'Coalition', the theme for this part of assignment 1, was inspired by the current political climate. Following on from the shock of Brexit, the Americans chose Donald Trump to be their president, despite apparent interference from the Russians, and the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, scraped past the finishing post to remain in power, with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party. These unpredictable times have starred a variety of political adversaries, who have many opposing views. The outsider often sees these figures portrayed separately in the media, and depending on the media's political preference will determine what sound-bytes the viewer hears. I was intrigued to explore how their images could be merged together to create one entity, which focuses more closely on them as individuals rather than parties.
Berlin-based artist Michel Lamoller had developed a way of layering time-lapse photographs to create either a sculpture or a new 2D image.
Lamoller's subjects melt into their surroundings, with only certain parts of them remaining visible. He takes around 10 photographs of a particular place, with each photograph showing a particular change in the scene.
In 1964, Belgian surrealist, René Magritte, painted 'The Son of Man' (below, left). It is a portrait of a man in a bowler hat, red tie and dark blue overcoat. He is standing in front of a low wall, which holds back the sea in the background. Overhead is a cloudy sky. The most distinctive feature of this oil painting is the green apple, which partly obscures the subject's face. His left eye can just be seen peering at the viewer from behind the fruit. The title, 'Son of Man', together with the apple, give the work of art a religious reference to Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Joan Fontcuberta's chapter title takes the read back to a time of 'girl power' and the notion of celebrity. He recalls an anecdote about having his photograph taken in a photo booth and being presented with the option to magically appear with the Spice Girls. Other options included Princess Diana and Tony Blair. At the time, these personalities offered an alternative view of the world, an opportunity to break away from what had always been. The Spice Girls encouraged strong independent women, Princess Diana looked to modernise the royal family, and Tony Blair was all about a New Labour, following years of Tory rule. The fact that you could choose to appear in a photograph with one of these people, is a glimpse at how the photograph could be used as a symbol of support and solidarity.
If video killed the radio star, then digital killed analogue. The days of taking your roll of film to Boots, and collecting it an hour or a day later have long gone. Those who nostalgically want to hold on to the past might be heard saying that the rise of computing is responsible. Despite this accusation, Batchen (2002: 165) claims that, ever since their creation, both photography and computing were destined to converge by stating that, "the two technologies share a common history and embody comparable logics."
Why bother preparing a meal from scratch, when you can microwave a ready meal in a fraction of the time? Similarly, some artists prefer to use existing images rather than their own. They 'take' photographs instead of making photographs. And why wouldn't they? We live in a digital world where Shore (2014: 7) believes that, "The online environment is a key hunting-ground for acts of creative, transformative borrowing."