Research – Where is home?

‘I don’t know how to be alone. There is a longing that I have never addressed. For even as a child, I knew I was nothing without “you”. I always needed someone to myself, who was exclusively for me. The attachment to “you” is part of what composes who “I” am. It’s not that “I” exist independently and without any relation to “you”. And time and again, when I have lost “you” because of circumstances that aren’t in my control, “I” too have gone missing.

The work is described as – ‘‘Where is home?’ is a continuing audio-visual series that features young people’s stories about coping with loneliness, depression and other mental health issues in today’s urban landscape’.

Wanting to incorporate text or speech into my work is something that I have looked into doing however I do not want to speak in the video myself. However, as the work is personal to me, I feel it wouldn’t be right for somebody to speak for me. The way that text is used within this video a way I can incorporate text with moving image to express how I am feeling.

The choppiness of each scene interests me and previously mentioned with the opening scene of Amercian Horror Story. I’m inspired by the way that certain scenes are repeated, such as the trees which become an anchor point throughout the video.

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Research – American Horror Story

I have always found the introductions to American Horror Story intriguing.

In relation to my work I am influenced by the way that quick bursts of images have been used, sometimes not left long enough for the viewer to make out what is being shown, whichI feel adds to the suspense.

The context is random and doesn’t make sense without watching the series, yet this adds a feeling of uncomfortableness which is linked to the genre of horror. Similar to my work, I want the videos I create to not be understand alone, and it wont be until you view the images and work together that you understand the context.

Moving Image

I am looking at experimenting with moving image with my work. Although I still want to produce a book, the idea of producing short videos to go along side the work appeals to me.

I feel that the idea of social anxiety cannot be fully felt through just stills, and therefore adding both sound and moving image to the work can enhance on the experience. I would like to print large images to be put up in a gallery setting and feel that having sound playing the in space such as heavy breathing (symptom accosted with anxiety) would make the environment feel uncomfortable, which is what I want the viewers to experience.

The short 20 second videos would also be played within the gallery space and at the moment I see them being similar to the images. For example, the image I have produced of me scratching myself would have a video showing the same thing alongside it.

Make Up Designs

Having previously trained as make up before studying photography, I feel that I know want to use these skills within my shoots, combining this with my interest in fashion. Specifically training in theatrical/media make up, my make up style used to be very Avant-Garde, which is something that would work perfectly with what I am setting out to achieve.

One initial idea I have thought of is to create a close up portrait, looking at the idea of hope as I previously experimented with when shooting dying flowers. (See below).

I want to continue with the ideas I have already shot yet give a the work more of a fashion element. I want to incorporate flowers onto a headband shooting two similar portraits. However, one will represent life and hope while the other will show struggle and loosing hope.

As well as the flowers representing both these feelings through it’s different states, the colours will also play a major part in each image. The portrait showing hope will incorporate pinks and purples whilst the other will be dark reds and black.

Here are two make up designs I have created for the looks below:

Reflection so far

Although I am pleased with some of the outcomes from my photos so far, I feel that they are starting to become similar in regards to the space I shoot them. As I am taking most of the photographs in my bedroom at the moment, using the light from the window to create a black backdrop, I feel that all the photos are becoming repetitive, regardless of the concept.

Looking back through my research I found that the style of work by Kirsty Mitchell still inspires me, yet is something I have not found myself photographing. My work so far has purely been focused on the feelings of social anxiety, and although I feel that I have managed to capture that within some of my images, I feel they are not as visually appealing as I first wanted.

Going forward with module I will look at ways to combine the work I have been producing so far which focuses on emotion and feeling with a fashion element – a style I used to photograph in before I started the course and something that is very much inspired by Kirsty Mitchell.

Personal Experimentation

I wanted to look into the way we perceive mental illness, and decided to look at the way we talk and handle both physical and mental illness.

A banadage is something we use to help support and cover a physical wound. By using it over the head it shows how a mental illness is just as important as a physical one and although it cannot be seen, it is always there.

The idea of using bandages to represent a mental illness is something I want to continue with, however execute it better. The bandage was not the exact type I wanted to use and therefore would find the correct one and reshoot.

I experimented with the pictures in black and white which I personally prefer. I feel that it gives the work more feeling, creating an almost ‘horror’ feel to the work. The vignette works well in helping to create this feeling, and highlights the body within the image so little distraction is caused.

I also experimented with different effects on the images. The first one works well for me. Similar to the black and white images I feel that its give the work more atmosphere. I do however, feel that these effects can appear tacky if overused, so would consider what images I used them with.

Research – Kristianne Drake

Kristianne Drake produced two projects, ‘You Were Here’ and ‘Sometimes Things Just Disappear’ both focusing on mental health.

Her first project, ‘You Were Here’ focuses on OCD, which Drake produced when she first was diagnosed with the illness. She observed the tea bags left on the side by her family over time. When talking about the project Kristianne Drake states ‘At first when I noticed the piles of tea bags I just got angry, but left them there to see how long it would be before they got cleared away, I guess it became a game that only I knew I was playing. This is one of the manifestations of my mental health illness, I only see the problems that affect me and they become overwhelming and over exaggerated: some might say selfish.’

For me the repetition of creating a series of photographs capturing the same object becomes incredibly interesting especially when relating it to mental health. Because mental health doesn’t just disappear, for me projects like this showing the same object over a period of time highlights the intensity of suffering with a mental illness.

Kristannes Project ‘Sometimes Things Just Disappear’ focuses purely on her bedroom, a place where she found herself spending more and more time. The photographs are paired with conversations reordered with a family member. ‘In these recordings they discussed life changing decisions, living with choices we make and how we affect other people. Each photograph is hand printed.’ – Fragmentary.com.

In my previous work I have experimented with text being paired with photos, often representing the feelings associated with social anxiety. I find the idea of recording conversations like Kristanne Drake has done interesting, rather than trying to create my own. It gives a much more real representation of what it is like to suffer with a mental illness.

Personal Experimentation

After previously experimenting with the idea of combing nature with the body, I looked into other ways off representing the two together.

I looked at similarites between the body and the close up detail of nature. For example, I found that the lines of leaf were similar to that of the lines on a hand. I looked at what both images would look like in black and white, and I felt that it causes less distraction and meant the image tied together better.

Although I believe I could finder better similarities between nature and the body than the two images above, they have influenced me to continue with the idea to see what I can produce.

Personal Experimentation

After looking to the work of Zaklina Anderson, I wanted to experiment with the idea of using double exposure within my work. I have previously paired landscapes with my self portraiture work before, but by simply pairing them next to each on page, so overlapping them seemed the perfect way to convey what I wanted to show.

I was surprisingly pleased with how the above images turned out as this was a method I haven’t used before. It represents the nature and landscape being part of me and what makes up me, but also visually represents the chaos within my life. I feel the abstract colour in the final image works well, however if i was to carry on with this idea I would make the abstract pattern a lot of stronger.

Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson uses double exposures of both people and landscapes, creating a dream like feeling to her images.

I found Anderson’s work interesting due to the combination of the two elements, something that I have previously used within my work. I want to carry on the idea of landscapes and nature offering peace, while producing self portraits to show the uncomfortable side to social anxiety.

She described how using a double exposure allows her to explore a narrative that cannot be produced by simply showing one photograph. The lack of colour means there is little distraction, yet combining two photographs means we get a sense of business which leaves the images with an unsettling feel.

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