Martina Mullaney


Turn In (2003)

Martina Mullaney was born in Ireland in 1972, she is a documentary Photographer, and graduated from her Master’s degree in 2004. She worked with many homeless communities across the world.

In 2002 Mullaney was intrigued by the mundane environment of the soiled beds in hostels in Cardiff where the homeless were imprisoned. It metaphorically communicates an image of the perceived conception of alienation and detachment from normal society. Though they are subtle in nature, they are deeply domineering in power. It helps the hierarchical human existence to understand the intense solitude that can subsequently lead to depression, the absence of funds and the lack of empowerment to change the situation. This engages the viewer as they feel a part of the image but are an invisible presence. The narrative is apparent through the focus of highlighting the sweat and urine stains, amongst the creased sheets and the sunken mattress. The impact of discontentment that so many homeless people experience, and feelings that they have when they have few options or hope for a better lifestyle. Mullaney felt empowered to make this series due to the loneliness that many adults face in the society, though many would say it is their preferred choice. It can also become extremely lonely, disconnected and is greatly intensified in the homeless society she embarked upon this concept and explores many examples worldwide.

This work influences me and I wish to show the connotations of loneliness, alienation, isolation, solitude, anxieties and depression that you can feel whilst having cancer. I would like to use the vernacular nature of the work and the same composition of the bed set up, I will use long exposures, in a night-time setup and use the unrecognisable human features to emphasise these factors. I am selecting a bed to be the chosen object and subject in the location as it conveys the messages sufficiently well, I suffered from insomnia and this illustrates this symptom well. I would find a bed in the middle of a location, haunting to view and inspiring an eerie feel, to draw upon the most emphasis, therefore creating the sufficient ambience that is paramount to the storytelling aspect when combining the hybridity features I am choosing to embed in my work.


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Martina Mullaney – Turn In

Walter Oltmann


Mother and Child (2013)

Walter Oltmann was born in South Africa in 1960, his focus became directed towards sculpture, he skilfully sculptured his art forms by fabricating woven wire into material objects, which frequently used local craft traditions. He spent a great deal of time researching the use of woven materials and the tradition of his chosen sculpture. Oltmann spends his time wisely as an artist, as his name has become synonymous with this traditionally African art form.

In 2007, he made a series based all around the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. The artwork was of a skeletal pregnant mother and her baby; woven with fine wire to bear a resemblance to lacework that suggests permeable skin as it highlights the uncertain wall between an HIV infected mother and her child. The idea was to create intimacy and a delicate natural feel in the intricate detail of the work by using lace in the weaving. The choice of subject matter provides an emotive charge, the subject matter of skulls and a child’s skull this is unlikely to leave the audience without a reaction. He is referencing the natural bond and the cultured history between a mother and child. The skeletons feel very sentimental and give a sense of attachment which is why he felt it necessary to use this subject matter in so doing he was able to recreate an almost X-Ray level of detail on the interior of the human body.

“I manipulate industrial materials in a way that contradicts their prefabricated nature by emphasising hand-made processes.”

I feel heavily influenced by this work due to the techniques of using different materials to create metaphoric, semiotic and diverse narratives behind the work. As the work is very beautiful but also hauntingly intimidating in some harrowing aspects, I feel my work will relate to this vision, I will incorporate the use of powerful trauma within my work to provide a unified narrative to inform and educate the audience discovering all aspects of disease’s symptoms. I very much liked the skeletal body and the use of its form as it already creates a huge impact and provokes emotive reactions

The solitude that this artwork provokes when viewed is something I would rather like to recreate; I believe that a solitary body creates a greater depth in terms of the connected connotations, the relationship of how it relates to somebody psychologically. I feel that this artwork is so poignant and urges me to recreate the chosen aesthetic style but I would like to submerge the style in a bathtub, through a projection to recreate the same level of poignancy. I will exchange the bodies positioning to emphasise the itching/burning but also the drowning or engulfing feeling thus creating the feelings I felt that the disease created in me. I would like to photograph myself from above a bathtub but changing my positioning, this will ultimately enable me to narrate the story through my body image. I shall create watery effects moving over the still image of my body to recreate a bath like simulation, I will place a red overlay over the top to symbolise fire and danger and perhaps a flickering light from below to help recreate fire like simulation.

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Laima Oržekauskienė


Dedication to Father, Vilnius City Hospital Laima Orzekauskiene Photo-based on woven cloth (2013)

Laima Oržekauskienė was born in Vilnius on the 13th February in 1959. She-studied textiles from 1980 to 1985 and decided in 1987 to become a lecturer, later becoming the head of the department and then a professor. She is highly recognised for her work in textiles, using many new materials such as hair and gold thread therefore, adding new dimensions to the work, building the character and illustrating the meaning behind the work. She embarks upon the idea of combining the contemporary with traditional methods. Oržekauskienė’s ability in which she is creating the work has meant she has subsequently developed many new techniques in weaving and thus devised the technique of using digital prints that she wraps and morphs, making her able to put delicate details into the photographic object. She uses the semiotic meaning behind textiles to aid her work as she researched origins, symbolism, traditional forms in her studies and this intrigued her in to finding new methods of working. She likes to document the mundane temporality, domestic, in the metaphysical reality that we find ourselves in. In her work, Oržekauskienė is inspired to fuel the imagination by conveying ideas, many about human emotions, such as anguish, memory, longing and sorrow.

Oržekauskienė has thoroughly inspired me to embrace natural textures of transferred prints. Embedding textures inspires me. I feel I shall do this by layering pieces together within my work so that as a whole it conveys power that is much more meaningful than the beauty of subtlety of interweaving delicate texture. I would like to take the approach much like Oržekauskienė adventuring into old and new methods that will use conventional textiles, helping to build upon my knowledge into the unexplored medium that will internally help me understand the process behind textured prints. The approach I shall take will combine two sets of multimedia accompanying my photographs. I appreciate the concept of printing photographs of sheets onto sheets. Oržekauskienė’s work has been eloquently designed and manages to a add dimension and ultimately manipulating the way the work is perceived by the viewer. I want to convey my own personal references by using semiotics to aid a higher understanding of what the mundane day-to-day life is like when having lymphoma by using such an object as a bath and a bed, which have significant meaning in my memory and of what lymphoma meant to me while suffering from the symptoms. I think that the use of textiles is fantastic especially when used in this contemporary way. Textiles are a very traditional form of the creative field, yet are still widely used today. I would like to give the impression of engraving my photographs into fabric; helping to branch out into alterative media shall ultimately draw far more attention to the subject matter. To use the idea of hybridity is to gain and capture all the viewer’s senses at once. This is key to the inveiglement; I want the viewer to be captivated by this.

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Alexey Titarenko


City of Shadows (1991-1994)

Alexey Titarenko is a photojournalim/Cinematic and Photographic Arts photographer born in Russia in 1962, he started photographing in 1971, by 1978 he graduated and finished his Masters degree in 1983.

Postdissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 inspired his invigorated appoach to make the series which Titarenko relates to the human condition of fellow Russian people, suffering from the collapsed economy. He wanted to capture the sorrow they withstood depicting the hardship of this problematic time. He wanted to draw parallels between the past and the comtempory using strong metaphors enhanced by several minute long exposures. Titarenko found street photography a device for propaganda approved only by censors so he introduced a new camera movement which became the norms of street photography typified in urban landscapes. He was passionate about his camera’s ability to create art.

Whilst being inspired by classical music Titarenko said “I was walking on the street, absorbing what’s happening, passing by a subway station I see a sea – this ocean of desperate people trying to get inside”. The mass of ghosting figrues almost seems poetic but also dramatic in aesthetic, power and vision. I feel that this work is suggestive of a questiable void in humanity. It accentuates the lack of empathy and highlights the self presence amongst others, where we feel disconnected and distant conveying a sense of isolationism. He felt very empowered to use his photographic resources to create this series to document the struggles that he and many others encounterd..

This work inspires me to make a short series to represent a multitude of feelings. I want to capture the deep haze, ghostly in presence. I want my work to foreshadow the deeper depths beneath what I felt psychologically and physically. Much like this photograph, I would also like to use long exposures to pick up all the movement for an extended time, accentuating how the light shifts and changes through the shadows. My short series shall be different, as I will be shooting only at night with an accent light to shift into the undulations of all the dimensions of the blankets, moving both the light and blanket universally. I would also like to shoot this series potentially using film, in order to have the most eerie, mystical detail, as I will potentially lose a significant amount detail due to the transfer of the prints. The rationale is that I will draw the audience in via several avenues. This process of using film will be part of my experimental process but embracing a new approach, which I hope, will be fruitful. The analogue process would be a base point to try out, as I feel heavily influenced by Titarenko, as he uses film in his captures. Titarenko offers a new movement in street photography; he also promotes a story of sorrow. I would like to combine both elements into my work, telling my story and creating new scenery in the creative field of photography, I wish to utilise the vernacular by placing mundane object but displaying them with added meanings, therefore, channelling the use of hybridity.

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Photographer Transforms Crowds into Shadows and Black and White into Color

Lorna Simpson


The Bed (1995) Serigraph on four felt panels with one felt text panel.

Lorna Simpson was born in New York in 1960. She is considered to be a conceptual photographer who is well known for her serigraphic images onto felt, which she started in 1994. She completed both her B.A. and M.A. by 1985.

Simpson works on a very large scale in order to get her political points across. Simpson incorporates issues such as race and gender into her work, (which Simpson personally relates to and feels strongly about) Simpson’s work is about coloured women living in America. Simpson is very experimental and frequently juxtaposes images with confrontational text. Using felt in her photographs helps to engage the audience’s attention into the visible textured appearance. This contributes to the material inter- relationships. The use of felt obscures any content, adding surface detail and elements of substance. It is her depiction of reality, appearance and identity, questioning the audience’s memory and representation of the subject. In the series, she removes the human presence as character or subject feature so that we are looking at the atmospheric environment, which surrounds someone’s life in an almost sculptural form, provoking a narrative from the lack of human presence.

Simpson uses many visual metaphors transforming stories of victims. The figure/character of woman of colour helps Simpson project. She articulates her opinions especially relating to stereotypes, aiming to expand the perceptions of others.

Simpson inspires me to be experimental with my project. I wish to incorporate different surfaces especially felt, as the texture of felt resonates with the feeling of itching I have. The aim is to capture how all the fabrics felt on my skin, regardless of fabric but exaggerated by woolly materials. It also instils the idea to make part of the bed out of a textured material. Using the transfer prints onto cotton sheets then folding over the textured material (like a felt blanket) integrating the concept of dimensions, my aim will be to will help build upon the clinical ambience. The inspiration that Simpson gives me is to create my own metaphoric language of my diagnosis, for Lymphoma suffers and generally to help raise awareness but also for the public to appreciate. I want to remove the human presence just like Simpson. As a practitioner, I realised very early on when starting this project (through the sheer shock of discovering the disease and not knowing what it was) I wanted others to know and be educated about the disease. I hope by removing the human presence it will achieve a metaphor that human presence can be lost to the disease. I want it to draw upon that the story does not just affect me singularly but that it can affect anybody; I want the disease to be known and represented and exhibited in the public eye, especially as humans fear most what he or she fails to understand. I have chosen to add objects; it will add a more complex meaning to the images, which can become hard to grasp, as the objects will be seemingly out of place. I will visually encapsulate lymphoma through my photographic images it will be necessary to make them physical as I believe viewers like a tangible presence.

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Félix González-Torres


Untitled (Bed) (1991)

Félix Gonzalez-Torres was born in 1957 and died in 1996. He used a very wide range of materials for his exhibitions and installations he also deployed minimalism in his photographic work. I have chosen to look at Untitled (Bed), 1991. This photograph represents the emptiness that can experienced after losing a partner though death (from AIDS), a homosexual man, the stigma that he would have felt imposed upon him by the public scrutiny. The judgement of him as a victim of HIV (at the time opinions were formed though ignorance, the belief that it was gay men spreading this epidemic). This would have been an intensely intimidating feeling caused by the social injustice of the time, but it has inspired him to commission this melancholic and vacated bed. He wanted to be empowered to show his side of the story, the horrific HIV/AIDS epidemic and use his rights of freedom of expression, to gain social justice (with a multitude of others) but there was also many interpretations of the meaning of his work. The work to me is thought provoking, illustrating the empathy required to accept the mental loss and thus accepting the grief that follows. The tendency to treasure the belongings of that person and so displaying the bed as if recently vacated shows an indication of attachment to the memory of the loved one.

I admire the creativity of this work; I can draw parallels in some respects to the sense of loss, by having lymphoma. I would like to highlight a similar retrospect determined by loss, the intrinsic self-empathy required and the perceptions of others. I would also like to juxtapose the sense of questioning, the mind’s processes and the way the world operates; I strive not to have a sense of entitlement, which makes you far more appreciative of life. I would like to make a bed in my exhibition where I use transfer prints, projections and variety of materials to depict many of my symptoms, whilst having lymphoma. This work helped me to feel a sense of freedom, empowering me to want to tell my story, therefore, enabling me help increase awareness, understanding, emphasis. Félix González-Torres’ work symbolizes the delicate beauty of emptiness, I would like my work to represent this quality, as it is a feeling I experienced during this journey. The glorious mundanely of the white sheets has an essence of clinical emptiness, which is why I feel that I would benefit from to use  of white sheets to print my photographs on. It will be a contrast to the darkness of the background in my photographs, as it will help make the photographs look fierce, vivid and intense. It shall be harsh to the eyes, ultimately stealing attention.

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Contracting justice: the viral strategy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres|A241280248&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon&userGroup=ucca&authCount=1

Martin Newth


8 Hours (2001)

Martin Newth is extremely experimental as a photographer, based in London; he looks at alternative ways of using different photographic methods of enhancing his subjects (mainly using long exposures). He has a storytelling aspect to his work, this helps the audiences to portray and grasp his hidden meaning. In this series he has taken eight hour long exposures in American motels, most of which are of his honeymoon (in 2001). The images are perhaps suggesting the philosophical futures of marriage as a rhetorical interest (or in modern times the stigma that we may feel as the viewer).

His captures display the movement as a haze or series of trails that exist with time-consuming exposures. It is discernible that they were asleep during night whilst being photographed. The viewers may want to know if the artist and his wife was happily married and perhaps fifteen years later ask if they are still believe themselves to be harmonious, or perhaps if the ghostly aesthetic within the photograph is foreshadowing the contrary. Newth used large 10×8 negatives to create the series to ensure the most accurate amount of detail and high contrast where upon was seemingly captured in order to give us a sense of dreamy feelings. This potential notion of the series is suggestive, speaking about his relationship and proposing that it would’ve been their dreams to be happily married and that they’re now incorporated in that dream. His setup was simple; he would just place the camera on the television overnight and then develop them in the bathroom every morning. This process continued throughout his honeymoon, this provided the inspiration that enabled him to create the series. I believe that the movement fascinated Newth during long exposures of the night; he wanted to find the outcome of the aesthetic created, after researching the history of photography, this inspired the quest for new theories to try out, in essence remediating. Newth is still a practitioner working today.

I feel deeply inspired by this work however, I would utilise a more directional narrative, the work I feel would be modified differently therefore, relating it to my own personal experiences with lymphoma as there was countless nights for several months in which I didn’t sleep, insomnia caused by scratching and the need to reduce the desire to itch . I became too overheated at night; I would like to illustrate my frustrating symptoms by using long exposures whilst moving between two blankets, complimentary in colour. One blanket will be red symbolic of fire and danger. It will illustrate the coldness but also the hazard of potential danger. The captures will display movement between the two blankets correlating the amount of movement made during the night corresponding to the message of overheating by ‘throwing the blankets off’. I would also like to empathize what it can do to a person mentally, physically, and emotionally. I would like to have a similar aesthetic to my images, withholding the same movement, thus inspiriting a mystical air, with use of high contrast blacks but with intense colours to enhance the images aesthetic.

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