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.
This week’s studio session was based on our future project and included a trip to ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park. The brief was to generate visuals in the form of drawing, mark-making and photographs, but also document all our thoughts throughout the visit. This will then form the basis of one of the Final Major Project choices set in January- so potentially a very important trip!
I started out by thinking that I would use inks on site and imitate the way that I have produced work this term. However, the weather was perishing and therefore my drawing style altered into short observations of each exhibit that we visited. I used grey Promarker as I believed in gaining mark makings and form through my scribbles. Other more accurate depictions of colour and space were captured through my photography.
My thoughts are based around the idea that the concept of the zoo has become a big game of hide and seek, where visitors seek animals and find them within enclosure spaces and environments. I am particularly interested in the concept of photography and how we are no longer experiencing these animals through our eyes, but also through a digital screen. It seems that visitors are having a completely virtual experience and are more concerned about capturing the ultimate photograph than actually being in the moment. Therefore, a fair amount if my photography work was based around taking photos of people taking photos. This is inspired by my interest in our relationship with technology as a whole and how we can no longer separate social media and photography as a visual language from our everyday lives. Within a zoo environment there is also a frustration with photography as circumstances restrict our access to the ‘perfect’ image. Reflections of glass, wiring and distance make it difficult to capture the beauty of such creatures which can only be seen through the human eye.
Another linking idea came from analysis of my drawing work in which I have only drawn sections of animals. I have subconsciously drawn parts of each animal, which as a collective seem to be a brainstorm of all the species I spotted within the zoo. My thoughts are that because one can never see the full animal as they are always hidden within the environment, we make instant assumptions of its appearance. This is then creating an inaccurate image of an animal, there is the real animal which exists as a whole, and then the disjointed parts of the animal which the viewer observes. The question is then, how educational can the experience be if you cannot experience the whole animal, only parts of the creature. Furthermore, it would be an interesting experiment to draw the animal from my memory and then from a photo that I took and see how imaginative the mind is.
Other ideas included changing the environments which the animals live in to a mirror world and looking at the relationships to colour. For example, the whole zoo is full of greenery, so it would be interesting to change this into red colouring (the opposite colour on the colour wheel) or invert in Photoshop. This could also be done with the animals, so as to break down the expectations we have when entering into the zoo.
At the moment I have a few strong conceptions to begin my project with, and therefore the next step is to use the drawing work created within the zoo and respond to my photographs in the same manner. This will build up a collection of visual research which can be parallel to that of the academic context.
This week’s work comprised of creating a short animated sequence which would present my inverted paintings in a moving image format.
I began by selecting a range of imagery from the photographs which I took within the flat copy room. This is a way of photographing work for a portfolio as the camera is set directly above the subject and lit from either side. This creates a high quality image which can then be placed in Photoshop to edit further and manipulate the colors. My imagery is black and white in color and therefore when inverted it creates a mysterious dark background which allows for drama and depth to be present. The rationale for my animation was to have each image pulsating to the sound of a human heartbeat, whilst white imagery fades in and out of the black background. This would then become faster as the animation continues, so as the white imagery flashes at the viewer in an abrupt manner by the end of the sequence.
I started by editing all my images so each color level was exactly the same, so as when moving from each frame there will be no difference in shade. I started by placing each image separately into Adobe After Effects, followed by a sound track of a heart beating. The heart beat steadily gets faster until after 40 seconds the beat stops and there is a sudden realization that the whole sequence represents life in its simplest form. I wanted the images to fade in and out with each heartbeat, which meant timing was important so as each image flowed throughout the piece. To ensure this, I widened the timeline in After Effects and found the section which would show the sound waves. I could then move the pointer so as each image was placed at the exact point the sound wave rose vertically.
Although I think this is a successful experiment, I want to take the animation further and play with scale and sharper transitions between imagery. I feel it is necessary to reflect the pace of the movement with wilder imagery and arrange the content so as there is a stronger narrative. An element that I also want to play with is the fade away at the end. I feel like that is a crucial frame which holds the viewer’s attention, however there needs to be a stronger image, such as the “gluten freak”, or “no more tears” which will allow for the message to resonate in the viewer’s mind.
Any comments or improvements would be greatly appreciated:)
The next step in my project is to now experiment with my process and how to present/combine my drawing work. I have found myself in a positon where I can now stop drawing as I have found a clear strong message to present. The question is how to do so?
My first experiment was to invert all my A3 paintings on the photocopier (so as the blacks and whites of the image are reversed) and to then place these in a grid formation. There is something completely satisfying when inverting imagery, especially as the final image comes as a surprise. The copies are striking due to the fact that it is not what the viewer expects and some of the mark makings seem almost ghostly emerging from the darkened background. These copies seem to be a body of work within themselves but it is necessary to take them one step further. I have experimented with placing the series into aftereffects so as to show the viewer each thought as they came to me. Currently I have placed the animation alongside a heart beat in which each frame changes as the heart beat sounds. This is a way of keeping the viewer’s attention, but the heartbeat is inherent to body functioning. There is a length to the sound of the heart beat which directly relates back to the length of coeliac disease, but also that it is an ordinary sound to hear, meaning that I have become to view being coeliac as a norm. I want to further play with fading effects to see if I can create a pulse within the imagery rather than just a blunt transition.
Other processes to experiment with include large scale printing at A0 size. It is particularly important to consider scale as this will be what projects my message and how people will view its importance. The aspect to the careful with is the resolution of the imagery so as to not compromise the quality of the final finish. Furthermore, I intend to screen print some paintings so as I can re-introduce color into my work. It would be interesting to print onto mirror board so as the final image will show a degree of reflection. But also to consider colors such as gold and the power that comes with the visual.