Navad Kander is a London based photographer, known for his portraiture and landscape work. His work is on display in some of England's most prestigious galleries such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The series by Kander that I will be looking at is called Half Life, where he enters the post - nuclear soviet city, Chernobyl. To mark its 20th anniversary since the explosion, Kander took a series of shots of the city once home to over 40,000 people, whom all had to be evacuated after reactor No.4 at Chernobyl's nuclear power station exploded making the city uninhabitable for many hundreds of years.
I like this picture the most by Kander i think he really captures the feeling you would have beeing in the completely empty city of Chernobyl. A swimming pool that would have once been filled with the noises of children playing, is now eerily silent. The children were amongst the worst affected at Chernobyl.
I took some pictures in response to Navad Kander's half life series, i looked at his use of : Perspective, pattern, layers, focus, contrast, negative space, texture, scale, colour, movement, tone and balance. Here is my outcome taken in the school's unused swimming pool. Although there is clearly not the same level of devastation, the school swimming pool still evokes ghosts of the past - once children swam in here - now it is filled with abandoned objects and rubbish.
Continuing on a theme of loss, decay and abandonment, I took a series of macro photographs using a Nikon 35mm-300mm lens. I am drawn to the idea of capturing something that lies behind the landscapes we think we know, capturing what lies beneath and what may have been abandoned or lost. In these photographs, nature has taken over and presents a surprising beauty in the decay. If the role of Photographers is to make us see the world differently. I am going to explore aspects of the city, few of us notice or pay attention to.
Extended light painting
During my walk around London I focused on the formal element, texture. I used a macro lens again - the Kikon 30mm -300mm to get the close up shots of the city. I like the textures, the sense of decay and intricate patterns that emerge from every day objects. I also enjoy drawing attention to aspects of the CIty Landscape that we might walk past hundreds of times in our lives and never stop to notice. The lense affords me a chance to bring these objects to the viewers attention.
David Hockney - Panography
Panorama photography or Panography is a technique where multi shot panorama photographs are made by shooting a series of overlapping images and then stitching them together by using software that can join the images seamlessly or by using a simple collage technique of overlaying images to create one bigger picture which can be done with prints and glue or in Photoshop. This is sometimes called panogarphic collage and it was used most famously by David Hockney. These pictures are generally made without serious effort to hide the joins. Shots may have different exposures and other settings. When Hockney first started working with panography he used many Polaroid images of one object and arranged them in a grid layout make one image of the object.
Hockney called his collages "joiners". There is a close link between Hockney's joiners and Cubism. Cubism is an Avant-Garde method of creating art. In Cubist Art works like Picasso's paintings or Hockney's photography, images are broken up, analyzed and reassembled in an abstract form. Instead of depicting objects from one view point the artist uses multiple view points. Hockney's photo collages mirror Cubism's introduction of three artistic elements to its work ie. layered time, space and narrative.
Here are some of my own attempts at Hockney's joiners
Elegant corrosion is a series, shot by Colin Winterbottom. It featured in an exhibition in Steamtown and is a series of Winterbottom's first colour and first fully digital series. It features close up macro shots of corrosion like rust, mould etc. almost all his work is influenced by a strong interest in lively textures. "Photographs with strong tactile quality – where by looking at the image the viewer may “feel” the texture with their eyes as though they were touching the subject itself", what i like the most about these pictures is the way that Winterbottom makes the viewer think about where the picture was taken, what it is and how it has formed like this
I also used a macro lens to capture london in the details, i will shoot common textures and also textures you have to look closely to notice, textures such as - corrosion, rust, pollution, vegetation. Keeping in mind colour and abstract patterns as well. I am happy with the pictures and i feel the pictures filled my intentions of capturing common city textures, the colour also came out well they where quite vibrant therefore didn't need much editing at all. On the other hand i think that i didn't capture the same sharp textures winterbottom did, i feel that, especially in the first two pictures by me, that the colours, textures and patterns are all a bit inconsistent giving the picture an unorganised feel. A lot of my pictures came out blurred, considering the lens has to be very close to the area i am trying to capture it is very hard to keep the camera still and not get any motion blur on the images, this could easily be fixed by using a tri-pod.
For this strand I went out and took pictures of some of the tallest buildings I could find in London, I took them at an extreme angle, getting as close to the building as i could and looking straight up. Doing this I think I managed to capture the emphasis of the incredible height of these buildings. I was disappointed in one aspect of the pictures I took, I think that they would have been better on a sunny day when the clouds have a more interesting pattern to them, due to limited time I couldn't avoid this.
Slinkachu and Ron Mueck - macro and giant - playing with size.
Between 2006 - 2010 Slinkachu created a series of street installations where he used detailed figurines only a couple of centimeters tall and put them in scenarios where they are pretending to be little people living in a big city, he explores the struggles and benefits of how it would be living in an oversize world. His work uses satire in the same way Jonathan swift did in Gulliver's travels in 1726, written as a satire on human nature and the politics of the age. Another contemporary artist working with the concept of size and well known for his super realistic sculptures Ron Mueck. Like Slinkachu he finds art in our ordinary lives and our simple bodies. He alters scale to raise the psychological impact of his art "i never made life sized figures because it never seemed to be interesting. We meet life sized people every day."
Working with the theme that something interesting might be said about London life by using small figures, I started to explore what could be said about family life in London by using small rigid plastic family in everyday situations that occur in my family. The scenes i created where teenage boy playing xbox, teenage boy coming home late, grandad with Alzheimer looking for his pyjamas in the fridge, mother overwhelmed with the amount of washing up she has to do, and father overwhelmed by giant cat mess, i began to see a theme emerge in the last three in which the three little people are overwhelmed by every day challenges, due to their size,in the same way we can all feel overwhelmed by the pressures of family life in the city
With the new figures i attempted to create a setting from a heist movie, like reservoir dogs.
I like the concept of this strand but i was restricted by the figures and what they could do. I managed to get a hold of some smaller figures which i could create better settings with. i landed on the idea of putting the new figures in classic movie settings.
I have chosen to develop the macro strand, I went out and took more pictures around london. I focussed on the the ideas of size, texture and decay.
Mathew Merretts Urban Decay photography finds art in the decaying abandoned factories. He is brilliant at making us pay attention to things we never notice. In these images, Merrett argues that Urban decay is part of the landscape of many cities around the globe; an outcome of de-industrialization, declining economies and changes in lifestyles. Although these areas seem inhospitable, Merretts fascinating, hauntingly beautiful photographs capture what was once vital and abundant before the developers move in and erase them. There is therefore a time cycle to his work - like an old master painting, he capture something that will soon be lost forever as these buildings will be transformed into something more 'acceptable' and 'beautiful' - and yet his pictures capture the beauty that is already there. I think his use of light has a lot to do with this, as the light pools on the wet floor, I am reminded of Dutch Old Masters' still life paintings like Rembrandt.
To develop my ideas further, I returned to Camden in London - an area of great contrast between urban decay and neglected areas and extreme urban wealth and took more macro photographs. Again, I went out to capture the gritty nature of the area, looking again at corrosion and looking at how the urban nature of the area has effected camden. But I also wanted to bring in something of light and the beauty of light.
Light and movement
My final exploration with Macro photography and light is with water. In areas of urban decay I found water - dirty, grimy, often smelly water from abandoned swimming pools to abandoned buildings. In the water is immense beauty and I wanted to capture that in the reflective surfaces found in water,