As I am working on the final body of work for this class, I am still refining my process to make the strongest work possible. It was suggested to me to find words or phrases within my journal entries that stood out to me and emphasize them. To accomplish this I would write over the selected words or phrases with a harder white charcoal pencil and blur the rest of the text with a blending stump. The image above is a result of this process. I chose words or phrases that could be relatable for other people and to really grasp my concept into the image.
5 hours of photograph editing and printing
7 hours of cyanotype prep
3 hours of reading and research
2 hours of brainstorming and writing on artist statement
4 hours of watching artist documentary and art related TED talks
Total this week: 21 hours
Total overall: 195 hours
Working in cyanotypes I am constantly refining my process and how certain actions can better the work for my overall concept. This week I made the decision to put my images under a longer exposure to see if I could push the solution in providing my with a dark rich indigo versus a light to almost fading blue. The successes and errors were about 50/50. Although the odds of this are not that greatest the 50% that were successful truly were successful. Taking this risk can be a little worrying at times, because I have to be aware of materials and my bench mark dates. In the end, however, I think it is worth the risk. Above is an image of a successful long exposure with journal entries written on top.
10 hours of cyanotype processing
2 hours of journal reading
3 hours of reading art books
4 hours of photo shoots and editing
Total this week: 19 hours
Total overall: 174 hours
Seeing that this week is Spring Break I have been crazy busy in taking advantage of "time off". As I have mentioned in my last post the past critique has been an essential step in finalizing the formal choices for this body of work. It has also been sunny, which is exactly what I need for cyanotypes! Needless to say I have been taking full advantage of that, as I am afraid the sun will go into hiding once again! The image above is of one of my cyanotypes exposing in the sun. Originally the solution is yellow/green and as it is exposing it begins to change color. This change notifies me when the image is ready to be processed.
9 hours of cyanotype prep and processing
3 hours of photo-shoots and editing
2 hours of reading
3 hours of writing and reflection for Artist Statement
Total this week: 17 hours
Total overall: 155 hours
Today in class we had a progress critique and a guest reviewer! Critiques are always an exciting time for me. The image above is from my most recent work of including journal entries on my cyanotype. In critique I talked about my pursuit of using my images to imply normalcy and even to the point of taking images of things we all do but never talk about, like smelling fresh laundry. The fact that my images capture "boring" everyday life and in the moment composition I do not choose what journal entries are used. So, even within my own process I allow myself to live in the moment and take risks.
Some of the feed back I received was to look into more photographers and think about gender symbols or even symbols of manhood. In one of the images in my collection there is a plaster deer head hanging on the wall and until critique today I didn't see the connection. It's a rewarding feeling to simply work within the process, using my concept as a compass to navigate through ideas and stumble upon something that has been there the entire time that only adds more to the piece. Today has been a good day! I'm excited to continue working with these images and see how they can be pushed further.
Here is a glimpse of my make shift studio. Working with cyanotypes I need a place that is consistently dark and dry. What better place than an attic?! I do not have my own personal darkroom, so I use whatever is available to me. In the image above I have painted on a layer of cyanotype solution on an 18"x24" sheet of paper. Currently in my process I am working on composition and inclusion of journal entries. I start with these large sheets then I cut them down to a size that works for my negatives. This is how I set up for experimentation. When I am ready to make a final image I use watercolor paper instead of light weight drawing paper, so that after processing the image in a diluted bath of hydrogen peroxide the paper will be able to keep its integrity.
5 hours of cyanotype
5 hours of photo shoots and editing
8 hours of reading
5 hours of brainstorming
1 hour at gallery talk
Total this week: 24 hours
Total overall: 138 hours
The body of work made under this contract will discuss that being a gay man is more normal than it is different. Due to certain stigma and stereotypes of gay men, my art will work against these misconceptions through images of “boring” everyday life details. Through self-documentary style of photography, I will be capturing images from cooking and cleaning to folding laundry and washing the dog. The changes I have made since the statement of intent include adjusting my concept from a general standpoint to a specific goal, directing the focus of my work from drawing to alternative photographic processes, and the inclusion of personal journal entries.
The research I have conducted from the beginning of the semester has contributed to not only the refinement of my concept, but to the process by which I work. This research focused on the representation of gay men, both honest and misconceptions. Also, the technical process of cyanotypes. The experiments I have produced from the beginning of the semester have helped me determine what parts I wish to continue working with and what parts do not contribute to the strength of my concept. I have chosen to stay primarily with cyanotypes, because of the gender association through color and using the addition of my journal to add a personal narrative to each piece. These formal decisions will assist in shaping my work from a personal viewpoint to a universal dialogue about life.
The final body of work will result in a total of 25 cyanotype works that have the inclusion of journal writings and mounted on matte board. My personal goal is to have 3 cyanotype works completed per week till the end of the semester resulting in 25 strong images. By Tuesday, March 5th, I will have a finalized contract for the treatment of my work and by Tuesday, March 26th, I will have 10 works that will demonstrate the final presentation.
The results of making this body of work I hope to learn how I can create images from my own life to advocate for equal rights of those who are also a part of the LGBTQ community and how we are represented through art. Working with the cyanotype process I am constantly improving my mark making skills and the inclusion of my journal entries. By achieving this goal, I know I will be able to overcome my fear of making my art personal and uncensored.