This unit was probably one of my favourites as it was my FMP (final major project). The reason it’s my favourite unit is because I can photograph anything I want. I chose to do graffiti as I felt like it would be an interesting subject as I could talk about how some graffiti is considered street art whereas other types of graffiti is just delinquent and done because they want to go against the rules. I consider street art as pictures painted onto walls, or even shapes with lots of colour. I consider delinquent graffiti as words or phrases that could either be inappropriate words or simple lines with no relevance. I wanted to be able to use different techniques in my work to show the different forms of graffiti.
For this unit I had to complete seven experimental shoots, at least three had to be conceptual and another three had to be technical. I then had to do a final shoot and I also had to complete six research pieces about artists or photographers, I again needed to make sure that three of the research pieces were conceptual and another three were technical based. I had to complete a case study as well, for this case study, I travelled to Suffolk and visited a graffiti exhibition. At this exhibition I was able to gather a lot of information about some artists and the reasoning behind their work. I also had to complete a mood board and mind map, which includes some initial ideas of what I would like to do for my FMP. For my research, I found three artists who do the graffiti themselves, such as Banksy and three photographers who photograph the graffiti or people doing graffiti, such as Alex Fakso.
I started off this unit by writing my own brief, it explains what I’ll be doing during this unit, when I’ll be doing it and how I’ll be doing. Once I had completed my brief I had to do two pro formas, which included my ideas and the meaning behind my work and what I’ll be doing to complete the unit. My ideas were to show the different ways people try to express themselves, such as graffiti artists, they may do graffiti to either show their love for art or to show their love for art to other people as the artists want others to appreciate it. However, other people may do graffiti the more illegal way which is doing it either in a group due to peer pressure or their feel that they need to express themselves in a rebellious way so they can put a point across to the authorities that they can’t be caught or the fact that they can do anything they want, which in my opinion gives them a sense of freedom and makes them feel dominant. I wanted to be able to photograph street art graffiti which is professional and just plain graffiti which is done illegally. Although technically all graffiti is illegal, street art is deemed acceptable as you’re less likely to want to cover up a piece of art that a bit of graffiti that is inappropriate or just scribbles on a wall.
Throughout this unit I have completed seven experimental shoots. Each of my shoots have been different, however some of the images in two shoots have been fairly similar but the techniques were no the same. My experimental shoots consisted of three conceptual pieces, one was to take pictures at my local skate park as there is a lot of graffiti on the ramps. Although when I evaluated that shoot I said how that kind of graffiti was delinquent, however it can also be seen as artistic as a group of people have come together and graffitied cartoons of animated characters skateboarding, the skate park is also a secluded area so its not on display for the public to see. Another one of my conceptual shoots consisted of me going to the old Passmores Academy site, as the previous students and teaches that attended had done their own graffiti on the wall outside their school. The wall was built solely for the purpose to be painted, I liked how the students and teachers came together and painted on the wall as it made the relationship closer between them all and they also were able to promote their school as it could be seen from a very far distance so it drew people in. All my other experimental shoots were all technical based, I used Photoshop for some as I did my own graffiti in on shoot, I then took a picture of a wall and photoshopped my own graffiti onto the wall. I did this shoot next to college at the bus station as I thought the walls around there were quite dirty and rustic which matched my idea for the graffiti really well. I also did a shoot where I experimented with different forms of black and white so I used one image of graffiti and used different black and white filters in photoshop, I took these images again in my local skatepark as there was one piece there of a cartoon character skateboarding which I mentioned before, I found this one piece very interesting as it fit in with skatepark perfectly. I also printed out two pieces of graffiti and stuck buttons around the lettering to make it a 3D shoot, I took these images around staple tye as the graffiti around there was quite simple so it made it easier for me to stick the buttons round the letters. I also completed a shoot about depth of field, however after shooting the depth of field shoot I realised that although attempting to use the technique, I didn’t do it to a good enough standard as the background was too close to the in focus part so it wasn’t blurred out enough. The reason this happened was also down to not using the correct aperture setting as i needed it to be down to 3.5 and to also have my camera zoomed out to 18mm. If i had done this then I would have gotten my desired effect. If i were to do this shoot again, I would pick a different location where the background next to the graffiti is further away and I would also make sure that my camera settings are correct.
For each of my research pieces I had to make a mood board of responses. For example, I researched Bansky who does quite political graffiti and shares real life issues through his/her work. I then went onto the internet and researched political graffiti and political headlines, this was then made into a mood board as added it to my research. I did this for al six of my research pieces. Along with the responses, I had to make image based solutions. I only chose to do four image based solutions as some of my researched artists/photographers had similar ideas but different techniques so I felt that if I had done all six, some of the solutions would have looked too similar. I enjoyed doing my images based solutions as I had to create an image that I thought represented my artist/photographers work. For the images based solutions, I was allowed to use my own images or someone else’s. For example, Banksy again, I found a plain brick wall and a piece of political graffiti in a white background. I then photoshopped the graffiti onto the brick wall and blend it in.
After doing al my experimental shoots, artists responses and image based solutions, I had to do my final shoot and final image. To do this I wanted to find a place that has amazing street art, which led me to go to Brick Lane in London. I took the train up there which didn’t take long, however once I had gotten there I couldn’t find a lot of graffiti. However once I had walked a bit further down Brick Lane, the graffiti was everywhere on every wall. Alley ways were covered from top to bottom in graffiti, it was fantastic. I managed to take over 400 images as there was just so much to photograph. I was hoping to maybe see a piece of work by Banksy, however I wasn’t able to find anything unfortunately but nevertheless i found some amazing bits of graffiti. I turned down one alleyway and it went from standard graffiti to such an artistic piece, that in my opinion needed to be showcased in a exhibition rather than a wall. I chose my final image once I had gotten home and had a look through all my images. I then edited it in Photoshop as I wanted the colours to be really bright so it stood out. Once my image was fully edited and finished I need to prepare it to be printed. I made sure to save my final image as a PSD (Photoshop) file first so if I needed to edit my image again then I could. I then saved the image again but as TIFF file, after saving it as a TIFF it can no longer be edited. I then went to Boots and printed it off as a poster, the sizing was 20” by 16” which is the exact size I wanted my image.
Throughout the unit, the tasks that I think that have went well would be my 3D shoot which is when I stuck the different coloured and sized buttons on the lettering of the graffiti as even though it was fairly easy to do, it was an effective shoot and it was also very different to anything else I have done before. Another task that I think was successful would be my image based solutions, the reason for this would be that I found it very difficult to work with some of the Photoshop tools as I hadn’t certain tools before, however, after figuring out what tool did what, I was able to get some really good outcomes. Amongst all the things that went well, there were a few pieces that could have been improved. Such as, my depth of field shoot, as I feel that if I knew what settings I had needed and ask the correct scenery, then my images would have come out a lot better and the depth of field shoot would have been a lot more effective.
Originally, in my project proposal, I had planned to complete eight experimental shoots, however due to the similarity of my images I chose to stick with seven as I know that if I had done that extra shoot it wouldn’t have been as good as some of my other experimental shoots.
Overall, this unit has been very successful as I was able to answer my brief on time and also complete all of my work to a good standard. I have also enjoyed this unit as all of the decisions made were made by me, which gave me a sense of freedom and I could change, add or even expand on my work whenever I wanted which allowed me to explore my ideas a lot more than last unit. My whole class has an exhibition on the 19th June, which will showcase all our final pieces and allow friends and family to come and see our work. The exhibition will go on till the 23rd June, which will again allow anyone who couldn’t make it on our opening night to have a chance to see our final pieces of work. We all have set duties to help create the exhibition, for example, I am decorating and painting the boards that our work will be presented on, whereas others are doing marketing, so they will make leaflets and invites for people to come. The whole class have set groups in what they’re doing, however construction and decorating have to be done as soon as possible as the set up team are putting the boards up on Thursday 15th June.
Here is my final image that will be presented on Monday 19th: