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EDIT/Warning: This is pretty mild compared to JPW’s actual body of work, don’t go looking up his images unless you are prepared to be shocked/offended etc. I’m trying to keep inside of Flickr’s safe rating here (This is edited a little on the left, if you really need to see the original I can issue you a guest pass, but you’ll have to ask)

Assignment: PCA57 – Emulation
Deadline: March 1, 2009
Image tag: pca57
From: :: primer ::

As described by Merriam-Webster, emulation defined is:
1 obsolete : ambitious or envious rivalry
2: ambition or endeavor to equal or excel others (as in achievement)
3 a: imitation b: the use of or technique of using an emulator
For this assignment, we will be focusing on the third definition: imitation.

In this assignment, you will need to study a famous photographer’s work (famous as in non-Flickr) and emulate either their style or a specific photograph from their body of work. The idea of this is to discover the "essence" of a "good" photograph and to learn the technique(s) utilized by them. I understand the usage of the term "good" is subjective. However, there are qualities in most famous photographer’s work that make their shots rise above the rest. You are tasked to find out what that is and attempt to employ that quality in your submission. A successful shot for this assignment will look and feel as if the photographer you are emulating took that shot. This is not to say that you should disregard your own personal photographic style or voice. Both should work in conjunction for your submission.

I struggled between this shot and an attempt at Frederick Sommer I finally settled on this.

Self portrait and help from unnamed body model. Don’t ask, I ain’t gonna tell – I had to promise.

Texture by PinkSherbet:


Silver Efex pro set to antique plate 1

580ex II flash bounced off of the ceiling on the right on a cheap cactus trigger

From Wikipedia:

Witkin claims that his vision and sensibility were initiated by an episode he witnessed when he was just a small child, a car accident that occurred in front of his house in which a little girl was decapitated.

It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother’s hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it — but before I could touch it someone carried me away.

He also claims that the difficulties in his family were an influence for his work too. His favourite artist is Giotto, but the most obvious artistic influences on his work are Surrealism (particularly Max Ernst) and Baroque art. His photographic techniques draw on early Daguerreotypes and on the work of E. J. Bellocq.

His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (or pieces of them), and various outsiders such as dwarfs, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Some of his works, namely those with corpses in them, have had to been created in Mexico in order to get around restrictive US laws. His complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or famous classical paintings. Because of the transgressive nature of the contents of his pictures, his works have been labeled exploitative and have sometimes shocked public opinion. His art was often marginalized because of this challenging aspect.

He employs a highly intuitive approach to the physical process of making the photograph, including scratching the negative, bleaching or toning the print, and an actual hands-in-the-chemicals printing technique. This experimentation began after seeing a 19th-century ambrotype of a woman and her ex-lover who had been scratched from the frame.

salon article/critique on JPW: archive.salon.com/people/bc/2000/05/09/witkin/index.html

Posted by katachthonios on 2009-03-02 04:21:46

Tagged: , Joel Peter Witkin , Witkin , head , fruit , sword , candles , texture , emulate , pca? , dagger , knife , window , painting , banana , nude , decapitate , headless , severed , Conceptual Image , pca57

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