Category Archives: Individual Practice 1: Tempus Fugit

Individual Practice Tempus Fugit Bibliography II

As can be seen from library records I have also used the following references during the development of the Tempus Fugit project, I haven’t included them in the main bibilogtaphy because I haven’t referenced them directly in the texts.

References

Blakemore, J. and Mack, M. (1995). The stilled gaze. 1st ed. London: Zelda Cheatle Press.

Letinsky, L. (2010). Laura Letinsky: after All. 1st ed. Damiani.

Martineau, P. (2010). Still life in photography. 1st ed. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.

McLaren, S. and Formhals, B. (n.d.). Photographers’ sketchbooks. 1st ed.

Petry, M. (2013). Nature morte. 1st ed. London: Thames & Hudson.

Wright, A. (n.d.). Joseph Wright of Derby. 1st ed.

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Individual Practice Tempus Fugit Bibliography

References

Please also see here.

Ament, P. (2017). Typewriter History – Invention of the Typewriter. [online] Ideafinder.com. Available at: http://ideafinder.com/history/inventions/typrwriter.htm [Accessed 18 May 2017].

Artyfactory.com. (2017). Harmen Steenwyck – Vanitas Still Life Painting. [online] Available at: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/still_life/harmen_steenwyck.htm [Accessed 7 Feb. 2017].

BBC News. (2017). How the computer changed the office forever – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23509153 [Accessed 17 May 2017].

Beauty will save. (2017). Vanitas still life symbolism – Beauty will save. [online] Available at: http://viola.bz/vanitas-still-life-symbolism/ [Accessed 6 Feb. 2017].

Iowahist.uni.edu. (2017). HouseW_P2. [online] Available at: https://iowahist.uni.edu/Social_Economic/Iowa_Housewife/housew_p2.htm [Accessed 18 May 2017].

Neudecker, M., Lambert, S. and McClean, V. (n.d.). Plastic vanitas. 1st ed.

Oldandinteresting.com. (2017). History of ironing and irons – flat-irons, sad-irons, mangles. [online] Available at: http://www.oldandinteresting.com/antique-irons-smoothers-mangles.aspx [Accessed 18 May 2017].

paintings, S. and Rodriguez, L. (2017). Symbolic Meaning of objects used in Vanitas paintings. [online] Levinrodriguez.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://levinrodriguez.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/symbolic-meaning-of-objects-used-in.html [Accessed 6 Feb. 2017].

Penn, I. (2001). Still life. 1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown.

Sewalot.com. (2017). SINGER THROUGH THE AGES 1850-1940, SEWALOT, ALEX ASKAROFF. [online] Available at: http://www.sewalot.com/singer_through_the_ages.htm [Accessed 17 May 2017].

Statista (2017). Apple iPhone revenue by quarter 2007-2017 | Statistic. [online] Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/263402/apples-iphone-revenue-since-3rd-quarter-2007/ [Accessed 18 May 2017].

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Review of Tempus Fugit Shoot 3

All images from the shoot can be seen here.

This was the most successful of the shoots undertaken, I think for a variety of reasons.

  1. I had a much clearer picture of what I wanted to achieve from the images.
  2. I had collected a better variety of props to include.
  3. Shooting at home was much flexible in terms of looting the house of objects to include – I had on a couple of occasions forgotten items to use in the studio and with a 2 hour round trip home not practical to return from Bath to collect.

These images were shot over 2 days at home with a similar lighting setup to the studio, using my newly acquired boom arm which has proved a boon, however no main light was required as there was sufficient natural light to illuminate the scene and I used a “dragging the shutter” technique to expose the main scene after the flash had been fired.

For the mobile phone shot I was able to get both the phone screen and the rest of the subject evenly lit by using neutral density filters over the flash and metering to balance the light a cross both elements of the scene.

There was a further bonus when shooting the sewing machine the next morning in that there was a completely natural and unexpected reflection on the wall so I decided to discard the flash on the background and just use the natural light instead.

A number of these images will feature in the final submission.

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Review of Tempus Fugit Shoot 2

All the images from the shoot can be seen here – there are 2 galleries, 1 of medium format images and 1 of 35 mm images for reasons which will become clear shortly.

I used the same lighting set up as in shoot 1 as I was pleased with the results obtained. Again using the medium format camera, at least initially.

Although after a while I had to revert to my 35mm camera as the medium format camera would no longer function. It was an evening shoot so couldn’t see technician until next day and the fault was diagnosed as flat batteries although this wasn’t obvious as lights were on it just wouldn’t fire.

To address the problem of the shots appearing too empty to be Vanitas images I added more props to the arrangement and shot closer or more zoomed in. I felt this was much more successful and 2 of the images, 1 featuring the typewriter and 1 featuring the computer will be in the final selection.

The heavily over exposed images are to get a decent image on the mobile phone screen which was too dark when photographed in the same light as the rest of the image but subsequent post processing to mask the rest of the image too just display the phone screen I felt was unsatisfactory.

Final images for the project can be seen here.

Further I did like the general composition of some images but felt they would need re-shooting to obtain the quality of images I wanted.

The other decision I made was to discontinue with the medium format camera as I didn’t feel the somewhat marginal quality improvement was worth the additional effort involved in using what I think is a very cumbersome set up. I much prefer the convenience and familiarity of my trusty 5D mk III.

 

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Review of Tempus Fugit Shoot 1

Not all the images shot for the project have been uploaded to this blog as many, ultimately were not relevant to the final project e.g shoots featuring office stationery, found objects and leaves. However all shoots are contained in the hard copy copy contact sheet display books submitted separately.

This is not to say I regard the time spent on these earlier shoots as wasted, I learned much about lighting, displaying of objects and refining the technical quality of images, as a result I was able to apply these techniques to the images in the style I did want to present for the project.

In addition to the contact sized images on plain paper I made a number of A4/A3 sized prints during the project to get a better idea of the quality of the images as well as to help determine which paper and print to use for the final images.

Shoot 1

I had 2 main objectives for this shoot, firstly to experiment with the digital medium camera and secondly to determine the lighting set up to be used for the final images.

I found using the medium format camera to be tedious in use, shooting in tethered mode it has a tendency to time out and lose connectivity meaning either  a lengthy restart or often captures were not saved to the host machine.

The lighting set up in the end was an angled reflector on the background to give the impression of light coming in from above left, the main light was a large soft box from the right as the image is viewed  as I wanted soft, diffused light to avoid harsh shadows. The lighting aspect was the most successful element of the shoot.

In terms of the images themselves whilst the higher resolution is of course beneficial compared to the 35mm format it wasn’t the quantum leap I expected compared to my own full frame 35mm Canon 5D mk III. The difference would be much more obvious compared to a crop sensor camera. Secondly in terms achieving Vanitas style images, I didn’t feel his was at all successful on this shoot and none of the images would be used in the final selection. The is because they are simply too empty compared to the rich detail usually found in such images.

So a number of lessons learnt but no final images obtained.

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External Speakers / Visits

Creative Torbay copyright Robert Darch

This blog post is only included for completeness.

Visits such as those made to the Elton John collection at the Tate Modern and Format Festival in Derby along with external speaker visits and other external activities undertaken in the period such as photography support for Bath Spa Careers and visit to the Photoshop World Event in Orlando have been included in the Professional Contexts Blog dossier rather than these project blogs.

Only activity directly related to the making of the project is included in these pages.

To access this additional material select “Professional Contexts 3” as the category from the blog home page.

Please note Professional Contexts Blog posts may continue to be modified and updated until the (revised) Professional Contexts hand in deadline of 31st of May.

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Individual Practice : “Tempus Fugit” Final Images

Pretentious Inspiration?

Artist Statement

Tempus Fugit is a series of still life images illustrating the accelerating rate of the consumption of consumer goods and thus the associated resources. The are photographed in the classical Dutch Vanitas stlye with its strong moral symbology reminding us all of the passing of time and our own mortality. Begging the question ‘Is the way we live and the objects we require to live sustainable for the future generations of all the world?’ “

 

Image 1 Flat Iron

TUESDAY: IRONING In most Iowa homes this third day of the week is reserved for ironing.  The whole day should be reserved to complete this job.” 1880 quote from The Iowa Housewife

I choose to include a number of domestic items in this composition to complement the main subject, the galvanised jug and the copper pans along with classic Vanitas symbols of time passing and lifes fragility such as the watch, candle and tipped over glass ware.

Image 3 Sewing Machine

“The SINGER model 15 is believed to be the longest manufactured machine in history introduced in 1870 and is still made in some Indian & Chinese provinces today. The model 15 was regarded as being just about perfect. It would sew anything from silk to canvas without complaining. It was the dawn of a new era in sewing machines.”

More classic Vanitas with the Arabian brass jug indicating travel along with fruit,flowers and burning candle which have a short life span. I particularly like the natural light reflection on the wall behind this composition.

Image 3 Manual Typewriter

 

“In spite of advances in technology and changes in the economy, state government still operates on an obsolete 1970s model. We have a typewriter government in an Internet age.” Matt Blunt, Former Governor of Missouri

The typewriter has a cast iron frame and is extremely heavy, I decided to contrast it with the fragility of glass and the timepiece as the Vanitas objects along with the domino pieces to represent human vice, gambling,  or delight in earthy pleasures.

Image 4 Film Camera

“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” Arnold Newman, Photographer

Books, on the history of the Labour Party, to indicate a well read man interested in politics, undetermined liquid refreshment and of course the skull in the background as Death biding its time simply waiting for the inevitable.

Image 5 Personal Computer

 

“Moore’s law is an observation originally made in 1965, revised in 1975 that the density of integrated circuits doubles every 2 years, thus making for ever more powerful and efficient computers. Inevitably accelerating their rate of obsolescence.” Gordon Moore, Co-founder of Intel Corporation.

I choose a redundant computer case, deliberately stripped of its workings, wires hanging out to show its useful life is already over. Again along with classic Vanitas symbols of a timepiece, hourglass and flowers.

Image 6 Mobile Phone

“In 2013 the UN announced that of the [then] estimated world population of 7 billion, 6 billion had access to mobile phones. Only 4.5 billion had access to working toilets.” UN Spokesperson

Vanitas images normally have a lot of detail and content, I deliberately choose to make this image more minimalist in line with the design aesthetic of modern computing devices, no ornamentation – compare for example with the typewriter or sewing machine. I deliberate chose the display of a child on the phone and a toy as indications of time passing rapidly. Additionally as an indication of the generations growing up apparently glued to such devices. The use of stuffed toy bird rather than a real dead one is a further pastiche of the Vanitas style.

Preparation and Presentation

I always envisaged this would be a limited number of images and therefore not suitable for a book but rather would be an exhibition piece of a limited number of larger prints. I decided to make the prints A2 sized as that is approximately the size of many Vanitas paintings and wished to continue with that aesthetic into the finished images. That said paintings of course come in many sizes but 60x40cm is a reasonable average and is also suitable for display in a home rather than necessarily in a gallery.

Originally I had intended them to be all landscape images but during shooting the light reflection in the sewing machine image worked better in a portrait orientation, similarly in the case of the mobile phone image although this is deliberately less crowded than others in the series the final image viewed in landscape mode was simply too empty and the phone is itself physically a portrait format.

One of the striking things about the Format Festival, there is blog post on the festival in professional contexts, was the range and variety of framing methods adopted by the various submissions. There were traditionally framed images in uniform sets, in a variety of sizes in the same display, images pasted directly onto the wall, pinned to the wall, hung from wires and bull dog clips.

However one particular method interested me and that was separating the frame from the print. So a simple box frame is attached to the wall, no glass, and the print is simply pinned to the wall inside the frame. I took these camera phone images to illustrate the method and the effect.

I think this is both attractive and cost effective as traditional framing of large prints is prohibitively expensive. Although I have decided to only show In Step images at the degree show this is the method I would choose to display these images and is the way I will present the In Step images. I made 2 116×85 cm frames for a total cost of less than £15 in the wood shop at Bath Spa. All that’s needed now is a couple of coats of emulsion paint.

 

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Individual Practice Brief

 

 

 

 

The brief for Photography Individual Practice Y3 will open as a PDF when you click the link below.

IndividualPracticeModuleHandbook2016-17firstv

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Individual Practice : Project 1 Tempus Fugit Concept

Painting by Jaxine Cummins

As I outlined in my rsearch presentations – hard copies are in project contact sheet books – I wanted to make an observation on mankinds impact on the world, particularly the rate of consumption of natural resources. However I didn’t want to have just a series of negative images that showed the destruction man wreaks upon the planet. Nor did I want to capture images that somehow how make beautiful images from the destruction. For, as much as I admire, the work of Eduard Leal somehow works such Plastic Trees don’t have the intended impact on me – I just see a great visual image rather than a thought provoking one.

I also wanted to look at another genre of photography as I have varied this with each project in my studies. Lastly I want to  combine some personal interests such as technology, mundane or discarded items and decided to look at creating a series of images that would illustrate the consumption of resources, past and present, and how I feel this is accelerating as more of the world aspires to live the way the western world does and the fact that we collectively need to realise its simply not sustainable. For example America has 5% of the worlds population but is estimated to currently consume more than 20% of the worlds consumable resources. The inequality between the have and the have nots of the world is a serious cause of concern for future generations as they will need to seek out an equitable solution to sharing the worlds resources else there is every likelihood of conflict on a previously un-imagined scale. No longer over land or religion or politics but simply over the right to survive.

Incorporating a desire to represent time I came across the symbology and presentation of classic  Dutch Still life painting, known as Vanitas art, which has much embedded in its depiction to indicate the passing of time, such as skulls, candles, glass, dead animals and insects. Vanitas art was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and further details of the meaning of the symbology are covered elsewhere in this research. Accordingly I decided to do a series of Vanitas inspired still life.

I chose as a title for the project of Tempus Fugit which is a Latin term, usually translated as “Time Flies”, it is frequently found on clock faces from about the 1920’s onward and was particularly popular in the 1970’s and 80’s although clocks from this era are somewhat looked down on as the bulk of such clocks were cheap reproductions of earlier, much grander pieces. However I think it summarises the concept of the project quite neatly.

Artist Statement in respect of Tempus Fugit

Tempus Fugit is a series of still life images illustrating the accelerating rate of the consumption of consumer goods and thus the associated resources. The are photographed in the classical Dutch Vanitas stlye with its strong moral symbology reminding us all of the passing of time and our own mortality. Begging the question ‘Is the way we live and the objects we require to live sustainable for the future generations of all the world?’ “

So I decided to photograph a number of examples of pieces of technology from the past 150 years or so namely :-

  1. Flat Irons – Middle Ages
  2. Sewing Machines – Circa 1850
  3. Manual Typewriter  – 1865
  4. Film Cameras – Circa 1885
  5. Personal Computers – 1980
  6. Mobile Phones – 1983

Additionally with each image I intend to display a brief pertinent fact or statement pertinent to the history of the object and its impact, the underlying theme in this selection is that the successive technologies have a shorter life span thus supporting my assertion that the rate of consumption and obsolescence is accelerating. For example The Singer Model 15 has been manufactured  somewhere in the world continuously since 1870, whereas a modern Smartphone probably has a production life of 12 to 18 months before its replacement is announced.

Flat Irons  

Ironing was another example of the domestic burden on women as indicated by this 1880 quote from The Iowa Housewife   “TUESDAY: IRONING In most Iowa homes this third day of the week is reserved for ironing.  The whole day should be reserved to complete this job.” (Iowahist.uni.edu, 2017)

This is taken from a history project run by the University of Northern Iowa to provide teachers relevant information on the development of the state from both a social and economic standpoint.

No-one can say exactly when people started trying to press cloth smooth, but it is known that the Chinese were using hot metal for ironing before anyone else. Pans filled with hot coals were pressed over stretched cloth as illustrated in the drawing to the right. A thousand years ago this method was already well-established. Meanwhile people in Northern Europe were using stones, glass and wood for smoothing. These continued in use for “ironing” in some places into the mid-19th century, long after Western blacksmiths started to forge smoothing irons in the late Middle Ages.  (Oldandinteresting.com, 2017) 

Manual Sewing Machines

“The SINGER model 15 is believed to be the longest manufactured machine in history introduced in 1870 and is still made in some Indian & Chinese provinces today. The model 15 was regarded as being just about perfect. It would sew anything from silk to canvas without complaining. It was the dawn of a new era in sewing machines.” (Sewalot.com, 2017)

Singer Model 15

There was huge pent up demand for an effective sewing machine as prior to this everything was laboriously hand made making clothing both time consuming to create and expensive. Poorer families couldn’t afford to buy clothes and typically the wife would make clothes for the family. Another task in the endless drudgery for women of that time. So the introduction of the manual sewing machine had huge social impact, freeing women, creating employment – 50 years before the introduction of typewriters sewing defined employment of women. Both in the exploding clothing industry as it became possible for people to buy clothing cheaply and thus have a more extensive wardrobe. It also created self employment for may women, buying machines under Singers innovative financing (basically hire purchase) and providing sewing services in their local area.

It was a fiercely competitive market for a huge prize and there were many competing manufacturers who were constantly stealing each others innovations and suing and counter suing each other. Fortunes were made and the most famous name, Isaac Singer, created a fortune, from nothing, that even when distributed amongst the 24 legitimate and illegitimate children he acknowledged in his will, made them all wealthy beyond their dreams for an estimated 5 generations.

Manual Typewriter

Sholes-Gidden first commercially successful typewriter.

Sholes Gidden in use

“In spite of advances in technology and changes in the economy, state government still operates on an obsolete 1970s model. We have a typewriter government in an Internet age.” Matt Blunt Former Governor of Missouri

The first typewriter to be commercially successful was invented in 1868 by Americans Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule in, although Sholes soon disowned the machine and refused to use, or even to recommend it. It looked “like something like a cross between a piano and a kitchen table.”  The patent (US 79,265) was sold for $12,000 to Densmore and Yost, who made an agreement with E. Remington and Sons (then famous as a manufacturer of sewing machines) to commercialize the machine as the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer. This was the origin of the term typewriter. Remington began production of its first typewriter on March 1, 1873, New York. It had a QWERTY keyboard layout, which because of the machine’s success, was slowly adopted by other typewriter manufacturers. As with most other early typewriters, because the type bars strike upwards, the typist could not see the characters as they were typed. (Ament, 2017)

The QWERTY Keyboard was designed to minimise key jams and has since become the default layout for keyboards firstly on electric typewriters and then computers even though these latter 2 devices don’t have manually moving keys to jam, it is not the most efficient key layout as numerous demonstrations since have shown it is simply the most well known and with millions of trained typists was the easiest to adopt.

The typewriter had another major social impact and is credited with bringing women into the office, although paid much less than men, typing and stenography positions could pay up to ten times more than factory work, accordingly women were attracted in large numbers to office work. In 1874, less than 4% of clerical workers in the United States were women; by 1900, the percentage had increased to approximately 75%. Before his death, Sholes remarked of the typewriter, “I do feel that I have done something for the women who have always had to work so hard. This will enable them more easily to earn a living.”

Film Cameras

“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” Arnold Newman Newman was a New York Photographer famous for his contribution to the development of Environmental Portraiture.

In its earliest days Photography was a pursuit mainly for the wealthy amateur. The materials were expensive and much of the equipment had to be self made. George Eastmans, he behind Kodak, invention of a chemically stable, flexible roll film in standard sizes revolutionised photography by making it available to the masses. Eastman’s Kodak company supplemented the film by introducing cameras to suit. The first of these was the Kodak camera marketed with the slogan “You press the button – we do the rest” this because the camera had to be returned to Kodak for processing, a few years later they introduced daylight loading film so users could reload the camera themselves. In 1900 they introduced the ubiquitous Box Brownie costing $1 with film at 15 cents effectively making photography affordable for all.

We now seem to have gone full circle in that the cameras on offer now have gone away from the cheap and cheerful to being technologically highly advanced with prices to match. Even a modest modern smartphone contains a better camera than the first generations of digital cameras.

Personal Computers  “Moore’s law is an observation originally made in 1965, revised in 1975 that the density of integrated circuits doubles every 2 years, thus making for ever more powerful and efficient computers. Inevitably accelerating their rate of obsolescence.” This  forecast has proved uncannily correct until very recently. The circuitry in a modern chip is now so dense that it is becoming physically impossible to create faster computers using these methods and hence the search for new technologies for the next leap in computing power.

“In 1975, Business Week ran a cover article called The Office Of The Future. In it, George E Pake, head of research at Xerox, predicted “a revolution… over the next 20 years”, involving a television display terminal sitting on his desk. “I’ll be able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button,” he said. “I can get my mail or any messages. I don’t know how much hard copy I’ll want in this world. It will change our daily life, and this could be kind of scary.” He turned out to be quite right. Our daily lives have changed and it has been quite scary.The only thing he was wrong about was those hard copies – our love affair with computers hasn’t ended our love for paper. It’s only in the last few years we’ve stopped printing out every email we get sent. The joke more or less still stands that the paperless office will arrive at the same time as the paperless toilet.” (BBC News, 2017)

Personal Computers were available in kit form from about 1975 from a number of manufacturers but it wasn’t until IBM introduced its PC as a complete system in 1981 that they sold in large numbers to the general public. The availability of what was seen as an open platform spawned the software industry we see today and made PC’s multi functional devices as by using applications they could be used for  word processing – simultaneously largely killing the market for typewriters – , desk top publishing, spreadsheets and databases.

Mobile Phones

Apple Iphone 6s

Since its introduction in 2007 Apple has sold around 600 million Iphones and generated 32 billion dollars in revenue for the company. (Statista, 2017)

“In 2013 the UN announced that of the [then] estimated world population of 7 billion, 6 billion had access to mobile phones. Only 4.5 billion had access to working toilets.” I witnessed this first hand in South America at the time of the announcement in 2013 when visiting Canaima, Venezuela, the access point to the Angel Falls, I went down to the river bay early in the morning to catch the sunrise and was surprised at the number of people swimming, except they weren’t swimming they were families bathing, washing hair and clothes. An hour later walking back to our accommodation I was surrounded by the same, freshly washed and groomed , teenagers walking to school texting and calling their friends on mobile phones just like teenagers back in England.

Final Tempus Fugit  Images Here 

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