The artist I’ve chosen to pull inspiration from is Frank Lebon. Lebon is an artist, filmmaker, and photographer based in London. His pictures and film adopt heavy usage of editorial style editing and intimate camera work. He centralizes his films and pictures around the moral conflict in modern-day society. An example of this is his film Didily Squat which gives insight into the ethics of squatting from both the perspectives of a homeowner and squatter. His photographs range from heavy editing to soft playful lighting. In essence, his photography work would be identified as abstract editorial high fashion. The abstract use of color, texture, angle, lighting, and positioning of the subject are all techniques I intended to heavily delve into in my portrait project. The use of costume in the pictures above accentuates the playfulness communicated through the use of bright, solid backgrounds. While Lebon uses editing and cropping in his pictures to add an extra element to his work, I’d like to draw from his expert use of color, lighting, and angles in my portrait project. The choice of all the elements in these pictures conjures different emotions from a viewer. The more vivid, warm tone colors and framing create a more inviting look, drawing a viewer in to delve deeper into a picture for more context. Whereas the closer cropped, jarring angled pictures such as image 6 are much more simple and evoke much simple, basic emotions and questions. The androgyny in the pictures is another element I plan to include in my portrait project. play an influential role in Lebon’s photographs. Where a photographer may use similar techniques to accentuate more gender-centric features of the subjects, Lebon uses the techniques to create intrigue into the meaning of the picture instead of the influence of gender. There is no sense of “breaking gender boundaries” in his pictures because he hasn’t established these boundaries to begin with. His subject’s sole purpose is to embody his alternative, high-fashion otherworldly aesthetic.
For my portrait identity project, I’d like to focus on studio-style photography and high fashion+ makeup to show the fluidity that clothing and makeup have. I don’t believe in gendered clothing or makeup and I’d like to highlight that by playing with these concepts of masculine and feminine on my models. I want to tackle the concept of “breaking gender barriers” because I don’t think these barriers should exist in the first place. I’d want to create and exist in a space where gender doesn’t inhibit my ability to express myself and grow creatively and to show that I’d like to dress my models up in ways that would typically be labeled as “breaking gender barriers”. I want to give them to chance to experiment with their limits and boundaries and through their unlearning of these societal structures of gender and beauty show a viewer how we cannot let ourselves be boxed in to fit an outdated narrative.
A portrait is a picture with a clear, identifiable subject and message. There are physical rules that are recommended when taking a portrait but the essence of the photograph is to capture the soul of the subject. A classic example of a selfie is the picture taken by a monkey using photographer David Slater’s camera. This qualifies as a portrait as it meets all the photographic criteria, but portraits are categorized by the intent behind them. Photography is an art, and art is and should be created with meaning. Every day selfies of food or outings do not in my eyes qualify as a portrait because they are not art. While there are no definitive “rules” in photography, there are guidelines that when followed will create a successful picture. Keeping the eyes in focus, following the rule of thirds, having a clear message or meaning going into shooting, etc. But these rules can all be broken or bent when expressing different things through your photography. Angles and lighting are key tools used to portray a subject in different ways. Harsher angles and lighting may indicate a more aggressive attitude whereas softer colors and lights and head eye-level shots convey a more relaxed setting. Of course, this isn’t applicable to every single portrait, but it is a general guideline to follow. A “good” portrait can’t be defined by one standard. Beauty is different to every person and everyone’s interpretation differs, it’s not fair for a photographer to assess their work with a one size fits all idea on “good”. I don’t think it’s fair to have this standardized idea of beauty and what makes things beautiful especially in art because there’s so much emotion and crafting that goes into one piece. So to really understand a piece of art of the photograph, you have to go further than the surface level which is diving deeper than just slapping on the label “good”. Portraits are of people, and while there can be props and scenery and other body parts in a picture, such as the picture of Gandhi by Margaret Bourke-White. As we can see, there’s a large spinning wheel that occupies a large portion of the camera. White was actually required to learn to spin using a wheel before she was allowed to meet Gandhi because it was such an integral part of his everyday life. This is an example of how props can be used to show character in a subject.
A portrait becomes abstract photography when the subject is no longer distinguishable. If there is no clear anatomical structure within the picture it is no longer a portrait. That’s not to say Picasso’s self-portraits were portraits. They clearly were but that’s because there were recognizable facial features, it wasn’t anatomically accurate, but it still qualifies as a portrait. A still life is categorized by the unanimated subjects. Still-life is often a way for an artist to portray their artistic talent through drawing or painting. Photographing still life may qualify as a portrait if there is a person or animal interacting with it. portraiture is capturing some kind of emotion or feeling, and that can be lost when looking at still-life because its purpose is to portray an object in its exact form in the exact moment it was taken/painted/made in. It can be debated whether still, life evokes emotion or not but I believe the purpose for both forms of art is very different. Portraits can be single pictures of sequences. A sequence of pictures gives the photographer a chance to go into more detail with their story. They can show their subject at different angles with different lighting or props or facial expressions and have a completely different meaning than the first picture they took. Single picture portraits are often very striking and stand out, this can be true in sequential shots but the pictures should be made to look like a harmonious scene.
These are the three pictures I chose to use in my final triptych. The order the pictures are in has a natural flow to it. There’s a clear start and finish and a connection between each picture accentuated in the curvature of the lines. The predominant elements that made me choose these pictures are the color palate, lines, and texture. The synchrisity within these pictures emphasises the element of fluidity I tried to incorporate in all my pictures. The monotone grey and white color portfolio is what brings the most harmony in these pictures. While they’re quite minimal, I think the emotion that they evoke is that of innocent intruige. They’re clearly pictures of architecture but the uniqueness of the shape is what makes it so different. As mentioned in previous posts, the photographers that I drew inspiration from are Mattieu Venots and Angie McMonigal. The main element of abstractedness in this triptych does come from the more architectural features, but oddity of them that resonates more with Venots. All three pictures are taken of everyday objects, but photographed in such a way that it’s not obvious what object that is.
The pictures in these contact sheets were taken consecutively so there was a spur-of-moment change in the idea which is shown between pictures 0822 and 0823. At the start, I was trying to utilize Angie McMonigal’s techniques in abstract architecture but quickly found myself traveling more down the path of (abstract photographer) I found myself gravitated towards Mattieu Venots use bright vivid colors while still keeping true to the use of bold line work found in McMonigal’s work. By blending the two styles, I was able to take abstract pictures of unabstract objects. All around the school I looked for stand-out shapes in furniture, lighting, or buildings and found a way to incorporate both aspects of the photographers. Of all the pictures I took, I have a range of different storylines I could use for my triptych. Whether I choose to focus on monochromatic, texture, angle, leading lines, etc. I have a range of directions from with I could take with the pictures I’ve captured. I’m definitely more satisfied with the work I’ve produced in the third contact sheet. I think with the proper equipment and some guidance I was able to more fully express my creative vision and capture the ideas I had in mind. A common element I’ve found in the red pictures that I selected was is fluidity. I’d like to capitalize on that and show fluidity in its different states. I plan to show this as fluidity in structure, texture, or light which are all prominent elements in the red photographs I’ve taken. The majority if not all of my pictures feature monochrome shades of green, which I believe will tie my triptych together and really emphasize that fluidity through a gradient of color and structure. I found myself working backward on this project. I started with taking pictures and slowly that developed my vision and statement. I think that’s a more effective means of approaching this kind of task for me as the room to experiment really helps me hone in on what I’m trying to express in the pictures I take. With some editing, I could have a cohesive set of pictures that shows the mental and physical journey I took to obtain them.
contact sheet one
These are my selected blue pictures. Of the original group of pictures I took these were the ones I found to be the best. The photographer that inspired the red and green pictures was Albert Renger-Patzsch. I found his work in the repetition of everyday items to be intriguing and attempted it myself. However, as you can see in the pictures I didn’t always stay on theme and often strayed away into the works of other photographers. The reason I chose the green photos is I thought the most closely aligned with the theme of repetition and unique beauty. I focused on the repetition in architecture, specifically in buildings and at-home objects. The red pictures are more focused on the theme of repetition. In images 0832 and 0933, I used the Patzchs style of strong lines in architecture and repetition. 0832 is actually a colander. When reading about Patzsch I learned that he tried to photograph everyday items to find the beauty in them. While this image doesn’t show the subject in its entirety, I think that the soft light gives a sense of tranquility and beauty, showing how simple things like a colander that are commonly used for one use can be transformed into objects of beauty. I took 0933 downtown while in an art district. I like the strong lines each of the walkways made and how they connected both sides of the picture, giving a sense of unity. When taking these pictures I was looking in my house and the area that I lived in or visited for natural beauty. This sometimes meant using subjects against their intended purpose, but I believe that that fits with my theme of beauty repetition regardless of the original use of the subject. Both of these pictures coupled illustrate how repetition in everyday objects allows you to find beauty outside of its most basic purpose. In my next set, I’d like to continue with the themes of architecture and repetition. To do this, I’d like to pull on the stylistic techniques photographer Angie McMonigal uses in her work. Her photographs consist of unique and strange architecture in black, white, or grey. The theme of repetition translates into her work so it would be a good path to continue in to.
photography safari – pictures
- pattern, texture, line
- form, space
- pattern, texture, line
- shape, line
- color, space
- shape, pattern
- shape, pattern
- line. color
- color, line, shape, pattern
- line, color, space
I think the ones where I used pattern and line were the most successful. The circle and square patterns used light reflection to create a symmetrical pattern and I felt those were the most successful as they were very abstract. However, the pictures where I had to subject a sole subject or use larger, blockier patterns were less successful. I found it challenging to take a picture similar in quality to that of one taken on a camera and also found it hard to not take these pictures and interpret them. I found that I was trying to use objects in my house to create these pictures in the exact layout instead of interpreting the picture and not literally applying it.
Three things that Strand may have been interested in when taking this picture are the patterns of the lights, the lines from the shadows, and the contrast in tones between the light and the dark on the table.
I would title this picture lawnchair because that’s what I first thought it was when I looked at it. I think that the picture leaves a lot up to imagination or interpretation by having a non-contextual title. I also think it would be fun just to mess with the audience by naming it something it’s not.
I think one unusual thing about this picture is the angle at which it’s taken at. You can’t tell what’s being captured in the image without doing a quick search online. The part of the table included doesn’t give many contexts and the shadows from the light don’t have a clear source, creating. more confusion. The composition of the picture is really interesting as there’s no one clear subject.
In this picture, all of the essential elements are utilized in one way or another. The pattern of the rectangles that warp in the divet between the table and wall creating a flowing continuation of light, making the picture feel serene. The contrast between the tones of the light and the shadows is stark but not in a jarring way. the colors are variations of muted beige. If they were two contrasting colors, like shades of blues or yellows, the picture would be much more unsettling. The geometric shapes of the table and the rectangles of light make the picture feel very structured. While the subject of the picture is abstract and there’s no one definite focal point, the shapes are very definite from each other, making a bold impact.
I think the best thing about this photograph is the lack of context. The audience doesn’t know WHAT the purpose behind the picture is, which has been the running theme behind abstract photography fo so long. There doesn’t need to be an explicit meaning to make a picture impactful.