Monday, May 1, 2017

Final Project

Final Project: Anthotype Instructable Prints

For my final project, I researched how to make anthotype photographs, collected various plant matter, and produced several anthotype prints from my findings. I shared my results via at this link: 

What I Learned:

The biggest thing I learned from this project was to anticipate unforeseen variables that may interfere with your final product. I personally didn't anticipate just how long this process would take, which really threw me for a loop. I anticipated the development process to take a few hours to a day at most and found that the best results occur with a much longer exposure time (3-7 days). I also did not plan for overcast days, which altered my results, causing them to be more faint than I had hoped they would be.

Creating the Instructable definitely helped me determine the ways in which I can improve this process in the future, and, in addition, was fun to create! I enjoyed this final project greatly and look forward to revisiting this process in the future to apply my insights.

Additionally, here are all of the photographs I took as part of my documentation of this process (some also posted in Instructable).

Beet, blackberries, frozen blueberries, Camellia flowers, organic spinach, muscadine leaves

Flowers collected from UWF Camellia garden

Dried blackberry prints

blackberry print

blackberry print

blueberry, spinach, camellia flower, and blueberry prints (left to right)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Research Project Proposal

Research Project Proposal

Over the past year, I have been highly interested in experimenting with alternative photographic processes. This interest led me to start making cyanotype photographs- blue prints that are made with the sun. Last Spring I inherited about thirty century old glass negatives, which I used as the imagery for my cyanotype study. I was tired of the blue tone these prints are known for though, so I began experimenting with different methods of toning the prints. I tried hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, coffee, red wine, black tea, and ended up settling on green tea (which produced a warm, brownish tone). My fascination with this process has led me to discover a similar, but more eco-friendly process that uses plant matter to create photographs.
My area of interest for this project is the “Anthotype and Chlorophyll Process: The Art of Printing with Flowers & Vegetation” (The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition, James, 42). This involves making photographs from light and organic matter, such as flowers and fruit, based on Herschel’s 1840s process.
In order to further explore alternative photographic processes, I will collect data and samples of plant matter found on the grounds of UWF. I will use the anthotype and chlorophyll processes to create environmentally friendly photographs.
For inspiration and reference, I will study the work of artists Binh Danh, Christine Elfman, Bev Conway, and Jane Hatcher. Also, I will reference "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition" and "Christine Elfman: A Murmur of the Past in Anthotypes."
I plan to conduct my research based on findings from the UWF Camellia Gardens and Nature Trail. As part of my research I will focus on collecting organic plant matter (samples of flowers, fruit, leaves, etc.), sketches of my findings, and will document my findings through digital photography. In addition, I will experiment with printing photographs on live plants vs. dead plants, and will experiment with crushing various organic matter to extract pigment for toning photographic paper. If I am unable to find a wide enough variety of organic matter for toning, I anticipate that I will have to resort to using store bought vegetation.
The materials I will be using are as follows: watercolor paper, water, various plant matter and fruits, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, cheesecloth, foam brushes, glass lasagna dish, sponge, contact-printing frame, pencil, film, and paper towels.
My proposed idea for this final project is to take my the data from my field work and present two digital photographs. Depending on how well my experimentation process goes, one photograph will be an anthotype and the other will be a chlorophyll print, or there will be both anthotypes, or both chlorophyll prints. Due to the fact that these prints fade over time if exposed to light, I feel that the presentation of digital documentations of the two prints would be best.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Chimera Project

Below are the three, politically driven Chimeras I have created. I don't consider myself to be a political person by any means, but when the topic of "chimeras" and "monsters" was presented, I knew that this was what I wanted to tackle. To me, all of these characters are personified monsters inspired by their real life personalities. All of these are intended to be highly satirical.

Donald Trump is the main focus of the three, as he is currently the most prominent figure and "talking head," if you will, as our president. I included Putin in one of the Trump montages, as well, to playfully draw attention to all the controversy surrounding their possible diplomatic and business relations. And I also chose to include Hillary Clinton as she was his main obstacle into the White House. I included references to her stance on abortion and eluded to common stereotypes about her.

As far as technically, this project definitely challenged me to become more familiar with Photoshop. I use Photoshop frequently to edit photos but had never used it to its full capacity. This assignment gave me the opportunity to learn the tools and their functions and apply them to what I wanted to create. Also, I learned the importance of using high resolution images to synchronize with good quality prints and about basic terms such as "ppi."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Essay Response 2

How is New Media both inclusive and exclusive of the traditional media?

At first glance, it may seem as though there are very few ways in which New Media Art is inclusive of Traditional Media, but there are, in fact, several similarities. New Media Art is similar to Traditional Media, in the sense that both mediums strive to communicate cultural, political, and societal issues. Traditional Media has helped New media in a plethora of ways, giving New Media artists a solid foundation to build, transform, and explore.

New Media Art really began to make a breakthrough towards the end of the twentieth century as traditional art movements began to dissipate, due in part to the crash of the stock market in the late eighties. The newfound "globalization" happening at the turn of the century, without a doubt, had a huge impact on the art world. It helped New Media Art to flourish during this time as Traditional Media, such as painting, drawing, etc., was not as prominent during this time. The introduction of the computer into the art world was monumental to artists. New Media artists and Traditional artists alike were able to use the computer to aid them in the creative process, whether it be for a method of documentation, or a tool to make something never explored before.

Some artists, such as Hannah Hoch, seemed to have almost a blend of the New Media style and the Traditional Media. With photography helping spark the origin of the New Media movement, Hoch created collages that visited important social topics with New Media, but by still using some of the Traditional Media methods.

One way that New Media Art is exclusive from Traditional Media is that New Media Art is much more inexpensive to produce than Traditional Media is. Considering the cost of what a painter may put out for supplies, i.e., a support, paint, paint brushes, etc., New Media Art is much more easily accessible and appeals to those who may be on a tight budget financially.

New Media Art is also exclusive from Traditional Media in that it challenged the idea of working together in collaboration, a notion that wasn't widely popular in the Traditional Media world. In the Renaissance, artists prided themselves on their individual reputations, as their name was what brought them business from Patrons and any possible buyers. This highly prided sense of individuality became less prominent in the New Media movement as artists became more comfortable with the idea of collaboration and working together to communicate an idea.

Another way that New Media may be seen as exclusive from Traditional Media is through the medium of installation, especially with formats such as video, and performance art. A great example of this is in Marie Sester's ACCESS, 2003. This form of expression through art was vastly different in contrast to Traditional Media ideals.

Despite the departure in nature of New Media from Traditional Media, there are several ways that New Media is still inclusive of the traditional methods that are important to recognize in studying the origins of these forms of art.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Essay Response 1

What is the implied change/difference from wet/darkroom photography to digital processes? How accurate are these assumptions? And what are the real changes?

Given that all of the photographs mentioned in the article were processed in a darkroom, I believe the implication is that the authenticity and integrity of digital processes will only lend to a continued trend of fiction in photography. I would say the assumption that digital photography makes creating a "dishonest" photograph easier to create would be correct. We can verify this by looking at tools Photoshop provides.

When we compare, the capabilities of the darkroom and the capabilities of photoshop are similar. In the darkroom, there are methods that aid in photo manipulation as part of the development process. For example, one may choose to darken a section of their photograph by burning in light onto the paper, causing the viewer to believe there is more light there than there actually was. This can be taken a step further with negative manipulation, which can be done in several different ways. A few of these ways include layering negatives on top of each other, scraping away at information on the negative, or marking on the negative.

Photoshop can take the notion of photo manipulation to the next level and completely eliminate the need to manipulate pre-photograph. A perfect example of this is the trend of manipulation, specifically, to female models' figures in commercial ads. This does somewhat contrast the "fiction" idea that the article discusses because one is editing an image  that has already been composed. Ultimately both darkroom development and digital development in programs such as Photoshop accomplish the same thing, though Photoshop allows for actual manipulation of the contents that make up the photograph.

I think another implied assumption is that both of these processes make manipulation easy. I know firsthand that this is not the case. One might assume, even, that one is easier than the other, but I believe that both are a challenging in their own right. Whether manipulating negatives and darkroom equipment or fine-tuning photoshop filters, there is still an immense quantity of training required to truly master the tasks at hand.

I find it interesting that the author of the article seems to have a negative attitude about the manipulation of the photographs pre-photograph, yet significant manipulation still happens in photography today, both pre-photograph and post-photograph. I believe the photographers mentioned used the "presence of the camera" to their advantage and as artists, rather than journalists. They took their documentation and, in some cases, added symbolism into their photographs by manipulating reality. Whether the photograph be a product of a manipulated reality, I feel that they should not be dismissed as less valuable.

That distinction between artists and journalists becomes more difficult to identify in social media and online galleries. As the photos reach a wider audience online, one must ask whether what's being shared is really art. 

The future of photography may not be all that different from its past. Although the processes have changed, and the technologies have evolved, the people are still innovating in the art of photography. The reality is, that part of the beauty of photography is the mystery behind the photograph, not ever fully knowing the whole story behind what is before your very eyes.

Sunday, January 15, 2017