End of year portfolio GSA 17/18

The sun is shining as I type this. The sun that many students missed to enjoy lately as they have been preparing for the end of the year assessments. Finishing our workbooks, finalising our beautiful works of art and wrapping up the intense year at the Glasgow School of Art. It passes by so quickly, I'm sure the next academic year will welcome us in no time also. 

I have had my ups and downs, many occasions to look deep within myself, not only to make meaningful work, but also to realise why I am drawn to making it in the first place. Art is life. There's no line that distinguishes who I am and what I do. I live and breath art. Often, being on a student budget, I wish I could eat it too. 

As I've put a lot of effort in preparing this little portfolio I decided to share it here, for you to see, judge, if you like, and as a starting point for conversation. I welcome your opinion or any questions you may have. If there's a piece you're drawn to please feel free to get in touch. I am always happy to prepare a custom print of any of my released images and it would be exciting to receive commissions for works that can capitalise on my skills and photographic style. 

Thanks for your interest and I hope you'll enjoy the pages of my 2017/2018 Glasgow School of Art portfolio. 

Martyna

Infra red and a human

Few months ago I had my Fujifilm X100 converted to infra red spectrum. I am always drawn to a distortion of the image, be it in camera or in the post production process. I find it allows me to reveal more of what's behind the masks of things, people and places. 

I have used the camera for a wee while now, mostly outside but lately I've been looking into how it captures a human, organic form. 

While the pictures come out with the tones of red I have found my own colour profile that captures the colours reflected in a captivating way. By bringing the visuals closer to what we are familiar with I'm allowing the viewer to recognise shapes and forms while letting the transformations be seen more clearly. 

The eyes, the objects that we look for first in a portrait, seem unnaturally dark and piercing. Since it's the soul of the human, we tend to see a ghostly, darker character, often having the impression of evil, cheekiness or other mischief. 
The skin, made milky and more flattering, contrasts the veins and any other objects that are in visual contact with it. Having looked into the work of surrealists like Bill Brandt or Man Ray I found that the most contrast can be found amongst objects. Humans need clothes or props to achieve that effect. I therefore used a magnifying glass to add an everyday object to the shots, helping it find its new purpose.
There's a little orange tint to parts of the skin and the lips, that are naturally red. This reminds me of pictorial imagery, the efforts of Jan Saudek in colouring his debaucherous models. 


Making and sharing work

It's so easy to post our work online nowadays. It can take few seconds to put ourselves out there. To share our work, our perspective through our own unique language. For some it may be pictures, for others music or lyrics. I find my passions through photography and one of the themes I have been focusing on with my camera is music and musicians.
Having photographed them for years I am grateful to all those who let me in to their rehearsing studios and who allowed me to capture them in their element on stage. Knowingly or just through the spontaneity of the moment. 

One image that I rediscovered recently came from the Acid Mothers Temple gig at Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh, late 2017.
When Higashi Hiroshi overtook the sound waves with his fingers and a theremin it made me realise how photographers and musicians practices relate to one another. It always fascinated me knowing that an artist tried many instruments, different music genres, techniques, new and old processes and approaches to arrive at their own. Perhaps that is the way to finding your instrument, one that fits the body and senses perfectly. Many proficient creatives go to the extend of creating their own thing, sometimes it's completely new and sometimes a hybrid of already familiar things. 

This 'revelation' helped me settle a little more peacefully in my own practice.  I love trying old techniques, seeing where photography actually came from. By getting better at the hands on processes I am able to understand my field much better and even if I can't see yet how I fit into this beautifully creative world, I am able to note down the areas which stimulate my senses. 

 

Higashi Hiroshi / AMT


When Higashi Hiroshi overtook the sound waves with his fingers and a theremin it made me realise how photographers and musicians practices relate to one another. It always fascinated me knowing that an artist tried many instruments, different music genres, techniques, new and old processes and approaches to arrive at their own. Perhaps that is the way to finding your instrument, one that fits the body and senses perfectly. Many proficient creatives go to the extend of creating their own thing, sometimes it's completely new and sometimes a hybrid of already familiar things. 

This 'revelation' helped me settle a little more peacefully in my own practice.  I love trying old techniques, seeing where photography actually came from. By getting better at the hands on processes I am able to understand my field much better and even if I can't see yet how I fit into this beautifully creative world, I am able to note down the areas which stimulate my senses. 

We look for reassurance not revelation.
— Bill Brandt

Some might argue this inconsistent approach is a waste of time or lack of direction but what I see is a constant discovery that is already laying a path. Not knowing where it's going is not the worst or thing to focus on. I appreciate the possibilities and only wish I had a continuous motivation to doing all the things I want to experience. That is how we realise our own potential, through our own language and our own revelations. 

 


Martyna

Down the memory lane

I like taking the time to make personal gifts. In the past I had a chance to make a letterpress poster for a friend and I find myself in the hands on processes that I use. 

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Winter wonderland

Towards the end of 2017 I've sacrificed my battered Fujifilm x100 and got it converted to 720nm infra red. 
Here's me testing the camera and learning few things about post processing. I must admit though, the files straight out of the camera are pretty neat too. 

 

My first attempt at taking the images with the new IR eye was on the way and along the Clyde as one of the December days welcomed Glasgow to wonderful foggy sights. 

The images with the red cast are straight out of camera. I've played with the files a little bit trying out various processes, including black and white and channel swap. The results are very interesting. 

I also tried to press the shutter few times in the Queens Park in Glasgow. 

I have a feeling that the temperature of the light, the temperature of the environment have a very significant impact on the colours recorded by the camera's sensor. 

What are your thoughts on infra red photography?
Is this something you've tried before?
Do you think that infra red can present a more revealing image of the landscape or a cityscape?

Tell me what you think!

Intimacy is complex 2/3

For the next book I used the sexual uglyness that tortures populations of many cultures through religious repressions and political standings. 

The images on the pages of this, like all the other ones, hand stitched series get sticky and upleasant. Underlining the sinful and fearful side of the condom and therefore sexual act. 

The use of quotes from some of the books I was reading while researching for this project, leave a lot to question. Not tying directly with the feel of the images, but merely suggesting a direction of thought they allow the viewer to make their own suggestions and ask the questions that spine from their own experiences. 

Intimacy is complex 1/3

Following on my Intimacy is complex project I decided to look even deeper under the sheets and explore...the condom. 

In the art school there is this freedom that you would be foolish not to use to your own advantage, or just sheer satisfaction. Perhaps it's an opportunity to make a personal point too.

This book focuses on the sensuality and proposes the look out on sex as an individual freedom yet taking it into account as a healthy balance to life.

For this series I played with condoms. Something we think of only in terms of necessity or a barrier, be it good or unpleasant. I played with various samples, scrutinising the sensory elements in them by extending, stretching as well as freezing and thawing. 

Mental Floss

One of the very first project at Glasgow School of Art was a RESEARCH. 

We were all given an object, mostly cheap, easy to get to item. Mine was DENTAL FLOSS. 

While it was hard for me to decipher how to create something worthy of my future portfolio, I understood that, in order to develop as an artist and benefit from my time in this creative environment, I had to let go of my ego wanting to do my best and simply try out new techniques, new medium of expression. 

In order to make the transition easier on my pride, I decided, after taking loads of photos - obviously, to prepare a hand made book. It was stitched with dental floss and includes answers to three of the questions I asked random audience. I collated their thoughts on relationships, their perception of themselves in their environment as well as little deviation on their secrets in respect to others, in a form of simply printed words that transform the photographs and give them their meaning. 

Hand made - copy of one only.

I also made a little video. 

As a new student it took some tears to get on my feet. Friends who already study at GSA came with a helping hand explaining that it is a time for experimentation and creating crappy stuff. That's the only way to get better. 
I nevertheless felt quite worthless and wanted to literally throw up my whole existence, my whole being, reverse my every step, my birth and so on. I'm still uncertain of the outcomes of my studies but I now know that it's only up to me to use this time to be joyful about expressing my creativity. All I have to do is do what I love. What could be better?