Ross School - Senior Projects 2011
Mentor: Kerry Sharkey-Miller
Title: Metamorphic: Cucumbers from Pickles
For my senior project I created an exhibition of photographs that represent my contemporary, artistic interpretation of the themes depicted in a selection of works by master painters from different periods in art history. The exhibition is accompanied by a hand-printed book contains the entire series of photographs that I produced on this theme.
Metamorphic – Cucumbers from Pickles
I still remember a very interesting art class way back when I was in elementary school. I was given the simplest, or maybe the hardest task: to imagine being the subject in the paintings and writing a short narrative about me. I chose to be one of those dancers, in pretty little tutus, of Edgar Degas. Since then, my greatest joy of looking at art – of course, besides the joy of simply appreciating art itself – is to put myself where the paintings are set and create my own story.
Metamorphic is a series of photography that shows my reflection of art. I tried to choose 13 images from different art periods, but I personally like modern art, so most of them ended up being created in 19th or 20th century. My project includes 9 big prints and a hand printed book with 13 images.
On the left hand pages of the book, 13 original artworks from the artists who inspired me are printed. On the right hand pages are the images that I created. All of the images reflect my interpretation of each artwork; rather it was directly interpreted or somewhat transformed. For each photos I took a contemporary approach to express the motifs that the original paintings contain. Those themes include Klimt’s sensuality, Munch’s grotesqueness, and Rothko’s colors.
The process began with shooting. Because I changed my project I was quite short on time. Starting from October I spent most of my weekends for shooting. This was hard because I had to schedule time with Kerry, my mentor, who helped me the whole time while shooting, with my models and myself. This shooting took place mostly in Alexis’s studio-gallery in Shelter Island and school. While shooting I learned skills related to cameras and lights. I learned how to set up lightings and position them to get the effects that I wanted. Most of the times Kerry and I used secondary flash because one flash would not give as much effect.
When I wanted to use both real light (sunlight) and artificial light, it was tricky to balance the lighting between sunlight and flashes and strobe lights. In the gallery I was able to use strobe lights but when I shot on campus we had to improvise. We needed mixture of different light sources including the Arri lights, which are warm tone tungsten light, florescent light and an off camera flash. It was difficult to balance all these different lighting sources to achieve good skin tone quality and enough lighting for each particular shot.
After shooting, I select the “right” images out of hundreds of candidates. Then it is post-production through Photoshop. I relied on Photoshop a lot because I did not have much time to reshoot. For the most time I worked with what I had, not expecting to reshoot. Photoshop was mainly or editing but in some cases it actually “finished” the image. For instance, in the Rothko series I created colors were very important. I shot my model on a plain background intentionally because I planned to add colors with Photoshop. In these cases postproduction wasn’t just fixing or editing; Photoshop constructed images.
My main goal in producing the photographs was to develop and convey my personal view. Although I was inspired by history, I wanted my images to be original – a new avant-garde. Through this work of metamorphosis, we now see the fresh cucumbers, created out of pickles that have sat in a jar for ages.
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