I have found the Assignment for Reality and Intervention one of the most difficult to get my head around. Usually, at this point in a module I read the assignment brief, take my camera out and click away, taking random photos in the hope that I will find something relevant on my memory card. However, the work I completed for Assignment Three changed this, as I actually sat, thought about what I wanted to achieve and conducted some research before heading out to take the photos for the assignment. On seeing this my tutor replied, “finally, you seem to be getting the hang of this”, so with this in mind, now all I have to do is build on this for future work!
From the conversation I had with my tutor, I know that the university is looking for innovation and experimentation, but unfortunately I am not very artistic or creative, which is probably why it took me around forty-eight hours to come up with my theme (this dose not include all of the other times my mind wandered to this assignment). Moreover, I was keen to try something a little different and put into practice the ‘skills’ I had learnt during the module.
Brainstorming with my husband, we came up with lots of different ideas about a subject; as I live in South Korea, perhaps a food inspired magazine cover would work? Food is a big thing here, as not only do Korean’s use food as a social event, but they also love to eat, although you would not think so if you saw the size of them. Subsequently, there are lots of different foods on offer, some of which are relatively common throughout the world, such as Steak or Italian Pasta dishes, but there are also lots of different kinds of cuisine, such as Kimchi.
A staple within the Korean diet, Kimchi is made by fermenting lots of different vegetables, herbs and spices together over a period of time, this may sound disgusting, but after a while it actually becomes the natural part of any social gathering.
Another staple is Pajin, or simply put pancake; a melody of vegetables, seafood and meat, bound together with egg. Being a walker, this is a common food consumed by hikers; I have eaten many different kinds of Pajin, as it is well know for its restorative properties.
Of course, as you would imagine, there are also lots of strange foods to be had here too, and although I have never seen dog on the menu (!), I have seen many other items I would not be keen to try such as baby Octopus, Sea Slugs/Snails and Bondaegi, which is a Silk Worm Pupae, that is seasoned, boiled then roasted; this
‘delicacy’ can be offered as either a street food or bar snack – no thank you …
I was beginning to come round to the idea of using Korean cuisine as my theme for the assignment, and even spent some time formulating ideas in my sketchbook, but the issue I could not overcome was how to present this as either a book or magazine cover?
I could perhaps arrange lost of different foods, photograph them and then arrange the images on the page, or more obviously, I could select just one food and make this the highlight of publication, but I just kept asking myself how …
Next we briefly discussed hiking as my theme. I do have a love for hiking, but have got out of the habit recently, and after all, how could I represent this hobby without including scenic shots of rolling meadows and mountains, which is not an easy subject to capture from within a city. I did contemplate replicating an image I had taken many years ago, not long after I started taking photos. I call this shot The Lone Ranger as although the hiker is not a horseman, he looks like a cowboy, lost in translation. However, this was taken in the summer, and now that autumn is upon us, I would not able to get the same atmospherics, though this is an assignment about post-processing manipulation, still, I would never manage to get it right, and I do not what to spoil the memory of this image.
Even after all of this deliberation, I had hit a stumbling point, and did not know which way to turn.
As I always do in a crisis, I put on my trainers and went for a walk, this usually clears my head, and helps me realign with my thoughts. During my walk I noticed that the flowerbeds and grass down by my local river was being replenished, the work for this included lots of digging, producing lots of lovely overturned dirt. There had also been a heavy dew overnight, leaving all of the grass covered in tiny globules of water, twinkling brightly in the sun.
Liking what I was seeing, I began to contemplate how I could incorporate these elements into the assignment. This train of thought lead me to an article I had read some months ago, detailing the use of miniature figurines as an images subject. Perhaps I could use either the dirt or the glistening water as a backdrop for a miniature photo-shoot of perhaps a farm or beach scene? At the time of reading the article I thought that this was an area of photography I would never contemplate using, but the more I thought of the possible scenario, the more it appealed to me as I could take an image to be used as the background and then a separate image of the figurines, which could then be strategically placed within the frame.
I even thought of a few titles, such as “Life in Miniature”, “It’s a BIG World” or even “It’s a strange world”.
Ironically, when I returned to my apartment I saw an article called ‘Small World Pictures’ on The Digital Photography School Website, which I subscribe too; perhaps this was a sign that I was finally on the right track.
By now I had lots of ideas running around inside my head, so headed out to scout possible background images:
After the success of this initial photo shoot, I headed to our local arts supply shop to see what I could find to accompany these photographs, but soon got very despondent, as there were no suitable figurines for the task, although I did find some small dumper trucks and tractors, which could have been a viable option, but my initial enthusiasm had waned and I left the shop empty handed.
I had one more idea to ponder, and at the time of writing this post, this will be the theme for my assignment.
During the research I conducted into the workings of Photoshop, I came across an article in my Magbook, A Photographer’s Guide to Photoshop; actually it was more of a training exercise giving details on how to master layers in Photoshop. In this mini-course they show how to create this image of an Invisible Man, which I think is really cleaver, cool and something I would like to have a go at achieving.
Of course, it will be a case of learning how this is done, and I intend on watching the video that accompanies the article for creating this look, but I also need to come up with some ideas for the background, but do have something in mind.
Knowing that there is a famous book by H.G. Wells called the Invisible Man, which has been adapted for both the large and small screen many times, my intention is to replicate this book cover, giving it a modern twist.
Conducting some research on the Internet to seek further inspiration surrounding this piece of literature, I came across many different images, two of which stood out and seemed to be what I was looking for.
I have never read the book by H.G. Wells, and only vaguely remember seeing David McCallum play this role on TV when I was a child, so I am not able to pull on first-hand knowledge about this fictional character, but one thing that did seem quiet common, aside from images of a man clad in bandages and sunglasses, was that the character always seems to wears either a Bowler or Trilby hat and dark glasses.
So, to bring this tale into the modern day, I intend on using a different head garment, although I will keep the sunglasses, as they are cool in any era.
Next I will need to contemplate my background, which has to be interesting and fairly modern, or perhaps abstract; the intention of changing the background is to give the image a fresh look, and a new take on the previous artworks.
The main attraction of these images is that the Invisible Man is see-through, so the background of the image can be seen through the body parts that are invisible (!). I therefore think that this detail needs to be interesting, but not too overpowering so as to take attention away from the main portion of the image, which is of course the Invisible Man.
A fellow member of an Internet photography group I belong too posted an image he took of some smoke, which really caught my eye when it was originally posted. This is similar to images I took for Assignment Two, when I captured the smoke from some dry ice, so it is a genre that already holds some interest for me. I feel that something like this could work as the background for my image, but I will need to play around with both the smoke and the post-processing in order to get the balance right.
Finally I will need to investigate typeset and common layouts and fonts used in book publishing. The Internet is such a great source of material for me (well for anyone really, if you know what you are looking for), and once I know that I can achieve what I want in this assignment, the Internet will be my first port of call.
So, now I have my theme and a mountain of work to do to get this assignment right; perhaps I need to write a list, or even a workflow, but you must be wondering how I feel about the body of work I am about to embark on, and I actually feel okay with it. For the assignment I have to justify the ethics behind my image, and I think that because this will be an obvious piece of manipulation, it is justifiable, if on the other hand I was making major changes to an image and passing it off as a genuine piece of work, straight out of the camera, then I would have an issue with it. As I think I said previously, if photographers were upfront about the changes they make to their work, I have less issue with that over their omission to tell the truth about their work.
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