Assignment 3 – Research and sketching

Having identified what I wanted to reflect upon in the series, I started the research process by combing through the diary again and trying to identify the specific state of mind that I was going through. I kept notes of my secondary thoughts on this on a sketchbook, and started to come up with some rudimentary graphic ideas and preliminary images. Having identified some of the emotions that I experienced, I then decided to explore further these concepts by building mind maps around them, which helped me isolate the ones that I wanted to focus on – which eventually included paranoia, obsessiveness, happiness, euphoria/restlessness, fear, negativity, fatalism, procrastination and violence.

One of the several mindmaps I completed for this assignment (extract from sketchbook)
Drawings and comments from my sketchbook for this assignment
Initial explorations for one of the images included in this assignment (extract from sketchbook)

Following this identification, I started to do both visual and contextual research in some of the topics. The visual research came from experimenting with images taken at various settings, to find the ones that better fitted into the emotions I wanted to portray. In some cases, the association was too indirect to work effectively, and the images were discarded for a particular concept. However, the intersection between some of these discarded images, and some of the techniques I used for this assignment, led to new images that fitted well some of the other ideas I wanted to convey. The contextual research primarily centered around looking into some of the states of mind that I wanted to illustrate and trying to both look at photos available online linked to these ideas, as well as any theoretical background information related to these emotions that could serve as inspiration.

Coming into this assignment, I was partially inspired by some of the aesthetic values of Francesca Woodman’s photographs (research notes), particularly in the blurriness and extreme tonal values of some of her images, which sometimes add a layer of extra impact to the image; as well as the surreal undertones of some of Duane Michals’s series of images (see my notes here). From very early in the process I decided that the images for this series were all going to be black and white. The primary reason was that I did not want the viewer to be distracted by the bright colours in some of the original exterior sequences that I photographed (see further comments here), but additionally I felt that in subtracting colour from the equation I was able to focus more on action within the frame and less on technical aspects of illumination and colour balance, particularly for the indoor shots.




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