I received the Vistaprint business cards sample pack today; it is great to view the different sorts of business cards that this company creates; especially to consider when creating my business cards as well as for future circumstances where I may want to update my design.
Intrigued by the information which I have been able to source from the internet, it was intriguing however there is little factual information around this subject. Therefore I felt it would beneficial to search the university’s library to see if they have the book…and they do, I cannot wait to try and learn more about people and their relationships to their environments and landscapes.
A key practitioner of Infrared photography is recognised as Robert W. Wood (1868-1955) as noted by Wikipedia (2017) Wood was American inventor and physicist who is considered to be the ‘Father of both infrared and ultraviolet photography’ (Wikipedia, 2017). Intrigued by the idea of optics and the witnessing of a ‘rare glowing aurora’ (Wikipedia, 2017) this propelled Wood’s belief that the effect must have been as a result of ‘invisible rays’. (Wikipedia, 2017)
Interested in the subject, Wood studied various degrees, producing photographs of infrared and ultraviolet qualities; it would be in 1903 which saw Wood develop a filter which would be opaque to visible light however transparant to that of UV (ultraviolet) and IR (Infrared).
What does an Infrared filter look like?
What types of results can you obtain with this filter?
Here are some examples of my own photographic practice using infrared Hoya [R72] Infrared filter; in my opinion this method is a highly rewarding one, due to the long exposures and not having the ability to view the subject in the viewfinder or LCD display, all compositions are composed prior to the filter being placed onto the camera.
ROBERT W. WOOD: PHOTOGRAPHING THE INVISIBLE, DEBUNKING THE INCREDIBLE. (2017). Robert W. Wood: Photographing the invisible, debunking the incredible. [Online] Available from: http://boole.stanford.edu/Wood/ [Last Accessed: March 2017].
Can be defined as a treatment programme which intention is to help improve both physical and mental health and wellbeing through the participation of outdoor activities in partnership to nature.
What attracted my attention towards ecotherapy and deciding to investigate further was the strong connection and attraction towards a natural environment/landscape and how visiting regularly can provide me with solice.
Being within a natural environment / landscape can be a very visual experience, I can admire the complexity of nature, for example the shapes of trees, how the sunlight can cut through tree branches, the scale and rate which moss can cover an area.
As noted by Oliver James for The Guardian (2014) Michael .J. Cohen suggests that nature can provide humans an alternative escape from busy cultures and lifestyles. An example being that the earth can offer a wisdom, joy as well as beauty which is seperate from the realities of war and global warming. Cohen further argues that our conditioning and limitations as humans ultimately force us to use words, symbols and photographs as a way of representing our interpretation of the natural, sensory world. (James, 2014).
We are more susceptible to experiencing emotional distress when we are within an urban landscape than a rural landscape and this is primarily due to an estrangement we feel and isolation from the natural sights, smells and sounds.
Attentional Restoration Theory.
As noted by The National Center For Biotechnology Information (2014) Attentional Restoration Theory or abbreviated as ART, is a framework initially established by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan (1989) in their book The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective (Kaplan, 1989) (The National Center For Biotechnology Inforation, 2014). The ART theory suggests that people who live or regularly visit urban environments are exposed to repetitive visual stimulation, is referred to as hard fascination, which becomes cognitively tiring. However within a natural environment, as Kaplan suggests is a soft fascination, refers to the idea that features we view in a natural, rural landscapes, for example, automatically capture out attention, with little effort and provides us with feelings of pleasure.
In order for a natural environment to have a successful restorative effect upon an individual there are four categories which must be fulfilled:
Extent – The ability to feel engrossed in the environment.
Being Away – Providing an escapism from recurrent activites.
Soft Fascination – Elements of the environment catch attention effortlessly.
Compatibility – The person must want to be within the environment to benefit from it and gain a full appreciation for the location.
This initial insight into ecotherapy and ART theory has been thoroughly beneficial and informative, through this experience I am beginning to gain a better understanding and knowledge relating to our appreciation as human beings for landscapes and how it is within these environments our minds and bodies positively benefit from being immersed in natural locations. I cannot wait to continue my development and knowledge surrounding the ideas of ecotherapy and ART theory…
Jem Southam (1950) is an English photographer, he is recognised for his colour landscape images which are concerned with the idea of a balance between nature and human intervention.
Southam utilises a large format camera which provides him with the ability of capturing his landscape images with an extraordinary amount of detail, he contact prints his 8×10 inch negatives to create the level of detail which these images possess.
What attracted my attention towards Southam’s photographic work is the complexity of the large format camera, in relation to the logistics of a photoshoot – e.g. travel, setting the shot, long exposure times, developing and processing the film. This style/process of photography is arguably more rewarding than that of digital, as you have to be more observant and as each slide/negative costs money, it is a slower method which ensures you as the photographer pay attention towards what you are photographing and how you achieve the end result.
Furthermore Southam’s photographs have a wonderful colour palette and the subject matters recorded and the way it has been achieved, particularly through the use of a low, neutral viewpoint/composition both invites viewers to observe the location and the continuity and repetition of vantage point further implies a documentative style…perhaps the idea of self-exploration?
As noted by Jem Southam (2013) taking photographs which do not motivate and/or push you as a photographer makes the overall experience unenjoyable; personally it is of intrinsic importance to ensure that when creating photographs, you try to excel and develop to reach your full potential.
‘If it is too easy to make pictures it is I think less enjoyable. Surely this is the same with all endeavours – as humans we want to be challenged and to work through problems, and the tougher they get the more they demand of us and when we work though them the greater the reward. If it was easy to make great pictures how many of us would bother?’ (Jem Southam, 2013)
The idea or motivation for looking and considering self-exploration is based upon family experiences, as well as simply wanting to learn more about how it is I am actually feeling, an area which I do not explore and is extremely difficult to express.
Ensuring the assignment and deelopment as a professional, was as motivating as possible, exploring a picture-making which is not easy, shall allow me to undertake a journey, a challenge and if the results are as rewarding as I envisage them to be, it might be a long-term project also which I can continue to pursue.
Self exploration is long overdue and actually in my opinion is an area in which every practitioner should undertake to uncover and understand themselves better; also having the potential to support and inform their work further.
What regularly attracts me to the creation of photography is the escapism it provides, where the daily burdens and strains are temporarily forgotten, the decision to focus upon the genre or area of landscape photography is predominantly due to the strong connections to landscape – the one environment where you can reflect and relax…
Furthermore the difficulties of trying to understand other people and their intentions, resonated with me and I felt a strong desire to try and understand myself better as an individual – which I haven’t previously paid much thought or directed a lot of attention towards. Whilst trying to uncover and learn more about myself through the action of photographing, I hope and aim for the work to reflect this though process. The idea and process of image creation serves as a photo therapy. I felt it beneficial to try and better understand the purpose of photo therapy, its aims and how it can be applied to my professional practice.
As noted by Phototherapy (2008) the principle of photo therapy is regularly employed as a form of psychological technique and often utilises an individual’s : family album, snapshots, or online images as a focal point for conversation and dicussions which have memories and emotions attached. (Phototherapy, 2008) A photograph can be of great importance in allowing an individual to explore their feelings and emotions without the difficulties and restrictions that wordsand spoken language can create.
Jo Spence (1934-1992) a British photographer recognised for her commercial photography, and during the 1970s Spence tailored her work to suit the documentary genre. Spence is arguably most recognised for her photographic representations of her fight with cancer. Spence collaborated with the photographer and pyschological therapist Rosy Martin (1984) and together they developed ‘photo-therapy’ which as noted by Jo Spence (2017) photo-therapy aims to reverse the roles of the photographer and subject; allowing for the model or individual being photographed to have authority over their own representations and furthermore borrows ideas and techniques from co-counselling. (Spence, 2017)
As noted by Jo Spence (2017) The Final Project‘s (1991-1992) intention was formed as a response to a diagnosis of Leukemia and this body of work was purposefully created as her retirementand final series. (Spence, 2017) There are strong references to death and mortality in these images, it is extremely difficult to illustrate emotions, feelings and fears easily through photography, however I would argue that Spence symbolised the hidden or internal thoughts, feelings and concepts successfully. Personally one of the most poignant images from the series is highlighted below.
Although there is not the intention of including the idea of figure in my imagery, Jo Spence’s battle with cancer is a subject which I can personally relate to. With the diagnosis of my mother in recent months, it has brought to light the fears, hopes and dreams of someone who has been diagnosed; it has further strengthened the persistant, most commonly subconscious thought of mortality; and the ideas of trying to achieve your goals and aspirations whilst we exist as humans. Spence’s documentation through her journey resonated with me; even through her illness she continued to be creative, I truly find this inspirational and in a similar manner my mother has continued to show incredible strength despite the frightening experience…so I would suggest that exploring landscape and the idea of phototherapy, allows me to try to come to terms with this, alongside my difficulties with autism.
According to TATE (2017), J.M.W Turner otherwise recognised as Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), an English painter specialising in the area of romanticism landscapes. Frequent visits to see Turner’s father in London enlightened him to the financial benefits that sketching possesses. Turner regularly exhibited in the Royal Academy where he was a student from 1790-1796 and the paintings were primarily watercolour and as noted by Joseph Mallord William Turner Biography (2017)
‘Turner showed a keen interest in architecture but was encouraged to keep painting by the architect Thomas Hardwick’. (Joseph Mallord William Turner Biography, 2017)
Turner later progressed onto utilising oil paints and his subject matters would explore myth and literature, consequently challenging ideas and approaches undertaken by that of classical painters.
As noted by The National Gallery (2017), John Constable (1776-1837) was another English painter also recognised for his romantic landscapes. Constable regularly made sketches within the landscape and these sketches became the foundations for many of Constable’s large-scale paintings. Similar to Turner, Constable also frequently exhibited his masterpieces in galleries such as the Royal Academy in London and Paris salon. However Constable’s work was better received and more successful when exhibited in Paris.
According to TATE (2017) William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, printmaker and painter who was mostly unrecognised for his art during his lifetime; Blake is considered to be a prominent practitioner and key figure within the romanticism movement. In what appears to be a tradition, Blake studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and today, is recognised for his creativity and the use of diversity and symbolism within his paintings which openly welcome the notion of the imagination as ‘the body of God’ and ‘human existence itself’ (Tate, 2017).
Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) the Swiss painter and writer who was based in Britain and is another of the most iconic figures from the romanticism movement. Fuseli’s most recognised painting is titled ‘The Nightmare’ which first exhibited in 1782 at the Royal Academy; the main purpose of this painting was to intrigue and shock.
This piece of artwork references themes of folklore, science and classical art. The painting evokes associations with imagination and suggests ideas relating to the ‘dream‘. In this example by Fuseli, the idea of the ideal dream is represented through the woman who is asleep. In a similar manner, the idea of the nightmareis depicted through the demon/mythical-type creature that is represented upon the woman’s chest. This is supported by Psychology Today (2015) as nightmares relate to feelings associated with fear and anxiety. (Psychology Today, 2015)
As noted by Encyclopaedia Britanica (2016) James Barry (1741-1806) an Irish artist recognised for his paintings of both historical and metaphorical subjects. Barry was primarily a self-taught artist, who studied with the support of Jacob Ennis at the drawing school of The Royal Dublin Society (Encyclopaedia Britanica, 2016). During this period, he attracted the attention of Edmund Burke(1729-1797) in 1764 who would later introduce Barry to Joshua Reynolds president of the Royal Academy in London. As Barry progressed he became both a member and become more involved in the Royal Academy (1773) in London.
John Butts (1728-1764), the Irish landscape artist recognised for his woodland and river scenes; was a prominent figure in providing James Barry with the necessary and fundamentals required to succeed as an artist.
Do any of these practitioners influence you? If so, why?
As photography, amongst other artistic mediums are frequently changing, it is intrinsic for me to have an awareness of historic and current artistic movements, ideas and practitioners who are making key developments. Furthermore it is important to not limit my inspiration and research to only photography, having a broad knowledge of information relating to art and painting for example will develop my thinking further.
Whilst reflecting upon the romanticism movement, and some of the practitioners highlighted above, it is extremely interesting to witness how the methods of painting and art have transgressed into photography. For example John Constable and his romantic landscape painting, titled ‘Stratford Mill’, 1820 the exploration of beauty with natural scences, rolling hills and blue skies and the concept of the sublime is seen in photographers such as Jem Southam (who shall be explored in a seperate blog post).
In order to gain an initial understanding of the Romanticism art movement, it was necessary to conduct some research into this area. As noted by Merriam-Webster (2017) the term ‘Romanticism’ can be defined as
‘A literary, artistic, and philosophical movement originating in the 18th century, characterized chiefly by a reaction against neoclassicism and an emphasis on the imagination and emotions.’ (Merriam-Webster, 2017)
TATE (2017) notes that the Romanticism can be applicable to both art and literature, established during the early 19th century, the movement particularly focused on human psychology, feelings and the appreciation for the interest of the natural world. (Tate, 2017)
Romanticism rejects classicism, which was another prominent art movement dating from 1780-1830, concerned with a formal, distanced approach to subject matter. Furthermore as noted by Britannica (2009) romanticism was also a rejection of the Enlightenment,
‘In Romantic art, nature—with its uncontrollable power, unpredictability, and potential for cataclysmic extremes—offered an alternative to the ordered world of Enlightenment thought.’ (MET MUSEUM, 2004)
As supported by Doctor Beth Nesic (2015) the neoclassical painting style, supported by neoclassicists such as the artist Jacques-Louis David (YEAR), the preference was in creating precise representations of forms, coherent drawing and modeling. (Nesic, 2015) As drawing was deemed to be of more intrinsic importance than that of painting, the neoclassicists strived to ensure in the creation of their work that visibility of brush strokes are non-existent and furthermore it was necessary to ensure that the surface of the work visibly appears completely smooth. The themes and subject matters of work produced during the neoclassical period would reflect the seriousness and rationality of the era, which directly links to historical events which occured simultaneously, such an example is the French Revolution (1789).
Neoclassicism strived to revive the artistic and literary ideals of classical Greece and Rome; both romanticism and neoclassicism have interchangable stylistic qualities which often overlapped.
Key visual qualities of classicism/neoclassicism as noted by Britannica (2009):
Lines over colour.
Straight lines over curves.
Frontality and closed compositions over diagonal compositions.
General over particular.A good example to support this statement is a comparison of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’ (1780-1867) painting titled Apotheosis of Homer (1825) and Eugene Delacroix’s (1798-1863) painting titled Death of Sardanapalus (1827). Both paintings support the artist’s originality, which is synonomous with romanticism. Furthermore, Ingres’ painting appears to be structually ordered which would assert the idea that this piece directly links to classicism, whereas Delacroix’s painting subject matter portrays disorder, linking directly to the neoclassical style and influences of Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825).
What was the purpose of Romanticism? What were the aims?
Romanticism developed from the French Revolution and was a rejection of social and political norms, further influenced by the theory of evolution and uniformitarianism. Furthermore the romanticism movement brought to light the importance of expression and emotion, and the idea that these human attributes are stronger than that of knowledge or intellect.
As noted by New York Encyclopedia (2015) the purpose of romanticism was to support the validation of the idea whereby an ‘individual imagination’ can act as a credible, critical dominance which consequently enabled both freedom and escapism from the confinements and restrictions of classical art. (New York Encyclopedia, 2015)
Furthermore within romanticism the general consensus of this artistic movement was:
Deepened, developed appreciation of the beauties of nature.
General happiness and emotion over reason and senses, rather than a focus on intelligence.
Self-awareness and a better consideration towards human personalities and moods.
A fixation with the idea of a genius or hero in which the individual can focus both their attention on.
Emphasis upon imagination as an escapism and an experience aiding spiritual truth.
Developing interest in: folk culture, national and ethnic culture origins and the medieval period.
A preference for: the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased and the satanic.
Upon reflection of initial souricing and interpretating this information, I am beginning to understand the history of art better; whilst developing an understanding of what genres the work I create might best suit, whilst also considering developing inspiration further, and potential direction/genres for the work I intend to make.
Learning the basics of romanticism has enlightened my thinking toward the purpose of the photographs.
– What I want to gain. – What I want others to gain.
In terms of personal development, there is a strong connection between and towards the idea of the ideal and escapism. Therefore on this journey of photographic self-development, I aim to discover more about myself as well as a more informed decision and opinion on romanticism.
I want others to gain an experience of my interpretation on the world, whilst also providing the viewer with an escapism of their own…