The following is the description of the first project: This is an introductory project that deals with research and the finding of your own “voice” as a photographer. Words and photographs can be in a “dialogue.” They can each inform the other. This is common to documentary photography. It is rare for photographs to occur without words and vice versa. The project you will create is in three parts. Part One is to select, research and photograph/scan a photograph that you admire. This process will begin to show you what type of photograph you find interesting. Part Two is to re-create the original photograph according to your interests. Part Three is to make a photographic response (your unique “voice”) to the original photograph.
Part One: Research: Find a stack of photography books and start flipping through them or do your research online. However, you must look at a photographer’s entire body of work and not just one random photograph you see on the Internet. Think about how the photographer’s work you select might inform your own work. Ideally, the photographer you select is working in a genre you are experienced with or one you admire and would like to try to emulate. Make sure you allow yourself a lot of time to really find something that moves you. If using a book, mark the pages that catch your eye. Find at least 10 images that you like and pare that down to just a few. Make notes about why you like them in your field notebook. Make your final decision. You can be inspired by a black and white or a color photograph.
Part Two: Re-Creation photograph (analysis, deconstruction, construction): After analyzing the photograph, try to recreate the image from the book you chose. Write out a research document that details how you intend to reproduce the photograph. How do you intend to borrow ideas and techniques? You can recreate it entirely or just choose aspects of it.
Part Three: Response Photograph: Create a response photograph to your original photograph. You can respond to the same photographic/compositional elements the photographer used. You can also explore the issues that the photograph presents.
The first student is Ashley Duke. The following is the photograph she admires by Melania Brescia.
Here are her words about the one she chose and what her intentions are: I chose a photo by Melania Brescia entitled Sink In. I’ve been a fan of Melania’s photography for quite a while. She usually uses female/nude in her work and creates a lot of very ethereal images. She also uses a lot of emotion, mostly despair and sadness, but she has such a clean and crisp way of capturing images. I chose Sink In because it was one of the few photos with a male model and I thought it would be interesting to re-create with a female face and a bit more exposure.
It’s a very quirky, weird photo yet still slightly sensual with the way his mouth is open. I like how it looks like he is sinking into a pot of paint or even a glass of milk. I think recreating the photo will be a little tricky as I obviously need a tub with water and the lighting in my bathroom is absolutely terrible. This photo seems to have only one light source coming from above and it is white with a bluish tint. I’ll probably have to use light reflector disks and figure out a tripod with angle attachments. For the water, I’ll probably try and find a thick milk bath or even bath bomb that could create that white tint of the water without being bubbly/frothy. If all else fails, I will try to emulate another photo with black water, which I will attach also and use similar methods.
The next image is her re-creation.
Her words: I decided to go for the milky photo re-creation. Re-creating this was pretty fun and entertaining and I got my lovely boyfriend to do it with me even though he hates having his photo taken. I decided to just use the bathtub and two gallons of milk plus a hot bath to recreate the image. I wish I knew what she used in the photo or I could remember all my Photoshop knowledge because I couldn’t get it that bright white she has in the photo that looks more like watered down paint.
I brought in a vintage eyeball lamp I have in the living room for more light. I wish I had switched it out with a bright white bulb because it currently has an Edison bulb which gives off a very yellow light. I ended up having to do a bit more work in Photoshop than I thought I would but hallelujah for “Content-Aware,” because trying to blend out that milk with the shadows was a pain. Whilst I don’t think it’s exactly like the original, it was still fun to attempt to re-create and sparked my interest in Lightroom and Photoshop again – I really need to touch up on my skills!
And finally, her two response photographs.
Here is her words: My response is two separate photos. The first one is probably kind of odd but I was eating dessert the other night and realized I definitely should have used coconut milk instead of cow’s milk for this project. Thank you, mango sticky rice. It was the perfect stark white that I was looking for, on top of using a white light bulb instead of an Edison bulb like I mentioned in the last post. The second photo was supposed to be a re-creation of sorts of the dark photo I also posted about in #1 but I don’t think they turned out very well, plus my head is cut off in most of them and I’m not Photoshop literate enough to make it look like like the original or like there is water where there is not. I just used a black bath bomb and it smelled pretty heavenly.
The next three images are Brook Thorpe’s. He was inspired by the following image of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Here are his words: I wanted to go back to my photo one class because I remember learning about Cartier-Bresson and falling in love with black and white photography. I think a lot of his work sort of blends between documentary and abstract photography. This is why I chose him for my first project. Not only do I believe that I can almost perfectly re-create this photo, I also love the abstract nature of it.
The following is his re-creation. His words: I decided to recreate Martine’s Legs, by Cartier-Bresson. I think it worked really well, and although I could not get the photo perfect, I am very happy with the result. I think the hardest part was getting the light to work the way I wanted it to. it was also interesting directing a model, I don’t usually take photos of people so it was kind of new to me.
Finally, his two response photographs. His words: For my response photos, I wanted to have a small story between the re-creation and response. I decided to try and make photographs that look like they might have been from the era of Cartier-Bresson. Overall, I am very happy with these two photos and I hope they do a good job telling a small narrative.
Then next set of images are by Talya Alsberg. Here are her words about the photograph she chose: The image I chose is an image of Christina Carey wearing Roberto Cavalli, taken by Tim Walker in 2008, and included in his book Storyteller.
Since I take a lot of inspiration from Walker’s work, I wanted to continue to follow this wave and re-create another one of his images/series. The simplicity is so important to this photo, natural light, minimal props and the most natural subject matter there is but with a twist.
There will need to be some Photoshop compositing in this re-creation, in order to give the illusion that the model’s head is coming out of the ground. For this portion, I’d like to re-create it completely, and then for my response photograph, I would like to use the three elements I found were most important in the photo (ground, apples and model) to create something different, yet giving tribute to these three elements.
The next image is her re-creation. Her words: I have decided to re-create the original image I thought I would. It was not very hard on the photographing end of the recreation, but it was a lot more work to do the editing and post production.
I went out to shoot and got my photos pretty quickly. I decided to shoot two images separately and composite the images together later, in order to give the perfect effect that the head is coming right out of the ground. I took several photos of the apples on the ground and later on took even more photos of my mom in different angles so I can find one that will look most realistic. I then rearranged the apples on the ground and continued to take photos in case I wanted to composite additional apples in the grass, because I did not have enough apples with me to match the amount in the original image.
During my process I found a couple new ways to get a softer look for the image by lowering contrast and watching my color balance. I also learned that lowering my clarity and sharpening would help with making the image even softer.
And finally, her response photograph. Her words: This is the response photograph I created. This image is a composite of eight separate photographs. They are put together in Photoshop to create an illusion that the hands are coming straight out of the ground.
I decided to keep my three elements as I said originally, but I changed my mind a lot before I came up with the idea of having hands coming out of the ground instead of heads.
I thought I was going to show the underground perspective, but felt like an image like that would need more creative time. I felt like I was a little bit rushed and I believe that as an extension of this assignment I would like to also create my original idea of “the other world” or “if this is what we see above the ground, what will we see underneath it?”
This assignment was very enjoyable for me because I was able to follow a photographer that I appreciate very much, and take direct inspiration from a specific piece of his work, while giving it my own twist.
If the photos are placed side by side it isn’t difficult at all to see a connection between them. By creating the illusion that the hands are coming straight out of the ground, I was able to take the image to my own “next step” and elongate the story behind the image. as if there is an additional hidden part of this moment in time.
The last three are from Joe Addison. Here are his thoughts: My image is El Asador (Barbecue Man) by Alessandra Sanguinetti.
I chose this image after putting in extensive research to try and find it after seeing it on display in the Getty Museum. In December, I saw three images by Alessandra Sanguinetti as elements of a exhibition on Argentina seen through the eyes of photographers. I foolishly did not take note of the photographer’s name and couldn’t find this set of images again after I left. The many attempts to find this image were finally fruitful and I located the image that inspired me many months before. Sanguinetti is a Magnum photographer and therefore a large portion of her published work is available to see online.
I love Sanguinetti’s book, On the Sixth Day. Despite the whole book being full of fantastic imagery I was still drawn back to the original image that I saw in California. I chose this image for its complexity, depth, and visual intrigue.
As for re-creation it is not going to be easy but I really want to try to re-create every element I can. Fire and the sun in the woods are going to be practical challenges that I will have to face and figure out a way to replicate.
The next image is his re-creation. His words: For my re-created photograph, I chose to emulate the lighting and composition of my original photograph. I had planned out a location along with props, and atmosphere for the shot. I was semi-successful, I had a way to introduce fire into the background and a Photoshop technique to add the hazy smoke. Then I got rained out and I could not start any fires controlled or otherwise. Due to being forced under some cover to still take my image, I ended up with a mirrored lighting setup where I had to bring in flashes to replace the sun. I used off camera flash to emulate the original bounce light of my chosen photograph. I discovered that weather can really impact a planned shoot, so I should have a backup plan to still achieve my image even without certain elements intended.
I learned quite a lot about using flashes outdoors, something that I had never done before. The sun it turns out is quite bright even on overcast days with rain. So it took a lot of experimenting to get the image right. I had originally thought, maybe I should shoot this on a TLR to mimic the original camera that was used to take the photograph. I’m glad I chose to keep things uncomplicated and stick with a digital camera. It was a new experience shooting 3:2 when I knew that I was going to crop it to square, and I definitely could have framed up the shot better while keeping that cropped frame in mind.
And, finally, his response photograph. His words: The original photograph I chose spoke to me on many levels, storytelling, beauty, depth, aesthetics, colour, and composition. I was drawn in to the challenge that it would have been to re-create it as well. I wanted to take the feel of the photograph and see if I could re-create an emotion. This is hard and much harder than I had thought it would be. My re-creation was minimalistic in my opinion, the same feel and meaning was not captured in my photo. I managed to re-create some of the elements that the original had displayed, yet there was no emotion tied between the pieces. That lead me to create a new self portrait building on the skills and techniques yet pushing them forwards to create an image strung with emotion.
I wanted depth in my image and I found a successful way of providing separation of foreground, subject, and background in my response photo by using light to wrap around the subject and pull them away from the background. I used a mirror instead of a tripod this time to perfect my framing as I was posing myself. The monochromatic setting for my shot was a side product of helping my brother with a photograph he was making for his photography class. I think the orange and brown hues of that room help my image speak to the feeling of the photograph.