Guest speaker- Bronia Stewart.

This week we just had another guest speaker Bronia Stewart. 

She started of doing a 6 month course that was primarily practical based. Then went on to assist for 2 years. She said how you have to mainly work free at this stage or with people who aren’t that great, but it all makes great experience. At this point she would be working full time whilst studying part-time.

Her first work that got exhibited was Babe Station, at this point she talked about access. Throughout all her projects access to the subject can be hard. And with this one it was that it was a very taboo subject. She started it online asking for participants and a couple of times got dangerous to her. Have to think about your location and ethnic considerations as well.

Because of the type of people she is photographing she knows not all can be emailed images or look online. She always gives them prints to have of the work she has done of them. She fully explains what she is wanting to do. Clarity and openness is how she goes about her relationships to the people she works with. She had to also be empathetic with her subject matter, as close as she would get to the people she worked with she had a project to complete. But you also can’t be judgemental about who you work with, they have their own reasons as to why they are in these situations or like they are and have to respect that.

she also spoke about the way in which she shoots. She very rarely does digital that is for her commercial work. She uses film and a basic flash. Bronia spoke about how she doesn’t have time for intricate lighting systems.she likes the exposed raw style of her images, she is capturing more often than not raw subjects why try and cover them up with pretty lighting and Photoshop.  What you see is what you get.

With her Pepe work she would be looking at gang members, and had quite a surprising outcome given how much they relish the violence and during her time there was shooting between gangs. She captured how much family is everything to them, they are completely family orientated.

Essex she had the problem she didn’t put a timeline on it really. She liked Essex so much she kept going back for almost a year. She also couldn’t get into the big clubs she wanted to as didn’t fit the criteria but she liked the link it set up to Babe Station. How women are influenced by media and expectations. How they have been shaping themselves in relation to the media.

She then went on to talk about commercial work, and how a lot of photographers don’t put their name to it. As they can receive a lot of backlash about how it doesn’t relate to their own practice. But needs must commercial pays for the projects. It doesn’t flow with their work that is already out there. And how it helps her to put deadlines on work. As even own projects need a deadline or will never be happy with the outcome of the work.

I think having her talk to us was really good. She has worked with a wide variety of people and works in many formats.  She is almost an opposite to our last guest speaker Sophie Abbott but I think that made it better as well. We are getting a well rounded variety of work to talk about and take from.

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looking at John Berger’s Ways of seeing.

After having read this book multiple times and the using it as a main reference in my dissertation I thought it was about time I put my thoughts out there.                                 Every time I find myself reading this book it is always the third chapter that sticks out the most for me.

His lack of empathy towards women in this chapter astounds me.. some see it as his way of celebrating women. I see it as condemning them. He talks about how women are nothing but a ‘mirror image’, but it was men who lead us to believe that was what we initially were for.

“To be born a women has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men… But this has been at the cost of a women’s self being split in two. A women must continually watch herself.  She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself”

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We really ave become conscious of how we are perceived by others. And Berger talks about how it in theory started back as far as the biblical story of Adam and Eve. The women made the first mistake and then was made to feel shame over her nakedness, From there they made Eve subservient to Adam.

And from then it is said to have started. Then referencing art work through the ages that has depicted the naked form of a women being watched or looking at herself. We work ourselves around how we want men to perceive us, body images stems from wanting acceptance and to be desired by men. And Berger put it in this format that shows us how women are vanity they only are pleased by what we see in our reflection.

But really yes women got handed the mirror by the artists/ photographers but it was the women who chose to accept what was handed to her and admire her own appearance.

Looking at Excellences and perfections by Amalia Ulman 

After mentioning this artists work in my last blog post, I wanted to look at her properly. Excellences and perfections is a perfect example of the characters of Instagram today.

This hoax she created attracted thousands more followers over the course of the work. She has used her work as a social experiment to demonstrate how people respond to and mimic these characteristics.

Giving the appearance she was going through drastic physical and mental changes. From the cute girl persona to the girl do Chanel coke lines off Mirrors.

After doing a lot of research into the characters she could become she developed a narrative to link the three together. Thanking her followers for the support as she ‘learned who the real me is’.

She cleansed, enhanced and ditched the coffee lover for the semi nudes and tear filled posts. All part of a carefully planned story to at the end show the falsity of her work.

With it receiving a lot of negative attention for supposedly lying to her followers. She points out she only did what we do everyday ourselves on Instagram.

#followforfollow

There is one thing that I find sticks out a lot at the moment. And that’s how many followers or likes we have!

We all want to become this Instagram famous person. And I believe it is down to the people who influence us. For example the whole Kardashian bunch, they have millions of followers for the false narrative they create. And it’s rubbing off on women everywhere.

We like the idea that we can be anyone we want to be on Instagram no one really will know the real story. We can become what we think is an intrend unique person. But the reality is this narrative women follow is one that has rules. Gone have the days where you could post any old rubbish on Instagram not caring how many likes it got.

You become a category much like the work of Amalia Ulam who’s own work showed the three types of women we put ourselves in with. How all realities are fictions. No one really is who they say they are no matter how many times they put ‘no filter’ or ‘natural’. But because it is made to be so normal now. Between the rules of what you can post to how your profile should look we start to lose our identity.

No one really is who they want to be as much as they believe it. We all have insecurities in one way or another. But creating this whole new person makes us feel more inadequate when we put the phone down for those few minutes a day. All the followers we have are also their social media equivalents. Our own body image should not reflect that of who got the most likes on a selfie and has over X-amount of follower. Yet we have been bred to believe that’s how it is.

We need to move out of the virtual world and learn to like the reflection.