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Part 6 Collecting objects and images

Part 6 Collecting objects and images

Collecting objects and images - Part 6

In Part 6 I want to talk about how your environment can effect you in a positive way and play a part in your creativity.

Sometimes it is a struggle to know what kind of art you want to do. It is often difficult to choose a subject that not only means something to you, but that you feel you can handle. I have suggested that you collect photographs and cuttings from magazines, these can be stored in clear polythene books so that you can flick through them at a moments notice for handy reference. Don't forget to collect things that antagonise you as well as things you like. You are constantly changing, so it is important to collect images beyond your concept of yourself, beyond the criteria of your own personal taste, if you can do it, this is a very mature approach.

You can also collect objects and you probably already do. What kind of objects? Well in a similar way that you collect images, you consider the subject, form, shape, colour, texture, scale, age, function, thats quite a lot to consider. Whether you work in an abstract way or not, each component of your work has an abstract value and all those last qualities come into play. That way you choose an image or an object for its shape, colour, form, etc and the part it plays in the overall design or impact in your work. Every time you collect something it makes a comment about you.

The next thing to consider is the way you arrange things in your room, as that may have an impact on the way you arrange things in your work. You will enjoy the reaction of your friends when they come around and find everything has changed again! Your home will offer extra value as it is fast becoming like a multi-media living museum! As you live with things, they impact on your subconscious as well as giving you direct ideas. One technique is to put things together that are in opposition or in high contrast, another is to arrange things that form a sequence or a comparison. In the first image (below) you will find a small model boat, but can you tell what the second object is? A light switch!

The second image (below) is called Shark, the moment I saw this scene, I had to photograph it. The juxtaposition between the elderly man and the inflatable shark was incredible. The sitter really enjoyed being photographed and remained very natural. His daughter tried to tidy up the towels but I managed to stop her in time. This image won an international photography award (you could have knocked me down with a feather!) Here you have a synthetic object that has childlike qualities, also the image makes a social comment comparing young with older. It also plays on the idea that the sitter is also 'a shark'.

In the third image below I have photographed a reflection in a window. the image of the man was behind the glass in front, the arch was behind me and was reflected as superimposed over the head. I moved my position until the fusion of the two images joined to make one unified composition. Notice the absence of colour. I only use colour if it is essential to the subject and I can control it, otherwise it becomes indiscriminate colour! When ever you look at an object or an image, ask yourself what is important in the image, and what do you want to reveal to the viewer about the subject and the formal abstract qualities.
Often, if the image is in monochrome (tones from black to white or tones of one colour) the subject becomes more powerful as there are less distractions, it can also be more atmospheric. Monochrome can also mean, many tones of one colour, if you introduce a second colour, it is not strictly a monochrome. Tone means how light or dark a colour or grey is. 'Hue' tells you what colour it is and 'tint' describes whether a colour has been even slightly mixed with another. 'It was a greenish blue tint'. The word shade is ambiguous and therefore not very accurate, tone is usually a better term to describe how light or dark a colour is.

Collage is a good way to combine images as you can lay one endlessly over another. Remember that you can tear edges as well as shape them or cut them straight. You can also change the images by adding all sorts of extra materials, and I will go into this in detail when we look at collage. If you have ever tried Photoshop you will know that you can work in layers to lay one image over another and this is very exciting indeed as it puts the artist in total control. I will go into this in a later stage when we deal with computer image-making.

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