POP ART

POP ART was a term that evolved in the 1950’s throughout the UK and America, originally invented by Lawrence Alloway who was a British Curator to describe a new and emerging form of ‘Popular’ Art. The dominating characters of this form of art was – Bold, bright, primary colours, contrasting thick black lines, everyday objects, creating cartoon-like simple imagery. It was very much a rebellion from all preceding art movements and revelled in the contemporary culture of that period creating a very avant-garde style.

Probably one of the most iconic Pop Art Photographers was Andy Warhol.

“Key Ideas

Warhol’s early work in commercial illustration was all about elevating an ordinary product into a more glamorous light for the purpose of selling it as an object of desire to the masses.”
(http://www.theartstory.org/artist-warhol-andy.htm)
Some of his work involved screen-printed images of Campbells Soup cans and you can’t really get more ordinary than that but by adding strong bold colours to what was originally a white tin, bold white frames, repetition and symmetry it’s lifted the boring to something that has visual prominence….
soup-andy-warhol
Pop Art become a great tool in the advertising industry because all of a sudden it was ‘ok’ to display recognisable items in a more visually stimulating way and encouraged more people to buy it.
I like the idea of making something so ordinary stand out…surely life would be boring if we didn’t have people that made the mundane more exciting.
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Postmodernism

Postmodernism…. probably the most difficult ‘theory’ to talk about because i don’t really understand it, what’s apparent is that artists try to create weird things and because people haven’t seen anything like it before …then it is therefore ‘ART’.

Whilst exploring the world of postmodern photographers i found myself going through the motions of thinking ‘why?????’ and ‘what the hell?!!’ And because i’m not an art critic i find it difficult to search for deep meaning within this genre of art. It seems to take an unskilled approach, is abstract, brazen, raw, badly composed and just ‘weird for the sake of being weird’ (Quote by Moe – Simpsons)

Postmodernism followed modernism around the 1960’s and was apparently the product of the changes in culture and people’s ideas and beliefs in the Western society. Where modernism was classed as objective because it was based on innovative and logical thinking, aimed at the perfect Utopian lifestyle; Postmodernism was classed as subjective and pretty much turned Modernism on its head. It was rebellion of Modernism, artists recycled ideas, techniques and images to create the extraordinary or the overly mundane. “Trying to get to grips with Post Modernism can make you feel a bit like a rock climber in flip-flops, desperate to get some traction”

The photograph above is by Tyler Udall

(https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/photographer-tyler-udall-is-redefining-male-intimacy)

Stated on this website – Photographer Tyler Udall is redefining male intimacy. This  black & white photograph from his book – Auguries Of Innocence is about the male struggle to break away from patriarchal masculinity. It shows a spine protruding naked man sitting on a folded sheet on the edge of a bed bent over surrounded by a mixture of gender related items – high heels, hammer and mannequin head etc. There is nothing special about the photograph, there is a basic composure to it but what stands out is that it makes you wonder and try to understand it.

So my conclusion on Postmodernism Artists is that they want to boycott the perfect utopian lifestyle depicted in modernism and  express the rawness of real life no matter how raw or weird it is and to use traditional methods in an untraditional way.

Surrealism

This Image, named ‘The Ghost Swift’ 2012, comes from Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland Book, a project she worked on for 5 years as a tribute to her mother who sadly passed away in 2008. She was inspired by the fairytale stories she used to tell her as a child and with her background in Arts & Fashion she was able to hand-make all the elaborate outfits and create the scenes for each shot.

The time involved was immense, sometimes taking up to 5 months of preparation making everything ready for just one shot. Some of the images were shot in a studio, this one was put together in a forest at the end of an uprooted tree and shot with a Nikon D800 and some extra lighting.

It is very surreal and dream-like, a woman sat almost intwined in the roots holding oversized keys, almost like she is the soul of the tree and covered in books and butterflies, immersed in nature and knowledge. If it wasn’t for the little splash of colour and the butterflies it would be dark and moody but they somewhat add a gentleness to the eerie surroundings.

The photo is extremely sharp, by using a small aperture she has captured every little detail, there is so much going on with intricate perfection. The vibrant colours draw your eyes to the centre of the image and they contrast against dark on everything surrounding. Her work really stands out against anything I have seen before and I think it’s amazing, she says it lies somewhere between fantasy and the journey through her grief which together have created these surreal images that you can draw your own meaning from.

I find her images a mixture of fantasy and surrealism with similarites to Alice In Wonderland. She inspires me not just as a photographer but to create something so individual and to stand out from anything that has been done before. I would like to apply a similar approach to my newborn photography, not as in-depth but I like the idea of creating bespoke photographs that are individual to each client…and their fantasies.

Resources:

www.kirstymitchellphotography.com

Impressionism

Photograph taken at Piha Beach by Eva Polak, Contemporary Impressionist photographer.

This photograph comes from Eva’s Beach collection, she expresses her feelings through her images by using impressionist techniques, a theme that evolved in the 19th century. It was very different to anything before, in the early stages it was often disregarded for more realistic interpretations.

In this beach scene the image is purposely out of focus but you can understand what it is, perhaps taken in the early morning/evening, the dark clouds and shadows that’s sweep across the horizon contrast the golden sun which lights up the sky and reflects onto the water.

There is a strong sense of solitude with the moody atmosphere dominating the majority of the image and the motion blur makes it look like it is raining. Its full of mystery with no detail in the person as they walks out of view in their own shadow. They could have been walking their dog which is out of view but her ‘impression’ of this scene portrays a lonely figure with heavy emotion attached.

Eva manipulates light, colour & motion which enables her to convey how she sees things through her artistic vision. By using slow shutter speeds, movement and post processing she produces images that have more of a painterly effect, relying heavily on the colour as well as light and shadows it creates something that appears almost dream-like and on the edge of reality.

eva-polak-man-on-beach

Expressionism

Franz Marc (German, 1880–1916). Four Foxes, 1913, Watercolour and chalk on paper, 44.4 x 38.7 cm | Indiana University Art Museum

Franz Marc, a German print maker and artist was one of the key figures in the German Expressionism Movement.

Like most of his work that shows an abstract interpretation of animals in their natural habitat without any distracting surroundings this piece follows true to his style of simplicity. He uses straight lines to form the pointed ears and noses of the foxes and the spikes in between, then he uses smooth sweeping lines to contrast those with the curves of the foxes body and tail. Thus adding a sense of balance to the shapes and at the same time it gives your eyes something to follow and explore around the image.

There is a little negative space above and below which frames the foxes and even though they are entwined together with sharp spike-like angles between them, he separates everything with highlights between the brown shading of the fox and the blue of the spikes which gives a sense of calm in relation to the content.

Bright bold colours are predominant in Franz Marcs work where he uses them to signify meaning,  this piece has more subdued colours in comparison to the majority of his work but is  striking nonetheless with the combination of only two colours and opposing lines.