Prior to the post-photographic era ‘the visual discourses of recorded fact and imaginative construction were conveniently segregated. But the emergence of digital imaging has irrevocably subverted these certainties’ (W,Mitchell. p.p 225) .
My final assignment is available to view on the Telling Stories Blog : link below
My submission for Assignment Five consists of :
- An online blog Telling Stories
- In addition to the Telling Stories blog an associated fake Instagram account is accessible directly via the blog or at https://www.instagram.com/florence_fountain/
- A printed hand-made concertina photo book made using a selection of the images downloaded from Pexels and re-processed .
- An archival album page belonging to my alter ego Florence Fountain . Made using a page ripped from an album found in a junk shop and one of the digital images downloaded from Pexels and re-processed .
- Five A3 prints . The prints I have chosen are digital montages included on the Telling Stories blog .
A personal project started last year– Images and Text– evolved into Telling Stories after I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs .
I have become an enthusiastic collector of other people’s photographs and I enjoy creating new identities and connections that did not originally exist . I only buy photographs that I fall in love with hence I am rather attached to all of them , almost as much as my own personal family archive . I gravitate towards orphaned images that trigger memories from my own past or perhaps resemble family members , hence my work includes elements of truth yet remains ambiguous .
The work for this assignment explores concepts of memory and identity using appropriated imagery . All of the analogue photographs have been bought from either eBay or junk shops them digitally scanned , reprocessed and re- interpreted . In addition to the physical prints I have also downloaded digital files from the web using free stock photos that are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) and processed these too using Adobe Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop . Because ‘the lineage of an image file is usually untraceable , and there may be no way to determine whether it is a freshly captured , un-manipulated record or a mutation of a mutation—- notions of individual authorial responsibility for image content, authorial determination of meaning , and authorial prestige are correspondingly diminished’ (Mitchell, W. pp 51-2) .
Encouraged by my tutor the accompanying text became a really important element of the work. In the January 2018 issue of Black + White Photography editor Elizabeth Roberts discusses how ‘images and text should be born together, nurtured and fed as though they were twins . Simply adding text on , as an afterthought , seems unsatisfactory’ (Roberts, E. 2018) . By using text along with imagery for the Telling Stories blog I am creating a new literary and visual reality regardless of the fact that it is totally fictitious and my online ‘family’ completely non-existent . I’ve included some composite images but because merged layers can be ambiguous and open to interpretation the addition of text guides my viewer to ‘see’ and imagine what I want them to visualise and believe .
Unlike real life a digital identity can be easily modified ; you can portray yourself and your family as anything you want them to be . ‘In general , if an image follows the convention of photography and seems internally coherent , if the visual evidence that it presents supports the caption …..then we feel justified in the attitude that seeing is believing’ (W,Mitchell. p.p 43) . Baudrillard suggests we find it impossible in a postmodern era to distinguish between reality and trickery , that there is no difference between actuality and its replication but solely the simulacrum .
The main body of my work is on a dedicated blog Telling Stories and hopefully fulfils what Baudrillard refers to as the 3rd order of simulacra and is successful in tricking viewers to misinterpret the stories to be an actuality ; the hyperreal as fact . I like to think of my stories as an authentic hyperreality which ironically is an oxymoronic term : a genuine fake !
In addition I have linked a hoax Instagram account to the blog that can also be accessed independently via a mobile phone app . I initially had have reservations about downloading and using someone else’s digital imagery in my own practice , my fake Instagram account only features what was originally someone else’s digital file . Unlike analogue photography ‘digital images—do not even have unique negatives . An image file may be copied endlessly , and the copy is distinguishable from the original only by its date since there is no loss of quality—-The original image file may be destroyed within a short time of its creation, but many of its descendants may live on…..Does each application of a new rendering procedure produce a new original work of art ? ‘ (Mitchell,W. p.p 49–50) .
My alter ego’s Instagram account now has over 180 followers ; Florence has added two more images to the account but no more will be added until after assessment .
The images dowloaded from Pexels have been converted from colour to monotone and I feel my processing reinvents and therefore makes them uniquely mine . I have included three videos on the Telling Stories blog featuring some of my appropriated photographs , using a pseudonym for the Vimeo account .
Using appropriation the function of my purchased yet once private analogue images has been irrevocably altered . ‘By definition , a photograph is a discernible marker of what has been . It becomes a part of history the moment to is taken . The world changes and we change , yet photographs remain static visual clues to the past . The semblance of truth in these images , however , is illusionary , especially now in our digital age . What stimulates the imagination is that every photograph contains an interweaving of obvious facts and subtle fictions’ (Robert Flynn Johnson. 2009. p.p 14) .
Although this is a digital submission I am including my hand-made concertina book SEE HERE and a fake photo album page SEE HERE in addition to a selection of five A3 prints . Looking on screen is such a different experience to handling a tangible object that can be picked up , turned over and examined .
The ambiguity of found analogue photography and digital files downloaded from stock photo sites has such possibilities for future projects with the combination of digital technology . It grants the elusive gift of immortality and the possibility of endless re-incarnations when used in different contexts .
Final Amendments :
1. The original layered image of my fictional grandparent’s house has been replaced by an old photograph purchased from eBay .
2. An amended video The Dolls replaces the original video and includes a spoken word narrative . ( + see here )
1. The layered image of the soldiers , girls and poppies has been replaced by the original photograph of the soldiers and girls bought from eBay .
Prints submitted :
Violet and Rosebud
Ben with his family 1914
References / Bibliography
Johnson , R.F. (2009) Being Human . London :Thames & Hudson .
W, Mitchell. (2001) The Reconfigured Eye :Visual Truth in the Post- Photographic Era . Cambridge Massachusetts : The MIT Press .
Riggs , R. (2013) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children . Philadelphia US: Quirk Books .
Roberts , E. (2018) “The Possibilities of Language” Black + White Photography (Issue 211) p.p1.