Monday, 5 October 2009

Essay question

I have not completed enough research on my essay writing task to create a question, however the topics I intend on exploring are: the inevitability of death in photographs and how post-mortem photography was and is viewed. Other topics include the re-touching of imagery in society and whether plastic surgery is just as acceptable as removing blemishes in Photoshop.


  1. Interim Review Unit 1 : Anatomy 06/10/09

    Hi Barathi,

    My immediate impression of your creative development thus far is that it is a bit 'thin' and lacks real exploration; that is not to say that you're not picking up on some interesting stuff; the Barthes' quote, for instance, and the work of Rael Gough. That said, the brief asks for a minimum of 3 preparatory portraits, the purpose of which are to drive your conceptual exploration and visual resolution of the problem of 'picturing identity'. Your one portrait idea seems very generalised and under-developed and I get no sense of its compositional strength or visual strategy; I understand that it is a preliminary sketch, but could you not also have explored the use of photography, digital manipulation, colour, texture etc. I urge you also to consider a more abstract, less literal approach to showing your different stages of development; Rael Gough used pointillism and a DNA-like effect to describe his theme. I'd like you to explore a more dynamic and less figurative response - for instance, if your talking about your personal evolution from one stage to the next - your metamorphosis, then consider artists who try and capture both movement and time in the single image; David Hockney, for instance, or the work of the cubists and the futurists - they are all trying to put time and change into their work. Remember, one of the principle satisfactions of a good portrait, is that it should be visually arresting and very strong, so consider the basics; strong composition, colour and tone.

    It's great to see how your figure drawing is improving, but can I suggest that figure drawing may not be the best way, technically, for you to approach your portrait - I think you need to be much more bold and explorative.

    Also, please refer to the brief to ensure that you are doing all that it asks of you and in the specified way.

  2. Oh yeah - regarding your essay choice - any of them would prove interesting, and I'm not going to tell you which one to pick; you do, however, need to get on with some real, focused research, which means you have to make a decision and fast; remember, you've only got 1,500 words, so avoid choosing too general a topic and ensure that you can use specific visual examples/images to help drive your argument; the retouching issue, I'd suggest is this - is digital manipulation of images, driving physical manipulation in real people - in other words, are people now modelling themselves on fictions? Be sure to look at Orlan in this category, but also the politicised, feminist work of Barbara Krueger...

  3. Tomorrow at 3pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Tracy Ashmore is doing a second session on structuring arguments for academic writing and creative research; it will last an hour, giving you a bit of a breather before the life-drawing class; sorry for the short notice, but it was only confirmed at the end of last week. If you could assist me in getting word out to your classmates, I'd be very grateful. Cheers!