Further Research

Today I spent some time doing some more research and analysing my content so far so I could move forward. The deadline is creeping forward and I still need to refine some details and make some essential design decisions so my work is ready for submission.  Below is a bit if research I conducted today for my sketchbook. I looked deeper at Wolfgang Tillmans work and watched the film Heathers last night as suggested by my tutor. Revisiting Tillman’s work was a good experience as it really inspired my design process, it’s something I should have done earlier as instructed by my tutor but I didn’t make ample time for it . Nevertheless, the research has been conducted now and Tillman’s design curation should inspire the presentation for my piece for graduate show. Heathers was also a good experience as it’s something fun that I could watch while editing my sketchbook. Below is some analysis of Heathers and Tillman’s.

Heathers- Directed by Michael Lehmann – Heathers is a cult American dark comedy film released in 1988. It follows a clique of teenage girls all named Heather at an Ohio High school. The film is centered around the character Veronica Sawyer played by Winona Ryder. She is one of the most popular girls in school along with the three Heathers but begins to question the price of popularity after her group pulls a cruel prank on another overweight student.

Aesthetically the film is a great reference for my project, specifically my final yearbook themed shoot. It has all the elements of nostalgia associated with 80s coming of age films which I grew up watching. I think most interestingly is the surreal horror elements which are spliced with the reality of high school life. Darker themes of murder and suicide are casually paired with classic teenage angst and the usual narrative of clique drama in high school films.

I like the humorous, dark tone of the film and how it subverts the more classic teen film whilst maintain that sense of nostalgia. I think it will provide good inspiration for my final shoot visually and conceptually. I think seeing the film will help me to determine what kind of narrative I want in my yearbook piece and how to refine the comedy element of that shoot.

Wolfgang Tillmans – Tillmans is a German photographer who I originally looked at during the research brief. Tillmans is the first photographer to be awarded the Tate Turner Prize. His work is distinguished by its diversity, acute observation of his surrounding and an ongoing exploration of a range of photographic mediums.

When I originally came across his work I didn’t have a great admiration for it until I looked a bit deeper. He shoots a vast range of subjects and objects, so I soon found some images that suited my taste and aesthetic. I particularly like his observations of inanimate objects such as fruit on a counter top or the crusty texture of a crab. His attention to detail and soft, dreamy colour in a lot of his images was striking and inspiring.

I am most interested in the way he chooses to present his images, I think this gives them more power and impact. The scale at which he chooses to print and display his images causes the spectator to better appreciate the nature and subject of the images. For example, his piece ‘astro crusto’ is printed large scale which causes the viewer to be confronted with the sharp detail of the piece and almost be repulsed. The intricate details of the crustacean look so vast, almost alien but with the fly resting on top it suggests it’s been eaten or is rotting which creates a sort of revulsion. It would perhaps make the viewer recoil. But combined with the soft pink hues the piece still has a gentle element.

I think he is great visual reference for me in terms of how to present and edit my own images. The way he curates and scales his images together gives cause the viewer to reimagine the power of the photograph and what a photograph is. He is a pioneer in presenting photography as a greater form.

Olivia Ezechukwu

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