p.306 Michael Schmelling and Emily Jones

Task 5

Preconceived Notions

Step 1: Tweet a synopsis of your assignments

Step 2: Research Artist and Visual Portrait

Schmelling is an author and collaborator. He has produced five photobooks: Shut Up Truth, The Week of No Computer, Land Line, Plan and Atlanta: Hip Hop and The South. In producing the publication for the project Atlanta, Schmelling also published a mixtape and website to accompany it. The website contains photographic outtakes from the book, a downloadable link to the free mixtape, and video outtakes. The project was a collaboration with two writers, Kelefa Sanneh and Will Welch and took several months to photograph. The orginal inspiration for this body of work came from an ablum writted by OutKasts, in 1998 caled Aquemini. He began photographing the project in search to find how this album had influenced the local music scene, however he soon realized this would be hard to find in an ever-changing environment. For this visual portrait I used his style of photographing hands, and created a tattoo using a soundwave from one of the songs of the Atlanta mixtape.

Step 3: Critical analysis of artist and image in their style

Schmelling breaks stereotypical representations of hip-hop culture in Atlanta. Although his most work is mostly editorial, his practise is so diverse that he doesn’t strict himself to one style, hence my task asking me to take pictures of anything! I decided to create a portrait image in his style inspired by his use of black and white portraiture in his portfolio. When photographing in black and white, Schmelling’s work is high in contrast and his images are sharp. In some of his portraiture, he avoids displaying the subjects’ identity by photographing the back of their head.

Step 4: Complete the assignment

Step 5: Critical Rationale

The purpose of this project was to stop over analysing ideas of creating and to just make photographs. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the project, while maintaining the freedom to create meaning later. I began to photograph anything I felt attraction to when walking to and from university. When researching the artists, Michael Schmelling, I noticed with some objects he made his photographs into diptychs. This inspired me to present my images in quadratych as a means of presentation. This gave meaning to the photographs after I had created them, and enabled me to group my images into different themes.

Ideally, I am going to continue this project, potentially in collaboration with others online, with the intentions of create a larger body of work to make into a photo book. I hope to use this work as an ongoing source of inspiration for my practice.  I feel as though it will enable me to create a constant flow of creativity outside of projects which may have more context and require more research.

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