Just Alice.

'Art is not a thing; it is a way.'

These are some photographs from my study visit to London. I went to many different galleries to see different varieties of art. The most influential were exhibitions at: 'The Photographers Gallery' - The Deutsche Borse photography prize, 'Atlas Gallery' and The War Photographs of Robert Capa.

Both these exhibitions have influenced my project this year. They both showed different ways a photographer could create their imagery; whether they would travel to the scenes they wanted to document, or they would search the internet and ‘borrow’ images to give them new meanings. They were all so different but, combined, they all gave me new and exciting ideas regarding my own work.

 

Some of the photographs I took whilst on a study visit to Liverpool.

One of my main influences within photography is Martin Parr. I recently visited an exhibition of his at the ‘Walker Art Gallery’ in Liverpool titled ‘Every Man and Woman is a Star’. This exhibition did not present the images that Parr is most well known for, it showed his earlier work before he made his transition to colour photography. The images were very different to those in his series ‘The Last Resort’, they seemed to hold a lot more meaning and depression and this was reflected by his choice of using black and white. One image the really spoke to me was of an old lady sat drinking alone in a pub.
 The empty chairs surrounding her and her body language, finishing her drink and clutching her handbag, make you think she is in a hurry to leave. I then noticed the other drinks on the table, seemingly untouched, that make you question; had she been waiting for someone? Had she been stood up? Revisiting this image is what inspired me to work with black and white imagery myself, taking away the colour can be positive; it removes any distractions for the eye that the colour could create.

One of my main influences within photography is Martin Parr. I recently visited an exhibition of his at the ‘Walker Art Gallery’ in Liverpool titled ‘Every Man and Woman is a Star’. This exhibition did not present the images that Parr is most well known for, it showed his earlier work before he made his transition to colour photography. The images were very different to those in his series ‘The Last Resort’, they seemed to hold a lot more meaning and depression and this was reflected by his choice of using black and white. One image the really spoke to me was of an old lady sat drinking alone in a pub.

The empty chairs surrounding her and her body language, finishing her drink and clutching her handbag, make you think she is in a hurry to leave. I then noticed the other drinks on the table, seemingly untouched, that make you question; had she been waiting for someone? Had she been stood up? Revisiting this image is what inspired me to work with black and white imagery myself, taking away the colour can be positive; it removes any distractions for the eye that the colour could create.

Whilst visiting the ‘Look: Liverpool International Photography Festival’ this year I saw so many amazing exhibitions. Artists’ work from August Sanders, Weegee, Martin Parr, Tom Ford and many more. These are artists that every artist admires, their photographs defined what photography is today. Just to look at some of their photographs in the flesh abled me to take so much more from them than if I was seeing them in a book. 

Whilst visiting the ‘Look: Liverpool International Photography Festival’ this year I saw so many amazing exhibitions. Artists’ work from August Sanders, Weegee, Martin Parr, Tom Ford and many more. These are artists that every artist admires, their photographs defined what photography is today. Just to look at some of their photographs in the flesh abled me to take so much more from them than if I was seeing them in a book. 

I recently attended a talk hosted by the artist Rena Effendi at Impressions Gallery in Bradford. Here she talked about many of her photography projects, her inspirations and techniques. 
This was a hugely inspiring talk, I learnt a lot about different paths a photographer can take, what it is really like to be a photojournalist and new techniques that really help a photograph. 

Experience

I have visited many exhibitions this year to enrich my studies. I have travelled to London, Liverpool and West Yorkshire mainly to do so. See works of art in person and speaking to artists has proved to be very important in my project as I have gained a lot of inspiration doing so. 

Jo Spence is another artist that aimed to document and show another to something to shock her audience. Her photographs are very dramatic and are often staged with strong lighting, this, however, works perfectly alongside her ideas.Her photographs, like mine, can be very personal; she is very well known for her documentation of her struggles with cancer. This may seem a very strange thing to document for some people, however, speaking from experience with my project, I felt stronger and a lot more connected to my issues when documenting my subjects. I feared growing old and most of all, still felt very raw about the death of my Grandad, but by bringing him and his loved ones into my project I feel those fears and pain have been pushed aside. 

Jo Spence is another artist that aimed to document and show another to something to shock her audience. 
Her photographs are very dramatic and are often staged with strong lighting, this, however, works perfectly alongside her ideas.
Her photographs, like mine, can be very personal; she is very well known for her documentation of her struggles with cancer. This may seem a very strange thing to document for some people, however, speaking from experience with my project, I felt stronger and a lot more connected to my issues when documenting my subjects. I feared growing old and most of all, still felt very raw about the death of my Grandad, but by bringing him and his loved ones into my project I feel those fears and pain have been pushed aside. 

Fiona Larkin is an artist I know very little about. I was introduced to a new series she has created called ‘Backstory’. In this body of work Larkin responds to a character in a photograph, working with both fiction and documentary. 

I was drawn to her photograph (top) because it closely resembled one of my favourite images that I had taken (below). 

I enjoy learning about my subjects, making up names and scenarios as to why they may be where they are that day. Doing this helps me to connect to them better when presenting them and explaining my ideas. 
I personally like this image above that I had taken because of it’s strange angle; you can only see a profile of the man’s face. I think this cuts the audience off from the subject, making them seem even more isolated.

I would like to be able to see more of Larkin’s work in the future and learn more about it and her also. 

Nan Goldin, and American photographer, is very well known for her intimate portraits of people very close to her. She uses a diarist approach with her snap shot photographs. However, these are not snap shots that you would expect to find in a family album; she shows a different side to contemporary families. Look at themes of violence, drug abuse and arguments. 

I have always been inspired by Nan Goldin’s work; he photographs show a truth and something that we are shocked to see. 

I feel her work is connected to mine in that she is using almost like snap shot photographs to show the audience a side of everyday family life that they may be unaware of. 
Just like how we expect a certain side of the elderly, we expect photographs of our friends and family to show a happy side of life; a moment captured to be remembered. This is the complete opposite of Goldin’s work.

A photograph is only remembered when it shocks us and when we can bring our own personal experiences to it to create new meanings for ourselves. I feel both these things when viewing Goldin’s work. 

I loved photographing my Grandma and my great Aunty Mary. Whilst doing this I strangely felt closer to my Grandad. 

Every month all my two great Aunts, my Grandma and my great Uncle meat for lunch and a catch up. For some, this is the only thing they have to look forward to every month as they rarely get the chance to leave their homes. 

I joined the meal to catch up with my family myself but also to document the good times I know they have. They do not stop talking the whole time that they are there and are constantly happy, this is something I am very envious of. One of my Aunties in particular struggles to walk and is in and out of hospital a lot because of this, however, she is one of the happiest and cheerful people I know. 

I’m very partial to these photographs as I love my family and know them very well. However, to others are they mere snap shots?