My Thoughts On The Vogue 100 Exhibition

Announcing-Vogue-100-A-Century-of-Style.-Opening-February-2016-our-new-exhibition-will-showcase-the-

As a part of my final requirement this term we have been set to visit and review a photography exhibition. A month ago I saw an advertisement for Vogue 100 at the  National Portrait Gallery and was instantly curious as I had previously visited the Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition at the Saatchi gallery and fallen in love. I instantly thought that these galleries would be similar in their approach to curation and the way that they intended to showcase their journey. This post is therefore going to share some reflections of how the company was represented through exhibition.

There is no denying that vogue is the most successful fashion magazine and organisation to grace the earth. Hudson described Vogue’s photography as “turning fashion photography from a relatively simple technical process into an art form of almost limitless possibilities. Thanks (or perhaps no thanks) to Vogue, photography has become intrinsic to the way we appreciate and consume clothes, to the extent that people are often now buying the idea behind the photograph, rather than the garment in their hands”.

The influence that vogue has had on fashion photography as a whole is remarkable and has been a personal inspiration behind some of my personal work. Therefore I was utterly disappointed to see that the exhibition did not do the photography justice. This was mainly down to the way that the exhibition was laid out. Firstly as you entered into the space you were confronted by a massive projection giving you a first glimpse as what was to come. This featured video work and behind the scene footage which was actually an inspired way to start the journey. However after this there was no direction as to how to proceed, so much so that I had to ask the member of staff. For an exhibition which is celebrating the 100 years of a magazine you would imagine that the photographs would be organised chronologically so you could appreciate the progression of the magazine through the ages. However my friend and I found ourselves walking all the way down through each decade along the corridor to reach the start. This somewhat spoilt the experience as we therefore had an idea of what was to come and there was no element of surprise or awe. The curator Robin Muir designed the exhibition to allow people to travel back in time through the work, however personally I would have wanted this to be explained right at the beginning of the exhibition as then we wouldn’t have experienced confusion which distracted from the beautiful photography.

The décor in each room was undoubtedly  beautiful and allowed the viewer to become part of that decade and therefore see the work in a new light. My favourite was the 1940’s room in which the walls were polished red. This room felt intimate and luxurious and was intended to show off the ‘new look’ after the war time restrictions. It is necessary to note that the photographer’s credits were for the most part missing from the wall. I imagine that this is because Muir wanted the walls to minimalist and for the viewer to have their own opinions about the work before being told facts about the image. Nonetheless for someone like myself who is interested in following some wider reading on the subject it was rather unclear.

I understand this review is becoming rather negative (which is not normally my style) therefore I am going to highlight some of the aspects which I thoroughly enjoyed. Firstly the choice of photography was spectacular. I felt that the beauty which was depicted in the visuals WAS something to be celebrated, taking you into a world beyond the boundaries of the frame. By engaging with the photography on display it is easy to understand that vogue is a magazine which is not just a fashion bible but is a brand which influences our British culture. Each image carries an untouchable lifestyle aspiration in which the viewer is longing to achieve.

Please find below the three images which stood out beyond others and have made a lasting impression. These are the photographs which fought beyond the distracting layout of the gallery, restoring some of my faith in the exhibition. My personal advice to anyone who is interested in the exhibition is to go along and experience the diverse and gorgeous photography. However do not expect this to be anything more than a simple exhibition, there is hardly any interaction or innovative displays, a celebration for fashion photography not for art curation.

 

Patrick Demarchlier (1987) Vogue cover December 1987

Tim Walker(2009) Alexander Mcqueen

Norman Parkinson (1956) ANNE GUNNING OUTSIDE THE CITY PALACE

 

1987_12_b_240x360alexander-mqueen-vogue-oct09-p264-tim-walker_b_320x480

npa-0005_main_image

Mark Hudson (2016) Vogue 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery, review: ‘leaves you reeling’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/what-to-see/vogue-100-a-century-of-style-national-portrait-gallery-review-l / (29/02/16)

 

Norman Parkinson (1956) ANNE GUNNING OUTSIDE THE CITY PALACE

(http://www.normanparkinson.com/archive/anne-gunning-outside-city-palace-jaipur-india-vogu/ (29/02/16)

 

Patrick Demarchlier (1987) Vogue cover December 1987  http://www.vogue.co.uk/magazine/archive/issue/1987/December (29/02/16)

 

Tim Walker(2009) Alexander Mcqueen http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2015/01/23/alexander-mcqueen-savage-beauty-exhibition-more-dates-extra-tickets (29/02/16)

 

Time Walker (2009) Alexander Mcqueen http://www.timwalkerphotography.com/portraits (29/02/16)

 

Advertisements

Darkroom Composition Experiments 

Darkroom photograms are one of the best ways to work freely and create a large amount of experimental work quickly! I was looking for a way to become more creative with my compositions and start overlaying my separate visual work together as one. I find that by printing my work onto acetate I can move elements around into the perfect place and really start to get to grips with the fundamental design principles (i.e repetition and clustering of imagery). The quality which I admire the most about photograms is the fact that you can never really predict what will be created and each image will never be the same as the last. All these little imperfections and ‘happy mistakes’ are what give the images more character than a traditional pen and ink illustration.


  
  
  
  
  

Continuing With ‘Wake Up Call’…

As a starting point to creating my own visuals I am using my photographs that I took from my trips around Oxford Street and Chelsea. I started off on the Fulham Road with Colefax and Fowler (an interior design company who I have done some work for before) and then wondered through to the Kings Road and the Saatchi Gallery. Chelsea is such a beautiful ornate place with lots of small beauties on the streets which are taken for granted. For example I loved the way that each house is slightly different and part of the owners personalities shine through. Therefore it only seems fitting to create my compositions out of each of the interesting objects and details that I obsess over.

12755328_10201473954368220_1141607680_o12596927_10201473953688203_708294228_o12754902_10201473953848207_1118088808_o12754819_10201473954048212_485259718_o

I illustrated each photograph in my normal style with pen and ink on cartridge paper. I always find that I want to create interesting compositional work and be experimental with my style but this is so hard to do when you are at home and the facilities are obviously limited. Therefore I printed all of my visuals onto acetate so as I could overlay them and create repeats. I planned just to use these in the darkroom to create photogram’s however this always creates a negative image because the blocked areas from the light sensitive paper is the area which stays white. Therefore I decided to experiment with my photocopier at home creating some arrangements and seeing which illustrations complimented each other. I feel that these designs embody the hidden details from such iconic areas and hopefully reflect on the lifestyle with a little bit of a twist.

Stay tune for my dark room experiments!

Gathering Inspiration On Oxford Street

Wake Up Call is a new project I have been working on, and it all about professionalism and finding who we want to be as a practitioner. Therefore there are boundaries to what we can produce, the real question is, where do I start?

My work so far hasn’t branched further than paper surfaces, therefore I want to brake this habit and start making something more practical which is more than just an image. How I plan to do this is by creating my own clothing line with illustrations within the designs. I am always drawn to patterns and bold graphic designs within fashion, and here I have the opportunity to but my passion into my own work.

I have thrown around a few ideas of subject matter and contacted companies such a Pocket London to enquire about their inspirations for their clothing. My main thought at the moment is to have a series of designs based on the finer details of the London shopping districts. I want the imagery to feature small beautiful details which get lost in the surroundings and crowds of people. For example, when was the last time you looked at the architecture above the high-street shops on oxford street? There are some beautiful and traditional stonework which are never noticed due to the bright lights of the contemporary stores.

Window shopping in Selfridges is also an amazing way to get inspired and motivated. The creativity of the designers they represent is just outstanding, especially in the denim suite. Some of my favourite brands were Widfox, Forte Couture, Etre Cecile, Au Jar Le Jour and Kuccica-check them all out you will be amazed! These designers all have elements of illustration within their work and I intend to combine the bright colours, icons, slogans and pattern into my own visuals. I also visited Urban Outiftters and Topshop expecting some ideas to come to me, however I was completely disappointed after my trip to Selfridges. I think this is because Selfridges is obviously high fashion and full of designers which strive to create unique looks which do not have to fit the needs of the general public. Although some of Topshop’s collection (especially the brands in the basement) are quirky and interesting visually, these are copies from the brands shown in Selfridges. It is best to get inspiration from the leaders in fashion design , rather than the toned down versions we see in normal high-street shops.

Please see my next post for my inspiration photographs.

 

 

Jeanne Dunning, The Blob 4 (1999)

2001_19

“Jeanne Dunning maps out a reflection on the relationship to the female body that, instead of questioning the domain of appearances, is rooted in the deconstruction of the relationship to the flesh.” (Lauzon, 2007)

 

Jeanne Dunning is a photographer whose work resonates in the mind as being powerful and a unique angle on the relationship between women and their bodies. In The Blob 4 There has been a bag of silicon substance placed over the body of a woman to exaggerate the flesh and the organs of the human torso. In the video which accompanies the image, the woman seems to be attempting to dress the blob in silk clothing, portraying the distress that comes from women clothing themselves. In essence the blob represents the embarrassment we have over our physicality and the vulnerability which arises from being exposed (Cotton. C 2009). The blob seems to be a mixture of oversized organs and bulging flesh which is out of control, much like the way that we cannot fully have power over the way which our body works.

Somehow this image creates an uncomfortable environment, which is also familiar. Dunning displays an exaggerated idea of how we can feel when our bodies are taking over our emotions. It is easy to say that we do not care about the size and shape of our features, however there is always an underlying need to achieve perfection, this is undeniably part of our human nature. As a result, Dunning has created more than a photograph; this is a conceptional piece of artwork in which the idea is of more value than the physical image itself. The more the audience begin to understand The Blob the more they are able to admire Dunning’s insight into our unconscious self.

 

Rachel Lauzon (2007) Jeanne Dunning http://www.centrevox.ca/en/exposition/jeanne-dunning-2/ (07/02/16)

 

Jeanne Dunning (1999) The Blob 4 http://www.mocp.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=browse&f=maker&s=Dunning%2C+Jeanne&record=2 (07/02/16)

 

MoCP (2016) Jeanne Dunning http://www.mocp.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=browse&f=maker&s=Dunning%2C+Jeanne&record=2 (07/02/16)

 

Cotton, C. (2009) The Photograph as Contemporary Art, London: Thames and Hudson

 

Book Binding My Final Publication For NOTW

Book binding is something which always terrifies me as it is the last stage of making a publication, however if you get it wrong you have to start all over again! My initial plan was to perfectly bind A3 sheets together with a larger sheet of paper to wrap around the main pages making up the front and back covers. However when I went to the workshop to ask for advice the staff told me that because I didn’t have enough pages the glue wouldn’t hold my card together. Therefore I did a cheat way of binding my book were the finished publication appears perfectly bound, but was achieved in a fifth of the time!

Firstly the pages inside the publication (including the end pages) were held together along the left hand side would be using a staple machine. The next stage was to use a hammer and some scrap paper to make sure the staples were smooth along the surface of the paper, so as they would not show through the front cover. Meanwhile the member of staff helped to use the guillotine to cut and fold the front cover into shape. It is key that you have a piece of paper bigger (I used A1 of the same recycled card) than your main pages as you need to leave space for a spine.

I know the images are not the best demonstration , however the first photograph was when I had slotted the pages inside of the sleeve ready to glue together. There is two strips of paper on the front and back of the cover (seen in the second image) which needed to be glued straight onto my first end sheet, so as the strength in not jut reliant on the spine of the book. This was done with PVA glue as the adhesive drys quickly and is easy to maneuver into place when slightly tacky. The final stage was to just trim the edges of the book with the guillotine so as all of the pages align perfectly , giving a professional finish.

The images of my final publication will be posted as soon as possible, I promise!

Presenting To QBE

Today was the BIG day where we had to go as a group down to QBE Insurance on Fenchurch Street to pitch to the client our design proposal-apprentice style. As a team we decided to create smaller versions of the spheres that we intend to use in our structure, so as they would be able to further visualize our idea and how it would look in their new reception foyer. We also printer some flyers featuring our most successful illustrations and the 100 proposal on the back which reads…

Our idea is to create a sphere around 1.5 metres in height, made of clear acrylic. This will represent ‘the world’ of QBE, this will then encase 38 smaller spheres, each one representing a country in which QBE has offices. Each of the smaller spheres will then contain an air plant.

The reason that we wanted to work with plants is because of their growth, this will echo the growth of QBE as a large company, an element that we were keen to include in our piece. We also feel that the organic shape of the piece and the plants will juxtapose the straight lines and interior of the new foyer perfectly.

The presentation went as well as I had hoped, with us being able to fully describe our idea to them without confusion! We also went into detail, mentioning how we are already contacting suppliers in reference to the large acrylic sphere and sourcing the cheapest air plants. We also left one of the air plants for the company to keep so as they will remember our team, and also be able to test the air plants at home! Now we have to wait to see if we are lucky enough to get commissioned for the foyer, fingers crossed!

 

My Illustrations For NOTW

As I have mentioned before , I created illustrations which were inspired by each issue mentioned in the Blackfish documentary film. Here are a few of my most successful imagery, alongside a test piece where I could experiment with how the images will appear when printed on the correct papers. The illustrations are simple line drawings which are clear and easy to interpret, and able to tell the story without the use of text. For example the drawing of Dawn Brancheau (the lady who tragically lost her life whilst training Tilikum) has also got Orca markings above her eye just like the whale which attacks her. This was to show that although the trainers believe that they have control over this animal, they are mistaken as they are intelligent powerful creatures who are able to overcome us and defend their freedom.

As you can see I have also created a small blue icon in which I intend to have one each page so as the reader can follow the image and understand my line of thought. This icon has been based on the Sea World logo, as although this publication has been heavily based on this amusement park I intend the reader to figure this out themselves as they move through the publication. In other words, they start off not knowing anything about the story, and finish with a full understanding of the issues within the park (without me directly relaying them).