Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The price of Happiness

This narrative is a visual story that communicates the way we used to live and how far we as a species have progressed and now heavily rely on technology in modern society.

The series of pictures depicts a woman living in harmony amongst nature and enjoying the natural habitat of planet earth. She lives in simple harmony with nature rejecting the materialistic possessions that have blighted modern society today.

Like our ancestors, she survives hunting for food, burning natural fuels to keep warm and to eat. Sheltering under trees and bathing in the rivers. If modern society continues on its current path of technological advancement consuming resources at an unsustainable rate, will the consequence bring us back to the life depicted in the pictures?

With the constant barrage of Hollywood blockbuster films depicting the end of the world by natural disasters, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters printed across the international media, could these events be a coincidental or are the disasters a warning to us?

When it comes to planet Earth, after all, human are the imperialists.
We have destroyed much of the natural habitat on our planet, we have poisoned the rivers and oceans, we have polluted the sky and burned up much of the planet’s natural resources.
In our quest for more energy, more consumption and more profit, we are destroying our own planet and destroying our own future in the process.

Modern society’s quest for more goods and increasing consumption is the main cause of global warming which has lead to many natural disasters.

Society is damaging the planet, polluting the earth with rubbish and speeding ahead with our self-proclaimed technological advances.

It is up to every individual not to be short sighted and to see the long-term effects of our actions. Society can change their behaviour but once the environment has changed it is irreversible.

Unfortunately, the developed world encourages capitalism by any means to make profit, whether moral or immoral and to return this value to its shareholders. In turn, society moves forward and feeds off the capitalist cycle of greed. People want possessions as they feel this will bring happiness. However, it is the creation and consumption of these possessions that destroys the earth.

Happiness can be a larger car (that consumes more fuel), to a larger house (that requires more material), to fast food for instant gratification, resulting in resources being consumed at an alarming rate.  Despite the quest for more possessions, or an upgrade of existing possessions, society will never be content with what they own because society will always want more.

The social life we have evolved into brings only temporary satisfaction. We work so hard towards achieving satisfaction or happiness which we only recognise through materialistic values, a form of success or popularity. This modern day process of life results in our failing to recognise who we are.

Where we should really look for happiness is in the appreciation of what is free: the beauty of the world, nature, the amazing human ability to create and the beauty of the relationships found in life.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Photography as visual communication and pre-visualisation

This extract could be an acknowledging message to non-photography orientated people or those who don't see us photographers as artists.
The message which proves how much effort needs a photographer put into a single image. it is true that many people don't see any kind of photography as an art and what they think is that anyone is capable of what we do.
Tim Walker, who took this image of Lily Cole in India 2005, sees photography as a dream state, a day dream of imagining, pre-visualisation, drawing sketches, literally way you get lost in your thoughts and see the pictures in front, which are not yet there.
That's right, so to press the little shinny button is not all what it takes!
New ideas must be born, only creative people with creative vision can do this. And so the ability to see unseen ( fashion photography), process which involves deep thoughts, familiarizing with new situation and mental understanding if trying to capture feelings.
In many aspect of photography we are digging into psychological state, observing people and problematic situations and only the way to capture them is to understand in deeper meaning.
Yeah, those aren't snapshots but a photographer who have to make it happen!
Here is the proof:
Tim Walker was travelling in India, when he came across a crumbling old palace. He took an image of this rusty staircase and on the way back to London had time to engage with ideas. He sketched over this image a girl standing in a long dress. The dress had to be made in the right colour to work with the location, to right length, to the right weight so it felt airy and light. The crew of 12 with trunks of clothes and heavy photographic equipment had to travel back to the location which involved planes and automobiles. London to Bombay to Rajasthan to Gujarat...and so on. Such a vast monumental production. And eventually the look has to look effortless and viewers would think that photographer simply came across the picture.
But he did not! He had to make it happen.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The reality of close-ups

In this photograph is Angelina Jolie in 2004, photographed by german photographer Martin Schoeller.
This image reveal the originality of Martin's work, the style that clearly illustrate a photographer's vision and intentions.
Martin photographed many different celebrities as well as ordinary people. Each of his photographs is taken close up, with a strong and uniform light, which gives a particular brilliance to the eyes but does nothing to hide any imperfections in the skin.
The frame barely contains the face with its gaze, making it appear powerful and mysterious.
The mothod Martin uses while photographing is that he just waits. He gives no instructions to the subject, other than simply to be in front of the lens, and he then waits for the moemnt when the mask falls and the true personality is revealed.
As noticable in this image, the result have a strong visual impact.
his method is ruthless: nothing is concealed, not a line, not a fold of skin.
Each face is stripped bare: reality is exposed.

This is what I consider to be Art Photography

The orignality of black and white, the magic of frozen moment capturing thousands of exploding droplets in a fraction of a second, creating this amazing image is what I consider artistic piece of work, being exhibited in the galleries and what I would frame and put on my wall of living room.
Andrew Zuckerman proves one thing in this photograph: Technical advances in photography have overtaken the power of the naked eye, and expanded the horizons of perception.
Andrew used a device which connected a light source to a microphone, the noise of the explosion would then activate the camera shutter.
The essential elements of the photograph are the black and white: the solidity of the background and the liquid immortalized in a single moment of movement and transformation.
Applying some of the strategies of viewing the photograph by Stephen Shore, the first that crossed my mind was: the time in which the photograph has been taken.
Looking at the image this is confusing. If I take into consideration that the first
high speed motion camera was used in the 1916, this would mean that the image could have been taken anytime from that year until now.
I assume that applying Shore's strategie wouldn't clarify my question in the case of this photograph and only thing which is clear enough to me is that Andrew Zuckerman not only froze a moment in time, but also eliminated any sense of time itself.

Copenhagen Marathon 2007

What an amazing shoot by photographer Erik Refner. Looking at the photography winners for year 2007 and the master pieces of photographs from different geners, this one just grabbed my attention and I wanted to find out not only about the technical qualities represented within the image but also about the event.
This piece of work is not just another piece of reportage, which was the main aim of photographer when he was taking this image, but it won the World Press Photo of the Year 2007.
Erik Refner certainly does have a knowledge about what it takes to make a powerful and meaningful photograph. It is not only photographer's ability to assess the journalistic potential of what he sees in front of him, and his decisions about the exquisite interplay of shapes and the light, where all contributes to a good photograph.
In the photograph we are witnessing all the mental and physical tension of the competitive situation.
Every time I look at the image, I try to picturise the technical part the photographer undertook. The source of light, position to the light, thus where the light is coming from. In this image my assumptions would be that the subject is lit by a strong flash against the backdrop.
The water has a strong sense of sudden release, like the feeling when you let go a breath that you have held for a long time. The light illuminates the exhaustion on the face and freezes every drop of water.
It is a fact that every image a photographer creates is two-dimensional, but some of them as the one I am showing here, are just so real that the feel of two-demension fade away and the viewer feels like he can step into the situation and be a part of it.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Way of looking at the Photographs

The meaning the viewer sees in this image can be effected by physical levels. By physical levels of viewing the photogrph we understand factors like, base of paper, emulsion of light-sensitive metallic salts, pigments or carbon. We can also look at staticness of the image which determines the experience of time in the photograph. Also colour contributes to how the viewer will understand the image. The colour of light and the colours of a culture or an age.
Another way of looking at this image is through Depictive Level, choosing a vantage point, frame, moment of exposure and space and so photographic vision.
We can look if the image is opaque or transparent ( transparent where the viewer is drawn into illusion through the surface)

Lets try and apply depictive levels to the image above, The Scene from a Kabuki play 1850.
We can notice the missing parts of objects beyond picture's edges, such as body of an angel in the upper right corner and another missing part in the lower right. It is obvious that the world is continuing behind the lines but it is the depictive level the photographer decides to accomplish to create visual relationship and depicting the world within its frame.
The surface of the photograph assists with its flatness and in this case we can't say that we are drawn into the image, therefore we would say is opaque.
In depictive levels the photographer decides, either consciously or automatically to arrange a photograph in terms of vantage point, frame, focus and time. If this is done effectively, it will certainly have an effect on the viewer.

Stephen Shore (2007), 2nd edn, The nature of the photographs, London-Phaidon Press Limited

Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

Breathtaking exhibition which was organized by Whitechapel Gallery was the one really worth seeing. Where Three Dreams Cross exhibition itself as a historical survey of culture and modernity through the eyes of photographers from the Indian subcontinent – photographers.
The work was separated into five themes: The Performance, The Portrait, The Family, The Body Politic and The Street ,works selected from last 150 years.
It appeared to me as the most popular work and included in both The Portrait and The Family section, were the intricate hand painted portraits of the last 19th century, portraits of families. These objects are beautiful in themselves, oranataly framed with their vibrant, unusual colourings.
The body Politic section included the work by Pablo Bartholomew, an arresting story of heroin addiction, Menem Wasif's on the effects of global warming in Bangladesh. In the same section of Politics, few key photography books displaly in glass cases.
Most of the photographs reveal the reality of everyday life, and the rich history of photographic portrait studios in India, with their elaborate backdrops and costumes.
The collection includes an absorbing shot of mother Teresa with her world weary, deeply lined face in her hands at her home in Kolkata, as well as images of Gandhi & Nehru throughout the Indian independence movement and the subsequent division of India and Pakistan. However, what the exhibition does best is to portray the similarity of humanity, despite cultural, religious and class divisions.

Robert Frank

Robert Frank was born in 1924 in Zurich, Switzerland but in the year 1947 he moved to the USA and began to shoot fashion stories for Harper's Bazaar.
As he traveled on the road around forty-eight states he captured in his photographs what he would call the crazy feeling of America, when the sun is hot on the streets and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral.
In 1955 he decided to change tack and take different path. He embarked on an epic two-year trip across America, passing throught big cities and small communities, watching crowds and recording the statues in town squares and travellers standing motionless as if to pose.
Frank's photographs are beautiful and intensely poetic. The book "The Americans" is the collection of photographs he took while travel and is the ultimate celebration of reportage photography, presented as series rather than as individual shots. Everyting about those photographs is American and everything is equally meaningful bacause the photographs are a testament to the very heart of the continent, which reveals itself only through fragments and only through the wonderstruck, sensitive gaze of a foreigner.
In 1960s Frank moved away from photography to concentrate on film, pocking up his camera again in the mid 1970s. In 1994 he donated the majority of his work to the National Gallery of Art in Washington,DC.

Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin was born in Washington in 1953.
She's an artist obsessed with taking control of her own personal history, reflecting her life through the themes such as passionate loves, tragic losses –her sister’s early suicide, drug addiction, all this have a powerful impact on her images.
Among Goldin's greatest strengths is her use of color as a catalyst for amplifying the emotional tenor of the moment. In one of her better-known images, Nan and Brian in Bed, NYC, 1983, the scene is suffused with a crepuscular orange glow that probably captures the lugubrious mood of a dying relationship. Brian, her lover at the time, sits naked on the edge of the bed, smoking a cigarette; Goldin lies behind him, her face an ambivalent mixture of affection, vulnerability and weariness. The relationship ended in a storm of abusive violence.
Goldin's life did not seem to change to better and it seem to me as she substituted her family, which she left when she was 13 years old, for the relationships involved with drugs, sex and violence.
No doubts Goldin is one of the well known artists photographers. Still it makes me question the seriousness of her work and the reall commitment to produce meaningful stories under drug addiction. Was there an attempt to communicate something or coincidencal snapshooting as she in the end stated her self:My work originally came from the snapshot aesthetic...
That was just a thought, personally I see her work extraordinary, effective and powerful.

Stephen Shore

Was born in New York City in 1947. At the young age 17 he was already photographing artists and at the age of 23, Shore became first living photographer to have show of his artistic vision at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Shore’s interest in country photography shows in projects such as “on the road” where he photographs American and Canadians landscapes. Exploring difference in landscapes he came up with the idea to photograph them in colour which form he considered as work of art.
Shore devoted his life to photography by teaching photography at Bard College and exploring ways of understanding and looking at all types of photographs. In his book The Nature of Photographs he demonstrate how the world in front of the camera transforms into a photograph within Physical, Depictive and Mental Level.
In the image from El Paso Street, Texas, 1975 he gives the consideration to depictive level, in which the photographer starts with the messiness of the world and selects a picture. Looking at this photograph we know that the objects in the image continue beyond the edges, but it is the depictive level within the frame that depicts the world and stillness of El Paso Street.

Stephen Shore (1970), 2nd edn, The Nature of Photographs, London-Phaidon Press Limited


Modernism is generally used as a way of referring to an aesthetic approach
dominant in European and American art and literature in the Twentieth Century
The Modernity can be explained as the development of science, philosophy, and art.
The Artistic culture is moved forward by source of contradiction or critique.
The Postmodernism is best understood as part of cultural shifts in science, philosophy and art, characterized as a critique of Modernism.
It is Postmodernism where the object drops out of the structuralist analysis and we are left with the signs and its two remaining aspects: Signifier (the physical form) and Signified (what it refers to). The relationship between Signifier and Signified creates meaning in the art form (Semiotics) .

Comparing the two Modernism and Postmodernism in the meaning of art, I see modernism as the period more a producer of art objects than in postmodernism where the art becomes a manipulation of signs.
In the image above, Marcel Duchamp produced the art in the form of sculpture from urinal, and signed it under the name of Richard Mutt the name he was using as alias. Duchamp turned this art work called fountain into a test for the society.
In postmodern photography the fundamental part is perspective and interpretation. There is no measuring stick for things like beauty and horror, and if something is beautiful to one person and hideous to another, neither person is wrong in his or her interpretation.

Friday, 21 May 2010


Feminism The term “feminism” usually refers in its most general sense to political activism by woman on behalf of women. Feminist may have become familiar with the term through the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s use of it in The Second Sex. However beyond the general description of defending the cause of women, the meaning of feminism has never been historically fixed. Meaning of feminism have shifted across time and space and have often been the subject of intense debate, both by those who have used the term proudly and by those who question its usefulness. Feminism involves the implicit claim that the prevailing conditions under which women live are unjust and must be changed. Historical agents, e.g. women in their theory support arguments to their particular demands for change and so improving women’s lives. This makes me wonder, if the feminism theories will apply to Muslim women one day and they perception to those acts for their future in Islamic environment. And how about rights of westerner women, marrying Muslim husbands ending up obeying their rules against their will once they visit their husband’s home country? Should not we develop a new theory which would protect the women in multicultural marriage?

Talking about feminism I have to mention Julia Kristeva, who has been an important figure in discussions surrounding feminism for the past two decades, her theories have been used to opposite ends by various theorists. Kristva’s theory suggest cause of possible solutions to women’s in Western culture and setting up the framework for feminist rethinking of politics end ethics.

Gloria Watkins(2000) , Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center,2nd edn., Cambridge: South

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