Competition 4 – Lenscratch

The fourth competition I am looking at is a student competition with Lenscratch, an online photography blog .

The prize is in $ and allows for the free upload of 15 images, I need to write a third person biography to enter this one and the deadline is 28th of may so this will be completed in the next week after the hand in deadline. I also need to confirm that this is open to international students and not just those based in USA.

I will either enter my bod of work from my most recent project or I will use the series I had created for last years Final Major Project.

Exhibition Layout Test

Once my wallpaper had arrived I took it to a fellow students place to test my layout in a large enough space and also get feedback.

My first disappointment came when I realised I had made a mistake in ordering my wallpaper. When looking at the mock up images on the web site I had not take in to consideration they were based on more than one roll per wall, what this meant is that I have ordered the print too large, so I have lost a little of the desired kaleidoscope effect, I do still have the mirrored effect repeated does each sheet and the abstract nature is still very present.

Then on to my table mats, I am really pleased with the print quality of these, they have a lovely glossy finish and the images are still as vibrant as they would appear on my screen. I did order two more from the company after I had received them because I wasn’t completely happy with the frozen junk food images. I felt these were not as strong as perhaps just the cropped images were. Also because the kiwi wasn’t frozen it became the odd one out in the set. With the unfrozen junk food images the set becomes much stronger.

After some discussion and suggestion from Sam, we rearranged the layout into two sets of five images, Five Healthy and Five Junk, This strengthened both sets and gives the layout a more coherent flow. Before we had come to this conclusion I was feeling happy with the junk food images, in comparison to the colourful healthy images they are bland and less exciting. However as a set in their own right they become much stronger and interesting.

 

This layout is the one I am likely to use for the exhibition.

A close up of the mats on the wallpaper, I am really pleased with the vibrance and contrast of the wallpaper and mats together.

Final Image Choices

The images below are my final image choices, I feel of all I have taken and edited these are the strongest. They are bold, vibrant and interesting, There is a variation of those that are just close cropped and those that have the added depth of being frozen in water. I feel the highlights and shadows provide enough of a contrast, the images are successful in their abstract nature.

3 of the chosen images will be used to print on wallpaper, the others will be printed on table mats.

Sprout & Orange Frozen From Shoot 3 – Table Mat

Pineapple Frozen From Shoot 3 – Table Mat

Orange in Beetroot Water Frozen  From Shoot 4 – Table Mat

Kiwi in Water From Test Shoot – Table Mat (This made my final edit because I really like the softness that was created by shooting it in water and the colours and textures are really bold.

Fried Chicken Frozen From Shoot 3 – Table Mat

Fish Finger Frozen From Shoot 3 – Table Mat

Egg From Shoot 1 – Wallpaper

Beetroot Frozen From Shoot 4 – Wallpaper

Cabbage & Egg Frozen From Shoot 1 – Table Mat

Cabbage Frozen From Shoot 1 – Table Mat

Fried Chicken From Shoot 2 – Table Mat (Back Up)

Fish Finger From Shoot 2 – Table Mat (Back Up)

Exhibition Ideas

Below are the various sketches and ideas that came up for exhibiting my work. My thinking behind these was that I wanted to produce something different, but also something that would add to the abstract nature of the project. In order to really put this message across I didn’t feel that traditional photographic exhibition methods would be suited. Obviously factors that come in to my decision making would be cost, reality of being able to complete the desired finish in the given time.

This first sketch was my fit real fixed idea, I held on to this for a while. It would have included prints in acrylic frames, warped in some way before hanging and then hung in a grid like fashion, with colour , texture and flow being the key things that helped with the flow .

When discussing this with Diane she pointed out other ides to me that she had seen previously and equally could have worked with my project.

Another Idea I had had was to print the images and wrap them inside are food jars and perhaps displayed on shelves. This led on to thinking about having clear acrylic boxes attached to the wall, with the image distorted within the box. £D printing was also a consideration and I did do a little looking in to this, however I don’t think it would be possible to achieve the finish that would suit my project. Also it is a costly exercise.

After an email Matt MacPake sent with a company offering discount for University of Hertfordshire students to print on fabric or wallpaper, I started to think about the possibility of printing on wallpaper. This would give my work a different scale that had been previously mentioned but I could now really put it in to practice. It would also give me the opportunity to repeat the image several times in one print,  like those I had been influenced by when doing my research. I would look to combine this with the hanging acrylic boxes, giving more layers of distortion and my whole exhibition an abstract feel.

To back up the acrylic box plan I saw this at the Wolfgang Tilmans Exhibition

Wolfgang Tillmans Exhibition at The Tate Modern

Another idea that came to me as I was producing my work was to print on coasters or table mats, The table mats really stuck out as an ice because they share a relevance to the food element of my project. It is also something very different but made sense to compliment the wallpaper. I considered how I would hang these and after discussions with friends and family who suggested cutlery would look good hung along side the images I figured there may be some way of using bent forks as picture hangings.

For a time I was left torn between the last two options.

Further research into exhibiting was looking up suppliers, costs and doing a mock up of how things might look .

All the images above are screenshots from Fashion Formula trying to work out what pattern would work best with my images on the wallpaper.

This is a screen shot looking in to the acrylic cases, I would need to order 3 of these. If I went for this option I would need to look at prints also so that bumps the cost up. I looked at options for printing on acrylic and then also alternative would be to hang acrylic frames and standard gloss prints.

Costings for fine art prints with DS Colour Labs whom I have used for previous prints.

Cost for Acrylic Panels with DS Colour Labs.

Prices for standard acrylic frames from Amazon.

Further Artist Research and Influence

Crystal Cartier (Crystalcartierphotography.com, 2017)

This image is of an apple, but because there is a layer of painted brushstrokes that look a little like ice it distorts the image enough that the viewer has to think about what they are seeing. The lighting os from the right and side, from a slightly elevated angle. The distortion for this image makes it attractive to me. I really like Cartiers work, and follow on social media.

Alexander Voss (Voss-photography.com, 2017)

I found this image after I had taken the image of the Kiwi, I was searching for still life photographers that work with food in an abstract way. This image really stands out to me because if the similarity to my own but more because of the vibrance of it, it looks like a sun rise or sunset the way the light and shadow lines in the fruit are exaggerated. Voss has similar abstract images that I like and I will look closer at his work to see what direction he takes it and the clients he is working with.

Josh Caudwell (JOSH CAUDWELL •• Still Life Photographer In London •• product photography for Makeup, Watches, Perfume, Fashion, 2017)

Caudwells work stood out to me because the chocolate shares similarities to my splattered fruit and make up smudge images I produced for my portfolio work. He work with a lot of well known clients and is an example of the way I could head with my own work one day. Whilst I still have a way to go this is definitely a source of inspiration.

References:

JOSH CAUDWELL •• Still Life Photographer In London •• product photography for Makeup, Watches, Perfume, Fashion. (2017). Food. [online] Available at: https://www.joshcaudwell.com/food/ [Accessed 21 Jan. 2017].

Crystalcartierphotography.com. (2017). fine art : Food Lifestyle Photographer Crystal Cartier BLOG. [online] Available at: http://crystalcartierphotography.com/blog/tag/fine-art/ [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].

Voss-photography.com. (2017). Creative Food Photography: Kiwi Fruit | Alexander Voss, Berlin | Fine Art Fotografie | Digital & Analog. [online] Available at: http://voss-photography.com/creative-food-photography-kiwi/?lang=en [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].

Shoot 2

For the second shoot I continued along the same theme as with shoot 1. The frozen cabbage had worked well, with the colour and detail of the egg being quite striking. Since the first shoot the Egg had been frozen in a dish of water to see if there was a differed distortion to be obtained. I also worked with fish fingers and a well known brand of fried chicken, both fried in a previously used, greasy pan. I also resorted to a trick that food photographers often use of painting oil onto the food, quite a heavy coat to give the look of moisture and help reflect light. I worked again with bubble wrap to add a different layer of distortion.

I worked on a small infinity table that was lit from beneath with a continuous light. Using two Canon speedlites mounted on tripods either side of the table. This gave me the  light reflections I was looking for. After lots of trial and error in my testing I feel this lighting set up worked well and achieved my desired goal.

Equipment:

  • Canon650D
  • Canon 60mm Macro Lens f.2.8
  • Tripods x3
  • Canon Speedlite 320EX
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX II
  • Continuous photo lamp
  • Small Infinity table

  

Contact Sheets

Above are the contact sheets for the shoot, these are marked up with images chosen for editing. Though they are marked up here the process for me actually takes place in lightroom.

At this stage what I am looking for is a strong image with regard to lighting, contrast, detail and composition that I can work with as they are going to be cropped losing much space on the outer edges of the image.

Above are the edited versions of the selected images, The ones I feel are stronger are the whole fish finger, the whole piece of chicken and then the very close crops of these so that the viewer has to think about what they are seeing. At first look it is not obvious. The images with the bubble wrap didn’t work so well, firstly they add a grey colour that is not pleasing to the overall finish, also I am not sure that I can justify it as a layer of distortion as they are not related in a way that explains or adds to my project.

The two images displayed above are selected over the others, the fish fingers were cropped and rotated so that the line was on a diagonal, by cropping in the detail, moisture and highlights make more of an impact. By rotation I feel it distracts the viewer from thinking they are fish fingers, which would often be photographed and displayed in their straight lines. The second image is that of the Fried Chicken, again because of the crop I don’t feel it is obvious that it is a piece of fried chicken, the moisture and detail along with the contrast make the image stand out. Personally when I look at them they don’t make me want to eat them so I feel I achieved the desired effect here.

Shoot 1

The first shoot I worked with a red cabbage and a fried egg. I had frozen the red cabbage in a dish of water for several weeks giving it the abstract distortion I was looking for. The Egg I had fried in a very dirty pan with the desire to create an image that does not fill the viewer with desire for the egg.

I worked on a small infinity table that was lit from beneath with a continuous light. Using two Canon speedlites mounted on tripods either side of the table. This gave me the  light reflections I was looking for. After lots of trial and error in my testing I feel this lighting set up worked well and achieved my desired goal.

Equipment:

  • Canon650D
  • Canon 60mm Macro Lens f.2.8
  • Tripods x3
  • Canon Speedlite 320EX
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX II
  • Continuous photo lamp
  • Small Infinity table

Phone snap shot of equipment set up for shoots.

 

Contact sheets from shoot pre edit, with red circles highlighting chosen workable images.

The selected images with some adjustments made in lightroom,

  • Highlights – Increased
  • Shadows – Increased
  • Whites – Increased
  • Blacks – Decreased
  • Saturation – Increased

There were some of the images of the egg that I shot with bubble wrap as a distortion. This was inspired by an image I had seen in a chat with Diane after one of our lectures. She had a booklet of postcard images with her to show us a way of producing a brochure for our exhibition and this was an image that was included in the brochure.

 

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The three images above made the final selection of edits at this stage and were all cropped in lightroom and then resized for consistency in photoshop. Each image in this selection has achieved what I wanted to with a vibrance of colour, an abstract form because of the crop and the ice in the images with the cabbage. The detail and close crop of the egg goes it a different form to the usually image of an egg, the highlights and detail and texture to the image.

This is a screen shot of the images uploaded to a student peer Facebook group. I shared in the group to obtain feedback on the images, and I really liked how they were presented in this grid style on the Facebook page, starting my exhibition inspirations.

Feedback

  • Bubble wrap doesn’t really work
  • The colour and detail of the cabbage are good, can’t really tell what it is
  • The black bits on the egg look like seasoning
  • Colour and crop work nicely