I’ve found it very useful to look back over Part I and see how much the Projects and Exercises contributed to this Assignment in leading me into the world of colour, particularly red.
Tracing the links between the conventions of painting and early photography (Ex 1.3) I realised that it was intense colour I was drawn to in 19thCentury painting and the drama it could add drama to more intimate scenes. All the elements of composition were there but the use of colour worked to loosen this and produce more expressive scenes. So far as mid-20thCentury photography is concerned, whilst I appreciate the artistry of photographers such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston and their use of leading lines in perspective and layering of tones, I have to admit that I am much more inclined towards colour photography than I am black and white, even though I grew up surrounded by the latter.
The Mind-map I completed during Ex.1.6 was particularly useful in enabling me to keep a hold of all the strands in Morley’s view of The Sublime and, again, it was colour that stood out for me most. I think that was because earlier I had been so struck by Tacita Dean and her search for the green rays of the sun during my reading around her Exhibition visit. I followed the colour theme through the work of Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor and was pleased to discover Caroline Jane Harris whilst working on my eventual chosen Assignment topic. Whilst writing this now I am reminded that the assignment I most enjoyed at Level one was based around a photograph of a girl with red-gold hair
My tutor suggested I look at the work of Lauren Jury (Aldridge) and Helen Sear during our email exchanges regarding my first idea for the Assignment (Ex 1.7). Although I’ve parked that first idea for now, it’s interesting that these photographers used colour (particularly red) as contrasts in landscape photography and to draw the eye to the female figure – as do Elina Brotherus and Susan Trangmar. “Seeing red” as it were confirmed my decision to take the leap fully into the ‘red’ world of infrared before it’s processed and to use this and the forest as metaphors for the wild and unknowable – a place where we more directly meet ‘other’. I’ve long been interested in the ‘uncanny’ aspect of the Sublime so it was a good fit for my idea. Oddly, the unexpected did happen as well in reading the story about the place of execution and then coming across the piece of rope hanging from a tree.
So far as the technical is concerned, I could have used a red filter I guess but this would have given a different quality. Infrared photography has a quality all its own which contributes towards creating an atmosphere of ‘otherness’. All-over red could easily become a blur so I was careful to choose more structural elements in a scene when this was available and then chose the photopaper that seemed the most appropriate. Although prints would be a first choice I’ve also thought about other types of presentation that could be used., such as printing on transparent film as an overlay, or printing on tracing paper.
Reading the above, and thinking of assessment criteria I think I’ve met all of them to a reasonably competent standard. It took me longer than I’d anticipated to complete the Assignment, partly because I became side-tracked into experiments with alternative photography such as cyanotypes and leaf prints – still to be written-up – and also because I abandoned my initial idea after realising from the direction I was heading in that it would be a longer-term project. Thinking back over my previous Modules, my creative process does appear to be one of following different strands at the same time. In this case, I think I hung onto my first idea for too long which is why I got in touch with my tutor for advice, yet, at the same time, I felt more energy from working with two ideas at the same time. How do I get the balance between hanging on grimly to an idea that doesn’t seem to be working and being like a butterfly seeking nectar all over the place. I’ve written above how creating the mind-map helped me to keep hold of the Sublime strands but does the structure of a mind-map actually increase my tendency towards lateral thinking because I can see lots of strands that interest me?
I’m also aware that I enjoyed the research into the Sublime and extended both my understanding and knowledge regarding artists who reflect it in their work. However, I didn’t refer much to the Sublime itself in the write-up of the Assignment. Maybe I was taking it for granted that viewers/readers would understand my approach when I should have been explicit.