PicBod- Truth and Deception Photography

After looking and researching into photographic work that combines text and imagery, I then decided to look at photographs who could influence my photographic piece that aims to look at the themes of truth, hidden and deception, all linking to my larger theme of the online world and online chatrooms.

I fist looked at the work of Liu Bolin; Bolin looks at the theme of deception in a very visual way, focusing on the idea of trickery. The Invisible Man is a body of work that aims to trick the viewers eye in a creative way; Bolin’s work consisted of him painting his entire body to match the scenery behind – so when he is photographed it can be near-impossible to spot him; the work shows the ida of deception in a creative way and the use of photography allows us to see this deception, even if it may take a while to spot.  Some of his work is more obvious than others, however I still feel this work is a very strong body, looking at the idea of deception and concealment by actually deceiving the viewerseyes.

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The work looks at the theme of deception and concealment in a very literal way; in my own work I do not plan to necessarily look at my themes in such a literal way, however this is a possible avenue I could go down. Looking at the ‘hidden’ is an interesting idea, but I do not plan on painting myself to fit my surroundings.

Next I looked at the work of Linda Fregni Nagler and her series of work The Hidden Mother; the body of work comprises of 1,002 photographs, showing examples of photographs that cloak or hide a parent within the background of a child’s portrait, a common procedure from the advent of photography up until the 1920s, when exposure times were relative slow, and a hidden parent was required to hold the child still.

“These hidden mothers can be discerned in the background of every one of these portraits – looming behind their children, swaddled in blankets, carpets and brocades as they support their progeny as the central subject. The iterations vary, and in some instances the hidden mother is revealed as a single hand, while in others the child is seated on a shrouded figure, or the parent is quite literally hiding – ensuring that the child’s identity is transposed over their own.”

Fregni Nagler has collected a large number of images that repeat a particular gesture – the negation of the parent in the interest of the legibility of the child. The themes of this work include the ideas that look at the nature of parenthood and women’s place in a patriarchal society. The body of work also confronts the inevitable self-effacing nature of the photographer and the collector. It could be seen that Nagler herself could be seen as a mother figure to the images, conserving and looking after them like a mother would with her child; Nagler also becomes a ‘hidden mother’.

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The work has a completely different subject to my work, however it confronts the idea of hidden truth in a different way, with even the photographer herself being seen as hidden. The photographs look at the smaller detail, that of the mothers holding the children, to show the idea of hidden. In my own work I could look at this idea of hidden details in items or subjects; I could use close up photography to show this.

I looked at the work of Aleix Plademunt, this work is less obviously related to my own work, but I could still see links with my own work. Plademunt’s series Almost There, was started by the arrival of a postcard 101 years after it was sent. Through this body of work, Plademunt explores the question of physical distance with the aim to photograph the impossible; he focuses on the emotional proximity tying us to extremely far off places. By playing with scale as he explores the near (particles) and far (distant galaxies) Plademunt exposes his own relationship with space and time while making the viewer reflect on theirs. Plademunt looks to his own being and the building blocks of his physical existence, from images of his red blood cells to his father in his youth; as well as exploring the classic American documentary tradition of the road trip and the Solar System.

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This video shows Almost There in book form:

https://vimeo.com/76702938

‘Almost There is a book work which presents a challenging constellation of images; vast Canadian terrains precede archeological images of Neanderthal remains, which settle between found objects. Landscapes and skyscapes partner animals and interiors, all culminating in an overriding sense of distance and displacement. Almost There is a constant return journey, an exploration of what is closest and what is furthest away. Ultimately Plademunt communicates his frustration, of never being close enough and never being far enough away, just managing to be almost there.’

The work of Plademunt has a very different subject to my own work, yet I can see links, he could be seen as looking for the unknown hidden and the idea of the space between; in my own work I strive to find the hidden truth linking to the idea of the unknown people I am talking to through online chatrooms.As well as looking at deception and hidden, the idea of the space between could be something interesting to explore, there is a large space between myself and the ‘stranger’ I am talking to. I could look into ways of representing this space and distance between us as well as looking at the ideas around deception and hidden.

Luciano Rigolini‘s work, What You See, is a photobook containing snapshots; Rigolini aims to demonstrates, however, that these images, freed from their context, can also convey a visual experience. Rigolini’s imagery contains his findings from flea markets, archives and the Internet to create a new, independent work. The result is a body of work that questions our habits of seeing. What You See presents a multiplicity of surprising, confusing, and surreal photographs from a rich fund of anonymous photography.

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This may not directly link to the themes of deception and concealment, but the work could be seen as anonymous and the randomness of the imagery does link to the idea of the online chatrooms and how you do not know who you will get ttalk to and also the anonymous quality of the conversation at the start. In my own work I could further explore this idea of the people I talk to and how they are all different and you just don’t know who you are going to get.

Finally I looked at the work of John Hilliard, his body of work Cause of death looks at the ideas around the influence of the photographer and interpretation of imagery. Hilliard combines 4 different crops of a photograph and text as he looks at the ideas around manipulation through the use of cropping and text. The way the viewer reads the image is affected by the way they view it and what they read about it, Hilliard shows how photographs can easily manipulate thinking, and author an alleged truth.

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In my own work I could experiment with different cropping and the way I layout my imagery with text, to give different readings of the whole body of work.

Overall by looking at a range of photographers work that link to the idea of hidden, concealment and deception, I have now an idea of the different ways I could approach my own body of work and imagery relating to the ideas around the online world and online chatrooms. I now plan to begin shooting different possible images that I could use for my final body of work; I will explore a range of ideas before deciding on one final avenue for the final body of work.

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