Unit 7 Reflective Journal

26 - 27

by ?AOI?
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28 / 03 / 15

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Photoshoot with Liz

Because the campus isn't open over the holidays, today's photo shoot was done in the staircase of my student halls where I had set up silk fabrics in the corner to create a pink colour scheme background. I had done a practice shoot last night in order to see if the fabric set up would look good or not, and personally I thought that it looked great since not only I had the pink colour tone in the background, but the texture of the fabrics emphasised on the 'trapped' atmosphere 'Mero Mero' has. Initially I was going to digitally collage the photo of Liz on top of the photographs I took in Amsterdam as a background (in the pink church), however during the shoot I started to really like the background I've set up because it was very simple. This meant that all the attention was on Liz and her garment, and not what environment she is in. This also accurately demonstrates what 'Mero Mero' means, because the word is also used when you fall in love very deeply with how somebody looks or acts, therefore all the attention should be on the model rather than the background. Because the staircase had windows, I had to find angles where the neighbouring buildings were visible through them. Also, I had to keep on adjusting the placing of the fabric used as a backdrop since it wasn't large enough to cover the whole corner of the staircase. So every time I asked liz to sit in a different angle or pose, I had to move the fabric to make sure it covered the whole concrete wall.

 

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24 / 03 / 15

Today I went to the library and looked at some photography books from Araki Nobuyoshi, a Japanese photographer I was meant to look into from a while ago. Finally, I came across one of his books after visiting an art book shop in Brussels, so I decided to deeply study his photographs. While looking for Araki's books, I also came across a book called 'Paradis, Paradis' by Hayakawa Takeji. At first, I didn't know who he was, but the cover of the book was so attractive it grabbed my attention. I will write about both of these photographers in the information file section.

After I went back home I gathered all the materials I used in the shoot on Friday with K, so that on Wednesday I can do a prop shoot focusing on the texture and movement of the garments / cloths. 

 

 

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21 - 22 / 03 / 15

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Amsterdam

After the photo shoot with K, he invited me to come to Amsterdam. In hopes of finding unexpected inspiration and location, I decided to go without any background knowledge or preparation. I stayed in Amsterdam for 25 hours, and during the train ride I did some sketches to plan for the up-coming 'Churu Churu' photoshoot with my friend Etta as a model. Also, I had photos of K which I had shot yesterday with me so I decided to do a rough sketch of how I'm going to incorporate illustration with particular photos. 

After looking through the trip advisor page about Amsterdam I found out that one of the famous tourist site 'Our lord in the attic' happen to be a church where their decor is painted fully in pink. Most of the photos I took in Amsterdam consisted of the interior of this 'pink church'. I had to make sure I photographed every small detail and every angle of it since it could've been a perfect location for the word 'Mero Mero', which has a theme colour of pink. However since I hadn't been able to find a appealing location for this word, I thought maybe I could shoot the model inside with a colour background and edit her in to the photos of the church, in addition to my illustrations. Also, at the red light district I saw neon signs of female figures and sex related motifs which were in such pretty colours, as well as extraordinary exteriors of bars and strip clubs featuring large illustrations of naked girls. The chaotic mixture of 'gentlemen's' pubs trying to show class with replicated 'art-deco' style and loud signs / decorations of strip clubs  gave me a really fresh inspiration for the 'Mero Mero' photoshoot, as I didn't want it to be just 'pink and pretty' but somehow a bit twisted as well.

 

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26 / 03 / 15

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Feedback from Tim and Jo

Today we had a group tutorial where we received feedback and opinions from Tim and Jo. They both suggested to me that my photos are visually stronger when collaborated with my illustration. Since I had tried out digital drawing yesterday and didn't really like any of the outcome, I decided to draw with pen and paper first and then digitally manipulate the photograph and illustration together. This way the present nature of my analogue illustration are able to translate on screen as well. Also, Tim had suggested to make sure that all my photoshoots for individual words look coherent as they are all meant to fit under one category of 'unit 7'. At first I couldn't understand what he was suggesting because I thought he meant all my photoshoots should look similar. Now I understand that he meant the importance of coherency through the different photoshoots. I need to make sure that all photoshoots and illustrations speaks out my style and aesthetic of work, which some of my classmates tend to start to recognise.

From today I will also be working on my sketchbook and workflow but with more attention to the assessment criteria and what it requires for me to produce high quality work and process.

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I received peer feedback from 5 girls in my group (photo above). The most important question on my feedback sheet was 'What words / emotions / textures do you associate the photographs with?', because if the answers to this question matched up with the responses form Japanese speakers which I based off the photoshoot then it meant that my art direction was successful. The words in response were 

playful / smooth / jagged / zig zag / frustration / tired / lonely / sex / desire

Words highlighted above are the words that I had based my art direction and styling off, so I feel that my first attempt to creating a photo which describes 'Nyoro - Nyoro' wasn't a complete failure. However I personally felt that the photo on itself doesn't translate the word fully, and therefore I intend to add the analogue drawing on top of it. Also, I found it very interesting how many people thought it had to do with sex, because when producing this shoot I had zero intention of making it look sexual at all.

Customised corset for 'Mero Mero' photoshoot on saturday.

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20 / 03 / 15

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Today was a first photoshoot for Unit 7 that wasn't a test shoot. After the Phoebe English project, I was very interested in finding ways of representing my style of work through simple colours, which was the aim of this shoot as well. During the Phoebe English project, I tried to create a sinister, grotesque look using only a few colours, but I felt like the idea didn't translate as much in the photograph as it did in my illustrations. Because 'Nyoro Nyoro' was associated with textures and atmosphere of things that are odd, disturbing and rather grotesque, I wanted to try representing these ideas again without using multiple colours; and if I succeed this time, then it means that I have grown and widened the range of ways I can visualise my ideas in real life. For 'Nyoro Nyoro', I think it was a successful choice to use my friend Kei (K) as a model, since my interviewees associated the word with gender neutrality. K, in real life is clearly a boy, but I realised that he looks very gender neutral from certain angles. On top of that, I applied white eyeliner and a thin face paint on his lips to create the unnatural, freakish atmosphere, which brought his look further away from being any 'gender' or even a living person. 

For a while I've wanted to do a 'typical' studio shoot, after seeing works by photographers such as Amanda Jasnowski, Brendan Baker and Charlie Engman, therefore for today's photoshoot I learnt from Tim how to have a minimum shadow and very bright lighting in a photograph to create a 'set up', 'artificial' effect to the photos. I've also noticed by looking at some of my classmates' works that sometimes showing the interior of the actual studio adds a nice depth to the photographs, so in some of today's photoshoot I deliberately shot parts of the actual studio and not just the white background. This approach worked successfully in some shoot, mostly of K standing in a wide shot (like above), but not in the ones where he's lying on the floor. 

Few things I regret or learnt from doing my first 'actual' photo shoot for Unit 7 was (1) I was disorganised and (2) I couldn't use the slime prop effectively. Because it was my first time to visualise a 'word' associated with multiple textures, atmospheres, feelings and movements, I was trapped and confused into thinking I had to shoot every single aspect of visualisations that I had planned in my sketchbook. Because I had different materials and poses to include in various photographs, I felt like I wasn't being organised enough and wasn't using time very effectively. Also, I couldn't figure out the most effective way to use the slime as a prop, and rushed through the process of making the model interact with the slime. As a solution, I will be doing a prop shoot on Wednesday to shoot a film and a close up of textures of various materials I featured in the photographs. By conducting today's photoshoot I taught myself that for the next 5 words, I have to be very prepared before the each shoot and needs to know what I want to feature in each photographs in order to not rush through the process. In order to solve this problem, I will be making a story board, theme board or a reference photographs the night before each shoot, so during the shoot I can look at them and remind myself what props and poses I need to photograph.

 

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25 / 03 / 15

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Prop shoot for K?both photos and video

Since the photo studio was still set up in class, I decided to do additional studio session for close-up shoots of props and the garment I had made which I featured with K (my model). This was because on Friday I unnecessarily rushed through my shooting and therefore only managed to get photos that were focusing mainly on K. Because we had to create a video outcome this week, other than creating just gifs I wanted to create a short clip (inspiration from Maison Margiela 'Mystery Maison' video) which summarised the feeling and texture I aimed to translate through the photoshoot. Therefore I featured all the textures and fabrics I used in the photoshoot, mainly focusing on the movement of white slime and the shorts made out of mesh fabric. Besides the lack of photographs of props, I also knew that the video I took of K rolling on the floor on Friday wasn't the best to use as a film on its own, so I took some footages of the slime moving down the fabrics and the shorts rubbed against the slime. This way I could also include the video of K rolling on the floor, but without it being the main focus.

 

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New Action Plan

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Because I had no clue what days all my models would be available when I made my first action plan, I decided to make a second time plan to look at from now on. This is a filled version I completed in week 29 but I'm posting it here since it started around this week. I filled in the dates as my models contacted me which days they were available. Even after I finished doing all the shoots, I kept on working according to this time plan since it was useful for me to decide how many days I could spend on doing each aspect of my publication, photo editing, etc. By following this time plan I was able to work effectively, as I knew exactly what had to be done by when.

 

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23 / 03 / 15

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Went to arch way and had group tutorial about what we had to do this week. I showed Jo the photographs from Friday and also the photos I took of 'Our lord in the attic' church. Had to digitally edit photos from Friday and played around with brightness and contrast. Also, planned potential illustrations to go on top of the photos to further increase the sense of 'Nyoro Nyoro', because some aspects of it couldn't be expressed through model's body or the props I had.

 

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18 - 19 / 03 / 15

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Today I made a handmade garment for K's photoshoot. I wanted to feature at least one garment that had the 'exact' quality of the word 'Nyoro Nyoro', therefore I decided to pick the texture and the design by myself. I picked a soft, black mesh material as the base of the shorts so that it was semi-transparent, because 'flesh' and 'skin' was more associated with the word 'Nyoro Nyoro' than the colour black. The strips of white mesh fabrics that are much harder than the black fabric is curled, using the same method of curling a ribbon with scissors. As a result the white strips are curled, but not perfectly, resembling the way snakes and 'Nyoro Nyoro' moves as my interviewees have explained. I didn't have a sewing machine, and also since all the fabrics were mesh UHU glue couldn't hold them together, so to assemble the garment I had to staple them together inside-out so that the staples couldn't be seen from the outside. Thanks to my friend ?Daniel Kellaway-Moore for teaching me how to cut patterns in order to make these shorts.

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16 - 17 / 03 / 15

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Today we had a print making workshop with Umberto Giovannini. I wanted the print to relate back to my Unit 7 theme, so I decided to illustrate an image of a person which refers back to one of my words 'Nyoro Nyoro' with the title 'Is visual language the ultimate universal language'. I think the choice of illustrating a person based off my word was successful since it also showed the style of my drawing, which often features nudity, human body and emphasis on joints, hands and feet. 

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Although print making isn't something I am heavily focused on doing for my Unit 7 work, I really enjoyed the process of cutting the paper boards. I learnt some great techniques such as leaving the paper cut only half-way to create more textures on the actual prints. 

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