Category Archives: Research and Reflection

Visit to Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (13-4-2017)

Few weeks ago, I visited the current exhibition of the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. Once more, it was really interesting. However, once more I left with a feeling of sadness.

The exhibition is called “Portrayals of History”. There are photos by  Voula Papaioannou – Dimitris Harissiadis and they were taken between 1940-1960. The photographers “systematically recorded Greece at a time of political transition, economic uncertainty and social hardship” and depict “World War II and the country’s post-war reconstruction”

You can see more details at

http://www.thmphoto.gr/?p=6606&lang=EN

In most of the images it is obvious more or less what it is depicted. The only one I want to describe is the one with the box and the person with the white lab coat. In the box is written in Greek that people can leave their babies there if they are not able to grow them up; so sad was the situation.

There were some smaller rooms in the exhibition where there was a notice that children should enter with the permission of their parents or something similar.

I took a couple of photos (see below). I think one comment I want to make is how universal and out of time is the image of starving children. We cannot tell in which place or what period, or in which war or natural disaster these images have been taken. And despite this fact and how sad these views are, the humanity will “produce” them again and again.

Another thing I noticed is the similarities between the photos of the ruined building almost 50 years ago and the contemporary photos of what is happening at the moment in Syria. The same is happening with images of people waiting to get some food, and images of contemporary refugee’s camps. Again, it is sad to see nothing has changes for the humanity after almost 50 years, same stories, same situations, just different locations and different era/ period.

Then after the World Wars and the Greek Civil War there were some signs of return to normal life and developments. Some positive photos. However, these still give me a feeling of sadness. That is because my country is again in a bad situation, at this time a financial crisis and nobody has an idea of when we will see again signs of development and better quality of people’s life.

Resubmission of Assignment 3- Part 2 (includes a discussion on “photographic index”)

This is the second part where I reflect after tutor’s report for As. 3.

One of the tutor’s suggestions in the report for As. 3 was to engage with the ‘photographic index’ and to read Stephen Bull’s book Photography for a quick and foundational entry into the indexical nature of photography (p.13-16).

I read that and I understood the suggestion of my tutor. Follow some discussion/ thoughts on that (again, in normal text is key points or summary from the book, italics are my thoughts):

  • There is a discussion about how a photograph is a result of photons etc and the physics behind the process of the image creation. The photograph is a confirmation that the photographed object exists or did exist. I had two thoughts while reading this. The first one is, as a physicist, I confirm and understand that there is some science behind the image/ photo creation. That was even stronger with the chemical nature of the black and white or film/ plates photography. However, when I actually take a photo I never think as a physicist and I do not think that physics can help you take better photos. This is just a personal opinion, as I heard similar discussions in the past, how optics can help etc. The second thought, is given how powerful is photoshop and similar software I do not know if it still accurate to trust as real and existing whatever a photo depict. Of course someone can argue that we can trust the image if it is straight out of the camera or someone can say that what we see existed but maybe has been slightly altered.
  • There is a discussion about signs in the book. I think in my series the sign has two different meanings. The first one is the sigh itself, as an arrow which is showing direction and can mean anything, and can be used also in roads etc. The second is that for the pilgrims it is a confirmation that they are in the correct path, and also the signs represent the path itself.
  • Finally, due to the indexical nature of photography, also this series “speaks” and tell us that it is a part of the “camino”. Maybe it does not speak to everybody, but definitely speak to those who have walked it, or to those that have read about it.

In addition, I did the following updates in the blog posts further to my tutor’s comments

  • The following changes the below link

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/assignment-three-spaces-to-places/

  • “History turns space into place” corrected after tutor’s comment
  • pages added in references as suggested by tutor

 

As suggested by my tutor I expanded a little on my selection project and explain the rejected images (link to the post below)

https://argyriosphotography5.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/preparation-for-as-3-first-selects/

Exercise 5.7: Prepare your artist’s statement

For this exercise we have to look online and read other Artist’s statements and also write a statement for our work for As. 5.

There is a link in the course notes to help us about writing the statement. However, as it does not work I tried to find some others.

A good one I think is the following:

https://www.gyst-ink.com/artist-statement-guidelines/

It is a longer text but I think the useful part is:

What Is an Artist’s Statement?

  1. A general introduction to your work, a body of work, or a specific project.
  2. It should open with the work’s basic ideas in an overview of two or three sentences or a short paragraph.
  3. The second paragraph should go into detail about how these issues or ideas are presented in the work.
  4. If writing a full-page statement, you can include some of the following points:
    • Why you have created the work and its history.
    • Your overall vision.
    • What you expect from your audience and how they will react.
    • How your current work relates to your previous work.
    • Where your work fits in with current contemporary art.
    • How your work fits in with the history of art practice.
    • How your work fits into a group exhibition, or a series of projects you have done.
    • Sources and inspiration for your images.
    • Artists you have been influenced by or how your work relates to other artists’ work. Other influences.
    • How this work fits into a series or longer body of work.
    • How a certain technique is important to the work.
    • Your philosophy of art making or of the work’s origin.
  5. The final paragraph should recapitulate the most important points in the statement.”

Maybe is for a longer than the one I need but I think it can be inspiring and helpful.

Another one is

http://www.artbusiness.com/artstate.html

A couple of interesting points from this one:

  • write the statement in a language that anyone can understand
  • write why you make art, what it means to you
  • “Avoid instructing people on how to see, feel, behave, respond, or otherwise relate to your art”

And finally, https://www.lightspacetime.art/how-to-write-the-perfect-artist-statement/

However, in the third one it says to avoid use “I” which is the opposite of what it says in the second. Both though, says to keep it simple and explain the why.

I think for me I prefer to use “I” than refer to myself as the artist etc.

Furthermore, I looked online and read other artist/ photographers statements, few points I like:

  • Speaking on a personal note
  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it short

 

Follows the Artist statement I wrote for my work for As. 5

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.

Exercise 5.6: Context and meaning

In one part of this project we have to read John A Walker’s essay ‘Context as a Determinant of Photographic Meaning’, summarize the key points and note down our personal reflections (as before in italics).

  • The context and the meaning of a photograph changes depending on where it is presented or “located”. Different parts or characteristics of an image appear important in different display contexts.
  • The meaning on the image also changes when some text or caption is added, or becomes a part of a series of photos or it is juxtaposed with other image or images. I mentioned many times in my blogs for the OCA courses, how an image appears “stronger” when it becomes part of a series of images. I also mentioned in the past, how the interpretation of an image change when more information is provided in the caption. However, especially in the fine art images, maybe it is better not to have captions in order to allows us freely to reflect on the subject of the image. In the photojournalism photos however, it is better to have more details about what we are seeing.
  • In the past, paintings and sculptures were produced for specific locations and the original was only one. In photography, the same image can be produced in thousand copies and placed in different locations and contexts. An example of this is the photos I have seen of refugees in the recent exhibition in Thessaloniki Photography Museum, where the images originally appeared in newspapers and magazines and in the museum there was a collective exhibition related to this issue. In this case most of the photographers were photojournalist (even amateurs) and not artists which are more frequently represented in galleries and museums.
  • During the “life” of an image its meaning can change from the initial (the moment was taken) to the meaning it has when it is used in different contexts. An example of this can be the use of an image in a cover of a book. The photographer could have taken it as a personal project and then the author/ publisher liked it and decided to use it in the book, because they though that it matched the story of the book, of which the photographer was not aware the moment he captured the image.
  • The context/meaning of the image also depends on the person who looks at the images. The same image can have different meaning for different people depending on their character/ age/ experience/ political views etc.

In the other part of the exercise we have to write down some thoughts about possibilities of any kind of installation or exhibitions for our work for assignment 5. I have two thoughts.

  • The first one is large (1-2 meters in the longest side) poster size prints of the photos in waterproof material and possibly resistant to long exposure on sun at least for few day and installed in metallic frames in the locations close to where the images have been taken. In addition, some lighting for the night (in the top of bottom). However, I do not know if that is possible due to limitation of the local archaeological authorities.
  • The second idea is A3 prints in simple frames in an exhibition in a building which is used as a gallery but it used to have a different usage in the past.

Whereas in the first thought, it might be obvious the reasons, the second is mainly because I like more the idea of these spaces than the traditional “white cube” as a gallery space.

Transitions-13- Mirror Landscapes

My tutor in the report for As. 4 suggested that I should explore more the mirrors approach in the work for As. 6. I had to buy a new mirror as the one I had in the photos I took in Pamplona is somewhere in the Spanish Rubbish 😛 (among other things I could not take with me back to Greece). Also, the new mirror I bought, is around twice the size of the size of the previous one (I noticed while working with the smaller one that it might help if the mirror is slightly bigger).

My tutor suggested and I agree that the photos where the mirror is not so obvious is the ones which work better. Finally, we discussed with my tutor that as I am not in Pamplona any more is not possible to take the photos in the same location as the one I took all the previous photos for As. 6. This is not great but we cannot do something for that and it is better to explore this project than not doing it due to relocation.

The new area I took the photos is the seaside in Poseidi, Chalkidiki, Greece.

It was not so easy to start and find a point of view. But I think I really like the final result. I try to create as series of similar style photos.

The photos are bellow.

 

Exercise 5.4: Online exhibitions

For this exercise we have to read a post in the weareoca website and add a comment there. As a person I am not a great fun of taking part in forums etc at this stage so I will prefer to comment here. Also, somehow I feel more “free” to express my thoughts in my blog as it is my own space.

I think before watch the video/ slideshow, I want to write some thoughts. I think the main difference between visiting a Gallery and viewing online is that the visit is an Experience. This is connecting to the analysis and discussion we did for the White Cube. The experience and the feeling we have when visit an exhibition is not just viewing but full body and soul experience. I agree with the author of the article that the curator of the exhibition can really influence the way we see the presented work. Even the choices of colours, sizes, print quality can affect the final piece of art.

On the other hand, we cannot visit any exhibition in the world, so the online viewing make it accessible to most people. Hence, it is better to view it online, than not view it at all.

Also, I agree that when we visit an exhibition we can choose to spent more time in images we like and “ignore” those we do not. But can’t we do the same in online slideshow? Maybe it is not so easy when there is some discussion or interview in the sound, but if there is only music, maybe we can skip some parts, but it might be a little more “stressful” than in real world as we want to be sure not to miss a photograph. I just want to mention that maybe the allocated time for image should not be either too short and not too long. Somebody should not get bored looking to the photograph, but also the transitions should not be very fast, so we can digest all the information of the frame. I know that this is not an accurate comment, but I also think that different photographs need different time to be digested.

Viewing to the slideshow:

– Good quality work

– Although, I do not know if I will choose to add music/ sounds in possible slideshows I will prepare for my personal work, somehow this one feels really quiet

– Nice selection of interesting photos

– Quality-wise possibly new software can save the final slideshow in better quality (text not so sharp)

– Nice positioning of text. Good use of fonts etc

– I felt like the time in each photo could have been slightly shorter

– Also, I felt like 18 min is too long for one slideshow to watch

– Although different subjects in the different photos, there is a good blending/ matching. Photos do not stand out strongly

Finally, I think indeed we have both in real world and on line curators, galleries and exhibitions. In both of them, we can have good and bad ones. If it is a good curator, they do not change their taste and selection process, the only thing is changing is the available tools for presenting and organizing the galleries and exhibitions. The personal experience do not have to do with the selection process etc but the limitations/ advantages either the online or real world have themselves.

Exercise 5.2: Print quotes

As a part of the self- directed project we have to do some research on printing of photographs assuming that we want to print our photos as a part of As.5

  1. In the first part we have to find online quotes for printing both in C-type and Gicleé printing. For the comparison I choose the same size 12 x 16 inches (all prices in £).

 

The print space (https://www.theprintspace.co.uk/art-printing-prices)

Fuji Crystal Archive Matt or Gloss : 8.21

Kodak Metallic: 9.88

Fuji Flex: 10.69

Gicleé Prints All Gicleé: 11.08

Metro print (http://www.metro-print.co.uk/prices)

Standard C Type Prints : 7.5

Deluxe C Type Prints: 11.25

Standard Giclée Prints: 10.25

Deluxe Giclée Prints: 15.30

From Dsl colour labs (http://dscolourlabs.co.uk/about/Fujilargeformatprices)

Fuji C-Type Pearl / Kodak Metallic: 5.50

Colour GB (https://www.colourgb.co.uk/collections/giclee-printing)

Range of price for Gicleé printing depending on the paper from 4.5 to 12 £

  1. In the second part of the exercise we have to prepare one image file exactly as specified by printers

 

To do that I follow the following steps:

  • Create a new file in Photoshop Elements 12 x 16 inches, with resolutions 300 pixels/ inch which is good for printing
  • In pixels the file new file is 4800 x 3600
  • Open the photo I want to “print” in Photoshop Elements
  • The initial size is 6016 x 4000 pixels with resolution 240 pixels/ inch
  • Resize this image to 4500 x 2992 pixels, resolution 300 pixels/ inch, Select All, Copy
  • Paste to the empty file
  • Then merge visible layers

I left the frame on purpose to avoid any cropping I do not want.

Toprint

  1. In the third part of the exercise we have to write a brief entry whether we feel or not that an inkjet can be treated as a “photograph”.

My opinion is that a “photograph” is not determined by the material. We can still considering viewing a photo when we look in a digital display. I was not aware about these different types of printing before working for this exercise (that was actually really interesting to read).What I did not know is that in the C type printing it is used photographic paper which actually exposed etc etc. That makes it possibly more “photograph” than an inkjet printing but to be honest when viewing a photo, I only notice the quality of it (if it is good or bad) and not how it is printed. Finally, for me even after all these years working in digital photography, I will never forget the “magic” of the slow appearance of the photo in the photographic paper under the red light of the darkroom (working in darkroom 2006-2008). For sure, this is more a “photograph” but with the sense of something that I had created with my own hands, not printed by a printer.  It is like a painter or an artist who created the piece of art with his own hands. To be honest, my own thoughts are developing for this issue while I am writing this post. If it is an object I create, I think I consider more a photograph a Black and White print, then a colour photo from film, printed in chemicals, then C- type print and finally the inkjet print. But while looking?

I think I look more at the depicted object/ subject than the material.