Archive for January, 2014

Photo Book – My Book

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Photo Book

For instructions on how I created the actual book, see my post on the Japanese Stab Stitch tutorial.

This post is more about what images I used and what I did to edit them into the actual pages for my book.

For starters, I decided on ten words to make signs of. I then took the following shots:

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In my previous test shots (viewable in another post), I was positioned too far to the right. This time, I’m more centred in order to get the arm to pass over into the next page, once the book is made. I then converted each shot into black and white in photoshop (CMD + ALT + SHIFT + B). I choose ‘Darker’ in the drop box, because I wanted my shots to be very dark and grim. That’s what my emotions are at times and that was what I wanted to express in this book.

I then changed the size (CMD + ALT + I) to match the layout I previously made in Photoshop. I had to cut the images in half, at a size of 12.86cm width by 17.01cm height, because when you use a Japanese Stab Stitch method for your book the halves of your image are on separate pages. This is what an image looked like after that:

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I then added these images into the template I had created in Photoshop.

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I did this for each and every page, got the images printed, made the book according to the method posted on my blog before and the result was this:

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I’m happy with how it turned out eventually. It’s not perfect perhaps, but I don’t feel something as home-made as this should be perfect. There’s the image of me with the word and then the images on the opposite page to go with the word. Altogether it tells the story I wanted it to tell, but in case people wondered what I was trying to do with it, I put a little text at the end of the book, which explains the full story. It definitely wasn’t easy to make, but all the more satisfying when I did it.

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Gillian Wearing OBE RA is an English conceptual artist. She was born in 1963 in Birmingham.

The reason I had a look at Gillian is because in the early 1990’s, she started opening exhibitions that contained images of complete strangers that held up pieces of paper with messages on it. This kind of matches what I’m doing, although I’m using myself instead of strangers.

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According to Wearing, she “wanted people to feel protected when they talked about certain things in their life that they wouldn’t want the public that knows them to know. I can understand that sort of holding on to things—it’s kind of part of British society to hold things in. I always think of Britain as being a place where you’re meant to keep your secrets—you should never tell your neighbors or tell anyone. Things are changing now, because the culture’s changed and the Internet has brought people out. We have Facebook and Twitter where people tell you small details of their life.”

The pain and problems I have due to my disability usually isn’t something I like talking about, unless someone asks or they’re people I’m close to. In a way, I’m keeping these issues a secret too. The people in Wearing’s shots, unexpectedly, started writing rather personal things on their signs. That, again, is very similar to the idea behind my project. The difference is that, rather than writing a message, I am only using one word each time. The ‘message’ comes from the images that go with the shots, in my case.

I really like her ‘Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say’ series. Some of the messages are really personal, which isn’t at all what you’d expect when you ask someone to write something on a piece of paper. This, in turn, makes the images very personal.

 

Sources:

http://brooklynrail.org/2012/09/art/gillian-wearing-with-william-corwin

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-im-desperate-p78348

Landscape Module – Final Images

Posted: January 22, 2014 in Landscape
Tags: ,

The following images are a selection of 12 shots that could be part of my final submission. As said before, the idea was to try and shoot the British landscape and show it in a way that resembles my thoughts from years ago, when I still lived in The Netherlands. To be honest, the way I thought about the British landscape was quite accurate. There are indeed beautiful hills, stone walls, large fields and lots of green. It was quite nice to shoot a real, proper traditional landscape. Normally I’d try and do something different, to actually make it less traditional and less cliché. So it was a different kind of shoot to what I would normally do. Unfortunately, I can only submit 10 images, so I’ve got some considering to do.

For this shoot, I planned to visit the Holmfirth area in West-Yorkshire, UK. I knew that I would be able to find the type of landscape there that I was looking for.

Equipment:

– Canon 550D camera

– Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens

– Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens

– Tripod

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I decided to try my luck and create a Japanese stab stitch book. This is a bit more tricky than the concertina book, but also more fun to make. The stitching is rather complicated, but I’ll do my best to show how it’s done. Please don’t have a go at my drawing skills!

For this, you’ll need:

– A ruler

– A Stanley knife or scalpel

– A pair of scissors

– Grey Board Card

– Paper

– Card

– Wallpaper, book cloth, leather or anything else you would want to cover your book with

– A hole punching awl tool (or a fine drill if the paper is too thick)

– A needle and cross stitch thread in the colour of your preference

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In my case, I decided to go for A4 sized paper, which will end up being an A5 sized book. With this method, because you’ll be folding the paper down the middle, you have to remember that the left side of your A4 paper will be the right part of image 1, whereas the right side of your paper will end up being the left side of image 2 on the other side. So you basically have to cut your images in half.

Keep in mind that the closed side of the folded paper will be right side of your book. In other words, when you turn a page, you’ll actually be turning the fold. The open part of the folded paper will be in the spine of the book.

Once you’ve figured out in Adobe Photoshop or any other editing program which way and order to put the image halves in, you can then get the pages printed and start folding your stack of paper.

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You then take some grey board card ( a hard grey cardboard type) and cut out two pieces, slightly larger on all sides than the A5 size your pages are now. I would go for a margin of around 0.5 to 1cm. This will end up being the cover of your book.

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For my book, I created a cover with a flap. To do this, you take your two pieces of grey board card and cut out a thin strip on one side. In my case, I measured 2cm from the edge and then measured a strip of 1cm width to cut out. The end result looking like the drawing above.

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Because I wanted to keep the home-made feel to my book, I used wallpaper again (just like the concertina book). Place your small and large bit of grey card on the wallpaper and cut out two pieces of around 3cm larger on all sides. This will be what creates the outside ‘look’ of your book.

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When you’ve cut your two pieces, place the grey board in the middle of it, making sure you’ve left the 1cm strip in between the two pieces. After that, cut the corners off in the way shown in the drawing. Make sure you don’t cut it right up against the grey board, as you need to take the thickness of the board into account. So leave a little room. The rule of thumb is usually to simply leave a space the size of the thickness of the board.

Once you’ve cut all the corners, fold the flaps around the board. Make sure you do it nice and tight.

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When done, you should have your two covers. As you can see in the drawing, it works as a flap because of the space we left in between the two pieces of grey board.

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Now take both covers and place your folded paper stack in between. It is critical that your pages are absolutely straight and perfectly lined up with each other.

I actually used some DIY clamps to make sure nothing moved.

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Now it’s time to make the holes in the spine of the book, ready for stitching. You can create a template or you can just draw your markers on the book itself. Whatever method you use, make sure the holes are evenly spaced and start around 2cm from the top and bottom. Also make sure the holes are in the middle of the thin spine we created and penetrate the full stack of paper.

Once you’ve measured where you want your holes to be, use the awl tool or a drill (of the paper stack is too thick for the awl tool) to make the holes in the spine. Do this VERY carefully, because you don’t want to rip anything.

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Now, take your thread and enter the hole (closest to the top or bottom, to make it easier, unlike my drawing suggests) from the middle of the paper stack. Pull the thread until you have about 10cm left, which we’ll leave in the middle of the book for now.

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Now comes the hard part: The stitching. The following example is for when you have four holes. Pull the thread tight after each step.

  1. The first step is to go in from the middle of the paper stack, come out the first hole on the bottom.
  2. Go around the spine and back into the same hole again.
  3. When you come out, take the thread over the corner (so not the spine, but the top or bottom corner, depending where you started) and go back into the same hole once more.
  4. When your needle comes out on the bottom, take it over to the next hole.
  5. Come out the top and go around the spine again and back through the same hole.
  6. Come out the top again and take it to the next hole.
  7. When your needle comes out the bottom, take it around the spine again and back through the same hole.
  8. When your needle comes out the bottom, take it over to the next hole.
  9. Come out the top and go around the spine again and back through the same hole.
  10. Come out the top once more and take the thread over the corner again, just like we did at the start. Then take it through the same hole again.
  11. Come out the top and to the next hole.
  12. Come out the bottom and to the next hole.
  13. Come out on the top and go into the hole we started. Now comes the tricky bit. When we go back into the hole, we have to try and get our thread to come out halfway in the stack of paper. In the exact spot where we went in and left the 10cm of thread.

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When we have managed to pull the needle through and out the middle of the book, we need to tie a good knot in the two pieces of thread we have now got left and tighten it into the spine. This will ensure the knot won’t be visible when we open the book to read it. After tying the knot, cut off the excess thread and push the knot into the spine.

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Once everything is tightened up and knotted, the end result should look like the drawing above. The following pictures are of the first test book I created with the help of my tutor.

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As part of my research as to what type of book to create for this module, I’ve decided to make my own concertina style book from A4 printing paper, cardboard and some left over wallpaper.

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Take some A4 sized paper (or other size, depending on how big you want your book to be) and print rows of images of the same size and at exactly the same distance, on both sides. You can also print some images later and glue them on, which is what I did in this case. It gives it an even more home-made look. Then, cut the strips out. Make sure you leave an extra bit at the end in case you want to extend your concertina. You can then glue the end onto the next strip and make it as long as you would want.

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Fold the strips of images in a zig-zag way, making sure the folds are nice and neat. If the folds aren’t exactly the same each time, your concertina will end up looking a bit wonky.

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Take some grey board (the hard grey cardboard stuff) and cut out two pieces, both slightly bigger on all sides than your folded up strip of images. This will become the outside cover of your book.

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In my case, I used wallpaper to cover the outside. You can use anything, from wallpaper to proper book cloth or even leather. Place your grey card pieces onto whatever it is you’re using and cut out two pieces of around 2 or 3cm larger on all sides.

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Place your grey card in the middle of the pieces you cut out and take off the corners as illustrated. Make sure you don’t cut it right up against the board, as you’ll need a little bit of extra room to take the thickness of the board into account.

Once you’ve taken the corners off, you simply wrap the flaps around your board. It’s almost as if you’re wrapping a present, although it’s likely you won’t cover the full inside.

To finish this part off neatly, I’d suggest covering the open space with some black paper or the more sturdy card type. This way, the grey board and folds will be covered nicely by the black card and give you a nice flat surface to attach your image strips onto.

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When you’ve done this, glue the covers onto each side of your image strips and let it dry.

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The final product will look something like the one above, which is the one I created as a little experiment to see whether I’d want to use that for my final project.

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. It’s very simple to make, but looks pretty fun. And because I used such small strips for my images, it’s really pocket sized. Great fun.

I’ve decided to take a look at where it all began for landscape photography and landscape in general. I feel the history is quite important and it’s fantastic to see how much, if anything, has changed over the centuries. Looking at old paintings and other artwork, the traditional landscape hasn’t changed much. It’s mainly the media we use to depict these landscapes that is different now.

14th – 16th Century

The earliest landscapes in art were created during Greek and Roman times, when people began to paint landscape murals on the walls of expensive houses and villas. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that landscape became popular. People began to see the landscapes as places where they could have fun and pleasure, which made them look at the landscape with renewed interest.

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Lamentation over Christ by Master of Frankfurt – Late 15th, early 16th Century (Oil on Panel)

During these times, landscape paintings weren’t created in their own right, but mainly as backgrounds for religious scenes and portraits. Once landscapes were portrayed more accurately, it was easier for the artists to include figures that were in proportion compared to the rest of the scene. In the early days, people and other subjects were often far too large in comparison. At this stage, they also started to use colour in a better way to represent the mood of the scene.

17th Century

By the 17th Century, there were two places where landscapes were an important part of art. Italy and The Netherlands. In Italy, landscape did not have a very high status. They were often found to be idealised and classical. In The Netherlands, however, political changes were reflected in the artwork after the Northern Netherlands won independence from Spain. People weren’t interested in Catholic artwork anymore, as this was linked to the Spanish rule. So instead, painters began to paint the flat, but recognisable, landscape of the country. This reflected great national pride.

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Avenue at Meerdervoort by Aelbert Cuyp – Early 17th Century (Oil on Canvas)

However, by the late 17th Century, there were many landscape paintings in the Netherlands that were influenced by Italy in their traditions and colours.

18th Century

During the 18th Century, people started to travel around Europe and Italy in particular. They would often buy artwork which depicted imaginary scenes of architecture in pictoresque settings. Canoletto was an artist that was particularly popular with these tourists. He was famous for his paintings of Venice.

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Regatta on the Grand Canal by Canoletto – c. 1730 (Oil on Canvas)

There were now two new centres of landscape art. France and Britain. Watteau, a French artist, invented the ‘Fête Galante’. These were pastoral scenes in which people enjoyed picnics and walks. Over in Britain, Gainsborough used to sketch his scenes before finishing the final scenes in his studio. He sometimes even created miniature models of his landscapes in order to paint them with more accuracy.

19th Century

This was a time with important developments for landscape, with the invention of photography. Artists were no longer required to paint faithful, topographical depictions of the landscape, which allowed them to interpret it with much greater freedom.

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View at Ornans by Gustave Courbet – 1864 (Oil on Canvas)

Because there were also improvements in artists’ equipment, many started painting outside in the open. This resulted in many spontaneous paintings. Courbet and Bourdin were two such artists who enjoyed painting in the open air. In the late 19th Century, Impressionists started causing a bit of a stir by creating paintings that seemed unfinished.

20th Century and beyond

In these modern times, landscape is far more than just the traditional scenes. Artists are using new media to create environments with light and colour.

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Schooner approaches harbour by Alfred Wallis – 1930 (Oil on Metal)

The world is getting more and more built up and architecture is everywhere. This means that the urban landscape features heavily now, as well as artwork which reflects the plight of the landscape in the face of industrialisation and population growth.

 

Source:

http://www.museumnetworkuk.org

Porter

Eliot Furness Porter, born in Winnetka, Cook County Illinois, USA in 1901, was an American photographer most known for his colour nature photographs.

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Porter was an amateur photographer since being a child. He always photographed Great Spruce Head Island, which was owned by his family. In the 1930’s, Porter was introduced to Adam Ansel by a friend of the family. Around the same time, his brother introduced him to Alfred Stieglitz.

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Stieglitz took a liking to Porter’s black and white work and when Stieglitz showed Porter’s work in one his gallery exhibits, it was a great success. So much so, that Porter decided to leave his job at Harvard and pursue photography full-time. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that Porter changed over to colour, the technique he used his entire career and is famous for today.

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Porter published several books, which contained nature studies and photographs of ecologically important and culturally significant locations to which Porter travelled during his career. Unfortunately, Porter died in 1990 after which his personal archive was given to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

The reason I looked at Porter for my research was mainly a composition reason. He has shot several images of similar composition and subject to what I’m going to try, so I thought it’d be useful to have a look. A lot of Porter’s work seems to be of a wildlife aspect, which isn’t what I’m interested in at all. However, his landscapes are very traditional both in looks as well as technique it seems. Hopefully I can take something away from his work and perhaps use it in my own.

Image Sources:

http://www.npr.org

http://www.cartermuseum.org

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Rodney Lough Jr. is an American landscape photographer, born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1960.

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In 1988 he graduated with a degree in Statistics and Mathematics, after which he had a job as a statistician and mathematician in the corporate world. It was a job he gave up 7 years later to become a full time landscape photographer. Lough Jr. is now famous for his vibrant landscapes, shot from Alaska to the American South-West.

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Lough Jr. has received several awards for his images. In 2007 he received  the ‘Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Print Awards – Best Landscape Photographer’ and two years later the ‘Printing Industries of America Award (“Benny” Award) – Best of Category for ‘Art Books (4 or more colors)’ for his book Beyond the Trail.

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I decided to look into Lough Jr. because I love the way he plays with shapes, textures and colour in his images. Some images are just amazing when it comes to the vibrancy and the lines and shapes. Not all his images involve the kind of look I’d like to go for in my images, but I’ll be mainly focussing on the traditional landscape shots. In some ways, Lough Jr. reminds me of Joe Cornish. They both use these amazing, almost dream-like colours in their shots. This is probably the reason I like Lough Jr., as Joe Cornish remains one of my favourite landscape photographers. Although it’s winter now and the weather is rather miserable, hopefully I’ll be able to catch a nice winter’s day and shoot some vibrant scenes of my own.

 

Image Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Lough_Jr.

http://www.rodneyloughjr.com