Recreate a childhood memory in a photograph. Think carefully about the memory you choose and how you’ll recreate it. You’re free to approach this task in any way you wish.
Does the memory involve you directly or is it something you witnessed?
Will you include your adult self in the image (for example, to ‘stand in’ for your childhood self) or will you ask a model to represent you? Or will you be absent from the image altogether? (You’ll look at the work of some artists who have chosen to depict some aspect of their life without including themselves in the image in the next project.)
Will you try and recreate the memory literally or will you represent it in a more
metaphorical way, as you did in Part Two?
Will you accompany your image with some text?
In your learning log, reflect on the final outcome. How does the photograph resemble your memory? Is it different from what you expected? What does it communicate to the viewer? How?
It might be interesting to show your photograph to friends or family members – perhaps someone who was there at the time and someone who wasn’t – and see what the image conveys to them.
Little ears hear . . . .
I have a vivid memory of a conversation between my mother and another woman. Although i don’t remember exactly whether I was in the room or not and can’t remember who the other woman was, the memory of this conversation has affected my confidence and self image all of my life.
My image represents the feelings that I felt, rather than a depiction of the actual event. The image is pretty much out of camera with a few tweaks to highlights and shadows and the addition of a shadow in room to allude to people being in the room. the blue shadowy area is alluding to being out in cold.
When I originally took the image I took it from my current eyeline, but then I realised I was a child and therefore, I needed a lower vantage point as I was a child when this happened. To be fair I’m only 5ft 2″ now ! Keeping the image in a portrait view also helps with the feeling of being small, looking up. The image is exactly what I had hoped to portray.
Putting myself in the picture isn’t something I would usually choose to do! Part of the brief was to keep a diary which is something I’ve tried to do before, but have never succeeded in completing a whole year!! This time, I decided to take a different approach and bought myself a planning diary with lots of stickers.
This actually worked quite well for a couple of months. In stead of writing reams, I was able to just write a line or a phrase and then set about choosing an appropriate sticker. This made the book look pretty and the snippets of information were enough to jog my memory. This was going ok until one day I realised I hadn’t written in it for a week! and there endeth the story of they diary!
I concluded that I really don’t find myself that interesting!
I considered my approach for this project would be ‘self-absented portraiture‘ as I don’t like being in photographs. However, I liked the idea of concealing myself and yet revealing myself through the use of a surrogate object.
In Eva Stenram’s drapes series she deflected the viewers gaze by covering parts of the women’s bodies, creating a scene that leaves the viewer without all of the answers and forces them to explore the image for further clues about the person. Like most people I am complex and multifaceted, but as an introvert draw my energy from within and therefore, don’t always show the ‘full me’ to many people.
I was very drawn to Elinor Carruci’s work which has a much more intimate feel. She is able to capture very graphic moments of life in a low light style using members of her family and herself. I really like this approach but didn’t feel that this would work for this project.
I have chosen to depict myself through a surrogate; my shoes. My aim is to give a glimpse of myself whilst giving the viewer the opportunity to explore the image for more clues. I have used natural daytime light to capture this set, so by that token focused only on my daytime activities.
In researching people using shoes in this way, I couldn’t find many, if any, examples. The majority of photographs of shoes are taken in order to sell them. Therefore, I wanted to make ‘real’ life photos with shoes that are worn in and being used. In some of the images the shoes are the primary focus of the picture, whereas in others, they are incidental in the image. In a few of the images, you are seeing the world from my point of view. On reflection, I think this is a good analogy of me.
We seem, these days, to think we know people because of the images they post on social media, this gave rise to the invent of the selfie and a trend of people posting hundreds of images of their face. But how much does this actually tell us about them?
I have chosen to present these images on Instagram because this is one of the most commonly used apps for sharing self-portraits. There are 12 images in this set, because this is the number of pictures you can see in a grid form on your phone when you click on someone’s profile. This is also why I picked the square format.
Below is a screenshot and a link to my Instagram page. I would like people to view them through this media and comment.
Self-absented portraiture is the artist telling the viewer who they are without being in the photo. Some use objects and some use other people. Maria Kapajeva took images of other women with whom she feels a connection, whilst Sophie Calle’s Take Care of Yourself series was a response to a break up email she received and was her way of working through her emotions using other women.
“I received an email telling me it was over. I didn’t know how to respond It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me. It ended with the words, Take care of yourself. I followed this advice to the letter I asked 107 women (as well as two handpuppets and a parrot), chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret the letter. To analyse it, comment on it, dance it, sing it. Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me. Answer for me. It was a way of taking the time to break up A way to take care of myself”.
Nigel Shafran – used images of his kitchen to say something about himself and his life.
a party, dance, or other festive gathering of persons wearing masks and other disguises, andoften elegant, historical, or fantastic costumes.a costume or disguise worn at such a gathering.false outward show; façade; pretense:a hypocrite’s masquerade of virtue.activity, existence, etc., under false pretenses:a rich man’s masquerade as a beggar.
verb (used without object),mas·quer·ad·ed,mas·quer·ad·ing.
to go about under false pretenses or a false character; assume the character of; give oneself outto be:to masquerade as a former Russian count.to disguise oneself.to take part in a masquerade.
This is Project (2), and in relation to self-portraiture, the term masquerade is denoting that the photographer is using themselves to say something about something other than themselves. The course points to Nikki S. Lee, a photographer who transformed herself physically in order to include herself in pictures of other groups and cultures, with the aim of blending in with them. I see this a little like actors playing a role. It isn’t who they really are, but they transform themselves into someone else in order to tell a story.
Nikki S. Lee – google image search 19.5.19 – masquerading as others
It is interesting that having read Lee’s bio, it appears that she had wanted to be an actress. Perhaps that had something to do with her dressing up as other people. There is also the fact that she moved to New York from Korea and maybe felt out of place or different from others there and was trying to blend and belong.
Trish Morrissey – google image search. In the series ‘Front’, Morrissey says she is challenging the idea of borders and boundaries and asked women in groups who had set up ‘camp’ on the beach to swap position with her, she took their place in the family and asked them to take the images of her ensconced in their family group.
I think any person who’s partner has gone off with someone else, who has then taken their place in the family / group. I think this would evoke feelings of loss and position and place. If you are confident of your place in a group, then I guess you’d probably just see it as some fun. As someone who take family group photos, it always really interesting how people arrange themselves. With an impostor in the mix, would the accepted roles be challenged?
I wouldn’t call Lee’s work voyeuristic, it feels more like street photography, where she has tried to join in.
Is there any sense in which Lee’s work could be considered voyeuristic or even
exploitative? Is she commenting on her own identity, the group identity of the
people she photographs, or both?
Would you agree to Morrissey’s request if you were enjoying a day on the beach with your family? If not, why not?
Morrissey uses self-portraiture in more of her work, namely Seven and The Failed Realist. Look at these projects online and make some notes in your learning log.
It feels like Lee is commenting on her own identity and the fact that she is different, but also that each group has it’s own identity and everyone in the group blends in by the way that they look, be it clothes, or something else.
Yes I think I would agree to Morrissey’s request, and would enjoy seeing how my family looked in the camera. However, my insecurities might be challenged. I might feel jealous?
In this series, Trish used her face as a canvas for her daughter to paint. She was exploring the idea that children of 4 – 5 try to express themselves visually, but don’t have the physical acuity to do so at that time. The series was made over a period of time to see how it changed as her daughter’s ability grew.
In both of these series, Morrissey is masquerading as others or even things in an attempt to test other theories.
Exercise Reflect on the pieces of work discussed in this project in your learning log and do some further research of your own. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself:
How do these images make you feel
Do you think there’s an element of narcissism or self-indulgence in focusing on your own identity in this way?
What’s the significance of Brotherus’s nakedness?
Can such images ‘work’ for an outsider without accompanying text?
Do you think any of these artists are also addressing wider issues beyond the purely personal?
Elina Brotherus – Google image search 19.05.19
On their own with no context, these images are perplexing. They do seem self indulgent, however, having watched the video and listened to Elina speak about her images, i have a much better understanding and connection with her work.
Gillian Wearing – google image search 19.05.19 – without the explanation that she is wearing a mask, they are so lifelike that you can’t tell. Therefore, I’m still not sure what she is trying to say or explore.
Elinor Carucci – now this I love. It’s amazing the difference in how you view images when you connect with them.
Elinor Carucci’s work feels intimate and perhaps a bit voyeuristic, it comes from a place I understand without explanation, whereas with Brotherus and Wearings work, I couldn’t relate to until, it was explained. Their work feels more like they are trying to externalise things that are happening in their heads. Woodman’s images are more compelling, in that I feel she gets across what she is trying to say, with movement and the shapes she makes with her body.
What is the difference between Carucci’s images and the those of Brotherus and Wearing with which I don’t connect. It would be interesting to do some comparisons to see if I can work it out. How can I bring these ideas into my work?
Richard Billingham – google image search 19.05.19. Reminiscent of Martin Parr, these images are of the photographer’s family and quiet dark and satirical in nature.
Tiernay Gearon – google image search 19.5.19. Like Carucci, the photographer has focused on montherhood, however her images are quite different, they are bright and saturated and convey motherhood as a happy time.
Having read through Part 3 – Putting yourself in the picture and researching the artists suggested and more, I have come to the conclusion that, I certainly don’t want to be naked in any images!, I don’t really have anything to bang a drum about and therefore, I am pretty sure my assignment will be self-absented set.
I would also like to explore the theme of substitution which was a question that came out of my last assignment, where I substituted a wooden hand for a real one.
I would also like to link this work to instagram. It seems that everyone uploads images of themselves (selfies} to instagram these days, coupled with a description of where they are, what they are doing. This is coupled with #lotsoflinks, #funnyquotes, #likegrabbingheadlines. Getting likes is all that matters!!
This is a screen shot of my current instagram account as seen on my iphone. Most people see a grid of 3 x 3 or 3 x 4 images at a time, so I will aim for 12 photos to complete this set.
I tend to use my account to show images I’ve taken, either for clients or for myself. Occasionally I add photos of me and my grandchildren, but try very hard not to post ‘crap’ to it, as I want to showcase myself as an artist (is there even such a thing!!)
I have been keeping my diary now for 8 days. I HAVE filled it in every day. This a major achievement for me. I am using a planning diary, rather than a regular journal. This seems to suit me better and I’ve found that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, stickers! they break up the writing and I find the small snippets much more interesting that lots of prose. It is enough to trigger the memories.
It’s a note for learning here too. I really struggle to concentrate with pages and pages of prose. I have to read reports for work, and I always have to get a cup of tea and often get up and go for a walk, so I can re-concentrate several times during the course of reading them. I prefer short bursts of text interspersed with images or graphics. Conversely though, I’m pretty good at writing reports!
My subject for the assignment:
I considered picking up the work I tried out after reading Francesca Woodman’s work, which was exploring the idea of using long exposure to be in a space and then not, but decided it was a bit boring and it’s essentially one photographic technique done in a few different ways. I have decided to complete my initial thoughts of self-absented self-portraiture based on substitution. I am going to tell viewers about myself by using my SHOES.
“It is difficult not to read Woodman’s many self-portraits – she produced over five hundred during her short lifetime – as alluding to a troubled state of mind. She committed suicide at the age of twenty-two.” (Bright, 2010, p.25)
Francesca Woodman (1958–81) explored issues of gender representation and the use of the female body in her work. Self-portraits dominate her substantial portfolio, often portraying dark psychological states and disturbing scenes. She uses her body, locations and props to evoke a sense of surrealism, mystery and vulnerability. In Space2, for example, her body almost disappears into the blur of movement. This visual strategy recurs in her work and, since her death, has been interpreted as Woodman using photography both to present herself to the camera as an exhibitionist and to help herself disappear.
Look up Francesca Woodman’s images online. What evidence can you find for Bright’s analysis?
I think that perhaps Bright is reading Woodman’s images with the hindsight of her subsequent death. I think it is natural for us all to explore our existence in time and space. Especially as in this instance she was possibly responding to an assignment brief, whilst studying at university. The title Space2, is actually Space squared.
as a human being we can move around and occupy different parts of a space, whilst the space itself can not move. I have tried this out myself using long exposure to put myself in the image but not in the image at the same time. Looking at the idea of only passing through time and leaving traces of oneself.
I like the smoky effect left by moving through the space. I was wearing a white top. In woodman’s images she was in an empty room. I liked the idea of being in and around my home.
Max Klinger – german surrealist painter, Max Klinger (18 February 1857 – 5 July 1920) was a German symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer. Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in Karlsruhe. An admirer of the etchings of Menzel and Goya, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right.
I have always enjoyed surrealism in my photography, I like the idea of adding symbolism as well.
Brooke Shaden – https://brookeshaden.com/gallery/surrealist self portraits – this is a photographer whose work I have followed for a time. However, I find her quite dark, she follows themes of rebirth and feel a little like Woodman’s work. Personally, I prefer images that are more hopeful and uplifting.