Posted in Contextual Studies

Guy Bourdin Reading Task

Guy-Bourdin-photography-Nars-makeup-collection The first article I looked at appeared on The Guardian website and was about Bourdin’s life and work. I feel the purpose of this article was to explain to the audience what his type of work style was to achieve the surreal images he created. I feel it also represents an explanation of the ideas that his work actually portrays as “Bourdin has been accused of misogyny”, showing misinterpretations. It also explains the inspiration and influence his work has had on present designer’s work. I believe this article to be aimed at an audience of mature people, particularly students, who don’t know or have very little knowledge of Bourdin and his work, and is used to try and intrigue this audience into visiting his exhibition. I also feel it could be relevant to students due to the mention of influences on modern designs, which is essentially calling to the up and coming designers within studying students which may see this as an inspirational exhibition to attend. The article itself tells little information of the actual exhibition and more of Bourdin himself which is what led me to these ideas, as it is promoting him rather than the exhibition. The writing style of the article is factual but also opinionated which allows the audience to engage into the article and create their own opinions, almost like a discussion. The choice of vocabulary isn’t particularly formal, but enough for it to work with the audience I believe it is intended for, meaning people of little knowledge of the subject can engage with and visualise the article easily. The appearance of the article in The Guardian also helps to explain the intentions of the article as it is an online newspaper which would be used more frequently by the mature students instead of the paper version. UntitledThe article itself has been correctly referenced, with all the images showing the required details, however the final reference doesn’t contain the date of which the article was accessed, which should be included in Harvard referencing.

The second article of which I studied appeared on the official Somserset House website and was an explanation of the exhibition. The purpose of this article is to explain the contents and set up of the exhibition with a short overview of the work and life of Bourdin, contrasting the first article shown in The Guardian which was the opposite to this. downloadI feel the audience of this article is aimed to be a mature audience, maybe about 30+, as the formal structure of the article would be fairly difficult to understand and quite unappealing to a younger audience. The formal choice of words and heavy factual information gives the article a sense of authority and makes it seem very acedemic. The sentences are quite lengthy which keeps you reading for a long time, giving it a more complex status. Alliteration is used (“pursuit of perfection”) which essentially contributes to the flow of the sentences, making themsomerset flow easily, giving them rhythm and making them more formal. This also contrasts the conversational feel to the first article. The placement of this article being on the Somerset House website almost advertises the exhibition as this is where it was held, so almost intends to invite people in. Looking at this with a stereotypical eye, Somerset House is a historical, beautiful building attractive to tourists, almost like a museum, which essentially is linked to the audience of mature people, which means the article appearing on their website make this easier to understand the style of the article. As a famous landmark trying to advertise itself as a high standard attraction, it is important for them to maintain a formal sense throughout their site.  The initial photograph in the article is not referenced which discredits the image by Bourdin, however the end reference is done correctly.

Guy-Bourdin-a-suitcase-full-of-legsThe final article I studied was written on the Time Out London website and contained information about Bourdin with the odd mention of the exhibition, similar to the first article I studied. I feel the purpose of this article is to educate of course, but to also advertise the exhibition as it was published before the exhibition was even open (the exhibition opened on the 27th November, the article was published on the 5th). By telling the audience about Bourdin and his work, it is essentially getting people to understand and feel intrigued by his work which will make them interested in the exhibition. This is done using persuasive techniques such as adverbs which gives the article more description and helps the audience to visualise the work. I feel the audience intended to read this article is teenagers and the sort of younger generation, due to the informal structure of the article, which essentially makes it easy for this audience to understand the information provided. Although the information in all three articles is basically the same, the way it is portrayed is very different to try and attract the attention of different people. The article is opened with almost a story, giving it a narrative and original interpretation, opposite to the previous two articles studied. Thereimages is also an incorporation of swearing, which immediately downgrades the formality of the article and makes it more appealing to the suggested audience. It is however, slightly humorous, and can be seen as a way of being expressive and creative. The different sentence lengths add a mixed sense of rhythm to the article in contrast to the consistent long sentence structures which give an article an easy flow like in article two. The article contains witty humour closer to the beginning and right at the end, which engages with the audience and allows them to want to see the article through, meaning they see the factual elements through the main body of the article. There is a use of non-standard English – “We takes a trip to the darkroom…” – which gives the article a more informal sense and, again, makes the article more engaging and humorous. The Time Out London website is a website based on explaining what timeoutthere is to do in and around London. The whole theme of the website is quite modern and up to date, which also shows links to aiming at a younger audience, showing the intentions of the article. The article itself has also been correctly referenced. Out of all three articles this one is the most contrasting, as it doesn’t follow the formal elements of an article.

Posted in Professional Practice

Professional Photography

Photography has many genres in which you can base your style. The distinctions between editorial and advertising, fine art and commercial styles of photography have got more predominant links now than seen before in traditional photography. Fashion is just one example of a genre. Fashion photography then has its own genres of photography, including documentary, portraiture, sports, advertising, editorial, still life, street, catwalk, and look book. Fashion photography is about depicting clothing and fashion items with the objective to look distinctive and stand out, therefore able to sell the product or garment. It is very experimental and much more diverse in modern photography. It has a lot of legalities that have to be taken place like model release forms, rent, contracts, leases etc. Fashion photography shows the links in fashion trends between now and previous eras, for example, currently the trends show androgynous styles, geormetric prints and pastel colours, which are all a loop of previously seen fashion in eras such as the 1960’s. We have also seen the development of things such as “smart fabrics” which is the merging of technology into fabrics. The obvious decline and trend that we see yearly is the seasonal trends, such as winter wear and summer wear. An online company, known as WGSN, works to show up and coming trends at least four years in advance. They have a 17 year track record, with 450+ industry experts and worldwide coverage. This is helpful to designers, marketers and photographers in a sense that it helps you to recognise future strengths in fashion which you could work with to get a front seat in the market.

Still life is another example of a genre in photography. This includes product, advertising, editorial, packaging, and food. Still life is the representation of inanimate subject. It uses a refined sense of lighting to create bold images that sell the product in question. It can prove to be quite challenging and requires a high level of technical skill, patience, perfection and organisation. It also requires a strong sense of attention to detail as every single crumb photographed in the image matters. Andy Whale is quoted saying “You create the image rather than grab the shots”, which essentially shows how it is important to plan and actively create the image and not just expect it to happen.

Another genre is space and place, which includes social, documentary, sport, editorial, landscape, architecture and street photography. It is about capturing the structures and beautiful (or derelict) architectures and conveying the experience of being in and around the environment of that place. It requires technical skill, and artistic vision and flare, and creativity.  It’s a good genre to study the use of scale, structure and to incorporate historical/factual elements into your images.

Commercial photography requires a more client based approach to the work produced, so requires a “market”. This includes genres such as packaging, product, advertising, editorial, post-production and stock photography.

Packaging and product photography is often confused as a genre. Packaging is about photographing an actual product which is inside a package, however product is about removing that product from the package and photographing its physical existence. When doing packaging photography you have to make sure it is realistic, using persuasive styling, design and layout to capture the eye of the audience but still keeping a true representation of that item. It is a medium budget process with heavy client input. Product is usually used for web or print advertisements. It is a limited brief, with a lower budget than packaging and the client isn’t as heavily involved, however there is a tighter time scale. It uses simple lighting with the photographer’s creative interpretation of the product. It is important to remember when doing product photography, that if you change the appearance of the product at all you must classify it as a “serving suggestion”, to avoid accusations of false advertising. 

The challenges of product photography are generally to represent the product perfectly, to represent the product in good lighting, and to photograph a range of products rapidly. It is often experienced that difficult products to photograph include transparent products like glass as it shows reflections of the lights, chrome and other highly-reflective products like mirrors, and products which are white or black. For some types of product, such as jewellery, a background of a  contrasting colour (example, green for gold) is better as it makes the product stand out. However, in other cases, the client will want a particular look which distinguishes them from competitors, such as using crumpled and then smoothed aluminium foil as the background.

To be able to pursue a career within this genre of photography, many product photographers come from a background of university or experience, and slowly work their way into an agency environment. Having a degree gives you an advantage in a sense that you can gain practical experience and technical theory essential to your career. Many product photographers also work on a self-employed or as a freelancer. When doing this you must be sure to be a good business person in a sense of being able to negotiate with customers about prices, timescales and keeping the legalities of the business up to date, as well as being on top of all the roles within photography when starting off. If being employed into product photography, most employers require formal training or a degree in photography. It is important for you to have an artistic and creative eye, and be up to date with technology to be sure you are educated on the technical side of photography. You can do this by taking continuing education courses, entering competitions and teaching courses. An advantage of being a product photographer is that as long as there are people trying to sell products, there will always be work to get in to. A disadvantage is that photography in general is rapidly increasing as a career so the opportunities for a successful career are decreasing as the market is filling with competitors. The average earning of a product photographer is generally between £40,000 and £50,000, but can vary depending on experience.

vmldvmsTimothy Hogan has been a successful advertising photographer for over 16 years. He is arguably a product photographer rather than advertising. Hogan studied photography in college and graduated from Syracuse University in 1998. He was inspired by the darkroom processes which made him follow photography to a career. After graduating thuniversity, he moved to New York where he assisted for a year and then set out on his own. He opened his first studio on 29th Street in early 2000 and has opened multiple studios since. He says “I’d say 80% of my work has been focused on advertising still life, with 20% beauty.” TIMOTHY[Griffin, E. (2013) Timothy Hogan: TheFINproject | resource magazine. Available at: (Accessed: 26 October 2015).] He’s shot advertisements for multiple large companies including Maybelline, Tommy Hilfiger, and Visa. As a personal project, he introduced “theFINproject”, which fused Hogan’s love of surfing, with his love of photography, giving him a more creativeTHS project as he could incorporate both of his passions into one, making it a strong outcome. The project explored the object of the fin and the story of the people who made the fin, giving it a narrative and giving the audience an insight into the lives of the fins from the production of them to the end product. His work is so successful because it’s passionate and selective, with an enthusiastic work ethic in advertising. He is also self-motivated, which essentially means his work comes from the mld;s vfact he actively seeks it and wants to do it. He
describes his work as “iconic, dynamic and essential” and said his success came from “just lots of hard work”. [Hogan, T. (2012) Learning from the Pro. Available at: (Accessed: 26 October 2015)]  His inspiration comes from Sarah Small who, is his words, uses “intensely HOGANpersonal, dynamic and unscripted work” which is the “virtual opposite” of his work. He believes to be truly successful a picture needs to have the perfect lighting, the perfect expression and mood, and the perfect composition for that particular subject. He learnt to do the things he does by dmlsv zldexperimenting after his degree. [Hogan, T. (2012) Learning from the Pro. Available at: CBSJKAC (Accessed: 26 October 2015).]       

Advertising photography is used to promote a product or service, selling lifestyle, concepts and ideas. It requires a high level of skill, the designing of the layout, organisation, project planning, a good location and maximum detail. It is a very team based style of photography, with many creative people working together to help with different elements of the shoot, proving teamwork to be essential. It can prove to be long hours but has a larger budget with a heavy amount of post-production work to help make the images perfect. It is a broad genre with not much creative freedom – the less money paid by the client, the more freedom the photographer has, but the client is usually the one doing the thinking. The photographer is paid for the images rather than works of art.

Editorial photography is published material that shows a narrative and a theme to enhance a story. It requires a lot of control, knowledge of rations and consideration for text as it is usually used for adverts. This job is usually done by a freelancer and is done by a brief to tell a story. It has tight deadlines as they usually work with magazines, newspapers, authors etc. meaning publishing deadlines are existent. The shoot is usually financed by the client (i.e. the newspaper or magazine), with lower pay but a lot more creative freedom than advertising photography. They have the chance to travel a lot with a team of people, similar to advertising.

Post-Production photography is the work that happens after the initial shoot. This is heavily used within editorial and advertising. It requires a digital re-toucher, digital artist, CHI, 3D imagery and photographic skill to make sure it doesn’t look tacky or obviously edited. It is used to communicate ideas and narratives to the audience and helps to visualise the ideas of the client more efficiently.

Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfil the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, often for a lower cost. It provides a good source of income for minimum inputs of effort as the images are already existent. It requires a royalty fee which is a one off payment which grants you the copyright to the image also. It allows you a payment every time the image is reproduced but only normally takes a minimum amount of images. Companies such as Getty are known for stock photography.

Roles within photography are always changing, with things such as software, diversity of images, design etc. There is a vast amount of employment opportunities within photography also, such as freelancers, employed photographers, stock, art director, agents, assistants, editors, technicians, and teachers, post-production and even opportunities within large shows such as London Fashion Week. It is easy to promote yourself using research, CVs, having a stable online presence, contacts and networks, portfolios and personal work. It is essential to make sure you have good time management and motivation to be able to succeed.

Posted in Contextual Studies

The Evolution Of Fashion Photography

Fashion photography is a genre that can be followed way back through history. It is a vast genre with many areas that can be classified as “fashion photography”. Famous fashion magazines such as Vogue have existed since 1892, giving an educated guess of how long fashion has been a published genre. Fashion photography is described and interpreted in many different ways by the audience. Nancy Hall Duncan said that the history of fashion photography is ‘a record of those photographs made to show or sell clothing or accessories… it is important as a record not only of fashion description and photographic style, but also of artistic influence, commercial impact, and social and cultural customs’. This tells us that his interpretation is that fashion photography can help with the study of history where by you can see the loop of fashion trends, influences of traditional photographers against contemporary, and the modernistic views within society compared to historical society.  The photographer David Bailey described a fashion photograph simply as ‘a portrait of someone wearing a dress’, showing a more literal and simple view of the genre. However Irving Penn, the photographer who has worked the longest for Vogue magazine, saw his role as ‘selling dreams, not clothes’, giving fashion photography a more sincere and aspiring interpretation.

Here is a brief look at the history of fashion photography. In 1856, Adolphe Braun published a book of photos of Virginia Oldoini. The photos depict her in her official court garb, making her the first fashion model. During this era, lots of gowns were worn by women, showing wealth and richness. This was popular in fashion photography to try and sell the lifestyle of the models in the garments along with the product itself. This is a technique still used heavily in fashion and advertising photography today.

In 1881, Frederic Eugene Ives put a patent on the halftone printing process meaning that photographs could appear on the same page as text. The first fashion photographs appeared in 1892 in the French periodical La Mode Pratique. In 1909, Condé Nast took over Vogue magazine and also contributed to the beginnings of fashion photography.

In 1911, photographer Edward Steichen promoted fashion as a fine art by the use of photography due to a “dare” he was set. Steichen then took photos of gowns designed by couturier Paul Poiret. These photographs were published in the April 1911 issue of the magazine Art et Décoration which is apparently now considered to be the first ever fashion photography shoot. However this doesn’t mean Steichen invented fashion photography, just that he arguably created the template for modern fashion photographers.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s Harper’s Bazaar was released, another fashion magazine leading in the field of fashion photography. House photographers such as Edward Steichen, George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton transformed the genre into an art form.

In the 1920s, Sir Cecil Beaton was hired as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue, where he became noticed for his unique style of posing sitters with unusual backgrounds. Beaton later became an award winning costume designer for the stage and big screen. Cecil Beaton is thought to be one of the most famous fashion photographers of all time, and his career spanned years. Up to this point, you can see that the genre of fashion is heavily dominated by male photographers and is also dominated by male designers, which is a consistent feature to the present day.

During the 1930’s, Britain seen the beginning of the Second World War and British Vogue was shut for one year which meant that the focus shifted from Europe to the US and new, modern photographers such as Irving Penn, Martin Munkacsi, Richard Avedon, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe were welcomed. During this time Lee Miller rose to fame as one of Vogue magazine’s most beautiful fashion models in 1927 and eventually evolved into one of its leading photographers in late 1939.

The 1950’s and 1960’s brought a new era for fashion photography. Celebrity endorsement was being used more heavily and the photographers became just as famous as the celebrities being shot in the images. This particular era came just after the end of the war which meant there were a lot of changes. The introduction of the mini skirt by Mary Quant saw a new movement in fashion and a fresh look. This was influenced by the inventing of the contraceptive pill, making women feel more confident about their bodies and sexual attractions. This era was also heavily influenced by music by such artists as The Beatles, and saw the “hippy” movement, promoting freedom and peace. All of these factors influenced fashion photography and gave it a new dynamic.

In 1960, David Bailey began photographing for British Vogue, and his fashion work and celebrity portraiture helped to give fashion photography a new layer. His work reflects the 1960’s British cultural trend of breaking down of the class barriers by injecting a ‘punk’ look his work.

The 1970’s saw the work of Helmut Newton who used provocative aesthetics and the androgynous look, which was something fresh on the fashion scene. This is something that is very regularly used in modern day fashion photography, and shows the modern society’s acceptance of LGBT and other frowned upon ideas from before. Another artist, Guy Bourdin, was famous for his editorial and advertising imagery and became a highpoint in late twentieth century fashion photography. His work took the basic function of the fashion photograph but added the rich and surreal lifestyle of which the audience desired.  His work was very vibrant and eye-catching, giving it the selling point.

The 1980’s showed photographers such as Herb Ritts emerge. Ritts’s images portayed an idea of life in and around Los Angeles, again selling a life style with his work. He was famous for his more regular use of outdoor shoots with natural light, which made him stand out from the more common artificially lit images by most other photographers.

In the late 1980’s and 1990’s, Patrick Demarchelier became a prominent photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. Demarchelier’s shoot for Harper’s Bazaar in March 1993 broke down the formality of the fashion shoot by showing the set of which the shoot was held, giving it more of a small budget look which worked well. He has created historic campaigns for Louis Vuitton to Ralph Lauren and is commonly known for his use of black and white mixed with colour. During the late 1990’s, Corinne Day photographed a 15 year old Kate Moss, a model still working heavily in the fashion industry today. This was also the era of which models started to become painfully thin and saw the model become a stereotype of “size 0” women.

During the 00’s, we saw the rise of Tim Walker. Upon graduation in 1994, Walker worked as a freelance photographic assistant in London before moving to New York City. He returned to England and concentrated on portrait and documentary work for British newspapers. At the age of 25 he shot his first fashion story for Vogue, and has photographed for the British, Italian, and American editions, as well as W Magazine and LOVE Magazine ever since. His work shows a lot of historical influences, mostly work by Richard Avedon for whom he worked as a full time assistant at the start of his career. There is also links to the work of Cecil Beaton evident in his work.

As you can see, fashion photography has been around for decades and has seen so many photographers who have become famous in their own ways. Nick Knight is one of these. He was born in London in 1958. He studied photography at Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design, graduating with a distinction in 1982. By 1985, he had produced his first book, Skinheads, which won him the Designers and Art Directors Award for Best Book Cover and is still sold in large quantities 20 years on. jefidsov jfekdsf This essentially helped to really launch his name and career.  Knight quickly become known for his innovative photographic techniques and, in 1990, became Commissioning Picture Editor for i-D. In November 1993, Knight adapted techniques seen during the 1970’s, including ringflash photography. He was one of the first fashion photographers to use digital images and became famous for his style of photography as well as his photography itself. huibOne of his experiments included the manipulation of Sophie Dahl’s body which appeared in i-D in 1997 explaining he ‘wanted to make her more curvy’. In 1998, Knight won headlines for his photograph of amputee Aimee Mullins for Dazed & Confused, which also featured other disabled models and a broken Victorian doll. nvdwslbnvHe also chose to work with elderly models in a campaign for Levi’s. The idea of these shoots was because he felt “People shouldn’t be made to feel excluded from society because of their values, shape, sexuality, race, politics, beliefs: it is wrong,” This shows us that Knight used his work not only for promotional purposes, but for helping to make people who are “different” be more accepted by society and bring back the idea of models being anyone and not the stereotype created in the 90’s. This is something that is used more regularly in the modern day, and this could be because of the work of Knight who influenced these ideas.

Another traditional photographer famous from the early days of fashion photography is George Hoyningen-Heune. Huene “is remembered as one of the finest fashion photographers of the 1920s and 1930s.” [Ewing, W. (no date) George Hoyningen-Huene. Available at: (Accessed: 16 October 2015).] He was born in 1900, in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was through the connection of his mother and sister that Huene was able to secure work making fashion sketches. Huene first put his drawing talents to work for Yteb, his sister’s dressmaking business, and by 1925 he worked for the French editions of Vogue and ended up establishing himself as the Chief of Photography. He then worked for Harper’s Bazaar in 1935. In 1931, Hoyningen-Huene first met Horst P. Horst, who went on to become his model, collaborator, and partner, and contributed work to both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar also. Huene also worked with other photographers such as Man Ray and Edward Steichen. In the mid-1940s Huene abandoned fashion photography. He famously greeted the young Richard Avedon with the words, “Too bad, Too late!” Huene was set on travel and he wanted to try new ways of earning a living. He taught photography at the Art Center School in Pasadena, ncksaCalifornia, experimented briefly with drugs and served as a colour coordinator for several filmmakers such as George Cukor. This helped Huene to become personally involved with the direction, filming, make-up, costume, decor, and other aspects of film making. Huene also played bit roles in movies and even tried making three films, but they were lost.

Huene was seen to be “an influential figure in the early world of fashion photography.” [Klein, F. (2010) Hoyningen-Huene – press release: Photographs. Available at: (Accessed: 16 October 2015).] His own work reflected a fascination with light, shade and classical forms. His partner Horst P. Horst produced similar images, mixing surreal with classical interpretations. Huene used inspiration from Greek sculpture to try and portray an elusive feminine ideal. He did this by making the models look tranquil and
monumental, and used Greek columns, temples, and statuary commonly in his imagery to try and achieve this. He was also known for posing models in drapey garments to follow the Greek theme. This helped to make the images irresistible to the women audience, and allowing them to believe this could be their lifestyle if wearing the clothes in the images. He became a leading fashion photographer, noted for his extraordinary use of light and stylish studio compositions, using shadows. Hoyningen was also one of the first photographers to take pictures of models from above, giving his composition more flare and perspective for the audience. His work was largely characterised by precision, harmony and elegance.

A more contemporary fashion photographer who’s work I discovered is Madame Peripetie. Madame Peripetie, who is actually called Sylwana Zybura, is a photographer and linguist based in Germany, working internationally on diverse art projects for various clients including Adobe, Selfridges, Topshop, Canon, Swarovski , Stella Artois, Hunger Magazine, Glamour, Binboa Vodka and Schon. Alongside her BA studies in photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Art, Dortmund, Germany, Zybura also collaborates with up-and-coming fashion designers and is experimenting with short stop-motion films. Her alter ego name is derived from the French term péripétie, meaning an unexpected occurrence or a sudden turn of events, which is one way of describing Zybura’s work. In her work she focuses on character design and its influence
on modern fashion photography. Madame Peripetie’s work explores the boundaries between fashion, sculpture and the human body, experimenting with various fabrics and patterns. She mixes high-fashion elements with abstract ideas, creating explosion of colour and texture in the images. In her work she is focusing mainly on the interactionMADAME between body, language and new media. Her inspirations include surrealism, Dadaism,
the era of the 80s and the British post punk scene, and the avant-garde theater of Robert Wilson who is a director, playwright and designer.

‘Dream Sequence’ is a book created by Peripetie which contains a series of portraits of imaginary characters, whose features are replaced by flowers or other objects and are wearing colourful garments. They show the cross overs between fashion, photography, performance and art. The book has won several awards and has been compiled for
costume designers, fashion stylists and everyone who is interested in character design and image building in general. The main inspiration for this book has evolved from surrealism and film, and tries to convey the concept of the beautiful and sublime. All the
models were shot in-camera with minimal retouching involved, using a dominantly in-camera process, meaning that the body painting, prosthetics, wigs, and unusual 3D make-up techniques were used in order to create the
images seen. Madame Peripetie’s approach is contemporary and futuristic. Her models are often seen using vibrant props designed to look like extraterrestrial armor. Rather than focusing on cliché poses like pouty lips and exposure of the body, Peripetie uses the body and garments to turn her subjects into unique and alien characters. The images are open-ended enough to keep the viewer guessing. She is quoted to say “if it can be imagined, it exists” [‘If it can be imagined, it exists’: The surreal photography of Madame Peripetie (2014) Available at: (Accessed: cnvdklsv16 October 2015).] showing that her idea is almost to bring her mind to life in the form of a photograph. When asked about the vision behind her dramatic compositions, Zybura answered “My world consists of many surreal and bizarre elements that keep coming back… the escapism and interdisciplinary hybrid-thinking have always been fascinating me. Saturated colours and dark spaces, fabulous costumes, uncanny characters, quirky stories and unexplainable ideas– these are the elements that keep hypnotizing me whenever I plan a new photographic project. A tiny bit of mysteriousness and abstruseness is very important.” [Char (2012) Madame Péripétie – elements of surrealism. Available at: (Accessed: 16 October 2015).] Her work almost consists of creating surreal stories which come alive through the photograph and allow the audience to create the story behind the character, essentially leading them to want the product as every viewer will subconsciously create a story that is ideal to them, giving it a powerful and persuasive link back to the image.

There are many evident influences within Peripetie’s work, although these may be down to personal interpretation and tenuous links with little things that are unlikely to be dmsnkalfintentional. However, when researching her work I discovered that she was influenced by Robert Wilson, the linesdesigner and playwright who also directs. His work is very rough as it is sketches and uses a lot of heavy lines. This is an evident feature used in Peripeties work particularly within her backgrounds of images. You can see the lines of paint in the background the same as the lines of charcoal drawn in Wilson’s designs. Although thisSA_002+unframed may not be intentional, Wilson’s drawing of the leg with a red block (supposedly blood) cdnkvls reminded me very much of the image by Peripetie of the females fighting and you can see their muscles without skin. The red of blood is evident in both images and both give a sense of stretch and tension of muscle. The concept of both images indicates pain and suffering due to the damage to the ligaments.

Another tenuous link is between Peripetie and Guy Bourdin. The only thing I picked up on was the heavy sense of weirdness and surrealism in both photographers work, snkflds alongside the vibrancy and creativity behind it. This was particularly strong between the image of the lips in Peripetie’s image and the legs by Bourdin. They both de-humanise the characters as neither character has a face which the audience can relate to. The scale of the lips and the amount ofGuy-Bourdin-a-suitcase-full-of-legs legs in the Bourdin image create a dynamic composition which really questions the audience’s view on what reality is. This gives me personally a sense of terror as it creates a creepy atmosphere.

A final link that I found was between Peripetie and Miguel Vallinas, a Madrid based advertising photographer. His work which was in the ‘Segundas Pieles’ selection shows characters with heads of animals modelling fashion on human bodies.nvhrwbv Although the work of Peripetie isn’t making the model have the face or body of an animal, she makes the model BECOME the skins-1animal by dressing them in animal like clothes (eg. Feathers as seen in the image to make a bird), but both photographers are equally giving the animals human properties, or dehumanising the person to be an animal – whichever way you interpret it.

Posted in Contextual Studies

Semiotics + Advertising

Semiotics is the study of signs, symbols and signification. It is a study of visual culture which communicates imagery. It is traced back to the likes of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Pierce. Image analysis is understanding the meaning of art behind the aesthetic feature.

Semiotics uses two major aspects – the signifier and the signified. The signifier is traditionally the word or image being studied, whilst the signified is the meaning behind it. For example, take the word OPEN on a door sign. The signifier is the word, the signified is that the shop is open for business, meaning you would walk into the shop. You could however have the same signifier, OPEN, on the door of a train, but a different signified, being that you would push the button. This shows that the signified is sometimes different based on the context and environment surrounding the signifier, based on particular existing knowledge that you have about it.

Sean Hall is an author who published the book “This Means This, This Means That”, to describe semiotics and the way it is used to communicate ideas. One of his interpretations in this book gives evidence to how knowledge affects the signified meaning. His theory was about the painting of Adam and Eve, painted by Lucas Cranach. The image suggests that the apple in the tree (the signifier), stands as a refkection of temptation (the signified). However, in the bible, there is never any mention of an apple, only the word fruit so that maybe false information. It’s only due to the already well-established connection that we have in our minds between the appearance of an apple and the idea of temptation, making the painting successful at communicating this concept. (Hall S., (2012), This Means This, This Means That, pp. 23-24, Second edition, London, Laurence King Publishing). The Nina Ricci advert for the fragrance “Nina” shows an apple on the tree, similar to the Adam and Eve story, showing again temptation but in terms of advertising to make the audience buy the product. b13db2dc78474ae2b774907535477441The apple is the only apple left on the tree, implying that it is a special apple. The catch line for the advert is “the new magical fragrance”. This shows connotations of fairy tales and magic, particularly stories like Snow White, where the apple is magic but, in contrast, is evil. The colour pallet of the image also backs up the idea of fairy tale and princess, using colour that could insinuate themes of lust, beauty, purity and innocence. The colour of the dress of the model in particular helps to bring out the colour of the product and the set up of the image gives it a luxurious atmosphere, making the audience feel as though this is a luxury product.
DKNY also uses the signifier apples, the signified also temptation but it is reflected in a slightly different visual manner. The colours show themes of lust and passion, and shows a provocative storyline which also reflects this. The model positioning shows connotations of sex and attraction between the characters as she is straddling him. This is also a very masculineDKNY Red Delicious pose which shows dominance and sexual tension. The apples could also represent New York as it is commonly nick-named “the big apple”. The water droplets on the apples also replicate ideas of lust, passion and also temptation, which is again picked up by the strap line “take another bite”.

In the J’adore Dior advert, the image uses a gold colour pallet which has connotations of elegance and richness. The model is at the top of the visual hierarchy, even though the product being advertised is perfume. This is because women will aspire to be like the model and it gives the perfume a link to the luxurious lifestyle of which the model is portraying. The model’s face is emphasised, giving particular focus to the eyes, making it look as though the model is looking at the audience to engage with them and almost intimidate them into buying the product. The advert, I believe is meant to appeal to women as they would aspire to be like the model and would see this as an “idealic” way to live, twisting the ways women wish to look at lifestyles and the way they are perceived. JADOREDIORSaying that, some men may feel attracted to the women as she is the stereotypical “beautiful blonde”, so could be attracted to the product also. Another example of how semiotics is used in the image – the signifier being the model and the signified being buy the product.

There are many methods and techniques of persuasion used in advertising. Another method is using history within advertising to give the product connotations of wealth, upscale leisure and cultural value. For example, the Grey Goose vodka advert suggests cultural value through it’s association with fine art, particularly french cultures which suits the product as it is produced in France. (Sturken M. and Cartwright L., (2009), Practices of Looking, An Introduction to Visual Culture, pp 275, Second edition, New York, Oxford University Press) We know this based on existing knowledge, evidencing what was stated near the start of this write up. However, the connotations of the pear can mean different things to different cultures. In Greek and Roman mythology, pears are sacred to three goddesses which gives it a sense of being precious and blessed by God. The ancient 1ba2893f77ef5e7d359b2695e5ff8fc5Chinese believed that the pear was a symbol of immortality as pear trees live for a long time. In Chinese the word li means both “pear” and “separation,” giving the product a sense of ever-lasting and could give connotations of how the pear vodka can seperate you from reality. (Unknown. (2013). Fruit In Mythology. Available: Last accessed 12th October 2015) The pears in the image could be seen to symbolise themes of affection, inner peace and wealth, giving it a warm, comforting feeling that you would then associate with the product. The set up of props in the image give an overall feel of luxury and upper class to the product, giving it a certain lifestyle that would appeal to the audience which would be of an adult range as it is alcohol. French is quite an elegant language that is associate with romance which also adds the sense of luxury to the product.

Posted in Professional Practice

Being a Professional

Photographic Industry is about thinking outside the box.

For example, take this image. The original question was “join the 4 dots using 3 lines”. The only way to do this was to make the lines leave the box which stands as physical evidence of the classic saying. This was useful to know as this is the strategy useful for photography – photography is so big now that there is a lot of stuff that is duplicated by other artists. You have to be creative and fresh to get somewhere in the modern-day of and this is the best way to.nckdsanc

This triangle shows the key elements to being a professional and shows how they all interlink with each other, showing that they all help the others to develop as you progress on your journey. UntitledThis was interesting to see in the early stages of my journey in photography as I was able to see the skills and behaviors of which I already have and the ones which I should seek to work on, giving me goals for the year. It also made me think of the qualities which I believe i acquire which would make me essentially “stand out”. I believed mine to be that I’m passionate, so I will put my best efforts into my work as its what I love to do; a perfectionist, which means I will produce work to the highest of standards and won’t settle until I feel this achieved, however this can sometimes be of a disadvantage to me when meeting deadlines etc. as I can end up spending too long trying to “perfect” something; and finally I’m hard-working, which essentially means that I will do everything I possibly can to achieve what is expected of me and beyond. It will be interesting to look back at these qualities in a years time to see if they have developed further or if I feel that actually I have different qualities that may be more essential to me.

Posted in Uncategorized

Induction Week – Exposure – Devonport

As part of the induction week of university, I took part in the induction project, “Exposure” and was part of the group who investigated Devonport. At first I was disappointed by this choice, but mainly because I knew it would require a lot of walking which isn’t my favourite thing to do. However, over the course of the week I became increasingly fond of the sites in Devonport and the stretch of history that has built it into what it is.IMG_1970 - Copy (2)IMG_1974 - Copy (2)IMG_1977 - Copy (2)

Devonport has a long history with war and military which is evident as you walk around. There are lots of dull, grey tones, especially down near the docks with a lot of barbed wire, giving a physical indication to the naval and mIMG_1979 - Copy (2)ilitary links that it has. This is evident in one of the images I made, where a children’s park is encased by a grey brick wall, making something so innocent look serious. IMG_1985 - Copy (2)I also noticed the signs around Devonport, things like NO BALL GAMES for example. Although this probably wasn’t intentional, it made me think of the rules and commands that members of the military would face and the sense of order they would follow. There is also the outdoor swimming pool which almost looks abandoned but brings a bit of colour to the yet still dull grey walls surrounding it.IMG_1981 - Copy (2)

Devonport was largely destroyed during the war and still faces terror today with a recent fire which destroyed many homes. When walking around Devonport you see a lot of building work and reconstruction which shows the development of Devonport. IMG_1968 - Copy (2) IMG_1969 - Copy (2) IMG_1971 - Copy (2)The newer parts of Devonport are very obvious in comparison to the more original parts, which gives it a slight inconsistent feel as nothing matches. The modern buildings are almost futuristic and structured compared to the standard brick houses that stand from years ago. It’s quite an odd sight as you don’t feel like you’re walking around the same place.IMG_2065 - Copy (2) IMG_2018 - Copy (2) IMG_2005 - Copy (2)

The scenery in Devonport was divine, especially down by the sea as you can see for miles, giving beautiful landscapes. The best place for these spectacular views was from the top of guild hall. I struggled up what felt like 100 stairs to the top, but it was well worth it for the views were amazing and I was able to capture new perspective of Plymouth. When I was told stories and descriptions about Devonport, I was expecting a downbeat place with little aesthetic beauty, but it proved me wrong. There was very little contact with citizens of Devonport which was strange as it was a sunny day; it made it feel like a ghost town.IMG_2054 - Copy (2)

The experience as a whole was good for me as it gave me a chance to meet older people that I will now feel comfortable to speak to and ask for advice throughout my learning experience, something that I sometimes struggle with. It was an opportunity to see some initial work by others and be made to work in a team, something that will be essential if I work in industry in the future. It also gave me a chance to explore and be active – as someone not from Plymouth it was nice to see the areas of which I hadn’t even thought to visit.

Improvements for the week? Well, I think the ideas and intentions of the week are good and have benefits for everyone, however the group I was in was fairly unorganised and faced a few challenges along the way which at times created an awkward atmosphere. This is only a trivial thing based on the personal experience I had. Regardless of this, I feel the older students of the group helped to hold things together and created a great final exhibition for the week.IMG_2019 - Copy (2)

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