Description of the subject to be Investigated
I am interested in how and why as adults, many people choose to oppress their inner child; they seem to forget what it was like to have the imagination to create whole new worlds in their head. I want to explore if photographic images can re-ignite that imagination and child-like innocence in the people who look at them. I will also be creating photographs that show things I wish that I could have been there to take and things I wish I could have seen. These will be created using toys and Lego to fit within the aesthetic of my piece, using imagination and the Lego will bring an image of a child into the viewers mind.
This project will be a personal journey shown with photographs, how I have moved away from my original home, how I don’t visit there often, I’m just a ghost who passes through. I will be trying to show how I feel about having to grow up and mature in the adult world of university, but also how I kept my inner child with my imagination and story telling. All the images will fit within my project, and be spilling out of a suitcase, symbolizing the suitcase that I had to cram my life into when I moved to University. This project will be the end of my journey.
“Over at our place, we’re sure of just one thing: everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture, we don’t think of grown-ups, and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall.” Walt Disney
I started my research into how and why people chose to use toys as a medium in art for my symposium presentation. This got me interested in exploring how a photograph can be used to tell a story, re-ignite memories in people and spark their imagination. I want to see if I can use my photography to show people that we don’t really have to grow up as adults, we can still have and use our imagination to escape the real world into worlds of our own.
I am greatly inspired by the works of photographers who use toys in their images such as David Levinthal, whose images created with a shallow depth of field sometimes don’t look like toys at all, they have a sense of movement that tricks our mind into believing they are real, making us look twice.
David Levinthal Wild West Series #19
I am also inspired by photographers that use/used the old processes; there was an aesthetic to their images that I would like to recreate for my series of prints. Eugene Atget is one of my main sources of inspiration his photographs look old and vintage, but still contain the same mystery they had when he first developed them, they cause me to wonder about the scene he photographed and I start to create narratives around the scene in my head.
Robert Doisneau has also deeply influenced my ideas, I like the vintage aesthetic of his photographs, true this is because they are old, but looking at them I admire them as an artifact something original. He captured the surreal in everyday life, the playfulness of it; this is something I am hoping to achieve with my images. I had never seen his images before I researched them for this project, and now I wonder how I could have missed them, they are truly showing that everyone can still have the imagination and playfulness of a child, even if they have grown up.
Francesca woodman’s deeply haunting photographs will inspire my darkroom or digital work; her images really cause you to stop and look twice to try to understand what you are seeing. I will try to re-create her aesthetic of movement within the frame, using movement and sandwiched negative techniques in the darkroom.
Plan/Schedule of work
- Digital images of film scenes created from toys/Lego that I wish I could have worked on. Using iconic film scenes, such as scenes from Harry Potter and Star Wars. They will be close-up images, so you can really see the detail in them. I will be creating new images inspired by the films and my imagination, hoping they will inspire people to do the same. They will be iconic film scenes to many people but to the ones who don’t know the scenes, they will be nostalgic toys that cause them to reminisce about their own imagined stories. Lego is something I always remember from my childhood, I brought a Lego mini figure from the Harry Potter Lego series with me to university to remind me of that, and remind me of home. These images will be my way of remembering my home and family. These are already in production, they need to be completed by the end of March, I will create 5 detailed images.
- Dark room/Digital images of scenes where you need to use your imagination to see what is going on in them. You will have to look deep into the photographs to really see the narratives in them. Using sandwiched negatives to create ghostly looking scenes. To show how I am disconnected from those places now, they used to be so important to me, but now I don’t visit them as much. Inspired by Francesca Woodman’s work. I am going home on the weekend of March 17-19th to start production of these images. I will create 5 detailed darkroom or digital prints of these photographs.
Practising creating the ghostly scenes
- Digital images of scenes that contain mystery and narrative. Like images of the sky, but your mind will start to see shapes in the clouds, creating a new photograph. I find some people can see patterns and shapes in the clouds more than others, it is something you can do wherever you are, I can look up at the sky and I am looking up at the same sky as my parents can see back home, it is a way of connecting myself with them. These are already in production; I need to have them finished by the end of March. I will print 5 of these detailed digital images, on matt paper, to go with my project, spilling out of the suitcase.
- Scanned and re-photographed images of me as a child playing with toys, showing that everyone was a child once. That child should still be somewhere in us, with the same imagination and ability to create new stories from nothing. These images will be collected when I go home in a week’s time, I will then choose ones that go with my project and either re-photograph them or scan them depending on quality. The places will be memories and relate to the images taken in part 2.
One of my mum’s childhood photographs, it has the same aesthetics as the ones I will be using of me.
This might look like four disconnected ideas for photographs, but they all contain the imagination and narrative that is the aesthetic of my piece. The project is a personal journey for me, showing how I feel about moving away from home to a new place for university, I now feel disconnected from my original home and hope to photograph my feelings for this project, and joined with the other images show how I feel about growing up, but never really leaving my childhood behind me.
To be exhibited in the Frameless Gallery in London, the same time as the photography week of the Free range exhibition is on, this is so hopefully we can gain some footfall from Free range as well as passersby and people we have told about.
Will also be exhibited in Coventry University for my degree show, I am hoping to gain footfall from being in the Graham Sutherland building, (the art building) or the new Lancaster Gallery in the hub. I will be exhibiting my work with all my classmates, and the massive range of work there will surely bring people to see the exhibition.
My work will be made for everyone, because I believe everyone has an inner child, even the most mature adults. Everyone can imagine new stories and lose themselves in their imagination. I want my images to help people remember what it was like being a child, being worry free and being able to play out any story they wanted. My work will especially resonate with university students who can remember what it was like to move away from home all the emotions and hard work they faced.
Anticipated method of presentation
My work will be spilling out of a vintage suitcase onto the walls of the exhibition space. Each image will be pinned onto the walls to look like they are floating around the room.
I will sew vintage material onto my printed images, creating handmade one of a kind artifacts. Some will have gold/bronze frames, others will have material frames, painted on and sewn onto the images. The suitcase is showing how I picked up my life and moved to a different place, I moved away to university. I will be printing 20 6×4 digital matt prints and hopefully 5 larger darkroom prints, if for some reason I can’t source darkroom paper, I will print larger digital prints.
Vintage Suitcase-£30 to £50 online
Material- Etsy Prices Vary
Sewing equipment-Already owned
Small Frames- Charity shops or Wilkinson’s then painted on so they are unique
Darkroom paper-Ebay Prices vary
David Levinthal Wild West Series Number 19 from here.
Eugene Atget Fete du Trone from here.
Robert Doisneau image from here.
Francesca Woodman image from here.
Walt Disney Quote from here.