Sunday, 26 September 2010

Part II rough notes

grumble, grumble.  This post feels like I'm writing up minutes which used to be one of my least favourite tasks. So I'll do it in note form which won't mean much to anyone else but will give me enough information if I need to come back to it.

National Portrait Gallery

Jason Bell - An Englishman in New York - good example of people within their landscape - not just studio portraits, short dof, relaxed poses. 
The Head of Isabella Blow by Tim Noble and Sue Webster was fantastic

Road to 2012
Bettina von Zwehl - observations on how she took photographs:
- addtional lighting for sure
- 10x8 film like Mann
- composition - hands almost touching bottom of frame
- slight sideways stance
- short dof
It differs from say Dijkstra's work as von Zwehl has clearly guided her subjects in terms of how to stand/pose.  Dijkstra's study of her beach portraits for example, her subjects chose how to stand and that became part of the interest of her study.

Brian Griffin I know little about - my initial impression was that the photographs were a little contrived - maybe that was his plan. The images where two individuals were interacting in 'staged' scenarios seemed a little uncomfortable for the subjects. Those subjects who posed on their own for me were stronger. Just my humble opinion.

Types of printing - at some point I will need to explore these further. Yet another black hole in my knowledge.
  • silver gelatin prints
  • wet-plate colliodian
  • dye transfer print
  • chromogenic print
  • colour photography on paper on perspex
Tate Modern

This was the most enjoyable and varied exhibition I visited with images that covered the entire history of the camera and voyeurism.   A few points of interest:
Philip Lorca - DiCorcia - Law Case in 2006 - infringement of privacy - he got away with it
First street photographs were in the 1870s - Paul Martin and Horrace Engle.  Then came Walker Evans, Garry Winogrand.  Later was Herin and Ben Shahn, Henry Calaan
Erich Saloman had first candid camera

As I walked around the exhibition I wrote down the names of more and more artists after which it dawned on me how few were female.  Before this was raised on the flickr forum, it hadn't really crossed my mind - now the absence of female photo-journalists is evident. Those of note from the exhibition are Susan Meiselas.

Interesting approach of Shizuka Yokomizo - stand at a window.  She wrote letters to everyone and asked them to stand at the window so she could photograph them.  If they didn't want to they could close the curtains.

Another interesting window project is that of Merry Alpern.  Was an assignment to provide evidence of illegal activity. The 'joint' was shut down and so cut short. Very pleasing, symmetrically. Liked also how these were presented and worked well in a series of 4x4 images.

I can't recall which hall this was in, but it was the one with the Typologies in.  This I learned from reading the description is what I tend to do without realising its definition. Typologies means to photograph something and photograph many different examples of the same thing.

August Sander was the first.  He influenced contemporary photographers Thomas Ruff, Rineke Dijkstra, Paul Graham.  Like their work but worried it might have been done to death.

National Portrait Gallery

Sally Mann exhibition
Mann has worked extensively with her three children as subjects, as well as landscape around her home in Virginia, USA.  She makes silver gelatin print in large sizes.  They are beautiful.  She uses antique cameras, wet plate colliodian process. Photo negatives using glass plate coated with collodian that forms an emulsion plate which is then sensitised in a silver nitrate solution and exposed to light.  While still wet, giving the photographer about 5 mins to make the exposure.

General notes
  • presentation is absolutely key
  • many are presented exactly the same, black frame, with or without the white freeze
  • older photos are almost all silver-gelatin
  • want to pursue environmental portraits
  • need to consider why images are a certain size of image
  • decision with regards depth of field long or short
  • countryside is my environment - fact - there are less people and less opps.  I could glean more photo opps in one day in london than a week here. Need to be realistic.
  • interaction of man and the countryside
  • how do you learn from say Mann, Dijkstra, Von Zwehl without your own photos looking like theirs
  • more men are involved in photojournalism. Women seem more involved doing longer studies.  That is what I want to do more of - less candid, more posed.  Many women such as Sherman, Arbus, Dijkstra, von Zwehl, Taylor Wood have gone down the posed route.  Goldin an exception.
  • Where are the gaps?

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