Portfolio for the University of Brighton

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A Brighton Winter I, January 2014

At the beginning of 2014, I made a commitment to myself to photograph with greater purpose.

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A Brighton Winter II, January 2014

Although I had been to the city before, I came with the deliberate intention to use analogue colour film.

 

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Colourful Choir I, April 2014

Having worked with MJ’s Choirs for many years, I am able to experiment and build on the immediate results.

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Colourful Choir II, April 2014

Working within supportive creatives spaces allows me to push my abilities and branch out above and beyond what is expected.

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Colourful Choir II, April 2014

Being able to use stitching gives this portrait of the choir more impact, especially when coordinated with colour.

 

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Hahnenkamm I, December 2015

Focusing on the contrast of light and shade allowed for further development of technique using colour film stock.

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Hahnenkamm II, December 2015

The penetrating cold winter light complimented the browns and greens of the forest floor.

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Hahnenkamm III, December 2015

The man made elements found within the forest meant that one was never truly isolated, even when separated from companions.

 

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Die Mauer I, January 2016

The size and scale of a wall is inversely proportional to how much compassion a person possesses.

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Die Mauer II, January 2016

The political and artistic intent of the wall and graffiti, respectively, has been lost through the market forces of souvenirs.

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Die Mauer III, January 2016

Although scarred by history and the wall, contemporary Berlin has returned to being a political, economic and cultural capital.

 

 

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So Good They Named It Twice I, April 2016

The Zeus of Rockefeller Center draws ones eye to comprehend the vastness of the surroundings, gazing up beyond infinity.

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So Good They Named It Twice II, April 2016

In Queens, what remains of the 1964 World’s Fair stands; these icons were palpably serene against the bustle of Manhattan.

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So Good They Named It Twice III, April 2016

The suspended cables created dynamic lines across the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, drawing ones eye to the neo-gothic towers.

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So Good They Named It Twice IV, April 2016

Being in Bruce Davidson’s environment, I was drawn to the elements that distinguish this subway as New York’s own.

 

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As ruas I, July 2016

The streets of Lisbon had a grand melancholy quality to them. The façades of an empire reduced to hanging laundry.

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As ruas II, July 2016

The pastel houses and cobbled streets, emulated on the opposite side of the world, all lead down to the sea.

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As ruas III, July 2016

The joyful colours hide the grimness of life in a city reliant on tourism in a world looking more inward.

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As ruas IV, July 2016

The reduced window size the further one goes up betrayed the class structure built into the streets of this city.

 

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Serviço de trem local I, July 2016

Reverence for the rail network responsible for a town’s existence as limited as the timetable.

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Serviço de trem local II, July 2016

The modernist graphic design of the railways contrasts the faux gothic castle.

 

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Essence of Brighton I, November 2016

Using digital editing adds weight and loneliness by removing elements to create a stark landscape.

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Essence of Brighton II, November 2016

Emulating the Kodak Tmax range was a strong aesthetic to use, accentuated by the removal of the unwanted elements.

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Essence of Brighton III, November 2016

A coastal resort is permeated by the promise of the start of new season, even in the dead of winter.

 

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Contact Sheet for ‘December in London, 2016’, December 2016

Relishing the opportunity to understand the process of developing and printing in a darkroom, I am pursuing further analogue techniques.

 

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Change and Challenge IV, January 2017

Inspired by photo collages by Marcelo Monreal and Herbert Bayer, I was able to explore a range of digital techniques.

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Change and Challenge V, January 2017

To have the opportunity to try a style beyond that of what can be achieved in-camera was invigorating.

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Change and Challenge VI, January 2017

Ultimately this is an aesthetic to use lightly, as the stylisation distracts from the meaning and message of an image.

 

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Atelier I, January 2017

Using a studio space takes away fronts that some people use that leaves the core of who they are behind.

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Atelier II, January 2017

For others, the studio is just another place for them to be who they are.

 

On the Photographers’ Gallery exhibition “Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s”

In the exhibition “Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s”, Anna Dannemann curates the VERBUND Collection, directed by Gabriele Schor. The purpose of this collection is to bring the various artists known for creating works with feminist principles into the canon of fine art history. This is in addition to the unique perception of places and spaces that these artists bring through their work.

Initially I came to the conclusion that the exhibition was attempting to convey a sense of ‘voicelessness’; I drew this inference from the six video installation pieces by, among others, Ulrike Rosenbach and Annegnet Soltan. Soltan’s ‘Memory of Being Pregnant II’, 1979/80 I felt was particularly strong in this theme of silence and subservience because of the artist’s use of sound without dialogue in the installation. However, this was assumption was challenged by Rosenbach’s ‘Wrapping with Julia’, 1972 which relies heavily on the spoken dialogue between the artist and her daughter.

It was because of these aesthetic and technical similarities that I thought there was a definable theme throughout the work. Although this is not the case, they are all related in the sense that, even though not explicitly collaborating, there was a certain style shared between these artists. This is due to their use of photography as a fine art. At the time, photography being used in this field was novel and spontaneous, especially when compared to older forms of fine art, such as painting or sculpture. This low bar to entry allowed these women to adopt, and then utilise, this new art form.

This utilisation is best demonstrated by the use of repeating motiefs, as in Annegret Soltau’s ‘Self’, 1975. By using photography, Soltau was able to quickly make portraits of her-self, with an addition of a string tightly wrapped around her head, the quantity of string increasing with each shot. Through this she was able to use the string as a representation of the patriarchal constraints made on women to remain docile and domestic.

These themes were explored by splitting the exhibition along two thematic lines: the domestic sphere, the rolls women occupied in these spaces and the alter egos within the feminine and sexual identity of the artists.

In the first space, there are the aforementioned video installations alongside traditional print series. Most notable of these series is Rosenbach’s ‘Art is a criminal action No. 4’, 1969 where she takes Elvis’ likeness and uses herself as a model for a gender-swapped duplicate, imitating his stance and props. What is prominent is the roll in which Rosenbach is emulating Elvis, that is, his cowboy character in the film Flaming Star. It is here that a feminist reading of the work is most understandable: what makes it extraordinary that a woman is matching a man as a cowboy when both are merely fantasising?

However, this only one reading of the work, as considering the title of the work ‘criminal action’ could be both a reference to copyright law and the then-common place discriminatory employment practices that focused on gender. Is is these works that attempt to challenge the supposed gender roles that men and women should take when considering careers, both as fictional characters and as real, autonomous people.

Within the second space, the explorations of the freedom of female sexuality and feminine identity were best represented by Kirsten Justesen’s ‘Sculpture #2’, 1968. Using her body as a sculptural basis, she critiques the contemporary minimalist, impersonal style by imitating it with a simple cardboard box presented on the gallery floor and having a scale photograph of her squashed body reside within it. This directly confronts the objectification of the feminine form throughout the canon of art history as well as calling attention to the avant-garde understanding of the body as a de-personalised tool.

As such, I believe that these works succeed in fulfilling the goals of bringing together different artists with the same stance and style that is represented throughout a broad spectrum of mediums, bound together by photography.

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