Photography Continues Around The World

Hello all,

I know it’s been a long time since I was blogging, and even though this blog was for my Visual Arts subject (which I no longer take), I would like to continue to share some of the photography that I have taken over the months.

Recently, I travelled to the Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces of China, including cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing. Here are some photos of my experience. These photos are centered around the West Lake area in Hangzhou, China.

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My Photo Montage – What’s The Message ?

This is my final product – the photo montage ! I decided to name it “Light Choreography”, because the light seems as if it is dancing.

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Artistic Statement/Intention

Who said light travels in straight lines ? Anything can happen. When you are down, light brings you wonder. When you feel like the entire world is against you, you must remember that there is one thing – light. Life is like a flower, and we start at the bottom, and by shining light on ourselves, we climb up before reaching a petal at the top. When is something we cannot control but where is something that we can change. Remember that the light you shine on yourself is who you are. There is never saying no to hope.

(99 words)

Explanation of The Artwork – How It Becomes More In Depth

If you have noticed carefully, joining up the colorful lines of light gives you a face staring into the sky. The black sky is the face and the colorful lines of light give it an outline and therefore it’s shape. I am trying to say that from this face, the light you shine on yourself represents who you are. The flower was meant to depict that if you rise, light will welcome you. Motion is utilized based on the movement of light in different directions, hence light choreography.

Inspiration

David Hockney was the one that inspired me for my artwork. From his montages, I took the fact that he took many images of the same thing, which resulted in my experimentation with light. Later, he joined everything together that could still give off that aura, which I tried to communicate with a display of light. Here is an example from one of my previous posts. He took photographs of the same subject, but still joined them together, and what could have been an ordinary world turned into a fantasy. In my montage, I tried to do that by trying to make it more abstract, and therefore more of a world of fantasy. I turned the cars upside down and the light into something as never seen before to try and add on to the effect. Therefore, I would say that this work is my inspiration for my montage – something abstract and dreamlike.

Hockney Montage 2

Developing A Photo Montage – Mix and Match – The Art of Experimentation

Continuing from the time I mentioned how I edited the photographs, I will now talk about the techniques utilized and the experimentation involved in mixing and matching the photographs into creating that very meaningful montage. The final montage will be uploaded tomorrow, along with the artistic intention.

Firstly, we have the technique. The photographs taken for my montage were actually from my balcony at night (you’ll see them soon). It’s a very clear city view, with no light displays of any sort. It’s just a scenery where you would find some buildings, lamp posts and a few shop lots and cars along the way. I will be breaking this explanation into three parts (there were three types of photographs).

1. Light Drawing – What I did was using my DSLR, I set my shutter speed to about 1.5 seconds and with an aperture of maybe 5.0. After focusing on the overall scenery, I pressed the shutter and quickly turned the camera 90 degrees clockwise, ensuring that the center still remained. This must be finished before the shutter has another “click” sound. You will find that the camera started from the original picture, but the many lines of light associated with turning the camera are also included, giving an awesome light display.

2. Light Car – Capturing cars that seem to be a quick spectrum of light is pretty easy. By setting your shutter speed also to about 1 to 1.5 seconds, taking the photo will not only capture the shot at that instant, but everything during the 1 to 1.5 second duration, which means that many lines form and these may produce stunning results.

3. Bokeh Flower – By using my mother’s flower on the balcony as the model with the city skyline as the background, I used a shutter speed of about 0.5 or 0.6 seconds and the lowest aperture I could go – 3.5. You must remember that what aperture does is the ability to focus on a subject. A low aperture would put focus on the subject focused on, while a high aperture would give almost equal focus to all elements of the setting. Shutter speed, meanwhile, is how long the camera takes before it’s second click, giving either more time to capture events over a period or giving less time to capture things at 1/4000 second, for instant. By using this effect and a lot of trial and error, you get the flower as such, with the background appearing as circles of light.

Meanwhile for the experimentation, I was quite unclear at first, when I thought of just connecting a few lines together based on the direction of the lines of light. By the end of my first mix and match session, here was what I got. (I am sorry if it wasn’t that clear…)

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However, after this, someone suggested to me that I should connect the lines of light to form the outline of another character – another person, which would make it generally much more meaningful. From my next two experimentations, here is what I got.

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The first one, if you look carefully, is supposed to depict the face of a lonely boy looking into air. Can you picture the lines ? I’ll tell you more for the second one in my next post, as so not to spoil it, as I used this as my base for the final product.

Anyways, I added in some of my remaining photographs in from the light car and put it at the sides, before getting this as my final experimentation.

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The final product is close to this, so stay tuned for tomorrow with the final montage and the real artistic intention !

The Art Movement Beside The Photo Montage

Today, we will be discussing about a few art movements that are somehow linked to the photo montage. We will quickly take a look at each work and respond to them.

First up, we have Dadaism. Since we have already covered this before, I will just explain it briefly. Dadaism was art by the Dada Group after World War 2, where they used the photo montage as a form of anti-art in protest of the chaos that was going on in the world. Their art was like something no one had ever seen before – it defied everything we knew about the world. I have the link to a video here that explains Dadaism very well, and I love this short section where one of the members of the Dada Group spoke about how to make a “Dada Poem”.

“Choose a article. Cut out the article. Then, cut up the words that make up the article and put it into a bag. After that, take out the words one by one and place them in the order they left the bag, and here is a poem that is all about you, infinitely original, and sensibly charming, though beyond the understanding of the mankind.”

It really shows what the function of a photo montage actually was for. They were talking about a GLOBAL ISSUE – the WORLD WAR. Photo montages are made to communicate who you are, while being infinitely original, sensibly charming and yet beyond the original understanding of mankind. This is what I can apply to the the photo montage – by randomly mixing things up to get an unexpected but totally original yet charming composition. As our Statement of Inquiry says,

Changing the boundaries of expected relationships can inspire unexpected compositions.

Video Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=213&v=vK7CWwpFizc

Here are a few examples of art from Dadaism.

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This montage basically communicates all the themes and beliefs of the Dada Group in a way that feels like the world is falling apart. I can see how they took everything, put it in the bag, and spread everything out in some of the most random ways. It feels like all of the buildings and sharp objects are crushing all the people at the bottom – the world is in an utterly state of chaos that cannot be escaped wherever you run to.

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This is basically similar to the montage above, except that I feel this one is like others “kicking” others using their legs. Humans are fighting humans for their own survival. In the meantime, we suffer great misery, and much suffering.

Our next art movement is Cubism. Cubism, which was in the early to mid 1900s, was more about geometric shapes used to resemble the subject being taken. It was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The shapes are used to create a rather mystical aura which is still understood by mankind. The way the painting is broken up is supposed to help in the communication of the message of the art. I describe cubism as “breaking apart and shuffling around”. It’s a little like Dadaism but it isn’t the chaotic type.

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It feels like the violin player is stuck in a statue. The shapes make her look very fixed and as if she cannot escape playing the violin for the sake of money. You can see it from the determination yet sadness in her eyes.

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This artwork clearly shows that a guitar has been split up into many parts. There are many guitars, but no perfect ones. There is nothing that is complete and whole and something we can call perfect – just like us humans.

Now looking at the photo montage, Dadaism aims to communicate something as random as possible yet has a lot of meaning. That’s what a photo montage should communicate – something like the global issues going on around the world. For example, I read about tax evaders from companies, who try to ensure that the prices of their shares are as high as possible, which is why they do not pay tax. It’s an issue that hampers the government’s funds and ability to develop the nation into a better place to live in. Dadaism communicated on the global issue of war, which is how both are similar.

For cubism, the fact that everything is rearranged for the sake of deeper meaning is exactly what the photo montage is about, like this task of creating a photo montage. The “geometricness” of the shapes give it a very fixed meaning that is often, no, always circulated around lines. As mentioned before, lines draw us into a photo, creating composition, and that’s how cubism relates.

The art movements inspire others. Have they inspired you ?

A Process of Editing – Telling A Story

As I compiled a few photographs for my photo montage with my DSLR based on my theme of curving light, I was looking through them and found that editing actually made the photos look really cool and refined them, enhancing the message (and wonder) of the photograph as a whole. Through two simple steps of editing by using the “neon” and “boost” features on Picasa, I managed to make the photographs look more abstract, while adding a nice touch of red to them. I have a few screenshots of the editing process. I will reveal more of the original photographs and edited ones later, as I don’t want to end up uploading repeats or spoil the montage for both the audience and the teacher, including the techniques used to capture them !

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