Venturing into ‘Image and Reality’ I had strong desires to explore this idea of fatigue, as I feel this concept is reflected within myself and through the people in London. As I mainly focus on constructing fashion imagery, I wanted to conduct this through my photographs. I began this project by undertaking initial artist research to gather aesthetics and expand my creative potential. Taking inspiration from artists, I started to construct visual responses to explore multiple ways of photographing. My Bettina von Zwehl responses were a main influence to my final outcomes, as the expression I captured enticed the viewer and the photographs were filled with manipulated emotion.
This notion of capturing an emotive image lead me to research artist Erwin Olaf, his staged images depicted this still moment of reality, creating an intense viewing experience. Inspired by his concept I visited Hamilton Gallery to see his ‘Skin Deep’ exhibition, the photographs presented had a strong link to my concept of fatigue both aesthetically and theatrically.
Olaf’s exhibit lead me to question how can I translate the idea of fatigue into fashion? After exploring this I came across photographer Corrine Day, her work removed the glamour from fashion and she exposed models in a rather vulgar manner. She was a part of the ‘Heroin Chic’ aesthetic, where the models were depicted to seem tired and exhausted. When I undertook my visual response to this I felt like I lost translation in my images, as they translated a more youthful and dramatic feel to them.
Stemming from this I conducted more artist research influenced by my weekly tutorials, I was encouraged to look at more conceptual based artists these included Rachel Maclean, Chloe Newman and Rebecca Sheinberg. These artists shifted my project dramatically, as they turned my interests towards the ideology of a plastic reality, looking at the sub-conscious and the fantasy in the photographic. Upon reflection I undertook experimental images to gather concepts and try out styling techniques. In a literal sense I decided to cover my model in cling-film (plastic) to portray the narrative, looking at my responses I saw an essence of fatigue, however thee aesthetics captured failed to compliment the image.
Continuing to look for inspiration I was immensely simulated by some photographs by Tim Walker, these images had a major impact on my final imagery. His depiction of a fantasy and a whole new construction of a being and reality inspired me to the extent that I felt ready to take my finals. I saw fatigue in his styling and positioning the pale faces, dated clothes and distant look of the models motivated me to photograph. In addition, the un-human like figures in the image intertwined a plastic aesthetic.
To broaden my knowledge on this concept I researched the relationship between the photographic and reality. The book ‘Photography: A Cultural History’ helped shape the way I perceive an image, as I now see it more as a dictation of what the photographer sees and wishes to reveal. This enabled me to use my camera as a selective tool to represent and distort a reality in which I would assert to my viewer.
My final shoot showed my concept in many ways, in the literal aspect I communicated my concept through a plastic dress. This made reference to the idea of a plastic reality and an artificial figure. My model wore white face powder to exude fatigue and I wanted to create a being, defying the human in a much more disturbing and obscure manner. By doing this I eliminated reality and constructed an abstraction of the sub-conscious. Using a studio environment, I had more control over lighting and construction of my imagery.
Reflecting upon my final imagery I feel that I have melded a complexity of aesthetics, distorting them into my own style. My project lost track between the transition of artists that I looked at, however at the final stages of my project it all consolidated. My final photographic pieces intertwine with my concept and are quite visually dominant, judging on feedback from social media. I feel they define me as a photographer due to the fashion feel and the way that they escape to a sublime reality. In concern to my next photographic project my intentions are to explore different genres through this medium, to discover and broaden my photographic capabilities.
Overall, ‘Image & Reality’ has altered my perception of photography as a medium, I now see it as a tool to dictate a moment to an individual, however the photographer and the camera can distort and manipulate what the viewer sees, only depicting a trace of what was real. It is a matter of capturing time, and the photographic apparatus distorts that moment through symbolisers, framing, light and the stopping of time. In addition, I have obtained knowledge of new technologies including the use of film cameras, which has allowed me to explore new methodologies in my practice and I shall continue to use theses techniques.