70-300mm Lens Shooting

Over the last couple of days I have been collecting photographs using my Canon 70-300mm lens. It’s one that I have owned for a while but have never used, simply because I didn’t feel I was anywhere exciting to. I spend the last couple of days by the sea side and thought it would be a good chance to get a couple of snaps of things far, far away.

I have been wanting to extend my photography portfolio for a while in the hope that I will soon have enough footage and photography to be able to build up a Facebook page or my own website (which looking back I could have used for this module). However, from this day and using this lens, I feel like I really have adhered to the brief I set myself only using this lens for a couple of days and seeing what images I could get from it.

At first I found it a bit strange using the lens as I couldn’t get to grips with it, especially zooming in all the way and not being able to find the subject I was hoping to photograph! However, the more I got used to it, the more my composition with it improved and my adaptation to how to shoot the image I wanted.

 

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Future Development Plan

Now that I have managed to exhibit my work within a small exhibition space, the next step is to create a future plan for where I want the work to go.

With my work being a video art installation that I purposely haven’t pigeon holed to a particular audience is something that may benefit me if I were to apply to gallery spaces to have my work. Even though you may automatically think that my work’s target audience would be the sixteen to twenty one year old’s, this isn’t necessarily the case, as women and older generations would be interested in how young males today view themselves and their bodies.

So far on my video art journey I have conducted surveys, created a small focus group, ran a test shoot to abolish any problems I would have at later stages in filming and exhibited in a small space, which I think is pretty good going. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t any room for improvements which would further develop and benefit my work before it can reach a wider audience.

Although I am happy with my work at this stage, I think exhibiting it to bigger but still local galleries can only be a favourable decision on my behalf. However, this would mean that I would take the work I have created for this module as a prototype, and something that still has a lot of room for improvement, development and something which can make a bigger impact on it’s audience.

By developing my work more, I would be sure to conduct primary research that is beyond free online surveys, reaching out to hundreds of males of all different age groups to either use the results to influence my work like I have done, or use the results for further development.

I would gather together a focus group of artists and people with no interest in art. Even though the artists would be a great help to me, giving me technical, creative and expert advice, gaining feedback from others who maybe have no interest in art, or even males who wouldn’t be willing to put themselves in the position that the subjects in my film have. Gathering as many different types of opinions from different tastes, demographics, ages and individuals as possible will never be something that would be of no help.

Using smaller galleries to exhibit future work isn’t to use as a safe option, but more to test the water before possibly making a fool of myself and throwing myself into the deep end in more popular galleries. The Mac gallery in Birmingham would be a good place to end up eventually, as they have a cinema attached. Their statement about themselves on their website is “mac birmingham exists to bring innovative, creative arts activities into the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, year after year.” (Mac Birmingham: 2014) They obviously support people who are willing to bring risky and new ideas to the table and wanting to exhibit their works to thousands of people. Although the gallery is in Birmingham, and still quite local, it’s a much bigger city and tourist attraction than Coventry, which would bring in the right audience and a much wider viewing spectrum.

Looking through online competitions for young artists at this moment in time, I actually came across a competition that the Mac in Birmingham are holding (after writing the above paragraph.) They want artists who question or interpret stereotypes, gender roles and attitudes towards sexuality between the ages of sixteen and thirty to enter. The winners will have their work showcased at the gallery. Not only does my work conform to these themes that they encourage people to enter their work with, but it is a way that a new, innovative and unknown artist could get the great oppurtunity to get work showcased and taken seriously. The deadline is 24th of March and it will most definitely be something I will enter- worth a try!

In brief conclusion, my plans ahead for my project are to:

  • Gather more in depth questionnaire answers about male self confidence but also audience feedback or my prototype.
  • Ask for more participants of a more ranged age and sexualities, in order to develop my idea more into a comparative study of ages and demographics.
  • Exhibit my installation again in another local exhibition.
  • Go further afield and try to get my work recognised by the mac in Birmingham.
  • Make sure the right people view my work.
  • Continue to produce innovative video art with strong subjects that aren’t touched upon to continue to peacefully put across messages in my artwork that I want everyone to know.
  • Enter the Ideas Tap competition.

References

Mac Birmingham  (2014) mac Birmingham: Support mac [online] available from <http://macbirmingham.co.uk/support/&gt; [20 March 2014]

Ideas Tap (2014) Side View: Exhibition Oppurtunity [online] available from <http://www.ideastap.com/Opportunities/Brief/Side-View–Exhibition-Opportunity-240314#Overview&gt; [20 March 2014]

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Evaluation of Androcentrism

Working within this brief I surprised myself at not only how I began to motivate myself throughout a module that I hated at the beginning but also an ability which I didn’t think I had to go through a whole process on my own from thinking creatively about an idea, researching, filming, editing and exhibiting. Throughout this whole process I have tried to bring to light the fact that males have insecurities too, which is just as acceptable to talk about as women’s and more interesting because of the low key of the subject. However, when starting an evaluation of my own work and showing that I’m not confident in it probably isn’t the best place to start…
Anyway, as my film is only a couple of minutes long I feel like there could be so much room for improvement. Firstly, most video art installations that I have seen are in excess of over ten minutes. My subject matter is probably something where I could make the duration as short or as long as I wanted, bringing in more subjects if i felt necessary (which I do at this stage). I feel that the video is hugely over powered by talk of physical insecurity, but when looking at my survey results this isn’t something that I would have expected in the pre-production stages.

One of my main criticisms and worries about my work is that the audience may at first think that I am taking a feminist approach on how females are represented as sexual objects and trying to flip this around to men in a different approach. However, I think that my intentional uncomfortable viewing style is one that could put people off feeling this towards the work. This is a part of the process that I am most pleased with- how I went from not having a clue what I would do with such boring footage but then with some research and development I edited something together which is different, still with a clean and crisp image that I desired and an innovative idea that I never thought I would be able to think of when starting the 260 module.

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Analysis of Androcentrism

My final piece: Androcentrism
When first starting out in this module, my intentions were never to embarrass my subjects or make them feel worse about their insecurities, but instead to create a new outlook on them by trying to boast that there is nothing they should be insecure in themselves about.
My idea has changed dramatically throughout the creative process of the module and has moulded into something that has a lot of contextual and metaphorical depth. Going from wanting to film males in front of a white background talking about their insecurities and dubbing their voices to my final outcome of asking males to expose their physical insecurities on camera knowing my intention to project largely onto a wall in an exhibition.
I think that within myself an interesting point that I have made the whole way through this process is whether it is ethically right for me to have asked and allowed my participants to be in my video when I know for a fact I would never have done this myself.  Like any other person I have insecurities, some that run deeper than others, but I would never be comfortable with getting in front of a camera to expose them. A lot of artists that look a body image use their own bodies such as Laura Steele where she films all the scars and blemishes she has, which shows how easy it would have been for me to use my own body, but instead chose to put other people in this situation.

When reading ‘The Body in Pieces’ one quote that stood out to me was “Art historians like myself, wrapped up in the nineteenth century and in gender theory, have a tendency to forget that the human body is not just the object of desire, but the site of suffering, pain and death…” (Nochlin:18) I think through producing my work and especially seeing it through all the stages through to being researched, filmed and exhibited, it is something that people could easily become desensitied to, much like Nochlin seems as though she is implying here when thinking about gender theory. The same impact that feminist artwork no longer has on me, and how fed up I am of hearing people complain about how women are so insecure but play no part in trying to make the situation better, I feel as though although my work is innovative in the way that I am a women talking about a problem to do with the male gender, it is something that could too be over done and not longer become a problem but something that we push to the back of our minds.

My main subject is what I think is most innovative about my work rather than it’s visual style which has probably been seen a million times before or even the sound because it’s just mens voices and Yoko Ono’s sound from her piece ‘Fly’. I think the most important thing within my work that makes it innovative is a woman trying to tackle and understand a male problem- one that every male must know or feel something for but either doesn’t want to speak up or doesn’t see the point because nobody else does.

Even though using another artists work within my own may not be seen as an innovation and instead using the easy option by putting a greatly influential artists work in with my own, there is so much more depth to it than that. Yoko Ono’s video ‘Fly’ shows extreme close ups of flies walking around a nude woman’s body as if to show the exploration and appreciation of every part of the body. With my work having a similar context and representing myself as the fly in a situation where I am a new artist finding my ground in the work that I produce and learning every step of the way.

References

Nochlin, L. (1994) The Body in Pieces
Thomas & Hudson Ltd, London

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Research and Development of Androcentrism

When first starting to conduct the research that would help me in this module I felt lost and it seemed pointless- why would I need to put research behind something that was my own idea?

After every bit of research I conducted, I felt that it benefit me in some way. I felt my idea coming together more from watching the documentary about ‘Involuntary Celebates’ to conducting research into an art movement that came about in Hitlers ruling called Degenerate Art. Every piece I looked at was to do with the power of men, or how men feel about themselves to make sure that I could try and gain as good as an understanding as I could of the male way of thinking as a female. Had I not have done this, I feel that I would have been so completely uninterested in my own work like I was two months ago at the beginning of this module.

From conducting my own survey specifically aimed at men and their body confidence, it taught me a great lot about a number of things, firstly how materialistic some males are when they have physical insecurities, how like women they use beauty products to try and cover their self believed flaws and how the only age range that really seemed to be that fussed about the area I was looking into was sixteen to twenty one year olds. With my very first initial idea I liked the idea of using Gillian Wearing’s style of voice dubbing to create anonymity and innovation within my work, however I doubt this style would have worked with my finalised piece because i had a lot more participants that were interested in being in my work than I thought- originally I thought I would struggle with finding two people to dub their voices, which again reiterates how males in the same age bracket as me must feel like male self confidence is something that should be addressed and questioned more.

Even though my primary research helped me to gain an understanding of the audience and participants that I would be dealing with when producing the final piece, finding research resources and inspiration from other artists was something that greatly benefit me even up to the editing stage of my video where I decided to use Yoko Ono’s experimental video ‘Fly’ (1970). Doing this not only added depth to my final piece but added a contemporary twist to the fourty year old video.

Had I not had conducted basic contextual research about artists that look at women self esteem and rights such as Barbara Kruger, Nickolay Lamm who produced a realistically proportioned Barbie doll and the recent Dove campaign that stormed itself through social networking sites, I would have been stuck within a whirlpool of unimaginative work if I hadn’t seen what people like these have achieved themselves.

At the start to this module I felt as though researching artist that touch upon male power and confidence would be cheating the fact that I had to produce something innovative, however now I see that this really isn’t the case. As mentioned above, not giving myself the freedom to research the artists that I have and making use of an artists work that I believe in in my own is adding extra depth, detail, context and interest. Researching contemporary, influential and ancient artists such as those from the Renaissance movement who in themselves made their work innovative by being the first people to pay attention to perspective, vanishing points, the human form and shadows created by different lighting situations.

When exhibiting my work, I asked a few of the more experienced artists to give me some feedback on my work, almost like a focus group to give me further research on what was successful and what wasn’t about my piece. The statement that I was most happy with was the following: “I recently saw Sam Long’s installation ‘Androcentrism’ at a local exhibition. The first thing that struck me was the sheer power in the imagery, particularly when capturing the body. There are no romanticised portrayals of human form, only the reality – and at times, the painful reality. The images make for uncomfortable viewing, which for me is what makes the piece so successful. It not only challenges the preconceptions we have about our own bodies, but also the gender stereotypes that come with self image. This is the most refreshing element of the piece, the focus on male insecurity provides a new voice to an otherwise tired story.”

Other brief quotes stated

“A strong, thought provoking installation which left a resounding feeling of my personal insecurities and what I would portray if I had the courage.”

“A complex study which has barely scratched the surface of a topic which feels fresh and innovatious.”

“I would be interested in seeing these images bigger as I feel that they don’t reach their full potential in such an enclosed space.”

Coming away with this research after my product has been completed and exhibited, it helps me when thinking of what can be done with it in the future.

My research in general made me lean towards certain styles of artwork, distance myself from others and using everything I found became beneficial to my piece in one way or another, using things I liked within my own work in a new and innovative way.

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Exhibiting Androcentrism

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After completing the final edit of Androcentrism, I managed to find a small space in which to exhibit it. I thought it was important to show my work within an exhibition with people showcasing other artworks to enable me to gain feedback to make sure that I was answering the right questions and I’d achieved what I set out to do.

I chose to stick with my original idea- projecting as largely as I could onto a plain white wall in order to give back power to the males who are exposing their bodies and insecurities. Within the exhibition there was a diverse range of works from sculptures, paintings, photography and technical drawings. I felt this an ideal place to be my first exhibit space of my work because of the diversity and not having as much pressure upon me with other works that were similar to mine.

A technical problem which I had to over come when setting up for the exhibition was that I couldn’t get the sound of my video to project from the speakers that I had. After a while of struggle, I decided that maybe playing the sound wasn’t such a bad thing, as in the small space it would over power other peoples work, and didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. This meant that I left the film silent, but wouldn’t necessarily be something that I would do in the future if I were to exhibit anywhere else.

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Editing Process of Androcentrism

Once I was happy with the footage I had gathered for my video art piece,it was on to the editing. When looking back through my footage on Premiere Pro, it all seemed quite mundane and I couldn’t think to use the imagery in a creative way. It seemed as though I had taken too much time into thinking about how I would film the video and it’s content rather than how I would edit it and round it off into a really interesting piece.

I looked through some of the artists that I had taken note of and researched who work with similar themes to do with body image and representation. Yoko Ono was an artist that I remembered well and felt inspired by her work. After only a couple of minutes looking through her video art pieces, I found a work of hers called ‘Fly’ (1971) which

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shows multiple flies walking around and exploring a naked woman’s body to celebrate the human body.

I thought of a way where I could incorporate this into my work, thinking about how the fly represents me as an artist touching upon new ground, learning in a research process how males think of themselves and afraid to be too avant-garde for someone who has never looked at video art before. I also imagined the fly being a key part in my video because as stated before with the fly in Ono’s video is to celebrate the human form, and I am doing similar in my video- trying to make men feel better about their insecurities in an experimental way.

Once I had an editing process and style in my mind it was easy for me to carry on with the rest of the task in a way I knew I would be comfortable with doing.

From finding a small clip on YouTube, I layered the video and it’s sound on top of my clips, using different opacities, scaling and layering effects to make the video more visually appealing but also slightly uncomfortable to watch. The sound was full of base which added to the discomfort when playing loudly and it hitting through you’re chest as though you are hollow.

At the end of this process, I was very happy with how it turned out, going from having no clue as to how I would present my work to having something finialised that I was happy with. Some may argue that my work no longer has an innovative stamp on it because I have used someone else’s style and work within my own. However, I’ve put a modern and contemporary twist on a fourty year old video and by questioning current low self esteem within men.

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