Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Hands Off Activity

Module 3 Week 4 Activity Brief:

“This activity asks you to reconsider your relationship with your apparatus by not using it.

You have 24 hours to produce a mini-series of five images relating to your research project without using apparatus that is familiar to you.

All images must be produced on Wednesday 21st June between 00:00am and 23:59 (local time).”

– (Canvas 2017)

 

The first challenge was to work out exactly what I should do. I have always wanted to trial the cyanotype process, so this is the method I chose. With the spell of hot weather being experienced, the exposure of the images would be optimum.  Photographing images of people as fairies makes the cyanotype process one that fits well with my project.

I decided to trial both paper and fabric versions of the cyanotypes on the day to make sure that I was able to produce images that I was happy with.

Cyanotypes have been around since the middle of the 19th century. The printing technique traditionally gives a vivid blue print and was a popular way to reproduce photographs and documents.  The process is relatively quick and inexpensive.

I purchased pre-treated fabric and paper from Amazon.  these are ready to use straight from the package. Each pack comes with instructions which are easy to follow.

Figures 1-3: Sutherst. 2017

I designed and created the cut-out shapes using the laser cutter at school and exposed both sides of the fabric with different templates.

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Figure 4: Sutherst. 2017

Figures 5-6: Sutherst. 2017

 

 

The fabric is coated with a sun-sensitive layer (cyanotype process).  I placed the card cut-outs on top of the fabric and left it in the sun for 15-20 minutes.  The reverse side was then exposed in the same way. The fabric was then rinsed in cold water until the water runs clear. Figures 7-10 show the process steps.

 

Figures 7-10: Sutherst. 2017

The fabric was then placed onto an absorbent tissue and patted dry.  I left the prints to dry for a couple of hours before scanning.  The fabric is 100% cotton and can be stitched into bigger pieces.

 

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Figure 11: Sutherst. 2017

The paper cyanotypes were exposed in the same way, rinsed with a hose pipe and left in the sun to dry.

Figure 12-13: Sutherst. 2017

 

Once dry, the selection process took place. The resultant paper images are shown below.

Figures 14-19: Sutherst. 2017

 

The resultant fabric images are shown below.

 

Figures 20-29: Sutherst. 2017

I decided to submit a selection of the fabric images as the materiality and loose threads at the fabric edge add to the effect. Also, the colours were much more vibrant on the fabric prints than the paper prints and the different colours made the final sequence more attractive to me (and hopefully to the viewer).  The double-sided exposures gave an interesting effect on my chosen prints. I scanned the images using an Epson Workforce printer.  The layout was done in PowerPoint and saved as an image.

The submitted set of 5 is entitled ‘What do you believe?’

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Figure 30: Sutherst. What do you believe?. 2017

 

As a first attempt at producing cyanotypes, I am really pleased with the overall images. The colours are bright and vibrant; the theme of fairies and unicorns fits well with the work I currently do.

The process is a relaxing way to produce images and I felt more anticipation and excitement over the results. I guess this is because it is not an instant, back off the camera check to see how the image has turned out.

Comments from my peers included:

 

“The result is amazing!”

“Not only is the dual-sided process interesting these are very you because of the colour 🙂 “

“Definitely gives a different perspective on making images using natural available light!”

“I love the way these turned out! So creative, fun and completely relates to your project!”

“Loving your fairies and unicorns (so very you :D), very well done Jo!  You should make cushion covers out of these (if big enough) and integrate them into your studio set… You’ve motivated me to try something new.”

 

These results have got me thinking now about how I might incorporate something like this into my future work.

 

REFERENCES

Canvas. 2017. Flex.falmouth.ac.uk [online]. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/82/discussion_topics/1123?module_item_id=2799 [accessed 20 June 2017].

Contextual Research, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Considering Other Photographers – Doolbaz

New York based ‘Professional Penis Photographer’ Soraya Doolbaz has made her name with an unusual form of male nude photography. She specialises in dick pics with a difference – her photos are humorous, poking fun at the traditional interpretation of a dick pic. In each of her photographs, the erect penises are dressed as caricatures of famous people.

The project started after she and her friends kept receiving dick pics from random men. She and her friends noticed that the quality of the images varied dependent on who took them and the type of relationship the men are in. Doolbaz discovered that the best pictures were taken by gay men. Based on her observations, she decided it would be funny to treat these photographs like a high fashion shoot. The project has grown from there.

 

Video 1

“My goal with all this was to make laugh. I wanted to create comfort and confidence around sexuality for me and women. Men should be proud of their dicks regardless of its size or characteristics. Women and gay men should have no shame in enjoying them. The demand is there. Most women, 100% of gay men, LOVE cock. Safe to say most people love cock. So why is it so hidden?”

– Doolbaz, (ABOUT ME 2017)

 

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Figure 1: Doolbaz. Donald “The Dick” Trump. Date Unknown
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Figure 2: Soraya Doolbaz Dicture Gallery: www.dicturegallery.com

 

Doolbaz only shoots couples. The partner dresses the penises, this is not something that Doolbaz gets involved with. She will not shoot men on their own. This is a wise move on her part for her own personal safety.

When asked if the work that she produces could be classed as porn, Doolbaz replied. “It’s art! It makes you feel something when you see it. It’s usually laughter but some people get turned on too. How often does that happen at the same time?” (Boning Up With Dick Photographer Soraya Doolbaz [EXCLUSIVE] | People Magazine 2017)

 

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Figure 3: The Best Soraya Blogs – Notey 2017
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Figure 4: (Boning Up With Dick Photographer Soraya Doolbaz [EXCLUSIVE] | People Magazine 201

Whilst Doolbaz has been quite pioneering in her approach and the types of photographs she produces, it is not the type of work I am looking to create, particularly shooting men with an erection. Before my shoots with male nude models, we do have a conversation about what will happen if an erection occurs. My rule is that the shoot stops as this not a situation I am comfortable with. All my models have agreed so far to this and are actually grateful that this sensitive topic has been discussed openly at the start. Thankfully this has never happened to date.

 

REFERENCES

ABOUT ME. 2017. Dicture [online]. Available at: http://dicture.com/pages/about [accessed 30 June 2017].

Boning Up With Dick Photographer Soraya Doolbaz [EXCLUSIVE] | People Magazine. 2017. People Magazine [online]. Available at: http://www.peoplemagazine.co.za/real-people/boning-up-with-dick-photographer-soraya-doolbaz-exclusive [accessed 30 June 2017].

 

VIDEO SOURCES

Video 1: Art of Dick Pics by Soraya Doolbaz. 2017. YouTube [online]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wESBJo2eBo [accessed 30 June 2017].

 

IMAGE SOURCES

Figures 1, 2 and 4: Boning Up With Dick Photographer Soraya Doolbaz [EXCLUSIVE] | People Magazine. 2017. People Magazine [online]. Available at: http://www.peoplemagazine.co.za/real-people/boning-up-with-dick-photographer-soraya-doolbaz-exclusive [accessed 30 June 2017].

Figure 3: The Best Soraya Blogs – Notey. 2017. Notey [online]. Available at: http://www.notey.com/blogs/soraya [accessed 30 June 2017].

Project Development, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Project Development – Body Parts

Drawing inspiration from John Coplans and his many images where he used his assistant to photograph parts of his own body, I decided during my recent male art nude shoots to consider body parts as abstract images.

Like Coplans, I chose to produce images that do not necessarily communicate the messages we expect from art nude images – the poses are sometimes awkward and odd, which is my specialty.  I decided to only shoot fragments of bodies and to exclude the face as much as possible. The takes away from the personality of the model and concentrates on the shapes and textures in their bodies. It is still considered almost taboo to display images of a naked male body, and I intend to exhibit the work when it is resolved.

Below are the initial edits from the many shoots I have done.  Some of these will form my work in progress portfolio at the end of this module.

The images have been edited to increase clarity and hence increase texture and definition in the resultant images.  The images were also converted to monochrome so that the focus is not distracted by colours.

Figure 1: Sutherst. 2017

The models I have used this far, vary dramatically in body shape and size.  We tend to think that older or larger bodies are again another taboo topic.  Many art nude models are youthful and slim.  I have challenged this and will continue to challenge this perception.  Humans are imperfect, yet we tend to be shown only perfect nude bodies, which only makes us feel less than perfect.  More shoots are planned where I will be considering and exploring the textures and shapes in human bodies. I also will be investigating the differences in shapes and textures between male and female bodies.

I will celebrate the imperfections in bodies and show them for all their beauty.  I am really excited about this development and looking forward to my planned exploration over the next couple of months.

Contextual Research, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Considering Other Photographers – Silverthorne

“The body is a complex and beautiful vehicle subject to the pleasures of youth and the indignities of ageing.”

– Silverthorne (Sturiale Contemporary Arts – News 2017)

 

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Figure 1: Silverthorne. Nude. 1967

Jeffrey Silverthorne is an American photographer.  He is predominantly known for taking pictures of death and nudity.  An essential part of his images is the dialogue that he creates with his models.  This appeals to me as I always try to engage my models in conversation and encourage them to collaborate on the shoot and have input to the style of the images that are taken during the session.

Silverthorne has this relationship with his models wherever he shoots.  He is not limited to a studio space, instead, he is equally at home in a public place or a room.  He stages his models to create his images.  He looks to choose locations that are ordinary and almost banal. The scene is acted out in front of the camera creating a dialogue that is evident in the images.

 

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Figure 2: Silverthorne. Staircase, 2006

Silverthorne’s images can be detached from the subject and the viewer, or as in the case of figure 2, incredibly direct.

Figure 1 is very sculptural in its form and I find this very appealing.  The double exposure effect adds interest and may be an area I could experiment with.  The placement of the plant life behind the nude is cleverly done and really effective.

Figure 2 shows how Silverthorne perceives man and himself.  This is a self-portrait of himself with a model and reflects on both youthful and aging bodies. Silverthorne effectively explores the impermanence of the human form through this work.

I intend to consider the non-stereotypical nude through my work in this module.  My models will be of all shapes, sizes, age, and colour in order to fully explore the human condition.

 

 

REFERENCES

Sturiale Contemporary Arts – News. 2017. Sturiale.it [online]. Available at: http://sturiale.it/index.html?currentPage=26 [accessed 20 June 2017].

 

IMAGE SOURCES

Figure 1: Nude – Objects – RISD MUSEUM. 2017. Risdmuseum.org [online]. Available at: http://risdmuseum.org/art_design/objects/7377_nude?context=81&type=exhibitions [accessed 20 June 2017].

Figure 2: Jeffrey Silverthorne. 2017. Tomchristoffersen.dk [online]. Available at: http://tomchristoffersen.dk/artists/jeffrey-silverthorne/ [accessed 20 June 2017].

Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Collaboration and Participation

Collaboration

During my photoshoots, I have collaborated with many models and make-up artist to produce my performance images. These images may involve the model being clothed or nude. For each shoot, the intent and style are discussed as well as the images that we all wish to create. These images are beneficial for both my work and the model’s portfolio.

The shoots are set up by one of several methods:-

  • Via a casting call on model sites
  • Via a casting call on social media site

These shoots are a great way to make friends in the modeling industry, as well as push the creativity of the shoot. In many shoots models are not paid for the shoots. Instead, I pick up the studio costs and provide the model with edited images for their portfolio.

Planning and brainstorming the shoot together with the model and make-up artist makes styling the shoot on the day of much easier and coherent. Also, magic is often made with the most creative shots being produced.

 

Participation

For some projects, I get non-models approach me to take part. Many are friends or friends of friends who just want to help me out. In this case, again there is no pay involved and images are shared. These shoots are different in that I fully direct the models to produce exactly the images I need for my project work.

I also get involved in group shoots, where people are encouraged to participate and make new friends.

At times I also use paid models who participate in my work and produce images to a given brief. This allows me to achieve specific shots with a professional model. I can then ensure that projects develop in the planned manner.

 

So which do I prefer? To be honest, my answer has to be whichever one is going to give me the images I need to progress my project.

Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Crowdsourcing

Our task in week 3 was “you are asked to work in groups to crowdsource and produce a digital OR paper zine from personal networks and / or within the university”

The ‘rules’ were quite simple:-

  1. Organise into four groups. Each group needed a ‘group leader’.
  2. Establish a theme for the zine and create a ‘call for participants’: a one-sentence objective you would like people to carry out. Keep in mind that your respondents may not have much time to participate, so instructions should be clear and achievable. Please also try to keep your group activities a secret from the other groups!
  3. Share the call for participation and collect contributions.
  4. Collate the images and arrange into a zine.

I quickly organised a group and assumed the leader role.  My group consisted of Philip Morris, Don Hodgson, Kevin Darling-Finan, Tomasz Kondracki and we were later joined by Matus Duda and Rapitse Montsho. Each team member contributed as much as they were able to do during the week.

We quickly decided on a theme and I set up a secret group on Facebook to get the ball rolling.  This way we could keep it a secret from the rest of the cohort. The initial post was:

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Figure 1: Sutherst. 2017

The team enthusiastically shared the hashtag #shoesMAFalmouth on all social media platforms.  I also placed casting calls in model sites and other Facebook groups that I belong to.  MA Photography staff at Falmouth were also emailed with the call for images.

Very soon images were streaming in.  Each image was saved in a Dropbox folder under the name of the person who submitted it.  We decided that every image received would be included with little or no editing (we only ended up editing a couple of images to make them fit the available space).

Philip Morris wrote 2 articles for the zine and along with the others, collated sayings that referred to feet and shoes.

By our cut off point we had received over 230 images.  Nothing had prepared us for that level of response.  Images came from friends, family and strangers all around the globe. They were shot on phones and dslr. There were many interpretations of the task and this enabled me to sort the images into groups.

Philip and I had decided on using MagMagz.com for the zine.  I bought a template as the standard free one did not fulfil what we wanted.  Our intent was to maintain the feel of the social media method of submission, so images were first collaged in Picasa, before placing in the zine.

I spent a couple of hours on the zine’s format and published a draft for Philip to proof read.  After that the zine was published to the team.  We delayed the public release until after it had been presented in the 2 university webinars.  A post stating this was placed in the Facebook group and resulted in an increased level of engagement in the project.  More images started coming in.  The anticipation was contagious.

 

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The 2 webinar presentations went well and we received some great feedback. Many were struck by the colours in the images.  Simon Fremont and Philip Singleton discussed how this could be funded moving forwards, maybe even looking for sponsorship.

 

“You have managed to create a real and actual sense of participant ownership via the Facebook group with expectation – which in marketing terms is jolly significant isn’t it?”

– Philip Singleton

 

“I love the colours – brilliant”

– Mandisa Baptiste Mauring

 

“I like all the quotes at the bottom. That is so great. Good work guys!!”

– Ashley Truckey

 

In such a short time, we achieved a vibrant and exciting zine. We were shown the power of crowdsourcing images and it has sparked ideas in several of us (I will write a future blog post on my ideas).

The resulting zine was released and then immediately shared by many.  We were totally humbled by the response and I have decided that the project lives on.  I am not totally sure of the format of phase 2, but it will happen.

Working in a team can be tricky when you are based around the globe.  We managed this very well and kept to all deadlines.  I am really pleased with how this turned out and am excited for where it still might go.

 

Online link to zine.

 

Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Monkey Selfies

Figure 1: Slater. Monkey Selfie. 2011

The monkey selfies are a series of selfies taken by macaques using equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater.

I became aware of these images during a day spent with David Slater in mid-2014. He is local to me and we agreed to meet at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust for a day of photography and discussion.

Slater explained to me the complex legal battles that he had been involved in and at that time, it was still an unresolved issue.

In 2011, he had been in Indonesia. He set up and left his camera unattended intentionally and a curious macaque, took Slater’s camera and began taking photographs—some of the forest floor, some of other macaques, and several ‘selfies’. Slater published the photographs under British copyright on his return. The images were picked up and hosted by Wikimedia and other organisations. This sparked a copyright row over who owned the photographed. PETA filed for worldwide copyright and sought sought a court order that would allow them to administer all proceeds from the photographs for the benefit of the macaque. PETA claimed the macaque was a male called Naruto, but Slater has always maintained that the macaque is a female called Ella.

Even though the images were set up and taken on Slater’s camera, his claim of copyright was disputed by scholars and organisations around the world. The dispute was based on an understanding that the copyright was held by the creator. The dispute centred around whether or not a non-human creator could hold copyright.

Slater was very passionate about the dispute which had him on the brink financially. He told me he had lost over £10,000 in income, plus the legal costs.

In late 2014, the US Copyright Office issued an updated compendium of policies. It included a section that stated that it would register copyrights only for works produced by human beings.

In 2016, a US Federal Judge agreed and ruled that the macaque cannot and did not own the copyright of the images.

By calling it the ‘monkey selfies’, Slater found a way to successfully promote his images, but found himself being challenged over the ownership of the image. Wildlife photographers around the world have watched this case closely, as it is common practice to use triggers and sensors activated by animals to take photographs. The macaque that pressed the trigger did not know what he was doing and was just playing with the equipment.

My day with Slater was fascinating and I was in awe of his resolve to take on the big international organisations who were trying to take what was his.

 

IMAGE SOURCE

Figure 1: Press, A. (2017). PETA sues to give monkey the copyright of selfie photos. [online] The San Francisco Examiner. Available at: http://www.sfexaminer.com/peta-sues-to-give-monkey-the-copyright-of-selfie-photos/ [Accessed 17 Jun. 2017].

Contextual Research, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Considering Other Photographers – Niccolini

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Figure 1: Niccolini. Frames. Date unknown
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Figure 2: Niccolini. Hoops. Date unknown
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Figure 3: Niccolini. Seated Adonis. 1991

Dianora Niccolini is an Italian fine art photographer whose specialty is the photography of the male nude.

Dianora Niccolini was born in Florence, Italy where the male and female body is celebrated in statues created by Michelangelo, Donatello etc. Many of these statues feature the human body naked.   The human form is revered and acknowledged without shame.

Dianora Niccolini shot a series of nudes. Initially, she shot female nudes and then later male nudes.  She was revolutionary for her time as she predated Robert Mapplethorpe and his male nudes by several years. In Niccolini’s shots, the male nudes are displayed in a way similar to the statues and figures the ancient Greeks used for their temples. The images show the embodiment of the glory of the male body. The models she used are perfect specimens of the male physique.niccolini_dianora-anthony-OMf4e300-11162_20110628_10258_126

She was a pioneer for female photographers.   Back in the 1970s, there were not as many opportunities for female photographers as there are today.  Niccolini’s work went some way to combating and changing that.

Her work inspires me not only from an aesthetic point of view but also through her pioneering attitude.  When researching the male nude, female photographers are still in the minority. Through my current work, I hope to challenge this and make this a more acceptable genre of photography for the contemporary female photographer.

 

IMAGE SOURCES

Figure 1: photography in the 1970s | Professional Women Photographers Blog. 2017. Pwponline.org[online]. Available at: http://www.pwponline.org/blog/tag/photography-in-the-1970s/ [accessed 10 June 2017].

Figure 2: photography in the 1970s | Professional Women Photographers Blog. 2017. Pwponline.org[online]. Available at: http://www.pwponline.org/blog/tag/photography-in-the-1970s/ [accessed 10 June 2017].

Figure 3: CATRIONA@THEFRASERGALLERY.COM, CATRIONA. 2017. “Three Photographs by Dianora Niccolini”. Thefrasergallery.com [online]. Available at: http://www.thefrasergallery.com/artists/DianoraNiccolini-artwork10.html [accessed 10 June 2017].

Figure 4: NICCOLINI, DIANORA. 2017. “Prices and estimates of works Dianora Niccolini”. Arcadja.com [online]. Available at: http://www.arcadja.com/auctions/en/niccolini_dianora/artist/428415/ [accessed 10 June 2017].

Project Development, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Shoot Mod3#9 – Performance – “Alley”

Due to a model no-show, I had the amazing opportunity to photograph a dear friend.  Like me, Alley hates having her photograph taken and it has become a phobia for her.  I was honoured and very touched that when I jokingly suggested she be my model, she agreed.

Alley doesn’t realise what a beautiful person she is, both inside and out and that comes across in these images. I am thrilled with these photographs and so very touched by the piece Alley wrote to go with the images.

Below the images, Alley explains why she modelled for me.

Figure 1: Sutherst. 2017

“My name is Alison Stallard, and I have just modeled for my wonderful photographer friend, Jo Sutherst, solely for assisting her with her Masters and to help her have an understanding of why individuals struggle to step in front of the camera. So here is my story….

This “phobia” of having my image captured came later in life, not something I grew up with, as a child, I didn’t ever have an issue being in family portraits and gatherings, weddings and special occasions, so this was more of a nurture than nature psychological issue for me. I suppose it came with becoming the ugly ducking in my early teens, being badly bullied at school and mocked for being plus size, I no longer identified with the person in the image, or in the mirror, that wasn’t who I wanted to be.

After a traumatic teenage upbringing, of being bullied at school, then abused mentally and physically by my mum, I never looked at myself and gave myself any kind of self-worth, I was mocked at school, then came home to more of it, so I locked myself away in my own world and only looked in a mirror to clean my teeth and brush my hair etc. Like the famous story of the ugly duckling, something happened and all of a sudden, the bullies stopped bullying and “boys” started to pay me attention. Fortunately for me, I met my soul mate, husband and life time partner at the age of fourteen and he loved me for the way I looked, but mostly for the person I was inside. For me it no longer mattered what anyone else thought, he was my world and I needed that security and love I never got at home.

The cliché saying of “Love the skin you’re in” and “once you settle down you become complacent and the weight goes back on because you’re content” was very true. At 16 I was a size 10, 17 a size 18 and at 20 a size 22.

I married the love of my life at 20 and even though I was a plus size, and not really happy about it, but not really sad by it either, I still loved all of my wedding images, but that was more for the love in my eyes when I looked at my husband, who wouldn’t be in love with an image that stirs up all that emotion? So right up until this point I didn’t mind my photo being taken, even though I was starting to think …. “I don’t look like that do I?” … But of course, I did, the reflection physically was of me, but mentally of someone I didn’t know or like that much.

At 21 I had my first child, my second child at 22 and this is when the problems started, we had zillions of images of the boys together, but I would only go into the image if I was begged by a family member, my husband, friends etc. I was now in the state of mind that my children should be photographed and I should be the other side of the image, become the audience not the actor, so to speak.

This became worse over the years, I avoided images like the plague, I was always the one volunteering to take the shot, never the one posing the cheesy grin and other silly antics. At 29 I had a serious car accident, my husband and I had life-changing injuries and I ended up in a wheelchair. I can honestly say, that in one entire decade, I might have been in 5 photographs if that, and if I was in the image, I would be right at the back, hiding my body and most of my face, trying to blend in with the group so no one could really see what I actually looked like. I spent 8 years in a wheelchair, refused any images whilst I was in that monstrosity and would never dream of posing for an image, because that person in the chair wasn’t me, I didn’t need to be reminded of my disability, so why capture a memory that would always be too painful to deal with.  The weight piled on and on due to extensive changes in medication, I comfort ate because I was miserable, the more miserable I became the more I ate, I hated what was in front of the mirror because I didn’t see me… I saw a stranger and I hated everything about myself, except for my eyes and my hair, everything else was nothing I needed to ever be reminded of.

As time went by, medication changed, physiotherapy was working, I started to become mobile, baby steps, but it was the light at the end of the tunnel I needed. I started to retrain because I spent all my life up until the accident, working as a chef all over the country in 5-star restaurants, I knew with my problems I couldn’t return to that life in a kitchen. So, what should I do? I needed a sitting down job, but I would never suit an office, so I trained as a nail technician. As a few years passed I got slightly more mobile and went and trained as a beauty therapist, and things became better and I went and completed my degree in Specialist and Media makeup. This is when life changed….

As a makeup artist, you have to practice on each other in class, with cameras being the best tools for continuity and collecting images of your work, all of a sudden I had to have my image taken whether I like it or not, and this was really hard for me, I literally felt sick and dreaded looking at the images, but I had no choice. Then when I passed my degree I would create makeup looks that many photographers wanted to capture in camera, the entire evolution of the character from start to finish and this would quite often mean, that somewhere along the line, I would be in an image without even realising it. I ensured that if there was a camera about, they would capture my hand applying the makeup, or the back of my head, as I would turn my face away if I was aware of what was going on around me. I was now trapped, I couldn’t refuse “behind the scene images” because it’s all part of the makeup industry and when you getting paid, you have to put up and shut up, however I did tell every single photographer, “I hate having my image taken, it’s horrific” but the photographers and models would still carry on, snapping away, tagging me on social media etc.

One day I drove down to Bognor Regis for a location shoot, it was a gorgeous sunny day, I wear very bright clothing when I work freelance, (you don’t get remembered if you look boring in this industry, plus I have pink hair 99% of the time). When I arrived, this photographer kept asking to take my picture, and it really upset me a lot, because at the time (this was the first time we met) I actually thought he was taking the mick out of me and I wanted to tell him to get lost, but on a professional basis, I would never behave like that. I thought he was just like the bullies back at school and avoided him all day. I drove home that night, went to bed, woke up to 42 images of myself on my Facebook page… 42 images of me doing makeup, full on front face shots, full body shots etc etc. I didn’t even have that many on my wedding day, I was mortified. I wanted to delete them and was dwelling on it when the comments started to roll in. Basically, if you hadn’t worked with me, you didn’t have a clue what I looked like, as I had no images on there of me, all of a sudden there were lovely comments here, there and everywhere and many of them said

“Oh, my God Alley, you look exactly like I imagined you….”

Now it must have been 50 or more people who said that and even though I still had issues with my weight etc. People who had never met me, but had spoken to me for years on Facebook, these people were telling me that I looked exactly how they imagined me. At this point in my life I realised that an image contains so much magic, but so does your imagination. I am very eccentric in my dress sense, hair colour and makeup, because as I mentioned earlier if you stand out you get remembered, but also, psychologically, if you look like a confident person, that’s half the battle. Do shy people have bright pink hair, wear bright clothing and accessories etc. Nope…. Well so you would think… How I present myself visually now is the person I want my audience to think I am, confident, carefree and fun and it works. So, after all these years now as a makeup artist, I don’t like having my picture taken, but I will tolerate it on a professional basis and turn it into a joke, which I turn around on myself by saying “I am that ugly, I will break your lens, so on your head be it?” …. But to step in front of a camera willingly isn’t going to happen, until today, with Jo.

Why did I step in front of the camera for Jo?

Her current portfolio for her Masters has been growing in my studio every month for the last year. I have watched Jo capture images of men and women who have never modeled before and she’s given them the confidence to do it, even if they try it once, it’s an achievement. I have been spending the last 18 months of my life running a photographic studio, doing the makeup on hundreds of models, who have the confidence to do what they do, because of the makeup I have created, the mood I have created with the photographers, especially Jo. I have pushed so many people in front of the camera, made them feel amazing with all my compliments and comments, but I haven’t been practicing what I preach, as soon as the camera is pointed in my direction, I move rapidly out of the way.

Jo’s current portfolio is based on the title of “Performance”.  How do people perform in front of the camera? Why do they do, what they do in front of a camera, but at no other points in their lives? Why do they pose for a picture, yet have the worlds biggest insecurities of how they look? We discovered together that the majority of models are not “themselves” in front of the camera, once they step onto the studio backdrop, they become another person, a persona, a character, their alter ego etc. They are not the person they are in real life, being a model for many is a fantasy, another life, a hobby, a job, and at no point are hardly any of them portraying who they really are, it’s a cover-up and this is exactly what I do too.

So today when I stepped in front of the camera, I wasn’t me, I was a model and I was taking the mickey out of all the rubbish models I have had in the studio, by pulling the awkward glamour poses, looking an idiot whilst doing so, having a laugh with my friend, in the security of the studio and no one else there. Why did I put myself through this? Because as a photographer, I expect others to be my subject and I am a massive believer of “don’t ask someone to do something, that you would not do yourself….” So, I did, I toppled the fear I have had for many decades, and I stepped in front of the camera. I knew there was a really good reason why the images were being taken, I knew that they would help Jo with her Masters and with her ability to work with others who also felt awkward. I knew that when she had to do her “Self Portraits”, which she did in my studio, she was so much like me, absolutely dreading it, being a bag of nerves, acting a fool rather than being serious, solely as a cover-up for the fact a normal image just wouldn’t work for either of us. I have watched Jo build a relationship with her subjects and without that connection your models will be dead behind their eyes, however, if you have a laugh, say you have done it once, it works as an icebreaker and now I can tell my clients that I have also done a shoot, therefore not asking others to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of it, but it was fun because it was with my friend and professional photographer. I trust Jo with my life, so why not trust her with my images. She is an amazing woman and a phenomenal photographer and I will do anything I can to help her journey through her Masters and beyond. Thank you, Jo, for taking me out of my comfort zone, thank you for encouraging me to make a complete idiot of myself, thank you for being so kind, so thoughtful and for creating the only set of images my family will ever see where I am a willing victim, between now and the next millennium… The next time I will be willing to have my image captured, will undoubtedly be when I become a grandmother, in a few years time, and that’s only because I want my grandchildren to look at the image we have together and say that’s my Nana. Never ever say never… You don’t know what it might lead to if you set out on one shoot… Get a taste… Become a power-hungry Diva…

Thank you, Jo, I will treasure the images forever mate and so will my family.”

 

Thank you Alley for making my day and for being such an amazing model.  I am very touched by your words and your unceasing support of my practice.

 

 

Project Development, Surfaces and Strategies

Surfaces and Strategies – Shoot Mod3#8 – Male Art Nude – “Rob”

The male art nude shoot with Rob was shot predominantly in high key against a white background. Rob is an experienced life model, but had never been photographed in a studio before. I was aiming for a look similar to that achieve by Coplans when he produced his self portraits.  I will be editing and publishing images in the next couple of weeks that are abstract and anonymous in the style of Coplans.

Figure 1 shows some traditional and non traditional poses.  The poses shot are more typical of a life modelling class than an art nude photographic session.  These shots are dominated by the penis and it is positioned prominently in each image. This objectifies the penis and makes it the main focus of the image.  Because of this, the resultant images have what I believe to be the ‘Gay Gaze’.

Figure 1: Sutherst. 2017

Figure 2 is more in keeping with Coplans style of work as the face is not visible. The edits that I will present in a later post will have a tighter focus on different parts of the body.

 

Rob Final -1063
Figure 2: Sutherst. 2017

This shoot was interesting to me as it did not follow the same format as the previous art nude shoots.  Whilst I directed Rob for some of the close-up shots (see future posts), for the rest of the shoot I allowed Rob to move around and pose as he might in a life model session.  This created the range of poses shown in this post.  This was quite liberating as I was working with another creative individual who expresses himself well in front of the camera lens.