life

Social Identity.

How do you think the role of photography in our culture is changing, when you think about how it is being used on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc? I’m particularly interested to hear your opinions on how you think photography, particularly self portrait photography, is being used to define an individual’s identity. How is our ‘identity’ constructed through the choice of photographs we post online? 

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/04/07/self_portrait

My Response:

As humans from early Greeks to modern day we have demonstrated an interest in self-exploration. Our current ‘selfie’ craze is a revolution, which reinforces our social identity over the Internet. Sociological research shows that humans are only capable of intimately knowing 150 people, due to social networking we feel we ought to share with more, as man is a social creature and the thought of loneliness drives us mad.

The problem being is we’re rapidly collecting online friends and not distancing quantity vs. quality. In a world where time is money and we are pressured to achieve more, when it comes to socializing it takes place in real life, in real time where you cannot control how you look or what you say. We’re obsessed with building an online persona so we can present ourselves as we want to be seen, we can edit and therefore delete. We can share pictures of when we look our best; it’s endless personal promotion.

However, sacrificing mere connection for conversation is what makes us feel lonely, we claim to have all these online friends but how many of them can you spend a day with, how many can you have a personal conversation with? We share to feel connected, to define ourselves and to feel less alone but in fact it’s doing the exact opposite as you loose physical human interaction.

Technology is rapidly changing who we are as we feel more and more lonely and vulnerable we turn to social media for what we believe to be stability, a controlled network of friends. Sharing a ‘selfie’, getting likes and comments makes one feel good about themselves but what is the actual value of this? We’re slowly forgetting how to physically interact socially face to face with one another, as we feel more comfortable hiding and controlling who we are via technology.

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Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

Van Gogh’s, Sunflowers. 

The National Gallery, London. 

25/01/14 – 27/04/14 

The Sunflowers.

Hustle and bustle, pushing and shoving, is this absolutely necessary for something we’ve all seen a million times before? For these famously known and immensely reproduced images.

As an avid fan of Van Gogh too see his Sunflower paintings in their almighty glory and for free? I do believe it was worth the tourists filled queues to feast my eyes upon the beauty which surrounds the viewers presence.

For the first time in 65 years two of Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings are being shown side by side in the National Gallery for spectators to compare and contrast before their very eyes. Alongside these are accompany scientific research x-ray scans which enables us to see exactly how Van Gogh painted them. Giving much more understanding to his practice and the ability to understand in more depth the meaning behind the works.

The exhibition displays the images painted from 1888 – 1889 during the rare time Van Gogh’s experienced excitement and optimistic feelings before famously cutting part of his ear off and being admitted to an asylum after a nervous breakdown.

The paintings were intended to decorate a friends bedroom and so they symbolise friendship, welcome and happiness.

Many people have their own reasons for admiration of the paintings but the most well known appreciation is  of the their overwhelming sense of a life cycle from the buds of new flowers, the very much alive and blossoming sunflowers to the slowly decaying and dying flowers. The show is a once in a lifetime opportunity to whitens 2 of the paintings side by side which create a much more overwhelming sense of awe than I ever imagined.

Sunflowers

Two of Van Gogh Sunflowers shown together at The National Gallery, London  for first time in 65 years. 

 

My photographic response to visiting Van Gogh’s Sunflowers:Flower's.  Flower's. Daffodils.

My intention when photographing these flowers was to somehow represent my emotive state and express feelings within the flowers.

The colours specifically respond to the likes of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers but also our semiotic colour association. The bright yellow’s represent positive current feelings of joy, confidence, strength, creativity and happiness. The depth of field as well as the composition is for aesthetic purpose but also represents direction and motivation within a specific point of the image, with a particular individual flower as the focus. Blurring the rest and focusing on mainly one flower is a conscious decision of my focus at the moment towards particular persons who help to guide and motivate me throughout life.

The daffodils specifically represent my long to go home, a sense of missing Wales as our traditional Welsh symbol looks longingly down and sombre towards the bottom of the frame which is why I chose to photograph them later in the day as the sun was slowly sinking before a new chapter in my life arises in my current home. I am grateful for such opportunity and do not take for granted those who have helped me along the way, specifically those back home.

Instagram.

Discussion Forum: 

‘Instagram has ruined photography as an art form.’

‘The app Instagram which allows everyone to post photographs on the internet for the world to see has ruined the art of photography. Now, everyone is a photographer. There are filters that allow the photograph to be transformed from not very good to mediocre imagery that is now celebrated worldwide.’ 

by Kristianne Drake. 
Thursday, 13 February 2014, 12:33 PM.
 
My response:
 
Art can be appreciated primarily for it’s emotional power and beauty. If photography is simply freezing a moment in time or creating an image using light then there is no limit to how we produce images or where they are posted. Either way there will be an audience for them somewhere along the line.

Just because a photograph has been taken on a mobile phone, it is of poor quality or simply posted to instagram does not mean if can’t be appreciated by someone else.

Some of the most iconic moments of history last year were captured on mobile phone’s, these images have gone on to become widely circulated around the globe and continue to overwhelm nations.

Tim Holmes (not pictured) and his wife Tammy (second from left) huddled under a jetty for three hours with their grandchildren while their hometown in Tasmania was destroyed by wildfires.

Tim Holmes (not pictured) and his wife Tammy (second from left) huddled under a jetty for three hours with their grandchildren while their hometown in Tasmania was destroyed by wildfires.

A mobile phone is ideal for someone who is in the right place at the right time, whether they are a photographer or not. The image they create whether it be iconic or not can still be considered art to some people, even if it is just for themselves.

At David Bailey’s ‘Stardust’ exhibition in London, there is a whole section of mobile phone images. Maybe it’s all he had at the time but he still considered them to be worthy for his show as every image was hand picked by himself…

If life is only so short then who are we working to please? surely it’s ourselves…

Instagram gives anybody with access to a smartphone and internet the ability to create images to share with their family and friends, it allows people who enjoy photography as a hobby to create and share images they are proud of. What right does anyone have to deprive someone of that thrill just for the sake of saving ‘art’. Art will always exist, it’s just forever changing and we should embrace that instead of chasing old ways.

 

Anni Leppälä.

Purdy Hicks Gallery, London.

24/01/14 – 22/02/14

Young Finish photographer Anni Leppälä’s exhibition at the Purdy Hicks Gallery in London explores concepts of time specifically within the relationship between the past and present in her life. The images featured in the exhibition certainly have a distinct style and a rather stunning one to say the least. They are all visually extraordinary in a soft dreamlike kind of way. The exhibitions conceptual approach seemed to be a bit far fetch, just another broad narrative about time there was nothing special about it in that sense. Freezing time, making a moment motionless, for me it seemed unfitting for what I was really seeing. However, I found all the images to be far from real, almost like tiny plastic scenes from the life of a distorted figure in a doll house. The stylised photographs tended to focus upon small sections within the everyday life, the small and specific then appears to look almost strange and surreal sort of like they were inspired by something from Alice In Wonderland. Each images draws upon some element of fragile construction much like a china doll for example.

Do you see where I’m coming from?

Image

Hand, 2013. 

Image

Buttons II (Marble), 2014.

Image

Hands (Thread), 2014

Image

Muotokuva | Portrait 2013. 

More information about the exhibition at: http://www.purdyhicks.com/display.php?aID=8

Jerwood Open Forest.

Jerwood Open Forest. 

Jerwood Space, London. 

15/01/14 – 23/02/14 

Jerwood

 

Jerwood Open Forest, an exhibition at project stage which exhibits the development of projects over a six month period by the following artists, Juan delGado, Adam James, Amanda Loomes, artist duo Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), and Chris Watson’s collaboration with producer Iain Pate.

To showcase work at this stage was quite unusual although interesting for practitioners producing their own work to see other people’s methods. Upon entering the building I felt quite impassive about the projects but whilst navigating around the 5 works I found there to be a clear winner in my mind.

Juan delGado’s proposal was incredibly interesting and mind expanding. Although I didn’t initially know what his intention was I felt overwhelmed by the atmosphere in the room, the projection and prints of forestry in a rather dark room.

My own personal interpretation prior to no further information was that I questioned our relationship with the forest. The sound provided at various points was an intimate approach to the work which really personified the tree’s for me, we tend to forget that they are living organisms too.

JuandeGado’s work is about exploring the variety of ever changing sounds and motion within the forest, affected by various natural factors. He intends for the audience to experience and explore the concept of ‘green noise’ and our relationship to trees from a phenomenological perspective.

Jerwood

As for the other works I felt quite passive, they seemed to be generic repetition of uninteresting intentions. I didn’t get round to experiencing Chris Watson’s proposal due to the fact the room it was held in was so dark, people were bumping into each other and it was uncomfortably warm, it gave me a headache. This put me off straight away, art shouldn’t be so unpleasant.

More information about the exhibition at: www.jerwoodopenforest.org