Printing my final outcome was unintentionally completed with two bursts of creativity. The first section of work (the first ten prints) followed the same guidelines as I set up through my research and experimentation stage. I laid out out my smaller photograms which were visually successful and begun to recreate them by placing the same negatives together on the larger page. The main problem that I encountered was placing them correctly onto the photographic paper as I wanted all the imagery to be central and balanced. This was particularly difficult as the negatives are opaque and therefore you need to assess by eye how much space you have either side of the main image and therefore where to place onto the photographic paper.
The second section of my outcomes (the final ten prints) became much more experimental and playful within my approach. I had reached a place where I had created a set of good prints which could be used within my final outcome, and therefore I could play around with more ‘risky’ compositions. For example, I begun a set of self-portraits in which I printed my own side profile onto the photographic paper. This allowed me to interact with the visuals, which was fitting as this has been such a personal project that I felt that I could really play around with the composition of my features and the drawing work. At the beginning I had also discarded some negatives which didn’t work as well within the initial experiments, but I began to bring them back into the outcomes so as I have a broader range of visuals to edit.
After I had created 20 prints, I then went up to the finishing room to trim around the dead edges of my prints. As I was using guides within the darkroom, some of the edges of the paper ended up white as they had got caught underneath the metal. I therefore decided to take off 5mm around each edge so as to create a perfect finish. This also got rid of any finger marks or handling creases when printing.
The next stage before the final critique next is to begin to choose how to present my outcomes to the group. I have got at least 15 usable prints, however I am looking to edit this down to roughly 10 in total. This will not necessarily feature the best visuals, but the ones which are consistent and flow to create a narrative. The way I am going to approach this is by picking out the prints which I think are the most successful compositionally and conceptually. I will then look at ordering them and seeing how they work within grid formats and as individuals.
Visuals are coming soon, keep your eyes peeled.
I have made a fair amount of progress this week within the research of my final outcome and through experimentation in the darkroom space.
I decided to use A2 paper negatives as the transparencies for the large scale outcomes. This is both a cheaper option, but also when tested the negatives create a higher contrast image. The lens based technology technician looked at both my visuals produced by acetate and paper, and assessed the density in each format. There was a greater difference between the blacks and the transparent sections within the paper negatives and this is why the final image produced is consistently high in quality. Furthermore, the ink on top of the acetate that I used bubbles when printed as there was no absorbent layer and this meant that the white sections in the final image were speckled.
I also tested the contrast of the image so as the lightest tones within the image are pure white and the darkest are pure black. The best way of testing contrast is by adding a magenta filter when exposing the image. Although this creates the true black and whites when set to scale five, there is no in-between tone which is not what I am aiming for. Therefore if I half the setting to 2.5 magenta I am not compromising the contrast of the print, but allowing for some shades to appear between the two extremes, also defining the individual layers.
Another test to complete was that of the exposure time to insure the light can absorb through the negatives. When using acetate negatives I set the exposure time to roughly 30 seconds and the aperture on the enlarger to one ‘click’ above the lowest. However as the white areas in the paper negatives are not completely clear, a high aperture was used and the exposure time was quadrupled. I found that this allowed for the second negative layer to be picked up and for a distinction between the two, meaning that I ended up with a foreground middle ground and background in structure.
The next stage is to edit my body of work so as I am able to understand which compositions work well together, but also which imagery should be placed within the visuals. When discussing with my tutor, it was clear that all obvious forms of communication should be avoided, therefore symbols such as hearts and cliché wording should be a minimum. This means that my imagery will become more abstract and interesting as the audience will not be focused on the decorative nature of some of my original drawings, but more on understanding the meaning behind the visuals. I feel that the darkroom is the workshop which is also inherent to my subject matter, sue to the fact that I am working in darkness. At the centre of this project is an exploration into the unknown and gaining an understanding how my body works inside. The darkroom allows me to concentrate, and metaphorically enter inside the darkness of my body to bring to light my imaginative visuals. I am effectively painting with light and creating x-ray like images which illustrate and bring positivity to Coeliac Disease.
My aim this week is to print the larger scale photograms in the darkroom, focusing on presentation and consistency. Each of the photograms must flow into one another and create a narrative to the audience as a whole. I will then be experimental even in my final outcome to create a body of work which is of a high quality but the subject matter is rich also.
At the beginning of the week I found myself at a slight dead end as the deadline of the project is looming and therefore that means a final outcome. Although experimenting with animation was a good way of creating narrative and understanding my journey through the visuals, I found that I couldn’t really take the process any further as it was not doing my drawing justice. Therefore, it was a matter of brainstorming what ideas needed to be present within the outcome and finding a process which would run parallel with this concept.
I discussed with my tutor the black and white colouring which has ran throughout my project and how my imagery will take on a new strength if the blacks were truly black and the whites truly white. This is how I created the colours when I originally painting the images with Indian ink, and therefore I feel this intensity need to run through to the final outcome with high contrasts present. The black with is created through photocopying is produced from a carbon dust and this is why the colour produced is so rich, but also darkroom photographic black is similar in contrast. Therefore, I am going in a full circle back to photograms for a final outcome.
It is important to consider the scale of the series of photograms so as to emphasis the message of each individual print to the audience. I am aiming to complete at least 10 16×20 inch black and white photographic photograms with layered acetates to combine my Indian ink drawings within one composition.
The finish of the outcome must be professional so as it can form a section of my portfolio, therefore testing imagery on a smaller scale is necessary. I began by printing onto acetate a range of my visuals so as I could work freely within the darkroom, composing multiple layers within the frame. I then tested and marked down each exposure and shutter speed within the darkroom itself so as I can recreate the same settings in the final run. I realized that I could not create a perfectly contrasted print as when I printed the white was slightly grey and therefore the black backgrounds were also off colour. This was not a massive issue for the first test run as I now know that I must edit the digital versions before printing them onto acetate for the final images.
After I had a series of photograms completed at 8×10 inches in size, I went to photocopy a selection in the library so as I could enlarge in imagery to test how the visuals appear. The photocopiers in University only print A3, but with a bit of folding I reached approximately A2 size with gave me an indication of the scale for the final outcome. When observing them in a grid format, it is clear that there cannot be too much repetition between the prints, but also the images with large spaces of white are the most aesthetic otherwise darkness can take over the details.
My next step is to look into purchasing the materials and getting acetates printed for the negatives. This is not a cheap process as the darkroom paper has already cost me £60, ad printing the acetate at university will be £16 a sheet at A2 size! As a result, I am looking to experiment with paper negatives which will take longer to expose in the darkroom but may create the same effect. I did experiment with this in the darkroom on a smaller scale with some paper prints that I had printed at staples, but I couldn’t quite figure out the exposure when layered. This is something to experiment with further and try different exposures or even different enlargers so as I can create the cheapest but best quality imagery.
Its fair to say that I think that I hit a bit of a dead end with my animation work, in which I was going round in circle not really getting very far. I was then editing other movies in Imovie to show my process and by the spur of the moment added my images as a stop motion animation. In iMovie the cropping tool defaults to the Kenburns effect. normally this is an annoying feature which bounces the image around the frame, however in this context I love the way that my image blew up to fit the screen and then sections were thrown at the audience in a random manner.
After the last experiment with After Effects, I wanted to make a larger impact on the audience through the addition of scale and transition between each image
I created a copy of the last file so as the format is similar in the way the image transitions though each heartbeat. However, I set out to create a stronger narrative through each image so as there would be a stage of confusion and then a defeat of the disease at the end of the animation. I started this process by organizing my hard copies into strong visuals which then link together to form a storyline. I also considered the time which each image would be shown for, so the imagery at the beginning of the sequence will appear for longer and therefore smaller type could be incorporated. By the end of the animation, the audience will only be able to see less than a second of the image and therefore the images must be bolder and stronger in concept. The loose structure of the narrative begins with the gluten bullying me without me fully understanding what is happening. This then moves into the gastroscopy and diagnosis process through to an exploration of the thoughts which follow from a dramatic change of lifestyle. I wanted the end of the animation to be a celebration of the defeat over gluten and how the positives outweigh the negatives to my health and well-being.
With the last experiment, the focus was on the white imagery fading in and out of the dark background, but this time I also wanted zoomed in sections to highlight certain aspects of the animation. I started by adding key frames so as in the middle of each frame the image would be increased and then would shrink back down to the normal size. I then experimented with the image shrinking through play, and I began to discover that if I alternated between zooming in and zooming out that I could replicate the movement of heartbeat. The thought was for the animation to become crazier throughout the duration, and I feel that this could be further achieved through higher extremes of scale, but also playing with rotation and movement through the frame. To gain this effect I need to find the right balance between repetition and craziness so as I can have a bold animation without leaving the viewer confused.