In Frost’s poem, he spoke of Fire or Ice and their devastating effects of either one. The theme love seemed to resonate throughout his poem and in my visual interpretation of his poem, I seek to show the balance that arises from the combination of both.
The image of a heart is chosen because of its common symbolic use as love.
Fire is smoldering passion and desire from the heart. Fire consumes, warms, and illuminates but can also bring pain and destruction.
Loving someone so much the intensity of it hurts you can be detrimental.
Ice is a symbol of rigidity, frigidity, coldness, and the absence of love. Ice suggests distance and space but it is also synonymous with loneliness; its cutting edges and biting cold can harm.
When one loves no more, the heart seems to be absent.
Fire and Ice have to exist together. They balance each other out, similar to Ying and Yang.
While one can love the other a lot, distance provides clarity of mind and might even fan the embers of one’s heart.
In the middle photo, the heart beats in synergy with the blend of solid shapes and negative spaces reminiscent of veins amidst a warm background.
The photos are placed so that the first depicts fire, the second the balance, and the third ice.
Composition of Images:
The first image is over-saturated, providing an intensity of colors that seemingly radiate heat. It strains the viewers’ eyes and suggests pain and hurt. There is a graduation to the colors of the lone heart, from warm red to almost black, suggesting that the deeper the descent into the embers, the more likely the heart is to char.
The third image shows a cutout of a heart. The background is a cool blue and the cutout is black with an obscure reflected image in it. In contrast to image one, image three suggests the absence of love and the reflection in the cutout suggests an infection of the heart.
The middle image is the balance. It combines elements from both the first and third images and is reflective of Fire and Ice together. Both complements each other to create a more humane looking heart.
In Assignment task 1, I have done three parts: introduction of yourself, your object, and your world.
In introduction of myself, I started with a sentence that I wanted to express in three images: Reading is a solitary activity and it helps me build Worlds.
Therefore the three photos represented a simple message that leads to the larger objective:
I like reading.
Reading is a solitary activity for me.
The books help me build worlds when I read.
Composition of images:
The first image is a close-up to the object I wish to show and is a lead-in for the viewers to the other two images and the message.
The top down shot shows a fairy ring-like semi circle of books around me to suggests the magical quality of the books around me. The subject is faced away as a subtle indication that she wished not to be disturbed.
The last image is a not-quite close up that allows the viewers a glimpse of the subject’s delighted face, as she seemed to be building castles with the books. The prevalent theme in the photographs is Play, and is indicative of the state of mind of the subject when reading books.
In photos of object, it is used for the representation of the Self. My reference sentence was:
“We think with the objects we love, we love the objects we think with.”
– Sherry Turkle, Introduction: The Things That Matter
Using that idea of relating an idea with an object, my chosen object was a soft toy. These are photos that require context to understand; the toy was a gift from my secondary school friends and was the only toy I chose to bring with me to my hostel. The soft toy represents a link to the Past and the safety and comfort associated with it because I was comfortable with it. The space, which was my hostel room, represented the present and the foreseeable Future.
Taking a picture of the soft toy in the hostel room was a representation of a link to the past in my current future.
In the photos,
Hands hold onto the toy in a possessive gesture, which represents an unwillingness to release the Past.
A face of happiness shown when interacting with the toy shows an unwillingness to let go and my ability to continue finding comfort in the past.
Picture three shows me dragging the toy like a child would, which represents youth or childishness. The morose expression and hand at my face, representing regret, shows reluctance at letting the past go.
Composition of images:
Close-up of hands to show the meaning of the toy to the subject.
Half body shot to show interaction with the soft toy and further visual clues of the importance and thoughts of the subject to the soft toy.
A full body shot and gesture of the subject as representation of the soft toy and its symbolism to the subject.
Black and white was chosen to highlight the soft toy and the expressions or gesture made by the subject.
In the photos of my world, I chose the National Library. It has astounding architecture and was a building of knowledge. Books are amazing because they hold so much information inside.
Composition of images:
I wanted to show the architecture in different layout because of the way you had to view it in the space itself- crane your neck to view the ceiling, look out the window to see the building- and I wanted people to be able to marvel at that. This could be considered a wide shot, and it took in the whole space to show the structure and innate beauty.
Books are amazing in themselves but this should have been better thought out and expressed to show what I wanted to. The close up of books might have been too literal.
Similarly, the architecture once again presents itself in interesting form.
Reflection: On hindsight, the project could have been better if I had a focus before I went out to take photographs. This would have cut down on wasted time as I struggled to rush to places to retake photos. Although the brief is short, the project demands a higher level of thinking in terms of composition, meaning of images, and flow. It was not easy but I had learnt a couple of new tricks and even a better understanding of the use of the camera.
A leading feminist and socialist figure in her field, Spence’s work utilised the power of the camera to challenge society on issues of gender, class, mortality, identity, and, perhaps most importantly, her own history. Her first endeavour into the field was as an assistant, and then as a high-street photographer However, as she grew tired of this “ability to create visual myths”, as she called it, she turned the camera on herself, producing her most prominent work.
Throughout her diverse projects she is well known for her highly politicised approach to photography and the representation of her own struggles with cancer.
What does the artist want to convey?
Similar to how health workers have to account to their patients, photographers have to account to their viewers.
Through the title “Remodelling photohistory”, the artist seems to be trying to change her own history.
Remodelling photohistory attempts to makes the image purposely disturbing to bring out the falsity of visual myths in commercial photography.
A commentary on industrialization by comparing the fleshy vulnerability of her body to the metallic structures in the background.
“We would find it strange if health workers did not try to criticise their own industry, to aim for better control over their working conditions, to have accountability to their users. Yet within the various disparate workplaces of photography this is not seen as a priority. Remodelling Photohistory is an exploration of our own recent attempts to work through some aspects of this problem by ‘making strange’, using as our starting point the everyday, normalised, institutional practices and codes of ‘the trade’, re-ordered, re-modelled, re-invented, so that their common sense, unquestioned notions become disrupted.” Jo Spence & Terry Dennett
Why do you think the artists chose to portray themselves this way?
‘Remodelling Photohistory’ (1980-82), made in collaboration with Terry Dennett, reworked genre photography with lessons learnt from Augusto Boal. Spence attempted ways of working that made the image ‘strange’ through conflating disparate and opposing iconography including landscape, portraiture and ethnographic traditions. This was also the first time that Spence questioned the assumption of naturalism within photography through role-play and performance.
Confronting, intimate, honest, and uncomfortable
Connection with the audience through grotesque imagery
Confronting the audience with the idea of naturalism in photography -related to her criticism of visual myths- and creating her own narratives through obvious disparate images.