I reported in Week 11 the learnings from a dry run of my exhibition versus portable facsimile that allows to carry the exhibition to audiences where my work receives almost constant attention in a number of social situations.
Although I sound like I prefer the accessibility of the portable exhibition, I have a full eight day run of studio exhibition to learn more about context. I do have a challenge in managing the building as well as the exhibition.
Announcements have gone out on social media channels to the wider area in which it is taking place. Notices have gone out to two local photography societies, one of which has its own exhibition running that I’ll need to attend. Lets see if it is a clash or a strength – I imagine the two exhibitions will support each other. I was invited to the other.
Of course on social media channels I’ve gone live across Instagram and several Facebook groups.
Here is the shape of the announcement with details:
Landings 2019 exhibition at Amersham Photographic Studios 16 Aug – 24 Aug 2019
After a delay or mix up in communications (a message I never received), I had not seen some feedback. Given how rapidly my (and others) work has evolved in my case in little more than a week, it proved rather vital. I forever remind of the time and attention that goes into my work being akin to painting.
Anyway, improvements continue as I now separate out from my work the colour work or celebration of life. I’m now focussed down on war and loss and also have a more consistent colour palette, mostly black and white and the red of blood.
There is so much more balance than at any point during the whole 12 weeks of the module. The change was straightforward to implement as it meant reducing to 18 prints, these now I decided to group as triptychs.
I’m sure I will return to my saturated colour work, if that theme takes off in future.
The print in the figure above is a bit small to read so here is the website link. This gives a statement alongside the images.
I found I was never entirely certain as to the bounds of acceptability to the University of mix and presentation of images. It is basically clear. Near the end I overproduced on prints and could tell from a dry run of my Landings 2019 exhibition. This provided interesting interaction especially as my facsimile of the exhibition in a portable box gathered quite a lot of attention.
Learning was about how other photographers read some of the images and the hanging plan. The black and white exhibition catalogue received positive comment.
As it was an informal look at the work I learned it is best to set out the large prints first as a string of one very informed question after another on top of other competing interactions meant I didn’t get as far as a full hanging of either the prints or miniatures. As an impromptu show it was very lively indeed which played to my interests in the social interaction around photography in general.
Given the consolidation down to 18 prints I should be able to show all of the miniatures on a table top, instead of having to actively handle them – not enough hands. I’m undecided on two points. I would like to replicate the miniatures with a back binding, to tie each triptych into a set of three. I’ve had demands for both and I know what works best for me as I get lesser activity while trying to answer questions (binding would suit me). In critique the loose miniatures with some spare images in reserve I find always works better for the reviewer. If I have time I’ll have both. I couldn’t have done this before today due to fixing the narrative line.
I will report back as I gather more learning of gallery versus portable context of how different surfaces work.
As for my abstract re-photography those three images fell out of the mix at this point in time. I couldn’t shoehorn them in without visibly weakening the portfolio.
A case of work ethic versus visual sensitivity and decision making.
A final point, is will I get back to that abstract only world that I truly favour? A case of growing specialisation. I have a increasing number of my colour abstract images and have a growing hints of commercial value to them this past 9 months. I don’t think that can be ignored given the limited returns gained in general photography.
I think of the greatest Scottish landscape photographer and maker of stereograph cards, George Washington Wilson who created a very successful business and reputation before health failed him and the Inland Revenue ravaged the business handed on to his family in a major test case in which almost all was sadly lost then tide and time and technology moved on.
Reflections on Surfaces
There are numerous learning points regarding the making. The intent was to place the surfaces on a trajectory that led to the deliverable assignments for the Surfaces and Strategies module of the MA Photography course.
So how is learning shaping up in terms of the different production methods and contexts I’ve engaged in?
Now I can make publications in dummy form. Additional time and effort would allow many of the finishing touched to be added e.g. page numbers and cover jacket etc.
It has been a real pleasure to take the images from the digital domain and see them in print. I used ZINK 2×3 prints in a portable version of the exhibition, black and white print on matte paper which was also a joy and on gloss paper for the main exhibition.
I had an intent to use backlighting and was halted by the cost of LED light boxes. However, I discoverd that my gloss prints on 280 weight paper allows light to pass through from the back. As a result of this discovery I’ll take two examples and print and mount them for backlighting using studio lights.
During a visit to Arles Les Recontres del la Photographie I recorded many examples of backlighting and hanging and display methods and now have my own accessible and cost effective method.
I plan to use my ready made videos. One is an old vimeo recording that is very short that creates an ambience. The second is the Week 2 Hollywood style trailer I made that [rovides additional context. It’ll be great to see all these parts collected together. I have a feeling of theatre in the making.
What I look forward to is unexpected reactions and comments from and interactions with visitors to the exhibition space. I have to thank my Studio Owner for providing access to the space.
The practicalities of running the the exhibition as staff is that I’ll be overloaded with managing the studio space and fronting the work. It will be a stretch but is going to be exciting.
The exhibition in a box with its new content, I plan to take out on the road. It will go to Bristol for crtique and I have several other venues to go to including groups of walking friends who probably wouldn’t make the journey to the Studio. There is an art interest amongst these folks which I enjoy in conversation and I’m always being asked to show more work. Another visit I’d like to take the box is to a hospital. I can if appropriate interact with someone who has now been a long time there.
I question the culture of gallery exhibition in making the portable version and already I can see how much farther it can reach at the same time as being more tangible than web based presentation.
I have a set of 2×3 prints as handouts or for charitable sale. The mini printer I use and a set of precut cards have been prepared for printing and mounting as orders on demand. I will see how this additional interaction fares – I predict it should go really well although it is another job on top of everything else. It will be very worthwhile.
I’m experimenting with something I was advised to drop, that of pointing a smartphone at an image to play a 15 second video. Were into bells, whistles and I have to work out how well considered this is. Given the biology involved in my work maybe I can get away with the 15 second video of a protein cell research using computational biology. It is easy to pass over, but I think I want to find out how audience reacts.
Image grouping is a late addition to the visual language used. A third gallery template has been selected that nearly works. By dropping the heavy borders that crept in for black and white printing of the exhibition catalogue the web. I’ve taken on board the need for file variants esentially for each surface of display.
The challenge in using Portfoliobox relates to variable sizing as can be see clearly here: WIP Portfolio. The sizing is overcome in the figure below by creating one large summary file of the hanging plan.
Surface – Exhibition
fig: Title: Glow – Hanging Plan for Landings 2019
In this work, the characteristic glow we emit in healing and bodily repair helps identify with ancestors who perished in a Great War. The work is at the intersection of biology, photography and art.
Archive images develop a visual language for the work.
Career experience in analogue, digital and computing technologies is a constant in the subject area of this photographic imagery. Career also placed me in the theatre exploited in this imagery.
Fold-out book of exhibition prints
And so to make a fold-out book of the above hanging plan.
Surface – Publications
I’ve modelled publication four in my series of adventures this module.
practice handbinding of perfect bound block
my book of locks for the Ed Ruscha activity
my exhibition catalogue (black and white)
my exhibition prints as fold-out (colour)
I’ve imposed the page order and structure and printed the folding sheets. It is loose bound at the minute as it is secondary to the assignements and I can see how much time and care is needed to cut and sew and glue.
At this stage I’m pleased with the weight of the assembled printed papers but predict the structure might be unweildy on the binding. Already I’m thinking that I should move to A2 paper and fold that in a more sympathetic manner towards a secure binding. Put it all down to practice and learning experience.
Surface – Presentation
My attempt at using the Pareto or 80:20 principle was an optimistic way of engaging my time. The presentation surface was not exactly culled but has had to progress really informally. I’m bound to get a moment during the exhibition and especially after assignment hand-in.
I have practice at doing this informally in the studio environment and I’ll presenbt as the opportunity warrants. The idea would be to demonstrate an end to end image capture through processing to print.
I’d describe also how I use DNA as my theme of information carrier if there was interest and explain how collaboration can be made to work.
Something I want to do when I find the space in my schedule is to longer term look out for others (friends) who specialise in abstract painting and photography and friends who like to make books (or portable exhibitions).
Rather than mingle with a wider general audience, it could be set the world on fire to meet other specialists.
Is it just me that reaches an epiphany so close to the end of each module?
In suddenly getting how to resolve the visual language in my portfolio the concern is I’ve gone too far in introducing archive images.
I’ve avoided costly stock pricing and user licensing issues. I declare reuse of a key image. Archive and abstract imagery intermingle and need to be listed out for marking. I’ll take advice as I’ve noticed a wavering in course advice depending on the content, who you speak to and some inconsistency when clarifying and reclarifying.
Week 10 Individual Tutorial
I’d strengthened my research into the subject of place, the spiritual and in science and art to help contextualise my portfolio.
I saw how context fits in book format especially having looked again at the book (exhibition catalogue) produced for Repetition is Truth Via Dolo Rosa, by painter Rachel Howard. Her photo, an interview and an essay with contextualising black and white images. Then there is the bulk of her abstract paintings and contact sheet layout with some text.
I had something prepared that worked over two portfolio web pages but it needed to be one. This was soon spotted in the discussion and there was an epiphany as an archive image and an abstract were paired. Visually, the images talked. I’ve since gone to an archive source and my project archive processed image style and sequenced a smattering of these throughout the web page and changed the template accordingly. I’ve tried to introduce a rhythmical visual style. If it works there are exciting possibilities for book page layout.
For the usual reasons it is taking a big risk, introducing fresh material this late in the module. The risk has been taken and some scope remains for review and rethink/amendment. I have to work smart to prevent making and remaking of material outputs (new book dummy, exhibition in a box and large prints).
figure: Portfolio 7 Aug 19
The contact sheet is a mix of reworked archive images and modernist abstract expressionistic images. Visually the intention is to provide the viewer with a way into the work.
Week 10 Peer Webinar
In my experience of past modules, peer to peer review works well as an extension of the weekly webinars.
It will be late in the week before I can record a draft Oral Presentation, a review of which would be the most useful thing at the moment.
The portfolio has progressed to having the context added to aid the viewer.
Making is on the plan to be done over the next couple of days (book and remake the exhibition in a box).
Realistically, Monday 13 Aug is best or earliest for me.
I’d be happy to discuss the WIP Portfolio before then.
Week 10 Introduction Keep Going
A summary of my plans for this week.
I began the week making sure I covered off the activities with 3 Aug closing date as this stops the build-up or backlog. It also helped with CRJ maintenance
I started writing for the Oral Presentation, but my mind got challenged over context, decision making and risk. With Abstract practice, it takes time to gather knowledge and gain experience. I resolved a creative block, in making abstract landscapes while also having gone to Arles 2019. Work thankfully started flowing but not soon enough for Landings 2019.
Update on Wednesday
Attend Monday Office Hours. Done. There was an enlightening discussion about built-in pressures of the module. And a helpful mention of decision making and risk-taking which we are encouraged to do.
Process enough images to start my edit. Done.
Conclude research/implement (more) visual context to abstract work to aid the viewer. Ready for review.
Do some rephotography in the spirit of the module. Done
Read more history of photography and concerning The Spiritual in Art (Kandinsky) to contextualise my work in the abstract (Rexer and MoMA). Ongoing