Lovely weather and a fabulous weekend for the annual Crystal Palace Overground Festival 2013…
So I thought about this project a little more. I wondered if a ‘furtive’ approach might be more appropriate.
I’m trying to create a slightly guilty look here, leaving the scene of the crime…
…but this is still too ‘pretty’. I should have at least included a half eaten chocolate. At university, as I’m sure I’ve said before, they’re not really interested in seeing pretty pictures, they want to see ‘conceptual’ work.
This looks a little more furtive, but I was still making it look pretty by concentrating on the reflections… I can’t seem to stop myself!
I think this is getting closer to what I want to achieve. I’ve still used the shadows, but in a less pretty and more furtive way. I think I have a lot to learn from Laura Letinsky, a photographer from Chicago whose work I love. In fact this next image pays homage to her work.
Quite a learning curve I think, but I’ve also got another idea I’m working on… still enough for today!
This semester I’ve been working on a digital project, a big change from the analogue black and white project from last year. It was easier in as much as I didn’t have to be present in the university darkrooms all the time, but it’s still taken a lot of time.
My original theme was ‘comfort food’ as a response to the project title ‘Private/Public’. I considered that food could be a private or public event, but that many people like to eat comfort food in private. As the project developed, I shot photos in various ways. These first few are more like still-life images.
I seem to naturally choose still life images to shoot… so of course I’m going to have to consider some other responses to this theme, still life just doesn’t cut it or respond properly to the project title.
I’ve never been the greatest fan of Roy Lichtenstein, (1923-1997), but have still been aware of his place in the canon of Pop Art from the 1960′s. I went to the Tate Modern today with my university photography group to see his retrospective. The place was packed with people, and I remembered that it’s not the best idea to go to London exhibitions in the first few weeks, or the last few weeks either for that matter!
That aside, I enjoyed the show, despite the fact that The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph delivered poor reviews.
For me, as is often the case at exhibitions, the sheer scale of the work and the amazing detail were enough to hold my attention. Of course I’m most familiar with his ‘comic strip’ work, like everyone else I suspect, so I was pleased to see that there was so much more to Lichtenstein than that. In fact many of the comic strips were absent. I had no idea about most of the work I saw today.
Many of the canvases had a distinctly 1960′s feel to them, and many of the objects would have been new inventions at the time, the transistor radio for example. Lichtenstein never claimed to be good at fine art, his were ‘pictures’ of modernity often culled from images in catalogues and magazines which he cut out and kept in a scrapbook. It was clear from the outset that he dipped in and out of the art movements around at the time, such as Abstract Expressionism by artists such as Jackson Pollock. In fact Lichtenstein’s work often seemed to be the antithesis of Pollock’s, carefully laid and defined in a mannered fashion, obviously inspired by industrial printing. He used screen printing and hand drilled aluminium stencils initially to achieve his mechanical dots, although sometimes they appeared to be painted by hand. Later he used larger prefabricated ‘Benday’ screens to achieve his uniform dots. He did use brush strokes at times, but they were carefully applied, often in an ironic way, to the canvas.
The curator has used a chronological sequence to depict Lichtenstein’s artwork which is interesting to follow. There is a gallery of black and white paintings, such as ‘Tire’ 1962 and ‘Ball of Twine’ 1963, which I liked, but I’d never seen any of them before. A series of landscapes reduced to horizontal lines representing sea, land and sky and devoid of subject seemed quite unlike typical Lichtenstein images. He spent much of his time parodying other artists he admired such as Matisse, Mondrian and Picasso and associated movements such as Cubism, Impressionism and Surrealism.
His series of mirror paintings seemed most interesting from a photography perspective. He tilted mirrors under various types of light, studied them and then painted the results incorporating different sizes of Benday dots. This part of the exhibition, together with a series of simple Chinese landscapes was fascinating.
I learnt today that there is much more to Lichtenstein than I’d ever previously thought. I had wondered about whether to go to the exhibition at all, and decided that even if I didn’t like it, it would be useful to know exactly what I didn’t like. I thought I would become weary of the comic strip images, but there weren’t many of them. I didn’t expect to be fascinated by some of his work, and would urge those who claim not to like Lichtenstein, and there seem to be many of them, to just go to the exhibition and view him in a new light.
For all you iPhone geeks out there, a lovely little ‘app’ is available from iTunes, at a reasonable charge, highlighting the exhibition which is, incidentally, on until 27th May 2013, and costs approximately £14 to get in.
Back in the summer I did a hair shoot whilst at college doing my BTEC Photography at Kensington and Chelsea College. Here are some of the pictures I took that day.
And today is my 3rd blog anniversary – so many things have happened in that time that I never expected or imagined would happen. Here’s to another year and this is the very first photo I used on SparkyFizz…