FINAL PROJECT

SPOILER ALERT: this project was a damn ROLLERCOASTER Y’ALL buckle uuuup cause I cycled through like a million ideas before arriving at my final project:


 IDEA #1

SO I want to keep working on the Giallo theme because it is very dear to me. I’d like to work on getting the characters I create out of the studio and into the word, give them a real setting. During the upcoming spring break, I plan to take some pictures while I am back home in Italy to get that really authentic Giallo look.

I’ve been watching various movies and doing some visual research on the look I want to create.

Phenomena (1985) by Dario Argento really stood out to me for the setting because I live very close to areas that look incredibly similar (italian&swiss alps views for dayysss)

1ab17555b8584da538573abd5719f7d7phenomenasynapse1Here is for reference some of the places around where I live:
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And the view from my grandparents home which is even closer to the Alps (photos by me):
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and here’s a cemetery I wanted to also photograph at (photos by me):
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I really liked the architecture of it, would have made for some beautiful photos.
As inspiration for this shoot I also looked at editorial photography by Guy Bourdin:
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Photography by Cindy Sherman (as usual, her Film Stills series never ceases to inspire) :
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And Film Stills by Michelangelo Antonioni:
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Loved the landscape shots that give such a huge sense of depth.

I also put together a mood board to help guide me while taking pictures:
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Unfortunately this idea did not end up working out as the whole time I was back in Italy it was POURING rain the whole time meaning I could not take any pictures outdoors as planned.

ON TO….


 IDEA #2

So, taking inspiration once again from another Dario argento film, this time its the classicly sinister SUSPIRIA (1977).
The lighting in this movie is WILD (not to mention the set design as well). It really is incredible.


I also enjoyed Mario Bava’s lighting and visuals for Blood and Black Lace / 6 Donne Per L’Assassino (1964):

While doing research I also stumbled upon photographs taken by Andy Warhol in 1966 whose bright colors and compositions also inspired me:
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I also looked at the visuals and settings of The Love Witch (2016) a film with a beautiful and bewitching use of colors:


I also put together another mood board for this idea to help guide the lighting for the pictures I planned to take (in the studio again this time):
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Here’s a little test look of how I wanted my character to look at the shoot:

(I was stuck between being blonde or a redhead)

In the end, at the studio, I didn’t end up liking how the lighting was looking. Not many pictures came out great so actually, the test pictures done give a better idea of the lighting situation:
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This Lighting color combo felt a little too bubblegum neon sign so I tried some other colors:

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in the end, only 1 shot came out best with this lighting:

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In the end, despite the photos being objectively good I felt a bit bored by them, they didn’t feel like they were reflecting the extent of my research and ideas.

ON TO …


IDEA #3

So From this point, I made a decision to go back to my initial idea of scouting locations that would sustain an authenticity in line with the Giallo film style (IDEA #1). I wanted the photos to have an archival look as if they were film stills from a classic Giallo film that had been archived. To get this look I bought a vintage secondhand slide projector on eBay,
While searching for the slide projector I also came across many people selling boxes FILLED with old slides from old family vacations etc. The idea hit me that I could use those slides to “fill in the blank” of the setting for my invented Giallo film stills. I purchased a box containing 500 slides taken in Italy during the 1960s and sorted through the box to find slides that could work almost as backdrops for the pictures I was going to be taking.

Here are some pictures of the projections of some of the slides I was planning on using:

I then scouted for location in and around London where I could go to take photographs.
I was looking for locations that didn’t scream LONDON when you saw them as I was trying to create a more Italian landscape with my work.
One of the first locations I chose was the Hellfire Caves Mauseleum outside of London.
The Mauseleum has a very imposing prescence over a hill and I really want to shoot with that in the background.
1200px-Dashwood_Mausoleum.jpgThe shoot for this location was going to be directed in a way that the protagonist (me) was attempting to run away from a pursuer, ending with the protagonist pointing a fake gun at the camera/pursuer. Unfortunately, this was not something that would work as I found that it is, in fact, illegal to carry a replica projectile weapon in public without a police escort – this was something I had not planned for, nor had time to organize. To work around this issue, I thought of using the ‘Death’ Card from my own personal Tarot deck (something that fascinates me and that I had been studying in the background of all this uni work). I was going to hold the ‘Death’ card up to the camera instead of the gun as a symbolic gesture. It would also add a theme of the occult to the Giallo (which is actually quite a popular theme in many Giallo films). Despite my efforts VERY ANNOYINGLY the majority of the photographs taken on location did not develop properly and were lost.
I WAS DEVASTATED. I’m not sure what caused this, whether it was a problem with the camera or the film. Here are the only pictures that survived (I had them developed and placed into slides for the projector) :
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As at this point I was running out of time I had to quickly move on to the next and final Idea….


IDEA #4

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Inspired by the emphasis put on Tarot cards in my previous shoot, I thought It could be interesting to create a set of self-portraits inspired by particular cards that stand out to me. It would be interesting to turn the polaroid itself into a card- transforming it from just a photograph to an almost mystical object.

I looked at varoius different sets of Tarot Cards, with a focus on the Major Arcana (The Major Arcana are a suit of twenty-two cards in the 78-card tarot deck. Each Major Arcanum depicts a scene, mostly featuring a person or several people, with many symbolic elements. In many decks, each has a number (usually in Roman numerals) and a name, though not all decks have both, and some have only a picture)

I also looked to postcards and art from the early 1900s depicting celestial images as inspiration for their whimsical (and sometimes very DIY looking) flair:


I also looked at photography by Birgit Jürgenssen (mostly her 100 days series):

Ultimately I chose 3 cards from my Tarot deck that stood out to me for their design and meaning; THE STAR, DEATH and THE EMPRESS.
For each card, I made a mood board to guide the shoot.

THE STAR
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DEATH
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THE EMPRESS
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From these mood boards I made small sketches to outline how I wanted the pictures (backdrop, costume etc) to look:
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I put together the sets myself in my living room and curated each look using fabric and different props. I wanted to mix together all the research I’ve done in this course to create 3 self-portraits that would have meaning and impact.
I used a pack of film per “card”. These are the pictures that didnt make it to the final cut:
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I chose the ones that I liked best and then decorated the polaroid with silver foil and transfer letters to turn the polaroids into Tarot cards.

Here is the outcome!
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I’m really pleased with what I have been able to create! it’s been a hell of a journey to get to this outcome but I’m so happy I embarked on it! I mean i’ve pretty much created like 3 outcomes but I think this one is the best and most complete.
I’ll probably have to frame these to go in the final show.

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ZOO BRIEF – A KILLER WITH A WOMAN’S HANDS

So we had to choose between two briefs: the zoo project or creating a book cover for various penguin books.

I chose the zoo project as it was more open to interpretation which would give me more freedom.

I really wanted to continue with the theme of my last project (Giallo) and keep practicing my art direction/styling/photographic skills as it’s what I’m more interested in.

I started brainstorming ways to combine the zoo with giallo~

My thought process went a little like this (but a lot more complicated in real life):

ZOO—> ANIMALS —> GIALLO FILMS WITH ANIMALS IN THE NAME OF THE TITLES (which is weirdly a lot of them????)

There are quite a few Giallo films that include animals in their titles, here are some examples:

BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE  (or sometimes called THE GALLERY MURDERS) / L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO (1970) by Dario Argento (first installment of his Animal Trilogy)

 


THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS / IL GATTO A NOVE CODE (1971) by Dario Argento (second installment of his Animal Trilogy)

 


FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET / 4 MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO (1971) by Dario Argento (third and final installment of his Animal Trilogy)

 

A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN / UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI DONNA (1971) by Lucio Fulci

 

THE CASE OF THE SCORPION’S TAIL / LA CODA DELLO SCORPIONE (1971) by Sergio Martino

 

HUMAN COBRAS / L’UOMO PIU VELENOSO DEL COBRA (1971) by Bitto Albertini
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While researching these films I came across a website that auto-generates original giallo film titles and plots, the titles and plots it created are pretty accurate (long bizarre titles and convoluted but clever polts with lots of twists and turns).
Here are some of my favorite titles that the generator created:
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I decided to use this title to inform the visuals for the shoot.
I’m not sure yet if I want to do a photo series or my own Giallo poster based off of this title but I’ll decide once the photos are done. I also want to make more use of props for this shoot, play a bit more with creating a scene.


I put together a bit of a mood board for the upcoming shoot:

 


 

Here are some of my favorite shots from the shoot I organized:

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I also managed to take some pictures with my 35mm Nikon SLR:
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I really enjoy some of these individually and ammmm considering doing a photo series but I’m going to give make a poster out of one of these pictures a try!


Tried out a poster design (I, unfortunately, did not screenshot the process as I was really focused on working- there were a lot more variations that I made before I reached the final poster design)

Here is my initial draft of the poster:
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I was nooooot loving how this came out and almost quit with the poster idea all together but saw potential with the sort of yin-yang / black&white theme I had stumbled upon so kept going:
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I was happy with this but felt that the images looked too static and disconnected with each other so I decided to really push myself and try out giving it a more postery look, trying to make the photograph look almost like a drawing:
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A stronger contrast definitly helped make the image pop!
Here are some more up close shots of the poster with the posterised/drawn effect I added:
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I thought it could be fun to make the final piece aa a VHS cover design similar to these:
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it’s funnily enough quite similar to a book cover format but more fitting for my B-movie inspired work.


SO after various tries here is my VHS casette cover !
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annnnnd matching Poster:
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Overall I’m very pleased with the outcome! This project was a lot of fun to do and I feel like I learned a lot!

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La Bionda La Mora La Rossa

Starting off 2018 STUCK; I cannot decide what brief to choose for our next project which has been frustrating…
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(me after reading through all the briefs)

I’m mostly stuck trying to choose between ‘Digital Folklore’ and ‘Traces’.
Both are pretty open to interpretation really which is quite nice.

In the end, I decided to go with traces as it’s super open and I can really go wherever I want with it.

For this project I decided to refer back to some of my research from my Giallo project in second year and starting with ‘Blood at a crime scene’ as my starting point for TRACES.

JOHN BALDESSARI Two Figures (One With Shadow), 1986
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I really love the various elements of contrast in this piece. Firstly the contrast between the two figures; one gruesome and violent and the other relaxed, lounging in the sun. And Secondly the contrast of the red shadow over the black and white image. Visually it quite eye-catching and interesting, even slightly disturbing.

TALIA CHETRIT Murder Picture #2, 1997/2017 & Murder Picture #2 (Detail), 1997/2017

 

I really enjoy this photograph by Talia Chetrit, there really is a sense of violence within the image but also (in the Detail zoom-in) almost peace? It’s a very well set up image with the pose, blood, and background. It looks like a still from a movie or a crime scene photograph.

Speaking of stills, I also came across film wardrobe test shots that really interested me visually

 

I really like how static they are if that makes sense? They give you a sense of the character just through hair&makeup & wardrobe. Thats something I’d like to bring to my work; being able to instantly recognize a character/trope.
I find these test shots quite similar to some of the fashion editorials of the time:

 


Plain backdrop, good lighting.


Recently watched The Love Witch and LOVED IT. The visuals feel so authentic it’s hard to believe that this film was made recently.
I took screenshots of some of my favorite parts:

 

 


During my research I watched various Giallo films to help inform my visuals and ideas and came across a film trope that is also used a lot in other genres of film:
The Blonde The Brunette and The Redhead
I thought it would be fun to parody the trope in a photo series where I play each part taking into account also my earlier research of wardrobe test stills and editorial spreads from the 60s/70s as welll as the visuals of Italian Giallo films of the time.

Here is a mix of visuals that are going to inform the mood/lighting/etc of the pictures I’ll be taking in the studio next week:

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I’d really like to use a red background, I really feel like it will make any other colors on set POP and feel authentic to the look I’m trying to achieve.


While thinking about what kind of a character I wanted to portray in the images I’m going to be taking I thought about patterns of female character in film and tv and immediatly thought of the classic ‘The Blonde, The Brunette and The Redhead trope”

“Sometimes, they’re heroes. Sometimes, they’re friends. Sometimes, they’re contenders, vying for the same love interest. Whatever the details, they’re proof that Central Casting does the math: three women, three major hair colors. Collect the full set” (tvtropes.org)
What I found interesting about this trope was that the female characters were almost always pretty much interchangable, the only real difference in the characters was their hair color and the stereotypes that went with them. Another reason I was drawn to this trope and not another is because in italian theres a saying “La bionda rapisce, la mora colpisce, la rossa stupisce.” which loosely translates to “The Blonde steals[your heart?], The brunette hits you [with her beauty] and the redhead stuns you(can also be read as ‘hits’ but in this case we’re talking about beauty). This saying also has a more jokey version that plays with the double meaning of the words used to describe them:
“La Bionda rapisce, la Mora Colpisce, e la Rossa nasconde il cadavere!” which translates to “The Blonde kidnaps you, The brunette hits you, and the redhead hides the body/corpse” which instantly brought me back to my overriding Giallo theme. WOO MURDER?

I’d like to almost try parodying the blonde,brunette and the redhead trope, using myself as each character to showcase the lack of distinction between the characters.


Back from the shoot! I took pictures not only with the dslr provided but also with my polaroid and a 35mm Nikon.

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I really REALLY like how authentic the 35mm photos look but I also really love the digital ones too.
I took so many pictures with the DSLR that I’ll only post some screenshots of my favorites~

 

I really like how CRISSSSSPPPP the dslr pics came out but I also love the 35mm ones….I don’t know which to chooooooose


OUTCOME
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I photoshopped the portraits together to make a big poster-sized print accompanied by three close-ups to be displayed under each character.
I also added a bit of grain to the pictures to imitate the look of old magazine prints (but did not take it too far as to keep the crip crunchiness of the photos that I liked)
Here are some closer shots of the final work:
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Ended up showing just the big print for the interim show (lack of space for the other prints apparently), Here are some fun pics from the opening night:
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I had the image printed on a big vinyl wall sticker (I liked how photographs we’re being displayed in this style at other gallery shows I’d seen). One small mistake that I made was getting it printed glossy instead of matte as the glossy finish made some of the wall texture show up. I chose glossy thinking that it would give the bright colors more depth (which it did) but next time I print something similar I will go for the matte option.

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COVENTRY & ZOO

COVENTRY

Soooo I have a lot to say about the decision to have us go to the Coventry Biennial…not all good so to whoever is reading this…
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OK so lets start with my critique…
SOOOO right off the bat as soon as this trip was announced It actually seemed like it would be kinda fun and interesting…that was until I clicked on the link provided to us to learn more information about the event and I was greeted with THIS
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ORANGE AND PURPLE??? A WORDPRESS PAGE??? REALLY???? NOW I’m not a professional when it comes to graphic design BUT I am an avid internet dweller and I can tell you when when a website is functional/looks good. THIS DOES NOT.
Immediately all my high hopes were dashed…and really I do feel bad saying this because a lot of people put work into this event but if I may give some advice; Next time, make a page on WIX or something similar, it’ll look better, it’ll be way more functional and it’ll look a hell of a lot more professional than hosting on wordpress. Honestly I just can’t get over the Orange background with Purple and green font.
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Anyway I hopped on a train (luckily got a good price…but really…this should have been payed for by the uni JUST SAYING) and made the 2hour journey to Coventry.

The Coventry Biennial is an art festival consisting of solo and group exhibitions scattered across different locations within the city centre. Unfortunately the exhibition locations were not very well indicated which made actually finding anything very inconvenient. The map on the website didn’t help because the flagged locations would not open on google maps (I don’t know if this is a problem only I had).
I was not really able to find any work that could inspire or inform my practice because what I do doesn’t really relate at all to anything I was able to see at the exhibitions that I did find.
The Cathedral Ruins were one of the locations indicated on the map. I was not able to find the exhibition that was supposedly on display there but at least got to take in a bit of history.

 

 

St Michael’s Cathedral was bombed almost to destruction during the Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940 by the German Luftwaffe. The Cathedral was left roofless and for the most part destroyed, only the tower, spire, and bronze effigy and tomb of its first bishop survived the bombing.
As I’d read a lot about ww2 and the destruction it caused during my history classes in high school, seeing ruins (which normally would be rebuilt) left as they are is quite interesting to me. This photograph of Winston Churchill visiting the ruins in 1941 really show how they have not changed at all (except clearing more of the rubble)
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After visiting the ruins it was onto the nearby Herbert Art Gallery and Museum where more work from the Biennial would be on display. Personally I didn’t find it very compelling. What I did enjoy though was the small exhibition on Picasso’s experimental linocut prints on loan from the British Museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures so here are some of my favourites that I found again online:
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The process required to produce these prints was explained in a video on display among the prints. As a big fan of using lino myself, it was interesting to see these prints as I had not known before this that Picasso had created work using linocutting.

Other works throughout to museum caught my eye as well. In particular these two paintings:

BE NICE TO THE BIG BLUE SEA by Cecily Brown, 2013
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This painting really stood out because not only was it HUGE it was also really colourful and busy (but in a good way). I really love the soft but bright color palette the painter used to bring the figures to life within the painting. I spent a good 15min just taking it all in. Getting up close to the painting was also interesting for me, I loved taking a closer look at the dynamic brushstrokes of the artist. It was a very lively and beautiful piece in my opinion.

The other painting that cause my eye was THE ENCHANTED ROAD by Frank Salisbury, 1927
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This painting was interesting to me because I’ve never seen a painting that is painted from the perspective of someone sitting in a car, and specifically a car from the 1920s!
The sharp contrast in this painting is really striking, the depth of it almost makes you feel like you’re the one sitting in the car viewing this nighttime road.

Overall..It was kind of not the best organised trip. I can’t help but wonder why we weren’t just given a museum in london to visit. That would have saved us all a lot of time and money. Better luck at the Zoo??


ZOO VISIT

Zoos are a pretty divisive topic. You either love them or you hate them. As much as they are educational they are also not really ethical; animals belong in their native habitats.
I was really conflicted while visiting. A small part of me felt an almost child-like excitement to see all the animals but for the most part the rest of me felt really sad seeing them in cages.
The first place I visited in the zoo was the small aquarium right by the entrance. I did most of my documenting here as all the different textures and colors of the aquatic displays were mesmerising to watch.
I compiled my favourite shots into a video, overlaying an underwater sound effect. It’s really relaxing and mesmerising to watch the movement of the fish and plants swaying in the current of the water. The order I chose the clips to go in is color-based, starting with the very green tanks, to darker almost black tanks, to finally bright blue more tropical looking tanks. I end the video with a shot of one of the tanks displaying how plastic is taking over our oceans. I felt this was a poignant way to end the video as It starts full of life and ends with death.

In the end I found that this outing was better organised and was overall more enjoyable because of that. I appreciate that the cost of the zoo visit was covered by the course.
Despite this I did not enjoy the zoo very much as it was quite sad to look at these poor animals being held in an environment that did not suit them.
As beautiful as some of the displays in the aquarium were I couldn’t help but worry about how small they were and how annoying all the small children were when they would tap on the glass (I know that they’re too young to really know any better but their parents weren’t stopping them despite there being signs up around the displays saying not to disturb the fish).

 

Self Initiated Project Idea 2

SELF PORTRAIT PHOTO SERIES

I’d like to do a self portrait series or video that would either be a continuation or some sort of development of the little photos series I did for the 24 hour project called ‘Primary Function’ , an ironic depiction of the 1950s female humanoid robot set in the location of a domestic prison depicting the downsides of the 50s utopia and describing a discourse between gender, futurism and free will.12345

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I’ll be looking at artists like Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman and Birgit Jürgenssen.

In particular I’m very interested in Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills series. In the series Sherman poses as various generic female film characters (using tropes like the housewife, ingenue and vamp among others).  The pictures are staged to look like scenes straight out of a classic 50s/60s Hollywood film noir, sometimes B movies as well. The series starts a dialogue about stereotypical portrayals of women.


Birgit Jürgenssen’s work, specifically her polaroid work is something I’ll also be looking at in my research. Her collection of photos “10 Days – 100 Photos” published in 1980 is a series of self-portraits done in polaroid as well as normal photographs. Her use of and display of the polaroids is of big inspiration for me.


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I might continue the theme of science fiction in my work, similarly to the ‘Primary function’ series of polaroids, however instead of describing the day to day misogyny of the latter half of the century, I would like to take inspiration from my beauty and skincare routines and apply a science fiction aesthetic to instead use the imagery as a means of empowerment.

I’ll also be looking at the artist Juno Calypso for inspiration as well.
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The Honeymoon Suite from Juno Calypso on Vimeo.

this quote by Juno really sums up why I love her work,
Yes, the rituals we invest in as women can be bizarre, but that’s not really the problem. The real problem is the way women are considered moronic for wanting to indulge in those things. Stop patronising us. We know what we’re doing.
I find that whenever I tell people about my intense beauty routine I get quite negative responses to it like “what a waste of time”, “why bother” or “you’re so high maintenance!”. My routine isn’t so much about vanity but it’s a time in the day the is mine and mine alone and I find it very relaxing and a time for me to reflect. Also whats wrong with taking care of yourself? These are things I’ll be reflecting on as I work on this project; how my routine makes me feel empowered.
Are people turned off by vanity because they feel threatened?? more questions to consider..


UPDATE 13.10.17

So as I’ve been doing more research I’m considering dropping the more sci-fi aspect I was originally going to go for as I don’t personally feel as connected to that right now, I’d like to keep that for projects I’ll be doing in the future.

While researching Vanity I came across a style of painting called ‘Vanitas’,
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Vanitas art is a (mostly) still life genre of painting featuring objects with morbid symbolism such as skulls and fading flowers in order to produce in the viewer’s mind an awareness of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death.
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This painting by Clara Peeters (possibly a self-portrait) really intrigued me visually as I liked the mix between self-portrait and Vanitas still life.

I really want the project to focus more on these quotes that stood out to me by John Berger in Ways Of Seeing :
“A woman is always accompanied, except when quite alone, and perhaps even then, by her own image of herself. While she is walking across a room or weeping at the death of her father, she cannot avoid envisioning herself walking or weeping.” ….
Women watch themselves being looked at

This DAZED article about John Berger’s Ways Of Seeing also talks about this;
“Berger pins down a feeling which, although perhaps not universal, is familiar to many, many women. It comes with adolescence – maybe the first time a man yells at you from a moving car – and is the sense of living life one step removed, living as your own spectator. You are never yourself, you are yourself as you appear to others”

I’d like to try to express my own personal experience with this feeling, making use of the Vanitas style still life within a self-portrait setting. Perhaps with using mirrors to represent this idea of always being accompanied my your own image of yourself. I’d like to combine that with Vanity

Vanity is imposed on us, but being vain is bad ?

Here is a little moodboard that explores the visuals I’m interested in:

I’ve purchased some mirrors (waiting for them in the post) as well as some polaroid film to take some test shots, but my main goal is to shoot at a vanity dressing table that will be decorated according to the Vanities still-life symbolism.
Also super inspired by the set of the music video I was a runner at:
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Although this was filmed in an actual studio with a budget MUUUUUCH higher than mine.

UPDATE : dressing table is off -ahem- the table. The person who was about to sell me theirs found out that the table showed signs of woodworm damage (and I didn’t want to bring that into my RENTED flat)


UPDATE : Returning to my original SCI-FI idea as the Vanity/Vanitas idea outcomes were not working for me…they were okkkk but not strong enough as an outcome and I was not enjoying the process which for me is always a warning sign when working that I’m not doing what I should be. Also the work I was producing made it look like my routine is about looking good for others when really It’s always been about pleasing myself.

Here are the outcomes from the vanity/vanitas idea:
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It was supposed to be depicting me getting ready for my day and leave the house only for me to get back into bed. Kind of an ode to a more depressing time in life. Annnnd it was just that way too depressing, I don’t feel like that any more so I didn’t feel like it represented me/my art. Thats also why I didn’t finish this series. I saw where it was going and made the decision to start over.
I got inspired to return to my old science-fiction idea thanks to the polaroids taken without the flash, when placed next to the well-lit polaroids looked very eery, like a ghost version of me (specifically in the last polaroid, my reflection in the mirror is quite creepy). Thats when I knew I need to follow that route and try again.

I’m going to be creating three different looks/settings/themes for the series.

The first one will be set in my bathtub (my weekend ritual) and I will be wearing my most used style of face mask; a sheet mask:
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(this picture is a very romanticised view of what a sheet mask looks like on, in reality it looks pretty terrifying)
I want the bath tub to look look like a science experiment gone wrong, murky dark waters with vines coming out. To make the vines plastic trash bags were used, rolled up and shaped with tape. I also put to use some hair extensions I had lying around to add to the swampy seaweed look of the vines.
Here is a picture of the tub while setting up the vines:

then to get the water to look as murky and swampy as possible I picked up two jelly bath bombs from lush called ‘secret arts’ that leave a layer of jelly/muck on the surface of the water (made from algae powder).
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here is a video of someone doing a demo (this is what convinced me to buy them honestly, seeing how dark and gross looking they turned the water was helpful)

It really gave the tub a black lagoon feeling immediately.

For the Second set, I wanted to be wearing my LED light therapy facemask which always makes me feel super futuristic when I wear it

(I have the one on the right, really wish I had the one on the left because it truly looks deeply disturbing but a. it’s expensive and b. I prefer the minimal look that mine has, looks like I could weld something on a spaceship in the year 5000)
To make the rest of the image as futuristic looking as the mask, my bed was covered in tin foil to look as reflective and metallic as possible. Wires were weaved around me to give a robotic android feeling. I also was inspired by Sigourney Weaver’s all white top and underwear in the beginning scene of Alien when the crew wake up from cyro-sleep. All white clothes also immediately make me think of medical gear. To get a more retro-futurist look I borrowed some of my boyfriends music gear to pose as tech around me.


Unfortunately the pink glow got a bit lost when photographing with the polaroid but in the end It changed the pink to a red glow coming from the eyeholes of the mask (much more creepy)

For the third and final set will be inspired mostly by Eyes Without a Face (1960) but also Silence of The Lambs (1991).  In eyes without a face we see Christiane wandering around her quite decadently decorated home wearing her mask. I don’t live in a mansion or have access to one haha so luckily I had some curtains that had quite an interesting floral embroidery that I felt worked with the influence from the film.
The mask I’m wearing for this set is a ‘modelling’/rubber mask
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it’s a mask that you mix yourself with water and that needs to be applied in a thick layer to the face. As it dries it feels like rubber on the skin (this supposedly helps keep all the good stuff from the mask as well as the hydration from evaporating like a sheet/paper mask would) They then peel off in a really gross way, you can literally see an imprint of your face on the inside.
Here’s some test shots done on my phone before shooting with the polaroid.

I also wore a nightdress & jacket inspired by the looks that are in the film (very late 50’s to 60s style dress)

Here is a closer look at the science-fiction/horror sources that inspired my work:

*SET 1 : THE BATH/SHEET MASK*
Creature from the Black Lagoon 1954

The Alien Costume & Set from Alien 1979

Manga Artist Junji Ito’s various horror stories

The Day of The Triffids (book and film from 1962)

The Planet of Dagobah, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back(1980) & Return of the Jedi(1983)

*SET 2 : LED MASK*
Barbarella 1968

Sigourney Weaver in Alien 1979

Alien 1979 set- The Nostromo ship interiors

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) hibernation chamber

*SET 3 : RUBBER MASK*
Eyes Without a Face/Les Yeux Sans Visage 1960

Face Off 1997

Silence of the Lambs 1991 (specifically the court room escape scene)

and inspired by that classic scene from silence of the lambs, this scene from the office makes my day every time I watch it:


OUTCOME

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Overall I’m really happy with the outcome! I feel like I really turned the project around as I reaaaalllllllyyyyy was not loving what had come of my vanities/vanity idea.
These came out really well I’m super pleased! At first I was a little worried that because each set of polaroids would be a different theme they would not work together visually but I found ways of tying everything together (using colors & motifs).
I’d really love to display them in frames. I’m quite inspired by the way Birgit Jürgenssen displays here polaroids and other formats of photography:

A lovely simple frame, bigger than the polaroid itself to draw the viewer in.
I think being able to either, have a set per frame or have them displayed all together in  one big frame.
Another idea I had was to display items from the shoot alongside each set, for example;
Infront of the first set I would display the vines from the tub surrounding the discarded sheet mask.
Infront of the second set I would display the LED mask atop foil surrounded by wires.
Infront of the third I would display the peeled off mask (inside out so you can see the imprint of my features with the nightgown hanging next to it kinda like this:
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(polaroid I took in my old flat 2 years ago)

 


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YEAR 3 – self initiated project idea 1

MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTION (&EDITING)

soooooo going to be working on a music video for The Love Company that is going to require mucho work but i’m confident in my ideas that it will (hopefully holy shit) work out.

quick refresh of your memoriesss, this is the last music video I made for The Love Company :

We wanted it to have a sort of damaged VHS tape look to it. I filmed the background footage of the boats in Venice and then overlaid Ryan (singer of The Love Co) over the top of that footage using green screen and lots of post production (had to teach myself After Effects which was…interesting).
Anyway – The song I will be doing a video for is called Heaven is a Place I Call Your Arms.
The main vibe for the video is going to be very heavenly (HA) and kitsch (in a good/fun way).  An early idea was to have a lovely baby blue background, DIY clouds hanging onto the background and the boys dressed in blue jeans&white shirt and most importantly somehow getting  spinning platform for the synth player Alex to spin on while playing a particularly intense part of the song.
Thanks to the last video I worked on in the studios at LCC I’ve come to somewhat know the downsides/faults of the photography studios and have worked up a plan to work around them which should allow me to achieve more of what I’m visualising in my head right now.
THE MAIN ISSUE WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO IS ITS TINY BACKGROUND SIZE.
A definite problem when wanting to film a horizontal shot that can fit the whole subject in view (some of the boys in the band are quite tall so this would be a pretty annoying issue to deal with. everyone wants to be visible in the video obviously)
MY SOLUTION: creating cardboard set pieces that can WIDEN the already there background!! here is a quick sketch of my idea (another thing to note was that there would be nowhere to hang the DIY clouds from so this is also a solution to that)
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The plan for the card cloud shapes is to either using cardboard or styrofoam, create the basic cloud shape, paint the shape white(if needed) and then cover it with pillow/toy stuffing to really get that fluffy cloud look. These pieces would need to be created and stored at uni as bringing them back and forth from home would probably deteriorate them.
This idea was a little inspired by the Wendigo group project we worked on last year where we created a mock set.
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But i’m going to be working on a MUCH bigger scale with this project which should be both fun and soul destroying.

Here’s some visual inspiration/research for the beginning of this project:

 

 

 

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ideas for set piece building:

Big inspo for me for some weird reason are the italian coffee brand Lavazza ads set in paradise/heaven that I grew up watching:

The ad really speaks for itself haha
Some music video/filming/vibe inspo

Will start working on a story board for the video soon. Also trying to figure out where to buy what I will need for the set design. So far I’ve ordered a sample of the pillow stuffing to see what kind of texture i’ll be working with. Maybe I’ll make a mini version of the set up. I’ll also need to pay a visit to the photography studios to get measurements of the space (as well as making a booking for at least 2 FULL days of filming). This will be a pretty fast paced project as The Love Company need their video to be done by mid/end October.


UPDATES 12.10.17

SOOOOO COMPLETE CHANGE OF PLANS. My initial idea was….somewhat too ambitious to complete in the time we have available (considering I would also have to organise the videographer and FIVE DISORGANIZED BOYZ) so my client and I discussed various other ideas (one example being filming the band at an old bowling alley which unfortunately rejected our proposal). We initially settled on the idea of filming in a particularly Shining-esque location:
The Peckham Liberal Club

As the client is a HUGE Kubrick fan he (and I as well) really enjoyed how this location and it’s vibe and color scheme eerily reminded us of The Shining:

When considering how we wanted it to be filmed we definitely wanted to keep the Kubrick ideals of symmetry but I also suggested taking inspiration from the more recent Gucci editorial campaigns (love the way they are so definitely influenced by old films but are also very contemporary) :

Specifically I was inspired by the look of Petra Collins short film for Gucci:

UNFORTUNATLY our plans for this fell through as the location responded to our filming request by kindly informing us that minimum we would need to pay ONE THOUSAND POUNDS FOR THE SPACE.

DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE 1K??? (hopefully, but I can confirm that I definitely DO NOT)

So onto another brainstorming session and finally we decided on our final idea for the video.

To be honest throughout these initial (unsuccessful ideas) we felt that there was something missing…despite the cool locations and interesting set idea we felt that the videos would have lacked something the first video we made together (On to Better Things) did so well:
IT WAS FUN. I HAD FUN FILMING AND EDITING IT AND THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE WAS JUST THAT; FUN AND the video came out pretty damn great if I do say so myself.
What our initial ideas lacked was the sense of fun and trying to make the best out of what we had (which originally..and still now..is nothing..NO BUDGET).
We had been thinking too hard about something that needed to be simple.

So we thought of a place where Ryan and I always have a good time and came up with the most mundane thing we do weekly; food shopping at Tesco.
So last friday we did some test shots in and around Tesco and honestly filming and editing it was so much damn fun and we FINALLY had a foundation for the final thing:

 

 

First thing I noticed when going over the footage I filmed on my iPhone was the great lighting already provided by the strong and bright tesco lights, and interesting and colorful backdrop of produce and products and a familiar setting where Ryan can be himself and express better the concept of the band, laid-back and easy.

Immediately we LOVED the way the supermarket looked on film so after playing around with some video editing with the few clips that we had we decided to look into what it would take to film at a supermarket.
While researching I found both promising and worrying posts from other no/low-budget film students saying that they had either been welcomed or turned away by the shop owners/managers. Taking tips from various forums about this subject I put together a filming proposal to give to the various supermarkets we were going to visit to ask about filming on location :

 

 

We decided to go to our #1 choice supermarket (also the most spacious) first which coincidentally is literally a 5min walk from my flat.
I found and spoke to the manager and explained my ideas and plan to him and much to my surprise he was totally happy to let us film there. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW RELIEVED WE WERE. We are honestly so lucky to be able to film in the supermarket of our choice with the support of the manager. He told us to email him the date that we would be coming in to film which will be Friday the 20th of October!

Here is a visual moodboard of images I’ve put together in preparation for when we film:

 

 

And here are some music videos that I feel will inspire the aesthetic and feeling of the video:

I love the mall setting of this video, there’s something heartwarming about it (maybe because both Ryan and I grew up in the US and have fond memories of going to the mall)

Love how nonchalant and un-apologetically weird this band is in the video, also love those zoom-in and zoom-out shots


We have since filmed the visuals and I am now in the process of editing the video, working on finessing the details~ (have had to pause for my thesis draft deadline)

Here are some polaroids I took as test shots
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Here are some music videos that are inspiring my editing:

[super glowy in certain scenes, I’d like to try to replicate that glow]

[this one not only inspires me for its editing but also the supermarket theme]

[love the VHS look]

[the chromatic aberrations & karaoke style lyrics really pop here)


Here is a first draft of the video

tried out making my own karaoke style subtitles. Really happy with how they cam out, it was a long but interesting process to learn. Unfortunately as cool as they are I don’t feel like they match the video well enough, I feel like they are too distracting.
Ryan wasn’t happy with the clips I chose of him lip-synching to the song, it didn’t feel natural enough, felt a bit forced so I’ll have to work on that.


HERE IT IS – DOOOOOONE
THE FINAL OUTCOME:

Yayyy super happy with the outcome! Overall it was a really fun experience being able to work as a team with chloe who did the filming. It’s given me some directing experience (harder than you think). I also learned some new things working with premiere pro while editing the video. I feel like the video really encapsulates the vibe that Ryan/The Love Company were aiming for; easygoing and fun.

Along with this final outcome I created content for the love company instagram to help promote the upcoming single/new music video as a sort of marketing campaign.
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I also created two possible versions for the single cover


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SI Project Final outcome

Dreams of You – THE MICHIGAN VIBE from Nicole Olivetti on Vimeo.

Here’s the final outcome of the music video!
Overall I’m pretty happy with it. Obviously had I had all the time in the world I would have made it even better but ya know..deadlines.

One thing I didn’t manage to do was the whole generation loss VHS effect. Unfortunately even after buying all the required wires and stuff needed to connect my laptop to the VHS player for some reason it wasn’t working and I didn’t have time to keep trying endlessly until I got a result so I continued with the editing on Premiere pro. I plan to keep experimenting with it this summer because it’s something I really want to be able to do.

Kung Fury

I mean…lets be real this is 30min of true ART. The most successful homage to the 80s. Obviously not exactly what I’m going for in my work but my god does this endlessly inspire me humour-wise and aesthetic-wise (not to mention the SICK synth soundtrack used throughout).

I was feeling a bit uninspired while I was editing my video and I re-stumbled upon this film and was quickly brought back to LIFE. Thank you Kung Fury.

@ Highgate Woods

My outcome for the Highgate Woods outing is a polaroid portrait series of The Michigan Vibe in nature~

When I first arrived at the woods I wasn’t sure how I was going to relate any of what I saw to my SI project…which isn’t really nature based…AT ALL. I took a few pictures on my phone and then realised that it would be a great setting for some portraits. I went home to pick up my polaroid camera and found some film I had been gifted that was perfect for the portraits and invited Ryan along.
I used black and red film as it matched the black and red scenes I had been editing in my video (to be posted soon).

Not gonna lie though…most if not ALL of the mini briefs are completely unrelated to any of the work I have been doing. I would have enjoyed them more in first year when my work was more “traditional illustration”. This year all my work has been either digital or video based so it’s felt a bit useless drawing nature scenes or things seen in museums as they’re pretty irrelevant to me. I get that you’re trying to get us to learn to “observe” our surroundings but honestly we’re all pretty capable of that already and if we aren’t then we shouldn’t be in 2nd year???  I dunno I just don’t care for it thats all. I just want to focus on my SI project instead of having to travel 40min to a place that has nothing to do with what I’m doing.

I JUST DON’T GET IT SORRY DON’T SUE ME