Provisional Project Idea – Body, Object and Portrait

Initial project proposal/ideas:

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My initial project aimed to explore our relationships/attachments to objects with particular reference with our patterns of consumption… and possibly an exploration of fetishism within commercial photography. I would argue that the technology we interact with becomes an extension of the self both physically and psychologically. I wanted to explore how individuals use/consume objects and how we interact with them. Is there any resemblances present? I would argue that due to the pervasiveness of automation and mechanisation, we now forge an intense relationship with our devices. Growing up, I was always fascinated with cars, from a very young age I wanted to learn how to drive. I grew very fond of my parent’s car as it marked a chance for freedom. After my mother passed away, my father became sick and unfortunately lost his license due to medical reasons. We lived in an incredibly isolated rural area of North Somerset. I can remember the car was disposed of, and how we both had to adjust to the imminent lack of transport and subsequent isolation, due to our situation; it almost became a grieving process rather than an adaptation. Due to my personal experiences with such technology, I have been very interested in exploring how we form attachments to our devices, is it to do with commercialisation or the filling of a perceived gap? This led me to my initial idea of exploring and investigating the ideas of ‘Pareidolia’- “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have facial features.” To break that down… We begin to find patterns in an object, in this case, cars. I feel that some elements of cars, in particular, share a broad and vague resemblance to the facial features of a human being.

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It seems small, trivial and is often the topic of satire or internet memes and Reddit posts, however, I wanted to explore if this phenomenon was connected or influenced by a perceived “attachment” or “dependency” we form on the technology around us.  Do we form emotional responses towards objects? I want to explore this through the medium of photography.

Initially, I was unsure how I would approach this so I began by taking some images myself to illustrate this… I feel that within commercial photography, cars are photographed in such a manner that creates a strong sense of aesthetic and style to attract us to the products in such a way that raises themes of fetishism and objectification. It is interesting to mention that outside of commercial photography, cars aren’t photographed other than for consumption and marketing. Photographs of cars are only used for commercial purposes, they are rarely used as a study that features any theoretical grounding. Because of this, It pushed me even further to explore the untouched water.

I have chosen a few of my favourite images…

Despite taking these images, in my opinion, they weren’t as successful as I had hoped, I feel that I need to master a slightly different approach to these images. I feel like this began to capture the stylised and objectified characteristics. However, these images don’t capture the essence of ‘Pareidolia’, despite my images featuring cars, they don’t fully appear in a way that resembles human facial features. I feel that this issue may need to be addressed by a change in technique and/or equipment,  I am currently shooting on my Canon 750D with a macro lens. Switching out my lens to a wider telephoto lens may allow me to shoot in a way that allows a more shallow depth of field and shorter focal plane; allowing the car to be the main focus point. I also intend on looking at images of feeds that seem to link to my exploration. Until my next shoot, I have decided to re-edit the images in such a way that just focuses on particular parts of the vehicle; cropping in such a way that makes the image no longer resemble a car but focusing on the wider context of the photographs my featuring reflections in car windows. I have created a small montage of all of the re-edited images spliced together.

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My next immediate intentions are to get out again and do another shoot with a telephoto lens and see if this has any effect on the appearance and reception of my images, but also to photograph the cars slightly different, including a variation of angles.

Proposal Plan:photomedia-sem1-proposal

Lee Friedlander:

Born in Washington, USA, Friedlander is an exceptionally influential within the photography industry.  Studied at the Art Centre College of Design, he is an unconventional post-war artist that explores street art and social landscapes; covering portraiture, still life and landscapes.  I am particularly interested in the series titled ‘America by Car’.

Daniel Stein:

Mostly known for his involvement within music composition, with around 25 years within the industry. Stein began his career at Syracuse University’s College of Visual Arts and was shortly offered a place at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Throughout his life, he has exhibited a keen and uplifting fascination in photography although only practised within the realm of leisure. Daniel Stien often shoots highly aesthetic and stylish pieces that feature high resolution and sharp detail. I want to pay particular focus on a series titled “Autophotopia”. Describes as “Classic automotive design photographed from a variety of unique perspectives creates abstract geometry. Images that evoke an emotional pull of nostalgic and modern design.” (Stein, D. 2016).

This series features a highly aesthetic, black and white style, which draws on and connotates a sense of emotionality and nostalgia. I find this series particularly interesting as it includes such angles that are incredibly appealing to the human eye, encapsulating my argument that cars are photographed in such as way that objectifies in a fetishistic way. Even the title of this series is indicative of this.

Rebecca Evans:

Not much information is available in regards to Rebecca  Evans. She states she has been fascinated by travelling which has had a massive in her photographic works. She is largely influenced by the mundane details of unexplored or hidden elements.

“I create photographs to share the character of the things I see in the world and to express the aspects that draw me to shoot my subject, whether the form and colour of a flower, the lines of a classic car or the faded glory of a once grand building. In my images, I hope to show the viewer some of the qualities that are hidden, sometimes in plain site, in the everyday world around us.” (Evans, R. 2016). Her works include a large array of themes and styles, varying from landscape to light painting. I want to focus on her images of transportation.

Tim Wallace:

Wallace is described as an award-winning photographer and “driving force and creative thinking behind Ambient Life” (Photography campaign). His work and photography around vehicles often appear highly stylised and over-saturated; creating dramatic and powerful images. The photographs are mostly used for commercial purposes, working globally with acclaimed clients such as Jaguar, Peugeot, Mercedes, Aston Martin etc.

It is interesting to mention that most of the images shot by Tim Wallace are shot in a studio and lit in such a way that give the photographs a surreal and constructed appearance. This is crucial as the oversaturated and highly stylised images are so easy on the eye that the photographs of the cars are now objects of consumption.

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