Project 2: Through a digital lens

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Exercise 1.2

The first part of this exercise was to “discuss a photograph that takes an existing work of art as its starting point”.  I decided to look at Sam Taylor-Wood’s Still life (2001).  My discussion can be found here.

This second part of this exercise required me to “re-make an existing work of art using photography”.  I decided to take the relatively simple approach of re-staging an existing painting, using Simon Quadrat’s The Illuminated Greenhouse (above) as my starting point.  I chose this painting because it was my favourite piece in Quadrat’s exhibition, which I saw last week (a full review of which, can be found here).  What I liked most about the painting was the surreal nature of the scene and the contrast between light and dark.

Personally, I think that Quadrat’s painting is ideal for this exercise because it juxtaposes seemingly disparate elements to create a layered effect that reminds me somewhat of photomontage (which is what a lot of the background reading has been about for this part of the course).  I therefore elected to work in this way when re-making the painting.  Specifically, I searched through my personal photographic archive to find elements that could act as photographic substitutes for the original.  I should add that, it was not my intention to produced an exact photographic duplicate of Quadrat’s painting, but rather to use the original as the inspiration for something similar but new.

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Overall, I like my final image (above).  However, I’m not entirely sure how successful the re-creation is.  I think that, on the one hand, I have been able to capture the sense of isolation that was apparent in the original, but on the other hand, I think that my image lacks the quality of light and contrast that I was so struck by in the painting.  I suspect that if I had taken longer to select and edit the photographic elements then I may have been more successful.  However, given the time that I had available for this exercise, I think that I have arrived at a reasonable result.  And moreover, I had a lot of fun doing this.