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.

postnatal_depression_1051512

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)

untitled-36

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

untitled-37

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

untitled-35

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

untitled-33

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.

untitled-34

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.