p.140 Melissa Harris and Christina Doyle

Task 2

Exquisite Corpse


Step 1 – Group synopsis of task 


Step 2 – Analysis 

My groups’ response to Exquisite Corpses consists of four separate body parts photographed from exhibition pieces around the Herbert art gallery. The form of the body of work takes black and white images which lead to looking at the image in closer detail to see that it is not one classic body – You need to look further into the image to see that it is made up of four different photos.

This image consists of a head from a clown statue found on the first floor of the Herbert. The second statue was found alongside the clown that shows a women’s body – contradicting the male face of the clown but giving a comedy look matching the clown personality.  The third quarter shows a photograph of a gentleman, in which we cropped a photograph to show a lower torso.  The final quarter of the corpse is another photograph of King Henry that contradicts all the other modern body parts. ­






Step 3 – My body of work 


There might be a few famous photographs, people, paintings and statues in there…


Step 4 – Critical Rationale 

Initially, when first reading Melissa Harris’ task, the word corpse made me uneasy. Researching into what the task is based on (the parlour game) I got a deeper understanding of where it originated from and how it has adapted from pieces of paper to photographs. From taking part in this task in the Finding workshop, I wanted to develop the body of work into a much larger piece. I have moved away from taking only things found in the Herbert Art Gallery and have not set a restriction as to where the photos can be taken. I took the original form of black and white throughout my larger body of work, forcing you to look at the images in closer detail.

I stuck with the original 4 photographs, ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’, but used Photoshop to remove unwanted backgrounds that distracted the idea of the picture being one corpse. The components take photographs, objects and scanned images to combine into one body. The corpses are placed next to each other in a grid-like structure taking the form of a collage, linking back to the aesthetic of the images – a collection of work making a collage forming what appears to be one photo.

I’ve had to remove my usual aesthetic value to create this body of work. Being a perfectionist, and wanting everything to look perfect these creations made me move away from this ideal. I was forced to almost make the work look messy and out of line. For me, the word corpse is not something that is made to look ‘pretty’, but quite the opposite. The photographs are cut out in Photoshop and placed one on top of another, allowing the work to look as 1 from a distance but drawing the viewer’s eye to look closer at the imperfections of the 4 photographs together. The assignment has helped me understand and discover how different objects with their own stories come together making one larger story and narrative. This project allowed me to reach the full potential of the Photographers Playbook, taking the word ‘play’ literally and having so much fun manipulating these images to look weird, funky and odd.



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