MILKING LATVIA PHOTOGRAPHS and 1:1’s
This week’s reflection has got a title simply because it defines what happened that week.
Once again this week I was continuing to reflect on the photographs I took in Latvia.
I showed the photographs to few other photography tutors, as I needed extended feedback.
One particular had the reaction that I am expecting to get from majority of people.
There was a shock and interest, photographs of the morgue definitely tickled the brains.
Funeral crashing photographs had more constructive criticism regards to the technical aspects of the frame and composition, but at the same time it was interesting to see the emotional reaction to the photograph.
Some re-editing suggestions came through as well and the photographs that could potentially be presented, I re-touched, focusing on points of interest.
I highlighted the middle area and brought the focus down to the action by burning out parts that are distracting.
This photograph is still one of my favourites, as it reflects the project purpose.
The photograph itself means a lot to me personally, as this is my families graveyard where I used to spend a lot of time when I was little [strange statement, see previous posts to know why].
I have re-edited this by highlighting areas that reflects the purpose for this image.
I have also got rid off blue tone. Initially I left it blue-ish, as originally it was looking quite blue. But I think this way, viewer can focus on the photograph more, as there are no wondering about the correct white balance.
The whole journey has been incredible so far, but I still find image taking in the UK difficult. In Latvia my sister was alongside me during the visits to the morgue, funeral and grave yards and it was much more easier.
Here I am on my own and fighting the “shame/awkwardness devils” on my own.
Also this week I had an important 1:1 with my tutor Andy.
There was an important discussion how I can extend my research, additional contacts and project development.
- Dead Good Job BBC2 is a BBC documentary “taking a revealing look at the work of Britain’s funeral directors as they help people say the last goodbye”. It is not available on the BBC Iplayer, but I will try to illegally download from somewhere if necessary. This seems like an interesting program to look at as a research material.
- An idea of advertising trial Funeral/Farewell photography services in Hull Daily Mail, maybe Gumtree. This would give me an opportunity to be at the funerals, try to use the previous research and use concepts of social photography to record the funeral. But I could also, unnoticed take pictures that are essential for my project – portraits of the body and mourners and other M.Parr style photographs.
- Visit a crematorium and blend into the crowds, as the procedure continues throughout the day, so there are many people coming to pay their respects.
- Wake visits.
- Look into the subject of cremation and ashes, why people choose to go for the method. Why people keep them in their homes and potentially find someone who will volunteer to be photographed with the urn. Also research where and why people choose to scatter ashes in a special or meaningful place. Also what are the alternatives?
One of the methods that I have previously heard of, is the Bois Urn The method turns the ashes into a tree. I think that this is a wonderful way how to make an imprint on this planet after your death. This is a plan B if you haven’t done anything great through your life time.
Another sources talks about green burial. Green Burial Council is making sure that the caring of the dead comes with the minimal environmental impact.
- Momento mori and the ways how to photograph them.Few ideas – studio – still life – highlight the objects, leaving everything else black – Vanitas style – inspiration from the photograph below.
The same idea but on location – natural light kept underexposed – use studio lights – highlight the items, areas – inspiration comes from the image below.
The third idea is to do the same thing on location/peoples homes but use A1/A0 black card to cover up the body. I believe that hands are one of the most powerful features of the body, they associate with love, trust, care ect and the method would expose hands holding an important item.
Part of the momento mori is the shrine photographs.
Something to extend my research to. This is more to do with a religion, but I think the interest is in the personal shrines.
- Another subject is the terminally ill people and visits to hospices, care homes ect.
This has been discussed before as part of the project. This part would slightly connect to my previous Final Major Project idea of celebrating people. Terminally ill people are aware of their life coming to an end, so I am hoping that I could potentially get some stunning portraits and wise words from these people.
“expiry date” is a joke/truth around these portraits. Not sure about the ethical aspects of the word combination alongside the image, but I love the idea.
- Cultural differences up for a discussion and need to write about that in the blog as part of the project.
- Old couple photographs/portraits is another “human life celebration” idea. Care homes and social media connections would be the sources where to look for possible people.
- Class mates dad works as a grave digger and horse carriage driver, so I have asked her to ask him, if I could visit him at one point and photograph him digging a grave or something. That would give me an access to the processes that are usually not seen by the mourning family.
- Mourning is a process that people cope with in many different ways and I have found a audio programme on BBC radio 1 and 1 extra that exposes radio DJ’s experience of her dad passing away. Other people take part in the documentary and this is an interesting research material.
Running with Grief
There are so many directions to my project, it is overwhelming and worrying. Unfortunately my project is delayed and I have to work fast and hard to get imagery I need.