Out of all the themes in our Image Lab unit, this week I have enjoyed the most. The way that we can work on our prints by hand and have full control over it is really liberating. I decided to experiment with a variety of methods as many different artists work caught my attention throughout my research this week. I believe that my preparation for the session really helped me, as I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted to produce before arriving. Although those ideas slightly changed and evolved when discussing with my friends and sharing resources. I think this element was perhaps one of the stronger aspects of this weeks theme, as this enabled us to work independently, yet still producing something that had some input from other peers. Making the overall work stronger, as a whole. I enjoyed creating this work so much that time just passed and before I knew it I had been at it for 5 hours straight. Although that did mean that I was able to create 5 different pieces of work that demonstrated ideas of artists I looked at throughout the week. However, some of the work was better than others. Some ideas I want to continue further and others I don’t think will work very well. I will talk about the ones I don’t like as much first, then work down to the ones I really like last.
My first image is an image that I took on a Medium format camera and printed in the darkroom. The photograph explores ideas of memories. The original image shows my grandmother holding a younger picture of herself. Prior to the session I had already hole punched other yet strips that came out black in the darkroom. Then I decided to layer these on top my grandmother’s face to pose questions about her identity. Leaving the audience to look at the younger picture of herself and question what she looks like now. I took inspiration from Aliki Braine for this photo as she hole punches her images, but I wanted to hole punch other prints and layer them to see what effect that would create.
I tested this idea out within the week and I quite liked the effect that it created. However, When it came around to actually making my final print, I don’t like the final result of this image. I feel like the circles are too organised and makes the photograph look quite strange and almost sinister. Although, in some ways it creates a jewelled, beaded effect. This is not the overall effect that I wished to create and I think that I will discard this idea from further development.
My second image I produced is another image that I took on a medium format camera. When printing it in the darkroom, I struggled to get the colour cast correct, but as a result I had two different coloured images that when I layered together. I then decided that ripping around the edges would create an interesting effect as I explored the idea of ripping the image in my previous art work and was something that I wanted to continue with in this photograph.
After showing people this photograph, It was a general conclusion that people were confused as to what exactly they were looking at. I like this perception and I like the aesthetics of the photograph but there isn’t much meaning being established behind the image. When I was creating this, I felt like there wasn’t much of a handmade aspect of the photograph. To the extent that I was questioning ‘Is this work an example of a handmade image?’ And after having feedback I came to the conclusion that this is just a version that challenges stereotypical handmade work. However, this piece was not my favourite out of my other images created also.
The next image I produced was taken on a 35mm camera. I initially shot this image of a bottle on a railing in the park and printed it in the darkroom. I then used scissors to cut out the shape of the bottle and a part of the railing. I searched through some magazines and found a painting that I really liked. Then I put this picture behind the gap and manouvered it so that the people could be seen on the bridge and on the ground below. Then I attached it using adhesive.
Surprisingly, I actually really like this image. I hadn’t initially planned to do this particular photograph but felt inspired when looking through my photographs and when I saw the image in the magazine. I also like how the background image is colour and the foreground image is in black and white as I think this highlights my main subject and makes the image stand out. I think this idea is interesting and could be explored further.
For my next piece I used a black and white 35mm darkroom photographic print as my background picture. I then layered a found image from a magazine cover on top. Strategically cutting it to allow both images to be seen. I then decided to rip the top and bottom of my images. Taking inspiration from my previous art work, and also taking inspiration from John Stezaker who layers other images to change the perception in the photograph.
I am very happy with this picture, I think the photograph I found works well with my own photograph. It changes the meaning in the photo by layering other photos on top. Instead the women in the photograph appear to be looking at the sunset and the mountains instead of the eiffel tower that was in the original photo. The vibrant colours and sharp focus of the foreground image make the image really impactful and powerful on the whole. In some respects it is similar to the previous image, which I like a lot and may consider to explore further with some inspiration added from my next image.
My final image is another 35mm black and white darkroom print. To create this image I took inspiration from Chen Nong who colours on top of his images with coloured pencils. In my experiments this week I found out that the use of colour pencils were unsuccessful because of the surface of the print. However coloured felt tip pens worked very well. So I used different colour pens to change the representation of this photograph by changing its colours.
This is one of my favourites, along with my previous picture. One aspect of the picture that I wasn’t very keen on was that you could see the pen marks. But my feedback that I received was that other people liked that the pen marks could be seen as this adds a more handmade hands on approach that adds to the materiality of the photograph. Another interesting point that was brought up on reflection of this image was, ‘Is this image finished?’ and ‘At one point is an image classified as finished?’ To me, It was important in this picture to not overpower with colour by colouring in everything as this would detract from the effect I was trying to create. However, with additional work I create in the future, I will experiment with the effect of colouring in the entire photograph.
All my work that I have created challenges the idea of a collage. As other people were around me were cutting and creating a large collage. I decided that working on multiple small prints was my interpretation of the idea of a hand made image. On conclusion of the work I have created, I have decided that I would really like to experiment more with colouring on top of the image. I most enjoyed creating that piece of work and I think it would be interesting to see where I could take this idea in my project.
© Kirstie Wilkinson