Further Artist Research

I read a chapter from Fred Ritchin’s book, ‘Bending the Frame’. Fred Ritchin was once the editor for New York Times magazine, and he now writes acclaimed books about photography. His quote reads…

‘Photographs could be effective, viscerally so, when words alone are not enough’
Ritchin, F (2011) Bending the Frame

Fred Ritchin: 243Q-012-017 Manhattan, New York, USA 2009

I think that quote is perfect for my project. Lecturers use words in their lectures, but they don’t always work for students, photographic inspiration could be the key to motivating them to work, and hopefully get where they want to go.

Words are important also, because they do motivate students, they provide information in a format that provide information quickly. When words are spoken, they can be said in a certain way to inspire people that they couldn’t be before.

Sophie Calle

Photographer Sophie Calle photographs blind people and gets them to describe their idea of beauty. Without sight they can only define beauty through what they hear and feel, they are reliant on words. Even though these people are her subjects, they can’t engage with her work visually, but they are aware that their story is being told. I like the collaboration in this work. Their words inspire Calle to go and give their description justice. Someones beauty is a precious thing that is euphoric, to photograph something so personal emphasises their collaboration, and the importance of the subject.


‘One of the given answers was a colour. “Green is beautiful,” said a young woman, “because every time I like something I’m told it’s green. Grass is green, trees, leaves and nature too. I like to dress in green.” What generous logic: green must be beautiful because it equals nature.’
Cumming, L (2009) Observer Review Art – 17

It is interesting to see how beauty is defined by a blind person compared to a person with sight. How green might be seen differently to another because of other connotations of the colour, what I like about the project is the collaboration. For my project I want to photograph things that are important to getting a job. It is important for me to get my creativity to match the description, because lecturers want their words to inspire, and if my photographs don’t, the association to their portrait will show them badly. I want to make sure that my images, like Calle’s, do the subject justice.

Laura Letinsky
‘I photograph the remains of meals and its refuse so as to investigate the relationships between ripeness and decay, delicacy and awkwardness, control and haphazardness, waste and plenitude, pleasure and sustenance.’
Letinsky, L (2006) Women in Photography (http://www.wipnyc.org/blog/laura-letinsky)


The aesthetic of her still life images do  show interesting composition and lighting. It is nice how she shows the beauty of decayed objects, seducing us with beauty and shocking us with reality. I like the use of negative space in her images. It helps draw attention to the objects, and value the decayed as the most important feature of the image. It also gives a sense of scale, perhaps making us think what is missing, or making us focus on what is there. She photographs decaying objects in a space that they would be consumed if they were fresh.The space empowers the decaying objects and makes people see the beauty in them. This has really inspired me to empower objects that lecturers say are important. To some a book might be boring, but in a location that makes them seem fashionable and more interesting, the audience will be more seduced by the image and the object.

David Balhuizen

‘A series of portraits of young photographers, some of them fresh out of college others finding themselves after many years in a previous career. A uniform approach in terms of light and framing allows us to concentrate on the one thing that always changes, the person. The balance between casualness and posed unearths the ambiguous relationship between the photographer and its subject, a careful mix of showing and hiding.’

Balhuizen, D (http://www.davidbalhuizen.com/)


This project by Balhuizen provides some nice images. It categorizes people and allows us to make connections with photo assistants. The images themselves have no context of who or what the person is, so it leaves them vulnerable in the frame; but with the context it gives life and meaning to each portrait. It’s a very simple but effective project that presents people with aspirations. These people are in a transitional period in their lives and are immortalised in that moment. Each person occupies a different part of the frame, which offers more individuality and shows the scale of each person. I find it to be an interesting study that is presented honestly.

It relates to my project because it is occupational photography. Even though these people are in transition, Balhuizen has let them strike natural poses that express individuality. It makes the viewer relate the person to their occupation and shows the persons character. So I can take these aspects of the work and apply it to my own portrait photography.

Justine Reyes
Reyes photographs her mum and uncle at home and on holiday. The project shows the relationships between her and her family, while communicating the feelings of leaving home.

Reyes’ portraits are filled with the immeasurable vastness of age, memory and time.
The Home front Gallery (http://www.thehomefrontgallery.com/2011/home-away-from-home/)


They are environmental portraits that tell a story through the faces of her family. I like the style and lighting of some of the photographs, but the intimacy and relationships make the images. Regardless of this, the portrait style appealed to me when I saw an image called ‘Al with an Eye Patch’. The composition, pose and grit just spoke to me to look further into the series. I like the elements of memory and age; the faces of her family show that and tell a story. Some of the images are helped extensively by her acute use of photography techniques to make a personal project engaging for the outside world.

I want to take the location awareness of Reyes and apply it to when I capture photographs in the lecturers space, I want to capture something of equal technical skill, so that it can convey my message as well as Reyes expressed hers.


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