Summer Project and Dissertation Thoughts

The summer project we were given in uni to work on over the summer was to start researching, looking at and producing work that would see us through our final year and form our final piece, preferably in line with our dissertation which should lead on from our Literature Review that we wrote in the final term of our second year (you can read mine here ).  I wrote about snapshots and how the introduction of technologies, such as the camera phone and DSLR’s, software like Photoshop and photo-sharing (Facebook and Instagram for example) have changed how we take, manipulate and share images.  Many family photo albums have ceased to exist once film cameras have been replaced by digital capture devices, instead these images remain stored as digital data on computers and discs, a selection being uploaded to be shared with friends on social networking sites. 

With this train of thought going on, I have started to turn my attention to the actual images we share.  With software such as Photoshop becoming more affordable and easy to use we can manipulate images we take , never having to share a bad photo again.  I have noticed that many of my friends now go through their images with a fine tooth comb, editing sometimes to the same degree that an advertising image may be edited, before sharing.  Gone are the photos of us with less than perfect skin/teeth/hair etc, as to are the badly framed images where peoples heads are not in the shot, blurry images and those “happy accidents” where the camera has miss-fired and captured something we didn’t mean to capture.  Much of this is down to the image taking capabilities and the method of shooting.  With film cameras we did not have the means to review an image straight away, and the cost meant we couldn’t take images one after the other after the other like we can now.  With film, people were limited to 24 or 36 shots per roll (35mm film) and depending on how much film you could afford to purchase and then pay to get developed, now with digital image taking you are only limited by how many images you can fit onto a memory card or the battery life of your camera.

Anyway, back to images we share, which I’m thinking is where I am going to be focusing my energy for this project and dissertation work…

rene not a pipe

 

I keep seeing this image (above,The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe) by Rene Magritte) and I am beginning to form links with images we see today.  (Rene Magritte was a surrealist painter from Belgium who lived between 1898 and 1967, the image is currently on display in LA County Museum of Art) .  The image makes us question our relationship to images, this is a pipe, but it’s not a pipe, it is not the actual object but a representation of that object.  In the same way, with photo editing software, we an question photographs and other images we see today, flaws an be removed, skin and eyes made brighter, teeth whitened, people slimmed, backgrounds changed, people an be edited out – a pretty endless list of changes can be made to an image before being shared to the public domain.  Any image we view now needs to be viewed in the same way as Rene’s work as many of the images we see are just representations, not a actual truth which could be captured and less easily manipulated when using film to make images.

With film though, and its the same with digital image capture, as a viewer we are never really sure if an image has been staged to look a certain way or if it is spontaneous, for example, I could decorate my house out with all the Christmas paraphernalia and take images supposedly showing the festive season but have taken them in June… the viewer could come to the conclusion that the images were actually made in December but the truth is way out.

This all then brings me to advertising campaigns, with all this photo-editing going on in our own homes, and fairly easily at that given that there are you tube tutorials for just about anything and everything you could ever want to do, we, as viewers are more likely to question adverts.  But this is not my point… With all images being edited to some extent or other, our “snapshots” that we share have become an advert, something carefully constructed, and thought about in terms of how we are seen in these images by the viewers of them.  As image takers and sharers we are fully aware of what the images we are seen in say about us.  We want to be like the models in adverts with the perfect skin, glossy hair, having fun, being fashionable, being popular etc… that we only ever share the best images of us.

Anyway, this is just a few of the thoughts going around in my head at the moment with regard to my dissertation…

For the project that runs alongside my dissertation I have been looking at film snapshots and Corrine Day in particular as she has shot many projects in the style of snapshot photography, Diary (some images from this project can be viewed on her site here) being one of them.  I am unsure which direction to go in with snapshot photography as I have a few directions and interests on this subject – one of those being to take my own snapshots and focus, possibly, on re-creating or making snapshots of everything I would normally use digital imaging for, or look at the extinction of film photography and photographs, family albums as actual objects, and old film created photographs as the precious objects they once were.

Photographs!

I have just taken 2 rolls of film!!!!  One black and white medium format (120mm) film in my Holga and one 35mm colour in my Diana.  This might not be much to most people but to me this is amazing as I don’t really take photos any more, I like to see what I do as ‘Creating Images’.  Hopefully I can develop them tomorrow and at least get contact sheets made so I can see what I have got and if they are any good and share them on here!  These images I have just taken are experiments for my new project about Voyeurism and Surveillance.  Ideally I would love to take the images with a Polaroid camera (like this or this  ) as I think that the photographs they produce, both in quality and feel would fit right in with my project but for the moment I have taken photos with 120mm and 35mm just to see what effects I can get from these before, perhaps, purchasing *another* camera!

Whats In The Bag?

 Or How to Get This Lot (<— ) into This Bag… —>

The Stuff

(L – R, Top to Bottom)

Pentax K2000 DSLR, Kodak Colour Plus 35mm Film, Canon EOS3000 SLR, Fish Eye Lens attachment, Card Wallet, Eye Drops, Perfume Stick, Tissues, Gum, Pens, Coin Purse, Lip Balm, Keys, Lippy, Fold Away Carrier Bag, Ipod Classic, Portable Window Light Diffuser.

The Bag – Crumpler Cupcake 7500.

Firstly I want to rave a bit about how good this bag is!  Wow! It really is brilliant!  Not only can I fit 2 cameras into it but also other camera equipment and things I need on a day-to-day basis too!  I love messenger style bags!  I did have a LowePro Pro Runner rucksack a while ago but didn’t get on with it very well in that I couldn’t access my stuff as quickly and easily as I could with a messenger bag and had been on the lookout for a nice messenger bag style camera bag that could hold everything I needed on a day-to-day basis.  This one is AMAZING!  I’m sure I can’t say it enough!  Anyway, enough about bag love, how the heck do I fit all my stuff into it?  Well, here’s a quick look

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That’s how!  😀  And before any of you ask, I like to carry around 2 cameras, it gives me different options of what to shoot with for different effects.  I love film and the feel that it has but I also love the instantness of digital!  If it were a perfect world (and someone could build a bag to accommodate it!) would carry around my whole camera collection and all the pieces that go with it just so I could have all the choice I wanted!  Instead I had to make a choice and at the moment it is both my DSLR and my 35mm SLR!

Weekend Project – The Garden!

As blogged about (here https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/weekend-project-1-the-garden/)! I have finally had the prints done and the photos have been scanned to share!

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Considering I have never used a fish-eye lens before, or the camera, I am really happy with the way these have turned out.  The circle frame on some of them has given me an idea for my circles project where I could use the fish-eye lens to capture and frame objects.

I used my Canon EOS3000 to shoot with, a Pro Series HD Xtreme Fisheye 0.15x lens (Macro) attachment, Kodak Colour Plus 24exp 200ISO film and had the negatives processed and images printed at Asda (7″x5″ prints) on a 1hr processing time (costing £7).   I did have a bit of trouble with the processing as the first batch were printed incorrectly as the machine they used got a bit confused by the framing that the fish eye lens produced, throwing off the alignment of photos.  However, I went back and they re-printed for free.

My Cameras – Photos

Here they are, my cameras (as posted about here https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/a-new-camera/)

From Left to right –

1) Fuji film DL-270 Zoom 35mm film camera.  This was my first “proper camera” bought for me by my parents for Christmas one year, probably about 1996/97.  It has a panoramic format button which makes photos long and thin and captures more detail either side of the frame.  I haven’t used it for years as I have a feeling that the film take up spool, which loads the film automatically, is broken.

2) Kumagin Superheadz Super Fat Lens 35mm film toy camera.  I bought this last year in the Victoria and Albert Museum and have used it a bit, not as much as I’d like to though.  It takes amazing wide-angle photos which vignette slightly around the edges and, some of the photos I have taken with it on a sunny day have these sunbeams across them which are really pretty.  You can’t zoom in with this one, it is purely a point and shoot camera.

3) Canon EOS 3000, 35mm film camera.  This is the camera I bought the other day.  I have taken a few shots with it but havent gotten anything developed yet.  I don’t have a manual for it yet but am going to try to find one later on the internet.

4) Holga GTLR, 120mm film camera.  I bought this back in November for a project that I was doing for my degree.  It is a Glass Twin Lens Reflex camera which means that the lens’ are made from glass, it has 2 lens’ at the front, one to view through and one that takes the picture, you need to be careful about how you position your image that you want to take as the lens you take the photo with is some distance from the lens you view through which can lead to unbalanced photos or subjects with heads cut off!  I haven’t used this camera nearly enough as I would like!!!

5) Olympus OM-40 35mm film SLR.  This camera is not really  mine.  It belongs to my boyfriends brother who has let me use it for several of my projects.  I really like this camera, it is a Single Lens Reflex camera which means the lens you view through is also the lens that takes the image.  It is easy to use and has a nice weight about it, it’s not to heavy nor light.  It is the first film SLR that I have used and I would love to do more with it!

6) Kodak Easy Share C913 digital.  This camera I bought about 3 years ago after my last one died.  At the time I needed something that I could chuck into a bag and take anywhere with me and not worry too much about it.  It has a zoom button that allows you to get quite close to the subject without losing quality and is small and cheap enough to take anywhere.  I used to use this all the time but haven’t used it for nearly a year as the battery life is quite unpredictable in it.

7) Samsung NX DSLR.  This is not technically my camera.  I bought it for my boyfriend as he wanted a camera that he could learn to use and take photos with.  I didn’t want to get him something similar to my Kodak as I felt that wouldn’t be much fun for him so I got him this.  It is brilliant!  One of the best DSLR’s I have used (apart from mine obv’s!) Its design is based around a compact camera but it has all the features of an SLR, (different lens’, settings etc).  It’s not one I use much but my boyfriend has had fun taking photos with it!

The ones not included…

8)Pentax K2000 DSLR, as I was using it to take photos of the cameras with!  This is my baby!  My Grandma gave me some money before I started uni to get myself some equipment that I needed, so along with some birthday money I received from her I managed to buy myself this.  I use it pretty much constantly and it has never let me down really, though I must say that it will eat batteries if you use it in really cold weather!  I carry this with me almost everywhere I go and is the first camera I reach for when I want to take photos.

9) Voigtlander GTLR 120mm film, box camera.  This was purchased from ebay in November and worked for a bit.  It is really old and the winding mechanism that pulls the film through and makes the exposure counter work seized up.  It is currently at my parents where my Dad is painstakingly cleaning it up bit by bit and fixing it for me.  I used this camera twice and really can’t wait for it to be back in working order (if it can be fixed that is) so I can use it again!  The one image I managed to retrieve from it was beautiful and so detailed and crisp, I’d love to be able to take more photos like that!

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