ITAP ‘The Genius Of Photography’ Part Two

What are Typologies?
Typologies in photography are studies or classification systems based on types. For example, one of the first photographers to create typology was Anna Atkins, who created a catalogue of algae. It also became well known to take photographs of criminals. A more modern use of this style of photography is Donovan Wylie who photographed British watch towers. Bernd & Hilla Becher are particularly well known for focusing on typologies, such as Water towers, blast furnaces and other industrial themes.


What was “The Face of the Times”?
 August Sander created the human typology with his series “The Face of Our Time”. He attempted to categorise portraits of people into different social types. For example, the young farmer, the farmers child and mother, the head farmer etc.


Which magazine did Rodchenko design?
Aleksander Rodchenko helped design and produce the magazine “USSR Construction” magazine. This recorded the new society after the war.


What is photo-montage?
Rodchenko was well known for his photo-montages. These are compositions of various images, or a technique where the artist removes and adds parts of the image.


Why did Eugene Atget use albumen prints in the 1920’s?
Eugene Atget was a photographer who people criticised for not using modern techniques. In the 1920s he was still using albumen prints, as he didn’t know how to use modern technology.


What is solarisation and how was it discovered?
Solarisation is an effect achieved by exposing a negative to white light whilst it’s developing. The tones in the print reverse and can create a robotic almost non-human effect. It was accidentally discovered by Man Ray’s assistant Lee Miller.


What was the relationship between Bernice Abbott and Eugene Atget?
Man Ray introduced Bernice Abbott to Adget’s work. He then photographed Adget in a way that showed him as an old fashioned man, coinciding with his techniques and the myth of him being poor and selling his photographs for nothing.


Why was Walker Evans fired from the FSA?
 Walker Evans was hired by the FSA to create propaganda images and portray the government and the recipients in a light way. However, Evan’s style and understanding of documentary photography was complicated. He moulded reality, and his images were not thought suitable for the purpose. The FSA fired him.

ITAP ‘The Genius Of Photography’ Part One

What is photography’s “true genius”?

Photography’s true genius is the amount of emotions it can portray and give. It can delight people, move people, outrage people or disappoint people. But its most successful job is that it can intrigue people, by showing the secret strangeness that lies beneath a world of appearances.

Name a proto-photographer:

Henri Fox Talbot was a proto-photographer, who started experimenting with the camera obscurer in 1834. Talbot couldn’t draw, and struggled to transform 3D situations/ places into a flat image.

In the 19th century, what term was associated with the daguerreotype?

The daguerreotype was one of the first commercial photographic processes created by Louis Daguer. They were one off images created on a mirrored metal plate. In the 19thcentury people associated them with the phrase “The mirror with a memory”. This technique rivalled Talbot’s negative to positive process.

What is the vernacular?

The vernacular in photography is a photography created for purposes outside of art. For example, every day family photographs, identity proof, class portraits and travel photos etc. however, people can sometimes consider it as accidental art.

How do you “Fix the Shadows”?
In the 1830s it was found that certain chemical were light sensitive e.g. silver salts, silver chloride and silver nitrate. To find a way of fixing the image, to stop it exposing was difficult.
Henry Fox Talbot’s use of fixing the shadows was through camera obscura, with a mouse-trap camera that held the negative and carrying the paper but to be only exposed for a certain amount of time.
Louis Daguerre had his own method, who started in 1824, he created the daguerreotype to stop the shadows, where he would fix his images on a mirrored metal plate.

What is the “carte de visite”?

Carte de visite, are small albumen prints mounted on pieces of card that were patented in Paris. They were popular in their time as they were small and could be exchanged between family and friends and sent through the post. They were also cheaper than the large format prints.

Who was Nadar and why was he so successful?
Nadar was a successful artist who became the celebrity photographer in his time. He photographed other artists, and set up a business taking portraits. His real name wasGaspard-Félix Tournachon, and he created the name Nadar as his “franchise”, in red lettering, it became his brand. This made him one of the most well-known commercial photographers. At the time he pioneered the use of artificial lighting.

What is pictorialism?
 Pictorialism is a genre of photography that was created by fine artists against the Vernacular photography that had become so popular at the time. The artists focused mainly on the styles of the photography and not the content, creating fictional worlds, with nudes in natural landscapes etc. These weren’t situations that really exist.
It was an aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries.
A pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus (some more so than others), is printed in one or more colors other than black and white (ranging from warm brown to deep blue) and may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer’s realm of imagination.

Integrating Theory And Practice

Lecture 9, 22nd November 2011

Image and Text

Unfortunately I could not attend this lecture, and the slideshow on Moodle has no notes whatsoever, images only.

I have decided to talk about Duane Michals, a photographer well known for photo-sequences, often incorporating text to examine emotion and philosophy.

“It is no accident that you are reading this. I am making black marks on white paper. These marks are my thoughts, and although I do not know who you are reading this now, in some way the lines of our lives have intersected… For the length of these few sentences, we meet here. It is no accident that you are reading this. This moment has been waiting for you, I have been waiting for you. Remember me.” – Duane Michals

Original in thought and in the execution of his images, Duane Michals has ignored boundaries and he has spent his lifetime re-examining and re-iventing the photograph.

Rather than describe the outward realities, Michals has turned the camera and his vision inwards, confronting and attempting to show the landscapes of his own emotions, fears, dreams and desires.

“I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing” – Duane Michals

Many of the photographer’s sequence images are based on real incidents that have passed through the subconcious and then have been processed through his imagination.
The things he writes about his photographs can be uncomfortable to confront, and it’s that uncomfortableness, the “tender spots in the human psyche” that he works hard to expose.

He says, “It’s about a kind of intimacy and privacy and whispers. What I want is that part of you that you’re embarrassed about. That part of you that you don’t want to tell anybody out loud.”

An important quote from Duane, one which I think every photographer should think about and remember, is this –

“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason why one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces, and more rooms and places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?”

‘The Illuminated Man”

 

 

 

 

Michals is fascinated by the notion of human spirituality and enlightenment.

The theme of the photograph ‘The Illuminated Man’ is that while we all possess the power of finding illumination, or an enhanced conciousness, most of us choose to ignore it.

 
Dr. Heisenberg’s Magic Mirror of Uncertainty, 1998

(6) 5 x 7 Silver Gelatin Photographs, Ed. 25

A Woman Dreaming in the City, 1968

8 x 10 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 
The Most Beautiful Part of a Man’s Body, 1986

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

 

The Most Beautiful Part of a Woman’s Body, 1986

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

 

 

 

All Things Mellow in the Mind, 1986

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Price of Pleasure, 2003-05

(8) 5 x 7 Silver Gelatin Photographs, Ed. 25

 

 

 

There Are Things Here Not Seen in This Photograph, 1977

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

Integrating Theory And Practice

Lecture 8, 15th November 2011

Production for Visual Communicators

From this lecture, I have decided to expand upon the 2
key principles:

1 – From Novice to Expert
2 – The Experts

From Novice to Expert

 

The Experts

Erik Spiekermann – “Each single solution has to function in every small detail.”

Paul Rand –  “Visual communication of any kind should be seen as the embodiment of form and function: the integration of the beautiful and the useful.”

Jonathan Barnbrook – “It is far more important to do the work that you are excited by, not work that you feel you should do.”

[to be continued]

Integrating Theory And Practice

Lecture 7, 8th November 2011

Development of Ideas and Structure in Moving Image

From this lecture, I have decided to expand upon the 2
key principles:

1 – Story Development – Three Act Structure
2 – Pre-Production – Character Design

 

Story Development – Three Act Structure

 

“Every story needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not neccessarily in that order” – Jean-Luc Godard

The Three-Act Structure is a model used in writing and evaluating modern storytelling which divides a screenplay into a three parts.

Beginning : Middle : End
Establish : Crisis : Resolve
Establish :

The first act is used to establish the main characters, their relationships and the normal world they live in. Earlier in the first act, a dynamic, on-screen incident occurs that confronts the main character (the protagonist), whose attempts to deal with this incident leads to a second and more dramatic situation, known as the first turning point, which (a) signals the end of the first act, (b) ensures life will never be the same again for the protagonist and (c) raises a dramatic question that will be answered in the climax of the film.
The dramatic question should be framed in terms of the protagonist’s call to action. Will X recover the diamond? Will Y get the girl? Will Z capture the killer?
This is known as the inciting incident, or catalyst.

Crisis :

The second act, also referred to as “rising action”, typically depicts the protagonist’s attempt to resolve the problem initiated by the first turning point, only to find themselves in ever worsening situations. Part of the reason the protagonist seems unable to resolve their problems is because they do not yet have the skills to deal with the forces of antagonism that confront them. They must not only learn new skills but arrive at a higher sense of awareness of who they are and what they are capable of, in order to deal with their predicament, which in turn changes who they are. This is referred to as character development.
This cannot be achieved alone and they are usually aided and abetted by mentors and co-protagonists.

 

Resolve :

Finally, the third act features the resolution of the story and its subplots. The climax, also known as the second turning point, is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered, leaving the protagonist and other characters with a new sense of who they really are.

 

 

Pre-Production – Character Design

There are four aspects of character :

Protagonist – The main character. The protagonist experiences the conflict in the story. the protagonist does not have to be “good”.

Antagonist – The cause of the conflict. The antagonist doesn’t have to be a person.

Dialogue – The words a character uses in conversation and how they are used gives the viewer / reader insight into the character.

Stereotype – A character that is over-simplified. Lacks originality or individuality.

 

Appearance : Action : Interaction

What does the character look like?
What do they do?
How does the character relate to other characters and to the events of the story?

[to be continued]

Integrating Theory And Practice

Lecture 6, 1st November 2011

Production and Outcomes
Influences and Reactions

From this lecture, I have decided to expand upon the 2
key principles:

1 – Interpretation
2 – Delivery

 

Interpretation

Historical context shapes production and understanding of pieces of work. Time and place has great effect on how the artists reflect their era and capture the spirit of that time or moment.

For example, Lewis Carroll wrote the novel ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ in 1865, about a girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy realm (Wonderland) inhabited by bizarre creatures.

Since then, different artists from diferent eras have illustrated their own take on Alice in Wonderland and although it is still obvious it is Alice in Wonderland, the interpretations are completely different and may convey different messages and meanings because of the era in which the work was done.

John Tenniel 1865 :


Jessie Wilcox 1923 :

Disney Animated Film 1951 :

 

 

 

Clip from the animated film 1951:

 

 

 


 

 

 

3D Movie directed by Tim Burton 2010 :

 

Delivery

Visual communicators choose from a myriad of different platforms and select appropriate formats, thereby creating a context for their work.
Platforms include some fo the following :

Editorial – magazines etc
Publishing – printed media
Online – websites, animation etc
Advertising & Branding
Textiles / Fashion – fabric, wallpapers etc
Installation & Interventions – retail, gallery
Environments & Architectural Projects

 

For example, Markus Hartel is a photographer specialising in candid street photography.
He has an online portfolio – www.markushartel.com
And he also has a photo blog – www.markushartel.com/blog

The website states three things about Markus :

“the streets belong to me. photographer. poet. lover.”

“as candid as photography can get”

“On any given day, you’ll find Markus Hartel cruising the subways of New York City with his Leica M9′s strap wrapped securely around his wrist, ready for action. If you walk by him, you probably won’t notice as he frames his camera from the hip, then clicks, and casually turns to pan one more.”

I think these statements are crucial in getting anyone who is reading them curious to see the photographs.

In my opinion, having an online portfolio like this is a powerful tool for getting your work seen and displaying it in such a way that the information is easy to take in and the photographs are very well shown.
Each category of images is neatly set out, and it allows you to display all of your work, whereas if you were to be featured in a magazine, book or art gallery, only a selection of your photographs would be seen.
Of course, you could publish a book of all of your works, but that would come at a price and it is not guaranteed that a large amount of people would come across it and pay to own it, but with the website and blog, the images are free to view, and the viewer has the option to buy a print or license and image if they so wish.
In this era of blogging where everybody seems to have a blog, there is a greater chance of someone ‘following’ your blog so that they can see everything you post for free, than them going out of their way to find a published book or art gallery and pay money for it.

Some photographs by Markus Hartel :

 

 

Integrating Theory And Practice

Lecture 5, 25th October 2011

The Importance Of Research

From this lecture, I have decided to expand upon the 2
key principles:

1 – Legibility
2 – Tone of Voice

 

Legibility

What makes visual communication legible?

Typeface, type size, colour and layout all affect legibility.
This comes in to play with signs, maps, printed works like newspapers, leaflets, magazines, online works, animated graphics etc.

[to be continued]