Task 1 I have two chosen two photographer’s work and reflected upon their working methodologies. Emphasising their characterisation and physical likeness.

Man Ray: the Marquise Casati, 1922

Man Ray

Physical likeness in this image is very much of a surrealist nature, the likeness to the actual face we have duplication of the eyes, we also have two separate prints one which is a negative and of course is the traditional way that we would usually see an image, there are two images of likeness one that perhaps we see with the human eye, one which the camera sees that is subsequently processed as the print. We also see evidence of a lot of grain making it less discernible, reduction in detail is noticeable but the features are very prominent, making the features the main focus of the image, this presentation would be slightly different to the way they perhaps should be seen by the human eye. As seen through the lens. We do of course still have the physical likeness of the person because we are still able to determine the features the structure of the face, their complexion, perhaps, the colour of skin and hair, the darkness of the eyes which essentially we can only see structured shadows which are limited to black and white; if displayed in colour would have a different dimension. We can see the monochrome values of their likeness. We can of course understand the typology used by Man Ray by the negative and nonnegative as they are composed to merge as a piece and so he is also replicated this style of photographs duplicated eyes we can start to look at people in a different way and changes the perspective, in this surrealist vision that Man Ray displays. We are able to see the physical features of the person but we are not able to connect with their personality as they are a very rigid and emotionless format for Man Ray’s purposes and therefore not pertaining to the model’s audience.


Bill Brandt

The first Bill Brandt image shows the newspaper as a prop this aids as informing the audience that he is well informed regarding the extrinsic world, not this helps to imply that he is educated but of course he is engaged with the audience as opposed to the newspaper. The subject appears melancholic like they have just read the most shocking, destructive, powerful article that he’s experiencing critical debate within his head. So we start to wonder as the viewer,  how significant the prop has become, the depiction embroiders the straight and mundane reflecting our preconceived ideas of an educated, informed man there is no need to justify himself to an audience the traits are already evident. The image sequence has kept the high contrast in grain of the monochrome, all images showing literally black and white and lack grey or fine detail. They are all composed in a typology of composition. Conversely the second image the model is off centre and there are always other objects within the image as alternate focus they are distracted and disconnected displaying an emotionless face we are drawn to the image as a reflection and contemplative image the extra dimensions add to its surreal quality.

Task 2 This task aims to compare and contrast two images found in the media and photographic history, displaying the production of identity and that identity is clearly evident, contrasting race, gender and age.


News1The way the subject matter is chosen aims to engage the imagination of the public, they are displaying the news in a sensationalised biased manner. This newspaper article is non educational, is somewhat fact twisting and corrupted it appeals to some mindsets that wish to believe the facts displayed, and therefore it condones the Syrian airstrikes as a means of killing some” Isis” members. Therefore trying to justify the actions but omitting the pictures of murdered innocent people. The picture implies that the Syrian people are worthless and the members of Isis are the only relevant features.

The scene of the landscape of the Syrian airstrikes is almost a peaceful tranquil photograph but with planes flying in the sky it depicts an illusion; almost a picturesque photo the image is meaningless, not depicting the horror of the actions or harm of all the innocence. We can see that politicians promoting this action as a means to justify the actions and slaughter of the innocent is irrelevant.

News2In this article all stories are almost about terrorism as we see someone being stabbed in Pound- land. The emphasis is on a low social class criteria both the persons involved were from a similar background, We then have police investigating a student looking at the propaganda of Isis and therefore implying the student is a terrorist himself when in fact he’s just investigating and researching for his homework. We see in this newspaper the use of class as a tool of judgement. We also see football fans behaviour commented on. An elderly man who appears jubilant is apparently now ill due to the weather in England. The article displays the blaming of terrorism and the affiliated blame culture to justify why a man has murdered another man in both portraits the subjects photographed have a darker skin. The bias is surrounded by the assumption that terrorist have a darker skin. The denotation of both portraits do show their physical likeness, we also see both portraits that they are men devoid of emotion but in the one where the man has murdered another man we see an sad remorseful face,  an assumption that he may be depressed. There, justifying his need to murder another person. There maybe a suggestion that he is also part of a gang when in fact there is little evidence. The prejudice sets the pre determined destination and this article reinforces that ideology.

Wokring men

The picture displays a stereotypical image of how the public perceive the working man, the ones who provides for the women and families, the wage earner, the manual tasks the provider of the home to live in; the pivotal role of the woman is not in evidence. The female role, for example the ones who take the children to school provide the nursing and means for their wellbeing, the people that keep the whole family together historically ongoing throughout the time. This shows men with great integrity, noble, cooperative and gentlemanly. We may however see this in the photograph but perhaps it was very different in those times as most women did not have any right to provide for themselves, the expectation was that the women just cared for the children and was seen to  be a good wife and make sure all the husband’s needs are met, as for the children they wouldn’t see a lot their father, the child would start working from a very young age because they would very likely be in debt to their parents and therefore be obliged to do everything asked of them, the woman had few rights and so they are dictated throughout their lives by men. We do see physical likeness, the destination, aspiration for men at this time seems self-determined, likewise the notion of them is proportionally the same, and though not their natural self but a manifestation of society’s norms they are a pictorial representation of an impoverished class. In both these images men are depicted in a very different ways due to perhaps societies norms and the evolution of time, the latter picture the men are the heroes as we see men having to work more hours. The second image displays the tyrannical elements of the perceived male’s characteristics. We do however see the absence of females in both of these because we still see men as being the more dominant gender in the society. Historically society depicted females as objectified creatures, however the full equalities of gender have yet to be fully realised we are still generalising and not recognising the person individuality.

Identity Research

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman - Copy

I admire the work of Cindy Sherman as she presents the different characteristics of person to the public via a camera showing the way that women were, for example in the film era similarly I would like to create the juxtaposition of male and female roles in the way one would identify gender. The social field is very broad because she could look very ironically female or she could look like a drag queen, for example: identifying the way women are objectified in film. The scene of the photographer and the photograph in which she is the sitter, she engages with the camera tells her story through how she wants the picture to be taken with the camera, how she acts in front of the camera, to represent the role she wishes to. The destination to the viewer is probably not something that social norms would appreciate as a radical syntax, but individually perhaps they would be appreciated very much. The challenge of likeness is very much achieved by her the way that she wants to be and the precision she has used to apply her makeup, dressed and posed herself to look like a film star therefore her physical likeness is akin despite the fact she may not be naturally. Perceived in this way.

Cindy has succeeded in achieving that iconic presentation of likeness. The spirit of Cindy Sherman is very strong within this photograph as we see the embodiment of character portrayed as a film star and as a photographer superbly delivering and what she is trying to portray to the media.

Helmut Newton


I would like to capture the contrast Helmut creates as its defined, the white, greys and blacks, I adore this and would like to recreate this myself in my photographs, I also love that the people look glorified and spectacular with lots of depth and wonder if I can achieve this within my photographs.

Robert Mapplethorpe


I love the syntax Robert used to identify gender, social norms and roles. I very much like the hazy tones used as it captures the softness of the human skin we are given an idealised form of the human body which should not offer the need to question as to which gender the subject is akin to, they are historically stereotypical bodies of that gender. I would like to do a similar syntax to identify gender, the social norms and the roles that are gender specific.

John Stezaker

John S

I love the way a male and female is split in half, yet faces both line up but essentially define the characteristics of both sexes. A haircut, a face shape, bone structure, dress sense and emotion, embodying all different aspects of the segregated genders depict.


Claude Cahun

I love the fact that Claude dresses in a male and female role , identifying the roles and gender and the identity shift within the genders. She identifies the social field and the historical social norms and the uneasiness in which some may feel towards these photographs. The juxtaposition that these photographs create highliging the destination. challenging  the likeness of oneself through gender, it can question the comtempoanuos views that some people who are born into a genda perhaps don’t embrace the characterisics of the gender nature has asigned them the gender within them and Claude successfully identifies this notion. These are radical syntaxes of unconventional, cultured portraits depicting detonation of the photographer.

Karlheinz Weinberger


I love the identification of the male gender and the way we look at the Nazi henchmen who poses with his legs widely open gazing away from the camera, with; an open denim jacket, denim jeans, with a cross on a chain, wearing a helmet, displays lots of facial hair, muscular contours in evidence and holding a tight fist. He is so engulfed in his own little world that he becomes oblivious to the outside world. He almost looks like an idealised gentleman not displaying an ungentlemanly demeanour. It may represent how we identify masculinity, it’s quite deep dark and intimidating as an image, but I would like to pay tribute as this represents the preconceived idea of male imaging.

Diane Arbus

Diane - Copy

Diane Arbus’ work loves to break out of the ordinary social norms of what the world finds beautiful capturing an alternative concept, she photographs them and engages them in a way of freeing the spirt by getting them to relax and feel an intimacy between her and the sitter. She was then able to capture their essence, thus delivering so that we have a notion of the person within the photograph which makes it so enriched with glorious characterisation. She has a fantastic tonal range within the black-and-white, the model in this image is very much posed, but ultimately beautiful and yet though we see a man dressed as a woman we perhaps are more tolerate of things that have been historically deemed deviant. Diane Arbus was very good at showing the differences between identifying differences within gender. Similarly, I would like to capture this in my captures.

Barbara Kruger

Barbara - Copy

Barbara uses a strong message captured within the photographs, feminists use this type of propaganda to convey their feeling of inequality. Express that needs something to be done, suggesting the need for change and highlighting the culturally evident perceived ideas. The concept that both are equal is still far from fully achieved. I like the use of three block colours black, white and red. Barbara offers a medium of empowerment to a culture and a gender that she wants to enable change I would like to pay tribute as I would like to endorse this ethos the disproportionate inequality of both genders defined by social norms and stereotypes and a generalisation in which media portrays us.


Zed Nelson


I love this image because it makes you question how you have already preconceived ideas, the contrast between the relationship between the mind and the body, how they are represented to fit social norms, the idealisation of the human body whether there is a cross over between feminine and masculine qualities to feel comfortable in his culture and society. Whether he is natural, but enhanced to display a perceived ideal individual. I would really like to represent an idealisation of femininity and masculinity within my photographs using the concept of this photograph to inspire me. I would also like to show how the body can be manipulated by pose to achieve a specific look.


Rik Garrett’s


The work is very much work of symbolism. Of dark surrealism, magically evoking a strange goddess, ghost femininity. I love how the textured negative captured the feel here, the use of the strong contrast to bring such a lovely depth into the soft skin, jagged and decaying trees. I would love to capture a similar feeling within my images by having scratches and marks across the negatives. Represented the aged effect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWTRwj9t-vU I love this video as it shows just how we perceive people and subsequently judge them for either not wearing any makeup or applying too much. The way we create anxiety if we are not perceived in the way we wish to be. This is not gender specific it happens within both genders my aim is to illustrate how people try to fit into the conventional norms.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4Ov8qvZ2_w I love that this video as it captures the style and shows how best this concept is delivered. Showing the techniques to transform yourself into someone you perceive is enviable and beautiful and I’m consequently inspired to create different characters.

Task 3 Evaluation

The concept of identity and their perceived evolution in traditional feminine and masculine forms represented in the medium of photography.

The concept of the naked face, blemishes; moles, tread veins all detract from the penetrating eye of the beholder, I wished to capture that vulnerability. The moments of metamorphosis, the evolution of the face once the presentation of disguise is in place. The changes of mood; confidence and posture, I hope I can capture and enhance. I would like to show femininity and masculinity both within their roles and how we generalise these role within our society. For example: the suggestion that a man posing with  his legs wide apart, an arrogant expression on his face, avoiding eye contact with the camera, sitting in such a way to show to contours of his enhanced muscles this is classically perceived as male representation to demonstrate intimidation to the viewer and the female role portrayed as a face, heavily disguised features achieved by makeup to represent the perceived illusion of feminine charms and their ability to replicate the physiological transition contained in arousal, the classically featured long red dress locking onto all her curves and body features all in stark contrast to an innocent smile, I would like to capture this in the different people that I choose to photograph. I will achieve this by asking both genders to adopt as a traditional male and female pose, including their perception of the gender characteristic, a natural photograph of them whilst talking to somebody on set and then I will choose one of the images, both are depicted in either gender conformity, this will show the performance of a character in different roles. This will identify the way the media highlights male and female roles and the idealisation related to this. The idea is that my photographs don’t become portraits until the subject transform into their characters.

I was inspired to choose the idea through my fascination and love of makeup and how easily you can change the appearance or distort the perceived image, or adopting a pose as a means to create a different type of character. After much debate, a failed shoot, I streamlined the project.

I have brought critical study and critical debate from the lectures, bringing inspiration from the different photographers discussed in the lectures identifying what they represent and use similar ideas to enhance and inspire my ideas. I have looked at several books of interest to supplement my concept.

I feel that my pictures are culturally acceptable, however, there are very complex and conflicting ideas of gender, pertaining to religious ideology, historical concepts. My intention will never be to cause offence.

I believe that the concept has developed sufficiently because I have been able to underpin research from all different sources such as YouTube,: lectures internet searches, researching other artists linked to my project to identify how best to approach it, reading articles and books, talking to others on the course about their opinions, and art critics who are plentiful as inspiration. The project is personal to me, makeup has a huge power to deceive the eye, when I became ill the use of makeup enabled me to disguise myself almost wearing a mask to give the impression there was nothing amiss.

This project was a natural successor to my previous project. I started researching straight away as I wanted to explore as many avenues as possible. The list was vast, different ideas, long investigations all of which proved to be essential before the tasks could evolve and the shoots could take place.

Photographic process

There was a great deal of trial and error, experimentation, exploring of ideas to achieve my final prints. Five of the seven photoshoot didn’t come out as desired and meant a reshoot, I painstakingly strived to get the best results. I started the shoot on the 23rd November, it took until the 11th December to be fully happy with my results.

The use of visual language is a powerful tool to demonstrate gender and I have found it very enlightening.

I would have liked to find other models to show greater diversity. Black and white was not the best medium for makeup and felt I needed more close ups to show greater depth similarly I wanted the body to also be a focus, I had to employ effective time management to prevent any mistakes. Selecting the best negatives to use. The completed project has much that I would still like to explore and revisit at a later stage. This has felt like a small window of opportunity.