I said that Christmas intervened in my thinking with. Inevitably, it involved some family fun and some family photos. There can often be something quite surreal about these Christmas get-togethers. So some of the photos of the photos have a touch of surreal ambiguity about them.
Photographs can certainly tell stories but they can also ask questions! And trying to answer the questions can raise new ones and make the whole thing even more complicated … Or is this the ‘decisive moment’?
Which brings me and my ‘Thinking With’ indoors. Into this ‘stream of consciousness’ approach to image making comes an impromptu self portrait.
I’m not sure this approach is clarifying anything! And something photographed ‘to see what it looked like photographed’ (thank you Gary).
Which brings me to the matter of ‘Still Life’. That artistic genre led me through the latter stages of Level Two and I am well aware that I am not likely to drop it anytime soon. Time to do some thinking with it. I like a flat, even, subtle light (see most of the landscapes above); so some experimentation with my ‘studio lights’, designed to achieve the subtlety one might associate with a still life painting.
The differences are subtle – but the top one works best for me – a single 500 watt bulb, turned upwards and away, then diffused with a hand-held diffusing ring. It could, perhaps, be brightened a little, but I approve of the soft, even feel – some important, subtle judgements in trying to get this sort of thing just right.
The contemporary ‘still-lifers’ that I studied for my Level Two essay – Lucas Blalock, for example – like to experiment with ordinary objects, rather than the traditional still life ‘matter’. This is some colourful electrical tape, with a cleaning cloth.
And, like all good, thrifty still-lifers, I can combine, re-use, and experiment with familiar, easy-to-hand objects.
But my real interest in digital still life lies in the scope to experiment further and test the boundaries. I’ve said that one of my objectives in my ‘Body of Work‘ module is to explore and exploit the potential of digital image-making. I’m interested asking ‘What can we actually do with this process? and ‘What does that look like?’. The words that occur to me are “disruption and subversion”. What happens when we blatantly use the power that digital processes give us and disrupt the normal flow, subverting the genre.
What happens when we subvert the very idea of ‘still’ still life. (cf. – Ori Gersht & Sam Taylor-Wood, who have produced moving still lifes). This following type of image really interests me.
I find it visually attractive, slightly intimidating … it challenges me to try and decide what it is. I could print it big & beautiful, and hang it on a gallery wall – in which case it would definitely be ‘real’. But what is it an image of, and why do I find it attractive. I do feel the need to explore more of this within my Body of Work. I am, though, as mentioned right at the start of this blog, very wary of getting too far up my own backside with intellectualising. That still troubles me and I wonder whether I should be looking at a more personal project.