25 May 2020: Write a brief summary in your research journal which considers and consolidates your own photographic practice in the context of the following Informing Contexts Learning Outcomes:

Technical and Visual Skills: Demonstrate an awareness of a range of photographic and image-making processes, and display accomplishment of photographic skills relevant to your practice specialism.

The technical skills used in creating memento vivere- the use of high angle single light which creates chiaroscuro- are quite different than my previous work. I studied the paintings of Dutch Masters to decode the lighting and the arrangement of the objects in still life.  I then checked my attempts against the work of contemporary photographers who create work of a similar genre, such as Paulette Tavormina.  As the images in my series progress, my technique improves, and the results are more subtle; I believe that my project demonstrates accomplishment of my original goals: To create painter-like still-life images inspired by the work of the Dutch Masters.

Visual Communication and Decision-Making: Exercise discernment in the making, resolution and presentation of practical work, and an ability to communicate ideas through creative visual strategies.

Making and resolution of practical work:  I had a style in mind when I created this work: I wanted a painterly appearance with interesting and balanced compositions. I employed the classic triangular composition technique, which had often been used during the 1600s. I also styled the scenes—meaning having an awareness of shapes, colors and symbols.   The creative visual strategies I am presenting this work in two ways: One is a zine-type publication, and the second is a PDF of the images place on the same format.  I considered options for this, for example, I could have created a rotating gallery in my portfolio, but the work is big, and I would like more space around the images.  Another option would be using an alternative process to print, like gum bichromate.  This would be pretty, but the process flattens the appearance of the image, which, at this time, I do not desire.

Critical Contextualisation of Practice: Apply a critical awareness of the diversity of contemporary photographic practice to the development of your own work, and inform your practice through historical, philosophical, ethical, and economic contextualization.

Contemporary photographic practice: The creation of “painterly” photographic images has become popular: how-to courses are available in the self-learning platform CreativeLive, on YouTube, and through purchase with commercial artists such as Gemmy Woud-Bennedijk. However, it’s interesting to note that this niche does not appear among the winning work in contemporary photo contests. I researched modern and historic art to inform my own work. I desired the lighting and composition perfection demonstrated by 15th and 16th century painters, such as Juan Cortez Cotan and Jan Davidsz de Heem. Ethical context: While creating my project with my chickens and duck friends, I considered the rights of these animals. I wondered if they felt stressed or uncomfortable being thrust in the house as props. And why humans love cute animals—the fluffy, fuzzy, or furry- Yet humans often eat the same animals that they adore. The second set of images in my project explores the ethical principles of beneficence vs maleficence.

Professional Location of Practice: Establish an understanding of the range of professional contexts for the dissemination and consumption of contemporary photographic practice and identify opportunities to engage with audiences and markets.
My work could be commercialized in three different ways: These images could be reproduced on greeting cards and sold online or in local shops. These images could be reproduced in a small photobook and self-published through Amazon or could be displayed in a gallery show. Niche magazines, such as Farm Life or Mother Earth may also be interested in publishing.

Critical Analysis: Make personal observations and form critical opinions to analyze and appraise your own work, as well as the work of your peers and other practitioners.

Critical analysis of my work: I produced a series of images which strongly relate to each other: Similar single-source lighting, theme, and construct. There was some risk of becoming repetitive, but I think that the series supports the twelve images. What I think works about the images is the saturated colors and deep shadows cause by the single light and low shutter speed. These images are visually appealing.  While my intention was to create versions of the Memento mori paintings (which remind people of the fragility of life) which could remind people that life is now.  The live animals were meant to convey vitality, however, as they were frozen in the image via camera shutter, the animals seemed no different than taxidermy.
What I could improve: This body of work seems a bit repetitive- same camera angle, same color tones. Taking some closer shots and images from low or hang angles would add spark.

Written and Oral Communication Skills: Articulate ideas in a range of formats and contexts and be able to communicate with different audiences.

This course is set up in such a way that, within a term, students can articulate ideas through remote video meetings, observations written in the CRJ, posts and projects. What I would like to improve upon is my ability to articulate what I am doing and why earlier in the project cycle. While I can now articulate better my most recent project, I developed in via gut feeling and then had to bumble through the why.  I think that I can improve by thinking about the “why” of my next project earlier.