Assignment Five: Self-directed project

Introduction

For this Assignment we have to produce a body of work that explores a particular place, type of space or theme relating to landscape practice. I have already discussed and agreed the self directed project with my tutor as described in the relevant post in my blog. You can find that at the following link

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/exercise-4-6-proposal-for-the-self-directed-project/

As it is mentioned there “The main idea is to create few small abstract paintings on different materials with oil pastel and/ or acrylics. Then photograph them outdoors, and try to create landscape photos in similar style of the photos created in previous assignments, with the personal voice that start evolving in the images of objects for As. 6”

The project proposal did not change since from the initial one.

I have also produced as required an artist statement for the submitted work, which you can find in the following link but I also attach it below (there is more discussion though for the artist statement in the relevant post in my blog)

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/exercise-5-7-prepare-your-artists-statement/

Artist Statement

In my previous personal projects, I was enjoying photographing rubbish and objects left behind by the users/ owner in places sometimes we did not expect them to be. In these cases, I had one rule for myself  “Do not touch or interfere with this object and just move myself and the camera around in order to capture the image in way that satisfies me”. This practise slowly helped me to develop a personal photographic voice.

Then at some point, I felt the need to use this photographic voice in exactly the opposite way, with interfering/ placing and touching some objects in locations of my choice. The second question though, is what objects should be placed/ used.

Moreover, there was a need to be creative, and to create. I am aware that I am not a good in painting, but I am also aware that I enjoy abstract paintings. I have not practised it a lot (mainly as part of a volunteering job in an art group) but I knew that it worth exploring it further. In addition, I was always remembering that when I was in school, I was really enjoying working with oil pastels.

In this project, I created some oil pastel abstract paintings in small white cardboard, then place them and photograph them outdoors. All the pieces of cardboard are not exactly the same size or perfectly rounded as I cut a larger piece of cardboard in smaller pieces.

Research

As a part of the Assignment is required to research relevant photographers etc. I have also researcher the artists my tutor suggested in the report for As. 4

In the first part I looked about abstract paintings and the use of oil pastels

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/researching-for-as-5-abstract-paintings-oil-pastel/

In the second part I looked at the work of other photographers/ artists (including my tutor’s suggestions)

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/researching-for-as-5-looking-at-the-work-of-other-photographers/

In addition, I visited again the most recent exhibition in the photography museum of my hometown

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/visit-to-thessaloniki-museum-of-photography-13-4-2017/

Photos

In a first step, I created the oil pastel paintings in small white cardboard pieces. Then I had to decide about the location. My very initial plan when I was writing the proposal was to take them in the seaside in a location similar to the one I took the photos with the mirrors. However, I was not in Chalkidiki at the time but in Thessaloniki, Greece.

I walked in areas close to my hometown and I noticed that an interesting area was just 5-10 minutes’ walk from my home. Of course I was aware of this location (the school I was going from 12-18 years was just opposite that), but when I tried to used it for some portraits in the past it was not as great as I was hopping. However, I thought that this was a nice location for the oil pastel paintings project. Also, it had some more variety compared to a seaside location and interesting landscape. This fact is important, as the course I am working at the moment is in Landscape.

The area is called Eptapyrgio Fortress; it includes some part of the old city walls and some buildings in middle which used to be prisons until 1989. To give you a feeling of the area I used the google maps. I attach a 3d map and I tried to include inside the circles the areas I took the photo. Also, I include some print screens from the area in google maps. One thing, I noticed is how the different points of view (mine and the most common/ tourist/ google maps) can give a different feeling of the area.

I produced 18 photos; I choose to submit for this assignment 12. You can see these below.

 

Also below are the 6 rejected ones. It is not that they were really bad. I just wanted to reduce them to 12. I will also try to put a sentence or two to explain why I reject them.

 

Reasons for rejection:

Rejected 1, Rejected 2, Rejected 4: No special reason, just found the selected one more interesting

Rejected 3: was not that happy with the composition. I just want also to say that for this one I really like the location, but it was hard to take a photo as the wind was keep dropping the painting. I tried really hard but it was possibly the only place I had such a big problem during the shooting day. This one was the best one I got in this place

Rejected 5: same location with selected 11 and I like the Photo 11 more.

Rejected 6: For some reason when I was looking to this photo I was not that happy with the composition

Submission Method

At this part of the course we explored different methods to submit our work (photobook, prints, slideshow etc). My favourite one is a photobook. I think I plan to submit my work for assessment as a photobook, which will have different chapters for different assignments (excluding the essay). I do not want to submit different photobooks for different assignments for two reasons. The first one is the cost. The second and most important is that each submission will have fewer pages than the minimum number of pages in Blurb and I do not really like this idea, as I have to add white pages to match the minimum number (see exercise 5.3). Also as in the previous assignments I am submitting my work online (it will cost more as I am not in UK and might take longer time to sent and return them, plus I do not know how my job hunting will go and hence where I will live).

Evaluation of my work

Strengths

I am really happy with the final images I produced for As. 5. I like that in some of the photos I used the elements of design (like lines etc), and I tried when and where possible to somehow connect the content of the painting with the landscape I placed them. I also liked that there are more elements of creativity and “actions” from my side as opposed to previous projects. What I mean with that is I paint the small paintings and I placed them in selected locations, whereas as described in the artist’s statement, I was just moving myself and trying not to touch my photographic object which was there before me and also there after I photographer it. In addition, I think that it is import that a concept I had in my mind for years materialised. Although, this is not a strength directly connected to this body of work, it is however important for the creative process as the try and error is the best approach to be creative (as opposed to have many ideas but never make any of them).

“Not- Strengths”

Consciously, I choose not to use the word weakness in this evaluation. I consider this project as a starting point for possible personal projects and a strong possibility for a starting point for my work for the next Level 3 courses (subjecting to discussions with my new tutors). In a creative process you know that you will improve in the next trial and you should improve (I do not know if “have to” is too strong in this case, as also ideally creative process should not include obligations). For this reason, I can write some thoughts/ suggestion which I can consider for the possible projects for the next course:

  • Use again acrylics paintings on parallel as they give some nice texture (you can see the old photos in the post in the project proposal, painted toilet paper cardboards)
  • Consider other locations. Seaside looked interesting, but sometime does not have the variety I found in my chosen location. I think the future projects depend on where life will take me. For example, many days and in many locations in UK, landscapes feel grey or colourless so adding a colour painting might stand out more than in Greece
  • Considering new ideas might be interesting to paint objects like bottles, food packaging or objects found on the road. Possibly, the last ones, collect them paint them and return to the place I found them.
  • Another possibility, is to find a location I like take a photo of it. Then return home and try to prepare an abstract painting reflection on this location.
  • Another one is try to be more conceptual, and try to reflect my emotions both in the paintings and/ or the locations.

 

 Reflection

At this point we have to reflect on how we are doing against the assessment criteria (I plan to submit my work for assessment)

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I think there is an improvement in my technical skills. Not so much photographically, but on using other tools like the mirrors and on using mixed media (painting and photography). Also, as mentioned above, I was possibly more aware of the elements of design in some of the photos when I was placing the paintings in the landscapes.

In addition, I think there is a difference on how we expect to look something in our mind and how it actually looks when photographed. So, I can say that there is a possible slightly improvement in my visual awareness and skills. This is due to the fact that I was having the painting in my hand before visit the location and hence I had some expectations, as opposed to finding a not expected object on the road etc.

Quality of outcome

I think I am improving on how I presenting my work in my blog thanks to my tutor’s comments. I also started including texts in quotations and photos from other sites, to reduce the need of the reader to keep moving between sites (I still try though to mention the source as a link in most of the cases). Also, try communicate my ideas in a not so confusing way (I hope !)

Demonstration of creativity

I think and hope that it is obvious that I improved on that (again mirrors, mixed media, etc).

Context

I did some more extended theoretical work for As. 4. I am trying to visit galleries and also look to the work of other photographers. I also think that I am better on these as opposed to previous courses which is important. In addition, I think I improved on that during the course, and that this course required a lot of essay analysis is possibly a good preparation for the final year courses.

Assignment 3

The second part for the reflection of tutor’s comments for As. 3, as described in previous submissions, and includes a discussion on photographic index is

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/resubmission-of-assignment-3-part-2-includes-a-discussion-on-photographic-index/

Assignment 4

I plan to re-submit with the tutor’s comments As. 4 (essay) the soonest possible and hopefully before submitting As. 6

Transitions- Assignment 6

Since my last Assignment I post two posts related to As. 6

In the first one, I explore and experiment more with the use of mirrors as suggested by my tutor. I am really happy with the final result. You can see the series of photos at

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/transitions-12-mirror-landscapes/

In a second post, I just reduced the photos I took for As. 6 to 40. These are in my opinion the best and also my favourite. If my tutor agrees, I plan to select 10-12 of these photos and submit them as a final selection for As. 6

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/transitions-14/

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