1st Update: 27.11.15
2nd Update: 23.12.15
3rd Update: 27.01.16
4th Update: 04.02.16
Clarity of Vision
“A Kaleidoscope of Colours” is a body of work with the exploration of bright vibrant colours, in complex yet harmonious structures; it’s a balance of the intangible with the tangible. The “Kaleidoscope” in my theme is more of a metaphorical representation of colours observed in nature and man-made environment. I was influenced by the philosophy of Raghubir Singh and the works of David Lachapelle, Edward Burtinsky and Andres Gursky.
My research approach has been a linear process of thought. However, my execution were a non-linear. My initial ideas were to utilise shapes to define colours across all three genres. It then developed into how colours work in a more complex environment, like a kaleidoscope. I have inclined towards a constructivist approach.
In retrospect to the project brief, what I am looking for are:
- Mass of bright, vibrant colours.
- Complex, harmonious structure, found in natural or man-made environment.
Some of the challenges I faced are:
- I think too much
- Weather and timing dependent
- Extremely long set up time
- Constant experimentation
About Moving Image
In response, the moving image corresponds to my photography theme. Because of the high dynamic range my style has, I think the Cinemagraphic approach fits my theme best, exploring techniques such as Cinemagraph, double exposures, time lapse, and hyper lapse, etc. Some of them are relatively new to me.
These are my first attempts in trying them out. I hope that this material could be used more as a self-promotional content.
An overview of thumbnail sets. These are the set of images I have selected which best represents my theme, currently. Using timeline, I shall explain my progress in genre category before coming back to these sets.
In my early planning stages, I did a rough conceptual sketch of my final image and planned from there.
My first few attempts were spent on scouting for the right tree in Norwich, observing sunlight and timing. The next two attempts, I found what I was looking for. Subsequently, I revisit to check on the reddening condition. But the tree leaves were still not red enough, and there were unfavourable timing and weather conditions. The latest attempt, although the weather was favourable, most trees have become almost barren. But I’ve got some unexpected shots along the way.
For Still Life, I like the idea of de-contextualizing still life objects and create intricate shapes and patterns out of it. I decided to try it out with M&Ms, which resembles tree leaves, small scale.
I started off with M&Ms but couldn’t find right sweets to stack. I was stuck. But I refused to admit the idea did not work. Hence, most of my available night time were spent experimenting. and finding a solution. Eventually, I found Polo sweets. I had to time my preparation at home before replicating it in the studio as I realised I was limited by the studio session time. I’ve tried edible sticky dough, as well as blue tacks.
The technicians were gracious enough to support me, by arranging me with longer sessions. To which I am thankful. I’m glad I could realise my concept, but not satisfied as it is not what I need. As I consider using other possible materials, my experiment with salad cress turned out as a possible alternative. I revisited the stacking variation and experimented other structures at home, on my 18th attempt.
These are some math formulas that help me in the preparation of the pyramid sweets. I intend to rework on the colour scheme of the Pyramid sweets later on.
My research development has brought me from using colourful fabric on the model’s face, to consider Oriental uses of colours in portraitures; Chinese and Japanese traditional characters were a major influence. From getting models to sourcing props and costume in the UK prove to be extremely challenging, also limited by the equipment and time of preparation; I had to figure how to work around.
As I explored portraiture with a mini studio set-up in my room, I began to understand how “visual coherence” should be applied. I saw some potential in my first attempt, and I want to improve it again. I began to Identify the specific colour schemes and started sourcing for props and costumes. Eventually, I found an Asian friend from UEA, as well as colourful kimono dress from the Marketplace. 65 Quid.
After a couple sessions in the studio, I decide to incorporate M&M element with it. So I bought more packs of chocolates and sweets. Sixteen bags of M&Ms.
I Started exploring “Moving image” with pure video sequence to match with the still images. Later realised the disparity in the visual quality of video and photography. Decided to work with still image sequences. These are some guidelines I have established for myself.
Some miscellaneous preparation works.
About Being Coherent
I took a different approach from the norm in producing these images. Instead of picking the best image for each genre, I made them coherent based on what I was looking at in each set. These four sets are not created in chronological order.
For example, in Set One, looking at colours and structures in landscape, I replicated the backlighting effect through different means in my still life and portraiture. The tiny details in the tree corresponds with the details of the sweets and clothe pattern on the subject.
In set two, I looked at contrasting colours and at close up with finer details. I was figuring out backlighting in translucent subjects. Portraiture was difficult to approach.
In set three, I looked at the narrative aspect. using primary colours as the anchor, I took landscape and portraiture at the ‘decisive moment’. I deconstructed the still life subjects and created new meaning. This was when I discovered the use of the country flag, a thin fabric but with symbolic meaning to inform my portraiture.
In set four, through all of my explorations, I was begininng to see my approach in the assignment; I have been looking at colours and structure through the use of backlighting of translucent subject (from the flag), and the fourth still life being the last image to be created.
In this assignment, through the questioning of my balanced between “beautification” and “the truth”, I explored colours and structures in bright conditions, as well as in moving images. I have learnt what it means to be visually coherent. I eventually found my approach in colours through back-lighting in translucent subjects. Although I found this to be an extremely challenging assignment, it reflects my photographic style and my constant improvement on it.
It is the valuable advices of my lecturers in one to one consultation as well as the positive responses from my peers in the group critic sessions, each image made were able to inform my next image. I was able to develop my appoach of colours and understand my love for back lighting.