Lately I have been trying to broaden my research by studying other creative practitioners and the way they work, in order to gain a wider insight into factors that may effect they’re creative process and practice. The book What Artist Wear by fashion journalist Charlie Porter is a thought written novel evaluating how art is made and the ‘relationship between and autonomy, freedom and power’, stated by novelist and cultural critic, Olivia Laing.
The book investigates not only the art, but the artists themselves; by providing background knowledge and historic photographs of artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Yves Klein; Charlie Porter conctextualises the art they produced and what they wore during the process whilst analysing how this may have effected the outcome.
The novel highly corresponds to my Final Major Projects concept: The Performative Aspect, as it maintains a key focus on the actions of the artists, studying them as if they were performer themselves. Charlie Porter’s journalistic approach simplifies fashion analysis in a brilliantly eye-opening way. Through out the novel there is a multitude of documentary photography, cataloguing artists as a muse. This is something that links heavily to my project and has helped me expand my perception of documentary photography.
The process of photographing artists as though they are a performer moves documentary photography from Street Casting to being more purposeful. Within my own work I aim to change an audiences perception of what people see as a traditional Performance to viewing the actions of humans as a performance; much like the photographs of the artists featured in What Artist Wear. I think by taking a journalistic approach to my Project, inspired by Charlie Porter, it will help contextualise my creative working, making my concept clearer to my target audience.
Currently working for REISS, Andreas works under high pressure, fast pace conditions; shooting thirty to forty looks a day due to a 30% to 40% increase in products resulting in an increase in the production chain. An operational timetable is used in order to structure shoot days and organise specific models, photographers, hair stylists, make up artists and stylists.
At the end of the day a contact sheet will be created, consisting of the chosen images selected from the shoots taken that day. Once they are finished the retouchers are sent a list of codes for the images that have been retouched in order to ensure that the images are ready to go online. Now bought out by NEXT the platform of REISS has been changed, which has slowed down the process and increased the turnover time from a few hours to three to four days.
During the talk with former student, Andreas spoke on a lot of information about how the industry and fast work pace has affected his own personal life and work. He elaborated on the information, expressing that at times it was extremely hard and difficult to keep up with. As a person, Andreas seems highly organised and seems to be thriving under these intense work conditions which I think at lot of people would struggle with.
Upon reflection and moving forward with what I would like to do in the future I feel that Andreas was extremely helpful in giving a realistic insight into what it is like to work for such as a big name like REISS. For the forth coming future Andreas’s talk has helped me reconsider the job roles I would be willing to do within the industry and I now plan to really enhance my strengths in order to use them to my advantage.
Connecting with other creatives within the industry has really helped with the completion of my Final Major Project and my own personal projects. Attending events for work purposes has really benefitted my practice, I have made many creative connections and have been given opportunities I am extremely grateful for. The exposure my work has received is the outcome of networking at creative events that I felt contributed to my practice. After realising DJ Van Wilkins had a used a film photo of mine for promotional purposes, I was encouraged to create a creative social media account in order for other people in the industry to contact me for work – bymobbs – which can be found linked to the instagram icon. I have received some amazing opportunities, that have helped build more performative content for my project, and others I can use in my portfolio.
After being asked if I would take photos at his next event, I made sure to capture other artists I thought would need promotional footage that I could benefit from. This allowed me to observe a variation of musical performances, expanding upon my primary research and documentation of performers in the industry. Here are some images of creative artists in the industry using my documentary photography for self promotion.
Through out all of my university projects, I have always struggled with designating time to each of my projects, often making my work process rather chaotic due to an influx of pressure and work load I put on myself. Naturally I’m a perfectionist and this results in my time being taken up by sketchbook layouts and mood boards. I found speaking to my peers extremely useful and managed to ask them about methods they use and things that could help me speed up my research process in order to focus my time on the practical element of the project. Through speaking to my peer Lara Coassin, she advised a time calendar, much like a ghant chart but physical, as well writing down my tasks at the start of the day in order to check them off like a ‘To Do’ list. Being a visual learner, I found this method extremely helpful and found it a lot easier to complete my tasks after visualising how I am to structure my day. Figure 1, 2 and 3 are examples of how I have been writing down my days, keeping track of deadlines and balancing university projects with personal work.
My thought process when linking my outcomes back to my concept is a mind map of links, thinking of them as correlations with what Performance means. Some carry clear attributes such as musical performers and artists, however the process of capturing the audience has made me think about how much they add to the atmosphere; the way they dance, react, interact with each other and the performer. It moves the term Performance from the literal sense to metaphorical. The audience isn’t consciously performing, however they are choosing they’re mannerisms in order to present themselves individually in a specific way. Through the process of removing my self from being a performer or an audience member, I get to experience an outsider perspective, unconsciously watching people as an observer without them necessarily realising. When photographing events I consciously try to go unnoticed in attempt capture scenes as though I were apart of them.
Thinking about the aspects of a cv that represent you as a brand, with the key focus on; keeping it consistent, making it attractive to the employer and maintaining simplicity.
Focusing on colour and photography style, purposefully selected work that replicated my style of photography: simple editorials with strong use of coloured lighting and candid film photography. I find myself being attracted to a Parisian style of street photography with a clear narrative and editorials that are minimalistic and emotive; enhanced by good lighting. The colours selected are cohesive yet a blend of bold and neutral. It illustrates the style I wish to portray in my Final Major Project with a an atmospheric collective outcome.
Discussing the best way to format and present content for my personal portfolio:
Thinking about the context of the image
The styling of the image
Narratives of the images
For inspiration I used social media to focus on the types of creatives I follow and what work I am most influenced by. By looking at my instagram following, I noticed a strong correlation between photographers and narratives; as my personal preference consists of photographers of a younger age and that capture the more social aspects of life. I believe this is because I find the work more relatable and therefore more inspiring and motivating to follow. Some example of accounts I follow are:
The key aspects from the talk highlighted the importance of target marketing, really focusing on the audience you are trying to impress with your work. The may mean altering my portfolio each time, dependent on the company or person I am wanting to work for. For the future, I now have a deeper understanding of the importance of producing a vast amount of experimental work, in order to broaden the opportunities we can access.
My projects focus on ‘The Performative Aspect’ of fashion and documentary photography allowed me to direct my research more specifically towards practitioners who’s outcomes held a strong purpose such as to educate, entertain and document. As primary research, I attended the America in Crisis Exhibition organised by the Saatchi Gallery in London with the intention of collecting inspiration and examples of variation of physical outcomes. ‘The Performative Aspect’ of my project allowed me to gain a different perception of the images presented in the exhibition, as I wanted to correlate it to the ‘Performance of Livelihood’ section of my magazine; a section focusing on how people’s rituals and practice is a performance within itself in an attempt to understand the purpose of ones actions.
The America in Crisis Exhibition consisted of 40 leading American Photographers and over 120 works exploring social change in the U.S from the 1960s to the present day. The purpose of America in Crisis was to assess the state of the nation and was conceived in 1969; since then the project has been known as a “ground breaking group initiative”. It exhibits a collection of photographers work, from the 1669 Magnum Photo Project and new work created five decades later, creating a dialogue of how America and creative perceptions of events have evolved. The exhibition of ‘great social, political and cultural change’ contextualises key historic events in the U.S in a diverse and contemporary way.
In my sketchbook I aim to elaborate more specifically on the photographers I was most attracted to in the exhibition and how they correlated to performance. Through out my project I have continued to expand on the definition of performance, in attempt to pull away from the idea that it connotes a theatrical response.
The photographers exhibited within the America in Crisis exhibition are all documentative, including a variation of photos encapsulating the livelihood of America. For me this was inspiring, and showed how the simple scenes and situations captured conveyed the most powerful messages. It was a form of natural performance; performance of life.
These were a few of the images that really stood out to me due to several factors such as perception and simplicity. The lack of need for choreography simplifies the photography, however enhances the authenticity of the photos. Unlike most documentary photography, I was very attracted to pieces where the people were acknowledging the camera whilst appearing unfazed; it enlightens the shots and captures expression without being disruptive. Photographing a natural setting can often change the mannerisms of ones projects, resulting in a less candid shot, however photographers such as Eve Arnold and Charles Harbutt are exceptional at finding the balance. The photos show livelihood and comfortability, something I want to be able to capture within my photos. My aim is to capture the authenticity of my what was happening when I took the photos within the Performance of Livelihood section of my magazine, maintaining a key focus on the performers and an audience reaction, depending the setting.