PicBod- Forms, functions and interactions of the body and space

Once again at the beginning of this week’s lecture we had a tear and share session in which different ideas and work was shown; we first looked at the work of Viktoria Sorochinski- Anna and Eve, ‘this project dwells in between fantasy and documentary. Even though, all the scenes are staged, they reveal a real relationship of a mother and her daughter. Anna and Eve were particularly interesting to me, when I first met them in 2005, because the boundary between the child and the adult woman was blurred to an unusually high degree. Anna – the mother seemed at times more of a child than her 4 year-old daughter – Eve. It was often hard to tell who held the power and control between the two.’ The images are staged, creating a relationship with the camera and the two ‘characters’, and becomes fairy tale like. It’s a large series, that shows the daughter changing and growing up over time.


This work is very interesting to me as it looks at the relationship between two people while also linking to the idea of story telling through imagery as the images are set up for the purpose of the photograph. As the images are set up it leaves the viewer wondering is this really how the two of them act or is this an exaggerated example of their relationship.

We also spoke about the work of Emma Critchley, her under water images show the human body in a different and surreal way. One series, ‘Figure of Speech’, Critchley photographs the bubbles that are from speech, the series thinks about how language and speech can be seen as a temporal thing. The series also looked at how the body effects the environment and how it is reciprocated. The body of work really interests me as it show a different way to represent the human body and its functions while also showing the effect the human body has on the surrounding area. Looking into marks and little effect humans have on the environment could be an interesting area to look into.

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To begin this week’s lecture we thought about the idea of the paradigm shift and how originally photography was used to document the human body or subject, and then a piece of art was created using this photograph as reference; however now photography is considered an art form. As photography became more considered and respected, photography nudes were about the structure and form; the work of Bill Brandt and Man Ray were examples of these, the images looked at the structure of the human body.

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Thomas Ruff‘s work, Nudes, stood out to me, the images are screenshots of porn, yet it becomes artistic as it has motion blur, and it is less obvious that it is porn. The photograph looks almost like a sketch drawing or a sculpture, this makes us think more about how the body of work is art, and making the images more artistic than pornographic. There is more focus on the shapes and body and its movement rather than the act of sex and so it can be seen as more romantic. I think is is a unique and clever way of looking at both the human body and sex itself, it becomes less crude and brash and can be appreciated by people. In my own work I could consider different ways of representing something that changes the feel to the image.


The forms and functions of the human body could be more documentary, and photographed in this way. Adrien Tournachon‘s body of work shows a series of portraits of people with electric shots running through the face. The images shows the twitches and changes in expression of the face and on different people, this work was seen as a more scientific approach and study. Similarly Eadweard Muybridge was interested in the study of how the body works, his photograph documents the body and its functions. Both photographers have approached the theme of the body in a more scientific way, this could also be something interesting to explore around the theme of the human body.


Continuing with the theme of the human body we looked at the tv program Embarrassing bodies, the program that is watched for enjoyment could be seen as the exploitation of the body, especially the ’embarrassing’ issues and illnesses. As humans, we want to see the abnormal; we like to judge people and we want to make ourselves feel better about us, making us feel ‘normal’. This is interesting to consider that people gain enjoyment from other peoples problem.

Finally we looked at the idea of the male nude; our society is used to seeing the naked woman, however seeing a naked man is more of a shock and controversial; an example of this is the work Naked Man by Peirre and Gilles, this exhibition at the time was a shock to society as it brought together the idea of the naked man, and was the first exhibition featuring only naked men. This exhibition was in 2009, not that long ago and yet even then many people were uncomfortable about the exhibition, yet there have been countless naked women exhibitions. Men are not photographed in the same way women are, women are often photographed in a voyeuristic and soft way and so the female nude has become a common thing and something of beauty. Bertil Nilsson looks at photographing the male nude, he photographed in a way that slightly resembles the female nude. The work is very strong and shows have even though the female and male form are different visually they can still be appreciated in the same way.

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For this weeks task we have been set to photographically consider how you are corporeally connected and/or disconnected with the spaces you conduct your life in. We may wish to examine the structure of the body and how it is distorted to serve certain roles or we may think about the time and locations in which the body shapes the environments it has found itself occupying.

We were also given a list of photographers to look at which look at this tasks themes in a variety of different ways. The first photographer I looked at is Kevin Miyazaki and his body of work ‘Camp Home’. ‘In the series Camp Home, [Miyazaki] document the reuse of buildings from the Tule Lake internment camp, where [his] father’s family was sent during World War ll. The barracks used to house Japanese and Japanese American internees were dispersed throughout the neighbouring landscape following the war. Adapted into homes and outbuildings by returning veterans under a homesteading movement, many still stand on land surrounding the original camp site.’ Throughout the series little details are shown of the camp, showing the personalisation of these camps by the prisoners and how they made it ‘their own’ and a home. This made me think about how we all ‘customise’ places making them more personal and homely. In prisons it is hard to make it your own, and so the series is looking at the little details that speak about our interactions with a space. I really like this body of work and the ideas behind it, for this task I am interested into looking at how I have ‘customised’ my uni room compared to when I arrived and how it was a blank bare room.


Similar to the work of Miyazaki, Anna Fox‘s series 41 Hewitt Road looks at a Victorian House in North London, it is not clear whether it is inhabited or not. The walls, covered with paintings and scribbles that seem to be the hand of children, crumble in parts. There are notes on the walls too and a fireplace decorated with cut outs from magazines. The book contains two sets of images, the first set of empty chaotic rooms, the other a set of objects. This work looks at the personalisation of homes by people and also the idea of how we ‘mark’ our environment around us.


A different photographer that looks at interaction with the body and the environment is Katherine Wolkoff and her series Deer Bed, the pictures are of the imprints made in the grass by sleeping deer. The images look at the idea of the imprint on the land and how they are using the land for their own use. This is an interesting concept as we have all affected the landscape in some way, such as just a footprint in the mud, or the building of a skyscraper, we are constantly ‘imprinting’ and changing the Earth’s surface. Look at the idea of our ‘imprint’ on the Earth could be something interesting for this task.


Travis Hodges body of work, The quantified self, looks at people who track and qualify their everyday actions. The series combines portraits of each individual and also their quantified self in a data form. This combines the idea of how we present and represent ourselves, looking at both our physical appearance and also our ‘data’ appearance.


All of these photographers look at the idea of the body and form in a different way, I plan to explore the idea further in answer to this task.


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