Title for the Book

It actually managed to completely slip my mind that I will need to give my book a title. I had been so wrapped up in the making that I had forgotten. Anyway, I took this concern to Amelia in a tutorial and we began to work up a title. We started with the word ‘Ubiquity’, meaning being everywhere all of the time. This is very fitting for my work, however just not right for the title of my book. So I began to research the word online to see what other options came up, when I found myself stumbling across everyday sayings. I eventually came across my title.


IN HOLES AND CORNERS; secret or hidden; not openly practiced or engaged in or shown or avowed.


 

It works extremely well when explaining just what my little clay pieces are getting upto in those images, and it has a good flow and ring to it. It also works rather well when you think about the shapes of my pieces, and how they have been made. Their surfaces are all rather misshapen and textured, all with unique details that you sort of have to move your body and bend to see underneath or around them, just like trying to peek into a hole or corner.

Next batch of Photographs

I managed to get another lovely day for weather and lighting. On this shoot I managed to do all my photos from home, meaning I had easy access to all the things I needed for the photos. I am confident with the results from these 4 settings and feel as though I have at least of usable and successful image from each shoot. My favourite from the shoot has to be the images using a handbag as a prop. Because the bag and the clothing are both dark, this really makes the colours of the piece stand out against everything else, yet with the movement of the person featuring in the image, we are still reminded that t is not being paid enough attention. The same goes for the dressing table set up. I struggled with these images a little, and although I may have a few that I feel could work well in my book, I wasn’t particularly blown away by any. Amelia agreed with this, and we decided to look back through the originals together to see if we could find an image that did the trick. The piece I used in those images worked the best due to its shape. This allowed me to experiment with the lighting and almost create a silhouette of the piece, outlining its lumpy surface, yet still enough lighting on it to capture the colours. The bike basket photos are also up there with one of my favourite scenarios. It took us a while to find the best angle and capture the piece naturally, but we got these in the end. Another great thing about these images are that they are colourful and bright. This is something I want to be conscious of when putting my book together, mixing up the images and being conscious of which are light and dark, so therefore this image will mostly likely feature in the centre of my book. Another strong point about the brightness and colour of this image is that it makes it and all round beautiful image; the flowers really give the image a focus point, cause the eye to have to wander along in order to find the piece. Because the piece is more hidden in these photos, the viewer has to look a little harder, but by that point the viewer will understand the purpose of the book and will understand that the piece needs to be looked for. With the bookshelf images, I wanted to keep these rather simple. I wasn’t sure whether the lamp in the background should stay in the images so I experimented a little with removing it from the images. We later decided that the images were more successful with the lamp in as it makes it feel more natural and in someones home environment. The colours of the bookshelf really bring out the colours in the piece. This piece worked best in this series of images, and I think that’s due to the solid yellow base glaze.

Now I need to whittle it down to 1 chosen image from each series, leaving me wth a total of 8 images. Then to get it into InDesign and a double check with both Amelia and Dan P before sending off the the printer!

 

 

Photographs: Studio Desk

I’m still pretty happy with how the first round of photographs came out. I managed to get in to see Amelia and show her the ones I have picked out so far for the final. I found this extremely helpful as it gave me a much better insight into what these photos need to be doing. Whilst looking over these photos, we kicked a few of them out of the group as they were not working as well as the others. I knew that there would need to be a few more days where I would have to keep myself free in order to take photos, so after speaking with Amelia we managed to figure out the images that are the strongest that I have taken so far, and which ones didn’t quite make the cut.

Before speaking with Amelia I had the chance to take some more photos. This time I used the space in the studio, and took advantage of peoples personalised desks. This also gave me a chance to work with different people in my photographs. Unfortunately none of these photos made the cut; there was just something not right about them. The biggest problem was that the photos seemed too staged, therefore overlooking the real purpose of the photos. The idea and theory were there behind them, but they just weren’t strong enough to make it into the book. Here are some examples below:

 

 

At the time I thought it was going to be a problem and set me back quite a bit, however looking back now I have all my finals I am glad to say it was the right decision letting this series go. After this, I planned out the next batch of photos that I wanted to get together. Trying to get myself back into the swing of making natural photographs, I headed out for another try.

 

A Good Day for a Photoshoot

Sunday’s are always good days to get out and do something creative, it’s personally my favourite day of the week. So I used my Sunday to take myself, my good friends Andrew and Charlotte, and my little clay tumours. I had already made a list of places that I was hoping to visit for the photographs in order to structure and organise the day:

  • The Early Bird cafe (Woodville Road)
  • Cathays train station
  • The fruit market
  • Tesco/ other supermarket stores
  • Andrews car dashboard
  • Cardiff centre market
  • Roath Park/ Bute Park
  • Ice cream van

Luckily Charlotte used to work with the lady that owns the Early Bird cafe, so it definitely took the edge of trying to explain what I wanted to do there, avoiding the possibility of assaulting both her and her customers. Sites such as the train station, the parks and Andrews car also came easily to me as I didn’t have to ask for permission or brief anyone on the subject. After checking out some of the locations and giving them a little more thought when convening with my helpers, I decided against heading into any supermarket stores. I originally planned these into my day as I was working along similar lines of the bookcase idea, where the tumours can be placed on a shelf and amongst other daily objects and situations that offer opportunity for human interaction, yet I decided against this as I wanted to keep any branding out of my photographs.


The Early Bird 

Our first stop for the day was to the Early Bird Cafe. As said before Charlotte has worked with the owner preciously, and she turned out to be an absolute sweetheart. She was very kind and welcoming and spent the time to talk with me about my work too. It turns out her mother works with her also, and she used to do ceramics herself, so many fruitful conversations were had. We ordered two pots of tea and a cinnamon bun.

We go stuck into the photo’s pretty quickly, and the setting turned out to be extremely wonderful for the type of photographs that I had been hoping to take. Due to the Cafe being pretty new, the pottery and cutlery used for our table were all unbranded and luckily they were similar colours to my chosen colour scheme. This meant that my images had some consistency and they didn’t become too busy or difficult to look at. Other colours were pretty neutral such as soft greys, beiges and browns. I took full use of the situation we were in; using all of our bodies that were present meant that we could experiment with the level of human interaction in the photos.

It was through these first batch of photographs that I realised something about the people in my photos. I found them to be more successful when there were only parts of the body featuring in the photos, and what I found to work the most were the hands. The hands are a intimate part of the body and they are usually the first point of interaction with other objects and people. This also gives me a great opportunity to still work with different ages; as well as intimate, the hands are also quite unique to the individual. They can harbour many unique traits that represent their personality, these can range from skin blemishes such as moles or scars, or jewellery such as wedding rings. This also can apply to the older audience, soft and wrinkled hands will do just as well if not better than featuring a full bodied person. This means there is equal focus on both the ceramic pieces and the amount of human interaction in the images, which makes for a successful image. The images where there is no human interaction present leaves the photo feeling staged and a little lifeless, and seem like they are just missing something. Another aspect of these photos that I thought worked really well for the composition, are the people that feature in the background. The camera I used had a feature that let me alter how blurred the back ground information is. This came in handy for one shot in particular, with the objects on the table in focus and the main focal point of the image, yet in the background, although out of focus, are clear silhouettes of two people conversing over drinks and food. I think the birds-eye view shot of the table can be a really successful, but i’m just not sure whether it is working for this scenario. Maybe it would work a little better if the items and the arms were placed a little better, with the camera being straight and inline with the table, parallel with the negative space.

Here are some of my favourite shots from this location:


The Car Dashboard

Another setting that I wanted to shoot my ceramic pieces in is the dashboard of a car. Luckily for me, one of my helpers Andrew drove us to all the locations. I found the idea of using a car dashboard rather fitting as a wide number of people us this as form of transport each day. Another interesting thing about dashboards is that they are usually personalised to that owner of the car. Whether this is a cluster of forget-me-nots tied around the rear view mirror, or heap of keep-me-sakes clustered on the dashboard, all these things bring you hints of the owners personality and can potentially represent enough human interaction in the photographs, however this is something to be explored. When taking the photographs, we began stationary. We had a little play about with where to put the piece, to see where it sat well and comfortably (both for the photographs and also in a position where it wouldn’t fall and break). I grew a little anxious of the outcomes of the photos, as they seemed to be coming out a little dark, however because the sun came out to play with us, the light that was coming through the front window allowed for us to play with lighting and shadows. However, when a few photos had been taken I checked back over them and decided that it would be better if we started to drive around a little more, to mix up the view outside of the front window, and also capture the natural movements of the driver interacting with the car, making the images feel a little less staged. By doing this that meant we sometimes captured other people going about their day to day business outside of the car; this sort of reinforced the idea of people getting on with their lives whilst struggling with the disease, and the people around you can be blissfully aware of what you’re going through. It makes me think of how we should always be kind to others as we just don’t know what battles everyone else are facing. In these photos we managed to get some profiles of both the driver and passenger of the car. Again, these details were dark but clear enough to make out the silhouette of what is happening. This also worked well for the composition of these images, give them some breadth and a sort of frame. Here are some of the photos that I felt worked well:


The Train Station

I was quite excited for this location. I thought there might be some great opportunities to include a wide range of people in the photographs. I was hoping there would be a range of people waiting to catch a train, however unfortunately it was ever so quiet that day. I wanted to see ifI could explore with different ages here, but alas no. But the sun was still on our side and we took full advantage of this glory. This location was great to experiment with different camera angles, and also the colours of the shelter and the lines that cropped up in my images made by platforms and tracks really contributed to the composition and structure of my images, giving them depth and horizon lines. From the shoot in the cafe, I wanted to re-visit the idea of shooting an image from birds-eye view. This angle also seems as though we are shooting it from the perspective of the person involved in the photographs. I wasn’t too sure if this was something that I wanted to portray in my images; I hadn’t planned to give any kind of human perspective or narrative in the images, more as though the photos had been captured without knowledge, almost capturing a a rare and natural moment in someones life as they are interacting, handling and living with this disease. This time instead of using hands, we headed more towards including the feet and shoes in the image. In the instances where we included the hands, we used props such as a mobile phone to enforce the fact that this person isn’t particularly paying attention to whats around him/her. However what I found by including this kind of actually felt like I was targeting a younger audience, seeing as the youth of today seem to be tied to their electronic devices. However these images also have strong composition and colours throughout, so it may be an idea to revisit this location and retake these images without having the phone included. With these photographs, I feel like the more successful images are the ones where the ceramic tumour is further away from the person, as though it is lingering behind, catching up with them or shadowing their steps.

There’s also something rather sinister about this batch of photos. When you take the plunge to look and think a little deeper into the setting here, it boils down to ‘waiting’. Waiting for the train to arrive, waiting for someone to get off; there is anticipation in these photos which seem to have an interesting link with the tumours that are lingering around. I don’t know about you, but it makes me rather anxious.


The Steps

Whilst at the train station I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of what else was around me that I could use for some good photos. There were some steps that took you over to the other side of the station, and we thought this may also be a good chance to get some photos with the chance of including passers-by. Like with the station photos, these kind of shots featured more feet and shoes rather than hands, when people walked up and down the steps. At first I wasn’t too sure if these photos were working and speaking the message that I needed them to, but when I looked back at the photos I began to find some that worked well. By having feet clearly walking past these objects, it again reinforces that people tend to carry on and put these thoughts to the back of their minds rather than directly deal with it. I was hoping there would be more human interaction in the photos, however it wasn’t too busy, and people seemed to shy away from the objects (which is rather interesting). We quickly learned that the photos worked much better when they weren’t so crammed and busy, with one or two people featuring being enough. The sun had become a little lower in these photos but this worked well for it shining onto the steps on how it highlighted the object. When using this location, I decided that this ceramic object worked best for the location and the lighting. As this one was rather spikey, lumpy and the heaviest of them all, yet it seems to be the one that is stands out the most due it its vibrant blue colours. I also want to be conscious of what tumours I use for each photograph and how many times they feature in photographs in order to have an equal appearance throughout. When looking back over the images, I thought the ones where the camera is further away from the object were the more successful ones, but after conversing with others, it seemed as thought the images where I am closer to the image and there is less of the person’s body shown to be the more successful.


The Bench

We took a little trip down to Roath park. We originally went there in order to see if we could get our hands on a happy ice-cream van man. It seemed like a great idea at the time-  ask if I can put the objects in the window of the van, and photograph the amount of involvement and human interaction when someone buys an ice-cream, and the process of making and handing over the ice-cream. However, I soon shot this idea down, because I think it is a little silly and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the images I have taken so far. Also, buying an ice-cream isn’t exactly part of the everyday- mostly just the summer. This also takes me back creating relationships between the objects and dieting.

Once this idea had gone, we wandered around to see what else we could use for some photos. All we could really find was a bench, but it seemed to be rather lovely. It was simplistic and minimalist and fit within the these of my photos so far, so we decided to give it a go. The photo’s seemed to be working well, and we managed to capture the activities of others around us. The sun was even lower by this point yet still bright. It wasn’t until I got home and looked over the photos until I realised that maybe the images came out a little too bright, leaving me unsure whether or not I shall be using them. Saying that, the concept of them work really well and there is a good level of ignorance and acceptance in these images.


These are all the photos that I got from the first day. I feel like I have a good and strong selection of photographs from this day, and there definitely some in here that I think will make the final cut. Now I want to go back through all of these photos and begin to filter them out into the most successful ones, and touch them up. Once this has been done, I can take the pictures to both Amelia and Dan and see what they think.

 

 

 

Plans for Photographs

Now that my pieces are ready to be worked with, I decided to do some sketches of how I imagine this process to go. I started to think about the scenarios I wanted to put these pieces into, and there were quite a few things I had to take into consideration. I am constantly reminding myself of the subject matter I am dealing with here. I want to be mindful of where I take my pieces to be photographed, taking into consideration the places that I approach and how they may react to my asking of photographing there, and also to be careful of the people that may be around me when I am taking these photos, and being careful not to upset anyone around me.

For these photos, I wanted think about what we do in our day-to-day lives and on our daily routines. So to do this I retraced my steps through these past few days to get to grips on how many things I personally do on my routines that I could potentially use to as settings for some photographs. So here’s what I get up to on a normal day:

Wake up, wash my face and make my bed. In the kitchen, make a cup of tea and breakfast, and have a little tidy up and make my lunch for the day. Afterwards, go back to my bedroom and get ready for the day, and pack up my backpack. Leaving for the bus or getting my belongings together in my bike basket, I head into University. There I make, draw, write and think a whole range of things. When i’m done, I head home, make dinner, do some work and then head off to sleep.

That is a normal day for me. There are plenty of situations there that I could use for scenarios for some photographs, and would like to see if I can make this happen. The reason I want to use some of these scenarios are because although this is my daily routine, it is probably rather similar to those of others. In terms of making cups of tea and breakfast, lunch and dinner, these are pretty much world-wide routines therefore people will be able to relate and connect.

I then started to think about everyone else and what people may get up to outside of their homes and establishments. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but more along the lines of meeting someone for tea or lunch, driving, waiting for a bus or train, shopping in either a supermarket or home store. These are just base ideas that I shall develop through sketches. The most important aspect to stick with through these photos is to highlight the everyday, and that sadly, cancer is always there and around us. These objects are here to be used as talking points, hoping to further develop understanding and perceptions of the subject.

Here are some sketches of the kind of photographs I am looking to take:

As you can see from the sketches, I am looking to keep my photographs rather simple and minimalist. I don’t want there to be too much happening in my photo’s, so that the viewers eye scans the image for a while before meeting the object. I want there to be enough there and enough going on to resemble the situation I am trying to portray, but not too much the the viewer is confused and flooded by a busy image, losing the point and focus.

I am also keen to include people in my images. This then helps reinforce the routines I am recreating for the photographs, but most importantly it brings it back to the human. One thing I have been conscious of throughout this project is trying to remain humane and sensitive. It’s rather easy to move away from the person with a subject matter of this sort, and focus on the science of it all, however I would like these objects to come hand in hand with the people they are put around. Something that I am paying close attention to are the people tat I could to feature in my photographs. I am trying to appeal and reach out to all audiences, not just a specific age. To avoid this, I am going to attempt to use people of all different ages groups, ethnicities and cultures. Hopefully this way I can reach out to all audiences possible. Another thing whilst taking my photos to be aware of, is not making the set up seem too staged; I would like my photos to be a natural as they can be.

SUCCESSFUL SKETCHES

Out of the sketches above, the ones that stood out to me the most and that I think will create a successful image include the two people sharing a pot of tea together, someone eating a meal, having the object in a bag/handbag and I am warming to the birds eye view of someone’s working desk. The sketch of the object being present whilst someone is sleeping on the sofa gives off strong creepy and unsettling vibes; I find this interesting as it gives these photographs a new dimension and perception of the disease. and what i’m trying to get these photos to say. The same goes for the object sitting on a shelf/bookcase/in a cupboard; the notion of opening a cupboard door to reach for something and almost brush past one of these tumours to simply close the door on it again is rather interesting. Again it has a rather sinister vibe to it- again it is almost as if it is playing a game of hide and seek, waiting to be found to jump out at you or make you jump.. depending on how hard we are looking. these are some photos that I would definitely like to attempt at capturing successfully.

The sketch of the fruit bowl leaves me a little unsure. This is because I don’t want to relate these cancerous objects to any kind of lifestyle. For example I will not be photographing my tumours in situations that involve drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. So the same goes for the fruit bowl; I do not want to put my pieces in and amongst other pieces of fruit to avoid the viewer drawing connections with cancer and healthy lifestyle. The same could go for the shopping basket too, the ingredients and items that are collected in the basket could also cause connections to be made to lifestyle choices.

 

Research: Dam Lam

I stumbled across an article recently on Juxtapoz showcasing Dan Lam’s work. I immediately fell in love. It didn’t specify greatly what her aims are for these pieces, but as described in the article, they could be anything from forms from another planet, or remnants from a radioactive spill. She works across media, employing foam, resins, wood and paint.

What stood out for me the most with Lam’s work have to be the forms and colours used. As you know by now my love for shape and colours combined have grown immensely over these past few months so I found myself extremely drawn to this work. Hanging on walls, it would be difficult to not let these pieces catch your eye. The way she used the colours and the tiny details can’t help but make you feel as though they are pulsating towards you, almost as though you could be covered in this mass within a matter of minutes. Being able to create work that gives the impression that for all you know it could be a live, I find an incredible skill to have, and is something I wish to hold within my own works.