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Commission Pt.

1 Environment

Landscape and City

With landscape I wanted to interrogate the false commercialisation on local lands claimed to be tourist attractions and beach like scenes. The location I have chosen has been falsely advertised through the internet and signs actually at the location to have golden sands, beautiful scenery full of nature: but the reality when you get there it is completely flat and vastly different from what we have been shown. By creating false advertisements I could re-create the landscape and mock the commercialisation of it that consumers digest and believe.

Riverside Country Park

This park in lower Gillingham, Kent has a particular part that helped define my project. Horrid Hill, a very well chosen name has a sign in front of it displaying a beautiful scene of golden sands and a blue river that runs along the bright blue horizon line. Claimed to be one of Medway's most beautiful attractions.

The landscape is in fact extremely flat and dreary.

Contextual References
To re-create this beach scenery I needed to understand the type of colours and imagery that would re-connect the viewer with this type of landscape and engage them into my idea. I looked at artists such as: Albert Ernest Backus. His soft tones and warm environment emulates a holiday advert scene taking us back to the summer season. By using palm trees he frames the landscape and we become involved in the sitters movements. Potthast focus on the joys of the beach; the movement upon it including people and objects. Again using the typical golden sands and blue ocean to re-familiarise ourselves with the beach landscape.

Albert Ernest Backus

Edward Henry Potthast

John Lowrie Morrison John Lowrie Morrison involved nature more into his work: not only focusing on the shore line but including deep movements in the background of mountains and a deep blue sky, with the green nature in the foreground, making this scene more enclosed and intimate. But once again these colours of the sand and sea are very much the same: showing how as the viewer we are recognise the same landscape. So this is the sort of imagery I should use for my advertisement.

Sean Hillen

Sean Hillen gave me the understanding of how to use photomontage along with the artist John Heartfeild and Peter Kennard. Either cramming in images that flick a light in our minds to re-connect us with a certain place or event, or being very simplistic yet very accurate to control the image and the viewers emotions a lot more to enable a more focused view of the work. Controversy is used a lot in photomontage and shows the freedom and exploration that comes with it.

Peter Kennard

John Heartfeild

I also studied holiday adverts, looking at the way in which they took our minds on holiday as we viewed it but also what they used to give off the impression of a perfect holiday. Particularly I looked the Thomson Holiday Ad 2009, this showed a holiday destination being constructed just for you which was what I was planning to do with the montage. But they here are mocking themselves, what they say you is just an image.

Location Test Shots (Digital)

On this day in particular the weather was perfect for what I wanted: dreary, cold and wet: the horizon line blending in the middle and background to create this horrible flat landscape. It was the perfect setting for what I wanted but I could only go on a day when the weather was bad so I could get the correct aesthetics for the image.

Chosen Images
I chose my final images based on a range or reasons. Firstly, technically I waned my exposure to be correct to keep the landscape flat and not to over/underexpose the foreground which will highlight that area too much. Also the focus on the foreground needed to be accurate as this had rocks in which would just help create that visualisation of a shore line. My images also needed to enclose the scene and aesthetically match each other and join well enough to be linked as a series/panoramic beach view.

We can now begin to see the enclosement of the area with the outer two images having a shore line running up the side of the frame. The focus and exposure of the images is good and we can see the distant horizon line slightly blending with the background for a flatter image.

Photomontage Trials

As my images were to take the mick I did not want the cut outs to be placed or cut perfectly: it needed to look false to portray this false advertisement. I trailed on the digital images. As we can see her the simplified image with the couple re-creates a summers day stroll on the beach where the next image creates a more holiday destination.

Here I played with the size on the images and drawing onto the image to make it more fake. Using different size images and playing with the structure of things alters the viewers perspective to must be done well enough so the concept of the image is not lost.


The printing of these images must be re-done as the colours are not a direct match, the image on the left being still very green and the middle having a slight blue tinge. In order for them to be displayed as a series I must correct this mistake. By adding text to the images to mock the landscape more just enables the viewer to connect slightly more to the mockery. I feel as a photomontage the images work well to create the beach/summer scene: my favourites image being the image on the right as it takes me back onto a holiday and hopefully this will do the same for the viewer.

Concept I wanted to focus on the basis of our cities structure. When we think of the city or look it up we are confronted with images of the skyline and architectural structure across the world that we all stare and gaze at in amazement. But I wanted to look at the base of these structures: it is a way of transport, it navigates us and we use it daily yet we do not look at it the same. It is architectural designed in each area to specifically fit that area. In each location I have used the pavement is different in colour, texture and in the way we use it. I chose to look beyond the everyday movements of the city and looked simply at the ground: it has been interesting to interrogate that how in different places, we and the people who own it chose it differently yet in each area it is there for the same purpose.

Contextual References

I found it hard to reference the type of images I wanted to create: I initially looked at how artists used the ground themselves: street artistic who bring our attention towards the floor by creating unusual art the lifts the ground or allows it to go further. But this type of treatment of the ground was to in depth: I wanted simpler images that made the ground more of a focal point.

Ed Ruscha

Mick Buston

Vivian Maier

As well as looking at artists such as William Gedney and Philip Lorca-Dicorcia who had a theme of city life and the ways in which humans populate and use it. The artists above were more engaged with my concept. Looking at how including more of the ground in images and having subjects interacted with it becomes a main focus point. We see here how different ground textures are used and how these different textures signify different areas of cities/places. The cleaner more polished floor of a shopping mall/business centre and the hard cold pavement then seeming cheaper and of less importance. The type of lighting I use will help signify this treatment of the floor and will help me represent these different treatments.

Chosen Images Piccadilly Circus

Canary Wharf

Westminster Pier

My choice of the three locations were obvious to me: somewhere pristine and well maintained to keep up with the running of the area: Canary Wharf. Somewhere busy but still seen as slightly higher class and therefore is maintained to keep the expectations of the street alive: Piccadilly Circus (Regent Street) and somewhere busy, where tourists and commuters flood through everyday: Westminster Pier. Each image is different in terms of the shaping and overall aesthetics of the pavement and in the way in which it is treated. Going from clean and pristine like no human has ever walked on it to the regularly used and abused streets covered in litter.
The images emphasise this social hierarchy we have in London, how certain areas hold a certain class and how what is seen of certain areas, how it is viewed by others is more important to us. I feel my exposure of the images is ok but the focus on the Westminster one is out due to the different levels of litter. I chose to use a large depth of field to make sure I connected with the hole frame. I would like to experiment more with the images, experimenting with shallow depth of field and how this would help move the concept along as I dont think it is evident in just the three images. I want to expand the series to several images for each location and discover more locations that meet my concept.

Self Evaluation

With both units I must leave more time to blog post my progress and things have been rushed or left out: and also with the blog posts go into more depth. Technically analyse my own work and artists reference work to help me gain a greater understanding of the medium which will improve my own development. Make my references more relevant to my concept: this will show how my idea has developed through the use of references and show how I use them and they inspire me. Manage my time better on shoots: I rush important parts of the shoots such a light readings: this has meant I have had to re-shoot on some occasions on other units. Be more technically aware with my work: know what I want technically and produce that to the best of my ability. I feel my darkroom work has come along well. I work independently trying to correct myself as this is the only way I will be able to learn anything: but must improve on colour corrections as I now must re-print so landscape images work better in the series. Time manage work. Did not leave myself enough time to re-photograph the landscape ,montages so have only scanned them. Must be of a higher quality. Overall I feel I have engaged with both environments looking at the expectations and treatments of them. How the commercial world has led us to false advertising areas and only making certain areas of a higher quality to help boost tourism, economy etc. I have interrogated both environments differently to what I expected I would at the beginning of the unit which has improved my technically ability and has opened my mind up to more conceptual ideas. I want to expand on each part of the unit to create solid concepts and images that I will be proud of.