Final Major Project Management

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Having completed my industry brief, I am now in the process of moving forward and developing my final major project for exhibition in May 2016. Due to the vast amount of research I have undertaken within five key areas of mental health I feel it is important due to time frames and costs to concentrate my efforts on those areas that I gathered the most external advise and contact which will enable me to produce artwork with personal depth.

I want to produce work that reflects my attitudes within the project brief, creating work that is immersing, reflects personal accounts and illustrates the emotional effects of living with mental health.

It is important to produce work to a high standard and reducing the areas of exploration will enable me to refine my ideas through thorough development and evaluation.

I had great support from the eating disorder support organisation BEAT who provided me with information and personal contact with sufferers of the condition. Having spent some time with one of their Young Ambassadors discussing the project, has given me access to utilising a personal story that will add further depth to my concept and illustrate my commitment to creating artwork with real world context.

Looking to highlight the personal views of those effected is important and considering my discussion with the Young Ambassador it is important to raise awareness of their own distorted view of themselves and their realities.

Conceptual work was evaluated and developed thoroughly in this area (see below) and I feel confident in my approach to the subject matter and creating a concept that reflects a personal response which will question the audiences opinions.

 

 

Often an overlooked area within mental health PNI (Post Natal Illness) is rarely explored whether that be research, funding or support groups. I feel it is important especially within the art world to expose social issues that effect a large number of people and in turn hopefully get people discussing the illness and create exposure for the related support organisations and sufferers.

PNI.org were a great resource within my research of the area, providing me with personal accounts, advise and exposure of my project through their Facebook account. I also liked the links made with earlier work (specifically Visual Studies) whereby I created a series of posters that looked to highlight the effects of media stigma’s and discrimination within mental health exploring hidden illness and the personal effects this can have.

Post Natal Illness is rarely explored due to it’s sometimes hidden nature, many who suffer with the condition do not confide in those around them and so it is a personal struggle from within. PNI.org and other related organisations try to educate people on this and help those sufferers with discussions, blogs and help groups.

This hidden aspect of the illness is something that I have already considered within my development (see below) and I feel this rarely explored area will be beneficial to me as a practitioner and to those who suffer with the illness.

 

 

Within the other areas that I had thoroughly researched I didn’t have opportunities for interaction with personal stories in person and I feel this could hinder my work, I also struggled with time to really develop any substantial practical work within Depression, Anxiety/OCD and Alzheimers/Dementia.

Practical development within the chosen areas will be analysed and evaluated within my sketchbook and I will be using this blog to explore:

  • MATERIALS/COST
  • HEALTH & SAFETY
  • ADVERTISEMENT
  • EXTERNAL FUNDING OPTIONS

 

Materials

Exploring the process of a room installation it is important to consider the necessary materials that would be required when constructing a large structure. My mock up experimentations (below) used a thin plywood; the reasons for this was that it is lightweight, easy to cut to the required sizes and easily transportable to the studio.

 

Plywood is easy to work with and excellent for general household purposes, it’s thickness is a concern and when I constructed the mock up I had to glue wooden supports around the structure to secure it in place. The wall thickness would be a major issue if producing at large scale and would distort slightly due to its medium flexibility.

I would need to consider further surrounding support which would be an issue due to costs. A 4ft x 2ft board would set me back £81 and considering that I would need it to be life size, (at the least 6ft tall) it would really set me back.

  • 4 sided panels + further 2 for added height = £486

This is too much money just for construction and would impact on the rest of the concept.

 

Looking to a cheaper option and something more durable and solid in its construction I explored the use of MDF Board. Thicker in construction and easily joined, it is ideal for boxing in and panelling jobs.

Further support would still be required and the board measures the same as the plywood panels but at a reduced cost of £49.00.

  • 4 sided panels + further 2 for added height = £294

A much better price overall but too expensive when considering I need to explore paint, UV paint, items and lighting. It’s weight is also a concern as it would need to be transported easily and moved from my home to the studio and the exhibition space.

I then started to research a wood effect that is lightweight and easy to construct. I came across companies that produce lightweight honeycomb panels with a wooden finish. I requested a sample of its plywood faced material and a card faced material.

 

It works by using a card/corked material between two thin sheets of wood or cardboard. It is extremely light and would be easy to join together using internal supports rather than having external struts and wooden beams which may detract from the overall concept. The cardboard construct was a little too light and would be an issue on a larger scale, the wooden sample had a nice weight without losing the texture that I had tested my UV paint and designs on earlier.

It was difficult to find pricing for this type of material as it is direct quotes and large bulk purchases from the companies in question. Yet I can see this being much more expensive in larger sizes due to the two sided plywood material and the cost of the internal structure.

I then looked into the options of lighting equipment for rent and purchase I am looking for specialist lighting that will be able to cover the whole area to reveal all of the designs, for this I would need a floor light as installing a strip light would be problematic due to requiring the light to be on and off to show contrast. Also I would need to go through a host of health and safety checks and requirements which will be problematic due to time scales.

No DJ: UV ultraviolet lighting hire From £50

UV lighting hire

Prices

24 hours Up to three nights Up to one week
Two UV lights (average sized function rooms) £50 £75 £100
Four UV lights (larger venues) £90 £135 £180
Six UV lights (large halls, etc.) £130 £195 £260

 

This product would be ideal but the rental pricing are a concern as I would need it for the duration of the exhibition and further time beforehand to test and check whether it be ideal.

 

Amazon: UV 16x3W Ultraviolet Blacklight 48W UV Effect Light

KAM K-UV 16X3W Ultraviolet Blacklight 48W UV LED Effect Light

This is a perfect example of a floor light that would cover the surface area required, this product is available for purchase but even used items would set me back around £139.00. I feel this would be a negative purchase and to use the product for only several weeks would not be a sensible investment.

I then looked into the UV paint itself and wanted to see the rough costs required for my installation.

Stage Depot: Rosco Fluorescent Paint Invisible Blue

 

£18.90

0.5 litres

 

Amazon: UV coating color, Black Light Paint, fluorescent color colourless

UV coating color, Black Light Paint, fluorescent color colorless 0,5l

£39.00

1 litre

I estimate that I would require at least 2-3 litres of paint to cover the large surface area. Looking at the prices available for this product It would be around £60-70 of paint, which for a one off exhibition piece is too expensive for my own budgets.

Having researched the materials required to produce my concept, (minus objects and items to create the atmosphere of a baby’s room) it seems that it may be too expensive to produce this within the time scale I have. I would also need further time to consider health and safety, construction of the room and space within the exhibition.

For the time being I will need to put this side of my project on hold.

I then started to consider materials required for my developing project exploring anorexia and bulimia, after experimentation through creating sculpture work (see below), I started to consider the use of mirrored materials to immerse the audience within the experience that would be able to reflect my underlying concept and match my project brief about changing perceptions by using the audience within the process.

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A few of my most recent developing ideas have considered the use of a flexible mirrored material available from ebay. Easily manipulated and cut to required lengths it has given me a range of ideas to develop around my concept (see below).

 

 

ebay: Highly reflective flexible mirror sheeting – 610mm x 1000mm mirror

£7.99  + £5.99

Really durable and flexible material, unsure at this moment in time whether I would require a large amount of this product but it is affordable in bulk.

In these example pieces I used a plastic sheet which works well at this scale yet I need something more solid and thicker in depth when illustrating this design.

I am also in the process of developing some experimental work around A3 laminate sheets, these are cheap easy to process and will be able to fix the separate segments of the image in place, letting me explore suspending the work.

 

I used laminate sheeting that was available to me for free and an A3 laminator to seal in my fragments. Unfortunately due to the small amounts of paper required for each of the laminated sheets the finish was uneven, bubbled and curled centrally which looks sloppy and unprofessional. I will need to consider reducing my design and using a material similar in style but easier to get the required finish.

 

Quality OHP Film – INKJET Printable A4 Clear Acetate – Transparent Sheets
Having been disappointed with the results of the laminate sheets, I decided that it may be more effective to print directly onto a transparent material. I decided to explore options for home use so that I could thoroughly explore the options.

 Amazon UK

I then started to consider an acetate material which would not be as solid as a clear perspex sheeting but would give me a more flexible option in regards to presentation. A pack of A2 plastic acetate is £24.80, which is reasonable. It would also work well with providing further distortion to the compositions complimenting the concept further.

Inkjet printable acetate can be expensive in bulk, so I looked into a range of options and found 20 inkjet acetate sheets for £8.95 which I was pleased with and it allows me to explore a larger depth of field with increased layers.
Ezeeplan
Printing service specialising in large scale media, acetate prints at A2 are £5.10 per sheet, which is reasonable if considering this option for suspending my work within the exhibition space.
ebay
I explored the option of buying my own pre made construction to house my work within, doing this will hopefully create a solid structure to house my concept in which will be clear and defined. It also references back to my earlier design work exploring PNI and the room installation I considered. Two natural wooden cubes would be £14.99 which is good value but the dimensions are too small and it would be difficult to drill in hooks and supports due to the solid frame, yet larger boxes are expensive and out weight the cost of producing my own.
I also feel I lose any personal message and real understanding of my subject matter if the work is not created in its entirety.
The results were adequate, earlier experimenting with laminate and fixing paper to transparent sheeting appeared too obvious and clean cut. The unclear appearance of printing onto acetate will really help to engage with my audience, making them question the context and really immerse themselves within the installation. My only concern is the unstable nature of the transparent sheets makes the installation look slightly unfinished and the space between layers creates a murky tone the further it goes. The structure of the box is also restrictive and I feel a free standing layered construct will be a better suit to illustrate an exposed emotional state, which will create a more personal response.
I feel that a more solid structure at this stage is required to produce a professional product similar to researched installation artists such as David Sprigg.
My latest development has considered the use of perspex clear plastic as a range of layers to illustrate depth and a fractured image (see below).

 

Midlands Plastics

000-clear

A local plastics company that can cut to size with varied styles and finishes.

Looking at the concept at this time in the project it is important to consider quality rather than go large scale. I have explored plastic sizes A4 and A3 at the moment and compared the prices.

A4 CLEAR PERSPEX 297mm x 210mm

2mm Thickness                      3mm Thickness                       5mm Thickness

Polished Edge                          Polished Edge                          Polished Edge

£1.50                                        £1.92                                         £3.21

 

A3 CLEAR PERSPEX 420mm x 297mm

2mm Thickness                     5mm Thickness                      10mm Thickness

Polished Edge                         Polished Edge                         Polished Edge

£2.52                                       £6.42                                       £14.15

 

These prices are reasonable and can be considered although minus VAT, as I am currently looking at 4 themes within the concept creating 4 layers it may be more sensible to consider A4 or a thin A3 sheet but will explore this further.

Ebay

Options are available on ebay with acrylic sheeting (A3, 5mm thickness) at £7.95 each. Looking at the work I have produced currently I would require 15 separate sheets to create the desired effect which would be too expensive. So I will now explore producing smaller installations at a reduced price.

I decided on producing a David Sprigg inspired installation that would be professional visually and also reflect the open and honest nature of my subject and their personal story.

Ebay

I found a solid perspex material tubing that I could consider as support struts. A 5mm diameter piece was £3.80 which is ideal for my current budget options.

Wickes

I also found a further option of structural support in self adhesive bumpers which are both clear and reasonably cheap, £3.99 for 42.

I also decided to experiment with the perspex sheeting that I had recently researched into, pricing at A5 was reasonable and I feel that my work on a smaller scale reflects the individual story in a larger issue and use the exhibition space as that comparison.

I was delighted with the results and feel like my constant refinement and thought process throughout the project has really helped me to produce a high end concept that considers both cost and exhibition aesthetic.

Continued development of artwork available in sketchbook 27/04

 

Display Options

Having explored several options for materials I needed to consider how I would be installing the work. It needs to be accessible to the audience and enable them to physically move around the work to really gather a sense of perspective. Looking at the work from several angles will show a fractured composition yet when looking from a certain angle the picture will become clear. Enabling me to implement this will illustrate the personal and emotional effect that anorexia and bulimia can have on public perceptions and their own personal distorted view, seeing the fractured image in it’s full frame will portray how looking at the subject from a personal perspective can provide a more clarified understanding of living with the illness.

I decided to explore options of hanging from the ceiling, similar to Nobuhiro Nakanishi’s layered work (explored within sketchbook). Sign-Holders.co.uk provide a range of options for hanging and floor supported displays.

As this is an external venue it would be difficult to consider using fixings that pierce the walls or ceilings so I decided to explore adhesive options:

  • Adhesive Ceiling Button                  30 required                    £9.00 TOTAL
  • Jet Set Wire 1.4m – singly                30 required                   £9.00 TOTAL

Having extendible hooks will give me the flexibility to choose the required heights and adhesive ceiling supports should be easily installed, something that needs to be considered with the short time frame given for installation.

I also considered floor standing supports which would allow me more consideration for placement in the exhibition and spacing options. Unfortunately this would be too expensive and requiring 15 of these at £7.69 each would be an issue.

Having started to consider hanging my installation within a wooden frame, I have used within my experimentation small screw hooks. They work really well, secure within the frame, easy movement and are small enough not to over shadow the imagery.

At 99p for 10 this is a great price and lets me consider creating multiple layers within my work.

Health & Safety

When considering a large scale installation or wall mounted artwork at exhibition it is important to consider the health and safety guidelines for the space. I explored a range of experienced and professional exhibition spaces and highlighted the main points that they consider when looking to produce a new exhibition space.

The Tate is an established organisation that set up exhibition spaces across the UK, I also considered a more general approach from the Public Art Online Resource that gives an overview of considerations.

Having set up an exhibition the previous year I had some experience in the undertakings of materials, fixings, heights and hazards, including a risk assessment. Yet looking to create something visually more engaging it is important to consider setting up in a floor space or suspending from ceilings and walls.

I highlighted the documentation which will help me moving forward on making decisions regarding my FMP project (see folder).

A visit to the exhibition space by the group enabled us to visualise the area we have available to set-up in. A floor plan has been mocked up to discuss in future meetings.

                                

The installation guidelines at the Tate give points of interest for consideration:

  • A brief description of the artwork using standard terminology, (may consider producing this to appeal to all audience bases which my concept is aimed towards, and also compliment the more detailed artist statement).
  • How sound is played if considering audio, tape/disc/wav….
  • Role of materials?
  • Dimensions and shape of space, (something to discuss in meeting)
  • Positions of entrance and exit
  • Projection distance, (looked at projection in early development, extra space and coverage would need to be considered)
  • Ceiling supports for suspending objects?
  • Duration of lamps and lighting by company specs
  • Length of time to install work, (having only 2-3 days this will need considering before making a decision on my final FMP)

The public art online resource considers working within a collaborative group environment:

  • Knowledge of each others practice
  • Meeting of the creative process, (planned for the coming weeks)
  • Consider broader context of exhibition within design process, (this will be important with placing of artwork and a coherent structure that compliments the exhibition space)
  • Undertaking risk assessment, (experience gained last year so will be easy to impliment)
  • Specific issues that impact on the scope of artwork? (as discussed timescales and space could be an issue when producing artwork on a larger scale).

 

Advertisment

Having already considered my options for external advertising in earlier research I feel it is important to extend the scope of my project and illustrate my intent to move my project past an academic concept and try to engage with my associated audience base. More importantly raise awareness and understanding of those directly affected by mental illness and trying to remove social stigmas and discrimination.

Seeking advertisement through a more selective theme will enable me to extend my concept to the intended organisations and also help to promote the overall exhibition to a previously unconsidered area of interest.

 

I have been working closely with eating disorder support organisation BEAT for a number of months now, creating direct links to their media team and establishing my concept through email discussions. Working alongside their Young Ambassador has given me direct access to a personal story and helped me to create work with real depth and emotion essential for my concept.

Media

For all press enquiries
Tel: 0300 123 7061, out of hours 07804 589404
Email: media@b-eat.co.uk

 

Although I have put this aspect of my project aside for the time being due to costs and time, it is important to still consider using my access to this organisation within my external advertising. I have been in contact with PNI for some months discussing my ideas for the project and even getting helpful advise on what to consider, which eventually became the concept in production. They have already advertised my previous work exploring hidden mental health on their Facebook website.

For Media Requests:

media@pni.org.uk

 

I have been working as a volunteer photographer at the Springfield Project for several months, capturing images of their community events and activities for the local community. These images are then used in various newsletters, social media and publications to extend their project to more families and communities within the local area.

Having worked closely with a number of its volunteers and staff it became apparent that they also help with mental health issues that individuals experience through life, they set up a range of support groups and home visits to help in this area. My links to this organisation will enable me to discuss advertising the exhibition and my own concept to a wider audience and more importantly the local Birmingham area which will make it easier to get those who are interested to attend due to the short distance.

https://www.facebook.com/The-Springfield-Project-252582201512848/?fref=ts

 

I had researched the organisation mind in early conceptual work exploring mental health, this support group helps a broad range of mental illnesses and has branches nationwide. Utilising this companies broad reach will enable me to extend the exhibition and my own conceptual work past the local area and provide a national context.

contact@mind.org.uk

 

We are 8

A social network site for creatives, I have been a member of this organisation for 12 months and have recrued nearly 1000 followers during that time. Being able to publish my work and developing concepts to professional and amateur practitioners is a great way to network my practice and further options for exhibiting local and international.

https://the8app.com/user/davidbone/s/51887

 

Viewbug

A photographing sharing community, I have been active on this site for some time and regularly update my page and enter a range of competitions, readily available. A focus on photographic works and practitioners is an important step in advertising my project to a common field and also gives me ideas for my own development and techniques moving forward.

http://www.viewbug.com/member/davebone

 

External Funding Options

Many modern day practitioners and exhibitions use external funding to help fund their projects through development and beyond. It is a great incentive for less experienced artists such as myself to produce work to an international context and provides the options for larger exposure within the arts community and to consider future exhibitions nationally/internationally.

There are a number of differing options for funding an art project so I have researched a few of these options to consider which one of these would be beneficial to me.

There are a range of positives in accessing funding including:

Exposure

Employability

Raising Awareness Of Social Issues To A Wider Audience

Give work National/International Context

 

Funds requested would need to consider a range of materials, equipment and advertising:

  • Advertising
  • Venue Hire
  • Materials
  • External Hire of Labour
  • Travel Expenses
  • Transportation to other events and related exhibitions
  • Social Media
  • Press Release

 

FRAME

As I have already established in the previous module research FRAME in Birmingham is an organisation that supports practitioners within the local area investing in helping to set-up individual exhibitions and promotion of work.

One of their key members is Agi Ch who I have worked with several times on external projects and exhibitions. She has discussed with me the options for this and I have agreed that once I have the project established will be in touch to see whether this can be organised within the coming months, FRAME will help fund materials, exhibition space and transportation of my work.

Having this access will again enable me to transcend my concept beyond the academic purpose and give me greater exposure in the art world, employability will be enhanced showing my ability to explore options in real world contexts.

http://www.framecreatives.com/

 

Impact Hub – Birmingham

A collaborative arts space where local practitioners and students come together to discuss their own projects, ideas and teaching. This is a great place to network with fellow artists which maybe able to help with funding options and even access work experience tailored towards your specialism.

Speakers and academics host regular workshops, including advice and options around funding and crowd surfing.

http://www.birmingham.impacthub.net/

 

The Royal Photographic Society

Look to offer bursaries for photographic projects across the UK and internationally. Looking to study and continue my photographic practice it is important to consider photographic specific funding options which will also gain me exposure through a specific genre and give me access to further networking and employability options.

http://www.rps.org/learning/project-funding

 

Arts Council England

Grants for the arts: A national lottery funding option popular with arts practice. The grants for the arts looks to engage people throughout England and help artists carry out their work. The award is between £1,000 to £100,000 to support art based activities and exhibitions.

Due to the short time frame and scale of my work this would be the viable option for me, I could use more viable materials, invest heavily in promotional material and consider further exhibitions related to my own concepts.

http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/grants-arts/

 

Crowd Funding

Crowd funding is an increasingly popular option when considering funding artistic projects and through my earlier research found that many who explore documentary photography use this as a successful tool to get their projects up and running.

My own project is a combination of fine art with social context which could be considered to be documentary in its approach. Crowdfunding.co.uk is just one source within the crowd funding community, and looks for public funding from large donations to the smallest amounts, setting a goal is a great way to see how your funding is developing.

To consider this I will need to fully understand my own project and what is required in regards to materials, advertising etc. to produce a realistic total.

A good example of related projects is that of Richard Banton’s project looking to raise money to explore a photographic concept exploring children and young adults living with Autism and ASD. The funding was successful and a total of £90 was raised within 28 days. Due to the time frame available to me this would be a great option for my own project.

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk

 

Fotofund

Fotofund is a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for photographic projects across a wide range of categories. It is designed to help promote the art form through new and emerging talents worldwide.

I have decided to explore this specific option for my own project as it will both give me the flexibility with my budget to produce large scale installations and also extend my exposure through the photographic community.

 

Work Experience & Future Development

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In the development of my current project and moving forward as a practitioner I feel it is important to be involved in community based art and projects within the local area. Meeting people from different backgrounds and ethnicities really helps me to consider how personal opinions on subject areas that effect their working lives and the surrounding areas that they live in are crucial in producing work with a deeper social significance. Participating in these opportunities will really help me to develop my own artwork and to consider the best way to portray thought and emotion within my current concepts.

 

Saturday 3rd October 2015

LPAP Here & Now Community Project

St John’s Church, Longbridge

Me and ZK participated in the community event here and now which celebrates the past and future of the Longbridge area. Organised by the WERK organisation, we decided to develop our previous window installation at the Longbridge lighting festival. We used the same design layout but got the community involved in writing personal messages about the area, young and old shared stories of the new and old, workers from the car plant to school children.

IMG_3035IMG_3029_1  IMG_3034

This project was a great example of how working within community based projects can really help me to consider how powerful personal stories from the past and the future can have on an art installation. It was great to hear from those older generations that had either worked at the plant or knew the area before the redevelopment and teaching the younger generation of the historic importance of the area. Producing work that can impact a diverse age range is something that is important to me moving forward within my own project, if I can produce work that resonates with a wide audience base I will have succeeded in my concept.

 

Thursday 15th October 2015

Photographer: Stuart Whipps

Longbridge Mini Photography Project

image

Assisted Stuart Whipps in his photography of the components of the mini which is due to be exhibited nationally. Helped with lighting set-up and post editing techniques.

It was a great experience when considering further academic study within photography to get some real studio time with a practising artist. I learnt a great deal about lighting, consideration of backdrops for different purposes and the best composition to represent the idea behind the concept. Working within studio environments is important for my own progression and to showcase a range of diverse skills in the photographic field to potential course lecturers.

 

Tuesday 3rd November 2015

Tames Valley Wetlands Photography Volunteer

Hams Hall Environmental Centre, Coleshill

images (5) wetlands class

Having been accepted to be part of the Tames Valley Wetlands team as a photographer it was important to meet with those involved, gain a better understanding of the project and my role as a volunteer photographer. I met with Interpretation Officer Chris Harris who showed me around the facilties and sat down to talk about my own practice and how I could help with advertising the area. I showed an array of different images I had captured of related landscapes within the Peak District and Sandwell Valley and some of my images captured on my travels. I feel it is a great opportunity to capture a diverse range of images from historic buildings, natural landscapes and river forms. Engaging with the local community and active conservation workers will give me a sense of how people see the area and why it is so important to conserve the area as much as possible. It will also show future lecturers and employers that I am actively involved in projects with different purposes and engaged with the community as a whole. My imagery will also gain a large exposure in local media which is beneficial for me as a practitioner.

 

Wednesday 4th November 2015

Fine Art Photographer: Agi Ch

South Yardley Library, Birmingham

alterart-may2015_42128666_ff4b1ba6

Spent the day working alongside fine art photographer Agi Ch. We met on location at South Yardley Library and set about capturing external and internal images on 35mm film. These images would later be included in a collage of several local libraries including the newly demolished central library of Birmingham; the work will illustrate the importance of libraries and books for future generations.

I then went and discussed my own project ideas and was given information about an organisation that Agi is a part of, Frame. This group helps to support emerging artists in the area and provide facilities and materials for solo exhibitions. I discussed my own ideas around creating my own exhibition, which we discussed further.

I also viewed some of her most recent work, capturing portraitures of local artists in the West Midlands for a new book concept and images for her ongoing project for the libraries. I will be working on future projects with Agi to best support my own practice.

It was a great opportunity that really taught me to consider my subject matter and research extensively before producing any form of work. We met the manager of the library who we chatted to about the project and the impact that the decline in library use has personally and on the development of the younger generation in the area. I facilitated in assisting Agi with setting up, considering composition and locations for best results. I will ensure that I consider my subject matter thoroughly before making a decision on any final artwork. It will be important to understand and consider personal accounts to best illustrate my own concept. I don’t want to glamorise the condition, it is about the personal impact this can have on someone as a human being, the emotional response to the illness and how they processed their mental health.

 

 

 

16th November 2015

Springfield Community Project

The Springfield Centre, Springfield Rd, Birmingham

TheSpringfieldProject-logo

Meeting with Hannah Greenwood, project co-ordinator to discuss involvement in project and participating in photographing upcoming community events and sessions. Imagery will be published in local newsletter.

 

6th December 2015

Studio Portrait Shoot

Jigsaw Photography UK, Sutton Coldfield

Joined a group at Jigsaw Photography Studio for a model photo session. Explored a range of lighting and effects for a variation in differing shots.

untitled-14 untitled-15 untitled-28 untitled-47

Although this was not my first time shooting within a studio setting, it was a smaller group that explored a variety of lighting techniques and compositions which helped me to produce a range of different photographs of the model. Looking towards my own project it is important to make contacts within the industry specifically if models are required. I sent a few sample images off to the model using her contact which she was happy with, one of the shots she is even using on her own facebook page. I also discussed possible use of the studio for my own work and the owner said that he would happy to consider loaning out the facility. It was a great experience overall that got me learning new techniques and sample shots to use within my experimentation. Having made contacts with the studio and the model I feel that I can produce work to a higher level than anything I have done to this point. Producing images to a high quality requires studio access if necessary for my shot and a professional model who can work on my direction, this will help to produce a full body of work that will enhance my portfolio for future progression.

 

10th December 2015

Springfield Community Project

The Springfield Centre, Springfield Rd, Birmingham

mb_jan_2015_1412181345 basic_sewing_generic_1505011125

Spent the day with the Springfield team photographing a range of activites that go on in the centre. Images will be used with newsletters and online information. Activities included, seedlings group, musical babies, sewing class and volunteer meetings. I really enjoyed being introduced to members of the team and going around the centre and associated facilities nearby capturing various events that were going on. It was a great experience to meet a lot of the families who are going through many issues at home and it’s a great way for them to relax. After this I attended and photographed a volunteer meeting whereby we were given a breakdown of the services they provide. It was interesting to hear that many of the people who look for support are dealing with mental health conditions and domestic abuse. I will be discussing my project with members of staff shortly to gather whether it would be possible to meet with these people to help develop my ongoing work.

 

13th December 2015

Springfield Community Project

St Christopher’s Church, Springfield Rd, Birmingham

Spent the day with the Springfield project team photographing the Christmas Craft sessions that were going on within the centre and the adjoining church. These activities included a variety of activities including face painting, obstacle course and calendar making. The event was finished with a Christmas nativity narrated by the local priest and participated by the local children. This photography session was more intense and far more testing, I really enjoyed the frantic pace of needing to get around to a huge range of different events and activities, I had to consider lighting, composition and capturing the enjoyment of the event. It really highlights how I manage events such as this with hundreds of people in attendance, I learnt a great deal about how a diverse community can come together and interact with people they may not have access to in society. The shots I was most pleased with were that of children doing a range of activities and managing to capture the enjoyment, you can tell a lot from a person’s face particularly emotion which I will need to consider in my own project. Making connections with the community base will give me access to those dealing with mental health issues on a personal basis and having access to models such as Anna will help me to tell that emotional story through facial recognition.

 

17th December 2015

Springfield Community Project

St Christopher’s Church, Springfield Rd, Birmingham

Spent the evening at the Springfield Projects Christmas Fayre which included an array of Christmas related activities and Santa’s grotto. It was a great night to really help with interacting with individuals within a community project and get to know the involvement of other volunteers. I spoke to many who were interested in my final major project and advised that I gained some further knowledge from staff members who work alingside those with mental illness on a day to day basis, so I will be looking to see whether it would be possible for me to be involved in any way to gather a better understanding and personal perspective of the person.

Further Academic Study

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When considering how to best explore development of my final major project, it was important to know for what purpose any immediate work would have for my own future prospects.

This project is tailored towards both showcasing my development throughout my two years of studying contemporary art practice and to enhance my portfolio for further academic study.

I am looking to progress to either a photographic related top-up year or complete two years of a three year bachelors. Before I decide on which course is suitable for my development I wanted to discuss both my options and the course with related faculty members and course tutors.

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To do this I attended the UCAS Design your future event in London on 10 November 2015. This event brings together all the educational establishments that offer art and design related courses. It was great to meet students and tutors from an array of areas across the UK and the different courses available to students.

I gained some valuable contacts to pursue further and look forward to open days ahead.

I decided some months ago to research possible options for further study. Out of the many establishments I looked at these are the 5 that I have selected, outlining the course and general outline of what is beneficial to me and future employment options in the industry.

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Saturday 14th November 2015 – Open Day

 

BA (Hons) Art & Design Media Practice (one year top-up)
Having spoken to the course lecturer and touring the facilities, I had a good understanding of what the course could offer me personally and for future development. This one year top up course is designed to ready students for employment within the digital design industry. Projects are designed to deepen understanding of international design and provide students with organisational and visual communication skills. There was more emphasis on media as a whole rather than strictly photographic processes, using film to convey a message is an intriguing one and something that may evolve from my own photographic work.
The creative industries is heavily influenced by digital media and design and I feel moving forward this could be a viable option for me, however I still want to explore photographic courses that look into contemporary practices.

 

Key points

  • Explore areas such as editing, moving image and animation,        photography, film making, image manipulation, graphic design    and web design.
  • Benefit from specialist equipment and facilities including High      Definition (HD) cameras, editing suites, performance and            motion-capture technology, and television and sound recording    studios.
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest production techniques and new    media developments, using industry-standard technology and      production facilities.
  • Submit your work for external design competitions.
  • Exhibit your work in your final year at our Degree Show in            Nottingham.

 

USW logo Raspberry HiRes

Saturday 21st November 2015 – Open Day

BA (Hons) Photography

BA (Hons) Documentary Photography

BA (Hons) Creative Industries (one year top-up)

A few months back the college received some correspondence from Paul Reas, Course Leader of Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales. I took the information and started to explore this as an option. The course sounded really interesting and relatable to my recent concepts throughout my course.

I attended the open day as they have several courses that cater towards my photographic preferences. It was important that I attended to discuss with tutors which course would be most beneficial to me and my circumstances.

After a brief tour of the campus and studios I attended an hour and a half lecture talking about the courses available in photography.

The photography course explores both digital and traditional photographic techniques. Subject areas will include fashion, advertising photography, the photographic arts and the use of technologies associated with the subject. Studying of the historical importance of photography through critical and cultural reference. I felt that it had some great connections to industry and work place experience that would be beneficial to moving forward, also helping to develop my individual style.

The documentary photography course looks into traditional documentary and photojournalism practices with visual culture. It was a great talk that really helped me to establish connections between my own work and that of what is explored throughout this course. Working with industry practitioners such as Martin Parr, who’s exhibition ‘Black Country Stories‘ I visited in the summer is a great evolution of my own practice and to get some real experience from related photographers is a must for future development.

At the end of the talk I discussed my options of study with Paul Reas and he explained that the top up course would be a third year practical year and it may be beneficial to look at joining the second year of one of the other courses.

Studying an optional two years is an option I will explore and will be able to make a decision once I have seen the other universities and course options that are available to me.

 

big_southampton-solent

Saturday 28st November 2015 – Open Day

BA (Hons) Photography

BA (Hons) Photography (Top-up)

After attending a campus tour and introduction to the university I went to the photography talk at 11am. It was interesting to see some of the direct comparisons with my current degree program and that of Southampton Solents photography course, which would give me a better option of transferring some of my current units to this course.

Transferable practices such as:

  • Learning methods integrate theory and practice, allowing            students to develop their critical thinking and photographic          practice hand in hand.
  • The course encourages experimentation. Through this,                students develop their creative and problem solving skills to        become flexible, responsive and enterprising.

There is a range of expertise within the faculty which they hope encourages diverse working practices. They also have key links to industry, giving students chance to pitch for real clients and agencies such as Magnum Photos, and is affiliated to the Association of Photographers in London (The AOP).

They actively encourage submission to competitions and have produced students that have gone on to win an array of accolades including a Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus Programme 2015 finalist; an Association of Photographers award winner; a LPA Award winner; and a winner of the the Photographers’ Gallery annual graduate competition, ‘Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed’.

Career paths from this course are varied and include in-house photography; freelance photography (for fashion, editorial or commercial clients); photojournalism; art direction; post-production; picture editing, research; photo shoot production, positions within the gallery and museum sector; and teaching. Many graduates go on to postgraduate study, pursuing PGCE, MA and PhD qualifications.

90.5% of graduates go on to either full time employment or further study within 6 months of graduating (DLHE Survey 2015).

Regular lectures are often supported by a programme of industry guest speakers, which in the past have included appearances from Richard Billingham, Catherine Yass, Charlotte Cotton, Ori Gersht, Brian Dillon, Peter Fraser, Dan Holdsworth, Chrystel Lebas, Jeremy Millar, Sophy Rickett, Margaret Salmon and Tom Hunter.

This course really related to my own current practice and showed me the next step in my development. Links with contemporary art practice as a whole will really help me to explore the most out of this course and my self critical analysis should compliment. I spoke to the lecturers after who advised me to explore both options of a top up and second year entry.

 

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Saturday 5th December 2015 – Open Day

BA (Hons) Photography

BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice

I decided to explore both options of both photography and continuation of contemporary art practice. The contemporary art practice course would be a great transition from my two years of current study to the final third year of this course.

However I still feel that as much the positives of working with mixed media and encouragement of multidisciplinary specialisms. I believe that I wish to pursue the photographic field more closely, I am still learning and developing as a photographer and joining a third year course such as this would not challenge me and push my own photographic work.

After a campus tour I went to view the third year photography studio. They had an array of work laid out for visitors to browse through, from first and second year journals to third year development of their end of year work. It was interesting to see the range of different styles, documentary, fashion, fine art and practical based imagery. I spoke to the course tutor directly to discuss my options, she added that critical analysis of your own work is key which I feel translates to what I am doing currently, I also added that I would need further teaching on basic processes with analogue techniques and other processes and whether this would be an issues, she advised that many second year students are still learning these processes. I took her email for future contact and then went to finish the day at the photography seminar.

The course is designed to prepare those students for employment, the area has one of the largest creative sectors outside of London. The course has links with industry and pushes students to question their themes and imagery. Class sizes are small which creates a more intense relationship with the tutors. Only 30 new students are successful and within that there are 4 tutors available and in studio most of the time. This was great to hear, having that direct access to tutors to discuss ongoing work and development is something that would benefit me greatly moving forward and finding my own style and market area.

 

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Dementia / Alzheimers Early Development

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Age Group 65+

Contacted dementia and Alzheimer support organisations for future participation (see Research folder: Dementia/Alzheimer’s):

  • Dementia UK
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • BUDS (Better Understanding of Dementia for Sandwell)

Update 02/12/15: Response received from area co-ordinator to advise that my request has been forwarded to the Knowledge centre. Awaiting further response.

Looking towards the later part of life and the older generation I felt it was important to explore a condition/illness that impacts a large number of over 65’s.

Dementia is a term used for a range of neurological disorders that will affect every individual in a unique way. It is suggested that there will be 1 million people living with dementia in the UK by 2025. That is a staggering number of the populous being affected by this degenerative disease.

Not considered as a mental illness, yet affects a huge amount of older people, one in six people aged 80 and over have some form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease being the most common and effecting almost 500,000 people in the UK.

There are varying forms of the disease from vascular, frontotemporal and lewy bodies which have a dramatic effect on memory loss, hallucinations, confusion and personality.

This is an area that I was keen to explore, having seen the effects of this disease first-hand, I know that it is something I wanted to explore further and really get to understanding the condition.

More importantly though I want to get personal stories on how it affects there day to day lives, their interaction with family and society as a whole and coming to terms with the illness.

Looking online it was clear that it will be difficult to simply find an interview with someone who suffers with dementia. It is a deeply personal subject and one that maybe people are afraid to explore due to not fully understanding the condition.

I came across a range of personal blogs and videos that gave me an introduction into how people perceive everyday tasks and their place within society.

A video called ‘Living With Dementia’ engaged with 4 individuals suffering with differing types of dementia, their honest responses to questions was shocking.

We first meet Barry, his dementia is gradual and at the time of this interview had only minor memory loss. They asked Barry how he feels on a personal level;

“I wake up and I AM AFRAID, afraid to go out…… your no good, you’ve done something wrong…….feel DEFEATED what good am I? It’s an ATTACK ON MY MIND

Olive spoke about how it makes her feel in society;

“I don’t want to talk to people in case you repeat yourself…..DON’T FEEL A PART OF THIS WORLD….. it’s awful…..hurting the people you love the most…….FEEL GUILTY

Judy’s condition has worsened over time and really affects how it has stripped her of any self worth;

“Can’t go outside, to a shop or something…..i’d die…..LET ME LIVE. Where am i here?”

Bob talks about how it affects his concentration and perception of his environment

“….concentrating, can’t concentrate on one thing for very long, see’s hallucinations sees things that aren’t happening, room on fire can’t get out. On the roof of the house can’t explain it……SILENT ILLNESS……creeps up……LONELINESS

An interview with Alzheimers sufferer Richard Taylor talks about how the illness, “…. SEPARATING ME FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD“.

” Step by step, YOU TURN INTO A PERSON YOU DON’T KNOW ANYMORE“.

It’s interesting to see the alienation that some sufferers feel and I want to be able to illustrate this through my imagery and show how it impacts their perception of themselves and how society would perceive them.

This got me considering how Richard Taylor explains the separation from society and losing the person you were. The fragile nature of this neurological disease got me thinking about a jigsaw puzzle. When a piece is missing the image is not complete and I wanted to experiment with this to see whether it portrayed the message I wish to get across.

 

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I started by using a basic template of a jigsaw puzzle that I found on the internet to insert within Photoshop.

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As I have yet to make any direct contact with those who are living with dementia, I decided to use found imagery within my experimentation. The image I chose was highly contrasting with excellent use of shadow and lit areas. The subjects weathered appearance really helps to portray an ageing man, the direct nature of the subject looking to the viewer helps to add a personal perspective.

old-man-743542_640_1

Through Photoshop I copied the image layer and then through the ‘filter’ option chose the ‘Texturizer’. Doing these steps helps to add a texture within the image, having chose the puzzle texture that was downloaded I adjusted the settings to tailor the contrasting image.

old-man-743542_640_1_1

Once I had created the puzzle layer within my experimentation I used the paint brush to remove a section of the puzzle to portray the fragile decline of someone’s personality. I then printed this and cut out the same exact piece which seemed to be more imposing than the digitally removed version.

I was pleased with the results and feel that I was able to consider the personal responses of the research I had undertaken. My only concern is I feel that the puzzle may take away from the actual image I may use in the coming months but until I have a clearer idea of the final composition I will not know whether this will be the case later on.

 

Several blogs I have explored have really shown the development of the disease on a deeply personal basis and how they feel. “Making Memories” by Chris Roberts talks about how important making memories is when living with or supporting those with dementia.

This got me thinking about several forms of the illness that gradually deteriorate memory and recognition. This can be extremely emotional and is hard for family members to watch someone they love slip away and lose their character and personality.

I started to consider how I could use something that was mundane enough to be recognisable yet had direct correlation to the illness.

I started to consider the simplicity of water from a tap and how it slowly moves it’s way around the sink bowl and into the darkness, gone forever.

I started by taking differing shots of water pouring out of the tap and moving towards the plug hole. I really want to capture the fluid movement of the water and show a gradual disappearance.

 

Without Flash, Image is murky, water is unclear and uneven shadows across the picture.untitled-16

Flash, water is moving too quickly, uneven shadow.untitled-18

Over exposed, unclear and discoloured.untitled-20

Image is clear and has depth, water movement is visible to see, picture has interesting offset composition.untitled-21

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After some post editing within Lightroom I decided I wanted to explore the use of text within my image. This way it will help to relate my concept and make the direct link to how those affected feel. I want the text to be naturally fluid like the water and too not appear as though it is a separate section to the imagery.

I used found lettering that had the look of natural water and using Photoshop explored inserting into the image.

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I manipulated the lettering so that it flowed with the water and followed the run of the water. It worked really well but the bright blue of the text seems to distract from the movement within the image, it looks slightly out of place.

Dementia_MEMORY_2

I then edited the text creating a clear pearl effect to help compliment the image, I also added darker details to certain aspects of the lettering to clearly define the movement. It was an improvement on the earlier yet it still appears out of place and becomes unclear with partial darker areas.

Dementia_MEMORY

I went back to producing a clearer typeface and I was pleased with the results. My only concern was that It wasn’t clear and seemed too distant to relate to the theme.

Dementia_MEMORY_!

I decided to crop the imagery to provide focus on the running water and to clear up the typeface. I was pleased with the results, the image still had depth and interesting composition but manages to help to reveal the text more clearly. My only concern is that it doesn’t seem to relate to the concept of providing a personal story, an emotional impact and although I am pleased with this visually it seems to just visually portray dementia.

Due to this I went back to the drawing board and considered a differing approach. I had been told about a dementia advertisement that used a bookshelf to symbolise the lose in memory and the slow decline of the disease.

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To produce my own examples I explored using DVD’s to represent the issues surrounding memory loss and look into producing work that had a gradual decline.

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I started by capturing a stack of DVD’s against the wall to get an idea of how I would illustrate my concept.

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Within Photoshop I decided to crop the background and any features that would take away from the main structure. I looked into removing sections of the image to portray the memory loss but it became difficult to produce a clean line throughout. I was also concerned by the restriction that my cropping had done to the work. It started to lose the concept very quickly, with no depth or composition.

I then looked into stacking them horizontally which would better illustrate the idea. I used a wooden backdrop to neutralise the objects and help to define the areas of separation more clearly. I decided to manually remove certain objects to illustrate the missing pieces.

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I was pleased with the results and you really seem to get a perspective of depth within the imagery and visible space in between.

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Using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop post editing techniques I cropped the image to remove any unnecessary space and used a black and white filter to add definition and clarity within the piece. I was pleased with the results yet it was still unclear as to the message as the DVD’s seem to remove any context to the scene.

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I decided to create a narrowing layout that concentrates on the layout of the objects and clearly defines the space, with this I decided to explore the use of text and within these gaps used a white typeface that worked particularly well against the darker tones of the background. I decided to use the DVD’s as a representation of time and within each of those spaces include something that may occur throughout a lifetime and illustrate the loss of these important memories that can define a person.

I was pleased with the development of this particular piece but will be developing my ideas further to gain a more personal context within my designs.

Depression Early Development

Standard

Age Group 55 – 65

Contacted Depression health organisations for future participation (see Research folder: Depression):

  • Depression UK
  • Depression Alliance.org

Having briefly explored this area within my last module of study (see blog posts – category Visual Studies and Creative Influences), I felt that more thorough research into this area was important to fully understand the effects of these conditions.

Depression is a disorder, affecting mood and emotional imbalances, the illness can be brought on by life events and/or changes in physical appearances.

Many believe that depression can be looked as a DEFENCE MECHANISM that deals with large stresses and anxieties. It is a condition that can greatly affect an individual and maybe even more so close family and friends. I felt that this was an area that needed exploring due to the affect that it can have on those around you if not dealt with or treated.

Using depression and portraying how someone dealt with the condition is a powerful way of illustrating to audiences the impact this can have on those around you.

I chose to explore the this particular age group (55 – 65) and depression due to some interesting reading from researchers who conducted studies on this particular age group and the effect that late onset depression has in later life. Due to changes in life, family, loss of work due to possible age discrimination and nearing retirement greatly impact how depression develops within this particular age group.

AS MANY AS ONE THIRD OF INDIVIDUALS WITH A SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION MAY EXPERIENCE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

http://www.retirement-living.com/late-onset-depression-chronic-medical-conditions/

Books:

AZAR, A. R. (2007) Late-life Subthreshold Depressive symptoms: Predicting the course and examining the relationship with Major Depression. Ann Arbor: Pro Quest, p. 14

DOBSON, K. S. and DOZOIS, D. J. A. (eds.) (2008) Risk factors in depression. Amsterdam: Academic Press Inc.(London), P. 412-413.

 

A journal/article by Dr Lebowitz Barry explores depression in older life and the greater impact it has.

Journals:

BARRY, DR, L. (1999) ‘Depression in late life’, Dialogues Clin Neurosci., v.1(2).

Barry discusses the ongoing problem with the perceptions that the older generation deal with things considerably better due to harsher upbringings and turmoil, yet this assumption is part of the reason that the area is not fully explored.

Natural changes such as the menopause and increasing risks to cancer greatly increase depression within the older age groups.

Producing work that can really expose this unseen or often neglected area of mental health will really help to produce a response from my audience and provide a deeper understanding of someone that may be used to containing their emotional state and providing an avenue to explore exposing this truth.

Baycrest Health Sciences is a company focusing on older residential living; with a special focus on brain health and aging.

Evelyn’s story from having support through Baycrest explores the impact that having other health related complications had on progressive depressive thoughts and ultimately a failed suicide attempt.

I felt I was LOSING CONTROL of my HEALTH and my LIFE….. declining health would leave me with NOTHING POSITIVE to look forward to”

…. a BURDEN to family and friends”

“….. the sense of LOSING CONTROL over your life”

 

Don also explores how a big change in his life and readjusting started his depressive episode.

“….. help me FEEL PRODUCTIVE”

QUESTIONING MY SELF-WORTH……….. feelings of REGRET, “WHAT HAVE I COME TO?”

“….STUCK in thick, oily goo…… IT EVENTUALLY LED ME TO A DARK PLACE”

“not wanting to worry my family or be a BURDEN to them.”

“….. IMPACTING MY BEHAVIOUR and EFFECTING MY MEMORY”

“…… but the real cause was the TRAUMA of my imposed retirement”

 

Within early modules and in particular throughout my summer development I have already explored work produced by other practitioners illustrating mental health

 

People have differing ways of coping with mental health illness, photographer Edward Honaker decided to explore his depression through photography and by portraying his emotional state help those to better understand the condition.

(blog post: Visual Studies: Summer Project Development)

depression-self-portraits-photography-edward-honaker-3 depression-self-portraits-photography-edward-honaker-9 depression-self-portraits-photography-edward-honaker-1depression-self-portraits-photography-edward-honaker-6

The focal point of all of these images is Honaker, using himself as the subject creates work with emotion and illustrates the personal struggles on an individual level. Subtle tones are present throughout, lighting is effectively used against the contrasting shadows and features, creating a visually engaging image that adds significant weight and purpose.

http://www.boredpanda.com/depression-self-portraits-photography-edward-honaker/

 

Photographer Noell S. Oszvald explores the use of black and white portrait photography to express her own thoughts and feelings. The restriction on colour is due to the fact that she does not want to distract from the content of her work and keep a continuous composition throughout.

(blog post: Visual Studies: Summer Project Development)

surreal-self-portraits-noell-oszaid-6 surreal-self-portraits-noell-oszaid-12surreal-self-portraits-noell-oszaid-2 surreal-self-portraits-noell-oszaid-7

Much like Honaker’s work Oszvald uses herself as the subject to help add a deeper personal message to her images. Focal aspects of the concepts are concentrated through the effective use of full and rich darker tones with subtle changes to greys and full whites. Shape and simplistic form is a reoccurring theme throughout which helps to guide the viewer to the main points of the piece.

http://www.boredpanda.com/surreal-self-portraits-noell-s-oszvald/

Depression by xfoshizzlexx on defiantart is a painted piece that really resonates with both my ongoing concept and past development of mental illness. This piece really taps into the inner turmoil of someone dealing with mental illness and in particular here, depression. It captures how it is not always visible but depression can be a inner battle and makes a direct link to its audience. I may need to go back to this idea and see how I can make it both different from earlier work and create a deep connection with the audience.

 Campaign Imagery+Logo

I have explored similar compositions myself within the last module, (see blog post: Advertising Research).

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It also has similarities with early development of my concepts (see blog post: Initial Proposal Early Experimentation).

 

OCD/Anxieties Early Development

Standard

Age Group 36 – 50

Contacted Anxiety/OCD health organisations for future participation (see Research folder: Anxieties/OCD):

  • Anxiety UK
  • OCD UK

Having briefly explored this area within my last module of study (see blog posts – category Visual Studies and Creative Influences), I felt that more thorough research into this area was important to fully understand the effects of these conditions.

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the UK, many experience combinations of OCD, Anxiety and Depression at any one time, and as many as 9.7% of the population are effected making these areas of mental health an important part of my research and developing work.

Within my summer project I only seemed to scratch the surface of anxiety and made links to phobias and fears to illustrate my ongoing concept.

The Mental Health Foundation survey suggests that on evidence people in their middle years (35-59) report the highest levels of anxiety compared to any other age group. Due to my ongoing development of differing illnesses across a wide range of age groups this was important to highlight.

http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/anxiety-statistics/

I decided to explore both Anxiety and OCD within one area of my development. The reasons for this are the research explored in the summer and more in depth evidence collected shows many similarities and direct symmetry between the two conditions, capturing a range of different stories and personal responses will give me a better understanding of how a particular individual is affected.

Exploring a diverse range of individuals who have been affected by OCD and anxieties is important to fully understand the emotional aspect that these individuals tackle on a daily basis.

OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety related condition that produces intrusive and repetitive thoughts and urges. The illness affects around 12 in every 1000 people and can be broken down into 4 main categories:

  • CHECKING
  • CONTAMINATION / MENTAL CONTAMINATION
  • HOARDING
  • RUMINATIONS / INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS

The first personal story comes from Rose Bretecher who’s story I had picked up within a Sunday news article within You Magazine UK, her OCD condition is categorised as ruminations and intrusive thoughts.

Bretecher talks about how OCD developed alongside her, as a young teenager she had intrusive thoughts about naked children and considered these RAPID FIRE, REPETITIVE DOUBTS a sign that she may be a paedophile.

She kept these thoughts HIDDEN and as many who suffer with mental illness have a FEAR OF BEING JUDGED as WEAK, TARNISHED, CRAZY, WORTHLESS.

As she developed into adulthood and started university life, her thoughts moved towards sexuality, intrusive thoughts around men and women began to make her question WHICH THOUGHTS SHE LIKED BEST.

“IRRATIONAL FEAR OF NEVER BEING ABLE TO CATEGORICALLY DETERMINE MY IDENTITY WAS TERRIFYING”

She then moves on to talk about how she began to develop anxiety and depression over the misdiagnosis and unclear answers coming from medical professionals.

After having been diagnosed with OCD, it was a short relief as further thoughts began to emerge, WHAT IF I DON’T REALLY HAVE OCD? WHAT IF PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE ME?

Keeping secrets from the people you love can lead to LONELINESS; you feel as though NO ONE REALLY KNOWS YOU.

Rose Bretecher: OCD (2015) You Magazine (November), pp. 43–46.

 

Having contacted OCD UK for information on future involvement within the project and to her personal stories, I began to pull personal stories from their site and explore the emotional turmoil and thought processes that each individual dealt with.

Sarah, a 35 year old mother starts to explain the development of her own OCD.

It began with the constant checking of the front door lock, over and over until she was reassured, “……It’s something I am RESPONSIBLE for……. my mind would fill with WORRY”

She also explores the direct links between OCD and her anxieties surrounding germs, and talks about how she never, ever puts her hands in her mouth.

Becoming a new mother amplified these concerns and was diagnosed with POST NATAL DEPRESSION within this same period, this began to trigger the INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS and explains how she felt, “….WHY DID YOU JUST THINK THAT…..MAYBE YOU WANTED TO DO IT……YOUR A BAD MOTHER.

” I WAS A BAD PERSON, I DIDN’T DESERVE TO BE A MOM”

” I FELT ASHAMED”

” I FELT OVERWHELMED BY IT”

“IT TAKES OVER YOUR LIFE AND MAKES YOU FEEL VERY, VERY LOW”

“UNEASY AND APPREHENSIVE”

 

Diana’s story explores the constant intrusive thoughts and anxieties throughout a normal day.

Her day would begin with waking and been constantly reminded she has AIDS. ” REMIND ME that I have AIDS…… MADE ME FEEL LIKE A MONSTER…… NO RESPECT FOR HUMANITY

ANXIOUS about the fumes from Mr Muscle Cleaner……. house is now CONTAMINATED

I HAVE ALREADY GIVEN HER A DOSE …… WHAT IF I HAVEN’T

UNABLE TO DIFFERENTIATE between real thoughts and obsessional harming thoughts”

“a DESPERATION to RATIONALISE

It is interesting to see the direct links and similarities between OCD and other mental health conditions within Sarah’s and Diana’s stories and how differing situations and life events can trigger varying categories of OCD.

Before exploring my own developing practice within this subject area it is important to consider and analyse practitioners that have tackled this subject matter.

The most interesting work that I have found is mainly from amateurs and students, this lends greatly to the premise of my own project and further academic progression.

DeviantArt is the world’s largest online social community for artists and art enthusiasts.

I DO NOT Have OCD is a photographic piece created by OnlyAnAnachronism. It uses simple offset lighting to create an unsettling shadow and honest portrayal of someone’s own thought process. Exploring personal stories and emotional impact I feel this is a great example of how to produce artwork that resonates and connects with an audience. The repetitive background writing really helps to contextualise the piece and lends itself well to relating to the repetitive nature of some forms of OCD. Using a real subject grounds the image and creates an honest depiction. I feel that using various conditions within OCD and counteracting them with the true nature of the image is really interesting to me.

OCD Hands by blacknightingale also an image from deviantart uses striking text across the hand to portray a personal response to OCD. This particular image focuses on the checking aspect of the disorder. Shooting directly down onto the hand with no background or clever lighting helps to draw the viewer into a personal look into how someone dealing with the condition feel. Using questionable text, which I have already considered within my other categories of this project (see blog post, Anorexia/Bulimia) helps to portray the constant barrage of anxious thoughts. The subtle underlying use of the light switch helps to relate the image to a situation and consider how they process such a simple task. The image has a nice flow from top to bottom moving the viewer across the text and into the situation a great use of composition I feel.
Little Reminders produced by s3xy-3mo on deviantart uses a mundane object and turns it into something much more and personal. The use of postits are considered to note down everyday reminders such as shopping, work tasks and so forth. This work looks at using them to note down how someone living with OCD has to consider everyday situations and the underlying repetitive thought processes. A really powerful piece in my opinion that really gets to the issues that I want to consider within my own work, the image is shot in an amateur fashion, over lit and a poor use of the flash yet this helps to create a deeply personal piece that gets to the heart of how someone is affected on a day to day basis. It doesn’t attempt to glamorise the condition through photography yet it immerses the viewer into the emotional psyche and emotional often unseen world of an OCD sufferer.

 

Pre/Post Natal Depression Early Development

Standard

Age Group 20 – 35

Contacted PND health organisations for future participation (see Research folder: Pre/Post Natal Depression):

  • Pre and Post Natal Depression Advice and Support
  • PNI.org

Update 07/12: Received response from PNI, have forwarded my earlier advertising campaign imagery to them. They want to get involved with latest project and have published my advertising image onto their facebook website to get volunteers involved (email corres in folder).

I felt that looking into the bracket age group 20 – 35 I had to consider what life milestones are largely involved within this age range. I then considered that many people have children within this age group and that post natal depression is a mental illness that has particular assumptions and a lack of scientific research within it. For this reason I feel this is a good example of showcasing individual stories and to highlight the serious nature of this particular condition.

Research in this area is particularly low yet many consider that 1 in 10 women are effected by PNI (Post Natal Illness) where some research actually considers the number to be 1 in 7 or even 1 in 5.

It is considered that only those suffering with PNI or close relatives or partners have any particular interest in the causes, symptoms effects etc… Those who have no affiliation, including me are indifferent and are not particularly interested in the subject matter.

PNI is an illness that is easily hid and most women confine the distress within their own home. Due to this there is no great advance in society or media coverage of this illness and one that intrigues me further.

PANDAS the pre and post natal depression advice and support organisation describe how instead of a joyful and happy time full of excitement, sufferers of PNI consider it to be a nine month tunnel of doom, anxiety and despair. This description is a particularly interesting consideration of how those feel and something I will explore.

Causes can often be broken into three main areas; physical, emotional and social.

The physical effects have a dramatic impact on a women’s body and this can have an effect on an individuals confidence and self esteem. Constant exhaustion, sensitive bladder and hormone levels.

A life change such as the birth of a child can have an emotional impact; mood swings and depression can be considered to be enhanced by hormones. Anxieties are also common and can bring the sufferer with worry and fear about being good enough;

  • I’ll never make a good mum
  • My partner is going to leave me
  • I’m terrified of the birth
  • There is something wrong with my baby
  • How will I cope with twins
  • I feel like I am going mad

Looking at providing a series of work that looks at the effect on an individual, it is important to explore personal stories and first hand experience dealing with the condition.

Catherine talks about how incredibly sad she would get, she would become so exhausted from crying that she would then feel GUILTY. Catherine describes how it felt like she was IN A BLACK HOLE, LIKE A WELL. …..NO LADDER, AND YOU JUST CAN’T SEE A WAY OUT, EVER.

It was an art group that eventually helped her through the recovery process.

Another example explores how gradual increases in anxiety and a feeling of not being listened to added to her decline. …… I WASN’T BEING LISTENED TO. ….. DIFFICULTY BONDING WITH MY BABY. She also explains that her expectations furthered her depression, ….. UNFAIRLY HIGH EXPECTATIONS THAT I HAD OF MYSELF. Talking about how the family struggled to understand and provide support when her personality suddenly changed. …..DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO OFFER ME SUPPORT WHEN THINGS CHANGED. She also explored how she felt that public perceptions would possibly effect her moving forward. I THOUGH IT WOULD AFFECT MY CHANCES OF GOING BACK INTO MY JOB. I WAS ALSO WORRIED ABOUT HOW IT WOULD AFFECT MY FRIENDS PERCEPTION OF ME.

Member of PANDAS forum Rachael explains her own story from the moment she found out she was pregnant. I WAS MET WITH PANIC, SHOCK AND I WAS SCARED. I WENT INTO A SHELL. I AM RACHAEL I AM NOT JUST A MUM. 

Before considering how best to develop my own concept I felt it important to look into practitioners that have already tackled the subject in a range of different specialisms and styles, exploring their underlying message and theme.

Shahar is an Israeli illustrator and contributes his illustration towards childrens books, newspapers and magazines.He also creates illustrations for websites and animation projects. His work has been published in France, UK, South Korea, USA, Singapore and other countries.

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I really like the tone and visual style of this particular illustration, the colour palette is subdued and really helps to define shadow and space. Elongating the shadow from the cot bars creates a daunting scene which extends to the subject. Using a cot as the overlying object within the work helps to really portray the sense of helplessness that post natal depression sufferers can feel.

 

251454BD00000578-2926613-Post_natal_depression_is_a_type_of_depression_some_mothers_exper-a-50_1422273621627 2514577500000578-2926613-A_new_study_carried_out_at_the_University_of_North_Carolina_has_-a-49_1422273588335

These two particular images are taken from an article published by the daily mail. It explores the issues surrounding post natal depression before and after pregnancy. Shadows are extenuated through high contrast in post editing, this for me helps to develop the serious tone throughout. The setting is simple and basic in composition yet this draws focus to the central subjects of the images. I particularly like the top image which shows the separation and the feeling that there is no bond or connection. These images maybe too literal for my own concept but it is important to consider how other practitioners have considered the subject matter and produced work through this.

From my research I came across the book Surviving Post Natal Depression from Cara Aitken, in the title it states, “at home no one hears you scream” having explored individual stories it is clear that the home can be seen as a prison and references the hidden aspect of dealing with post natal depression.

This got me thinking about the famous Alien film poster which uses the sub title, “In space no one hears you scream.”. I decided to use this style of imagery and experiment within this theme.

alien-scream

The image is sinister, daunting and dark, simplistic in composition yet it manages to convey it’s theme within a strict colour scheme.

I started to explore objects that are closely associated with birth and infants, I want the main subject to be simplistic yet recognisable to illustrate my concept.

I didn’t want to use an image of an infant as it characterises the piece, the idea is for the image to be other worldly to portray the distance and lack of bond that a mother can feel when going through pre/post natal depression so decided on a foetus.

unborn-fetus_9-10-weeks

I decided to experiment with backgrounds, so started by exploring a gradient that offers depth and varying colour tones. I added a vertical gradient with black and blue with a highlight to the central area to add contrast.

PNI_Poster_Background

Through Photoshop I then added the foetus subject and added a slight shadow for depth and definition. Using a downloaded typeface similar to the movie poster, I decided to use the mental illness as the large title of the piece and having worked on design layout in my previous module created a sub heading to break up the composition.

PNI_Poster

I then used a smaller typeface for the lower text, which works in contrast to the title.

PNI_Poster_0

I then decided to experiment with varying colours for the background. I decided to explore green but it just offsets the image from the rest of the piece and removes any darker tones explored.

PNI_Poster_0_11

I then took found imagery of a cot as I felt that it is a particular object that I can explore further and is a real symbol of pregnancy and new birth.

Babys-Cot-by-windowbe-be-cot-convertible-baby-bed-into-desk-with-sliding-bars

With these objects I added to the lower part of my image, moving the text upwards. It doesn’t work well, the text appears cramped and the cot appears out of place and disjointed.

PNI_Poster_1

I then tried to reduce the opacity and see whether this would help but it still feels rigid and misplaced within the context of the work.

PNI_Poster_2

My favourite of these experiments, manages to illustrate the issues surrounding hiding mental issues such as PND and combines the most effective aspects of movie poster propaganda without losing context.

PNI_Poster_0

I was pleased with the results of my work yet I still feel that I am not exploring the personal struggles as much as I had hoped. I don’t want to glamorise the condition but illustrate the thought process and emotional state of those effected.

In doing so I hope to create a personal connection between my audience and get them thinking more about the personal struggles of mental illness rather than categorising people.

Within my research the PANDAS support organisation talks openly about how the condition effects people. At one point they are quoted as saying, “it turns into a nine month tunnel of doom, anxiety and despair”

This got me thinking about how I could explore using locations and situations as a visual tool into an emotional state. I used this quote on a found image of a darkened tunnel. The image is direct and provides a first person perspective which draws you into the location and really provides a sense of the emotional state and thought process.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3

I then used the Aitken’s text and placed into the scene. It works well in providing a link with the text and background image but seems a little flat and distant.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3_2

 

I increased the size of the text so it was clear and used the space. Unfortunately it takes away from the image behind and still feels separated from the emotional state that the picture compliments.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3_2222

I altered the typeface using lowercase lettering to resemble a quote making it more personal, this worked yet the large text doesn’t compliment.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3_22

The text is smaller and a more dynamic typeface yet still doesnt match the scene and lose the concept of work.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3_222  

I decided to explore adding perspective to the work and split the text, to hug the confined walls. I excluded the word tunnel as it fits nicely between the space and helps to merge both text and image. It is more immersive and draws the eye line complimenting the claustrophobic confines of the tunnel.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3_1

Tried a different text with capitals, isn’t as personal, struggle to read the text.

Dark_Tunnel_by_superdud3_22222

I am really encouraged by this development work and feel like this idea of combining personal text and location shots that can illustrate this further is an effective way to portray my concepts.

 

Having been in regular contact with the PNI organisation, they have been discussing how women feel on a personal level and what they appear to show to society when inside they are suffering.

Monica who works for PNI.org has already advertised my project to the many followers on their facebook site, encouraging those who wish to be heard or tell their story to be involved. They used my earlier advertising poster from the previous module to help show the style of work that will be explored.

In an email dated 07 December 2015, Monica kindly gave me some advice for consideration when exploring this subject area (transcript is available within research folder under Pre/Post Natal Depression).

Hi,

Just a thought – many women suffering from pni put on a mask to the outside world pretending they are OK, yet inside they are crumbling/suffering and desperate for help. Just a thought…maybe an idea for your illustration

This got me considering how I could use this within my own development. I attended a studio photography session at Hollymoor Centre, Birmingham on 19 December 2015, (evidence of this is available within blog post: Work Experience & Future Development and folder sub category).

I discussed the idea with the model and she was happy to be involved. We started by shooting a range of images in differing poses for me to consider later on in post editing.

Slightly unnatural and doesn’t seem to appear serious enough to illustrate concept. (1/125, F8, ISO 100)

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Too positive in the facial expressions and head held high counteracts my ideas. (1/125, F7, ISO 100)

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Hand across the neck seems to show a confidence that I don’t want to represent in my work. (1/125, F8, ISO 100)

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Image has a negative outlook, low head and thoughtful expression. (1/125, F8, ISO 100)

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Once I was happy with one particular image I decided to focus in on the facial features to fill the frame and to give focus to my concept, this was done using Lightroom.

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I decided to use a black and white filter on the image to add a serious tone to the piece, I then used Photoshop to restrict colour only to the mask, this represents a separation of the object and subject which I feel works particularly well on a visual and conceptual level. I then took extracts from my research from personal stories, and the one that drew me in was “The agony just beneath the surface”, this lends itself well tot the concept of hiding behind a mask.

I then decided to experiment with the text considering, typeface, composition, opacity and size.

This particular example I decided to use the subtle tones of the mask colour to use within my text by using the eyedropper tool, I chose to use a Bell MT Italic typeface that has a natural structure and seems personal. I then used the contours of the face to position my text. I was really pleased with the results and it manages to compliment the image without appearing to flat and structured.

NIK_0113-Edit

I decided to use the same typeface as the previous, yet instead explored other areas of the image, I chose to use a white text to contrast against the dark hair. I felt that this took away from the image and restricts the viewers eye away from the subject.

NIK_0113-Edit_1

I then wanted to explore using the text in a larger size and experiment with the opacity. I chose to change the typeface to Arial Bold at 60pt, I positioned this to the lower right of the piece and changed the opacity to 21% and fill to 67% to remove any harsh tones and so that it wouldn’t take away from the subjects eyeline, it appears chunky and somewhat out of place.

NIK_0113-Edit_2

Using the same typeface and font size I decided to position this centrally and again reduced the opacity and fill to counter the full shape of the lettering, again this seemed a touch out of place and is unclear.

NIK_0113-Edit_3

I am really pleased with this developing work as I have now started to consider visually the emotional impact instead of the subject of the illness.

 

Anorexia / Bulimia Early Development

Standard

Age Group 13-19

Contacted eating disorder health organisations for future participation (see Research folder: Eating Disorders):

  • Men Get Eating Disorders Too
  • BEAT

Update 04/12/15: BEAT have responded and provided me with a press booklet outlining that stigmas and assumptions shouldn’t be explored throughout this project. I have responded accordingly and await a reply.

Update 22/12/15: BEAT are happy to be involved with the project and will be contacting Young Ambassadors for me to meet and discuss the project and any form of participation.

Update 08/01/16: BEAT provided contact details for Young Ambassador, who I have emailed and discussed meeting to discuss the project.

Before considering how best to develop my own concept I felt it important to look into practitioners that have already tackled the subject in a range of different specialisms and styles, exploring their underlying message and theme.

Oliviero Toscani

Having already researched Toscani’s work (related blog post: Advertising Research) through advertisement I want to consider the message behind his work ‘No Anorexia’. In 2007 ‘No Anorexia’ was created by Toscani in partnership with the developing Italian fashion brand Nolita.

anorexie01

Looking to expose the reality of how the fashion world is perceived by its intended target market is the basis of Toscani’s campaign. Young adults, specifically young women, is his intended audience base, who are most likely to fall victim to illness of anorexia due to the stereotypical perception of what is beauty within the fashion world. A difficult age group to understand socially and emotionally more needs to be done to highlight and support mental health conditions in young adults.

The image is effective in it’s approach to create shock and to mirror reality, but my own work is looking more personally at individual stories, feelings and emotions. I don’t want to take away from the person in my work as public perception can define a person by a mental health condition.

 

Martin Stadhammar

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Martin Stadhammar a creative director from Stockholm produced a campaign for a national society called Anorexi/Bulimi-contact in hopes of raising awareness about the illness, and gathering donations to the Anorexi/Bulimi-contact society.

A short film that shows the reality of how someone suffering with the illness can distort reality and not be made aware of the true realities.

It is a truly powerful piece of work that really explores the emotional state of the subject, which I will try to consider within my own work.

 

Publicis Espana Advertising Agency

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Mouth” is a concept produced for the the advertising agency Publicis Espana for Campaign Against Anorexia in Spain. It was released in April 2001.

Direct, concentrated in it’s purpose and small uses of text helps to really grab the audience. It is slightly uncomfortable yet this honest depiction of how those dealing with the illness consider controlling food intake. Dark in tone, a monochrome finish and small areas of the face are lit to helps to highlight key areas. I really like this direct approach, yet I still feel this is too literal for my concept but I will experiment and develop my work thoroughly.

ANOREXIA_by_it_the_clown

Another image I really felt worked well is the above, nice flow from subject to above space helps to add depth and focus to the piece. The restricted colour palette and focused colour similar to my own development in the summer (see below) extends the concept further and helps to remove any glossing of reality of the illness.

urban_subway_train_stations_monochrome_selective_coloringSDC11928

 

One of the very earliest life milestones is the development of an individual through puberty. Body and personality changes through this period can greatly impact moving into adulthood and with influences from the media and society can lead to the development of a number of mental health conditions.

Effecting over 1.6 million people in the UK, I felt it was important to explore eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa. Approximately 90 percent of sufferers are women between the ages of 12 and 25 years.

Many people make the common assumption that eating disorders are directly linked to food, slimming and dieting. This is not necessarily true and in a large number of cases a focus on food can be a way of disguising deeper problems and emotional traumas.

Adolescents are heavily influenced by the media and pressures of appearance throughout society. Magazines, social media outlets and product advertisements deliberately manipulate images to have a particular effect on us, which are often unrealistic but seen as the norm with young adults.

Pressures at school such as facing exams or being bullied are also often seen to manifest more serious eating disorders.

Stressful events, whether it be physical or emotional abuse can have a huge impact on a young persons self esteem and produce a negative self image within themselves.

A few sample extracts from the booklet ‘Understanding eating disorders‘ from mental health charity Mind reiterates the point of how huge changes throughout life can directly impact how those with anorexia or bulimia can use food as a way of illustrating control.

I had issues with my eating when my parents split up….the only part of my life I felt like I could control.”

….tried to tell people that this was not OK, but all they saw was a diet gone wrong.”

…as a means of control. Everything else had been taken out of my control.

….was bullied a lot. ….through stress…people would like me more if I was thinner…seemed more in control.

To start my experimentation within this area of my project I felt that I wanted to explore a range of differing art styles and illustrate my brief understanding of the different approaches that people take when dealing with anorexia and bulimia.

I have taken into account personal stories from a range of sources, including blogs, health organisations and newspapers.

To start I wanted to look at how body weight and shape can distort a persons self concept but also engage with the viewer directly, looking at work explored throughout the previous module Visual Studies and how questioning the audience can create a deeper construct within my artwork.

I started by finding found imagery of contrasting body shapes, I felt that I didn’t want to add personality to this piece, because I want the underlying condition to be the focal point of my piece, so I removed any facial features and just focused on the differing body shapes.

can-stock-photo_csp7813585

I liked the idea of using simplistic shapes and silhouettes, much like the Russian constructivist movement I have already explored in previous experimentation. I start by creating a black filler within the larger framed woman to add definition to the background. I added text within the shape to add a further layer of depth and to illustrate how those affected with eating disorders can distort how they consider themselves in a mirror. This word was apparent in an article from the Daily Mail (contained within research folder) which describes the decline of a young girls condition with eating disorders who eventually tragically died, believing herself to be ‘disgusting’ and ‘fat’.

Anorexia_Collage_StencilAnorexia_Collage

I then started to consider how I would show the contrast between the two subjects without losing the vast differences in shape and contours.

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I started by cropping out the thinner subject to the right of the found imagery and moved to a new document within Photoshop. I then decided to reverse the two pieces of my composition and filled the shape in white, whilst using black text within. I went back to personal accounts and the inner link between food and control to contrast against the descriptive language of the exterior view.

Anorexia_Collage_ThinAnorexia_Collage_Thin_DRAFT

I wasn’t entirely happy with the outcome and had real difficulties in cropping out the text that was outside of the shape. I decided to roughly crop the subject and started to  experiment with composition and see which design worked best.

 

Anorexia_Collage_Stencil_DRAFTAnorexia_Collage_DRAFT

These two particular examples seem too clumsy and lack any definition. I feel that using text within both images doesn’t work and it loses some of its meaning. I think the black and white is affective in adding context.

IMG_3115 (2)

I am pleased with this example. It is clear and the text doesn’t overshadow the overall theme and contrasting shapes. Although I was not able to include the idea of control to the inner image It is a good start and I can possibly develop this within future experimentation. It has similarities with Stadhammer’s work, but maybe look at photography that delves into the unseen realities and distorted reality.

IMG_3115

Similar to my advertising campaign I want to engage with my audience with direct questioning of their interpretations. I added a question of what do you see, I continued the theme of black and white to compliment the imagery. It maybe that perhaps they consider it is someone looking within or are they looking at the outer. I am pleased that I can produce work with this uncertainty and hopefully really progress with this concept.

I continued the idea of a distorted view but wanted to start exploring photographic ideas as this is my specialism that will be continued throughout the remainder of this year and future academic study.

As I am in the early stages of development I want to really explore contemporary options of illustrating my theme outside of the normal personal experience through an individual. I revisited work explored within the summer project whereby I took mundane objects and used within my early themes.

DSCF0601_1 DSCF0589

I want to try and create a direct correlation between food and the illnesses so I started to consider how to implement this. I started with an idea that came to my mind when thinking of ideas and concepts. I saw that the distinct shape of an eaten apple as looking somewhat unhealthy and wondered if I could develop my collage work and really show the distorted view of someone suffering with anorexia or bulimia.

I explored a range of options with a small mirror including different perspectives, black and white backdrops and various camera settings (set at f8.0 and 1/125), a few examples are shown below. The images were taken in the evening so I couldn’t really explore use of natural light.

 

Black backdrop, ISO 200, Flashuntitled-2

Black backdrop, ISO 200, No Flashuntitled-3

Black backdrop, ISO 400, Flashuntitled-4

Black backdrop, ISO 300, No Flashuntitled-5

Black backdrop, ISO 200, Flashuntitled-7

White backdrop, ISO 400, Flashuntitled-9

White backdrop, ISO 400, Flashuntitled-10

I picked two images, one of a full apple reflected in a small mirror and one of an eaten apple in a mirror. The idea is to have the unhealthy apple to look into the mirror and see a full, rounded shape which is to represent how they view themselves when in reality it is far different.

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I chose these two particular images to further develop as they seem to be almost identical in positioning and lighting. After some tweaks with contrast, light/dark tones and colour in Lightroom, through Photoshop I managed to isolate the reflected full apple and merge into the other.

Anorexia Experimental

I wanted to highlight how the reality is far bleaker than what they view in the mirror. To show this I isolated the colour to the reflection only and added a black and white filter to the unhealthy apple. Unfortunately it started to appear rather separate as an image so I decided to tweak the colour balance so that only slight tones of the original colour could be seen within the eaten apple segment.

Anorexia Experimental_1

Overall I am really happy with the outcome and will extend this further to include other related items to portray my concept. My only reservation at this stage is that I want to pursue personal stories and emotional impact within my work, this can be considered if I can successfully activate my blog request on mind and start to network with people. It has similar context to Stadhammer’s work explored.

Update 10/12/15: This image was selected by judges on the photo sharing website viewbug as one of their favourite photos.

Having researched the condition of anorexia and bulimia I think it is important that I explore this subject across gender and do not try to generalise eating disorders with young girls and women.

Between 10-25% of those people experiencing eating disorders are male. MGEDT: About the charity

I came across the site ‘Men Get Eating Disorders To‘ which supports male sufferers of this illness. It is a great cause that looks to provide male specific advice and support to cope with an illness that is subjected to many female themes.

I also read a newspaper article published in The Mail on Sunday: 22 November 2015, which explored celebrity jeweller Stephen Webster’s battle with the condition titled ‘My 10-year battle with Manorexia‘. In this he also talks about a life change within his career where he became homesick, yet the only thing that he felt like he could control was his eating. This idea of control is seen throughout many of the stories that I have explored so decided to use this within my next piece of work.

I decided to explore this idea with the use of found imagery and look at how using a subject who looks directly down the camera can impact a piece of developing work within the chosen theme. This is directly linked to the style used within the campaign imagery I explored above. I chose to use a male figure that has a definable facial structure to better encapsulate my concept. I tweaked the use of shadow and contrast through Lightroom and was pleased with the results. My only concern with this experimental work is that it doesn’t send a message of how I wish to illustrate the emotional connection between the individual and the idea of control.

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As explored in my earlier investigation it was important to highlight how many use food as a mechanism to assert control within their lives when many things happening around them are unavoidable or simply out of ones control.

To illustrate this I decided to remove the mouth through Photoshop editing techniques and included a typeface that resembled stitching over the top.

jeremy 3-thumb-300x300

It is an extremely powerful piece of work that I have produced and really seems to convey the message of control. More time would be needed to develop this style of working and to create realistic stitching but it is a good start that I could possibly extend to another area of my concept.

I then wanted to look at reflecting personal examples of how eating disorders affected them in a unique way, whether it was something that developed through a specific situation or if social media may have influenced the matter.

Having collected a range of different personal interviews from both news articles and online publications it was clear that controlling the situation is a key aspect. A particular example was that of Annabelle; a 22 year old math student who became increasingly obsessed with calorie counting and calculating a strict amount to adhere to daily.

She states ‘I wouldn’t eat a food unless I knew what calories it had in it“.

This regimented attitude is something that I found surprising when exploring this condition, but was something I wanted to highlight within my work.

I started to consider how the smallest amounts of food would be strictly documented and considered before even thinking about consumption.

The idea of small amounts of food led me to the idea of how high end restaurants like to consider minimal food and presentation as a valued meal, which some of the time have an artistic interpretation to its plating.

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Using this style of working within my own practice I decided to explore creating something similar with a twist. To make the link between the strict calorie counting I decided to create my own receipt that you would regularly receive in a restaurant instead of using prices I listed the food items and added total calories with the total being the complete meal.

IMG_3114

I then started by using minimal amounts of considerably healthy food sources and created a high end restaurant finish. With the receipt and on a marble slab I started to explore composition.

No dimension to this particular image, flat and lifeless, unclear as to the message.

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Better depth of field, yet foreground shadow and uneven lighting effects image.

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Better focus on both parts of image but background is unrelated and sloppy.

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The use of black boards helped to create backdrop but the receipt appears flat and too offset.

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Subject too far away but receipt looks effective when moving away from foreground.

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I was pleased with the result of the two below images, they highlight the food as the focal point of the piece yet the receipt id clearly visible and even though it may not be 100 % clear I think it is effective in its response.

NIK_0111_1NIK_0129

I also watched an interview on ITV breakfast show ‘This Morning’ that explored a new extreme diet disorder called Orthorexia. It is the process of cleansing through healthy eating. The guest Carrie Armstrong had been ill with a virus and when her recovering was taken too long, she decided to take control of her own eating habits and explore healthy options. However this was taken too far and the dramatic weight loss had similar parallels to eating disorders which she quickly seeked help for.

It is strange to consider that a dieting plan can have such dramatic consequences, but once you start to reduce calorie intake and certain food types it will have serious health consequences.

The re-occurrence of the idea of CONTROL has got me to consider similar themes with systems of control that could be linked to eating disorders.

I then considered how a barcode is a form of control, a system of controlling goods and products within retail and supermarket stores. This nicely links to both the eating disorder and the emotional connection with food and control. Although I must be careful that I consider my concept throughout and do not lose the personal impact rather than glamorising the condition and generalising the issue around food as it is much more than this.

A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached. Originally barcodes systematically represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcode

From this I created my own barcode from a generator found online, instead of the usual numbers to identify a product I used the word control.

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I then edited this slightly by removing the website link and cropping the shape as it appeared a little long and would be difficult to implement into some of the work.

I started by exploring previous imagery, more specifically the Spanish advertising. I felt like I could exploit the personal approach to this image and use the barcode to provide a link to the subjects emotional state.

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It worked particularly well and the barcode doesn’t overshadow the subject due to the confined nature of the subject shot. I also created two different styles of image, one with the original image and barcode and one printed off and photographed through my own mobile phone. I feel that the latter works much better in merging the two separate images, it also removes the clean and unnatural nature of the Photoshop version. It becomes honest and much more grounded.

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Look forward I feel that I could possible explore this type of imagery on location and in particular a supermarket aisle. I like the physical dimensions that shooting down an aisle can give and including a model with the barcode would really create an interesting composition visually. My only reservation is that the setting could possibly overshadow my concept and take away from the personal message I am trying to convey within my work.

Looking to using models In possible future development I feel it is important to make these contacts for future work and to help my development of studio work. I attended a studio photo shoot in Sutton Coldfield on 6 December 2015 (see blog post: Work Experience and Future Development and folder subsection). I got some good shots so decided to experiment with my new concept.

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I feel this particular image would work quite well, there is a lot of negative space to work within and the model looking away and almost distant and collective helps to further extend the concept as the barcode is an emotional state that is not always seen.

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This example worked really well, I was able to use the vertical of this image and add a dynamic to the entire image.

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The barcode is a little small and doesn’t particularly use the space to its advantage. The aesthetic of being a product is effective.

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This example the barcode is too large and it overshadows the model and the negative space behind.

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Much like the other example it is effective aesthetically yet it lacks any depth and is static in nature.

I then wanted to explore differing techniques used with photography to better engage my audience within the theme and the personal stories that are being represented.

Lenticular imagery is the process of producing two separate images onto one canvas and depending on where you are situated differing images are revealed.

I feel that this concept would work well within the context within my own work and I wanted to explore the contrast between media stigma’s and discrimination and influence on societal attitudes and the deeper personal stories and emotional truths of those affected.

After some early experimentation I wanted to illustrate this concept through text, I want to consider the results of a simple composition to see how effective it can be and look at more complicated visual displays in the future.

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I used found collage imagery that illustrates how many can consider those suffering with anorexia or bulimia to be vain and wishing to replicate popular trends.

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I used the colour red within my chosen word VAIN as researching colour theory previously shows a direct correlation to danger and negative attitudes which I want to represent as the media attitude when dealing with mental illness.

I used several layers to create the imagery and reduced the opacity to bring through the collage which adds depth and context.

I then decided to explore the other image within my experimentation to highlight the true emotional state and personal struggle of those living with mental illness.

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I wanted to use contrasting colours to clearly define the divide in perspective. Due to this I decided to use previous experimentation as I felt that this particular image has direct correlation with the idea of low self esteem. The colour balance of green tones also helps to provide a calm and honest approach to this aspect of my design.

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In this instance I used Photoshop to bring the imagery through the text which works well.

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Using the slice tool in Photoshop I then split the images into 10 and interchanged them for folding at a later stage.

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RIGHT HAND SIDE

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I was really pleased with the outcome and feel that the practical context of this piece looking at a topic from differing viewpoints really helps to support my concept of illustrating the direct emotional impact of dealing with mental illness and shows how if you are looking from a certain perspective it can alter your attitudes towards mental health.

I believe this direct link to concept and engaging audiences within a physical space is something that I will consider to develop further and may lead to more poignant concepts.

Related Practitioners & Exhibitions

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As I had done extensive research into a range of diverse photographers throughout my creative influences project I felt moving forward that it was important to explore artists that have produced work within the same context.

Looking at young and relatable practitioners within my chosen field is important for me moving forward as an artist. Progression to further academic study within the photographic field requires me to explore projects and artworks produced during study at the highest level.

I came across a site that focuses solely on exploring the complex issues of mental health through the use of photography. Fragmentary also offers the chance to submit work through their site which would be a great avenue to explore once I have created my final series of work.

Contact: hello@fragmentary.org

The following artists in particular resonate with my initial concept and the ongoing development of my project, be it practically or in context.

 

Rossella Castello is an Italian artist who is currently studying photography at the University of Westminster. In her latest work Careful Dissipation she explores the experience and difficulties of living with an eating disorder. The project is about eating disorders, in particular anorexia and bulimia.

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Producing a room installation is in my personal opinion a powerful tool in developing a strong response from your audience. The room is narrow and claustrophobic, the intense red light adds further atmosphere to the piece. Setting up a table with typical everyday objects within a meal really helps to add a first person view to the work, immersing the viewer into the scene. It really illustrates the feeling that those effected feel that their health condition is an oppressive burden.

Immersing the audience within my concept is key to success within my work. Creating an installation is an ambitious task but possibly looking at something other than static wall art is something that I will consider.

 

Ashley Whitt, a fine art photographer who has explored duality and psychological state. Her latest project The Haunted Mind was developed through her own personal struggles with depression and anxiety.

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The work is heavily influenced by film and fictional narrative; exploring dreamlike states and memory. Using herself as the subject she states that her unconscious mind began to unravel underlying issues about death and her personal life.

It is a really interesting theme to explore yourself as a subject which really adds a personal depth to the work and helps to reflect on personal experience. Aesthetically I relate to the effective use of symmetry throughout her work and it really portrays the duality within mental health.

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The images are particularly striking in black and white which I feel adds a reality to the images. Some of the images are produced under a process called Dass transfer, it is a technique I have not heard of before. The photographs are printed through an inkjet printer on a transparent film which is then transferred to a final surface. As you can see above, it adds an extremely raw and deep emotional finish, slight graining and blurred areas really work well with illustrating the concept of memory and dreams.

I will be looking into the Dass technique and exploring how this can be transferred to my own concept. Although I am not currently looking into dreams or personal experience it is important to consider this process to possibly portray a personal story within my work.

 

Kev Hawken is a graduate of Nottingham Trent University who when considering the brief for a visual practice module Subjective Approach was hesitant about exploring a personal approach to his work.

Looking to produce work that can be considered to enhance my current portfolio of work for further academic study it is important to consider practitioners that have studied at one of my choices for next year.

Having visited Nottingham Trent University some weeks ago, I discussed with the lecturer my current concepts and how it would marry up with this course. Exploring Kev Hawken’s work is a great example for me to extend my own practice and see how artwork is produced within this specific course.

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The work appears simplistic on the surface yet the deeper construct unveils a personal struggle. The images were all captured within his student accommodation and highlights his own frustrations and isolation from living with anxiety.

Again a personal approach to mental health really adds further depth and produces a thought provoking response from me the viewer. Technically the images aren’t good but a clever use of shadow and light helps to justify the emotional suffering and individual struggle.

At this time I don’t feel that this approach is favourable to my own concepts, I want to capture a high standard image that explores the mental condition, yet weave a personal story within, possible portraits if I can get participants involved.

 

Samantha Pugsley an American commercial photographer, who’s work developed from personal experience with anxiety. Pugsley hopes that her work can impact others dealing with mental illness and reduce social stigmas, something I can relate to within early development.

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The work has a real honesty to its approach that appears deeply personal. My own work currently is a combination of both documentary and commercial photography and this is the best representation of this. Using a diverse range of landscapes and locations helps to provide a different tone to the typical photography exploring mental illness. Natural light helps to ground the composition and really focus on the underlying theme, I will be exploring different locations in the near future and try to experiment with combining wide shots of interior or exteriors and personal experiences.

At this time I am unsure how to link these two but will be exploring this as a real option for my own work.

 

Stephanie Boreham is a UK artist who mainly works within moving image. Her project is a visual documentation of her family and the home that she grew up in.

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It was a project that explored the insight into a domestic space and focused on the subject of her mother, who is a sufferer of depression and OCD. The images used slow exposure techniques to capture movement within a space. Boreham noticed that overtime the images of her mother in these locations were almost identical and this thought process developed the theme behind the artwork.

Boreham’s mother exists within the photographs but the repetitive nature merges the subject into the domestic space. This has a direct relationship with her mental illness and how the illness has stripped her of her identity.

The muted tones within the imagery helps to create a unique atmosphere that to me personally evokes a surreal reality that is relatable. Shooting the project from one view point is an interesting concept that works well here and links the repetitive nature of the image to the effect that mental illness has had on her mother.

I have previously explored the use of slow exposure photography and repetition within the ebb and flow project which worked really well and created strong links between the underlying issues behind the concept and the technical aspect of my work.

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Moving forward I will look into experimenting within this technique again and see if I can make strong links to my current theme.

 

Kristina Drake is a photographer who is currently studying at another academic university that I have been enquiring into, Southampton Solent University. Whilst studying on the BA (Hons) Photography course, which I am looking towards for next year, her project is a direct observation of her own issues surrounding OCD.

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An observation of an endless pile of discarded teabags compliments her own person struggle and frustrations living with OCD. The photos represent the inability to process a situation rationally. She states that at times she can only see the problems that affect her, overwhelmingly exaggerating simple situations; which can often be seen as selfish.

The images truly reflect the personal anguish when living with OCD. The teabags as a focal centre point to the series seems to appear sinister and purposeful, but this is how it appears to Drake. It really is an excellent example of how to effectively use black and white photography in an emotional context; it uses a mundane scenario that is subtly enhanced by the underlying context.

Producing photography that carries weight and is manipulated by underlying themes and tones is key to a successful project and something that I will be developing over the coming months.

 

Christina Riley produced a series of works that documented the contemplative moments between the mania of bipolar disorder.

The images appear grainy, discoloured and imperfect, yet personally I feel this provides a raw emotion to the work. The compositions are purposeful in creating space which symbolises the internal, disconnected state that the subjects are portraying.

Riley’s work tries to illustrate the reality of mental illness and she states that it is important for people to understand the reality of mental illness as a human experience. Lighting is subtle yet highlights the key areas of Riley’s image.

A great example of how an imperfect image can say so much more than something that is digitally enhanced and may lose some of its human elements. It is important when dealing with mental health through art that human emotion is synchronised with the produced imagery.

 

Jim Mortam is a self taught photographer who combines text and image to illustrate a story. His on-going project, Small Town Inertia, exploring the lives of those living with mental health in the community.

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Mortam actively seeked out participants for his project by meeting local people in the area. He tried to create a friendship that went much deeper than the subject of his images, and actively tries to visit or contact them every week to this day.

This style of working is something I am actively exploring, I am currently contacting a variety of charitable and related organisations to see if I can get some personal experience from those affected by particular mental illness.

Having a direct relationship with the subject adds context to a fairly regular image.

 

Having attended the Southampton Solent Open Day I was given a complimentary program produced by designer Dean Pavitt that showcased the artwork produced by students in their final year of the BA (Hons) Photography course.

The work is diverse and explores aspects of fashion, fine art and documentary. I picked out a few of the students work that resonate with me as a practitioner and that connections with my current concepts.

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Naomi James’s work Hand from the series Fabricated Glazes is incredibly powerful, the composition focuses on tone, shape and contours of the human anatomy. The distorted layer over the top of the main image helps to compliment the fabric across the body, creating a seamless image.

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Thomas Murphy’s work, Man Altered Landscapes explores the human impact on landscapes across the world. I enjoy capturing diverse landscapes in my own time and some of my favourite work visually is that of images that I have taken in the peak district and beyond, some of my work was taken throughout the summer and are available to view (see below) (related blog post: Photographic work and Development). It has similarities with my previous works Scenic Modernisation and the impact of man made structures on previously untouched landscapes.

The image is clean and precise, simple in composition yet the contrast in colours is effective. I feel that I could look at landscapes that portray a particular emotion and merge within my work. I will be looking at locations across the UK for inspiration and see if the idea can evolve.

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Dariusz Andrzejewski work is extremely powerful, it explores the personal struggle and realities of heroin addition and drugs. The images are shot directly at the use of drugs and materials through the hands. Focusing on the hands creates a direct link to the use of drugs instead of an individual, it becomes active and alive. The tone is dark and dirty, unscrubbed hands and dirtied nails provides a raw nature and harsh reality to the scenario.

 

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This image by Natalie De Arez Cintra, The Poppy has elements that I like within photography. It uses the poppy as a symbol against the muted tones of a wheat field and darkened shadows of the tree line. The poppy is enhanced with emphasis given to the red of its petals and something I have considered within my own work (see below), (related blog post: Photographic work and Development). Using a distinct aspect of a landscape to illustrate a deeper context is something that I will look at exploring.

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Marielle Ovsthus Evjen’s series same/different explores identity. This concept has similar context to my own work. Exploring mental health I don’t want to lose the personal story through a dramatic promotion of the condition and the effects it can have physically. I want to show the person as a person not as an illness. This work is simplistic in composition but its message is strong; focus on the eyes of the subject creates a direct relationship with the view and has a particular style that propaganda throughout the 20th Century produced (see related blog post: Propaganda Research).

 

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Paulina Cid’s Basorexia series has identical concepts to my early development throughout the summer exploring phobias. Basorexia is the strong craving for kissing. The images are taken of different manipulations of the human mouth, due to the shots being uncomfortably close to the subject the composition appears strange and other worldly. The contours of the face and moisture of the lips are highlighted by the use of lighting and really puts you in the position of someone who has Basorexia, the images become obsessive. My own work tried to capture this personal emotion and relay this to the viewer, often manipulating the image to appear differently (see below) (related blog post: Visual Studies Summer Project Development).

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Kate Harding’s work Untitled is particularly intriguing, the image is nightmarish, it is almost sinister, folds within the bed sheets further adds to the darkened theme. I find that the personalised graffiti works well, it focuses your view towards the centre point of the image and the darkly figure within the pillow. The lines are harsh yet flow together. I really want to try and explore using personal text within my work. Exploring Richard Ross’ work in the summer at the Open Eye Gallery, it really helped to add personality to the series and provided a real incite into the harsh realities of Juvenile prisons.

 

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Zoe Downing’s work really resonates with me, it looks into using photography to illustrate warped realities. The subject is obscured, looking directly towards camera, at itself possibly unhappy with body shape or image. The image is cloudy and in places blurred but it works with the theme and tone of the piece. It maybe too literal for my own work but it is worth exploring related avenues with related practitioners working at a somewhat similar level.

 

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Jade Smith’s untitled work is honest, real and offers a glimpse into somebody’s life. The colour tones are neutral which helps to ground the piece in reality. I really like the direct approach of her image, it becomes personal and you can really capture someone’s emotions through this style of working. Hopefully through contact made with related charitable organisations linked with mental health I can look at doing some work with these people directly and get a true and emotional response.

 

Centrala Gallery & Cafe, Birmingham

I recently attended an exhibition located in the Centrala development space in Birmingham. The exhibition was that of Slawa Harasymowicz titled, ‘H.N.5 515‘, the centre is an innovative gallery space that looks to promote artists from Eastern European backgrounds.

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Harasymowicz’s work explores one of the unknown maritime disasters of World War II. In 1945 three stationary German ships were torpedoed by British troops not knowing that the ships contained Polish and Russian prisoners.

Her work looks to portray a personal significance in a public space that delves into knowledge, time and control. Her work is a mixture of object installations, audio, archival footage and personal biographies.

It is a complex series of work that really looks to explore the personnel stories of those who have somewhat been forgotten within a historic moment that remained obscured from the public. Visually I wasn’t impressed with the composition of some of the work, the audio installation was a mixture of voices, story telling and music which helped to provide a sense of atmosphere.

I related much of Harasymowicz’s conceptual depth of her source material with my own progression exploring mental health. She really manages to produce a personal account of a historic event, using biographical material and audio manages to create a deeper understanding of the experience. Working within the source material is important to my own practice and I believe that working alongside individuals and taking real life accounts can add a certain level of depth and really help to interact with the audience.

 

Solent Showcase Gallery, Southampton

When attending the open day at Southampton Solent University I managed time to explore some of the work produced by current students; I was also advised that current lecturer of television and video production Julian Konczak had an exhibition on in the city’s showcase gallery which I went and explored. Researching current practitioners within university study or just newly graduated is important in relation to my own practice and moving forward into a photographic degree of my own; I feel that seeing work from a senior member of the educational establishment can only help further extend my knowledge of the standard of work produced.

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Konczak’s work is a collaborative series of video installations with sound designer Natalia Data. The change of seasons was inspiration for the look and tone of each section. The soundtrack reworks Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and uses location sound effects treated and reworked in the studio to create a rich and evocative soundscape. The exhibition format uses an immersive triptych projected within a cube and an 8 point speaker system for sound.

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The work has strong connotations with my previous work exploring the human responsibility of renewable energy and the contrasting argument of traditionalists that wish for the land to remain untouched.

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The works are a series of projected video’s showing a mixture of photographic images of the local area and the impact that we as humans have on the surrounding area.

Although this is a video installation I like the idea of creating a journey through the area and show the contrasting impact of untouched areas of the landscape and those affected by human involvement. Using large projectors across the four walls of the exhibition space immediately transports you to that area, the added sound manages to add an authentic tone to the installation. I was surrounded by the forest walking those paths seeing the sights and changes in the landscapes.

It has similar qualities to Rossella Castello’s installation, which manages to transport you to a location providing atmosphere and a deeply personal scenario. This idea of using confined space and surrounding the viewer is an intriguing concept that I may consider producing myself. Depending on the exhibition space I will consider creating an area where people are surrounded by the imagery immersing them within my concept to created a deeper social significance and connection.

 

Initial Proposal and Early Experimentation

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When considering how to best continue the development of my most recent concept, it is important to continue to illustrate the issues that surround mental health and the discrimination that those affected constantly face throughout society.

I want to develop work that can impact a diverse audience base, the work should be broad enough to relate with the viewer whether it be directly or indirectly.

Instead of my focus being solely driven towards the issues around hidden mental health within anxiety and depression, I want to expand this to reflect society as a whole and the broader spectrum of mental illnesses that are constantly affecting the populous.

I want to produce artwork that reflects real life accounts and how those effected by mental health deal with daily discrimination, how they cope/recovered and illustrate their feelings through the photographic medium.

This theme will continue throughout the remainder of the academic year and is designed to help me produce an extensive portfolio of work for further study within my chosen specialism. Research and evaluation of my planned progression path is contained within blog post in this category Further Academic Study.

I started by brainstorming initial ideas and expanded on these with further particulars. I explored a population tree to gather which age groups are the largest within the UK and started to group these and consider life events/milestones that could be associated to these and possible triggers for mental illness.

http://populationpyramid.net/united-kingdom/2015/

Peaks occurred mostly around the 20-30 brackets, 40-50 and 65+.

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My main focus is to produce a series of images that capture major life events, whether it be teenage years through puberty to the birth of a child. Each event will resonate with my audience and really portray the diverse nature of mental illness in society. I mapped out my ideas and included rough age ranges, linked illnesses and health organisations that I could possibly interact with to gain this information. Hopefully this will aid in possible participation from those directly affected by mental health conditions to provide a much more personal story and impact within my work.

I have emailed mental health organisation MIND who I used for research in my previous work to see whether their is the possibility of setting up a blog or contact with individuals directly affected by mental health to explore personal stories and responses for my own work to help illustrate my concept.

To start my initial research I need to consider which age brackets that I wish to explore. It is important that I consider the relationship between life events and directly related mental illness.

As I’m considering age I want to research and explore time, passing of time and ageing I decided to research artwork that looks into this concept and possibly consider how I could implement this within my own work.

 

This image taken by amateur Narnia on flickr explores time through the decay of food in this case an apple. In the background is the faint view of a clock further extended the concept.

I really like the idea of using time in a physical manner, showing the realities of decay. The image is beautifully shot, the background is mottled with hints of grey that helps to give texture and a depth to the darker areas of the imagery.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44868345@N05/7303849158/in/photostream/

 

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The Passage of Time” is artwork created by Min Soo Kim a sixteen year old student in America. The work illustrates the passing of time through graphical and illustrative elements. Using texture through wind creates a natural flow from left to right and helps to extend the concept of moments coming and going. It is a great use of a natural element that really helps to show the natural process of time, which I feel is key to portraying the idea.

https://nycscholasticawards.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/passage-of-time/

 

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An image produced by Fusyou Zen a Japanese artist. It uses a combination of photography and graphical elements to portray ageing and the process of time. The almost transparent film that resembles an old photograph helps to produce texture and a ghostly fascade. I really feel that the image works well in its purpose yet as I’m exploring a range of age groups it is important to consider time more than producing something that is old or considered from the past and decay.

The images above all use time as their overall concept yet using techniques such as this may take away from my underlying theme. It needs to be subtle enough that it is almost non existent.
I then started to think of time and how something natural grows, develops and eventually dies through the process of life. This got me to consider a plant.
A household item that I could use without overally saturating my concept and wouldn’t look out of place in a scene or image.
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This idea can be considered later on in my development as this is not a crucial element to my concept but it is important to consider ideas and examples of time through art, specifically photography.
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Another process of time I could consider is different times of day, moving from dawn to night could be considered as a subjective view of time. I will have to explore this further once I have gained an understanding of how I will be producing my concepts, it maybe that I want to concentrate on the subject and not take away from the emotional and personal message that will convey.
I then wanted to experiment with visual portrayals of mental health via the use of paint. I am looking for sporadic elements throughout, structure is something that I want removed from my experimental imagery as it removes an element of emotion and personality that I am looking for, I will be looking at a broad and possibly stereotypical concepts to experiment with just to gather whether this could work or not.
C4272K Illustrated silhouette of a man sitting with his head in his hand
I started by finding imagery associated with sadness and depression, this silhouette is distinct and simple in tone, this is a great example of an effective shape that I can work with and won’t take away from the erratic paint technique I will be exploring.

 

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I want to focus on the space surrounding the image so decided to remove the background from the image as it may take away from my idea. Using Photoshop I created a new document and placed the silhouette in the lower left of the document, in doing this I can exploit the space surrounding the image and add a dynamic contrast.

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The first example was washed with water to help the paint run freely and dynamically. I used a technique whereby I took a small amount of paint and a large amount of water onto the brush tip and dropped from a small height. This was to simulate thought bubbles, and the differing colours and sizes were the chaotic thought process that can occur when dealing with mental health illness. It worked rather well and the running of some of the colours into others creates some interesting colour tones, it also runs nicely into the subject and creates a direct connection.

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I then experimented with a water bottle and spray. I used a mixture of red and black to create a dark and unsettling shade. I sprayed heavily towards the top corner and gradually eased off as I approached the bottom. The gradient worked really well but it lacked any definable depth, I do think that it adds a weight to the image that is constantly overshadowing the subjects though process which helps to emphasise the concept.

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I then wanted to look at using subjects with anguish and distress within their physical features. I used a found image of a women holding her head which adds context.Schizophrenia_2

I found that using simplistic shapes and contours helped to define the context of my imagery and did not overcomplicate the use of paint in a rather random manner. Using Photoshop I posterized my image to show only simple contours.

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I wanted to look this time in creating a chaotic madness, strands of the mind plastered across the image. I used a watery black paint and used the flick technique. I was pleased with the result and feel like it manages to convey an inner madness of sorts. From my early research and work explored within the last modules I also included a few words that those dealing with mental illness can feel emotionally, SCARED, ISOLATED, ALONE. I used red ink and a tree twig to keep in the theme of a chaotic scene and to not overshadow the other layers.

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I then explored a different approach to the subject matter and instead of distress looked into sadness and the visual impact of inner struggle. I chose an image that was sombre in tone and wasn’t as visually impacting yet you could read into the situation and feel the emotional state of the subject.

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I chose to stay with the visual tone of my earlier image and posterized. Much like effectively using negative space I positioned the subject to the upper left of the document to give me enough room to experiment with.

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I chose to use watercolours in this particular image as they create a more natural flow to them than standard acrylic based paints. I washed the sheet with water and started to dab the lower eye with a blue watercolour. The paint then runs naturally down the face creating a range of blue streams similar to tears. I feel that I may have over used the paint and it could be more effective with less paint creating a more subtle approach.

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From this I then flipped the canvas and in similar style used a blue wash across the space to resemble tears. It looked a lot better visually and manages to blend away from the subject rather well. My only reservation is that it doesn’t seem to highlight my concept at any point and seems two dimensional and generic.

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I then wanting to explore a deeper emotional impact of mental health. I started by finding an image that showed pain and frustration from the subject.

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I continued the posterized theme as it creates a nice balance between dark and lighter aspects of the image but really want to explore the space surrounding the image not to dominate but to show the explosion of thought.

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I used Photoshop to extend the area surrounding the imagery and to further enhance the negative space placed the subject towards the lower central area of the document.

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I then used a range of colours that were contrasting to add a sense of layer and depth. I want to illustrate the explosive thought process and replicate a complicated string of divisive emotional states. Visually I was pleased with the results and I feel that the use of differing colours helps to portray a chaotic process, my only issue is that it still doesn’t relate to my concept. It still feels as though I’m looking into the generic representations of mental health instead of exploring the person behind the illness and the emotional process that these people go through.

Moving forward from my early experimentation I feel it best to concentrate on those areas of mental health I have considered will be the most effective in illustrating my concept. Gathering information, real life accounts and interviews from a range of media will help me to better understand those affected by the particular conditions and will help me moving forward in experimentation. My next step moving forward is to concentrate on these areas and research in more depth.