The World of Blogging!

I will keep this short and sweet!

For me, growing up words were not a necessity. I neither understood or could write them. For me my images whether drawings, paintings, scribbles or photographs did the talking for me.

I pressumed that everybody could read these images, after all, they are all cleverer than me!

But these last two years at college have taught me differently. I am now understanding why I need to talk, why I need to write, why I should sometimes explain what I am trying to say. And also how proud I should be for coming this far and believe me I am.

I’ve learnt that I am just as clever, that I can not assume that people can read my thoughts or images and that blogging is almost like an outlet. I am letting those who chose to read to understand a little bit about me without the fear of looking them in the eye to see if I am being judged.

Will I continue to blog? God yes! From September I will be back at Kensington and Chelsea, This time doing GCSE maths and English. Why? Because I want to go to university and study for my BA in photography.

Of course I will continue blogging because who else will listen?

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The Darkroom

The Darkroom: For me it is a place for nostalgia, memories of finding peace in the dark alongside a little bit of magic that normally come to children in dreams.

Where my story unfolds but not in amazing technicolour but in black and white with the medium still needing to be found.

This year in the darkroom I was inspired by Ziad Antar whose work I found whilst at Paris Photo. Ziad had been experimenting with expired film, particularly that had expired in 1976.

My project would be similar, only using film that had expired in 1948 and then using velox gaslight paper that had also expired in 1948. Needless to say, my project was called 1948!

i have to say that I was really lucky to have a small amount of images that were not extremely clear but could be printed. There were 12 in all. Unfortunately the 1948 gaslight paper had been exposed to a small amount of light but this was enough to not pick up any of the images.

Back to the drawing board.

My tutor Bruce suggested that if I wanted the images to be seen why not print on ektalure paper. This happened to be a fantastic piece of advice as ektalure paper was considered to be around at that time although I can not find exact dates about it.

So my project could be completed. I choose 8 of the best images which were printed on ektalure AND the 1948 gaslight paper.

I chose two frames for my work. each frame would hold four images but eight prints, (Can you see the 48 connection here?)

I made my own design card for the frame so that the viewer could see what my work was called. Because I had done a little research about that year I knew that London had held the Olympics. This gave me the idea of finding five coins from different countries that had been in the Olympics that year and placing them (Using Photoshop!) in the same style as the five Olympic rings with the date on the coins in view.

Unfortunately I have no images to show you right now as my work is ready to be hung in an exhibition. Feel free to go along if you can but if not, I will eventually place images of my work here.

If you would like to come along to the exhibition where mine and all the other hard working students of 2014-2015 work can be seen, the check out the link below.

http://issuu.com/stevemepstedpublications/docs/own_the_light_catalogue_2015_

OWN THE LIGHT LANDSCAPE E CARD

Experimental Photography

Diptych:

A diptych of two images, or parts of two images, is an impactful storytelling tool. Look for thematic, compositional, and other visual interactions that will make your diptuchs more powerful than the sum of their parts.

Egyptian Memory, 1983

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http://www.gilleslarrain.com/series/diptychs/

Our project was called Paradox and Pairing. We all had to share an image on moodle and our job was to find an image from another student and make as diptych. We was not allowed to use our own images.

Paradox and Pairing photo to pair

Lola’s image: I really liked this and wanted to continue with the story.

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My final image that I chose. it took me three attempts to create an image that I thought would work perfectly.

Put them both together and I really like the composition and how I managed to get certain simularities. Everytime I look at this diptych I always imagine the singer on the left saying “Look mum….I can be just as cool!” While the lady on the left is the mum who takes no notice and carries on with her work.

Paradox and Pairing photo to pairPP2_10

That wasn’t our only experiment.

We were shown how to use liquid light and what materials that it could be used on. I wanted to know if it was possible to print from a negative using liquid light on sandpaper. My tutors didnt know if this was possible as it was something they hadnt done. This made me even more determined to prove that there is a way to make it possible.

I had to wait for the liquid light to dry on the sandpaper which actually took quite a bit longer than most materials. once it had though, I took my test strip and re-checked the exposure times. I had already done this on resin paper as normally the exposure reading on resin is almost the same as using liquid light give or take one or two stops.

I am glad I did re-test as on sandpaper my exposure time needed to be upped by three stops.

When I put my test strips into the developer though no image started to appear even after a couple of minutes. I was disappointed but wasn’t ready to give up. It was only by chance that I put my last test strip into the developer and left it there even longer as I was also clearing away. When i went back to check my test strip which had been in nearly four minutes i noticed an image starting appearing very quickly and i had to the pull the test strip out within 20-30 seconds. It worked, you can print on sandpaper.

I did the usual next steps, water, (Not stop for some reason!) then placed into old fix for one minute and then new fix for four minutes.

Below is my outcome:

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I was so pleased with this experiment. The only thing I found a little frustrating is that when i went to wash the print, the liquid light started peeling away from the sandpaper and i had to quickly remove it. I dont knowhow long this print will stay or whther it will fade, or whether the chemicals that couldnt be washed off affect it in other ways. I was thinking of covering the image with a layer of varnish and hope that it will keep the image from fading.

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Above: I continued to practice using different kinds of sandpaper. This is another project that I would really like to concentrate on and work with when I have some spair time.

Professional Practice

This is where we practice being professionals!

How hard can it be?

Do you know about invoices ,invoice tax, risk assesments, model release forms and clients who dont realise that communication plays a very important role in getting their photos exactly how they want them?

No?…..Neither did I!

You don’t mind if I don’t bore you to death with  taxes and invoices do you? if it is that important just google it or click on the links I kindly provided for you, because you wont find anything about them in this post!

To cut a long story short, I had already worked professionally for a lovely lady called Clare Solomon and JCWI. I worked for them because they were fightng for a cause I believe in. I knew I could put this in my workbook as I was dreading the fashion shoot that most of us students have to particpate in.

Funny thing is, when Bruce was discussing the fashion shoot with us I thought “what the hell?” and decided to go for it. So Here goes:

Photographer meets client…..client likes photographer and photographers works and agree to work with them. Agreement is made.

Client has deadline but also promises to email/text/phone and keep photographer notified of all changes.

Client does not keep photographer informed and photographer has to keep communication going and not get to stressed when client refuses to answer!

Photographer takes control and books studio

Client eventually responds that “It should be ok!”

Client agrees to meeting……fails to turn up on both occasions

Four days before shoot photographer rings client, tells them if they do not make the meeting that was arranged for two hours time then the whole thing is off. Photographer has deadlines too and not just one….but three!

Client turns up for meeting. Says everything will be ready for photo shoot, that he can find a model and will text photographer by friday, (The next day) to tell photographer model’s name.

Sunday night. (Shoot is booked for Tuesday morning at 9am.)  Still not heard from client about model and then suddenly around 11pm, photographer gets a reply to  message…..Unable to get model!

Thank god for friends and fellow students who help each other out! photographer finds model.

Day of shoot:

Client over an hour late, studio was booked for 9-11am, and is booked up straight after so no room for delays!

Photographer, assistants, (Kostas Tagkas and Hannah) and model work fantastic together and pull of shoot in 40 minutes. This is a team photograpaher would like to work with again.

Photographer no longer stressed and images complete.

Have a nice day!

A few images from the fashion shoot.

Dress designed by Stephane Koulibaly

Model: Alexa

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Greek Gods and Goddesses

For me our studio unit was great from day one. I knew there would be a major project to produce at the end of the unit and had ideas swimming round my head before the end of the first day.

We had to produce four still life and four portraits for this unit. I wanted to originally do a project connected with tarot cards.I chose this idea because I like to be able to set the stage and show things in a different light but with the same meaning. I spent a few days researching but I wasnt getting that feeling that I normally get when i’m excited about making a project and how it would work, and seeing as studio is one of my favourite subjects I really wanted to have that buzzing feeling that I get when I am doing something I really enjoy.

It was actually my kids that gave me the idea of producing a project on the greek gods. They knew it would also be a good way of thanking somebody for all their help.

I thought this was a great plan but I didnt expect to find it as hard as i did to chose two gods and two goddesses. It took me nearly a month to decide and to do this i had to take into account what my models looked like and how I could incoporate this into making them a mythological character.

NIKE

Dominique as Nike

Nike: My first choice. After doing my research I found out that Nike was represented sports, athletics and victory. She was very close to Athena and although she didnt have her own animal to represent her, she was recognised for having Athena’s owl around her.

As you can see, I chose my model carefully, mainly because of her physique as well as being able to look very competitive.

Apollo

Apollo

Apollo: The god of the Sun, youth and love. But also a bit of a dark horse, as innocent as he looked with his youthfulness, Apollo could turn into a vicious god. The animals that represented Apollo were the Dolphins.

Apollo was chosen as one of my gods after my tutor suggested that my youngest son would be the perfect model being a young teenager with a young face. I was so impressed with his modelling. I know he has modelled for me many times but he knew this this was a huge project for me and delivered what i was looking for.

Posideon

Posideon

Posideon: God of the Sea. Represented by Pegesus, the horse with wings. When we think of Posideon, we either think of an old man with long curly hair and a white beard. (Or you could be thinking of the film about the ship that sank!) But in my case, I was looking for a younger model with a strong build and dark looks. Who could of been a better model than my eldest son.

Our first shoot went terrible, I wasnt relaxed and neither was my model. The images were the worst I could imagine, nothing like how I wanted it to be. My only choice was to find time to re-do the shoot. We didnt have to long but somehow we managed to pull the second shoot off and produce an image that I was really happy with.

Artemis

Artemis

Artemis: Daughter of Zeus and Leto, twin sister of Apollo. Goddess of the Moon. Artemis was represented by the bear. This could be because she was also known as the goddess of Hunt, wild animals and wilderness.

Artemis was perfect for my final part of the project. Not only in character was she related to Apollo as his sister, but the model, who is my daughter is also the sister of the model who played Apollo. A perfect link to the perfect ending. Another reason I chose my daughter is for her pale skin and with Artemis being goddess of the moon, she was also kknown to have pale skin.

I was actually really proud of this project and managed to get the images close to how I saw them in my mind, having a good idea on how i wanted the lighting to reflect not only the models, but also the background.

Photomontage

A photomontage is the process of joing two or more photographs/images to create a new image.

A couple of well known photomontage photographers.

Greta Stern:

Her photomontages called Suenos (dreams) are an ideal conjuction between Dada collage and surreal photography and she has this peculiar ability to make the impossible possible, to release feelings and fears that when looking at her work only once, is far more relieving than 10 psychologist sessions, ‘Seeing is believing’

grete-stern-dream-no-5-bottle-cast-into-the-sea-1949Above-Greta Stern-no 5 bottle cast into the sea

Grete-Stern-Sueno-no.3-1949

Above-Greta Stern-Sueno no.3 1949

Thomas Barbey has been a photographer for over 20 years. Recently he has been shooting black and white photomontages for the sole purpose of doing Fine Art.

Every single image has to pass what he likes to call the “So what?” test. If a combination of two or more negatives put together doesn’t touch him or have any particular meaning, he starts over again.

A giant clock in the middle of the ocean can be an unusual image, but if he looks at it and says “So what?” this means that image isnt good enough. However, if an ocean liner is going down a funnel-type hole and he gives it a title called Shortcut to China, it takes on a whole new meaning. It takes you into an imaginary world where you can see the captain shouting out “Fasten your seatbelts”.

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Above: Thomas Barbey-Issac Newton’s Puzzling Dream

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Above: Thomas Barbey-Unknown girl in the River

I really enjoyed working on this unit and produced a couple of photomontages myself that i’m quite proud off.

Below is the one I am most happy with. It is a personal peice of work that is about religion, heartache and death. You can see in the background that the devil and jesus are fighting, whilst in the middle of them both is a soul reaching for the light. The area is Beirut in a warzone area, you can then see an image of a girl laying her head on a solidier who is fading and disappearing into the rubble to be forgotton like the rest of the soldiers who fought for religion.

Religion kills everyday

Life Drawings

I found our Life Drawing session enjoyable and also a change from photography. It was also a great way to learn more about lighting and tones.

Our first task was to draw lines that we could see on an image. You would think it was easy enough but I saw many lines and could have kept going till the image was full of them.IMG_5781I decided that I didnt want to cover my image with lines and stoped after drawing several. I think I managed to find the main lines that helped create the composition of this image.

We then moved on to our life model. We were all arranged into a circle.Our first task, LINES! Looking at our model we were to draw the lines that we saw, i.e from his knee to his elbow, from shoulder to hand etc. Any that were noticeable. Our model was arranged into a certain position for this task and the light was moved so that we all had a different view.

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Then using our lines we were asked to draw the outline of the model’s body

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I had never drawn in this way before and I found it really interesting how quickly I was able to connect shape using line as my guide.

We then had to draw the model using a rubber. Our paper had been covered in charcol and using a rubber instead of lead, we were told to draw the lighting around the model.NIK_7855 as Smart Object-1

I was so surprised at how much I was learning about light and how it hits the body. I never thought that drawing would be such a good influence.

Below was my final image from a really good lesson. Its not about how good you are at drawing, but how you notice lighting and toning.

NIK_7870 as Smart Object-1