Tag Archives: Contemporary Art

PART 4/PHOTOGRAPHY/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 2

In Exercise 2 we are asked to look back over holiday photos and to try to remember your motivation for taking them.  I have so many that I have taken and so many that mean a lot to me for various reasons.  On looking back through some of these photos I have started to realize that I do like to be ‘A Decisive Moment’ type of photographer, I don’t tend to take a lot of photos of the same scene or scenario, but take one or two and move on.  Having now discovered Henri Cartier Brensson, I have got extremely excited to realize that perhaps this is my style of photography that I didn’t realize was a style.  A lot of my holiday photos are spontaneous and quirky, I love to take photos of strangers and unusual objects or situations that you don’t normally find in a travel guide.  It feels great to be inspired by amazing photographers of the past, but most certainly Brensson has captured my attention.  The following are some of my photos that are of the ‘Decisive Moment’ kind or what I call quirky, they remind me of the place I was on holiday and I know they mean something to me.

These three photographs remind me so much of one of my favorite places to visit on vacation in the UK.  Winterton on Sea, I have so many that I love and not sure why I chose these three, but I the first photo was on my last visit there.  On walking towards the beach, along a footpath, a came across this very ‘cute’ animal, sleeping, or dieing.  Not sure what to do. I left it hoping it would run into the undergrowth.  On the way back I decided if it was still there I would put it into the undergrowth out of harms way.  In the distance an old man was coming towards us, walking with a stick to aid him.  He stopped at the little animal where he raised his stick and with such force proceeded to hit the animal as it bounced high, and as it landed he kicked it into the undergrowth.  I was so shocked and couldn’t move out of fear, to see the brutality of such an old man and the guilt of not moving the animal when I first saw it will remain with me.  “A rat” he said as he walked past tilting his hat.f  The photo was taken with my iPhone 5 at close range.

The second picture is of one of the round houses you can find on a holiday resort at Winterton, in the background are black huts that are prominent when you reach the beautiful sandy beach in the distance.  It just reminds me of Winterton in all its glory.  I aimed my camera lens so that it showed the cuteness of the round house and its brightness compared to the square black beach huts in the distance.

The third photo I love.  It captures the beautiful long beach at Winterton, with the sand dunes, pathways and reeds, even on a rainy day.  It is such a wonderful place to walk and have the wind from the sea blow the cobwebs away.  The fact my daughter was walking just in front of me, deep in thought, was a perfect shot to capture on such a memorable day.  I knelt down to take this shot, to incorporate the reeds, sandy beach, waves and of course my daughter.

Florence is a magical city.  The people and the architecture are wonderful.   The first photograph I know I’ve not caught the light perhaps as I should have, however I loved this photo of my daughter and her boyfriend with the most amazing view and sunset, it summed up a beautiful day in Florence.  The second picture, is of some graffiti art that you can find all around Florence on the walls, subtly hidden.  This photo when it is enlarged has a picture of a typical Italian moped which I thought added to the mystical stick like, graffiti, would love to know who draws them.  Some would say you shouldn’t be drawing on these old buildings, but to others its Art and adds to the culture.  The third photo, will always remind me of the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence.  A bunch of padlocks hang on the wall with love notes left by tourists or locals.  I got caught up in the moment and decided to leave my own message, only to be verbally attacked by an English man who said I shouldn’t be writing on the wall of this historic bridge.  Quite right too I thought afterwards, however at the time it wasn’t pleasant as I was just doing what countless others had done that seemed to be part of the history of the bridge leaving love notes.  The fourth picture is of a street that we found walking through the back streets.  This shop was full of Italian bric-a-brac and just loved the high doors and was typical of the long, clean, pedestrian streets.  The final photo is of the famous statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa.  I took the photo as I thought it was just an incredible statue with unbelievable artwork and obviously amazing story.  I felt the photo captures the figure as if it was a real moment.  I love it and reminds me so much of the artwork found in Florence.

Boracay in the Philippines has got to be one of my favorite holidays of all time.  The photo opportunities were amazing.  There wasn’t a day or an hour, even a minute that went by that I wasn’t taking a photograph.  Lots of ‘Decisive Moments’ and too many to put on here.  But all of these photos meant something to me and when I took them I did think of the composition, the background, the lighting and the actual ‘decisive moment’ of taking a photo that perhaps no one else would take the same way as I had done, I tried to take the photo quickly in all these situations.  Some were taken with my iPhone others with my Pentax SLR.  Perhaps there are a million other photos just like mine, I don’t know, but these particular ones I felt I had taken with purpose and either at different angles or viewed through something like the fourth one which was viewed through an old, rotting boat.

The first photo is of a young family on their way to the shops, school, or to see family, you just don’t know, but you can see there is a story just by their lack of fear, no helmets, protective clothing or shoes and the child just wedged between the two adults.   I felt lucky to have got this shot especially as it was raining too.

The second photo, I also feel lucky to have been in the position I was sailing on a catamaran yacht with local boys as the sailors, non over 18 by the looks of things.  It was the most incredible sail out towards the sunset, legs dangling over the edge of the netted wing, spray from the sea catching your face, I had my iPhone in a plastic wallet slung round my neck as I tried to get the shot of these carefree boys.  A memory I will never forget.

The third shot was just beautiful, a 5.00am sunrise (pretty hard for me to be up at that time so quite memorable).  The fourth shot was taken, whilst walking along one of the beautiful beaches of Boracay, I spotted an upturned, small rowing boat, perched in a tree, as I looked through the rotting holes of the boat, I spotted a photo opportunity and was pretty pleased with the result.  This fifth shot was taken with my Pentax SLR, there has been no filter added, I thought it was agreat contrast to the silent bobbing of the old style yachts, this noisy, bright, lights flashing, disco motor boat cruised on by and I managed to get the shot.  This sixth shot reminds sadly of a day out driving dune buggies through dirt tracks and forests.  We started off at an outdoor café/reception and spotted these caged monkies, it was heartbreaking.  I thought if I took the photo, somehow I could highlight its captivity and plead for its release.  Sadly that didn’t happen, but I felt the shot did portray its pleading eyes and I just hoped it was well looked after.  Taken with my Pentax SLR.

The last shot was another sunrise moment, with a young local sweeping up on the sandy beach, the shot was taken whilst walking through a hole in the rocks, with plants hanging down, framing the picture of the young man, again taken with my Pentax.

As mentioned there were so many photographs of this incredible holiday, just too many to share.  I still felt that although there isn’t that fear of wasting film, I still like to try and take a photograph that is a little different in some way, normally I would only take one or two of the same scene, so as not to get boring.

These five photos were taken in Washington DC, each one taken with purpose.  The first one I believe is a ‘Decisive Moment’ shot, young boys pushing a large supermarket trolley around with water bottles to sell to the public, I felt for the boys as it was almost like child labor, kids being used by the man in the baseball hat.  The second photo was taken at the JF Kennedy Arts Centre.  My daughter loves the theatre and she was sat watching the stage as if it were alive with dancers, there was nobody there but I could still see her smiling.  I thought  it was a lovely photo and will always remind me of spending a magical day with my daughter.  This third shot was taken on the Marina, a group of chairs surround an open fire, several times I walked past where strangers would be sitting with coffee chatting to each other, I thought it was a great social gathering place.  The fourth shot was taken at the Famous fish market of Washington DC, another Decisive Moment shot that I can just smell the fish and feel the business of the market, a great reminder.  This last shot, was one of those quirky moments where I saw these bright pink outlets which caught my attention and just reminded me of the quirkiness of Washington DC.

 

Three simple photos taken on a trip back to the UK, the first one of my daughter taking a photo of the beautiful English blossom, we had gone out for the day with our cameras and it just reminds me of such a wonderful mother daughter moment.  The second photo again with my daughter at Christmas, displaying a rather delicious, vegetarian Christmas dinner that we cooked together, I hope the photo shows how it tasted as good as it looked, another precious moment.  The third photo reminds me of a cinema trip with my daughters to a London cinema, gone are the days of a trip to your locale Odeon with a bag of popcorn and coke.  This was an incredible evening of Champaign, chocolates and very large comfy sofas and blankets on offer too, was fantastic, I thought the shot just portrayed the luxury of the evening, another great memory.

On reflecting over this exercise I really enjoyed talking about my photogs although was aware that I might be talking too much about my own personal opinions on photos that only mean something to me.  It made me think what makes an amazing photo that others would want to see and say wow that’s an amazing shot.  I keep feeling that ‘The Decisive Moment’ shots are the ones that stand out for me as I know there wasn’t too much thinking that went into the shot, no special lenses or set ups, no lighting issues or props, just that moment.  I still think it means a lot to take a photograph like this as it makes it even more special as it is unlikely it can be repeated.  I do think there is a point that photos can be altered later, Bresson doesn’t believe this should happen, I can confess to changing the colour or cropping a photo, I don’t think this devalues it, makes it just more interesting.  Once again am just fascinated with the exitement I feel with photography and just want to keep learning more and more, especially from the great masters.

 

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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 2/CREATIVE READING/ASSIGNMENT 2/NOTES

For the assignment we are asked to choose a piece of text by a contemporary author that explores time/and/or place.  I have chosen an extract from a poem called Wasteland by TS Eliot.  I found this extract on the Poetry Foundation website, accessed on October 21, 2018. I could see immediately a reference to time and a place and the poem is considered to be one of the most important contemporary poems of the 20th century.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land

I thought I would start by asking myself questions about the poem and listing them here before writing up 1500 word essay about the poem.

The Waste Land

                                  FOR EZRA POUND
IL MIGLIOR FABBRO

              I. The Burial of the Dead
 April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
151 words
accessed October 21, 2018
gives over view of full poem
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What type of poem is it?  It is a modernist contemporary poem in five parts.  The Burial of the Dead is the first part.
Key words April is the Cruellest month, breeding lilacs, dead land, Earth, forgetful snow, Colonnade, arch-duke’s, frightened, go South in the winter
What poetic devices are used Personification (breeding lilacs, dull roots, forgetful snow), Metaphor (shower of rain)
Who is the narrator? I think there are two narrators, in the beginning it to be a omniscient speaker, someone who knows everything about the land, the second part is a woman (Marie), possibly royalty or friends with royalty, as refers to staying at the arch-duke (“a man of high ranking – Austrian royal family.  Assassination of the Arch-duke Ferdinand started first world war)
What type of narrator are they/he/she? first part is an omniscient speaker as he knows everything about the land and the weather and second part as a woman, spoken in the first person.
 
What is the theme? The poem is about death and destruction of land, possibly aftermath of war, it’s also about love the two cousins seem to know each other well and care about each other, he protects her when sledging down the mountain, I think it’s also about survival, she has memories that seem sad and has somehow survived whatever happened to the land.
What does the title mean?  The Burial of the Dead It was originally called ‘He Do the Police in Different Voices’ which is part of a Charles Dickens novel.  I think it means the poem is religious and is about surviving a war and then the aftermath of burying the dead.
What is the mood of the poem?  It is mostly depressing and sad, although there is a little bit of happiness when Summer arrives and the two cousins enjoy walking over the Starnbergersee and stopping in the Colonnade (classic architecture, long sequence of columns like in the Belvedere on the pfingstberg palace in Munich, Germany – another hint to being royal)
How do you feel about the poem There is so much more to the whole poem, but the first part seems like a whole poem in itself, it tells a story of land that has been destroyed possibly by war, giving memories of happy times.  It brings two characters into the poem that are  cousins perhaps romantically involved, I feel sad that the main character Marie has ended up alone later in life and also sad to not know what happened to her life or to her cousin.
How does the poem relate to Time & Place and what is it saying about Time & Place
Time is referred to in the mentioning of the month April and the seasons of Spring , Summer and Winter.  It also mentions time as a child and dead land where once it wasn’t it must have been alive with flowers and trees, mentions a memory of time gone by.  The place appears to be in Germany as there is mentioning the Starnbergersee (German Lake in Munich), colonnade (the columns as in the pfingstberg palace and Hofgarten (Renaissance garden in Munich).  The place mentions a lake and mountains.
What do the lines remind you of? Reminds me a little of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, with it’s dead land as if its the aftermath of war or acopolyst in the case of the Road.  Reminded me of my own childhood going down hills on a sledge and being born in Germany.
What lines stay with you? April is the Cruelest month (questioning why as it should be a happy month, springtime evokes thoughts of lambs, flowers, sunshine) breeding Lilacs out of the dead land (very depressing like its difficult for the flowers to come through the dead ground) Took me out on a sled And I was frightened.  He said Marie Marie, hold on tight. (shows he cares about Marie and she seems vulnerable but safe with him).
Is the Rhythm choppy, flowing or smooth? It is quite choppy, is laid out in short sentences.
How does this impact the poem makes it easy to read
Is the speaker important, who is she/he, are they obvious or do you have to guess? I feel the speaker is very important both at the beginning and the second part, I found it easy to realise who the speaker was.
Any lines you don’t get?  At first I didn’t get certain lines but now I think I understand them quite better although having researched various sites the poem is extremely complex and difficult to understand, so I think I have only scratched the surface.
The cousin and woman are nameless, why?  Do you still care about them?  Do they still have an identity?  I am not sure why they are not named, quite similar to that of The Road by Cormac Macarthy where they are also not named.  Yes I care about them as I want them to be happy and yet she ends up alone so feel sad for her.  Yes i still feel they have an identity, imagining them having fun in the summer and as children back at the Arch-duke’s residence.
Has something happened to the world, the place they are at for the land to be ‘dead’?  Yes the poem was written in 2022 not  long after the first world war ended, the fact that it mentions dead land as if something bad had happened.  The hint of them visiting the Arch-duke who might possibly have been the one who is assassinated and causes the start of world war I.
Why is ‘April the Cruelest month”?  It would seem on this occasion it is because flowers that would normally bloom in Spring, are not they are struggling to bloom out of the dead land.
What year is the poem set in? I think it is set in 1922 when the poem was written.
What Country are they in?  I would say they are in Germany, as German accent and the places they visit are in Munich.
Is it a happy or sad poem?  It is mostly sad, but has a little bit of happiness in the middle
Eliot doesn’t punctuate the speech, why? I don’t know why
“Forgetful Snow”, “breeding lilacs: are these metaphors? Yes and also Personification as they are ascribing human qualities to an object.
Has their been an apocolys or war?  If so what makes you think this?  A war as it was set in 1922 and the land is now dead, and the hint of the Arch-duke possibly being assassinated and causing the world war I.
Is their any biblical theme to the poem? Yes the mention of Earth and the title being the burial of the dead
Is the language complex or simple?  It is fairly complex although I understand the basic storyline however the meanings behind some of the lines are extremely difficult –  like April is the cruelest month – why? and forgetful snow?  What do these mean.
What is the Plot?  Survival after a war and the memories of a time before the war, with a love story that ends sadly.
The Character The main character is Marie
References/Research for Assignment 2
Quora – answers questions on poems – accessed October 23, 2018

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PSI5AejsFbU&feature=youtu.be

Loughborough university accessed Oct 22 2018

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cEC5k5Y–gk

Nick Cartwright accessed Oct 22, 2018

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YAORfIoAXgU

Prof M Green accessed Oct 22, 2018

https://www.quora.com/profile/Chris-Day-11

Chris Day of Quora acessed Oct 22, 2018

https://wasteland.windingway.org/8/starnbergersee

map of Starnbergersee – Lake in Munich, Germany

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonnade

colonnade – Belvedere at the pfiingstberg palace in Germany

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/archduke

Archduke – A man of high ranking – Austrian Royal Family – Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand start of first world war.

http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen5and6/threeEssays.html#barthes

The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes accessed October 22, 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/jan/13/death-of-the-author

Guardian write up on The Death of the Author accessed Oct 28, 2018

READINGS FROM YOU TUBE

Alec Guiness reading The Waste Land

Lecture on The Waste Land by Tim McGee

MLA Style

Works Cited:

https://www.shmoop.com/the-waste-land/

Shmoop Editorial Team. “The Waste Land.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 25 Oct. 2018.

In-text Citation

(Shmoop Editorial Team)

T. S. Eliot’s Modernism in TheWaste Land Asha F. Solomon Department off English,Montfort College, Lucknow

https://wordpress.com/post/jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/435