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
Simon Wheatley is a documentary photography who creates stories and video inside of the Hip hop and grime culture, he works mainly within the social documentary world capturing the everyday of artists in the streets, in their homes in the recording studio and at gigs. The images below are taken from his work, 'UK Grime', taken primarily inside of London he has attentively captured the faces of the artists and the places they live in.
Firstly I love his use of colour, it works very well, the whole culture is extremely colourful, each person differs, some have 7 colour on them, I see why he uses colour here, they need the colour to stand out inside of London its a tough place to be recognised. Simon gets very close and he likes to put his camera up in their faces with flash, but even with shots like these they are candid and they capture the energy of the places and people. I can feel these moments because I can see whats going on and I can relate to times in my own life where I can hear and see this thing gong on just like in these shots.
In terms of his focus he is interested in the people and their minds (freestyle music), how they present themselves (Outside appearance) and how they socialise together (Groups and gangs).
I really like his set up, looks like a 35mm camera with a 28mm lens, weak fill in flash and E6. The colours are beautiful and the shadows are black. Sometimes he bounces the flash off of the ceiling to fill the room with light. He has captured some very intimate moments with people also. this would be possible by getting close to certain people and be allowed to put that camera up to his face in delicate moments, the subjects seem very comfortable with his presence, Simon must be a good communicator.
Mary Ellen Mark has a lovely simple way of breaking down the confrontation the photographer gets but also the confrontation the subject gets when shooting portraiture photography.
“If I am looking for a story at all, it is in my relationship to the subject - the story that tells me, rather than that I tell. ”
Hip hop starts somewhere, for me it was on the streets where I first met Dave, Ryan and members of a local group ‘Motion Enterprise’ (ME). We were in an underpass, one of the only legal graffiti spots around, where artists paint their ideas onto the walls of the world. Instantly I realised language is the battleground here, as a documentary photographer I could see potential within this environment and the people I met so I continued to speak and meet up with them and that is where reality manifested, it grew bigger and bigger since the first conversation. Hip Hop escapes the cultural trap of conformity. Although Hip hop is its own culture and is recognised through its art, music, clothing style, and dancing its core values differ from everyday culture. hidden inside of the culture is a custom language that is learned individually through people expressing themselves through rap or art and is refined more and more everyday.
Language is the battleground where all of this takes place, and culture is the limiting directional downfall of powers telling people where to go, and what to consume and what to think, Hip hop bypasses the masses and opens up freedom of expression by 'breaking the rules' of music, art or dancing, it says think for yourself, articulate the world how you see it, don't let culture turn you into a zombie, you are more than alive, keep it that way. Create from your inner being, then you cant go wrong.
The ‘Eye of The Storm’ is a photographic documentation of local music artists and creatives which has an articulated and concentrated focus on Hip hop, Grime, and Dj’ing to locate a British identity within these individuals and at the level of community and country; at an important turning point within British identity and culture; a voyage away from the EU, I feel it is important to reveal the identity of what creates community for me and to make a statement. The project is a substantial body of analogue contact sheets and prints created between October 2017 and May 2019. Within these two and a half years I attended 100+ shoots, planned over twenty separate street, home and studio shoots with individuals and groups with the local Hip hop community. I also planned one big shoot in Montpellier Park in Cheltenham in which over 25 people were photographed together. I have created thousands of images, near 100 rolls of film and contacts (minus colour contacts), met, networked and worked with 50+ people and I really feel I have explored the landscape of community and culture vigorously and attentively.
I have learnt all about the community in Gloucestershire, been let behind the stage and shown how it is all put together in real time, I have been shown who, how and what goes into creating Hip hop and Grime music and all of the preparation that goes into the performance of these arts. This project is always growing and I am now exploring more than ever through photography. Articulating the book has been the hardest part, to put a break in the work and to stop shooting for a few weeks, but I have been able to create a finalised version of my work whilst being at University and am Proud to have my name on it. I see the future of this work exhibited in galleries in the local community to engage the public with art music and crafts. I have also learnt how to manage a high work rate and fast turn over using analogue mediums, and feel confident as a freelance to branch into other parts of the world.
To create colour contact sheets I would need a colour darkroom, paper and chems, and money to pay for the time etc etc. But this is not in my budget or easily done, I could pay someone to create them for me but this would not be the same, I'd rather create the documents myself oneway or another. So I simply photographed the colour negatives (C-41) in their plastic sleeves on a light box using a full frame camera with a 50mm macro and an overhead tripod. This way was the only way I could see working best, I could scan them on the MFD scanner but this would create newton rings because of the acetate sleeve. Either way, I need a digital files which can be manipulated for book output. all I need to do to these is invert the colours and correct the white balance and all should be fine.
"Ellie Ramsden is a photographer and videographer based in London, who specialises in portrait, music and street photography. Ramsden's love for underground music and youth culture have led her to document London's music scene, and she has self-published a photo-book exploring women in the grime scene. Ramsden also works as a Campaign Associate at Digital Voices, a digital marketing company, helping to craft creative campaigns with brands."- About Page.
Ellie has recently released a book called 'Too Many Man - Women of Grime', in the book she documents the rappers, writers, producers, DJ's, filmmakers, radio presenters and more, of the Grime scene in London, Ramsden picks up the fact this industry is heavily dominated by males, hence the title which is an direct expression to 'Boy Better Know's' (Skepta, Wiley, JME, Frisco and Shorty) song; 'Too Many Man', in which the chorus goes 'We need some more gils in here' repetitively. Being a women her interest obviously lies in the female perspective. Creative and well constructed portraiture is her style, capturing the artists behind current popular culture music which has quite rapidly hit the fabric of the mainstream in recent years. Her photography creates representations of the places and the people, seeing these artists in the streets of their home town sets it into context very well. Ramsden has thrown in another level of engagement within the work, using writings that the artists provided her with, lyrics that show the viewer quite a bit about how the artists think and perceive the world, but ultimately how they work, these documents of their lyrics are like photographic prints, only written language is their tool and Ramsden has enhanced this with the visual language that helps create the forever changing image we have of these artists.
I came across this book: Contact High: A visual story of Hip-Hop. It was the design of the cover that interested me right away, being a film photographer and noticing a collection of contact sheets on the front made me pick it up. Obviously heavily inspired by Magnum Contacts, Vikki Tobak, has collected and created a huge series using contact sheets of Hip-Hop photoshoots which go all the way back to the start of this era during the late 1970's in America, consisting of various photographers of the times, such as Mike Miller, Lisa Leone and DuBose. Before getting into the content right away, the design of the book is very well put together. There is an obvious colour scheme running though out the book, Black, Gold, White and Red, the black pages really work with the contact sheets because it makes the negatives appear to float on the page especially with black and white contacts, this is a very engaging way to allow the viewer to analyse these physical documents in a few ways. Avid photographers will recognise film stock and even camera marks to be able to recognise exactly what camera was used etc, but this is secondary information. The writing in the book is presented very neatly also, the use of handwriting and graffiti-style font is used throughout, to pick up on the 'graff' image that goes hand-in-hand with Hip-Hop music. The text on the pages is placed in coloured blocks that match the colours of the pens and pencils used to mark the edit process on the sheets. For example; Red is used to select the frames on the contact sheets so the writing on the page next to it will float on top of a red box in white or black writing. Even the page numbers are stylised in a certain font.
So the book is a Chronological edit of documentary images of Hip-Hop artists, presented as contact sheets this allows for the viewer to look deeper into these images that are so heavily imprinted onto the public conciseness, by seeing more than that one album image or that one image of Biggie on a t-shirt. The contact reveal the whole run-up to those shots, revealing the photographers inner workings and being able to see what takes their attention and ultimately how they think and frame the world. Revealing all the secrets, the viewer can piece together the images in their head for them self and be able to see the bigger picture as such.
Editing slides looking at images that really stand out on their own. All of these are taken from 3 rolls of E6 consisting of Provia 100F and Ecktachrome E100, both deliver beautiful detail and colour. Using E6 as well as prints allows the viewer to view images with light as printed (lit up from behind on a light box). This only applies to physically viewing the work but in final output the images will be looked at in terms of aesthetic quality and meaning.
I had created some prints last year from one of the rolls, the one taken in 'Sketchsters' bedroom studio set up. Printed on warm tone fibre based Ilford paper, the selenium reacted with the paper very nicely. Selenium is a heavy metal, it basically is used for its archival properties, adding 200 years or so to the print this chemical is also very poisonous and is not to be breathed in, I also had to wear gloves. The toner reacts with the black in the prints and ripens them slightly.
I did a test with a scrap print that was good enough to use. I was using, "Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner for Films and Papers". I mixed it up 1 part toner + 6 parts water. So 200ml toner and 1200ml of water, creating 1400ml of liquid overall, which was plenty for about 10 prints before the chemical depletes. I saved it after the use I had out of it though, there will still be life in it after 3 or 4 prints. I cut the scrap print into 4 pieces when it was dry and then soaked it in running water for 15 minutes or so, just to loosen u all of those fibres and allow any fix or other chemical to fully wash out. The four pieces were then put into selenium and each taken out at 1 min, 2 mins, 3 mins and 4 mins. This allowed me to see all of the stages of the toning visually, and this would allow me to understand the times needed using that specific paper at the specific chem strength. My final result was 3 minutes in 1+6 dilution, this gave the blacks a very slight richness and just crisped the edges up.
I also toned a Resin based contact sheet from the other day also and this came out nice but I dont like the deep purple in the black on the contact sheet, they should be completely black.
This shoot was from the other week. I messaged Beth one of the Hip hop artists to do a photoshoot for an hour or so somewhere. We decided to meet up and go to the top of the hills so that the Cheltenham landscape was in the distance and my job was to get creative with the camera. I got her to sit in the boot of her car and just engage with the camera, we got some great shots.
Now then the choice of camera determines the visual perspective of the image, for example, using a 35mm camera which is taken with the camera held up to my eye, this creates a perspective in the moment in which the subject is looking into the photographers eyes, they are engaging with the photographer as well as the camera. Now if I used a camera from the hip such as a Bronica SQ then the perspective changes, the subject now sees the camera as tool to be used to communicate to the world. The subject is no longer looking into the photographers eyes but engaging with the camera completely.
I started to look back through all of my work to pick out the negatives that document the nights and days with various hip hop artists and graffiti artists who I very quickly became friends with, hanging out and meeting up to discuss possible photoshoots and next gig dates etc. I have almost three years of work on them so far and most of the work is unpublished and has not been looked at with a fine concentration as of now.
I created a folder with over 40 rolls of negatives, ranging from black and white, colour negative and colour positive, medium format and 35mm. I had to buy clear acetate sleeves for the negs so that my next step would be a lot easier, it took me about an hour to sleeve them all. (glad I wont have to do that again). So my next step was to contact print all of the negatives with I have got so far, this would be made easy with the clear sleeves so that I can just put them on the paper in the darkroom and lay glass over the top. I used 9 1/2 " x 12" paper Resin coated Ilford paper which is a perfect size in my opinion for contact sheets and is easy to work with yet produces fine quality results. All types of medium format and 35mm would fit perfectly on the page.
So I found a really nice rig made for contact sheets, it was a wooden frame with glass as the top half on a hinge. I think the frame could hold 12"x16" paper which is the size paper I will be using for some prints, but saying that I will actually be using an easel to frame my prints. I managed to create all of my contact sheets from every roll of film in two days! Because my preparation was tip top then I was able to fire them all out when I got into a flow.
I have been darkroom printing for a few years now and I love to get in there when I can, to keep things fresh in my head in terms of what works visually on a page for example, its amazing how you can forget things. As soon as I did my first test print using a cut off piece of paper, I immediately got into a flow and concentrated on getting them right. I stared with the first roll I ever shot on the hip hop scene, which was under the Honeybourne-line, I got a really good feel of the exposure times and just created for two whole days without taking my mind off of it.
These contact sheets would be the pages in the book, probably on the left. These contact sheets show the whole journey that not only the photographer has taken in terms of documenting and getting close to these rappers and artists but the actual progression of a part of the UK hip hip culture within Cheltenham.
"ASSIGNMENT 001 (80%)
A project proposal / learning agreement, as outlined above, to be submitted (email word file to firstname.lastname@example.org) for discussion/approval to tutor by Monday 9thOctober 2018 at the latest. This will form the basis of tutorial conversations and should undergo further development as the project progresses.
Set(s) of images and/or moving imagery clearly fitting into the genre of Documentary Photography and forming a substantial body of work - a final Major project or portfolio of photographic work and supporting material. Submissions should reference details in the submitted proposal. Deadline is Monday 13thMay 2019 at 13:15 to module tutor.
Supporting materials including risk assessment and evaluation of work
A Risk Assessment submitted and approved BEFORE any photographic work is undertaken. Failure to undertake a Risk Assessment, and putting yourself at unnecessary risk, may result in the University rejecting your work for assessment.
Submission Checklist Assignment 002
Deadline is Monday 20thMay 2019 at 13:15 in Room HW AP015A to module tutor." - Noodle.
The goal of this project is to compile stories for a book based particularly on the UK Hip-Hop scene; with a concentrated focus on artists creating what is recognised as 'LoFi HipHop' and 'Funk' music and performing sets to the public domain within Cheltenham, using ‘Contact High’ and also ‘Magnum Contacts’ as my main inspiration for presentation (design) and photographic aesthetic considerations (contact sheets and editing) and (compositions and locations) and for conceptual ideas I will be using writings from various sources including these individuals. Ever since seeing photographers work presented as contact sheets and prints in these books, I have always been surprised by the level of engagement that this type of work allows for. The contact sheets reveal the inner workings of the photographers attention, and allows the viewer to peer behind the moment of the selected frame(s), and to be able to watch a moment unfold, also to be able to see how the photographer edits their work, the viewer is able to see how the photographer sees composition and the light. The contact sheet is like going back stage and speaking to the band and being let in on a secret. Being able to see the scene come together for that one frame is somewhat enticing, the images really take you into the story and engages the viewer to connect all of the frames together themselves, to visualise the moment, in this case to be able to feel the vibe and hear the music. “The birth of British hip hop was triggered by New Jersey crew Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight,' which reached number three in the UK singles chart in December 1979 and was the first time most people in the country heard rap.” https://thevinylfactory.com/features/the-10-records-that-helped-british-hip-hop-find-its-own-voice/ Accessed 5/3/19 @ 09:36. 40 years later, British Hip Hop is more alive than ever, the songs and the visuals that go with them are now deeply engrained in the millennial generation, Although Jack Farai from 'Motion Enterprise' says that "Hip Hop died in 2000". when I was speaking ot him recently.
I intend to create a substantial body of photographic documentary prints, including contact sheets, single negative prints (Silver gelatine and Platinum palladium) and a fully realised and finalised book, which documents the Local ‘Hip Hop’ Scene in Cheltenham. Picking up on cultural identity and the background of that which is now in the fabric of the mainstream. I intend to capture the individuals that represent the hip hop sound and to explore the culture and identity of this era, I will be submitting unpublished work going all the way back to the start of university when I first started shooting them, like the third week of uni I think. I aim to create over 50 contact sheets consisting mostly of black and white negative and some colour negative and a few E-6 positive slides. Although the slides will not be in contact sheet format, in their frames they will be from various points in time and different gigs around cheltenham, portraying a visual narrative, (maybe chronologically). The contact sheets will be used to analyse each negative and exposure, I will show the edit on the contacts with certain colours that conform to the books overall colour scheme and design (Black, Gold, Burgundy and white). Using only the black and white contact sheets, which I will be creating myself (the colour will be sent to a lab), from the edited images I select, I will print in the darkroom, depending whether they are square format or 35mm or 6x7 even, I will aim to create consistant sized prints, which reflect my highest technical and documentary ability, Either way the prints will digitised for the book so the size of all the images will be adjusted digitally. All of the original darkroom prints will be used to make a one off hand-made book If I have the budget post shooting.