Cruel and tender/ initial images/Black swan

BLACK SWAN

When I heard the title Cruel and tender, I immediately thought of the black swan, because for me the contrast between the tenderness of how a dancer looks while performing is so contradictory to the lifestyle they must lead, and the cruel suffering they must go through to achieve the physical tenderness.

 

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This picture relates to the tenderness and beauty of the physical exterior as can be seen on the image above that the ballet dancer is trying to achieve. This tenderness contrasted against the pain, suffering, and the weight felt by the dancer inside as shown by the dancer on the floor. The floor boards appear to be running away from the dancer to mirror the speed at which the dancer must progress to the top of her carier due to the fact that a dancers life is so short and the pressure is so great. Psychologically yellow colour is most fatiguing to the eye,  because of the amount of light that is reflected. I wanted the floor to be a big part of the image as the yellow colour reflects the strenght that the dancer needs both mentaly and physicaly in order to live out this passion.

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This are poverfull images to follow the first immage because they quickly bring the viewer to the harsh reality of a dancers private life and allowes us to feel the glimpse of what the dancer may be feeling, thinking or contenplating. In such a high pressure situation sometimes it can feel like there is only one way out. The viewer does not know whether this is the reality or something the dancer is considerring or dreaming about. For this reason I wanted to make this immages slightly dream-like which is why I was experimenting with bluring technique with the focus on the ballet shoe as this is the only thing we can be sure is reality in this image.

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Research/ Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas

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Ballet rehersal on stage 1874 Impressionism, Modern art – Degas was able to satiate his triggering inclination for both classical beauty as well as modern realism, precisely at the ballet – a world of white and pink that served as the foundation for aspiring ballerinas from the city’s poorest corners to fittingly dominate the stage. Consequently, he visited the classrooms and wings of the fabulous Palais Garnier that housed the Paris Opéra and its ballet. Observing his subjects while they were rehearsing or at rest, he gained new techniques for portraying them from innumerable angles and positions. In this particular painting, for instance, his ingenuity lies in effectively mirroring the contrast of expressions and gestures between the rehearsing dancers and those waiting.

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The ballet class 1874 Impressionism- Brilliantly capturing a scene post a rigorous ballet training, this masterpiece stresses on how the pupils being exhausted, stretch or twist their backs, adjust their hair or clothing, etc. In the process, they give little attention to their teacher, who maintains an inflexible position and is in the midst of beating his time on the floor with a baton. Apart from such an authentic rendition of spontaneous gestures, this picture is noteworthy also for enhancing the vanishing perspective of the floorboards through a slightly raised viewpoint.

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The green dancer 1879 Impressionism- This painting involves a group of dancers mid-performance, with one executing a complicated turn, shown in full length. The other orange dressed ballerinas rendered cropped are reminiscent of Dega’s influence of photography and Japanese prints. The passing movement arrested in vigorous pastel strokes, underline his belief of conveying reality’s transitory nature employing a fragmented technique.

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Blue dancers 1899 Impresionism- A riot of warm blue hues, this painting marks a transition from grave grays to brilliant reds, russets, and blues that the artist introduced in his style around 1800. Colors now dominated his canvas, and the varied movements of dancers simply seemed to glorify their essence. Such an inclusion came with his insistence to use pastels as his dominant medium since it enabled him to paint while drawing.

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Yellow dancers 1871- Approximately half of Edgar Degas’ entire output of paintings and pastels concerns dancers. Perhaps he recognized a parallel between their art – in which precise, demanding techniques are made to appear effortless and beautiful – and his own. Examining the dancer at rest, in rehearsal, behind the scenes, and onstage, he took an almost documentary approach to this subject.  Three ballerinas preen in the foreground of this radical composition. Absorbed in the task of adjusting their costumes, they are bathed in light that seems to be filtered through golden gauze. Their curvaceous forms echo the shape of the stage flat behind them; beyond that artificial barrier, we glimpse the calves and feet of a number of dancers. Such unexpected juxtapositions, cut-off forms, and two-dimensional patterning – effects Degas had absorbed from Japanese woodblock prints – heighten the sense of immediacy.

Cruel and tender project:

In my project I decided to use the beauty of the appereance of a dancer but showing the pain required to endure such a life. I want to focuse on the beauty of how ballet looks on the outside compared to the pain suffered by the dancer which is invisible to the viewer. In my images I want to make this pain visible as well as the beauty of the movements.

 

People and the environment/ Invisible force (P3,P5)

(P3,P5)

INVISIBLE  FORCE

In this project I was experimenting with the prop- red rope. My series focuses on 5 different people using the rope and the rope symbolises the invisible force that drives the different desires of each person. I have taken the images in different settings to create different moods and add different characters to my models. It was quite a challenge to shoot outdoors as the light conditions impacted on exposures, colour temperatures, and details as leaves and branches.

Hanging on a passion                     (P3,P5)

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In this photo the rope represents the crippling hard work , determination and often pain that is required while training for the world of dance. The determination willl push the dancer to the limits to achieve their dream but that same determination can strangle you from the inside. The way the rope wraps around the dancers body shows the unforgiving restrictions in their life but the way the dancer is clinging onto the rope shows they actually depend on these restrictions to bring the inner strength that will help them achieve their goals. In effect the same invisible force that causes so much pain physically and mentaly while training can ironically cause so much pleasure when you are a cut abowe the rest. I chose the red colour as it mirrors the strength needed to engage these invisible forces. The red is also symbolic of the passion and love required go after your dreams but also of the danger that can come as a result of such determination. The reflection represents the inner battle between your heart and your head. Often the things we love can do us more harm then good but if we follow our heart we stay true to ourselves and our passion so ultimately it is worth the sacrifice.

I used low angle to create symmetry to double the effect of the rope to make the rope prominent feature of the image and also so the viewer is on the same level as the dancer so they can feel the expressed emotion. The mirror line shows the split emotions that the dancer would feel.  I used the line of the mirror and the barre to strenghten my photographic composition to engage the viewers eye and make the image more powerful. There was a natural light coming from the back of the camera which I used to highlight my use of the colour as the light was catching the rope adding to the prominance of this feature. I also specified that models wear black to further accentuate the strong colour of the rope. (camera settings between f2.8- 3.5, 14mm- 20mm, 1/50s- 1/200s, ISO 1250)

 

“Work until your bank balance looks like a phone number.”                (P3,P5)

 

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In this image the rope represents the inner strenght amd determination that is required in the cut throat world of business. Once you find that strenght it can become an addiction which takes over your life because more you make, the more you want to make. It becomes increasingly difficult to stick to the office hours as greatness is rarely achieved from working 9-5. The thrill of reaching new level in the business or breaking the deal can not be achieved without hard work, determination, and going the extra mile. We often only see the glamorous side of the success with pictures of big houses and fancy cars. The clatter on the work desk in my image parallels the stress and chaos that can be felt during the process of making your bank balance look like a phone number.

In this image I used high angle shot to create a feeling of vulnerability in my subject and allowing the viewer to sneak peak into a private world where everything is not as glamorous as it seems on the outside. The clutter in my image creates a realistic mood  and adds the dimension and engages the eye. The lighting comes from above as I wanted to show that all the elements of the photo were prominent. (M- f2.8, 1/100s, ISO 1250, 24mm)

 

Force of nature                              (P3,P5)

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Here the rope represents the need that mother feels to protect the child from anything this world may have in store. With this protection the mother needs to find her natural inner strength that she can do anything for her child. The length the mother will go through can not be measured. She can fight nature and take on the world. Creating life is the most natural thing we can do which is why I decided to set the picture in a natural open space where there are no barriers to what this mother and the child could achieve. But the rope shows we are all tight to nature in some way. It can hold us back or it can help us grow. The choice is in the hands of next generation.

In this image I used very low angle to make the mother and the world look bigger, stronger, and more powerful. Using the rule of third to compose my visual image I wanted to create the effect of a painting- like composition. (M- f2.8, 1/4000s, ISO 1250, 22- 24mm)

 

 

Climb high aim higher                     (P3,P5)

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The rope represents the force driving us to achieve more for ourselves. It is helping us climb higher then we could imagine as well as giving us something to hold on to. For many people the gym is that something to hold on to. It is a constant presence in our life that will always be there for us. But sometimes we are so clouded by the feeling of the belonging, that we are blinded and not able to see how we could achieve the same if not more just by using nature. We are surrounded by beautiful parks and outdoor spaces and yet we drive to the gym to run on the treadmill. The irony is that the treadmill in fact gets us nowhere.

In this image I used very high angle to connect the viewer with my subject as they would will her to climb higher and connect with the feeling of determination. I lit the subject from above using a torch to make her stand out from the darker background to make her and the rope the central focus of the composition. (M- f3.5, 1/13sec, ISO 250, 18-24 mm)

 

Stepping stones of life                           (P3,P5)

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The stepping stones represents challenges and defying stages of our life and how we help each other to get there. If we have a relationship based on trust and understanding then we will always help the other person reach their stepping stone. Even if it means we have to wait on a stepping stone as well. I chose to take the photo through the branches of the trees to give the viewer the sense of looking through in to the situation and also into someone’s life. The rope symbolises the force that can hold us together and also give us the loyalty that drives us to help the person we love to help overcome anything they face. The weather created the mood of the image which parallels to the fact that life is not always easy and the sun doesn’t always shine but if we have the right person by our side we can get through even darkest of times.

In this image I used framing technique to keep the viewers focus on visual elements in the frame. This also allows the viewers eye to be drawn to the story and also the steps at the back of the frame creating depth in both- the story and the image. The reflection creates an echo of the story scene to engage the viewer. ( M-aperture f8, exposure time1/13s, ISO 250, focal lenght 18mm)

Rope as a prop/ work in proces 2 (P2,P4)

Stepping stones of life                   (P2,P4,P5)

The stepping stones represents challenges and defying stages of our life and how we help each other to get there. If we have a relationship based on trust and understanding then we will always help the other person reach their stepping stone. Even if it means we have to wait on a stepping stone as well.  I chose to take the photo through the branches of the trees to give the viewer the sense of looking through in to the situation and also into someone’s life. The rope symbolises the force that can hold us together and also give us the loyalty that drives us to help the person we love to help overcome anything they face. The weather created the mood of the image which parallels to the fact that life is not always easy and the sun doesn’t always shine but if we have the right person by our side we can get through even darkest of times.   ( M-aperture f8, exposure time1/13s, ISO 250, focal lenght 18mm)

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Team work makes the dream work

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Better together

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Oposites attract

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Rope as a prop/ work in proces (P2,P4)

 

“Work until your bank balance looks like a phone number.”                     (P2,P4,P5)

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In this image the rope represents the inner strenght amd determination that is required in the cut throat world of business. Once you find that strenght it can become an addiction which takes over your life because more you make, the more you want to make. It becomes increasingly difficult to stick to the office hours as greatness is rarely achieved from working 9-5. The thrill of reaching new level in the business or breaking the deal can not be achieved without hard work, determination, and going the extra mile. We often only see the glamorous side of the success with pictures of big houses and fancy cars. The clatter on the work desk in my image parallels the stress and chaos that can be felt during the process of making your bank balance look like a phone number. (M- f2.8, 1/100s, ISO 1250, 24mm)

 

Force of nature

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Protection through strenght

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Supermum

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Here the rope represents the need that mother feels to protect the child from anything this world may have in store. With this protection the mother needs to find her natural inner strength that she can do anything for her child. The length the mother will go through can not be measured. She can fight nature and take on the world. Creating life is the most natural thing we can do which is why I decided to set the picture in a natural open space where there are no barriers to what this mother and the child could achieve. But the rope shows we are all tight to nature in some way.  It can hold us back or it can help us grow. The choice is in the hands of next generation.  (M- f2.8, 1/4000s, ISO 1250, 22- 24mm)

 

Climb high aim higher

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The treadmill gets you nowhere

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The weight of the world

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The rope represents the force driving us to achieve more for ourselves. It is helping us climb higher then we could imagine as well as giving us something to hold on to. For many people the gym is that something to hold on to. It is a constant presence in our life that will always be there for us. But sometimes we are so clouded by the feeling of the belonging, that we are blinded and not able to see how we could achieve the same if not more just by using nature. We are surrounded by beautiful parks and outdoor spaces and yet we drive to the gym to run on the treadmill. The irony is that the treadmill in fact gets us nowhere.   (M- f3.5, 1/13sec, ISO 250, 18-24 mm)

 

Behind the scenes: Do you ever stop and wonder just what went into that desired shot apart from digital manipulation side of the process? Behind every great picture there’s a talented photographer  but just how creative they sometimes get is rarely seen unless there’s another photographer ready to capture the action. I’m talking about the physical work combined with creative approaches that photographers employ in order to ensure that their final shot is the very best it can be.

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Research/ Bill Henson/ Jeff Wall/ Gregory Crewdson (P1)

BILL HENSON                       (P1)

Another photographer that caught my eye with his photographs taken in the twilight. His orchestration of available light- twilight, Henson created a kind of modern mythology. The quiet melodrama of his photographs and handling the light to create transcendent effect adds greatness to the mood of his images which I admire.

I can definitely incorporate this dramatic mood into my images in the future series.

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JEFF WALL                   (P1)

 

and his cinematographic style also caught my attention. He is best known for his large-scale colour transparencies, mounted in wall-hung light boxes which combine the seductive glow of a cinema screen with the physical presence of sculpture. At first glance his images often appear to be snapshots but, on closer inspection, the multi-layered content sometimes seems too bizarre or complex to be real. Wall draws references from art history, particularly nineteenth century painting. He uses artificial lighting, staged compositions, and a narrative technique which leads you to contemplate unseen events leading to the moment ilustrated. These ilustrations of urban life tell stories about people and their everyday environment.

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GREGORY CREWDSON                  (P1)

 

His photographs usually take place in small-town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. His photographs are complexly staged and lit using crews familiar with motion picture production and lighting large scenes using motion picture film equipment and techniques. His style originates from long appreciation for 20th century melodramas and literature.

Surreal moods, emotions, drama, perspective of life and death, morbid details within a traditional suburbia setting, simplicity of color and spontaneity, the exploration of form within his own work was evident within his transformation of how the photo was taken rather than just focusing on the subject..

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Research/ rope as a prop (P1)

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During my research I came accross photographer Garth Kinght who creates stunning art out of rope, rocks and human bodies. As a sculpturist I was convinced by the first photo that I found as his images cover istallations, sculpture, and photo media. In his series a suspended trees represent the awareness of our existence, like the world on our shoulders, who and what we are, and that we are all connected. Each individual tree is created over one or two naked bodies, often posing in very sensual positions. This trees create a linear narrative- one that tells, through innovative imagery, the story of human existence.

I can see paralels between my ideas and those in Knights work. His work has furhter encouraged my ideas and helped me to mould my vision of how I can incorporate the rope into my images to add depth. His use of sculpting with the rope has added another dimension that I wanted to incorporate in my own series.