I looked at some negatives that I recently made towards the Hip Hop project, I found a few that I could print that would make sense with fitting in with representing the elements of this culture. During the past few months I had been attending a DJ and Break dance workshop called 'Spin the Breaks', which was funded by the Wilson museum; where DJ Fade and Bboy Victor Jay were hosting at 340 studio on the lower high street. They both explained their disciplines and how they both work together, so how the DJ's would replay the breaks in the records so the dancers could show their moves and have a jam. I captured a few frames on the night of the last workshop, the shot I got was both of them shaking hands and looking straight into the camera. I felt at the time that the shot captured the image of these two disciplines working together.
Baring in mind that the first shot that I captured towards this project was the image of Victor spinning on his back at the first workshop at the Wilson. So I have Break dance isolated as a single frame and DJ'ing meeting the dancing through learning how they work together and participating in it, following this event. I then remembered that I shot a graffiti artist one afternoon not so long ago, it was really sunny and I was experimenting with frames that day, So graffiti is Hip Hop's visual art which covers every urban environment on the planet.
My theory behind image 2 and 3 is, with the process of liquid light in mind, I was painting the chemical onto the paper, my blank canvas, using the reflection of the red strip light on the ceiling to see where I had painted; I could see the perspective of the graffiti artist spraying the wall, his blank canvas as filling it in till he completed his design. I feel the light represents the passing of time and the area which is still blank, waiting to be filled in by each artist.
Image 4 is a portrait of an MC, Sketchster. This night he performed with a few other local MC's, members from motion enterprise and they also had a live cypher as usual. We were out in the smoking area at the end of the night, and Sketch and a few others were posing for the camera, he was with his girlfriend and the other performers. But I remember capturing a shot which is this frame (4), where his necklace was swinging in front of the camera which had a headphones pendant, and I remember how cool this was when looking through the camera that night and my flash went off. This is a frame that represents The MC visually to me.
Image 5, was taken during the filming of a music video. Here is Joey framed in front of the graffiti at the Honeybourne line, where a lot of my work has previously been made. We were down there with a simple LED video light set up and a Sony to capture some footage, and while the video guy was reviewing some takes and changing his settings I got a shot stood directly behind the light that was being used to light the scene. At the time I felt that I captured a good shot of him, in quite a vulnerable way, it was cold and we were quite high.
6. Beth and her girlfriend posing int he garden for a photo.
7. Sam (Yogi Beats) packing away his digital equipment at the end of a night.
8. A contact sheet of a group shoot That I organised earlier on in the year, this one is to show knowledge and the articulation of this culture and the people who represent it, to place them under one roof and to capture allthese creatives togther for a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I recently came across Above Ground's work. He had previously been mentioned by many Hip Hop artists as one of the best documentary photographers involved with capturing and archiving the London's Hip Hop and Grime music culture with a close focus on the individuals who make it up. I can see straight away this guy is very attentive in his work, getting very close and personal he captures striking portraits and imagery that is full of emotion. What I really admire is the fact most of his work is taken on film, and film isn't that fast in terms of outputting it and getting it all digitised, it is probably the slowest way to shoot as I know myself, But I admire the fact this guy has so much work using this medium and from his recent exhibitions he seems to print a lot out and display them on walls as 6x4's. A true inspiration to the Hip Hop culture of photographers.
So I went back home and had a meeting with Kwakz Bonsu and Haseeb Nawaz who work for a private organisation called Wycombe Youth Action. They proposed a proposal to respond to, Titled 'What's Good Wycombe?' The proposal asked myself to "Highlight young people and the issues they are facing now as they navigate through life". "What is the purpose of the documentary?
Eyeopener for community and parents into the harsh reality of growing as a young person in 2019. For young people from the community to tell their story, no hold barred.
What is the intended outcome for the viewer?
To be better informed about the issues young people are facing everyday.
To ignite a want to change in those living negative lifestyles.
To be motivated to want to help themselves or help others to do better.
Develop an understanding that there is more to the scenarios than what meets the eye."
1st 2nd & 3rd of November I attended the Cheltenham Design Festival. There were plenty of great discussions and talkers/ representatives. I took many notes and explored the ways a designer sees the world, the structures they use to think about designing the future of products, AI, Technology, Retail, shopping and architectural design, living conditions etc etc. There was plenty of discussion independently creating your portfolio and projects, how to come about more ways of seeing and creating, through materials, software, tools etc.
The main discussion of the event was "What is the role of a designer now?" "Think of the designer as a Conductor, in charge of the process of designing the song visually, reinventing new ways of interacting, new ways of seeing and playing with the world".
My notes went everywhere and my mindset has been reinforced after these talks, My aim as a photographer is to be represented by an agency such as Magnum Photos, to be bale to work with the best framers, book and print editors, the best researchers, and well respected artists, in a social documentary context.
Firstly I set the enlarger up so that I knew what negatives I was going to print. I then heated up about 40ml of Black Magic emulsion and stirred it regularly in the heater. I then coated a sheet of the Cotton Rag paper with 2 coats of the emulsion to make sure there was a decent thick layer and no thin obvious brush strokes. I then used the hair dryer to dry the paper after coating. Once dry I treated the paper just like ordinary Ilford Fibre Base paper. The Eisel was set up with the correct framing, so from here I did a test.
I created one initial test print using a whole sheet of paper and a double coating of the emulsion and created my first print at 5 second intervals on high contrast (Grade 5, on the Ilford enlarger), I developed it fro about 2 minutes. Straight away I could see how using this liquid emulsion differs from ordinary pre coated ilford paper. As soon as the paper went into the dev it instantly started to reveal the exposed area, where as with ordinary paper it would take 30 seconds or so, I guess this is because there is no layers protecting the silver content in the paper, so the reaction is almost instant from the point of contact. This was interesting because it means I could be precise with developing times, maybe I could pour it on to the print to develop certain places first... Just an idea.
Anyway I printed and figured out the exposure times and the right contrast for my first print.
Cotton Rag Paper (320gsm)
Rollei Black Magic Photographic Emulsion
Bottle heater (to keep the emulsion at 40 degrees)
Pain Brushes (Variety on size and thickness of bristle)
Note book and pen
Water to wash
Here I am measuring the paper to figure out the borders of the paper so there is even spacing around the exposed area. The paper measured at 12"x8". I was printing two images, one 35mm and one square format, so I would need to figure out the border for the square in the middle of the 12x8 sheet too. For 35mm frames I wanted an even 1 inch border which meant the final image size measured at 10"x6" and for square prints the image size would be 6"x6" in the middle of the paper.
I had to use up one piece of paper to measure the borders, this piece could not be coated in liquid light and used as a print once the writing was on it as this could cause the ink to run in the chemicals and contaminate the whole process. So this pape is just for measurements.
There are Nine Elements to HipHop culture, these include:
HipHop is a way of living, a way of seeing and creating, for me it is the bridge between the ordinary mundane lifestyle of working a 9-5 and creating collectively, publicly and ordering the world in such a way others can see individual style in a forever growing chaotic digital environment. It is still structured in the physical world, the walls of the world are still being painted and photographs are still being made, people still rap and go to events.
Here I am creating story boards to visualise the new imagery for "9 Elements of Culture" - Liquid Light Photographs.
Starting with a Self Portrait. This is the first image, to acknowledge I am culture, I create it as much as the other, to look into myself I then can progress to see the world that is inside and outside of this idea.
I intend to create 10 images that represent culture as I know it, as I see it, as I interact and evolve with.
This is my sketchbook, in it I have noted the aims of the Establishing Practice module, my previous practice and understandings and development.
Alternative print process. Van Dyke Solar Printing.
Figure 2,3. Griz-o at The Shamrock pub, Cheltenham.
Here Lucas Vaughn, Prominent Grime artist from Gloucester just performed at Ryan Scott’s birthday, Scott is well known in the local scene for DJ’ing for Motion Enterprise and for networking with MC’s. This was a great night because I was in the mind set to create work, Lucas, JPDL and a few others did a set for the night and it was very professional, in fact t his was one of the best times I've heard Griz-o the sound system was perfectly clear and he just banged some new music out there, it was great. Any way when it was all finished everyone went outside for a smoke and some cold air, to where I found Griz in the corner of the smoking area with a spliff and a basket ball in his hands, I asked him where he got the basket ball and he replied ‘ It literally came from the sky, over the fence and to my feet’. So Griz got a gift from the heavens and he started showing off. Spinning it on his fingers, knuckles, and around his torso. I asked how he was so good and he stopped playing and explained that he used to go to community centres where he would play a lot and practice, So I saw a moment where Griz opened up about his past and I could see the meaning of what the moment meant, I asked to get a portrait of him holding the ball in his hands, as well as get a few shots of him playing with it. The shot that really stood out to me was figure 2, he is leant against the fence holding the ball that reads MVP (Most Valued Player)
Figure one above. Early Winter in 2016 at the HoneyBourne line graffiti tunnels, Cheltenham, UK. 35mm E-6 Slide.
Figure one above is one of the first colour film images I ever made. It was winter sixteen, one year after I started university and my HipHop project. I was walking about and checking out the new work that had been sprayed onto the walls after a long summer back in High Wycombe working to sustain myself for the next year of education and expensive ways of photographing the world. This is the location I first met the people and is the place where all of the ideas came to me, to speak and to invest my time in the people creating the art that was being put onto the walls. but also from the freestyle cyphers that were being performed on the street, had been practiced and rehearsed properly and later performed in the bars and venues, for public performance, display and funding. But at the root of it all was collaborative work, many people working together to get their ideas created and to order it all to be able to hold events in the local community all for love, all for the kindness of helping each other out. When a lot of people work together with high goals, beautiful things get made and the world becomes a better place. dreams and ideas have been fulfilled and people are left happy yearning to create more with the community.
Visually the image conveys light at the end of the tunnel but also at the beginning. There is colour and pattern everywhere, life has spread itself all across these walls and left its imprint leading me into the story of hip hop culture.
I intend to expand and explore historical and current methods of alternative darkroom printing, to come about new ways of looking at my imagery of the hip hop culture and the people who create it. My aim is to create a new style of representation within my photography and perspective, by painting with the photographic chemicals I will be able to create the frame on the paper as well as in the camera. So I intend to create prints to a high standard of quality that work in series to one another using alternative print process and development, to create a book of fine art prints. I feel photography is being viewed way too much on the screen and on a plain wall, I want my photographs to come alive because I know they can.
I intend to create new imagery keeping to the theme of HipHop, using the same environment (Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bristol, London in the bars. pubs and venues, recording studios etc) and faces I wish to expand my understanding of the final output of my work, I intend to create 8-10 images created on a paper quality that I have researched and acquired to use as my printing material, maybe concrete and wood. To be able to explore meaning further with these people and the environments I will need inspiration to
When thinking of the way I work I realise it is quite outdated in terms of technology in which the images are acquired, I use 30-40 year old equipment and a process that is as old as photography itself, the negative and the chemical process of development and printing as final outcome for archival. When writing about my work previously I have picked up on the physical and m,metaphysical implications of the darkroom print and contact sheet.
“The Contact Sheet is as close to reality as I can get, it is before any editing process, there is no discrimination, revealing technical errors and mistakes as well as showing the final selected frames I will show the reality of how I see the world and the way the world sees me by revealing it all. The sheets order each moment of reality into a six by six grid, totalling 36 images on each page resulting in a chronological visual articulation of the days and nights spent with almost thirty artist from where I first met them up until present day.”
I feel contemporary ways the image is being received is extremely fragmented, we explore images everyday through social media, the news, magazines, books but mostly the internet, viewing has become very fast, articles and posts are made to capture attention quickly and only holds that attention a brief moment in time, the news is instant and people want to find out whats happening as quickly as they can, (resulting in carelessness) the same pattern is seen through social media, this instant gratification. The results of this instant gratification is that peoples attention span is very short, things are only important to them in a space of time they are viewing the imagery and work, resulting in the creation and burst of meme’s, abstract and fragmented ideas and moments that capture the attention in fragments but unfold deeper meaning subjectively through constant interaction with the internet.
So my work is filtering the IOR (Internet of Realities), and I am using the necessity of life, of photography to convey meaning, whether it is portraiture, social documentary or street photography, I am using the ancestry of photography to revive physical reality . I am celebrating life outside of the internet through analogue photography. I am applauding those who are showing their own craft by practicing my craft By being that their events and creating work with them. Thanks to my type of photography I am able to disconnect myself from the internet reality and to become grounded in the physical level of reality and art and stay focused on my goals, and work independently. Maybe I want my work to simplify reality and to bring about order and actual understanding in the non material world, to pull those fragments together but by using the background information. I am creating an original piece of work by making the negatives and prints
This is why analogue photography is still important, in fact I feel it has been pushed into its own corner, the art is made even stronger than ever because there is a parallel in which there is so much chaos and digital reconstruction of reality. The analogue photographer operates in the analogue world and orders the genuine artistic connection between humankind and images. The analogue photographer sees the world as mechanisms and processes, the digital photographer sees the world as constructions and reconstructions.
From here I intend to question and expand my own practices within the analogue photography, I intend to refine my final output through the printing material, the light sensitive chemistry and the way the work is received e.g. Gallery, street display, book or framed, or archived.
I intend to create 8-10 perfectly polished photographs.
I want to explore meaning a bit more, this time through location, lighting, and model placement in terms of the frame of photography in the moment.
I want to develop my journalistic approach by collecting and retaining information related to the creation and viewing/ archiving nature of the work, more in depth names for images, information that goes with the images such as names (real and performance name) Location, lighting, time of year, meaning of photograph. This information will also determine the power and how it is categorised in the future in its archival form.
ISBN: 978-1-59711-316-8: Mary Ellen Mark; on the Portrait and the Moment.
ISBN: 978-1-786-09034-8: Wiley ESKIBOY
ISBN: 978-0-500-29395-9: Hip hop Raised Me
ISBN: 0-944092-50-0: Bruce Davidson; Brooklyn Gang
The Language of Colour: An introduction, Theo Van Leeuwen, Reviewed by John A. Bateman. ISSN (Print, 1742-2906), (online, 1743-1662)
ISBN: 978-0-525-57388-3: Vikki Tobak; Contact High