And then it was gone by Jean Taylor 2018

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 4

In exercise 4, we were asked to research various artists, whose art had to be photographed to be recorded. ie Hamish Fulton considered himself to be a ‘Walking Artist’, photographing areas he walks in but believes the walking is the art “If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of Art” (Fulton 1973) – he believes the photographs just record his art.  However, without the photographs his work wouldn’t be seen, the argument being the photographs and the way they are taken would be the art.

Richard Long, also bases his artwork on walks and the environment, sculptures have been made by him on various walks, and then photographed, also artwork that he has exhibited, is then photographed and displayed on his website, perhaps encouraging people to go to the exhibits to view his artwork.  However, is it not then the Photographer taking the photo in say the correct lighting, certain angle is the artist being able to show his skill as a photographer.

An artist called Keith Arnatt wrote “The continual reference to the disappearance of the art object suggested to me the eventual disappearance of the artist himself”.  (Arnatt 1969) said this in reference to nine black and white photographs that were shown every day on German television, for just 2 seconds.  There was no warning to the viewers, leaving them to make up their own minds what was going on.  The photographs showed Arnatt disappearing gradually into the ground.  He considered this to be art, however the argument would be is it the camera showing the disappearing act as being the art, not the artist himself.

We are asked if the photography in these cases, is actually the artwork or is it simply providing an authentic record of the artwork itself.  Personally a photographer will always see himself as the artist no matter what he takes as it could be a picture of the Tower of London, depending on the light, the angle, or what’s in the foreground, you could argue then is the Architecture the artist or the photographer if the picture was to sell.  The same can be said with the photos taken of the sculptures by Richard Long, if the photograph was sold is it because of the sculpture itself or the photograph that has been taken, I am unsure of the legalities in this instance, it is an interesting topic and something I would like to investigate further.

On reflection of this exercise, I have been seeing photography in a different light, it can be confusing as to what is the art, my personal view would be it is the photograph, however I am sure this can be argued by any subject matter be it a building, person, sculpture, painting, object, what are we looking at the photograph or what is in the photograph, who owns the photograph, the photographer or the sculpturer.  In this example of some beautifully displayed Sushi food at a restaurant.  The chef has been artistic in the way the food has been put together, the person who put the food on display has been artistic and perhaps the photographer has been artistic just by the focus on the food alone.  What are you seeing, the photograph, or the food, or the way it is displayed.  I’m not sure if this is a good example but it certainly is a thought-provoking subject.

And then it was gone by Jean Taylor 2018

 

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PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 3

In exercise 3 we are asked ‘why do you think that photographs are such a significant part of our lives? Write down how you feel about photos – or videos – from your family’s past.

I love photos.  I love the memories they help you keep, whether they or of family, friends, places you went to, objects you treasured, buildings you admired or just a moment you captured and like to relive.  They can make you feel happy, sad, inspired, even angry, bitter, embarrassed and ashamed.  My parents had a set of photo albums that they took with them every house they lived in, I remember them as a child being fascinated by the photos in them, black and white ones of my parents when they first met, looking so young and beautiful.  My dad was in the army and there are pictures of him as a young sergeant away at war, my mum I always thought looking stunning, her smile beaming, my heart just melts every time I look at these pictures.  I will treasure these albums, always.  Before I left the uk to live abroad I asked my dad to go through the albums to tell me the stories behind the pictures, I even took photos of my favourites with my iPhone, just in case they got mislaid or destroyed.  There are photos of myself and my siblings when we were babies, teenagers and now as adults, memories that will never fade because they are captured on film.  This is why  “family photos are often cited as being the possessions that people would most want to save from a house fire”.  I know in my case, that would be true, along with my notebooks.

Here are a few of my favourite photos from my parents albums.

 

 

I love looking back at old pictures, especially those of my parents and my siblings when were younger.  I have photos taken of when we were stationed in Hong Kong and Germany, my dad was in the army.  There are black and white photos of my parents before they were married (before coloured photos were the norm).  There are of course the embarassing memories of  myself  as a teenager, along with my two brothers with our ‘Kiss me Quick’ hats thinking we were cool, posing whilst on a caravan holiday on Hayling Island.  Then there is the heartful one of my grandparents, the grandmother I never met.  I have so many photographs, too many to put on this page, they are photographs from my family’s past, along with the present day photos of my daughters, family and friends, all are equal to being my most prized possessions, I really would do everything I could to save them from the house fire.  However, modern technology does allow the comfort of knowing I have copies of photographs on my computer, ipad, phone  and ‘icloud’ for maximum safety.

There is a box of photos that means the world to me, stored away in the UK, they are my favourite photos that I have put in there in no particular order.  I had stopped putting photos into large albums as they had become too bulky to keep storing and then transporting everytime I moved.  I do understand that there isn’t the same sentimental value with photos on a computer, however there are more advantages than disadvantages with digital photos.  You can just keep the ones you like and not feel guilty deleting the ones you don’t.  The downside is that people don’t tend to sit around looking at photos on a computer like with family or friends, in the past it would be a fun evening to get the albums out and be entertained with how we used to be, I find that quite sad.  My own personal preference is that I do chose to have photos on my walls, especially of my daughters and family members, I am also in the process of creating a work area in my house where I can put up magnetic boards to display photographic projects that I am working on, such as ‘The Decisive Moment’ photos that I have taken.  It is beneficial to have the choice of printing certain photos off and then others to just store on your computer for the future when you just want to have a browse, in which case it is much easier to look through albums on the computer if you are looking for a specific period of person or holiday snap that you are looking to find.  I am glad that photography has advanced as it  has opened up lots of creative opportunities, and avoids the whole frustrating  wait for negatives to be developed, or in some cases to not get developed at all, and costly ‘black’ or ‘unfoccused’ photographs were miserably accepted from your photographic shop with no leaveway for costs to be returned.  It is ok to look back over the nostaligic photos of the past, but the future is about creating new and exciting alternatives.

 

Taylor, Jean - Time Sits Still (2018)

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 2

In Exercise 2 we are reminded of the argument that the ‘mechanical’ nature of photography precludes it from being considered an art.  We are then asked to make notes in respect of the following:

  • Does this make photography a medium uniquely suited to portraying time and the passage of time?
  • Can other creative art forms deal with the concept of time to the same extent?

Firstly, I would point out that in my view photography is art and is not dependent on the mechanics involved in making a picture.  It is possible to take the most amazing, interesting, artistic shot, using a basic camera, dependent on the person taking it, how they took it and the story behind it.  After all what is art?  Going back to a question we were asked at the very beginning of this course.  I still believe it be something that makes you think, it can make you laugh, smile, be sad or happy, it is a passionate feeling, opens your eyes to love, hate, beauty and ugliness.  Overall it is about feelings, one person may see something totally different in a painting, photograph, play, film or book, each individual is entitled to see things differently just as an artist may paint, write, photograph or act differently, which is what makes Art so wonderful and intriguing and visually challenging.

Photography is not uniquely suited to portraying time and the passage of time.  You only have to look at the drawings found in caves and paintings by the Great Masters to see the relevance to Time and the passage of time.  Greek statues of emperors and soldiers are indications of time as no such warriors exist today.  Books written by hand in leather-bound notebooks, prior to printing are testament to great writers who laboriously wrote thousands of words by hand (Hebel, Shakespeare).  Soldiers who wrote letters home of the horrors of world war I, are typical example of Time being portrayed in the written word describing in detail what they saw, felt, hated, possibly outlining a portrayal of war that no photo or painting could ever be made to transcribe.

In today’s society paintings are able to portray time just as previous painters were able to do, war today is much more advanced than men in trenches and horses charging towards the enemy.  It is more sophisticated with planes, technology, ships and social media.  All of which show the difference in time. I have seen paintings showing the devastation in the Arab world, along with books and films, all conveying the horrors of war over time, like the Syrian and Yemen wars.

I do believe, all forms of art are able to deal with the concept of time in the same extent.  Just differently.  Photography is able to capture the moment at the exact time and place.  However, so can a writer and an artist, each can capture the moment in time, each can portray historically what is happening at that moment, whether it is a man in the street looking in a shop window at a baby’s cot.  A sad expression on his face.  A photographer can capture that moment, it may just be he has that look on his face regardless, a writer may write it’s because his baby died and the cot reminds him of this, a painter may see it as a beautiful scene on a London street and the man is just part of the overall painting.  It is a matter of time and place, and what the artist is seeing at that time.  All three scenarios could be seen by each of the artists in different ways.

On reflection of this exercise I am not sure I have understood the meaning of the questioning but if carried on thinking about what to write i wouldn’t have started to write anything as I felt I was over thinking it all.  I have read the essay by Walter Benjamin on ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ and can see the argument of how the mechanics of progression can change things, but that’s life and progression, people change and we will see things differently as we progress.  Films have progressed, sometimes the mechanical side of things have not enhanced films where you know ‘it’s not real’.  I have enjoyed reading more on Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ‘Decisive Moment’ which is the concept of taking a photograph in a real life scenario, that captures a decisive moment, a moment in history, a time and place, perhaps this is the argument whereby a writer can’t physically write the whole image in one second or an artist cannot paint that same picture in that second, so perhaps photography does have the ability to be the art form that can capture the unique moment in time.  I am looking forward to learning more about this concept specifically in photography but also in the written word and visual communications as I realise I have completely changed my mind from when I first started writing my notes.

 

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 1 (b)

In part 2 of this exercise we are asked to take some moving shots of our own.  I was lucky to be visiting Bahrain at the weekend and decided to visit the back streets of Bahrain where you don’t get expatriates visiting, apart from visiting the Old Fort of Bahrain.  I concentrated on the ‘Decisive Moment’ with only my iphone 5 to hand, I took my moving shots.  (All these photos are property of Jean Taylor (February 2019).

Photo 1 – Bahrain, Shia village, Arabic man making pottery outside a store.  I took this whilst in a moving car slowly driving  around the roundabout – a ‘Decisive Moment’ shot.  I thought the additional man in western clothing was great to capture  at the same time, providing a comparison of the two men.  I used my iphone 5 to capture the shot.

Photo 2 – Bahrain, Shia village, this group of birds, looked similar to a English turkeys, I saw them walking across the road in front of us, pulled the car over and took the shot with my iphone 5, they were pretty noisy birds and seem a little agitated so didn’t have too long to aim and shoot.  Was pleased to get the ‘Decisive Moment’ shot that included the only black bird amongst them, along with a little loan one tagging behind.

Photo 3 – Bahrain, ‘Bahrain Fort area’, just walking down from the fort where perched on cliffedge above the sea.  There were hundreds of birds floating on the water as I was walking towards them, suddenly  some children startled them.  I quickly took out my phone and took the shot, again with my iphone 5.  Once again was a ‘Decisive Moment’ of  movement.

Photo 4 – Bahrain, ‘Bahrain Fort’, walking towards the Fort, I saw in the distance a man on an Arabian Horse wearing a cowboy hat, trotting quite majestically across the sand.  I took the shot from a distance and wished more than anything I had my SLR camera with me.  However, I also think the shot being unfocused gives it some mystery especially with the village buildings in the background.  I used my iphone 5 camera.

Photo 6 – Bahrain, Shia village, whilst driving away from the village, I noticed an open pick up truck with a young boy standing in the back, I couldn’t help thinking how dangerous it was.  At a ‘Decisive Moment’ I took the shot using my iphone 5, through the front window of the car.  I was pleased to see the road sign saying ‘reduce speed now’ as I was already worried for the poor boy in the back.  The photo was taken whilst in a moving car.

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Movement of Power (2019) Jean Taylor

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 2/EXERCISE 1 (a)

In Exercise 1 we are asked our opinions on how each picture conveys  movement.

Large Main Picture – Copyright Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s Cousin Bichonnade in Flight (Lacma images)

  • As if flying, like Mary Poppins, film like
  • Running down the stairs
  • Falling down the stairs
  • In flight
  • Victorian Time

Picture 1 – Copyright Derek Trillo, Passing Place, Manchester, 2006

  • Shadows, people passing on stairs possibly outside an office building or shopping mall
  • Suttle colours, photos out of focus, main characters black

Picture 2 – Copyright  Harold Edgerton, Bullet and Apple, c. 1964

  • A bullet passing through an apple
  • High speed
  • Explosive
  • Time & Place – Apple immortal, bullet mortal

Picture 3 – Copyright – Harold Edgerton, Multiflash tennis serve, 1949

  • Black and white vision of a tennis player hitting a ball
  • Slow motion as racquet is seen a dozen times,.
  • Fast shot taken in single frames

Recommended Reading

Terry Barrett – Principles for Interpreting Art (accessed February 28, 2019)

https://www.academia.edu/34412962/Barrett_1994_Principles_for_Interpreting_Art

Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation (accessed March 3, 2019)

https://www.henricartierbresson.org/en/actualites/the-decisive-moment-a-licp-a-new-york/

Decisive Moment – Henri Cartier-Bresson – Article by

http://truecenterpublishing.com/photopsy/decisive_moment.htm (accessed March 3, 2019

Henri Cartier-Bresson – Biography – The Art Story – (Accessed March 3, 2019)

https://www.theartstory.org/artist-cartier-bresson-henri.htm

 

 

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 1/RESEARCH

It would seem in order to have a democratic medium, there needs to be the freedom of the medium to be displayed anywhere, be it on websites, in books, the press, social media etc.  But is it true in today’s society when such barbaric forms of media have been displayed on websites such as the beheadings by ISIS, how far can democracy be a good thing?  What is the truth, ‘fake news’ has become a catch phrase now invented by Donald Trump, but does he have a point?  Young teenagers are able to find obscene websites showing you how to commit suicide, is this democracy at its best?  I’m not so sure.  When it comes to photography, the saying ‘the camera never lies’ used to be true, however now you can change the look of a photograph even whilst it’s on your camera, so perhaps the rules have changed.

I do believe in democracy, however the internet has created  a way for media to be developed into a dangerous underworld for pedophiles to thrive, bullies to be glorified and suicides to be made easy.  It’s dangerous in so many ways.  However, in other ways it’s also wonderful, you can see the world from your armchair through photos on Instagram for instance, share photos on facebook with family and friends and create mood boards on Pinterest.  My argument would be if it is illegal to behead someone then it should be illegal for it to be shown on social media, there has to be more rules in place especially where people’s lives are at risk or being ruined.

Gareth Dent – OCASA President 2015 (accessed February 24, 2019

https://weareoca.com/subject/photography/people-are-hungry-for-stories/

https://weareoca.com/subject/fine-art/new-ocasa-president/

Dent points out that ‘there isn’t exactly a shortage of images in the world’. (Dent 2013).  Two photographs show a roomful of photos that were apparently uploaded to flicker in the space of a 24 hour period.  Can you imagine doing the same now in 2019 of photographs uploaded to Instagram in a 24 hour period.  I think it would be more like a house full.  In the space of those 6 years we have seen photography grow to the point we are not sure what qualifies a person to be a ‘photographer’, now that you can take quality photos on a phone, does that mean you are a photographer, the argument is out there causing ‘qualified’ photographers grief I am sure.

I am not a ‘qualified’ photographer, however, I do love taking photos, compared to other people who wouldn’t spend time looking for opportunities to take ‘creative’ photos or go off the beaten track in the hope to find something different to photograph that nobody else has, or you don’t think they have.

Instagram is where I add my photographs too, I tend to only put up photos from my travels or here in Saudi Arabia.  I don’t put up family photographs, those I share on facebook.  My partner took an amazing photograph of a camel traveling in the back of a truck, he said I could put it on my instagram, but I couldn’t because I felt that it wasn’t one that I had taken and therefore couldn’t class it as my own work.  My photographs have been taken both with my iphone and Pentax SLR, sometimes I can’t tell the difference.  My purpose is to display the photos I have enjoyed taking and have tried to be artistic in the way I have taken them ie from an unusual view-point, through a hole in a wall.  Sometimes I have changed the colour or brightness but the photos are always my own.  On facebook I will share photos that my daughters have put on their or other people have put funny or interesting photos, but I rarely put any of my own on there.

Social media allows people to share photos, ideas, inspirations, blogs and much more, the downside is the bullying, cruelty and horror it can also bring.

Asked if I feel I am ‘adding to the flood’, I don’t think so, I don’t add a 100 photos a day, perhaps one or two a month, and just ones I think are of interest.  I am not there for the likes, however it is nice when someone does post a comment and appreciates what I have taken.  There are some accounts who have hundreds of thousand followers or likes, but I can’t help think are they real, how does that happen.  I am happy for the time being with my 178 follows and the occasional ‘like’.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ubiquitous – seeming to be everywhere – Cambridge Dictionary

(accessed February 19, 2019)

ephemeral – lasting for only a short time – Cambridge Dictionary

(accessed February 19, 2019)

Gareth Dent – OCASA President 2015 (accessed February 24, 2019

https://weareoca.com/subject/photography/people-are-hungry-for-stories/

https://weareoca.com/subject/fine-art/new-ocasa-president/

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 1/EXERCISE 2 (b)

In this exercise photographs were taken of my local community where I live.  The two groups consist of my personal photographic views of what I consider to be ‘utilitarian’ and ‘artistic’ photographs.  I walked around taking photos using both my iPhone and SLR camera taking shots of everyday viewpoints where I live.  The next day I changed positions such as crouching low, or taking a photo very close up like the cactus one and adding some colour to it using a colour tool.  The skateboard in the netting photo I thought was arty, just by the story behind it, like how did it get there, the shadowy picture against the blue sky.  I loved my teapot on the balcony shot and thought this was arty because of the close range of the tray compared to the trees and golf course in the background.  After taking the photos, I followed up by asking four members of family to describe the photographs.  This was an extremely interesting project as it proves that everyone has a different perspective and what is considered to be ‘arty’ or ‘artistic’.  Utilitarian means ‘useful or practical rather than attractive’ and artistic is described as ‘creative, imaginative, inventive’.  These words can describe anything to do with Creative Arts, be it a painting, textile, writing or a photograph and every person has their own ideas and thoughts as to what they see as being attractive or unattractive, imaginative, beautiful, dull, boring, colourful and artistic!

I was pleasantly surprised at the adjectives used to describe the photos, not too many ‘boring’ ones although I imagine ‘meh’ is possibly a slang word for it.  It was lovely to see colourful, fierce, bold, picturesque, curious and stunning as adjectives used and very happy to see quite a few ‘arty’ descriptions.  It was only a small amount of photos that I shared and was interesting to see the comparisons and how each individual saw the photo differently, with no right or wrong answers.  I would like to extend a very big thank you for the participation and descriptions received from my family.

MY UTILITARIAN PHOTOGRAPHS

DESCRIPTIONS USED BY FAMILY

1 Steps in the local park – ‘meh’ (A) – ‘paved’ (P) – ‘blurred’ (S) – ‘arty’ (M)

2 Broken Shade on golf course – ‘picturesque’ (A) – ‘thatchless’ (P) ‘Stunning’ (S) – ‘nice’ (M)

3 Flowers on the walking trail – ‘ pretty but amateurish’ (A) – ‘blossoms’ (P) – ‘deserted’ (S) – ‘nice’ (M)

4 Ducks viewing the fountain – ‘great nature short’ (A) – ‘curious’ (P) – ‘Disney’ (S) – ‘arty’ (M)

5 Jebels – ‘disappearing trees’ (P)

6 Housing – ‘meh’ (A) – ‘surrounded’ (P) ‘boring’ (S) – ‘nice’ (M)

MY ARTISTIC PHOTOS

 

1 Cactus – ‘winning shot, colourful and arty’ (A) – ‘spikey’ (P) – ‘Fierce’ (S) – ‘Colourful, arty’ (M)

2 Tea with a view – ‘bright, love it’ (A) ‘landscape shot, arty’ (P) ‘relaxing’ (S) ‘nostalgic’ (M)

3 Skateboard in netting – ‘intriguing, what’s the story?’ (A) – ‘story behind it, arty’ (P) – ‘Random’ (S) – ‘boring, arty’ (M)

4 Palm trees in a sandstorm – dramatic’ (A) – ‘sandy, grainy, arty’ (P) – ‘unfocused’ (S) – ‘windy, nice’ (M)

5 Tree in the jebels – ‘non captivating’ (A) ‘statures, arty’ (P) – ‘bold’ (S) – ‘interesting’ (M)

6 Weeds on the trail  – ‘really cool’ (A) – ‘nice, arty’ (M)

REFLECTION

I thoroughly enjoyed both parts to this exercise, it was great to have feedback on my photos and to also see how others may view a photograph differently, just by the use of different adjectives.  The first part was interesting as I pulled out some of my favourites photos which I consider to be arty, photos that I have taken whilst traveling.  Sometimes I was just in the right place at the right time, whether this constitutes being arty I don’t know but then I think would someone else have been able to take the same photo.  These are questions I am already asking myself.  Do all photographers want to be artistic or are they happy to take photos of everyday objects like their pet dog, child or hobby, does this still make them artistic or would the photo have to be above the ordinary to be artistic.  I asked my sister, two daughters and my partner to view my photos for the second part of the exercise and it was interesting to receive their feedback, I’m sure they were worried about hurting my feelings if they considered a photo to be boring or dull, but I said I wanted their honesty.  The photos were taken in my local community, which can be challenging due to the security restrictions where I live, however I think I managed to provide both Utilitarian and artistic examples and was very pleased with the feedback I received.

In this fourth part of the course, I still believe Art is something that makes you think, it can make you sad, happy, inspired, it can be cruel, harsh, beautiful and stunning and so far this has related to Contemporary Art, Creative Reading, Visual Communications and now Photography.  Being artistic or ‘arty’ means your work needs to stand out, which requires creativity, passion, detail, imagination and much more, I hope by the end of this course I will learn more about how to achieve this.  Am very excited and hope I will still feel this excitement if not more by the end of part 4.