Task 4 · Unit 57

4.2 – Evaluation

It is always important to evaluate all steps of a project and analyse the different ways you can improve on the next time you take on a creative project like the one I did as part of Unit 57. The main task was creating a series of photographs which we would submit to a magazine. We had to identify the type of magazine we think the content would be suitable for, accurately determine its target audience and then move onto the production of our own material. This consisted of brainstorming and creating mindmaps of our ideas as the first step. I had to evaluate my resources and skills available to me and think of an idea taking those factors into consideration. After coming up with the idea I was positive I wanted to and could create, I made a moodboard to illustrate this idea visually.

My initial idea was to take a series of statement pictures, each of them completely different in composition of shapes, objects and patterns, but having one thing in common: they all have a different theme colour assigned to them. So I chose to create images based on the following nine colours: red, pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, white, silver and black. This idea was heavily inspired by something I saw online a long time ago, which stated that ‘colour grouping’ objects is a great mind exercise for toddlers.

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The image (above)  that was attached to this article made me wonder about creating a stylised visual representation of this exercise through photography. The idea stayed in the back of my head for a while before I realised I could incorporate it through this Unit. But I didn’t just want my images to be a visually interesting combination of objects, shapes and colour variations. I also wanted each one of them to communicate a story. While planning this out I took into consideration each colour’s traditional meaning and added a layer of my own personality type interpretation. This created for an overall outcome of highly original and characterised images which still hold a firmly rooted place in traditional colour science.

I decided these images, which would have no clear subject other than their theme colour, would do well in a lifestyle magazine targeted at the teenage girl demographic. I thought they could be used as backgrounds for articles or in a spread about personality types, possibly even a personality quiz. I had seen similar images to my finished photographs in magazines like Seventeen, Teen Vogue and NYLON so I thought this would be the perfect platform for my work.

The effect I would hope my images would make on the target audience is to ponder their perception of self, to make them wonder about their own characteristics and the characteristics of others. I wanted to spark an awareness of the inner self which is defined by our material possessions. By representing inanimate objects I wanted to depict the bits and pieces of our personalities that slip out through the material.

I do feel compelled to mention that my final photographs include a bit of a darker edge, so they are a bit risky for publication in a teen magazine. What I mean by this is that I can totally see parents complaining to the magazine for publishing images which depict a book cover entitled ‘The Satanic Witch’, or showing BDSM collars as accessories for example. But as part of the target demographic I want to express that I firmly believe this darker edge just appeals to us more, as we like to feel a bit rebellious and reckless. Because of this I believe that my desired magazines would publish my work, because I have chosen publications that are known for constantly pushing the boundaries and being faithful to their young readers.

The creation process of the images included collecting and grouping the subject items in my room as I went along; I only had an initial basis of an idea of what I wanted to do for each colour and the rest was improvised, if you will. I then spent a bit of time busying myself with positioning the items onto the chosen background layer which matches the theme colour. My favourite part of this process was definitely the composition, placement and choosing the objects which I wanted to display, and I think this was my strongest technical suit. I do wish I had taken the time to get to know my DSLR camera a bit better and in turn enhance the quality of my photographs. I am always more focused on the ‘creative’ side of things instead of the technical but I’ve learned that you have to master the technical side of things if you want to give your creative side the right push.  Despite this I managed to bring my final series of photographs 99% close to my initial plans. I absolutely love the way they turned out and I would like to repeat this serial in the future, once I am more comfortable using a camera. Just as I had planned, the colours were so vibrant and the lighting was so good that there was no need to use an additional editing software. My peers agreed with me on this point, one of them commenting that his ‘favourite thing about them is the sheer uniqueness of the colours’. Another one of my peers, who are also the target audience of the magazines I would submit my photographs to, said ‘I see this being published for sure’, which really encouraged me and validated the pride I had initially felt about my work.

 

 

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Task 3 · Unit 57

3.4 – Final Magazine Images- A Study of Colour

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My final photograph series is a collection of images, each image focusing on a different colour and possessing a different theme, but still they have a common characteristic; they are all grouped up inanimate objects cluttered together to tell a certain story. The photographs were taken on a DSLR camera in an interior location using no additional lighting but the built in flash. They were created with the purpose of being submitted to and hopefully published in a lifestyle magazine targeted at teenagers. The way I would see them in such a publication would be as part of an editorial or spread within an article about certain life topics, such as social issues or personality types. Another use I see for these images would be for each individual photograph to be attached to a personality quiz result or a similar personality or psychology written piece. The images were captured in a way which represents a tacky and over-the-top aesthetic, but I find them very visually pleasing. The feedback I’ve gotten from my peers, who fit into the targeted age demographic of the magazines I would submit them to, were mostly positive, and each of the people who gave me feedback could find one specific photograph they relate to the most, which means my intentions of making the images relatable to the audience were successful.  Now I will go into each individual image and explain a bit of a backstory behind them.

 

RED – Red represents the love and romance layer of the series. It’s basis is a pair of vinyl records laid down onto a red velvet material. The records are Elvis Presley’s Christmas Album and Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon, both of these album covers have red coloured accents on their front artworks. The balance created by the positioning of these records is meant to represent the male and female sides of a romantic relationship. Since the image’s composition is divided by these two sides of the story, let’s look into the rest of the details that make up the story of this photograph. On each record there is a pair of red sunglasses, his and hers. The female side is also graced by a heart shaped pocket mirror and a crumpled up textile handkerchief with a red rose print, this implies heavy emotions which lead to a devastating end to the relationship. Near the top right side of the photograph a clear heart shaped bottle is placed and right below Lana Del Rey’s chin there is a vial of fake blood bought from a Halloween store. These two elements, along with the heart shaped mini tea candles, represent a dark and ominous twist to the romance, implying some kind of dark magic, perhaps a love potion or a blood spell. The mysticism of this is enhanced by the red perfume and red lipstick placed on the ‘male’ side, which signify the memories left by the woman. On the male side there is also a red lighter which represents the former flame of romance. The string of amusement park tickets is a souvenir of one of the couple’s dates, which is now just a nostalgic reminder of the failed relationship. I like this image because it is full of all kinds of emotions that are usually associated with the colour red: anger, rage, passion, love, bloodlust, revenge etc. This image definitely successfully manages to translate the message I had intended to communicate.

PURPLE-  Purple represents a career oriented young woman who has a bit of a rocky path with staying organised. The woman is trying to become a fashion designer, we see she has a love for accessories and clothes with the placement of the lilac French beret and deep purple clothing hanger. There is also a number of perfume bottles varying in size strewn across the entire frame of the image. The hardworking part of this woman’s personality is highlighted by the placement of the work folder file atop which lies a purple USB memory stick. Another indicator of the direction this photograph takes towards the fashion industry is the stylised doll which serves as an inspirational model to this young fashion designer. This woman clearly has class and status and she takes care of her appearance because we can see a pair of luxury sunglasses, many dark purple lipsticks and lipglosses, as well as a pari of nail varnishes. Traditionally purple represents royalty, power and class, which we have already established in the photograph, but it also represents magic and mysticism; this is where the image takes a bit of a darker turn, just like I’ve previously done in the RED photograph, I placed a large purple candle engraved with symbols and runes along with a clear spell bottle with a purple flower shaped cap lid. Maybe this young woman is using magic to further her career advancement as a fashion designer? It is all up to the beholder. Like many people who desperately attempt to keep themselves organised, this woman is under a lot of pain and a lot of stress, which is why she takes prescription pain killers, maybe she’s even abusing them, if you find yourself in this personality type you have the freedom of interpreting it however you like.

BLUE – represents the explorer or the adventurer personality type. This image’s composition was achieved by cropping the original because the original image had too much going on which took away from its narrative. In order to take back the direction I want the viewer to follow, and define the photograph more clearly, I decided to crop off bits of excess confusing information. The photograph is inspired and lead by Japanese imagery and culture; the front cover of the notebook which starts the photograph off on the far left is the famous Japanese painting ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’. The bottom right corner creates a balance in addition to this with a small jewellery box covered in embroidered satin depictions of Japan’s history. The reason this personality type is brought into association with exploring and travelling is that they have money both in cash and in a credit card ready to use and the have a festival bracelet meaning they like being outdoors and having fun. In my idea behind the photograph, the notebook is actually a travel diary of the person. I have not disregarded the traditional meaning of the colour blue: depth, sadness, intellect. I tried to capture the sadness with the placement of two pairs of false eyelashes. These are meant to represent shut eyelids, melancholically dreaming away of a different place.

PINK – presents a very childlike and girly result. The photograph is quite literally crowned with a costume tiara headband, reminiscing of a little girl’s childhood in which she would play dress up pretend to be a princess. The picture’s composition is also guarded by the blade of the hot pink kitchen knife on the top left, which is meant to ‘protect’ the innocence and dreaminess of the image. Indicating that this girl is of school age, there is a large pink calculator. Dental retainers are more common among children than adults, so the dental retainer place on the far right of the frame also gives an indicator to this person’s age/mental age. Every little girl’s dream is a Hello Kitty cellphone, which centers the photograph. Other items include a pink lipstick, a pink rattail comb, a rose shaped contact lense case, a toothbrush, a very girly, fluffy pen, a figurine of a fairy dressed in ashy pink, a container of rows upon rows of false eyelashes lined with pink packaging, a large hot pink candle and finally many small heart shaped tea candles. These image varies in tones and shades of the colour pink. It entails a consistent concept of youthful femininity and a state of childlike innocence unspoiled by outside influences.

WHITE- represents a woman struggling with body image and self perception, The two figurines of the female form; one being a miniature sculpture of the Greek goddess Aphrodite and the other being a Barbie doll clothing mannequin, present certain body and beauty ideals placed upon us by society, while the measuring tape which leads the narrative from left to right also indicates a collective consciousness about sizes and measurements. Between the two figurines there is a small ceramic pitcher with wings, which gives off an angelic aura to the image. The pitcher also serves as the middle which divides the photograph’s composition into two sides: the left, being the more archaic approach to beauty and the right being more modernised. The base of the composition sees the appearance of a 1) translucent white shell box, 2) a blister packaging of pills, and 3) a cafe issued tiny packet of artificial sweetener. These items have to do with 1) our human bone structure and health of our skeletal systems, which shells are a symbolism of, our bones suffer when we do not get enough nutrition, 2) the pills indicate the use of medication for altering one’s body, likely diet pills or some type of supplement, and 3) the personality type is so concerned with health and body image that they carry their own artificial sweetener with them in order to avoid the possibility of consuming real sugar. The last point is a metaphor for the way eating disorders and preoccupations with our physical appearance prevent us from enjoying life without fear.

SILVER – tells the story of a luxurious and rich woman who has an issue with addiction and sanity. She has a large and flashy silver jewellery box, indicating richness and power, next to which is a beautiful silver flask with engraved intricate floral designs, again indicating wealth and power, but this time also suggesting an addiction to alcohol.  At the base of the photograph’s composition there are other pieces of shiny jewellery which look dazzling and shine as they reflect the camera. The traditional meaning of the colour indicates an ornate, glamourous, graceful, sophisticated, and elegant personality, and that is definitely translated onto this photograph. The bottom left corner of the image also sees a pair of very sharp and very small scissors, predicting a fatal outcome to this dangerous behaviour.

BLACK – tells a mature and sensual story of a sexual relationship, heavily inspired by BDSM imagery. This can be seen with the placement of a lacy black bra, the number of choker collars, and the leather blindfold mask. This combination of items represents a deep and dark side of human desire. Leather is representing the most primal material in the photographs composition is meant to represent a wild, animalistic urge which defines the narrative. This directly clashes with the fragility of the lace lingerie. The sheer material is embroidered with a delicate and frail flower pattern which represents feminine sensuality. The image represents a woman’s preparation process before engaging in sexual roleplay; she paints her nails with the nail polish which roughly marks the center of the composition, she applies lipstick, she pins her hair up with the large hair clip protruding from the back etc. The woman keeps her anonymity by wearing sunglasses, and this mirrors the blindfold mask mentioned earlier as the both have the function of covering up the eyes, and both have a relation to personal intimacy: one by hiding the person from the world and the other by hiding the world from the person. This image is a feminine perspective on a deeply passionate and sinister connection.

 

Additionally the GREEN and ORANGE pieces which I have featured in the series do not have enough distinct personality of their own for me to analyse them in depth. They are a more common approach to the idea as they are more relatable, everyday concepts. The use of everyday objects such as books and pens give them a less specific message which means they allow room for a more loose interpretation.