Task 1 – Beautiful
Summary of Assignment
— Rebecca Henderson (@BeckyAHenderson) March 13, 2017
Portrait of Artist
In order to create a portrait of Cowin I focused on the recurring theme of novels within her recent works. She claims to read a lot of fiction and is in awe of people that write amazing books, hence why I chose to photograph a novel as my portrayal of this photographer. It also pays homage to her interest in the ordinary through its simplistic background.
Image in the style of the Artist
A lot of Cowin’s work consists of two images placed next to each other in order to create a narrative that ‘migrates from the concrete of printed pages and readable words to the ambiguity of human emotion.’ Following this concept, I used an image of nature and a portrait to create my own narrative that ‘offers clues but withholds meaning, allowing you to come to conclusions of your own.’ I chose this combination because of the formal similarities between the shape of the fern and the curls of the subjects hair. The images follow Cowin’s pattern of fabricating the photograph rather than capturing from ‘the flow of daily life’.
Completing the assignment
Take a photograph of something beautiful.
Take a beautiful photograph.
When first faced with the task of photographing something beautiful my mind immediately went to the stereotypical ideas, sunsets, flowers, love etc. I wanted to avoid these whilst still challenging myself to produce an image that was outside of my comfort zone. As someone who predominantly takes portraits I felt this was an opportunity to capture the beauty that the natural landscape can hold. For this reason I began photographing the landscape, capturing the image shown above. The reliance on the light of the rising sun creates an image that highlights the distant mountains against the tree line in both the actual and the reflection. The symmetry of the image aims to show off the beauty of the landscape in front of the camera. To me, taking a beautiful photograph relied less on the subject matter and more on my skill as a photographer. Whereas with the previous image I relied on the beauty of the landscape to carry the image, I now had to produce something that focused on a subject matter not necessarily deemed beautiful but made so through my photography. The lighting and composition allowed me to capture this Maori chief, as he showed us the traditions of his culture, in a way that conveyed the emotion felt by the subject, thus evoking a similar response within the audience. It is for this reason that I think this image is a beautiful photograph.