Making It Up
Construct a stand-alone image of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to make a series, elaborating on the same theme.
For this assignment, I was required to ‘make-up’ an image. I began by looking at the works of Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson and seeing how they construct an image. Their images have a deeper meaning, verging on psychological and going into the unknown. I wanted to produce an image that made the viewer think and maybe connect with the message of the image. I didn’t want an image that was too complicated, for example both Wall and Crewdson’s work contain a lot of detail, a lot of props and a lot of space. I find sometimes this works but I do prefer an image that is ‘uncluttered’.
I looked at their images and they all had something that you could relate to, something psychological, even if it was a feeling that the viewer could relate to. I wanted to explore an emotion or a feeling that people could relate to.
I began looking at Gilliam Wearing’s images and I liked that idea of the use of masks. This got me thinking that everyone put on a ‘mask’ to others. You cannot tell what the person is going through if they don’t show or tell you. A mask could be in the form of make-up or just smiling even when you’re hurting inside. Many people go through depression or anxiety but some hid it, they hid behind a mask, a mask visible to the world around them.
I looked at Francesca Woodman’s images, in particular the Space2 series. I liked the idea of using mirrors, and showing two sides of the person, one in the reflection and on in the person. I decided to use two images to do this, and make a composite image.
The setting I used was a bathroom, I chose this as many people use the bathroom to get ready in and it is somewhere that they could be on their own, and not somewhere where they have to pretend but somewhere where they make the transition. Bathrooms tend to be fairly clinical looking, from the colours to the lighting. The colours are bright white and sterile, from the tiles to the bath. The only lighting used was from the window behind the bath and the overhead light. I also noticed the shapes, from the lines on the tiles, to the lines on the wall in the reflections, to the shape of the mirrors.
For the first image, I wanted very little in it, so all you can see is the bath, the mirror and the person. It also gives the impression of being claustrophobic and alone, a feeling that many feel. The person is me; this was effectively a self-portrait. I choose to wear a dress, with my hair done and make-up on, showing that perhaps I was going to a party or a formal event, something that should make you happy and excited. In contrast, the reflection has no make-up on, my hair is not done, and I am wearing normal dark clothing. The positioning on the floorshows something is wrong; my head is cast downwards slightly, emphasized by the angle of the camera. But the reflection shows the feeling.
The next two images, I take the image face on with two different mirrors. One has a reflection of me with my back towards the camera; Woodman’s image was definitely a big influence here.
The last features a round mirror, with the reflection facing the camera.
I decided to do three images, as I was inspired by Triptych, where three images work together, usually a main image in the center and two either side.
To capture this image, I set my camera on a tripod and used a remote to take the image. I decided to change the image to black and white as it shows more emotion and I find that sometimes colour can be a distraction.
Here are my final images.