, not the effect of the overall artefact. The distance between the glass of the box frame and the content would be detrimental to my project as it would obscure the view from the viewer and make their viewing experience limited as a result. The viewer needs to be able to get up close to my prints and examine the detail, a box frame would not allow this close interaction as the glass would act as a barrier.

 

Emma Critchley is a visiting professional to our course and previously gave a talk on her artwork before making herself available for tutorials on her work. She showed many installation shots of her work in the talk and this enabled me to really see how the work interacted and existed in the physical environment. She also explained that the creative process can either be impacted by the intended environment or the work itself can demand a specific type of space to be effective. Critchley’s work ‘Figures of Speech’ was an abstract investigation into the way communication is made and it is altered by a change of environment. Critchley photographed people speaking particular words underwater, capturing the release of air made with each element of speech.

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These images are displayed in a very clean, abstract style with no captioning or artist statement, the work stands alone within the exhibition alongside the other elements of the project. They are displayed in thin black frames, so as not to distract from the image content, working to merge into the black background of the image. The photograph evidences that the pieces also have a specific lighting set up, the spotlights proving the viewer with the ability to examine the images in more detail, however the glass could work to make the viewing experience less effective because of the glare. Without being at the exhibition myself I can’t criticise the choice of glass without seeing how the pieces react being in a spotlight. Lighting is definitely something I should consider when producing my pieces and picking the presentation method, as the background of my images is mainly black, having glass may make it harder for the viewer to see what is in the image. With Critchley’s images it doesn’t matter as much because the viewers don’t have to get very close to the pieces due to the size, however since my pieces are small the viewer would have to get closer, increasing the risk that they might not be able to see. However the use of the black frame is something I can definitely apply to my own project, if I was going to use a frame it would need to be dark to merge into the subject matter and not distract from the image content.

 

I was recommended to research the artists of the Carroll Fletcher gallery, as they experiment with concepts and issues centric to the digital revolution. The first I chose to research was Thomson and Craighead, who have produced many different pieces of work which have operated in both gallery spaces and online environments. They often adapt the pieces to suit the different environments which can help to extend the lifecycle of the project, their piece Beacon began as a gallery installation however now that the installation is over, a digital version is now featured on the Tate website.

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Online Version

 

Although the gallery version looks different from the online version it doesn’t necessarily mean that the project itself has changed or become less effective. It has simply had to adapt to suit different environments, the flip screen installation wouldn’t be able to operate online however it would have had a powerful physical resonance in the gallery space. The online web version wouldn’t have had such a great effect in the space of a gallery, but it does have the ability to withstand and exist continually whereas the gallery installation has a limited amount of time to make the statement. I need to consider the longevity of my own project and decide whether I need to make certain steps to adapt the project to exist out of the gallery space once the degree show and free range are both over. My project needs to be able to exist afterwards online to continue making the statement and also to improve my exposure as a photographer after the exhibitions have finished.

Another project from Thomson and Craighead is London W1W which was exhibited in the Museum of London in 2013, existing as a series of fly posters. The pieces consisted of a number of tweets, statuses and other social media activity over a specific portion of time which where then made into artwork and pasted on the wall in location.

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In contrast to the previous piece, this body of work is very perishable, only meant to exist for a short amount of time. These fly posters will only exist until new exhibitions are put over the top of it, they will either scraped off or painted over. This presentation method is extremely appropriate for the subject matter it is investigating, the limited life span of this project represents the fleeting nature of social media, each thread representing the raw thoughts of the user at a time. The idea of the piece having to be removed or painted over represents the individual trying to change their representation by removing the content they have chosen to share, however like with the physical piece of art work, there will always be a trace of that information left behind. Although this piece of work won’t last and be viewed continually like Beacon will be, this presentation method is extremely effective and works completely for the concept. This is definitely a different element I hadn’t considered before, when seeing how Beacon would continually be seen by audiences, something I believed I wanted for my project. However after being introduced to another form of presentation which is although limited in time, is proven to be more effective I have found I need to be open minded and respect what is right for my project, not just what would be good for exposure. Ultimately if the project isn’t effective, it won’t stay in the public eye for very long which would mean my profile as an artist and photographer would suffer as a result.

 

Constant Dullaart is another artist from the Carroll Fletcher gallery who works with highly digital concepts, the website of Dullaart is an artefact in itself with a self-scrolling device and a digitally  creative site heading and subject bar. Dullaart’s project’s work both in an online space and a gallery environment, similar to Thomson and Craighead’s Beacon, however there isn’t such a big alteration in the aesthetic and appearance. The piece of work ‘Jessica.ps’ was shown first as a gif which explored the transformation a photograph can make when it is highly edited; this is relevant because the original image was one of the first cases of Photoshopping to an extreme standard before. This is a reconstruction of the original however as there was an attempt to delete and destroy the image for good after the discovery.

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The piece was also adapted to also exist effectively in a gallery space, taking different stages of the editing process and displaying them as still images. Although the form of the project has changed, the original aesethetic is still very similar, allowing the viewer to relate to the project in pretty much the same way as they did before. The only difference is that they don’t see the project as a moving image feature, they view the stages in a slower time scale. I hadn’t previously considered trying to make my images into some other format to follow the exhibition however this is an aspect of my project I really need to make a decision about. whether my images only exist as images after the degree show and free range, or whether to change the nature of it to suit a different space. I probably won’t be able to exhibit again for a while and there is no great need to exhibit the project again following two major shows however I do want my project to exist online after the two different shows end. Therefore I need to think about how my project will currently operate in an online space and/or how to change it to make it more effective in a digital space. I could consider changing it into a gif, this would mean that all of my work is seen at once and none of the image are seen out of the context of the series. It also means that the viewer can make comparisons between the images throughout the course of the moving image piece, the fact that a gif is on loop will enable this comparison process to continue. However I wouldn’t be able to include the captions beside the actual images unless I used a different image file; one with the caption embedded or placed on a border around the content. Although gifs can be highly effective, this is clear from Dullaart’s work, I need to be able to justify that this option is appropriate for my project.

 

Reflection:

Overall the research I have done into presentation methods has been really useful, I have opened my mind up to new methods of presentation as well as ruling some of them out. I can appreciate how the different approaches are effective for each project however as the concepts are different to mine, I shouldn’t necessarily utilise them for my own work. I can however, keep them in mind when I next produce a body of work, as it may be that one of these methods I have researched would be perfect. The black frames from Emma Critchley’s work could be appropriate for my work however I am concerned about the glass and whether the glare would be too much. The fly poster approach is so effective for the concept Thomson and Craighead were investigating, but it isn’t effective for mine, I need to reflect that this project is a study of a moment in time, therefore it needs a sense of durability. One aspect both Thomson and Craighead and Dullaart brought my attention to, was the form my project should and would take after the exhibition time was over. I knew I wanted it to exist after the exhibition was over and that would most likely be in an online space, but I hadn’t put any thought into whether I should adapt the project and change it to suit a digital environment. However I now have some ideas to experiment with in relation to my exhibition and the life of my project afterwards which I will go on to pursue.

Internet Politics

For my Final Major Project, I chose to use the party leaders for the 2015 election as my subjects. The reasoning behind this was the fact it takes a key moment in time and represents it photographically, fixing my work to a specific time period. The party leaders themselves are a good example of mediation in communication and representation with each politician having a team dedicated to make sure they have the best possible impression on the public. My binary images offer a new way of seeing the party leaders and a new form of information from them, it is then up to the viewer to decide whether this is a true representation of that person, which becomes harder when the only other representation they know has been so carefully constructed. However the choice of choosing the party politicians as my subjects was also based on the increasing amount of political discussion and communication in online spaces; where the online disinhibition effect dictates, behaviour has the capacity to be extremely positive, or aggressive. Such a an unpredictable, volatile environment wouldn’t appear to be the place to discuss the future of the country and the election who decides who will run it, however the subject of politics has been increasing rapidly in online spaces and with it, certain characteristics of the modern day Internet culture.

The conservative leader and now politician David Cameron tweeted a picture of himself and Barack Obama when discussing the crisis in Ukraine in 2014 and was consequently criticised. The ‘selfie’ is perhaps the most widely known and practised phenomenon of the digital age with individuals like Kim Kardashian building and maintaining their popularity through selfies on social media such as Instagram. The selfie was perhaps first widely seen in politics with the Danish Prime Minister taking a picture of herself, David Cameron and Barack Obama at the funeral of Nelson. Although this was predominately criticised for being disrespectful to the late Nelson Mandela, further selfies like this from politicians could be seen as attempts to make the practice of politics less formal, perhaps more accessible to the younger generation. Following this event it was later discussed that Cameron had ‘bought’ himself more likes for his Facebook profile, a action usually carried out by people who have the sole fame of becoming famous on social media. The serious undertone to this humorous story poses the very real concept of bribing and buying votes, a practice which is considered to electoral fraud. Although the act of buying popularity is confined to social media, there is still a risk that individuals unfamiliar with politics will judge the validity of a party’s campaign entirely on their social media popularity.

In 2015 Conservative member Grant Schapps was accused of making changes to the Wikipedia page of himself and other Conservative Members, a claim which he denied. However it was revealed that he had in fact changed his Wikipedia page previously in 2012, attempting to remove facts and comments. It is highly likely that Wikipedia, a crowd sourced database of information, could have the capacity to get certain facts about famous individuals wrong, with some celebrities claiming that their birthday on the site is incorrect. However the ability for anyone to change the information, leaves Wikipedia vulnerable to both the process of mediation and the less subtle process of hacking. The hacking, although it can be reported and removed, can still create a false impression through the attention it inspires, leaving some people with the wrong information if they hear it out of context. The tampering allegedly carried out by Grant Schapps however would indicate that he was trying to tailor his own page and the page of his associates to create a good impression of the Conservative Party as a whole. Though whilst Wikipedia may not be the main source of information regarding politics, it is a site frequented by a large volume of Internet users, demonstrating that Grant Schapps and the Conservative Party are not adverse to the concept of mediation and manipulation to gain a positive public interest.

Aside from selfies, there has been the emergence of another popular Internet phenomenon: the meme. Political memes have been increasingly created to accompany the election and the various activities within it, such as the leaders debate. It isn’t just the public who have been engaging in this activity, the Liberal Democrats created a set of memes to try and gain awareness and popularity for their campaign by Photoshopping the party leaders to reference the popular T.V series ‘Game of Thrones’, casting their own leader Nick Clegg as one of the positively received characters, Jon Snow. David Cameron is cast as the boy King, born to inherit the throne, however there is a aspect of slander behind this casting as the character Joffery, whom David Cameron has been matched with, was a product of incest. These memes, widely criticised for the poor choice of photographs were part of a wave of new memes, one of which ridiculed the Nick Clegg for his subordinate position in the five year coalition, likening him to Sandy from Grease singing her number ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’. These pictures, whilst comical, make it evident that politics is rarely treated with respect on the Internet, with individuals voicing their opinions on each party at every opportunity.

Although freedom of speech is an aspect only brought about by this democratic rule, it appears to increasingly target individuals such as politicians in a manner of disrespect. The Internet may appear to be engaging more individuals, particularly in the younger generation, however the affect of the Internet on the psychology of representation and communication could lead to a distortion and corruption on the activities that take place from both politicians and the public. The mediation of communication and representation developing on the Internet could encourage a future age where the individual has to break away from the digital to try and interpret the physical again. For now however, whilst politics may be on the increase, it seems very fitting that that actual voting process itself remains a physical paper-based practice, apparently resistance to manipulation, mediation or hacking.

 

 

Research – Colonial Photography

In the creative process of my work I started thinking about portraiture as a medium and how my images fit into this genre. 2014 and 2015 has seen an increase in the arts covering social and cultural history and the practice of portraiture has been integrated in some important historical events, which have impacted the world and relate to the concept behind my project. The ITV drama Indian Summers investigated a the imperial rule of India and the issues surrounding colonialism and cultural domination. Photography and portraiture was employed by the Imperial Government to create surveys of the Indian culture to observe the environment and the native inhabitants. Using photography as a form of power was a significant part of the colonial rule and portraiture was used as a process of identification and observation. The power of the gaze is a concept widely discussed in photography, with Barthes originally describing the relationship between the photographer and subject as the operator and target. This exploitative, aggressive terminology relates to the objective style of portraiture embraced by the colonial rule. The photographer can have an incredibly powerful stance over the subject and this is generally reflected in the early cultural photography where it appears as though the photographer is very much the outsider. Aside from colonial photography this stance can also be loosely recognised in the work of Walker Evan and Robert Frank in their investigations of America. Abigail Solomon Godeau addressed this outsider stance and explained that this notion of portraiture is incredibly exploitative and often results in a misunderstanding of the subject because the photographer themselves don’t understand.

The purpose of the colonial portraiture was to collect and document evidence of physical attributes to learn more about the people of the Indian culture. The practice of photography to document biological attributes, known as eugenics, has been used in many different contexts, including the classification and identification of criminals, with some sociologists claiming to see repeating characteristics in the physical attributes of criminals. As sociology developed and the human race accepted that cultural differences are just variations in the lifestyles and environments of each part of the world, the practice of photographic cataloging reduced. It was only being used for governmental reasons deemed to be necessary in society such as photographing  individuals who have been arrested and the requirement of photographic identification in the form of a passport and driving license. However with the development of digital technology we are seeing a new form of observation and documentation, but this time it is all humans that are being investigated by computer technology. It has become common practice for technology to track and record an online user’s activity on the Internet with the view of creating a profile of information which is used to tailor their search results, target them for particular advertising and even look out for suspect terrorist activity by security organisations.

It has been said that the Internet is the largest free public archive in existence, with social media forming the vast majority of all the information. There have been many instances in which this information has been harvested and exploited by commercial companies in order to target certain individuals to try and sell their products. One key aspect of free social media that many users perhaps don’t realise is that they are the product, the terms of conditions of many social media platforms specify that the information the user shares on social media is technically their property, the only difference between whether the company can offer this information out to third parties, is if the user makes their profile private. Although many see the tailoring of searches, and advertising convenient, it means that humans themselves have encouraged technology to begin a continual documentary process where a representation of the individual is formed of their online information. This is comparative to that of the colonial photographers documenting the physical attributes of a foreign culture. Physical attributes and the information on social media represents the superficial, outward representation of an individual, the true representation comes from knowing and interacting with that individual; something that doesn’t happen in either practice. By encouraging and developing computer technology, we are actually introducing a new form of cultural cataloging, where no one is safe.

Photographer Jason Scott Tilley’s photographic project ‘People of India’ worked against the notion of colonial photography by looking at the people and characters in India and photographing them having known who they are as a person, rather than the process of objective cataloguing seen earlier in the history of India. In his project, he followed the footsteps of his father in attempting to document the Indian culture with an insider stance, producing a celebration of culture and representing the difficulties that certain individuals face. Tilley avoided producing what many characterise as ‘victim photography’ avoiding a dominate stance and not showing pity towards the subjects that he photographed. This was a compassionate statement about the colonial photography in history, aiming to introduce a new form of documentary photography where the subject was respected and empowered. Jason Scott Tilley’s negotiation of his concept was specific to his own personal values and his family history and therefore would have affected the outcome that he produced. In relation to my own project, although I am affected by the notion of harvesting information, it happens to a wide variety of people, and the effects of which are yet to be fully recognised. For this reason I can’t aim to produce a new form of this digital cataloguing, because society and technology isn’t at a point of progression and there is no closure on this very current issue. Therefore I decided that my project should make a very challenging statement, to question each individual’s place in the developing digital culture and question as to whether they are happy with the future of portraiture I am suggesting.

There are similarities between the practice of cataloguing I am investigating today and the colonial photography seen previously in history. There are also similarities in the stance of myself and other photographers that have investigated similar subject matter, in that it is a concept which affects us and we feel the need to make a statement about it. However there are some very big differences which makes the approach to our subject matter very different. I do not benefit from hindsight and historical closure as the concept I am investigating is very current, in addition to this the subjects I have chosen to use are not directly linked to me, meaning I do not have the benefit of an insider stance as I don’t know, nor have I met any of them. Although these appear to be restrictions, it means that I have chosen to take a very specific approach to my project, one that makes quite a controversial statement. Instead of providing an alternative to a past event, I am investigating and describing the possible effects of a very current event.

Research – Art and Text

When I identified that I wanted to use textual support in the form of captions and/or an artist statement, it was suggested I research further into the use of text in art as this could impact the method I would choose  to include text. I had to decide whether the captions would be considered as part of the image, or whether they would just be the titles of the images, in which case they could exist as captions. The book Art and Text constructed by Aimee Selby provides an insight into the way text is used in art through a series of essays, a background into text and many different examples of text as art.

 

Mel Bochner produced work called ‘Language Is Not Transparent’ in 1970 which was made using chalk paint on the wall. The concept behind the work was to investigate the spatial properties of text, how it’s presence can exist as signage and reality, the relationship between the suggested and the real is constantly fluctuating. The black paint dripping would suggest this piece is a act of graffiti and vandalism, however the white chalk written on the black paint references the way in which text is used in schools to teach. This piece demonstrates that text has many roles and uses in society, sometimes it’s physical presence is the statement, whereas in other cases it is the meaning from the language that is the statement. This is a really interesting introduction into the way text and language can be used in many different ways, and it is just as much about thinking of the way it physically interacts with the environment as well as the content.

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Catherine Street’s work ‘I see nothing in your plan but risks, terrible risks’ is a demonstration of how a title can be incorporated into the work in the form of a caption. The piece is collage and oil paint onto a magazine page, with the background depicting this magical, fantasy-like environment whilst the caption is layered on top, resembling a physical extract from a book. The likeness to a page of a book creates the tone that this work is fictional, story-like and poetic in nature, not mean to make a statement about reality but instead exploring the notion of imagination and hope. This is indicated by the impression the viewer has that they are looking up at the night’s sky, suggesting that the concept is dreams and the consequent inevitability of them ever coming true. I can take inspiration from this work in relation to my own project, considering how a caption can still look like an extract but yet still look really effective and stay true to the concept.

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Artist John Baldessari produced an interesting piece of work called ‘I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art’ in 1971 which was a commission from the Nova Scotia College of Art. The piece itself was meant to make a statement about modern art and discussions over the quality of the piece against the concept behind it. The idea that value is assigned by the craft behind the medium rather than if it makes an interesting statement or inspires discussions. The most interesting aspect of this commission piece for me is the use of the artist’s own handwriting in the work, an option which is open for me to use in my project. Handwriting is a form of identity, through signatures and letters we create our own identity through the way that we write. As my project is about identity it would be an interesting element to consider in relation to how my captions are produced. Previously I was of the opinion the captions would be typed and printed however I could potentially use handwriting to reference the images of colonial photography I have come across in research. The captions were handwritten alongside the printed photographs by either the photographer or the printer, to describe the subject content. I could replicate this approach and handwrite my own captions in my project. Upon reflection however this idea is flawed because I am trying to make a statement about identity becoming information and computer technology taking an observing role over humanity, therefore my using my own handwriting I would be reintroducing a human aspect of identity. If the computer collects the different forms of information, it would also be computer technology that titles the images for the benefit of being able to file it away, my original idea of having typed captions was tested however it remains to be the most appropriate choice for my project.

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I came across two pieces of work by Stefan Bruggeman named ‘Sometimes I Think Sometimes I Don’t’ and ‘I Can’t Explain And I Won’t Even Try’  both exhibited in 2001. The pieces are physical installations of text using vinyl lettering which is an adhesive, securing to the wall with minimal protrusion, giving the impression that the piece is simply part of the wall. This simplistic yet modern approach could be suitable for my project and would give it a contemporary feel which could compliment the content of my project. The drawbacks with this idea is the distinct difference between this flat installation and the way my prints are being exhibition, as they come away from the wall to give the impression they are floating on the wall. Having the captions flat on the wall as vinyl stickers could conflict with this notion, the fact that vinyl lettering in itself is a quite a modern statement could take away from the prints and encourage the viewer to look at the captions as a separate piece of work. In addition to this, the university would be featuring vinyl lettering on the wall with the Collective Vision logo and additional text to give details about the exhibition, if I also used vinyl lettering it would give the impression that this is a installation the university has made as opposed to being part of my concept. Although vinyl lettering is a really interesting and modern way of exhibiting text, it is not appropriate for my project because it would exist to make a statement apart from my prints.

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The next piece of work I came across was ‘Photograph of a book (Art Is To Enjoy)’ by Matthew Higgs which comes from a series of book covers framed and presented as an artefact. The reason I was so interested in this work wasn’t as such the use of the book cover, but the way the text was the important part of the image and the methodology behind the mounting and framing used by Higgs to make this artefact. The mount and thin frame is comparable to Jason Scott Tilley’s work in his project ‘People Of India’ where the careful construction of the artefact mirrored the careful and considerate approach to photographing the portraits that were exhibited. I had decided on aluminium prints as I assessed with the help of Emma Critchley that my prints would be better without a frame as it would encourage the viewer to rely entirely on the information. However there was another route I could take with these images and present them in a manner which heavily referenced that of a portrait, in this case I could potentially include the captions in the actual print, would then, when framed, make the captions part of the actual artefact. If I changed my process to reference that of Higgs and Tilley, I could really pursue the avenue of making my images look like portraits, which would encourage the viewer to engage with them as portraits and try to relate to them. This is an interesting approach I needed to consider against the notion of just presenting the audience with a simplistic, clean presentation method with the captions existing externally from the print. I was torn between these two options as both of which would be a really interesting way of exhibiting the prints, however I assessed that the unframed print would be more true to my concept, as although I am attempting to make a statement about identity, it is more about the individual being represented entirely through information than it is about referencing portraiture.

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Reflection:

This research was extremely eye-opening and made me realise how diverse text can be in the creative process, how the physical presence and materials are just as important as the content. However it may be that the physical presence of the work is the statement behind the project, or in some cases it is the content of the language which reflects the concept. I have seen many different uses of text which have challenged my current wishes for my project in a very positive way, in most cases I have assessed that these methods are not appropriate for my work however I have been able to really focus down and identify the reasoning behind these choices whereas previously I was relying on intuition. I was very close to changing the direction of my project altogether to use text and presentation methods to reference portraiture more however upon reflection I realised that my original methodology would be more true to the idea I wanted to convey at the moment. If I wanted to rework this concept and exhibit it in a different manner I would definitely pursue the portraiture avenue as I think this would be really interesting. Overall it has been really useful to my creative process to research this book, as well as an abundance of new ideas that I will no doubt be visiting in relation to future projects, it has strengthened the choices I made in my creative process by challenging their legitimacy in comparison to other methodology.