In reading the article about Richard Caldicott’s exhibition Photogram and paper negatives at Sous Le Etoiles Gallery in Soho, I was unfamiliar with the term photogram. After doing a little bit of research on how to create a photogram, I am even more intrigued by Caldicott’s images. Modern art is not my feel-good-go-to. Yet, when I have a bit more information on the artist and his or her process of creating, the idea of learning something new and fascinating draws me in.
Richard Caldicott is the artist who did still life photographs of Tupperware in the late 1990’s. The simplicity of his images is strikingly complex as you learn just how intricate the process.
“Caldicott composes his imagery in a painstaking
way, cutting and assembling paper in the physical realm before standing
back and assessing, then clicking the shutter. There are further stages: the
bringing together of two compositions in a single frame to create the densely
layered structures, and then ﬁnally the prooﬁng stage as a means of
enhancing and trimming, ﬁne-tuning the image before it is printed at scale.” (Jonathon Bell)
Knowing the process gives me greater understanding and appreciation for the artist and his work. Caldicott’s multi-stage process is as interesting as the art itself. His analog photography in combination with other processes reminds me of photographer Kelli Connell. She also shots analog photography and painstakingly cuts and creates a new image. Understanding the ingredients makes the final product that much sweeter.
An explanation of my images:
The image I chose is zoomed in to focus on the face of the subject. Looking at the facial expression, especially the eyes, give a deeper look into the life and his journey. Focusing on the lines in his neck and face, as well as the sparsely grey hair, reveal the evidence of a long and fulfilling life. I feel that the face and all of its intricate features, including age spots and wrinkles, give insight to the man and his life stories.
As for the formal treatment of my images, my first image I chose to keep it in color as it was shot. The original image is a bit dark so I lightened it up and gave it a warmer hue. This allowed for more detail of the face to be seen. Zooming in on the face is important to the personal aspect of the subject. It presents an intimate look at life as it is presently being lived. The second image I also zeroed in on the facial features of the subject. With this image, I chose to desaturate the image to try and give an emotional twist. I hope to portray the life story that the subject is no longer able to share. The color represents the verbal communication that is now missing. The eyes have been painted blue; the subjects true color of his eyes. I hope this represents the vibrant life that still remains inside that can be seen through the portal of his eyes.
I must admit, the title of this blog caught my eye before the photographs. Village People. Need I say more? Well, if you were not at a teen in the 1970’s and saw them perform live at a Disney sponsored event, I guess the title would mean something a bit different. This blog is about the costal village of Ainsdale, England. More specifically, the bus station in Ainsdale.
Photographer Craig Atkinson captures the architectural genre of the 1970’s, evident in the Preston Town Bus Station. He began photographing the people and then the building. The simplicity of the photograph and the “raw materials” featured, such as the wood, metal, and glass show an authentic identity, as opposed to a staged or altered image.
As I read the blog post, the term “Brutalism” was mentioned and I had to look up the meaning. Repeated modular elements; concrete is used for its raw and unpretentious ability; and brick, glass, and steel are also used. Even though the artist mentions the modernity of the images, his referral to Brutalism now makes sense. Just as he remembers and enjoys the architecture and function of the 1970’s, I, too, remember the functionality of my own home and the simplicity of the wood coffee table and end tables.
Rejected Public Art
An intriguing interview with Erik Schubert takes a look at his first published artist book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. The interview with Carl Gunhouse of Lavette.com takes a look at Schubert’s influences that played a part in the book. His parents did not create a conducive environment for photography but the books in a library did inspire him. He tells that his favorite book was a biography about Harry Houdini and that he remembers images in the book to this day.
The project was influenced by his life and all that it contained; “a mix of quietness and dry humor that comes from my family and the land.” The images struck me as practical still life of the 1980’s. A look into what is behind the scenes or between the lines. An interesting view that contrasts with the polished and presented. This could be compared to the grocery store check out stand that holds the glamour magazine juxtaposed with the gossip newspapers.
We live in a visual world. Images are used on a regular basis to communicate, a language all in its own. Chapter 5 of Liz Wells Photography: A Critical Introduction clearly addresses photography as a language that communicates helpful and hurtful information. Today, more than ever, information by way of photography is commoditized for both capitalistic and social promotion.
Just as verbal or textual communication has rapidly increased due to digital media, so has visual communication. Guy Debord said that as people become passive the media absorbs us into the world of illusions. Are we being overwhelmed by the abundant onslaught of images? Does the advertising medium of social media give us a false-positive reality?
As I glance at the magazine stand in the grocery aisle, I am intrigued at the manipulated and glossy images that appear in certain publications. Yet, two inches either right or left stands a magazine portraying images of “disgust and imperfection” that are supposed to cause a gasp in horror! It might be said that the producer of the image has no moral conscience. What about the viewer who takes the image as face value? Where does responsibility lie?
The library is a wonderful place to discover people and places. Photographs of Spitalfield, England were “rediscovered” at the Bishopsgate Institute’s library by The Gentle Author, a publication of Spitalfields Life Books. A photographer by the name of CA Mathew captured the images of Spitalfield in April 1912 as he wandered the streets. The pedestrian images give us insight into the people and community as well as an historical snapshot of the day.
If pictures are worth 1,000 words, then these photographs are a novel. The stories that are woven through each image have built a tapestry of tales that can only be seen as you survey the images. Although we do not know the purpose behind the images, the information they contain offer us a glimpse into the eye of the photographer and his life. As a casual photographer, my lens captures the ordinary and everyday life. What story will my images tell one hundred years from now? Will there be an historical significance that will enlighten the viewer? Does purpose or intent give greater meaning to the images or can we, as the viewer, infuse our own purpose behind the image?