Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Life - Death - Regeneration

This is the series for my exam piece. Inspired by many things such as Greek mythology and superstitions and artists such as controversial artist Damien Hirst and surrealist Salvador Dali.

Settings: f/5.6, ISO-3200, a range of shutter speeds

I used the simple set up of a black back drop using card and used the flame as light source along with the natural light coming in from the window which I controlled using the blinds. The constantly changing shutter speeds during the whole shoot meant that some photos came out darker/brighter than others, so most photos were altered on Photoshop using the curves, levels and brightness and contrast whilst touching up on the colour balance in some. The changing shutter speeds were to try and achieve different effects in the way the flame would appear on photo - a faster shutter with sharper, harsher edges whilst a longer shutter speed creating warmer, mesmerising flames.

The idea behind it follows an idea of a life cycle - the egg is in some ways the closest physical form of the start of life [the easiest accessible anyway] and so the first photos start with just the single egg alone. It cracks and starts to grow. A flower bud is seen to be growing out of it. This the idea of growth and is inspired by Salvador Dali's 'Metamorphosis of Narcissus'. The flower growing out the egg represents sexuality and such in his painting but for my piece, it was the visual image of the flower growing out the egg that further made me develop my idea and use it in my final.

The egg then bursts open and it continues to grow and bloom as the flowers spread to fill the foreground. It is in some ways similar to the likes of stop motion photography presented in a slightly different way and with lesser frames. The growing represents how people grow and experience things and at the point where the flames begin, it represents the turning point in life. Whether due to luck or age, weakness is inevitable and so is death - this being a major theme in Damien Hirst's work.

If presented, the photos would be shown with the first 13 photos in a horizontal line across a wall - this is where the flame starts - and the following photos continue in a vertical line. This idea of life heading towards death and the chosen number of 13 is inspired by the superstition of the 'unlucky' number 13. [reasons for such can be found on the internet]. - this can be interpreted as how maybe a certain event in life can create this drastic turning point.

The flames begin to burn the flowers as they come darkened and reduce to the point of being - well not totally destroyed but singed. In the final photo, a new egg appears - a white Malteaser Chocolate. This idea of a life cycle and regeneration was inspired by the mythological creature of a phoenix which is said to be a creature that never dies. Interpreted in relation to humans, although one does die, many leave memories behind and children that continue the cycle. Nothing just ends.

I will not deny, the photos are not off top quality...I rushed these a bit and the colours of the photos are not all the same. Some are slightly over-exposed and some darker than others but it is still a learning curve. There is a lot more I could say about this series but I won't ramble. - I wrote like a good 5 A3 pages explaining this in my book.

Friday, 1 June 2012


late overdue but i've been meaning to put these up.

Settings: f/5.6 , 1/800sec., ISO-100

Dandelions are beautiful flowers often associated with childhood. Nostalgia. Many people would reminisce over how they would blow these flowers and watch the dandelion seeds blow away.

There is a vast amount of beliefs and folk tales surrounding such flowers. They are symbols of hope, happiness and childhood. Also a variation of the daisy petal 'love me, love me not' action in which if after blowing the dandelion and seeds are still attached, it is said you're out of luck. The other more well known idea of people making a wish and blowing the flower for it to become true is another interpretation as well as  the amount of seeds left being the remaining years you have to live.

I did this as a short series contributing to my Photography exam unit - just so I wouldn't get my ass kicked for not doing anything - but also because I generally love dandelions. You don't really get many other plants like this...do you? I wrote about these in saying that the seeds represent memories but also encounters. When blowing the flower, the seeds are detached from the flower head, like letting go of memories, moving on. Encounters in a sense that these seeds can blow far and wide. They travel to new places and bring things with them whilst settling in new places.

The colours too. Lucky the sky was clear for once - considering the usually rainy weather of the UK. Most photos were captured with the flower being held above the lens with the camera pointing towards the sky to capture the flower in a silhouette like style whilst creating this fresh feel, produced by the soft white seeds, emphasised by the soft clouds.

This final photo below was against a blue door. This emphasises the colours, enhancing the brightness. It also shows detail - a very beautiful thing considering the thin seeds and furry stems - something most ignore.