Reflections on Part 4

I feel that my work has moved on significantly over the course of this module. My typological study of grave flowers is finished, subject to final sequencing and editing. I will be able to complete this once I know how many images I will be using from the other three sections.

The Pesticides series has developed, and I have experimented with different types of paper and methods of spraying on to the image. When I first started making these images I would use the original pesticide sprayer bottle which had a large nozzle and therefore deposited a lot of pesticide onto the paper, by holding the paper in different directions you could get the colours to run. Since then I have experimented with different sized sprayer nozzles as well as with paintbrushes and sponges. These all have different effects which means that different types of image can be produced. I have also connected the production of these images to the Surrealist tradition whose members “embraced the element of chance” (Lebowitz 2018). I also. think that these images best illustrate the influence that my Research studies have had on my Body of Work; the asymmetrical composition, areas of colour and use of empty space are all typical of Japanese art, particularly woodblock prints.

I have had a great deal of fun with the Cyanotypes, I think I have been quite creative in the way I have developed a method of adding colour to the final images. Again this process adds a substantial element of chance to the process in the surrealist tradition. The thing that I have found interesting about this process is that the possibilities seem endless, you can create very different images from the same negative by using different colours in different parts of the print. The level of chance involved in producing the image also means that each print is unique as it affected by which colours are chosen and how they are applied.

The Surimono images are something that originated from my Research studies, I had not come across them before I started to look in detail at Japanese woodblock prints. It has been interesting working with another artist in a very different style (a poet) but I think that we have produced an interesting take on the traditional Surimono format. We have produced 15 surimono style images so far and it is encouraging that my colleague, Anne Osbourn, wants to continue the collaboration beyond what I need for this course, and to carry on writing poems for further images.

Following on from the Surimono work I have looked further into the concept of Photopoetry and discovered that there was a long history of such work; “by 1867 some thirteen books of photographically illustrated poetry had been published” (Nott 2018). I had been aware of more recent works of Photopoetry, Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin’s Elmet for example (Hughes and Godwin 1994), but I had not realised that Edward Weston had published photographs to illustrate the poetry of Walt Whitman (Weston and Whitman 1942), although Weston did not seem enamoured of the final product “My reaction to W. W. Book is quite definite: it stinks” (Abbott 2005:82). I will write more on this topic in a separate blog post.