Coursework, Final Project, Practice Development

Final Major Project: FMP and CRP Format Decisions

To maintain the consistency across my work, I decided to use the sans serif font Proxima Nova across all documents. Due to my previous research into Instagram fonts, I chose this font for my booklet, marketing materials, website, and now the assignments. I find the font easy to read on the screen. The font is clean, modern lines and has easy legibility at all point sizes. The font is recognisable to many people as that used on Instagram, and reflects my theme.

I decided that both documents would be interactive pdfs created in InDesign. The software offers more flexibility in terms of layout that Microsoft programs. I also chose to produce both documents in landscape format to make it easier to read online. This also allows the reader to view a whole page at a time, without the text becoming unreadable.

The only difficulty is that it is not straightforward to set the line spacing in Indesign. In Word, a single line spacing is 120% of the font size. So in InDesign this equates to a 14.4pt spacing for a 12pt font size (and this is what the software defaults to). To get a 1.5 line spacing (as required), the calculation is therefore 1.5 x 14.4 = 21.6pt for a 12pt font. This has ts to be manually set for each text box.

The documents both have a front cover based on the same layout, again aiding consistency.

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Each document was also created using a common colour scheme. The dark red boxes, hashtags, interactive buttons, page titles, and hyperlinks were all set to the colour 9f163d.

Both documents used hashtags. The CRP only has them on the front page, whereas the FMP has them on the majority of pages. The hashtags used were all researched and checked on Instagram and reflect the content of each FMP page.

But why use hashtags? Hashtags are the most popular means of categorising content on social media. It makes content discoverable and allows users to find relevant content from other people and businesses. The hashtag also allows connection and engagement with other social media users based on a common theme or interest. In my case, they are related to the work I have been doing considering the effects of social media on our self-portraits. For this reason, they have been placed throughout the FMP document.

Contextual Research, Coursework, Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Project Context

Image narratives are an important and necessary part of constructing our identity. Whether these narratives are internal or external, they allow us to define how we see ourselves and other people, and how they see us. “Fractured Identities” will focus on the narrative as a means of understanding the multiple parts to our identities.

The use of masks in photography is as old as the medium itself. Ralph Eugene Meatyard was fascinated with exploring the ordinariness of family life. He placed his friends and family in masks in various locations to combine the banal with the unusual to offer a new take on family portraits.

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Figure 1: Meatyard. 1960. Untitled.

Like Meatyard, I intend to use masks to standardise and anonymise people. James Rhem quoted one of Meatyard’s participants, Mary Browning Johnson in his essay: “He said he felt like everyone was connected, and when you use the mask, you take away the differences.” (Zax 2011)

Marianne Hirsch supposed that in photography “the mask is a metaphor for the photograph’s power to conceal, for the frustrations of the photograph’s surface”. She goes on to say that the mask may also be seen as a “metaphor for the semiotic lenses or screens through which we read photographs, and through which the images themselves are constructed as objects of social meaning”. (Gane, 2018).

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Figure 2: Ballen. 2014. Addict.

In response to this and to Ballen’s work (figure 2), I will consider how a mask conceals and covers our faces from view. On social media sites, we metaphorically wear a mask to present ourselves to the world in the way we want to be seen. In reality, we are using masks to hide what we think or feel. We disguise who we are, and we use masks to protect our true identities.

Sometimes the mask we wear online is make-up, in others it is the use of filters that enhance our faces.

Doy (2007) explains that in her short essay ‘Carnaval en Chambre’ 1926, Cahun considers the use of masks when interpreting issues surrounding identity and the self. She wrote about ‘the attraction of masks for those who do not want to live with their intentions clearly legible on their faces” (Doy 2007: 41). The hiding of our true selves behind masks could be considered as hiding our true intentions and emotions from others. We all do this. We use social media and other social networking sites as a tool to mask our identities. We only allow others to see what we want them to see.

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Figure 3: Sherman. 1976. Untitled, Bus Riders Series

Taking inspiration from the early work of Cindy Sherman (figure 3), I will explore displaying my work in grids of 4 or more images. The images will be shot in sequences to facilitate this. The photographs will aim to emphasise the moment of being photographed. The participant will be asked to look towards the camera as they are carrying out various mundane activities. Instinctively, they will adopt some form of pose, and in that instant, construct an artificial self-image and identity.

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Figure 4: Sutherst. 2018. Bin Day.

The mask highlights the mundane activity and location (figures 4 and 5), unravelling the viewer’s understanding of the images. The viewer is challenged to consider that our self-identity is an insecure arrangement between social expectations and personal intent. At the moment the shutter is pressed, the mask enables the viewer to examine the untruthfulness and artificial nature of the photograph.

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Figure 5: Sutherst. 2018. Secateurs.

 

IMAGE SOURCES

Figure 1: C-Monster. 2018. Ralph Eugene Meatyard | C-Monster. [online] Available at: http://c-monster.net/tag/ralph-eugene-meatyard/ [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

Figure 2: LFI – Leica Fotografie International, G. (2018). Roger Ballen | LFI News. [online] LFI. Available at: https://lfi-online.de/ceemes/en/news/muenchen-roger-ballen-1001505.html [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

Figure 3: Christies.com. 2018. Cindy Sherman (B. 1954), Untitled (Bus Rider Series). [online] Available at: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/cindy-sherman-b-1954-untitled-bus-5437571-details.aspx [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

Figure 4: Sutherst. 2018. Bin Day.

Figure 5: Sutherst. 2018. Secateurs.

Contextual Research, Coursework, Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Project Title

Choosing a title for the exhibition has proved to be quite a challenge. The topic of the work is to consider our fractured identities and issues surrounding self and identity in an online image-conscious world.

Options and ideas for the title were:

  • Face Value
  • Fractured Identities
  • The Instagram Face
  • Your Face or Mine?
  • Face Off

 

After deliberation and discussion with various people, I have decided on ‘Fractured Identities’ as the title. This one, I feel, leves room for manoeuvre and scope within the image contexts and construction.

Contextual Research, Coursework, Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Project Rationale and Objectives

Since starting the MA course, I have been interested in the topic of self and identity, and how this affects our performance in front of the camera. I am a person who does not like their photograph taken, almost to the point of phobia. Others around me are transformed when a lens is pointed in their direction. It is this reason that drives my interest. I want to better understand the difference between these attitudes.

‘Fractured Identities’ will be a body of work that explores issues surrounding self and identity in an online image-conscious world.

In my experience, we increasingly compare ourselves automatically to unrealistic portraits of others that we experience through online social media sites. These images of others are selected and edited by them to portray themselves as attractive and having fun. They do not necessarily show reality. However, they are continued to be used as a basis upon which we judge ourselves. Focusing on the visual representation of ordinary life seen through anonymous faces in masks, I aim to understand these fractured identities better.

Questions that intrigue me and make we want to know more are:

  • If an image can reinforce or disrupt the idea of our identity, what is it that causes this?
  • What is the relationship between the view of our private self and our social self?
  • What influences our choices for self-presentation online?

 

Project Objectives:

  • Using masks to obscure the identity of my participants, I will produce a series of portraits of individuals and groups in mundane, everyday environments.
  • As part of my ongoing reflective practice, I will consider how the resultant images can help make sense of our personal and social identities.
  • I will reflect on my work (in my critical research journal) in terms of Gergen’s term “Social Saturation” which refers to ordinary people living with constant change. This change comes from the endless electronic messages and stimuli we receive. Under this sensory assault, our identity and the idea of self is broken down, and as a result, we change to meet the expectations of others. (Gergen 2010)
  • The project will culminate in an exhibition housed during the two weeks commencing 23rd July 2018 at the Lansdown Gallery in Stroud. I will give an artist’s talk during the exhibition which will be videoed.
Contextual Research, Coursework, Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Project Budget

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Contextual Research, Coursework, Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Project Timeline

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Contextual Research, Coursework, Exhibition Notes, Final Project, Project Development

Final Major Project: Project Risk Assessment

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Coursework, Final Project, Practice Development, Project Development

Final Major Project: Pecha Kucha Presentation and Feedback

The first task of the module was to produce a Pecha Kucha style presentation. This involves 20 images displayed for 20 seconds each. The idea is not to have too much text on the slides, but to talk about your work as you present it.

I had technology issues with the bandwidth of the participants in the session and the firewall on the school network. In the end, I had to present my presentation in the absence of peers on a different platform, using my mobile’s hotspot to get around the firewall issue.

The recording below was made and uploaded for comment in the module forum. It is not a professionally recorded version, so there are sound issues as slides transfer.

 

Feedback centred around a discussion and left me to determine the answers to the following questions posed by the module leader:

Who? Why? Where?

  • Who are you going to photograph?
  • Where are you going to photograph your subjects?
  • Why? What do you want to explore in your work? Why the mask, what do you want to achieve?

 

The presentation was good experience and really useful preparation for the project proposal. I was able to verbalise my practice so far and determine a route map for the remaining journey.