Sunday, 18 May 2014

How to see Blog Posts in Order

Unfortunately Blogger doesn't allow you to put the first post at the top however the post dates are listed on the right hand side starting at the beginning of the course working their way down the page to the end of the course so you can click on each date to view posts from the start to the end of the course. 

Reflection on Unit X (Key Post: Reflection)

Unit X has been an interesting unit for me as it was the first time I've documented my work in Blog format, I've always stuck to sketchbooks as a way of documenting my practice as I like presenting my work in a physical form and sticking things in and laying things in a sketchbook. Now I can compare the two and they both have advantages and drawbacks, I think for next year I will go back to using sketchbooks as I prefer my work physically printed than being looked at on a screen, for example I haven't used the darkroom much for Unit X as I felt there wasn't much point as the prints wouldn't be assessed so I scanned all my negatives into digital files. On the other hand blog are good in the sense that it is much quicker to post something in a blog then it is to type something up then print it out and stick it in a sketchbook so working in blog format does save a lot of time, in addition it saves a lot of money on printing. 

When I started Unit X I was determined to shoot subject matter I haven't shot much of this year, that being people, I chose the everyday as a title because I hoped to shoot mainly people however this soon changed after Alan advised me to in a different direction as he said my work was far too simple, so I did. I went back to shooting architecture but was determined to shoot it in a way I previously never had to I eventually used double exposures to present my work in a new and interesting way. 

For Unit X I was determined to improve my skills when it came to shooting and printing film. Because I scanned a lot of my negatives I didn't use the darkroom much for this project however I still managed to get in there and work on my dodging and burning techniques which is something I still need to build on and become very skilled at. I also had never shot double exposures before so that was something new I learned, it was very fun and a technique I want to continue and become more excelled at. 

Working within a team of students from other courses was another interesting experience, we collaborated in the sense that we worked together to set up and promote our exhibition but we didn't collaborate in terms of creating work as everyone in the group had specific ideas of what we wanted our work to be, I'd say most art students have a very clear idea of what they want to create and don't like other people getting involved. I'd say we worked reasonably well as a group, we came up with the title for our exhibition them certain members of the group created promotional material for the exhibition the contained contributions from everyone in the group. I provided on of my photographs to be used in the posters that were created to promote the exhibition. We only met for discussions two or three times and said to our tutor Richard that for next years Unit X students they should be put into their cross course groups much earlier in the project as for the first few weeks we never saw each other. 

The exhibition was an interesting experience as I got to see my work in context with everyone else's in the group and other courses. I printed my final pieces A1 as I wanted them to command attention in a room where there are 100 other students exhibiting work. I know a lot of students were dissatisfied with the exhibition space at it had more window that wall space however I thought that as long as your work is strong where it is exhibited doesn't really matter and in the end everyone's work overwhelmed the space so the location didn't really matter. When I arrived at the exhibition space for the first time on Tuesday I didn't think everyone's would be able to fit because the space seemed much smaller than I had seen on the photographs. I chose a board facing the center of the exhibition to exhibit my pieces, it was right in the path where people walked so I got a good spot early. On the other hand I could only use two of my prints out of the three as there wasn't enough space on the board however the two photographs still worked well together. I thought the exhibition went well and although it only went on for a few hours I still enjoyed it. 

Overall Unit X has been an interesting unit and I feel I've improved my practice in a variety of areas and hope to build on that the next two years.  

Techniques I've Learned During Unit X

During the duration of Unit X I have learnt and improved on photography techniques I previously hadn't used, these were mainly to do with shooting film and darkroom techniques. I had used the darkroom many times before Unit X but never really got into dodging and burning, this time I decided that it was a technique I wanted to use in creating my prints. A Lot of people use their hands to make shapes whilst dodging and burning however the way I did it was to use black card and cut it into the shapes I needed, the reason I did this is so I hands have a tailored shape that stays consistent. I used dodging and burning on my early black and white prints the darken and lighten certain areas, the shapes I needed to dodge and burn were very straight so I could just use the edge of the card. On the other hand when printing some of the photographs I took in London I had to cut the card into more intricate shapes as I had to dodge and burn faces and the outlines of bodies. The photographs came out much better than if the entire image had one exposure time however I still need to vastly improve my printing skills and the prints still weren't exactly what I wanted, after Unit X is over I'm going to go back in the darkroom and print them better. 

The next technique I learned was double and multiple exposures. A few weeks into the project I purchased a Nikon FE 35mm camera which had a multiple exposure function so this was the genesis of my double exposure photographs. Working out the exposure time for the photographs was hard as you need to over expose the photograph but too much and the photograph will still be over exposed and not enough and it will be under exposed. I tended to over expose the photographs by a stop or 2 which worked quite well but if I did a triple exposure I would over expose it a little more. I also had to remember where certain elements of each photograph were in the frame as I wanted to overlap certain bits of each exposure. Working with double exposures was very fun and I will definitely continue doing it.

One thing I wanted to do during Unit X was use medium format however I was a little pushed for time so I'm going to hire one out when Unit X is over so I will have used one before second year. I feel my digital photography techniques are strong in terms of post processing however I need to bring my film techniques up to that level especially when it comes to darkroom printing.