These are the final images selected from all the shoots done for the project. This is the project I have chosen to submit to Source and here is the Artist Statement that accompanies the submission which I feel neatly summarises the final form of the project.
“In Step is a study of discarded shoes. For me there is a fascination with this abandonment. Each pair has a story, sometimes as a result of natural consequence and have been either outgrown or discarded by death, some are worn out and some have simply been abandoned by the capricious nature of fashion. In this way they reflect our lives, the very mundanity of these objects holds all our histories. By utilising traditional still life and portraiture lighting styles and presenting these shoes on a larger than life scale they are transformed in context reminding us of their potentially intriguing past and inviting the viewer to imagine a new history for them.”
My young granddaughters much loved first “wellies” which she has, naturally and inevitably, rapidly outgrown.
Men’s Brogues acquired from a car boot sale. My impression is that the men’s shoes available at car boots and charity shops is that they tend to be from older individuals – judged by style – and as such suspect that the last owner is no longer with us, this in stark contrast to the range of women’s shoes on offer which seems to cover a much wider age range. Thus the reason for the shoes being discarded more varied. My supposition is that men wear their shoes out before replacing them whilst women replace or add to their collection much more frequently.
Borrowed from friends who had completed the Moonwalk twice and in the process destroyed their trainers.
Part of the inspiration for this project was Rembrandt’s painting of old shoes and these worn out old boots, acquired for 50p at a car boot sale reminded me not only of the subject of his painting but also the, possibly apocryphal, story that Rembrandt obtained the boots to model for his masterpiece at a Paris flea market thus my own experience echoed his process.
Another charity shop acquisition, I found the aggressive nature of the design highlighted the often absurd nature of fashion and I simply wondered, firstly who would want such shoes with their overtly sexual fetish overtones but then secondly who would then dispose of them? A mistaken purchase? Bored? On to the next pair?
This pair of old skates borrowed from skating whiz Kelly. These once state of the art items now look extremely dated with their faded leather uppers, wooden wheels and bump stops. Obviously much loved to have been retained long beyond the time when they could have been superseded by sleeker models.
Charity shop purchase. Another highly stylised shoe, covered in decorative brass pieces on heels and toes, along with extraneous and superficial buckles and zips. An ecologist’s nightmare with their frivolous non practical decoration, many resources consumed and difficult to dispose of or recycle.
The male version of the Moonwalk trainers.
Preparation and Presentation.
I prepared some test strips to decide which paper and printer to use (included in hard copy submission). I had always envisioned a series of large prints so that the shoes would be presented as much larger than life – putting the presentation of the images firmly in the realm of the sublime by exaggerating the importance of the mundane objects that are the subject of the images.
I had gone to some lengths to minimise the post processing of images by paying particular attention to exposure, focus and composition of final images to arrive at a consistent and coherent final set of images. This approach proved successful, post processing was basically limited to setting grey point consistently, removing any dust spots / flaws in background and applying the high pass filter.
The maximum width of a print on the Chromera printer is 75 cms, so this dictated the final size of images which were photographed at a 3 to 2 original ratio. Applying a high pass filter on a duplicate level, reducing the opacity of this level by 15-20%, with blending mode set to overlay improved the display of texture and contrast in the images. I made a Photoshop action to resize, apply the filter and save the images in one click so processing of the images was very rapid after the first one. Dust spot removal and exact cropping is per image so couldn’t be included in the action.
For marking the images will be simply pinned to the wall, a subset of the final images will be shown at the degree show with the addition of a simple white frame – separate to the print, a technique seen at some installations at the Format festival in Derby which I thought was extremely effective and particularly cost effective. I have made these frames in the wood shop at Bath Spa. Example of the effect and method from the format festival.
I am also considering a suggestion from Hugh to have a shoe “sale” of the collected props in the form of a donation to charity. I will definitely display at least some of the shoes and boots collected to shoot underneath the prints.
**** Update 11/05/2017 **** There is a major mechanical problem with the Chromera printer which is being investigated by the vendor. However it may be that the prints will ultimately need to be produced on the existing Epson printers. If this had been the only choice to start with I may have made different display choices, I did consider the alternatives but ultimately the size of the prints was predicated on maximising use of the Chromera printer.
Having conducted a further test print, displaying full size final images from Chromera and Epsom side by side, and canvassing opinion from tutors and fellow students have decided final images will be printed on cotton rag stock on the Epsom ink jet printer but to the size specified for the Chromera to match the already made external frames.