Research Notes for Makiko Exhibition

26th April Makiko Exhibition

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Wolfgang Tillmans Exhibition – Study Visit 6th May 2017

Prior reading to visit

Links provided by the OCA in the study visit pre reading

Accessed 3rd May 2017

Accessed 3rd May 2017

Study Visit – Tate Modern 6th May 2017

Upon arrival to the exhibition, the Tate provided a booklet, this provided background to the exhibition a floor plan and each room (14 in total) had a description of the theme and some of the works shown.

Our tutor for the day Jayne Taylor provided background to the exhibition itself and guidance on some of the content and where to meet up for a discussion over lunch afterwards.

My personal brief for the day was to view the exhibition and to also look at how the exhibition was set out, the media used and how the images were hung.  This is now an ongoing brief for my final exhibition and presentation of work.  I’ll get that out of the way now.  Prints were shown on the walls in 4 different ways:

  1. Printed and mounted using clear scotch tape
  2. Mounted and framed under glass
  3. Printed and then hung from nails in the wall using white bulldog clips
  4. Mounted behind acrylic boxes.

In certain rooms (e.g. room 4) the wooden tables present thoughts, research on images represented.  This mood board shows snippets taken from magazine articles, research papers of others, internet searches and images.

There are a number of pieces that resonated with me personally and some which clearly did not.  Firstly I made handwritten notes while walking around the exhibition and these were then written up afterwards with any of my own images added to these notes, they are then included at the end of this document.

What I connected with

I find myself very much leaning towards abstract photography, the (on first appearance) simple colour panels, printed but creased and folded prints, smoke trails and close in detail shots very much resonate with imagery that I enjoy.  The workstation in room 2 is very much my typical space and I loved the disassembled copier.  Part of me wanted to get in there with a screwdriver and disassemble it further.

What I didn’t connect with

Ok, not sure why you would want to display out of focus work.  I understand it is done and in a body of other work can tell a story but for me it takes away from the story of the image if I’m then asking questions as to why that particular image of the boy and the car isn’t sharp anywhere.  I’m also not aligned with the personal aspects of his work that are of friends.  Some very well composed and presented portraits which then sit aside a very large print of a mans hairy backside/scrotum, there is form to the posing but I feel they dont fit well into this presentation and body of work.

Overall

A large exhibition that took around 1.5 hours to navigate and I didn’t really scratch the surface.  It was very helpful to carry out the pre-reading actually before the visit but to also read this again afterwards.   Definitely, a second visit needs to occur before the exhibition closes on 11th June 2017.

Post study referencing

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/wolfgang-tillmans-2017/studying-truth accessed 7th May 2017

Accessed 7th May 2017

Notes

Wolfgang Tillman exhibition – Tate London, 6th May 2017

Trails to Prayer by Makiko

Photographic Exhibition in the Atrium Gallery at the London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London.  24th April to 5th May 2017.

I attended this exhibition on Wednesday 26th April, for an exhibition it’s quite short and having visited the LSE atrium gallery before it only has 1 long white wall which can restrict the number of works displayed.  Makiko has displayed there before in 2016 and although I visited that exhibition also it was before this course began and is therefore out of scope of this blog.

My first impressions, a nicely presented body of work comprising of 23 pieces on 1 wall.  The gallery has a description panel at one end with sheets of A4 pages that inform the visitor on the history of Nozaki and Christianity in the region where the images were made.  At the other, a tv screen repeating a video of the island itself to add context to the monochrome images, next to this are a small clear box with small square business cards and a mini competition.  The competition is a good idea, a partial image asks you to identify where the deer is in the picture, an animal spot the ball competition if you will. The paper provided asks for the answer, feedback on the exhibition and your contact information, twitter address etc. which you then place in a box to win a print of the main image.  This is a good idea to not only engage your audience but it’s a spin on the visitor book experience which captures your potential customer base.

Images

There are 23 images in total, all of which are in monochrome.  Starting at image 1 they lead you through the island trail on which the Christians would have travelled between villages to worship.  the island is now abandoned and is gradually being taken back by nature, the villagers homes are showing evidence of failure and the pathways/stairs crumbling and turning into the rocks from where they came.  Nature is as it was before man and the wildlife, deer especially, seeming to lack the fear of human presence again.  this is emphasised in her images of the stalking deer, it seems he is keeping an eye on her to reinforce the fact that humans have moved out and the island is now theirs again.  The landscape also portrays the diverse plantlife and scape of the island, from a forest, to hills and then to a savannah type terrain moulded by the winds blowing from the nearby volcano.  the smaller images are well composed and draw the viewers eyes to the details in the image where they need to be through shallow depths of field.  Finally you’re led to the shrine on a very large hill that must have taken a good few hours to climb!

Presentation

The prints are displayed as monochrome prints on foamboard which I believe is stuck to the wall and 3 framed and glazed prints.  The prints all have a small description label to the left side at the bottom which identifies the image number, name and plant species in the image.  I found the last item a little unusual and assume Makiko has an interest in plants generally or her local guide provided this information.

The series of images work, I felt that on viewing these I was on the journey with Makiko across the island being stalked by a large deer.  The largest image of the series is framed and glazed around 100cm high x 155cm wide and forms the central image of the series.  Of the framed images of which there are 3, they appear to represent milestones on the journey and possibly rest points as you tend to linger more when viewing at those images.  My only critique would be that the large print seems to have suffered being enlarged and has lost its sharpness and the central image of the deer feels to lack the impact, the image is not pixellated but seems to be a little too soft but then I’m of the opinion images need to be pretty sharp to work but it does depend on the subject and your message overall that you want the viewer to take away.

My tutor recently asked me to look at exhibition presentation of work and I’ve taken away a number of useful ideas regarding sizing, layout, presentation and labelling that have re-inforced the feedback from my last assignment. In addition the history sheet on the island adds some interesting facts which the images build upon and an article from the local York newspaper enhances the exhibition as local marketing.

Overall

Although a little short I found that it was well presented, the series of images told a story which took the visitor to the island and gave you a sense of what it is actually like.  My only critique is regarding the sharpness of the large image but in context with the other prints I think this is intentional rather than a technical error. I very much liked this exhibition and think Makiko has done a great job here and I recommend a visit if you’re in London before it closes on 5th May.

 

Referencing

I’m very new to academic referencing and it can be very time consuming trying to work out what references to include on your assignments, especially so if you have changed your approach and need to re-write it.  I’ve started using RefMe[2], it’s free to use for basic Harvard referencing but to organise per project you’ll need a subscription. Ref Me makes it easier to keep a track on links and research references, books and quotations.  It’s also helpful as it shares data between an iPad, iPhone app, and the web interface.  You can also download a plugin to use with Microsoft word so when you are writing that assignment you can insert links and bibliography into your document.  One minor gripe on the word integration is that you can only load 1 project at a time, this is handy of all of your links are in one place but if you have multiple links across projects when you have a subscription then you will have multiple folders and can’t swap between them without losing continuity.  Maybe I’m looking at it from a disorganised way as I’ve just started using it but that’s a day 1+2 evaluation.  At time of subscription the annual fee is 24.99 GBP per year.  I’ll add that there are other apps/resources available so please feel free to make your own choices.

Update 5th February 2017

RefMe has been purchased by Chegg, this means the RefME app will now change to Citeforme [1]on 28th February 2017.  Overall from what I can see so far it should have minimal impact on how I’m collating references so far.  It does however not support the Mac version of Word, you will need to download the document from the web browser and then load this as a separate word document.  This is disappointing, details on the change can be found by accessing their link below.

[1] https://refme.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb/articles/115000823509-RefME-transition-to-Cite-This-For-Me-FAQ *** RefMe has been replaced by an app called ‘Cite This for Me’ in Feb 2017.

The app does not have all of the full functionality of RefMe and it’s worthwhile looking to see of there are other apps available.  I’ll stick with it for the time being.

Mind mapping

I’m using an app called Mind Node[1][2]. This app allows me to create a mind map in the iPad os app which then synchronises with the online version so I can access it via a web browser quite fluently.  From there I can export an image to a jpg file format and then import that into my blog.  This can be useful if you want periodic progress reports to upload into a blog or for archive purposes. It would be nice if the software did this for you automatically, for me it doesn’t matter.

It is useful to also add photographs to the link and you can also add a to-do list for elements, a quasi project plan management system. There are other aspects to this software but I’m not using hem at the moment to comment.

I have found that although making a mindmap is brilliant to use and import into your research when you’ve exported it’s difficult to identify the file size and more importantly the physical size of the document when it’s printed.  This is maybe an issue for Adobe and their PDF format document but I also found that when printing I could not get a colour print in A3 format it would always print to B&W, not so much of an issue but when you have multiple lines together it’s not helpful.

Here is an example of a mindmap that I created for Assignment 3.  Very useful for me and for assessment may help assesors to get a handle on complex webpage/blog posts if you want to sue a visual format.

EYV - Assignment 3

[1] https://mindnode.com accessed 25th March 2017

[1] https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/mindnode-delightful-mind-mapping/id312220102?mt=8 accessed 18/11/2016

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016

One of my tutors mentioned this competition to me in mid 2016 and by that time the 2015 exhibition was over and done with.  Early in 2017 after seeing an advert on the London Underground of the image by Karl Ohio and Riikka Kassinen of the Boy Scout on a yellow background[1],  and a suggestion from a friend I decided to go.  This was the first time I’ve attended this exhibition and other than a group of portrait photographs I wasn’t sure what else to expect.   I visited on a grey and cold day in December 2016 and thankfully it wasn’t raining, nothing like a damp dog smell accompanying you to an exhibition.

Thankfully most places these days offer student discounts so I wander up to the ticket desk and present my credit card with my NUS card.  I would highly recommend attending in person to get your tickets as with most ticketed events these days if you buy online there is the admin charge to swallow.

Another note to mention is the accompanying book for the exhibition was available in the shop.   at £10 rather than the £15 cover price if bought elsewhere, so total savings for the day £6.  Good start.

The exhibition itself accompanies the annual photo prize which started in 1993 and is currently sponsored sponsored by Taylor Wessing LLP whom have done so for the last nine years.  The prize itself is a handsome £15,000, with second place £3,000 and third place £2,000.  In addition the John Kobal new work award is £5,000.

The winners this year were:

  • 1st Prize – Claudio Rasono for Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya [2]
  • 2nd Prize – Joni Sternbach for 16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell from the series Surfland[3]
  • 3rd Prize – Kovi Konowiecki for Tilly and Itty Beitar Illit, and Shimi Beitar Illit, from the series Bei Mir Bistu Shein[4]
  • John Kobal new work award – Josh Redman for Frances[5]

Winners were selected from 4,303 submitted entries from 1,8452 photographers in 61 countries.  I was a little surprised here as the numbers of submitted entries sounded low for such a prestigious completion and a large purse (compared against other competitions).

One of the striking aspects was seeing a portrait up close and larger than real life of the person, with the colours very vibrant and quality of the printed images exceptional.  the guide book is very useful but the prints in the exhibition need to be seen up close and personal.

I suppose a traditional take on a portrait is one of the sitter being posed in their natural environment, similar to those on the wall of the National Portrait Gallery itself.  My interpretation is very similar although my views are changing.  It is interesting to see in the exhibition  itself traditional portraits (such as Nigel Farage[6] and Simon Callow[7]), posing with his trademark cigar being shown alongside images that I wouldn’t normally consider a portrait such as those by Ebony Finck[8], Scott Thomas[9] and Katie Barlow[10] which I would consider  documentary in nature.  It’s good to see the judges have not stuck to a restrictive brief here and the exhibition itself I felt was very well curated.

What did I like, there are quite a few but I could babble on for pages so I’ll try and keep this short(ish)  I very much liked the black and white image by Fabio Forin[11]. The white shirt of his partner against the light sky and contrasted by the dark trousers of the dark grass and with the horizon line of the hill cutting through his waist his brilliant.  The image by Charlie Clift of Nigel Farage[6] was very well lit, the background and foreground contrasts nicely against the dark of the suit/white shirt.  Smoking a cigar sets him out to be a smug individual, (and taken at the time of the Brexit referendum he probably was) and I found that the eyes were not fully closed but enough to not allow a catchlight,  thus removing his soul. I’m a big fan of catchlights, they add to the image and draw you into the face.  Not entirely sure as to whether this was intentional or not but adds to soul of this image. Maria by Kelvin Murray [12] on first view looks like a woman on a mountainside in the alps, when you pay closer attention you will see the ripped wallpaper, climbing helmets and control buttons. As they say the devil is in the detail, nicely set up and captured.  The colour of the helmets link together with the guitar and the white wooden hanger ties in with the blouse, although they are not related in any way they feel together with the mountain range.

This exhibition is a must see and ends at the National Portrait Gallery[13] on 26th February 2017.   My thanks to Neil Evans of the National Portrait gallery for the very useful press pack.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[1]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 37–37)Karl Ohiri and Riika Kassinen – Boy Scout

[2]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 20–21) Claudio Rasano – Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya

[3]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 22–23)Joni Sternbach – 16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell from the series Surfland

[4]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 24–25) Loving Konowiecki – Shimi Beitar Illit – May 2016

[5]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 26–26) Josh Redman – Frances

[6]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 55–55)Charlie Clift – Nigel Farage smirking a cigar

[7]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 72–72) Andy Lo Po – Simon Callow

[8]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 67–67)Ebony Finck – Untitled #1

[9]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 41–41)Scott Thomas – Jet, Ironman Boy

[10]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 58–59)Katie Barlow – Pink Bobble hat & looking back

[11]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 63–63)“Fabio Forin – Wing” (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 63–63)

[12]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 52–52)Kelvin Murray – Maria

[13] Taylor Wessing at the National Portrait Gallery.  http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2016/exhibition/ accessed 19th February 2017

In Conversation – Taylor Wessing Exhibition

Sabina Jaskot-Gill in conversation with Christiane Monarchi and Kovi Konowiecki. 16th February 2017 7pm at the National Portrait Gallery.

I wanted to see this in conversation piece as I visited the exhibition [1] itself in December 2016.  So why did I want to attend this event?  I really enjoyed the exhibition and how it had been presented in quite a small space.  The variety of photographs and how they had been presented and the argument of what is a portrait, does it need to show a full face?  Can it be street photography, documentary, reportage or is a portrait purely an image where the subject or sitter has been posed in an environment controlled fully by the photographer to tell a story.  I also wanted to gleen some inside tips on how the judges approached the culling of 4,303 submitted images down to 100 for the show, was there a prescribed approach on what was acceptable, how were they filtered, categorised, were there any arguments during selection?

This was the first event of this kind that I had attended and being new to this and not wanting to miss out I was one of the first into the room and chose to sit at the front. The evening started at 7pm and the guests introduced by Sabrina Jaskot-Gill, Associate Curator of photography at the National Portrait Gallery.  Christiane Monarchi was one of the 6 panel judges and her experience is extensive (see link) [2], finally the 3rd place winner Kovi Konowiecki.

Submissions

Entries are submitted in printed form, each photographer can submit up to 6 images.  The images are in plastic sleeves and presented to the judging panel initially with only the title of the image.  Photographer details and any back story are not available to the judging panel.  It took the judges 2 days to complete the initial screening and it was interesting to note that Christiane preferred a longer title than ‘John’ as it gave more insight into the image and provided them with a story albeit partial.

Important things to note are that image quality, clarity, presentation (use good quality sleeves) and print quality are of the utmost importance.   If the focus is not on the eye or the print quality has fallen apart at a larger size, the colours aren’t accurate (greens are apparently of a particular problem in digital printing and can break apart) then the image will fail.

When I first visited the show it did occur to me that for such a prestigious show and prize there were only 4,303 submissions.  Sabina mentioned this may be opened up to digital submissions for 2017 and Christiane commented she had read this online aswell.  It was worthy to note another point is that images are seen by the panel in the order they are submitted, so first come first served.

Think about scale, larger print formats will look different than smaller ones.  It was clear from the show that the larger images created a bigger impact and draw the view in, on that note this also means print and image quality can be examined in greater detail.

Christiane made reference to the story a few times in the evening, it was clear that when reviewing images what is implied can lead to a discussion in the panel, what does the image show, what message is being conveyed.  Images should be in a series, that series should tell a story and be consistent (my words).  Again Christiane made comment on submissions being of different sizes, and even printed on different  papers which did nit help.

Discussion

To the left of the discussion panel was a very large screen in which the photographs of discussion points were displayed, the panel sat close together and each fitted with a microphone so they could be heard.  Sabine led the discussion well and with enthusiasm. I felt the overall presentation of the evening was well executed

I go back to quality for a moment, it was good to hear, but at the same time a little daunting, that Kovi had spent 2 whole weeks in the Printspace ensuring his images were perfect.  It was unclear as to how much this had cost overall but an important note for me to consider if I intend to submit images for this year’s completion and more importantly for my final year exhibition.

Kovi is Jewish and approached his local Rabbi in Long Beach as an inroad into the congregation, although initially they were hesitant Kovi was able to photograph the large extended family of the Rabbi.  His final image taken was of Shimi Beitar Illit [5]

kovi-konowiecki_-shimibeitar-illit-twppp

Shimi, Beitar Illit, ‘Bei Mir Bistu Shein’   ©Kovi Konowiecki

in the hat and afterwards Kovi directed Shimi to set up a self portrait of Kovi wearing the hat which not very many people have seen apparently. This series is titled Being mir bisto shein which is yiddish, ‘To me you are beautiful’.

It was nice to also see another series of images created by Kovi titled Delivering Flowers to grandpa Jack[3]which were created in Long beach using natural light and during the golden hour, something we don’t get a lot of here in London recently. I’ve included the link but will research them later.

There were some images submitted that had clearly not been posed, instances in time that had been captured such as the family on a park bench in Regent’s Park by Sarah Lee [7] and the series by Sian Davey titled Martha[8].

sarah-lee_-seye-miah-elijah-and-alexander_twpppSeye, Miah, Elijah and Alexander. Regent’s Park 2016.                                                 ©Sarah Leesian-davey_martha-_twpppsian-davey_martha-twppp

Both images above  – Martha ©Sian Davey

We could also look at a portrait of Mike Tyson created by Albert Watson, this has been posed and Mike Tyson[4] has sat for the image, it’s a portrait but does not show his face.

etienne-malapart_sleeping-worker

Sleeping worker.  ©Etienne Malapert

An image also selected by the judges from Etienne Malapert shows an image captured of a sleeping worker[6].  Not posed (the worker is asleep) face is visible but it has been included as a portrait.  Could these candid images be documentary or even street photography and does a portrait need to be planned and posed? The panel seem to be open on the interpretation here.

My sincere thanks to Neil Evans at the National Portrait Gallery for his kind assistance in sending me a press pack.  Images kindly reproduced with permission and copyright remains as stated under each image.

Bibliography

[1]National Portrait Gallery – Taylor Wessing Exhibition.  http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2016/exhibition/   – Accessed 16th February 2017

[2]National Portrait Gallery – In conversation with event.  http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/late-shift-1/in-conversation-16022017 – Accessed 16th February 2017

[3] Delivering flowers to Grandpa Jack http://www.kovikonowiecki.com/scenes-from-home#1 accessed 17th February 2017

[4] Mike Tyson by Albert Watson.  http://www.masteringphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/Watson.jpg accessed 19th February 2017.

[5] McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. Loving Konowiecki – Shimi Beitar Illit – May 2016 (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 25–25

[6]McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. Note (pp. 33 – 33): Etienne Malapart – sleeping worker March 2015 page 33

[7] McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 35–35)Note Sarah Lee – Seye, Miah, Elijah and Alexander, Regents Park June 2016

[8] McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. McClure and Cullinnan, 2016,(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 30–31): Sian Davey – Martha series