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)
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.