‘Working’ Project Proposal –
I wish to create a set of images that explore and make visible the effects and implications of capitalist consumption whilst creating visual and artistic representations of everyday waste.
This photographic series is born from a longstanding fascination with commerce and human consumption alongside, the event of moving house heightened my awareness to waste culture and the need for responsible consumption. My images series makes visible various implications of capitalism, depicting everyday commodities at the end of their lifespan. I will isolate these objects against a black background as to direct attention and create awareness to commercial techniques that make items seem more appealing. I will adopt and blend a set of techniques from both commercial and artistic photographers, paying particular focus on photographers such as Irving Penn and Cindy Sherman, allowing me to create a series of images that depict the abject and disgusting nature of rubbish in a visually appealing and enticing way thus creating a feeling of unease amongst viewers. These images will work to not only draw attention to commercial techniques that encourage capitalism but will also draw attention to the importance of responsible waste management by challenging the invisibility of waste culture within western cultures.
My images will display trash in an artistic way, as the photographer, I am making informed decisions over exactly what content is important enough to be viewed. I am liberating trash through an art form as to raise awareness to the importance of responsible consumption.
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I am broadly interested in making visible the implications of capitalism within contemporary society. Exploring object-based narratives, investigating and tracing the lifespan of everyday commodities; examining they’re uses and disposal. I wish to photograph these objects at the end of their lifespan, depicting the moment in which they have been left to decompose. This project will challenge the dynamics of waste-culture and attitudes towards consumption. Confronting the notions of “What is out of sight, is out of mind”, directly challenging the invisible nature of discarded trash; questioning what happens to items when they are thrown away? Why do these become invisible when they are discarded? Making visible the hidden implications of consumption.
Inspiration was bread from a longstanding interest in human consumption. This alongside with the experience of moving from a rural area into a bustling suburb in Wiltshire, thus intensifying my awareness to rubbish that littered the streets of Swindon. My understanding also broadened as a result of my work placement and experience module, in which I am researching the correlations between taste and class identification and consumption practices.
To critically and consciously facilitate this project, I will begin by exploring my local area (Greenbridge Retail Park, Swindon) and collect rubbish from the streets, and then bring them home and photograph them within a studio setting. Any items I have collected from the streets I will then dispose of responsibly thus combatting the littering within my area. In photographing these objects in a studio setting, I am able to isolate them against a black background thus focusing the viewer’s attention directly to the object that has been removed from its original context. I will shoot using a combination of tripod stabilization and freehand photography using my Canon 750D alongside my 18-55mm Macro Zoom lens. After researching both artistic and commercial photography, I have decided to depict my subjects using close-up angles as to denote intimacy (a common theme/technique within commercial advertising) whilst also revealing detail such as dirt, damage or weathering that is present on the surface of the item.
Shooting in a studio setting will allow for decent levels of lighting, I plan to shoot in RAW using an ISO value of 800, an aperture value of f./5 and shutter speed of 1/15s; which will allow for crisp HD images with little distortion whilst also retaining print quality. I will conduct a series of 2-3 shoots that are spread across Semester 1, this will consist of an initial shoot on the 20th September 2017, a second soon on the 20th October alongside further shooting that will take place during the 1st-20th November 2017. I blend both commercial and artistic techniques from photographers such as Irving Penn and Catherine Schultz. Irving Penn, photographed cigarette butts, isolating them against a plain white background whereas Catherine Schultz captures the objects within their natural or original context. Cindy Sherman is of crucial influence on my project due to her highly aesthetic and saturated, glossy depictions of the grotesque, I planned to create large format, high-gloss prints that depict discarded objects in a visually pleasing way thus creating a tension between attraction and repulsion; within my images, I plan to assault the viewer with HD gloss, and oversaturated colours that depict the abject nature of waste.
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