Lose your clothes and show your scars. That’s who you are

Evidence of human presence

It is finished and printed and ready to be handed in….my last project ARTF2.

i’m gonna post the photographs now, the rest can wait because i’m in a rush. 😀

Artf1 Studio Fashion Research and some of my own Prints attached


ARTF1 Research



Studio Fashion

“There is a contradiction in fashion photography: In theory, its purpose the same as that of a catalogue: to depict the clothes and help to sell them. In practice however, fashion photography has been used as a vehicle for self-expression by some of the world’s greatest photographers.” – O’Rourke (2005)

Fashion photography is a genre of photography devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion
magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle. Over time, fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories.

Although the number of subjects that can be tackled successfully indoors is limited, the advantage of studio photography over a location shoot is that you have much more control over the result. Most significantly, a studio allows the photographer absolute control over the lighting, background, and settings.

There are a lot of amazing studio photographers out there and it was hard to limit myself to just a handful for my research.

I’ve decided to research and study the work of the following photographers:

  • David Bailey
  • Clive Arrowsmith
  • Herb Ritts
  • Horst P. Horst
  • Richard Avedon


David Bailey (born 2 January 1938)

David Bailey is one of the most famous fashion photographers of the twentieth century, part of a new generation who revolutionised the medium in the 1960s and made stars of models such as Jean Shrimpton and Penelope Tree. He was among the first photographers to become a celebrity in his own right, socialising with and photographing many of the cultural icons of the period, such as Catherine Deneuve, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Caine and Andy Warhol. He has held contracts with British, American and Italian Vogue and contributed to many other major magazines and newspapers. His simple and direct style is accompanied by an intimacy that reveals the personality and sexuality of his subjects. Over the course of his successful career Bailey has produced books, paintings, commercials, documentaries and feature films and remains a high profile figure in photography and filmmaking

To capture the pure essence and beauty of life, to tell a story, or to simply communicate an idea is the art of photography. It has been David`s natural talent and ability as a photographer to visually communicate that has garnered him the respect and recognition of his peers.

He lifted gestures from the street scenes and everyday life to create a new lexicon of naturalistic poses. He experimented with tight crops to imply action beyond the confines of the frame. These traits have come to be recognized today as part of the quintessential “Bailey” style; from his fashion to his portrait photography.

David Bailey’s “Box of Pin-ups” embraced a style of portraiture that was radically different from his fashion imagery. Out of 37 Box portraits, 30 were taken against a plain white backdrop.

Bailey pushed his style even further by combining the backdrops and stark lighting with high contrast printing.

He refers to his box photographs as stylesless – the antithesis of fashion photography – suggesting clarity, objectivity and reality.

Bailey’s photographs honour and idolize its subjects. Lighting and printing are used to flatter. Poses are used to deify. Even the actual photographs look luxurious; they were printed as high-quality, hand-def gravure sheets.

Bailey’s box seems more about surface than psyche, more about persona that the person.

He divides his work into “seeing pictures” and “construction pictures”

He says “seeing pictures” are to him people, places, and things that are in their own space and not rearranged by the eye.

He situates his photography somewhere between substance and shadow, surface and depth, reality and illusion.


Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004)

Born in New York in 1923, Richard Avedon dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marine’s photographic section. Upon his return in 1944, he found a job as a photographer in a department store. Within two years he had been “found” by an art director at Harper’s Bazaar and was producing work for them as well as Vogue, Look, and a number of other magazines.

His stark imagery and brilliant insight into his subjects’ characters has made him one of the premier American portrait photographers.

His real passion was the portrait and its ability to express the essence of its subject. His artistic style brought a sense of sophistication and authority to the portrait. More than anything, it is Avedon’s ability to set his subjects at ease that helps him create true, intimate, and lasting photographs.

Avedon portraits are often well lit and in front of white backdrops. Within the minimalism of his empty studio, Avedon’s subjects move freely, and it is this movement which brings a sense of spontaneity to the image. On entering the fashion industry, Avedon decided to go against the conventional technique of showcasing models with no emotions. He wanted to add meaning to his image and make them lively and so started capturing his subjects in action. He encouraged his models to laugh, smile and break away from the standard. In the same year that Bailey started to work on the Box of Pin ups, Avedon released his second and arguably, most accomplished book “Nothing Personal”. The two works have much in common but a deeper analysis reveals fundamental differences between them. Avedon exploited lighting and printing to emphasis decay. He highlighted imperfect features in order to mock. For example the photograph of Eisenhower, with his bald head and slight squint he looks almost infantile.

The photographer selected poses to counter our expectations. In “Monroe” the starlet seems far from glamorous; with down cast eyes and slumped shoulders she looks word-weary.

He used Nothing Personal to juxtapose portraits of celebrities with photographs of patients from a mental asylum clearly asking the reader to draw comparison between the two groups.

Although he might be mostly recognized for his exhibited portrait work it was his fashion images that formed the spine of his commercial career with both Harper’s Bazaar and American Vogue.



Herb Ritts (August 13, 1952 – December 26, 2002)

Born in Los Angeles, California. He attended Bard College in New York, where he majored in economics and art history. Later while living in Los Angeles, he became interested in photography when he and friend Richard Gere, then an aspiring actor decided to shoot some photographs in front of an old jacked up Buick. Then American Gigolo made a star of Gere and Ritts’ dreamboat black & white of the actor was taken up as an iconic image – because the photographer sent it to Gere’s publicist. Ritts always knew the game – and where to find its top table.

Almost overnight, he was a professional photographer. Soon, he was taken up and nurtured by that great editorial patroness Franca Sozzani – then at Lei magazine and later editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue.

He embraced a simple composition to his work, and was fascinated by black and white photography. The simple elegant and strong composition allowed the image to be read and felt instantaneously. Recurring themes in his work are bold simplicity of form, the nude, the rich and varied textures of the human body and the earth. His place strong emphasis on the human body’s sensuality and power, weather it was male or female.

Like other homosexual photographers, his best portraits were of straight men. His women are gorgeous without ever being sexy. How could they be otherwise? Female sexuality was a language he never learned

Herb Ritts photographed celebrity and fashion in a way that convinced us that the stars, the supermodels, even statesmen and politicians, were part of our everyday world. A little richer, a little more travelled, a little better dressed, perhaps, but ultimately available, accessible. Ritts’s photographs could sell us plain clothes, undistinguished perfume and pop music not because he made them mysterious and magical, but rather because his photographs told us that they were ours for the taking.

Ritts often challenges conventional notions of gender and stereotypes in his fashion photography, as well as creates celebrity shots that capture a mythical, yet intimate presence. Through ritts’ diverse achievements, he has established a signature approach to his work by continuously documenting the ongoing waves of public images and personalities in clean, pure lines and simple forms.


Horst P. Horst (August 14, 1906 – November 18, 1999)

Born in 1906 to middle class shop owners in Germany, as Horst Paul Albert Bohrman, he studied Architecture at the Hamburg School of Design.  Horst soon became fascinated with photography after meeting and befriending French Vogue photographer, Hoyningen Huene and eventually became his assistant.   Within 6 years Bohrman’s (Horst’s) photography had also appeared in the French Vogue.

In the history of twentieth-century fashion and portrait photography, Horst’s contribution figures as one of the most artistically significant and long lasting, spanning as it did the sixty years between 1931 and 1991. During this period, his name became legendary as a one-word photographic by-line, and his photographs came to be seen as synonymous with the creation of images of elegance, style and rarefied glamour.

Horst P. Horst made extraordinary contributions to the art of photography by his brilliant use of light and shadow which created a look of elegance, style and glamour.  Heavily influenced by the art of the 1930s, Classicism and Surrealism, he liked creating a sense of mystery in his subjects by his purposeful and well placed use of shadow.

The first pictures that carried a Horst credit line appeared in the December 1931 issue of French Vogue. Horst’s real breakthrough as a published fashion and portrait photographer was in the pages of British Vogue.

His work is elegant, stylish and glamorous, with a romantic mood to it. Shapes and texture fill the composition of his photographs.

Looking through his images is like looking into another world, the subjects are mysterious and alluring.

Horst had a fascination for classical imagery; he made a detailed study of classical poses, using Greek sculpture and classical paintings, paying special attention to the positioning of hands. In his studio, he used all manner of props, such as plaster statues, mirrors, crumpled paper, using them to both neoclassical and surrealist effect.

This photo of Helen Bennet is a good example of an image with a strongly classical effect. A single spotlight shines down on the model from the top right. The edges of the spot place shadows on the edges of the pleated cloak, which is exhibited, peacock-fashion in a wonderful display of light and shadow. The model is standing in front of a column, and we can see the shadow of the spotlight forming an arc just to the right of the model’s face. The light falls on the face to form a perfect jaw line, with just the right amount of shadow on the cheekbone.

The background is a graduated dark to lighter grey, made apparently by a diffused light placed behind the base. Around the base, there are three pieces of Greek-style plaster sculpture, though these are partly cropped out of the picture.

His method of work typically entailed careful preparation for the shoot, with the lighting and studio props (of which he used many) arranged in advance. His instructions to models are remembered as being brief and to the point. His published work uses lighting to pick out the subject; he frequently used four spotlights, often one of them pointing down from the ceiling. Only rarely do his photos include shadows falling on the background of the set.

Horst rarely, if ever, used filters. While most of his work is black and white, much of his colour photography includes largely monochromatic settings to set off a colourful fashion.

Clive Arrowsmith

Clive Arrowsmith is a London based celebrated international photographer and one of Britain’s most revered fashion, beauty and portrait photographers.

He studied painting and design in school and went on to work as a graphic designer for television while taking photographs in his spare time. After leaving television and beginning his photographer career he worked with fashion magazines like British & French Vogue, Harpers, The Sunday Times Colour Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire U.S.A, and F.T. “How to Spend It”.

He worked on a lot of major stills advertising campaigns like De Beers, Revlon, G.H.D. Morello, Caroline Castigliano, Lexus, and Hassleblad etc

Fascinated by lighting, he turned to the Renaissance painters he had studied while in art school to help guide his work as a photographer. It is the chiaroscuro in painting (the strong contrast between light and dark) that continues to influence his work even today. The position of the models creates diagonal lines that leads the eye across the picture from corner to corner and creates immediate drama.



 

I’ve failed and succeeded… all in the same time.

I guess only I can manage something like this lol.

and yes I did fail unfortunately….I failed to learn how to use a new camera before I went for my test shots, so I spent a whole day pushing all the wrong buttons ( I can do that to cameras not only to people, it seems lmao )

But I can’t say I didn’t get some nice photographs out of it. Fair one most of them ended up slightly over exposed, and I’m not surprised at all when half of the day I kept changing the Iso value from 400 to 800 and back to 400 then 200 lol. My film was iso 400….you can imagine that the camera was more confused than I was.

Ohh well we all learn from our mistakes don’t we? Well I know that I do….

So…. I’ve got some of the prints to upload now; they are scanned so the quality of the photographs is not that amazing. And got some of my Studio work that I’ll be uploading soon.

I’ve had a bit of a mental day, tried printing everything so I can attach the images to my research but the paper that I used was slightly fucked, excuse my French. It started going yellowish at the edges, and I can’t figure out why. The idea is that I have to go in tomorrow again and try printing them yet again. And there’s no pointing in saying that it will be a day like no other, mental from start to end. got work from 10 -17, then have to get to college by 18 finish printing in 2 hours maximum then run back to Aldershot for work at 22:00 and finishing god knows when. But I think that the satisfaction is bigger, when you know that it was harder than usual to accomplish what you set out to do.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention. I will be starting a fund raising campaign for UNICEF, I’ve just emailed with the details and I’m waiting for a reply with the fund raising pack and all the documents and things I need to get everything started. Will update with a lot more details, as soon as I get the wheels in motion for this event. I’m well excited about it because I’m doing something I believe in, finally, and something I’ve always wanted to do.

I consider myself lucky, because I was given a lot more chances than other kids my age.  While growing up I admit in shame that I took things for granted but I’ve realised how lucky I actually am to have everything that I have. My battles don’t even come close to the battles of other people and children in this world. So I want to give back what I’ve received, and want to do something good…. at the end of the day, we have to be the change we want to see in the world.

So, going back to the prints for a second. I’ve attached in the gallery my contact sheets too, sorry if u feel the need to turn the computer upside down to take a better look at the photographs but I didn’t have the right size paper so I had to arrange the films so they fit the small paper. lol

Hope u enjoy it. As I said it before, they are unfortunately, scanned so quality wise it’s not that brilliant. The prints look amazing though. Still deciding between glossy and matte photo paper.

Evidence of human presence and Irving Penn

I am in the middle of my research and i’ve just stumbled upon a photograph by Irving Penn – Cigarette no 37, 1972 . Its a beautiful example of evidence of human presence. I uploaded my version along with his.

enjoy

“Practice makes perfect. And i need more practice”

“Facial expressions and body language’ or ‘Evidence of human presence’ 1?

So, I’m coming back to my project now….and why I chose this particular theme.

Even though it might sound weird I enjoy observing people and their behaviour. Not in a sick demented way obviously, but with a certain curiosity. I always find myself wondering, why are they upset, or what’s the reason behind their smile, where are they going, where did they come from, how much different their lives are from mine?

So when I was asked to pick a theme, I found it hard to decide in which direction I should go, and I’m not sure yet if I’ll stick with this or I’ll go for “evidence of human presence”. I am drawn to both but unfortunately time is of the essence and I need to find my way fast. So like I said last night I decided to go take some test shots see which one I find more difficult.

I realised that photographers who like to take photographs of people should research the basic body language patterns that reveal emotions and mental states. Much of what happens with body language is actually unconscious. People are able to control their emotions to a certain degree, but sometimes their body language shows what they are feeling, even though they might not realise it because those feelings are unconscious.

But there are a lot of other elements besides body language and facial expressions, which can influence the way we interpret an image.  For example: angles and lines, shapes, movements, tactile sensations, the environment and its symbolic elements.

The body language and facial expressions of a single person can be quite interesting but when you get a second person into the shot things really become fascinating. It’s exciting to see the body language of two people interacting.

I’ve tried hard to train my eye to pick up these little concealed messages that the body conveys and I must admit that it’s not easy at all. It’s a lot of work that requires patience and attention but the end result is very rewarding.

Both subjects are worthy of note and they both come with their own technical hitches, but I’ll have to post pone my decision making for when I’ll see the test shots. I don’t feel I’m experienced enough yet, to get a good result from a documentary shoot on the body language and facial expression topic. I’ve had more practice with the other subject, evidence of human presence, and I think I can reveal the significance of it better than I could with the other one.

In the mean time I’ll have to do more research on both subjects as well as on photographers that have worked with them.

London and Brighton test shots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I found myself eager to wake up and get the day started, when I opened my eyes at 6:00 am.

Had everything prepared from the night before, so the plan was, a little bit of breakfast, get changed, check everything is packed and head off to the train station.

Allow me to explain, I was heading off to London for some test shots for my Artf2, the last project that I have to hand in before I finish my first year of college.

The theme of my project is “facial expressions and body language” but i’m still considering doing “evidence of human presence”. I’ve decide to start with the first one and see where it takes me. And if i fail at least i have a back’up plan.

My first thought was to spend some time on the tube through London, and take photos of the people that are travelling. Obviously nothing goes as plan and to my surprise after just an hour spent in London I ended up in Brighton. I think that must have got me a bit more excited than I let out.

The whole thing was a mission because I had a new camera that I wasn’t used to. And I think the worst part is that I won’t find out how I’ve done until I get into college next week and start developing and printing my photos.

I guess the only thing left to do is to use the little patience that I own and wait it out. In the mean time, here are some of the photos that I took on my digital camera. I hope you enjoy it.

“Practice makes perfect…..and I need more practice”