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Informing Contexts - Stepping Out Of The Shadows


So having made the conscious decision to focus this module's work on still life I had the opportunity to share my portfolio with with Natashia Cristia. Natashia is an unaffiliated curator, writer and educator. She is also a collection consultant and a dealer specialized in fine art photography and photobooks. Given her background in fine art photography and phonebooks, an avenue I am keen to explore in the coming modules, I felt Natasha was a perfect external source of feedback for me. I literally was able to bring my still life out of the shadows of my Falmouth work in progress.



The above short presentation is the accumulation of this work to date, and is the eleven images that I felt gave the best representation of my work. Whilst the overriding theme is to bring messages and symbolism through still life I have also focused on creating additional tryptich from macro shots of the scene and adding prose to guide the viewer in what I, as the author, want them to see.


Natasha gave me positive feedback on the work and overall was impressed with my step across into still life photography, a genre that as she says, 'is not as easy as it looks'. She was however also able to give me some direct observations of my work and thoughts on how to develop this portfolio.


The first of these was my use of text, which she personally does not like when viewing images. She stressed this was a personal opinion but I know I need to think further about this element of my work. Following feedback from my tutor, Sarah Hayes, I had already reduced the font size so that the images took precedence on the page but I know the use of text will always please some and frustrate others. I guess this is the beauty of photography's subjectivity. My aim in the coming weeks will be to explore this element further. I also think that as my ultimate aim would be to display this work in a book or zine then I need to now find a way to display this work in a 'digital book form' so that the words are seen in their proper context rather than just sitting next to the triptych on the powerpoint slide.


Natasha also felt that whilst the triptych idea works I do need to be careful in terms of the tones of these versus the main shot, as there are some differences that are evident. Again this is really useful feedback. The challenge that I face here is that I am deliberately shooting the macro shots in a different way to the main photos. For a start they are being shot on a different lens, i.e. a 105mm macro vs 35mm and under different lighting conditions. Shooting under the same conditions will prove difficult given that many of the main photos are 30 second plus exposures with images sculptured by the use of a torch. However I am mindful that I need to work on the tonality of the three macro's to at least either match the main photo, or match all the other triptychs.


I was also given constructive feedback on a number of the specific images, where Natasha felt that they did not currently work so well in the final body of work. She felt that they had an uncomfortable relationship with the background and that as a result the background was too dominant. She has encouraged me to explore other backgrounds and I therefore intend to revisit both of these shots and look at reshooting them under new conditions to compare the results. These images are 'Fragmented' and 'Honesty' in the above presentation.


Natasha also gave me some excellent ideas for source material going forward with my research, including 'When Strawberries Will Grow on Trees, I Will Kiss U' by Nicolas Polli and also encouraged me to look further into the new objectivity in photography that emerged in Germany in the 1920s. I will be following both of these up in the coming weeks.


Reference


Image

Steve Rabone - Solitude - 2021


Presentation

Steve Rabone - Still Moments - Informing Contexts Work In Progress March 2021


Book

Tipi Photo Bookshop. (n.d.). When Strawberries Will Grow on Trees, I Will Kiss U by Nicolas Polli. [online] Available at: https://tipi-bookshop.be/shop/when-strawberries-will-grow-on-trees-by-nicolas-polli/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2021].

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