Heres an introduction to coincide with my current project.
Experimental stage of fashion. So recently I haven’t been posting much on here as I am so so busy however here’s a few shots Ive recently done for this project. Yet, now, my direction is slightly changing..
All these photographs are first and very rough edits, the finals will be able to view around January time with the launch of my first photo book – “NOW”.
See previous blog posts on Winter, Autumn, Spring and Summer Fashion .
Erwin Blumenfeld is known as one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. He is described as an ‘experimenter and innovator’ (Ewing, William. 1996) of fashion photography however he preferred being noticed for his artistic work. His photographic portfolio included black and white nudes, celebrity portraiture, advertising campaigns and his expressionistic fashion photography. He worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue; who hired him for his imaginative and unique shots. Throughout his career and life he was continuously experimenting with multiple exposures that he created in the darkroom. Blumenfelds influences came from French art and artists, such as Man Ray’s combination of portraits and photograms. (Blanchard, The Telegraph, 2013) Alongside photography he was also known for creating fashion films and beauty advertising: ‘an idea that was ahead of his time’. His inspiration came from Charlie Chaplin’s work which had a ‘profound effect on his own experimentations.’ (Laura Bradley, Another, 2013)
This photograph, “Do your part for the Red Cross”, a front cover feature on the March 1945 issue of Vogue, reflects his eternal love for the beauty of women. They were known to be his inspiration and his obsession. He once said ‘I could never love one woman; I am in love with women’. (Blumenfeld, 1999) This lust for women is also represented throughout his private life as he had many affairs with his models.
This photograph is very satisfying to the eye through its boldness, depth and soft lighting technique. However it’s dissimilar to his other work at this time. He usually photographed women nude or with sexual connotations added by colour or theme. Yet this image provides a sincere and direct response to the time; 1945 being the end of World War Two; connecting directly and personally to Blumenfeld as he served as an ambulance driver on the Western Front, or “a corpse carrier,” as he wrote in his autobiography. (Blumenfeld, 1999) This photograph was created for the front cover of Vogue to raise awareness and also respect for those who both fought in the war and the nurses, doctors and paramedics who saved lives. Obviously the image was also about the current trends of “Spring Fashion”, yet Blumenfeld posed it as a more direct response to the war instead to create a ‘daring combination of political events and current fashion : Ethical conduct as an aesthetic trend.’ (Eva Kaczor, 2012)
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT A FINISHED ESSAY
Today I had a wonder around my home town, Bromsgrove’s town centre where I discovered a few run down buildings. I knew that these buildings were derelict and boarded up however as I walked through the back gates I discovered the entire building had been left open. Much to my excitement this was perfect for this project. The buildings which used to be a walk in health care centre and dentist still held furniture and health equipment, including the dentist chair, sinks and shelving. The entire place was a state of decay; the walls peeling, broken window glass and doors hanging off their hinges however the small details of the letters still pinned to the boards and the calendars hanging on the wall show the remains of human existence in this place.
I spent a lot of time location scouting for this project making trips to London, Cardiff, Newport, Birmingham and Bristol. I enjoyed exploring new places, wondering through different streets and approaching new people. I felt that this all helped to record a social image of Britain for me and how different parts are in different social and economic climates. For example I found that for the most part there is a lot of money in London, as to be expected, in comparison to the back alleys of Birmingham and Cardiff. I found some interesting places in smaller towns such as my home town Bromsgrove and also in Newport, surprisingly not even far from commercial street – the town centre. Here are a few images that I took when wondering through places. I decided to not include any people however I did take many photographs of people on the streets and played around with the idea of sneakily taking documentary photographs from the hip.
When wondering through Newport one late evening I discovered the regular places for the homeless to stay, for example by the bus station and in alleyways. However I did not want to disturb the homeless and decided to revisit the locations the following day. It interested me that there is an abandoned TV that the tramp was lay by, this made me think that it could have been a possession of their or something they had stolen or even something that was already in the alleyway when they chose their spot for the night. The other place was an alleyway behind a row of houses where someone had thrown an old sofa and some cushions out amongst other rubbish. I found the homeless man lay on the sofa the night before however the next day the site was in a completely different state altogether.
For this project I scanned in images from Vice magazine and also added photographs I had taken myself, from these I layered them with text and other mediums such as ripped newspapers, posters and the textures found on street walls. I found the finished pieces very effective. From these finished pictures I had them printed on 300 gsm paper and then cut out letters from black card. I then layered the cut outs on top of the prints to spell out the word DECAY. These a4 pieces of card were then included within my photo shoot (see last post) to create photographs that represent decay as well as spelling the word out when added into a sequence.