Handmade Business Cards

After creating my mini portfolio from an unused Filofax binder I decided to make some matching business cards that I could give out to prospective clients.  I decided to go down the handmade route as I wanted to be able to showcase my work and my creativity too and for the cards to stand out from others and be memorable.

I started off by printing my images onto photo paper as a contact sheet and cutting them down to size. I then mounted the images onto black cardstock and cut them out with scissors leaving a small edge around the image.  I mounted these images onto unused black and white 35mm film – the use of this was to add texture while linking the images to photography and what I do – it shows my job role even before the reciever reads the blurb on the card.  I then cut some black cardstock to size using a guillotine and typed up what information I wanted on my business card – I included my business email, mobile number, blog and Facebook page.  I left off my etsy and Instagram, deciding that if the reciever was that interested and went to any of the sites mentioned they could soon find the rest of my sites.  I duplicated the information enough times for the amount of cards I needed using word on the PC and printed it all out on normal white paper.  I then cut the information out and stuck the information for the back of the card to the cardstock already cut.  I then added the prepared images of my work and decided where to place them on the front of my cards along with the the front information.  I decided to make each card slightly different and unique.

 

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Projects in the Pipeline…

I have been exploring some ideas about projects that I have lined up for the future and how I want to execute them and so far have a few that see me returning to photography another that will possibly be produced in a drawing format and one that may include elements of collage and embellishment.

The first project I am keen to start on revolves around memories, a subject that my final piece for my Foundation Art degree focussed on, and will see thoughts and ideas developed from that project getting pushed further forward. (the posts for this original work can be found here and here ) However, after doing a bit of thinking about the final outcome I would like, what format would suit the subject, what I am trying to portray and the direction I would like to take this project in, I have decided that I’d like to create images via photographic means.  I would ideally like to shoot with 35mm film in black and white but have lost the facility to develop and print my own images, and sending off film to be developed can be pretty slow, I think I may use a digital camera to take my images and then use editing software to get the right feel for the image.

The other photography project I am thinking about is to do with self portraits and self-representation, again drawing on previous projects…this one drawing from research that I undertook toward the beginning of my Insta Rips and Anti Social Media degree project.  I want to investigate further, what constitutes a self-portrait, if they are a fair representation of ourselves and if there are other means of self-representation that are more true to our person.  I have already decided that I would like to use photography as my means of image capture as it is the means we now seem to favour when creating a self-portrait over painting and drawing.  I am considering using my phone for this project in order to share freely my images on social media in order to gain feedback and ask questions of the viewer and their perception of the image.

A spin-off from the self-portrait/representation that I have been thinking about is to do with personal information, the data that follows us around and is part of us and our digital make up, whether it be a PIN for a bank card, e-mail address, phone number, passwords, all the information which can be traced back to us.  I am thinking about creating a mixed-media piece for this, but at the moment I’m still working through the very basic ideas of the project.

The other main photography project I am keen to start is using the images I already have printed and adding detail to them using embellishments, whether that be glitter, lace, buttons or pieces of newspaper to add texture, interest and depth to the image.  I have already selected several images that I am wanting to use to experiment with this idea and should be sharing these shortly!  🙂

If you want to see behind the scenes images of what I am up to and other things I have been doing, head over to my Instagram !

 

Anti Journal, Personal Art Journal and…. The Mindfulness Colouring Book

I managed to get a few pages done in my Anti Journal last week, and also make a start on my Personal Art Journal which I had been wanting to start for a while, due to absence from work as I came down with a sickness bug that left me feeling really poorly and lacking in energy.  All I seemed to have the energy to do was crawl out of bed and down onto the sofa and cwtch up with my pencil-case and creative books (and the puppies of course!).  So in the 3 days I was off ill I managed the following pages….

 

Anti-Journal – Find Wonder In Nature

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My inspiration for this page came from the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.  I have always been astounded at how one creature can turn into another over time, its kind of like a natural Pokémon!  As a child I used to collect caterpillars, watch them turn into chrysalis’ before hatching out into butterflies and letting them go free and it always felt a bit magical to watch these beautiful creatures emerge from these leathery looking hard cases.  So that was my inspiration “Find Wonder in Nature” – the life-cycle of a caterpillar.

I used Triplus Fineliner pens to create the drawing and add colour to the shapes and watercolour for the background sky as I wanted it to be just a wash of colour.  I chose to “scribble” in the colour on my drawings as I felt that the block colour of the felt pens I like using would be too heavy for this image, I wanted to keep the images light and playful and create a sense of movement whilst still being able to add some detail and have control over the texture of the image.

 

Anti-Journal – Make Each One Different

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I started on this page ages ago and finally got around to finishing it last week.  I didn’t have any real idea of what direction to go in for this page I just knew that I wanted to create something that could look like the patterns from inside marbles or replicate small bouncy balls so I kept that in mind.  This page seemed to be the most difficult so far as I ran out of ideas for each circle before I was even half way through and had to keep leaving it and coming back to it in order to finish it.

I used felt pens to create this page.

 

Anti-Journal – Radiate

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Radiate to me conjures up images of the sun, heat and circles and that is what I tried to convey in this image.  The sun gives off both heat and light and light is made up of a spectrum of colour which I wanted to show.  I used circles to create a spiralling pattern around the centre circle as the typical spiral radiates outward in motion.  I decided to use a black for the background, graduating it in-depth of tone from the lightest tone toward the pattern and getting darker toward the edges to convey a sense of light.

I used felt pens to colour the 2 centre layers of the pattern and a mix of felt pen and watercolour to create the 3rd layer of tonal graduation.  A gel roller ball pen was used to outline each section of the pattern.

 

Anti Journal – Plan The Route From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be

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In my life my general plan is to get from A to B, regardless of whether it is actual travel, planning my future or making plans for something.  I decided to incorporate this into my fictional map.  I added roundabouts and junctions, trees and greenery and a few streams as to me my route anywhere should be calm but interesting and grass, trees and water are calming sites to me (probably from living in Wales for much of my life!  There’s nothing better than being able to view nature from wherever you are!)

I used Staedtler Triplus Fineliners for this image.

 

Anti-Journal – Repeat One Action Over And Over

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I started this page by drawing really uniform, different coloured swirls over the page, (if you look hard, you can see them!) but didn’t really like it so after leaving the page and thinking about it for a while I decided to go back over the page and repeat the swirl but in different sizes over the top of what I had already done, getting the swirl to overlap with other swirls.  I like this page loads though I’m not sure I have finished with it yet and may go back to add more to it at some point.

I used Staedtler Triplus Fineliners for this page.

 

Anti-Journal – Its Raining Colour

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I had a few ideas about how I wanted to create this page but decided to go with colour drips   I decided on this as I wanted the page to look like it had been rained on.  And thought the page looks simple it took an age to complete! I had to wait  for each set of colour drips to dry before I added the next lot of colour as I didn’t want the colours to run into each other!  I used my Aquash brush and watercolour paints to create this page.  The Aquash brush was the best choice as it has a tank to hold the water and a brush end, a bit like a pen.  I was able to pick up paint colour onto the brush and hold it over the page while squeezing the body of the brush slightly to control water flow to the brush and creating drops.  I am pretty happy with this page so far but think that adding more depth to the drops may be a good move, and also adding a further sense of “rain” by exaggerating the splashes that were created.

For this page I used Aquash watercolour paints and brush.

 

Anti-Journal – A Photo of a Photo of a Photo of a Photo

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This one is kind of self-explanatory and I’m not sure if I like it too much as it seemed to me to be the easy route to getting a page done.  That, and my Instax Mini 8, which I took the images on, didn’t seem to focus very well so the images are all blurry.  However, it is done and was more of an experiment to see how my camera would react to indoor photography.  I might change the page at some point.

 

Personal Art Journal

I decided to start a personal art journal as I have been missing my experimental sketch books that I used to have when doing my Foundation course.  I always enjoyed being creative and experimenting with ideas on those pages and felt that this was something to re-start again.  That and getting the encouragement from my Wreck This Journal and Anti-Journal to continue with letting the creativity flow and continue.  I’m not sure I am going to title the pages yet as sometimes I have no specific idea of what I want to create, yet I know I want to create a certain mark on the page before me.  …so here it is, my Personal Art Journal.

Personal Art Journal – Page 1

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This was the first page I created, it was a damp and miserable day, and it was stupidly cold (possibly in part due to me running a temperature and being ill).  I was missing summer and the bright, colourfulness of the season so I set about with my watercolours, creating a graduated sunrise/sunset sky.  After waiting for the page to dry I wanted to add a pattern to the page so I let my pen decide where to go, I wasn’t really focusing on what I was doing, and came up with a pattern of layered petal shapes.  I added the dots and the wavy lines at the end as I felt that the page could do with something to lift it more.  It’s strange to say it, but the image reminds me of a pineapple, the one fruit that I associate most with summer, and I had subconsciously included that into my image!

 

Personal Journal – Page 2

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This page was created not long after the first, and though I was still ill, I was starting to feel better in myself.  I had a dream about shapes, swirling and moving about, changing and flowing and woke up so calm and refreshed that I wanted to try to capture what had been in my dream.  I chose to use bright colours to capture the energy that I had felt upon waking and the circles, triangles and wavy line to capture movement, and to represent water flowing as that was how it had appeared in my dream.  perhaps this flowing movement had aided my calmness when I woke?  The image took an age to create as every time I stepped away from it to look at it, it felt like there was something missing, even once I had finished, however now, looking at it, I am entirely happy with how it turned out and still makes me feel calm and refreshed.  I feel like I have captured what I set out to and that it is a good representation of my dream.

 

The Mindfulness Colouring Book by Emma Farrarons

I know I said a few posts back that I wasn’t going to buy another “creative” book until I had finished my Wreck This Journal and Anti-Journal, but I kept stumbling over this book on Instagram, Facebook, on Amazon as a suggested purchase and on blog reviews.  I never set out to buy this but when out shopping I spotted it out of the corner of my eye and had to check it out.  Let me say this, it was love at first sight!  The designs are intricate and lend themselves to so many different methods of “colouring them in” and the paper quality is good enough that even brand new felt pens don’t bleed colour through them.  The only down side I had to the book, is that it is really hard to crack the spine to get the images to lay flat and get into the crevice to finish colouring the page properly, its like it’s too well made!  But aside from that little bug, I really do like this book!  (And incase you were wondering I purchased this from my local WHSmith’s store as I couldn’t wait for it to be delivered to me if I had bought it on the net!!!)

I’m not going to write explanations of these as they are pretty self-explanatory, I have just added colour to the image in ways that are pleasing to me 🙂

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The Mindfulness Colouring Book – My First Page

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The Mindfulness Colouring Book – Page 2

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The Mindfulness Colouring Book – Page 3

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Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 2)

I started to look at the “social media” aspect of #selfie images and how a lot of the images are taken in bedrooms or other places in the house, often away from any “friends” and then uploaded onto the internet for “friends” to look at, like and comment on which seemed to me a bit anti-social.  I then started looking at how we use social media and found a lot of people update their statuses and interact with people on-line when they are alone, either at home or travelling, either way, not really interacting with any human beings in the real world.  This struck me as such an odd thing to do, speak to people on-line via texting or typing messages back and fore, rather than communicating in a more natural way, like speaking face to face.  Conversing over the internet leaves out a whole lot of other communication skills that we have developed over-time and have began to use without even thinking about it, for example, reading body language.  We can tell when someone is approachable, happy, angry, sad, friendly within seconds, just by our ability to analyse how that person stands, how their arms are positioned, how they lean against something which we loose when using social media.  We also can not establish that persons voice tone, typing makes it harder to convey a sense of feeling and with that, meaning, its harder to decipher a text written in a certain way than someones tone of voice.  We also loose other expressions like those minuscule movements of a persons face which give away boredom or hope.  And then the hands, we use our hands to communicate so much, whether its waving to say “hi” or hold someones hand in a show of sympathy or care, or even when waving them around, gesticulating when we speak, that is lost too.  But then we are still using our hands to communicate to a degree, we are using them to hold our phones, grasp them tightly, hold them high to take #selfies, and to type messages out to our “friends” which then becomes a gesture, we use them more as tools to convey the idea that we are being “social” by using these sites.

I started to look at how we hold our phones and the similarities in hand gestures and realized that they were not so far apart.  I have begun to move away from the Insta-Rips and am now concentrating on taking photos of peoples hands, in the poses we see people holding them in when taking #selfies specially, but without the phone present to see what they would look like.

Below is the first edit I have done.  I have used my friend Alex as a model for me, and have been playing around with crops and whether to include a background or not, so far the white background is my favorite, the black being my second.  I like the uncluttered-ness of the background and the way the focus is all about the hand and nothing else, and I like that the hand is also seeming to “reach-out” from no-where to make contact, much like how social media enables us to reach out and grasp other’s friendship when we are alone.

Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 1)

How many times have you skimmed through your social media newsfeed only to be confronted by yet another selfie of someone standing in their room, pouting into the mirror?  Or been out with friends and gone to speak only to be met with tops of heads, while they are engrossed in their phone?  It seems to happen to me, A LOT, so I’m guessing its happening to most people at some point or other.

This project originated from the #selfie culture that seems to be taking over the internet and newsfeeds on most, if not all, social media.  I began by taking my own selfies and originally wanted to use them to create something but I couldn’t fathom what.  I think part of idea formation for me, especially with this project, was that looking at images of myself was a bit too close to try and decipher what I wanted to do with them, for me they were just me and that was that.  I moved on to looking at items which define a selfie, from mirrors to mobiles and the apps with which we share these images on.  I started to look at other peoples images of #selfies and did a Google search using #selfie as the search term.  I came across a website that groups all images shared on Instagram by the words they are # categorized with and started to filter through them, looking for images where the phone was in the shot, and the image taken in a mirror and started to download them to my computer.  I then went back through them and started an editing process where I started to get rid of background in the images that didn’t really seem that interesting or relevant to what I was trying to focus on.  In the end that just left a lot of arms and hands and phones floating around inside frames….

Final Major Project and Dissertation

I know I’ve not written here since July which seems so long ago when in reality it is just a few months.  I am now in my 3rd year of my BA(Hons) PhotoArt degree and I’m starting to struggle with what I am doing, what direction I am going in, what I’m thinking, writing, doing, where my head is at and what I’m producing.  The main subject for my final major project is the “Selfie”.  There’s so much being written about on this subject that it *should* be easy to pick a path to follow for the project.  But I CAN’T.  I seem to have ideas and they don’t seem good enough or when discussed they just don’t seem to have much substance or sticking power, they are half baked and not that creative or imaginative.  I am struggling to know what to do and how to do it.  But perseverance is key and I have ideas to try out, I have no idea whether they will work or if they will be any good but I will try and somewhere along the line I am hoping that everything will make sense and that it will all click into place sooner rather than later.

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.

Literature Review – How Social Media and Technology Have Created a Shift In The Family Album and Snapshots

This is the literature review I wrote as part of my second year in Photo Art (BA) .  I thought I would share as it links in with the work I have been doing under the main title of “Voyeurism, Surveillance and Control” where I was looking at the role of Facebook in data collecting and how social media links in with ideas surrounding voyeurism, surveillance and control.  From that I started looking at what else we share, from that I came to look at images and how we share them, from snapshots we made using film (35mm/120mm and other films) to digital media sharing of today.  I am fairly pleased with the grade and feedback I had from this essay (B12, which means a mid B!) as I was worried that the subject I had chosen was too big to talk about in 3500 words (excluding quotes) however, this now gives me leeway with writing my dissertation which I am going to be branching out from this subject further and looking more at modern ways of sharing and how the shift in technology has affected the ideas behind the term “snapshot”.

How Social Media and Technology Have Created a Shift In The Family Album and Snapshots.

 


 

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 – The History of Photography and the Family Album
  • Chapter 2 – The Family Album and Technology
  • Chapter 3 – The Snapshot
  • Chapter 4 – Kodak Culture
  • Chapter 5 – Image Making And Editing
  • Chapter 6 – Sharing Images
  • Chapter 7 – Photo Editing, Technology and the Home Today
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography


 

Introduction

 

I have based my reading around the topic of social media and snapshots as I feel that this is a really big trend in the 21st century and is also one that is set to continue as the technology shifts to create better cameras and easier ways of sharing images.  So far we have witnessed the rise of the device-attached camera, such as those on the mobile phone device, MP3 players (like the iPod) and even camera’s on laptops and computers.  Most of these devices can now easily connect to the internet, most mobiles, and some computers have in built internet (mobile phone SIM packages and the invention of the Internet Dongle) which has then impacted on how we both take, and share images, to the extent that the traditional ‘Family Album’ does not readily exist in the same format anymore, it has become no longer a treasured object but a mass of data saved on a hard-drive or existing on the world wide web somewhere.

With these thoughts in mind I have predominantly based my reading around a book by Risto Sarvas and David M. Frohlich which deals with the shift in technology and snapshot photography – “From Snapshots To Social Media – The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography”. This book was published in 2011 by Springer.  As it was published quite recently, the book not only deals with fairly current topics but also gives historic information about the technology used in creating an image and talks about the changing role of the photograph from daguerreotypes, calotypes and other early means of photography to where photography is today, what photographs mean, how shifts in technology have both influenced and shifted photographic means and how this has affected the idea of the family album and even on to where photography may be headed in the future.

I start this literary review with the history of photography, not only as it is covered in the first chapter in the book “From Snapshots to Social Media” but also because without understanding the history of photography, the camera and the image we would not be able to understand how we are where we are today in the terms of sharing images, photography and the means with which we share our images.  Without the history of photography to build upon images and the sharing of photos would look totally different, for society and for us personally.

 

The History of Photography and the Family Album

 

“From Snapshot to Social Media” talks about Family Albums and how through a need for storage of images that they came to be produced, “The tremendous popularity of the carte-de-visite, which was termed ‘cartomania bought about the birth of another key element of domestic photography; the family album.”  “The paper albumen prints, of which cartes were one type, required no case but were kept in albums for protection, and importantly, as a convenient way of showing and storing the images.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer)

The carte’s are described as “a photograph of a certain size and material: a 63mm x 100mm (2.5” x 4”) albumen print photograph pasted on a slightly larger piece of cardboard.  A carte was the size of a visiting card, and initially the photographs were used as such.  However, the small size proved more important in bringing down the price and costs of photography.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer)  Carte’s and their production were important in changing the distribution of photographs and photography, whereas once only the elite members of society could afford to have their image made (such as with the means of daguerreotypes), the production and relative cheapness of cartes meant that more people than before could afford to have their images taken, and even collect and distribute images to family and friends.  Cartes were a turning point for photography and the sharing of images in general.   The colleting of images and storing of images led to the family album, which not only documented the family life but all things meaningful to the family in general.  The book “From Snapshots to Social Media” explains “The public image of the domestic was presented in the same format and in the same book as the public images of members of aristocracy, celebrities, statesmen, clergymen, and scientists, along with views, events, news, and moralising or humour-focused commentaries.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer)   It was not just photographs of immediate family that were collected but other influencing role models that had currency in the families beliefs and social ideals were collated together too.   This meant that anyone who shared in the viewing of the family album could understand, not just the fundamentals of the family but their social standing and the belief systems that they subscribe to.  The paragraph then goes on to draw parallels with photographs used on social media sites today “As mentioned, much as do the twenty-first century’s social networking service profile pages,  which present the person; his or her social network; and the larger-scale public figures, events, news, etc. that he or she supports or values.   Also, both cartes and the profile pictures on the Internet adhere to a specific visual code, the purpose of which is to declare one’s belonging to a specific social group or class.”  This is a very relevant point that has been outlined in this comparison as we can see how historical means of photography has influenced, and in some ways remained the same, although the means of viewing the image may have changed, from actual photographs to images displayed on-screen, the way the subject is perceived is still as important today as back then.  It is also an interesting point that is made, that the albums of old and the images shared on social media networks have the same point, both are used to define who we are, what we are about, our beliefs, class, sub-cultures we may subscribe to and any other factors that an act as a visual representation of who we are and what we stand for.  Today images are still stored at home, “People go abroad and take photographs, then return home to view, show, share, and store the captured pictures.  The cameras, photo albums, prints, printers, computers, mobile phones, television sets, and other photographic technologies can all be taken out of the home space, but they do ‘live’ at home as much as the owners of these technologies.  Their resting place is at home.”(RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer).  While the images still exist, they are stored in a much different way.

 

 

 

The Family Album and Technology

 

Through the birth and development of technology, the traditional photo album has ceased to be a popular choice; many people now use computers to store their many photographs, the images staying as computer files instead of actual objects.  However, in order to keep the images in some sort of system they are stored in file systems on the computer or uploaded to the internet, social media sites in particular (ie Facebook) and stored in virtual “Albums” which still have the same meaning and read in a similar way to the albums of previous years.  People still want to share their ideas, beliefs, social standing, culture, etc, with friends and that has been made easier through technological developments over time.  The whole concept of the family album, sharing who we are and what we are about, then leads us into the sharing of our images, which is discussed further in the next paragraph.

“The albums had a more social and interactive function as well.  They were a source of entertainment and stimuli for conversation, (Wichard and Wichard 1999), and the albums also encouraged the practice of exchanging photographs amongst family and friends.  … Therefore, the album contained the images not only of public figures, and members of the family, but of friends and relatives as well.  Effectively, the family album became a catalogue of who belongs to the family, who their acquaintances are, and the wider public context the family wants to associate itself with.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer).   From this explanation of the Family Album and its functions we can apply this to images on social media today.  In such a way, the images we share on social media networks has not moved on from the past, we still want to be associated with certain ideologies, and want to control the context in which the viewer perceives us.  It is interesting, then, to note that it is not just images of family, friends and other people that are shared that add to this perception, brands and products are also photographed.  You only need to look at photographs people share on social networking to see that this whole idea prevails today, for example, young people making images of their Starbucks coffees, there is a whole connotation surrounding coffee, that it is sophisticated and classy, and grown up, then there is the connotation of the Starbucks brand – their mission statement “Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.” (Mission Statement | Starbucks Coffee Company. 2013. Mission Statement | Starbucks Coffee Company. [ONLINE] Available at:http://starbucks.co.uk/about-us/company-information/mission-statement. [Accessed 04 April 2013].) straight away conjures up images of being hand crafted, special, one of a kind, artisan, but also the general ideas surrounding the Starbucks brand, one of expense, luxury, sophistication,  are also ideals that people want to be associated with. By taking photos of these things, the photographer, themselves, is creating their own unique ideas of themselves for other people to see.

While I am looking at the similarities in traditional family albums and how they still bare similarities to image sharing on social media it is worth investigating and noting women’s role in the up-keep of the family album.  “The role of women in the early decades of snapshot photography gradually was formed into the role of curators of the family photo albums.  Both men and women photographed, but the family album was typically left to the mother of the family.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer).  Although the idea of the family album has changed from being one of a physical object to one that is now predominantly kept online, women, more than men still seem to be the main curators, for example on Facebook the average woman uploads 347 images and is tagged in 73 whereas men upload on average 179 images and are tagged in just 35 (Number of photos per Facebook user 2011 | Statistic. 2013. • Number of photos per Facebook user 2011 | Statistic. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.statista.com/statistics/181756/number-of-photos-uploaded-and-linked-by-facebook-users/. [Accessed 20 March 2013].) I am not sure whether this is down to women having more accounts on Facebook than men (52% of users are women compared to 48% of men (• Number of photos per Facebook user 2011 | Statistic. 2013. • Number of photos per Facebook user 2011 | Statistic. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.statista.com/statistics/181756/number-of-photos-uploaded-and-linked-by-facebook-users/ . [Accessed 20 March 2013].) which is not a great percentage difference but in terms of actual figures can be considered a lot when you understand that Facebook has over 1.2 Billion users worldwide (United Kingdom Facebook Statistics by Countries | Socialbakers. 2013. United Kingdom Facebook Statistics by Countries | Socialbakers. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/united-kingdom . [Accessed 16 March 2013].)) or whether it is down to women being more sociable and wanting to share occasions with their friends.  It can be argued that women have continued with the role as curator of the family album and have adapted this role to fit with social media or it could be that women are just more sociable in today’s modern society built on social media and networking. (Women update their Facebook status on average 21 times per month whereas men only update their status on average 6 times per month in comparison (Facebook: A Profile of its ‘Friends’ In light of…. 2013. Facebook: A Profile of its ‘Friends’ In light of…. [ONLINE] Available at: http://pewinternet.tumblr.com/post/23177613721/facebook-a-profile-of-its-friends-in-light-of . [Accessed 04 March 2013].).  From these figures it can be seen that women have adapted and adopted social media as another tool in keeping in touch with friends and family.

 

 

The Snapshot

 

From looking at the history and relationships between the family album and the role of photographs in social media, it is important to look at the actual type of photography that is being used in both the family album and the images shared on line.  The type of photography that is being used in both fits in to the genre of snapshot or domestic photography.   The book ‘From Snapshots to Social Media’ describes the term “domestic photography” as being “used to describe the photographic activities of ordinary people taking and using images for non-professional purposes. Also in our use of the term we focus on the kind of use in which photography is not a hobby as such but embedded in other activities.  The word ‘domestic’ implies that the activity takes place mainly in the home, and the home is the headquarters for this activity.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer) The same book uses a similar definition in explaining snapshot photography “(i.e., unskilled amateurs taking images with their own cameras).” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer)  In other words, both of the definitions given mean the same thing and have the same characteristics and can be spoken in the same way with the same effects being given.  While we are defining the meaning of snapshot photography it is important to note other’s definition of the term “snapshot”.  The book “Photography, Theoretical Snapshots” speaks of the term as being used “to describe an amateur form of image-making, requiring little or no photographic skill on the part of the photographer.” (JJ LONG, ANDREA NOBLE & EDWARD WELCH. 2009. Photography, Theoretical Snapshots. New York. Routledge).  It is interesting to note that all definitions are similar in that they both define the snapshot to being an image made by ordinary people, with no formal qualifications in photography, and producing images for no financial benefit.  The benefits of such photography is mainly along the lines of documentation, of taking photos of meaningful family moments, of capturing occasions and holidays, family, friends and relatives, to enrich and add to a long standing family history and tradition.

Because snapshots are taken by unskilled amateurs there are mistakes made along the way during image creation.  Half of the appeal of snapshots can be the technical failings, and are easily recognisable when looking at any family album. “…most family photographs are not particularly distinguished on the level of technical skill or approach.  We may wish in retrospect that we had taken extra care in composing a photograph of our friends and families, that the regular mishaps of a finger over the lens or ‘red-eye’ had been avoided.  But ultimately these are not the criteria by which such photographs succeed or fail for us.  What is important is the presence of loved ones at a significant event or moment that prompted the taking of an image…We generally take pictures at symbolic points in family life, at times when we acknowledge our relationship bonds and social achievements.  They are moments we want to hold onto, emotionally and visually.  Typically the situations are shared cultural events: throwing confetti after a wedding ceremony, blowing out candles on a birthday cake, serving a meal at religious festivals.  Or they demarcate our rites of passage: a new-born baby being bought home, a ride on a new bicycle, a grandparent teaching a child to read or tie shoelaces. ” (Charlotte Cotton. 2009. The Photograph as Contemporary Art. 2nd Edition. UK. Thames and Hudson).  We still take photographs of all of these kinds of events, however the margin of error has been narrowed by developments in technology where we can review the image we have taken immediately, re-shoot, re-compose or edit at a later time.  There is less worry placed upon cost of film, not knowing if the image you have created is free from imperfections and running out of film, most cameras, now, record the image onto a memory card or device that is capable of holding hundreds, if not thousands of image files.  It is also interesting to note that it is these flaws, and others that affected film photographs that are now being sought to be replicated in such applications as Instagram.

 

 

 

 

Kodak Culture

 

To understand how photography and snapshooting came to be part of domestic life we need to look at and understand Kodak Culture.  Kodak culture refers to the society that came along with snapshot photography and the brand.  Kodak was responsible for creating cheap snapshot cameras that penetrated the market and made photography accessible to all, seemingly, most people then owned and shot with a Kodak.  This is addressed in “Photography, Theoretical Snapshots”, which states  “Only after Kodak began to advertise snapshot cameras as a means of documenting family life and emotional relations in the domestic sphere did snapshot photography gain such a poignant and important role in the chronicling of sentimental family histories.” (JJ LONG, ANDREA NOBLE & EDWARD WELCH. 2009. Photography, Theoretical Snapshots. New York. Routledge).  In other words, Kodak and their advertising campaigns created a desire and need for snapshot cameras and then provided a fairly affordable means of people being able to own their own snapshot camera with which to make images of their own.  This can be summed up nicely using the following extract “Nancy Martha West has shown, for example, that snapshooting was first associated with outdoor activities like biking, skiing, and picnicking (West 2000).  Only after Kodak began to advertise snapshot cameras as a means of documenting family life and emotional relations in the domestic sphere did snapshot photography gain such a poignant and important role in the chronicling of sentimental family histories.”  (JJ LONG, ANDREA NOBLE & EDWARD WELCH. 2009. Photography, Theoretical Snapshots. New York. Routledge).  This statement is further backed up by “A camera did not have a place in the everyday life of people prior to the Kodak camera.”(RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer).

This “Kodak Culture” still prevails today , however it is not just using the Kodak brand to create images, this is outlined in the paper “Snapshot Media: “Kodak Culture” in the 21st Century” written by Risto Sarvas, Asko Lehmuskallio, Vilma Lehtinen, Jaana Näsänen, Sami Vihavainen , “Our starting point is the so-called “Kodak culture”, which is concept describing film-based snapshot photography. Currently snapshot photography is digital and networked, and ever more mixed with other forms of media production. This is why we extend the traditional “Kodak culture” to include all forms of media and related services used for capturing, storing, distributing, and showing user generated content. This array of user-generated media we term snapshot media.” (. 2013. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://users.tkk.fi/u/rsarvas/Sarvas_SnapshotMedia.pdf.  [Accessed 10 April 2013]. )  In these terms the Kodak culture can span the 21st Century and include all types of creating snapshots, including images taken on all matter of devices and created by use of such applications as Instagram and those viewed on social media sites like Facebook.  Just because the means in which the image is captured has changed from that of film photography to digital as the predominant method of shooting an image, there is still a culture of taking images to document everyday life.  People still want and need to share their daily life with friends and relatives, document important parts of their life and share in happy events.  This can be seen with the rise of Instagram, launched in 2010 and now having over 100 Million monthly users and as many as 40 Million uploaded images per day (statistics courtesy of Press Center • Instagram. 2013. Press Center • Instagram. [ONLINE] Available at: http://instagram.com/press/ . [Accessed 04 April 2013]. )

 

 

Image Making And Editing

 

As I started to touch upon previously, the shift in technology has changed how we take images, process images and share images.  There was a step away from the daguerreotype to other forms of image taking and making, from medium format to 35mm, the introduction of Polaroid which was probably the first “instant image” maker similar to the digital camera in the way the image was taken and viewed quite quickly afterwards, (although not totally successful, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2008 is notable when discussing technological developments) then the invention of stills film cameras which led to digital cameras and now many devices containing cameras (think of mobile phones, computers, ipods, ipads etc) and that is just in the image making sector.  When we look further into technological developments we need to also look at the processes which have changed how images are developed, gone are the chemicals, plates, dark rooms and long waits for prints, and in come the PC software’s designed for editing instead, the likes of Photoshop, once a specialist, expensive software, now readily available to most people.  In that spectrum we can also consider the development of photographic applications that run on mobile phones such as Instagram, marketed on its own website as being “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family. Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. Share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – it’s as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented.”  (Instagram. 2013. Instagram. [ONLINE] Available at: http://instagram.com/ . [Accessed 04 April 2013].)  Instagram is a photo editing application that you can access on “Apple” devices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod and then upload to your social media sites to share with friends.  With this shift in technology and the speed and “instantness” with which we can share images, it is no wonder that digital technology has taken over as the preferred means of “snapshot” photography.  There is an argument running that mobile phone cameras cannot be professed as cameras as they are an addition to an already existing device.  “The camera phone, on the other hand, is a multi-purpose device, and capturing images is only one of its several functions. Second, because the camera phone is a general-purpose device, it cannot be optimised as a camera.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer).  However, because the device has a camera and is being used more and more in today’s everyday life as a snapshot maker, this argument can be seen as pretty much invalid.  The argument should be about the snapshot, and if the device can create an image that is able to be shared quickly and easily then, as far as it is concerned, the camera-phone is just as much of a valid means of creating the image as a more traditional camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Images

 

I believe that this instant-ness in sharing images has changed the way photographs are created; from the subject through to the way we view them.  In the book “The Photograph as Contemporary Art” it is stated that “What remains absent in such images, however, are the things we perceive as culturally taboo or mundane” (Charlotte Cotton. 2009. The Photograph as Contemporary Art. 2nd Edition. UK. Thames and Hudson) Due to the ease of sharing and the popularity of social media, the need for people to belong to groups and sub groups, to be able to subscribe to certain cultures and appear ‘cool’ to their peers there has been a rise in photographing the mundane such as coffee from Starbucks, where there is a perceived ideal of the brand that people want to be associated with to making images of food, not only at home but in restaurants too.  The Guardian recently ran an article about photographing food where “in Alicante in Spain, the restaurant group Grupo Gourmet, which owns the much-praised Taberna del Gourmet and Monastrell restaurants, has started running a “Fotografia para foodies” course on the basis that, if people are going to take pictures, they might as well do it properly. Chef-patron María José San Román says that the worst thing about bloggers taking pictures in her restaurants is that, if they don’t do a good job, or if they do it after eating half the food, the result looks terrible.” (TREVOR BAKER. 2013. Is it ok to photograph your food? The Guardian. [Online newspaper] http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/mar/11/food-photography-is-it-ok (11 March 2013)) In a world where sharing images is such a common-place activity it is interesting to see how businesses are accepting this need and are willing to help out and run these sorts of lasses, not only then do they get the best possible image of their brand/food out into the open but the customer benefits too in learning a skill which can be called upon again and again.  There is an awareness of audience and, as is implied above, there is nothing worse than a bad image being made and then circulated, as the businesses image takes a knock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Editing, Technology and the Home Today

 

While looking at modern day image making and creating we must look at the home, and photograph editing in general which was mentioned above when talking about Instagram, as many images created on devises now are digital the means of editing and producing them has changed from that of film photography .  Instead of taking photos with a film camera and then dropping the film off at a photo lab for developing, printing and finishing we have now stepped away from this and because of the format images are made on, we can now edit at home.  With this in mind it is worth remembering that digital photography and the home is a topic that is both broad and covers many different functions From in-device photo editing software, to software that was once only available to professionals (for example Photoshop) due to cost and the rise of software available for free on the internet it seems that there is a way for everyone to control their own editing and appearance of taken images.  Part of the appeal of Instagram is the ability to apply simple filters to the taken image and therefore edit the appearance before sharing.  With the costs of photo-editing being so accessible, most people can now produce an image that is to their standards and show things that they want shown in a way that can strengthen the way in which they are perceived one the image is shared .  This can then link back to the discussion around the family album that was had earlier.

Technological developments that have taken place have seen a shift in how we create images, from the daguerreotype, a limited-to-one edition image made onto a metal plate progressing to film of several kinds, to the first kind of ‘instant’ image of the Polaroid, then shifting towards digital with Stills Film Cameras and into what we now have with digital cameras readily available.  It was written that “the Polaroid instant camera was a predecessor of the digital camera.  Like the instant camera, the digital camera does not require an external development service in order for the photographer to see the captured image.  However, digital photography eliminates also the need for a disposable capture medium –the film.  Digital photographs are often stored on a separate medium, the memory card but the same memory card can be used over and over again.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer)  Moving image capture away from the “disposable camera medium” has helped with the depletion of the traditional family album, where once, images were taken and made into objects they are now taken and edited as a digital mass of code and then published to social media to share with friends and family, emailed to chosen recipients, or kept as files on the home computer, or now virtually (Cloud storage) away from the computer but still as accessible.

There has always been an element of “truth” or “dis-truth” in photography, the saying “the camera never lies” is often disproved and in so many ways the images we include in our family albums and the ones we share to friends through social media should be seen as being a carefully “edited” version of our lives and ourselves rather than being a dis-truth “Home photographers (I,e snapshooters) hardly ever take photographs of friends or family members arguing, painful experiences or unhappy people, and if relations or situations change after a photograph has been taken, the unwanted photographs are removed from frames or albums.” (RISTO SARVAS/DAVID M. FROLICH. 2011. From Snapshot to Social Media- The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography. London. Springer)The same goes for image taking today, with digital cameras being able to take so many more images and images being able to be reviewed so easily, deleted and re shot, we are never given the full picture surrounding that one shared image.  This whole idea is illustrated perfectly by Catherine Zuromskis in “Photography, Theoretical Snapshots” where she is talking about “the image itself often offers a distintly rosier and inaccurate vision of the events portrayed.  A week-long family car trip marred by arguments and tears can still produce the perfet portrait of the entire family, harmonious and smiling, in front of the Grand Canyon.” (JJ LONG, ANDREA NOBLE & EDWARD WELCH. 2009. Photography, Theoretical Snapshots. New York. Routledge).  In this way, we may see the perfect image but not understand fully the background to it.  This too then becomes an important factor in how we are viewed, and with this editing process, along with the ability to review and re-shoot images we are still able to control how we appear to others.  As a viewer we should be aware that the images we are presented with may not tell the full truth about that person or give the fullest background to that person.  Even with such seemingly quick shooting and sharing of images there is normally a thought process behind them.

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion I feel that the term “snapshot” has changed over time, both through technological advances in how images are made and through how the images are shared.  I do think, though, that the Family Album, although not in the traditional sense of the word, still exists today as the images we choose to share and display through social media to our friends and family.  However, the topic of snapshots and social media is vast, only a small element of which has been covered in this review, there is so much more that can be considered such as the subjects in the images and the relationships of the family, artists who re-create the feel of snapshot photography (the likes of Corrine Day spring to mind, her snapshots being created for fashion purposes), the rise of certain types of photographs in social media (for example the “selfie”),  the rhetoric of the family photographs, the similarities between captured occasions that we all experience, the emotions attached to images, photos that act as remembrance, photographs as memories and whether we remember something because there is an image made of the event and the conversations surrounding snapshot images and whether they truly are snapshots still.

New Project!

I’ve not blogged about what I have been up to for a bit as I have been writing a literature review for uni (3500 words) which has now been submitted for grading.  Alongside that I have been working on my final project of the year which has been about social media, sharing information and is part of our end of year module “Voyeurism, Surveillance and Control.”  My work was shown in our university course’s end of year exhibition “Power and Control” so a week of my life was taken up with sorting that out.  There will  be a few posts covering all of this in the near future.

The most exciting thing that has happened to me is the Pontypool project that I was working on last term, my friend and I met up with artist-in-residence for Pontypool, Alexia Mellor and became her “Consultants-In-Training”, we passed this with flying colours and are now part of her legacy for the town.  our first ever newsletter is available to read, from the beginnings, to a brief outline of our projects to what we are planning!  More info an be found here, so please take a look and let me know what you think!!!  😀  There will be further updates on this project and all of the other projects I have been working on soon!

 

You Are Here! Form and Data Collecting!

I am currently working on a project looking at Pontypool, the map of the area and memories associated with places in and around the local area.  I am asking people about their favourite place/location and memories they have of the place in order to create a new kind of map.  In order to capture the data I am asking people to fill out a simple form (below) or pop in to the space we are currently residing in, (Stall 21 in Pontypool Market, (also known as Mellor Management/The Incubator) to give us your favourite places and share memories and put your mark onto the map!

If you can’t pop in for whatever reason, the form below can be filled in and will be sent directly to myself to add data for you!

Thank you for your time and information!

You can follow the project at http://www.artreviewed.wordpress.com orhttp://www.projectpontypool.wordpress.com,or  pop and visit us at Stall 21 (Mellor Management/The Incubator) in the market

The project so far…

You Are Here Mas Intervention

Putting Your Mark On The Town (Map)

Don’t forget to check back regularly for updates on how this project is shaping up! :D