Tuesday, 27 March 2012


From my test shoot I decided that I should develop my work to be more edgy and dark, to get the best results for this project. I think by doing some thing different to my previous work it will benefit how I make images. This week I am looking at Primal, a February 2012 editorial in Dazed & Confused. Shot by Serge LeBion, the images are really interesting and edgy. I like the use of the darkness and how dramatic the models are. Like Good Kate, Bad Kate the location is interesting and that does really add to the shoot. From the series, the three images I have picked up on are the most interesting. In the first two I really like the model's hair, in the first it creates a new texture to the image, and with the second it does blend in to the background. I think the styling here would be something I would love to do for my shoot, the use of sheer material does catch my attention with the second image, and maybe adding in layers of it could be something I experiment with. 

I think one of my biggest problems with the shoot will be how I make the styling look like high fashion.  Although this is titled Primal, the clothing is still expensive looking. How can I portray a poor, heart broken character? 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Knitted 1950s Hair Shoot

I had my third shoot today, for my knitted hair portrait series. On the search for a model with my other project I had come across Toni. I kept her in the back of my mind and then when it came to sorting this project out I contacted her as I really wanted to shoot with her. 

The hair piece was baby blue, inspired by the 1950s and Katy Perry's use of the eras styling. I was using one of my favourite make up artists, Danielle, who I had worked with on several other projects. She was very attentive with what was working with the make up, as well as helping me place the piece on. 

I had some problems positioning it, as it was one of the harder pieces to put in position, however it payed off once it was on properly, as it began to really mimic the hair. 

I shot with a range of blue and purple gels on the background, but settled with blue on blue, to be coherent with my project. 

Later on we tried using some tattoo lips, as Danielle had them. I thought they were really interesting, but where I hadn't used them in any of the other photos they would have been odd in the series. I can use them as a stand alone image. 

I was happy with the use of the big eye lashes, nice brows and nude lips. I wanted to keep it fresh and contemporary. We changed the eye shadow colour a few times and I am really happy with the end result. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012


I really love the pastel trend at the moment, and felt from my test shoot with Faith that I needed to do something more light hearted and quirky. As I will be casting interesting looking models I felt that doing something quite soft with my colours would work really well. I have found some pastel examples that I can draw inspiration from with my work.

Sharif Hamza - Passion for Pastel

I think this series is so beautiful and interesting, the colour palette is amazing. I really love the soft pinks and how they relate through the whole of the image. It is really simple, but works.

Ina Jang

Finding Ina Jang's work on Trendland was a bit of a surprise. The photographer takes the images, and then makes strange collages from them. I think they are really interesting, and I can't really comprehend how she makes them. I was really interested in the pastel backgrounds, they are really soft colours, contrasting the colours in the image. 

Material Girl - Xanthe Hutchinson

I thought these images were a different take on the pastel look for this season. They are much more grunge inspired, with the prints quite bold and busy. I like the purple in the hair on the second image. 

I Want Candy 

Images from I Want Candy, from Elle Netherlands. I love the colours in this, the make up is really dramatic and the styling is incredible. It makes me question how far I want to push the make up with my images. How far is too far with the knitted hair pieces? 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Test Shoot With Jess

This week I did a test shoot to get the ball rolling with my project. I wanted to cast a model who would reflect my perception of Eponine, I started chatting with local girls and Jess was happy to work with me. I wanted to shoot close to home as I was more interested in developing the technique for the shoot.

I shot in three ways:

1. Using smoke
I wanted to experiment with smoke and see if I could shoot in a way that wouldn't look studenty. It didn't work. I think to get the effect I had been hoping for I would have needed a much higher production value, which I didn't have. Maybe it is something I can further test when on location.

2. Using material over the lens
I had also brought some sheer material to place over the lens, which began to look like the smoke when in use. I did have more control over what parts of the image looked more blurry. So here I think I got a better result that using the smoke. I also like the tone I put over these images, maybe I should consider a darker/blue/purple tone for my other images? Maybe here it is slightly too light.

 3. Using material over over the model
At the end of the shoot I started experimenting with placing the material over the model. I wish I had done this before as I think I got the best results from this technique. It gives an interesting texture and I like how the light is picked up on certain parts of it. I do think here, because of the pose and hair over her face, it does look like a horror movie promo, which is something I need to work on on a further shoot. It is a lot darker than the other images, which is something I don't usually do and I think this is how I want to develop my image making - by experimenting more with the darker side of fashion. I think, even for a test, that this is a lot more edgy than anything I have ever produced and a way forward for my portfolio.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Knitted Finger Wave Shoot

Today I had my second knitted hair piece shoot. I had finished making a baby pink finger wave piece. I found making the piece harder than the beehive, as I had to try and get the texture of the hair to appear. i think it went okay, I used a lacey stitch to get the wave initially running through the piece. I knitted it long enough to double it over then stuff and sew into place.

I used a pink gel, and Louise used her 1920s make up skills, as she had recently learnt them in her course. This photo shows both my model and her looking lovely and smiling! We decided we needed to soap the eyebrows however it did not go that well which means I have to sort that out in post production.

The shooting process when much faster than my beehive, as I had a clearer idea of the set up. After a tutorial with Conrad he said not to change the lighting too much, or it wouldn't look like a series. I stuck to the beauty dish, with a diffuser. I think the final photo has a lot of potential, however it will need a fair amount of retouching.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Good Kate, Bad Kate

Good Kate, Bad, Kate caught my eye in W Magazine, photographed by Steven Klein with Kate Moss styled incredibly, I thought it would be an interesting reference for my project. I am looking to shoot soon for my Eponine Project and deciding which style I want to work with. I do not want to copy any other photographer, and although we have been told to look at other references other than fashion, it is always good to know who is doing what.

The over sharpened effect on the photos gives a painting like quality, in the strange world that this is set in. The location is dirty and gritty, matching the style of the images. With the work I am making I need to consider everything works together. Here the clothing matches the images, the whites representing a 'Good Kate' and the blacks a 'Bad Kate', giving a strange relationship with religion, Kate herself, and the location it is set in. They are powerful images, and I think that is what attracts me to them. I would like to create something with emotion, that is not just about the clothing, but connects all the elements to make a sound final series. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Previous Work

As I am currently working on a beauty project I thought it would be a good idea to explain my previous projects and my work has been developing. 

In my second year I made this work, called Strawberry Meringue, which looked at 1960s film and the make up styles used in each ones. I picked different films through the decade, such as Barberella and The Graduate, and projected a make up idea on to each image. This was the first vintage project I had done for uni. During the summer I had made a good connection with a local vintage shop in Chelmsford, so I was able to borrow the clothing from the shoot from there, as well as the backgrounds. It was a learning experience for me with the retouching. And there was a class debate with them over if they were over retouched. I do want to improve on the retouching for this project, as it is something I struggle to keep natural. I wanted to show evidence of my previous work and how I do like to work in a vintage style. I think it will be interesting to see how my style will develop with this project. I want to create something much more contemporary, as I am interested in using pastel colours and of course, the knitted hair pieces.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Freud and Eponine

I have started looking at Freud for the theory side of my work. Coming across some really interesting quotes in 'Into the Image' by Kevin Robins. I am looking further at his texts and reading 'Civilisation and Its Discontents' as I feel I can reflect on Freud's writings to make my series stronger. 

The first thing that gets my attention is this quote

'Normally there is nothing we are more certain of than the feeling of ourself, our own ego' 

When referring to religion, and the face he cannot get the "oceanic" feeling his friend has when he describes his beliefs. He continues:

'on the contrary the ego extends inwards without any sharp delimitation, into an unconscious mental entity which we call the id and to which it forms a facade, was first discovered by psycho-analytic research, and the latter still has much to tell us about the relations of the ego and id'

all of this great back information to what he says next, which is what I am most interested in with this writing

'But towards the outer world, at any rate, the ego seems to itself clearly and sharply outlined and delimited. There is only one state of mind in which it fails to do this - an unusual state, it is true, but not one that can be judged as pathological. At its height, the state of being in love threatens to obliterate the boundaries between ego and object. Against all the evidence of his senses, the man in love declares that he and his beloved are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact. A thing that can be temporarily effaced by a physiological function must also of course be liable to disturbance by morbid processes. From pathology we have come to know a large number of states in which the boundary line between ego and outer world become uncertain, or in which they are actually incorrectly perceived——cases in which parts of a man’’s own body, even component parts of his own mind, perceptions, thoughts, feelings, appear to him alien and not belonging to himself; other cases in which a man ascribes to the external world things that clearly originate in himself, and that ought to be acknowledged by him. So the ego’’s cognizance of itself is subject to disturbance, and the boundaries between it and the outer world are not immovable.'

I think this is so interesting because he is showing how love changes the ego, and how a person in love can be delusional giving things that could never really be given to another person.

I do believe this theory applies to my character Eponine, it can be applied to everybody. But particularly here, it makes me see how by believing she was in love with Marius, she began to loose her mind when he did not love her back. 

I enjoy how his work discusses religion, the way he perceives the "oceanic" feeling,  

'That feeling of oneness with the universe which is its ideational content sounds very like a first attempt at the consolations of religion.'

I think by shooting against the caves and the rock I can present this idea. Eponine in the book wants to die with Marius and go to heaven, which is delusional as he never paid her any interest. Because of her religious beliefs I can play up to Freud's idea that the "oceanic" feeling is a feeling of oneness. By shooing through material, and reflecting the texture of the rock in the organza and the styling I will be reflecting upon this idea. 

With Freud talking about the purpose of human life, he believes religion offers an answer. He  also talks about an answer without religion:

'We will turn, therefore, to the less ambitious problem: what the behaviour of men themselves reveals as the purpose and object of their lives, what they demand of life and wish to attain in it. The answer to this can hardly be in doubt: they seek happiness, they want to become happy and to remain so. There are two sides to this striving, a positive and a negative; it aims on the one hand at eliminating pain and discomfort, on the other at the experience of intense pleasures. In its narrower sense, the word happiness relates only to the last. Thus human activities branch off in two directions——corresponding to this double goal——according to which of the two they aim at realizing, either predominantly or even exclusively.'

This is an interesting theory, looking at happiness as the reason for living is so very interesting. With the work I am making it does reflect on my own mental state. The character I am looking at is desperate, in need of this love, and unable to ever be happy. Why does love play such a huge part in our lives? And why do we let it destroy us?

What is called happiness in its narrowest sense comes from the satisfaction——most often instantaneous——of pent-up needs which have reached great intensity, and by its very nature can only be a transitory experience. When any condition desired by the pleasure-principle is protracted, it results in a feeling only of mild comfort; we are so constituted that we can only intensely enjoy contrasts, much less intensely states in themselves. 8 Our possibilities of happiness are thus limited from the start by our very constitution. It is much less difficult to be unhappy. Suffering comes from three quarters: from our own body, which is destined to decay and dissolution, and cannot even dispense with anxiety and pain as danger-signals; from the outer world, which can rage against us with the most powerful and pitiless forces of destruction; and finally from our relations with other men. The unhappiness which has this last origin we find perhaps more painful than any other; we tend to regard it more or less as a gratuitous addition, although it cannot be any less an inevitable fate than the suffering that proceeds from other sources.

The idea that it is less difficult to be unhappy makes sense. Eponine never tried with anybody else, and was left alone in her own heartbreak.

if a man thinks himself happy if he has merely escaped unhappiness or weathered trouble; if in general the task of avoiding pain forces that of obtaining pleasure into the background. Reflection shows that there are very different ways of attempting to perform this task; and all these ways have been recommended by the various schools of wisdom in the art of life and put into practice by men. Unbridled gratification of all desires forces itself into the foreground as the most alluring guiding principle in life, but it entails preferring enjoyment to caution and penalizes itself after short indulgence. The other methods, in which avoidance of pain is the main motive, are differentiated according to the source of the suffering against which they are mainly directed. Some of these measures are extreme and some moderate, some are one-sided and some deal with several aspects of the matter at once. Voluntary loneliness, isolation from others, is the readiest safeguard against the unhappiness that may arise out of human relations.

The gratification of instincts is happiness, but when the outer world lets us starve, refuses us satisfaction of our needs, they become the cause of very great suffering. So the hope is born that by influencing these impulses one may escape some measure of suffering. This type of defence against pain no longer relates to the sensory apparatus; it seeks to control the internal sources of our needs themselves.

This quote can be directly applied to Eponine, the 'outer world' being Marius, not giving her the gratification she needs. She is therefore mentally starved and is made to suffer, which you see in the songs in the musical, and when she dies in the book.

Another method operates more energetically and throughly; is regards reality as the source of all suffering, as the one and only enemy, with whom life is intolerable and with whom, therefore, all relations must be broken off if one is to be happy in any way at all. The hermit turns his back on this world; he will have nothing to do with it. But one can do more than that; one can try to re-creat it, try to build up another instead, from which the most unbearable features are eliminated and replaced by other corresponding to ones own wishes. He who in his despair and defiance sets out on this path will not as a rule get very far; reality will be too strong for him. 

I believe Eponine is between a normal and delusional mental state, the lyrics to 'on my own' reflect on this idea of her living in a non-reality

Sometimes I walk alone at night
When everybody else is sleeping
I think of him and then I'm happy
With the company I'm keeping
The city goes to bed
And I can live inside my head

On my own
Pretending he's beside me
All alone
I walk with him till morning
Without him
I feel his arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And he has found me

'I can live inside my head' does reflect on Freud's idea of re-creating her own world and being happy in it. 

I do not suppose that I have enumerated all the methods by which men strive to win happiness and keep suffering at bay, and I know, too, that the material might have been arranged differently. One of these methods I have not yet mentioned at all——not because I had forgotten it, but because it will interest us in another connection. How would it be possible to forget this way of all others of practising the art of life! It is conspicuous for its remarkable capacity to combine characteristic features. Needless to say, it, too, strives to bring about independence of fate—— as we may best call it——and with this object it looks for satisfaction within the mind, and uses the capacity for displacing libido which we mentioned before, but it does not turn away from the outer world; on the contrary, it takes a firm hold of its objects and obtains happiness from an emotional relation to them. Nor is it content to strive for avoidance of pain——that goal of weary resignation; rather it passes that by heedlessly and holds fast to the deep-rooted, passionate striving for a positive fulfilment of happiness. Perhaps it really comes nearer to this goal than any other method. I am

-10-speaking, of course, of that way of life which makes love the centre of all things and anticipates all happiness from loving and being loved. This attitude is familiar enough to all of us; one of the forms in which love manifests itself, sexual love, gives us our most intense experience of an overwhelming pleasurable sensation and so furnishes a prototype for our strivings after happiness. What is more natural than that we should persist in seeking happiness along the path by which we first encountered it? The weak side of this way of living is clearly evident; and were it not for this, no human being would ever have thought of abandoning this path to happiness in favour of any other. We are never so defenceless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love-object or its love. But this does not complete the story of that way of life which bases happiness on love; there is much more to be said about it.

This makes you realise the intensity of pain when you think about Eponine. That she has not lost love, but never had the chance to experience it back. Love is the centre of her world, but it will never be complete. The book implies she is a child prostitute, and in that terms her sexual experience would not have been the same of that of the 'overwhelming pleasurable sensation' of an experience with a lover. 

This research backs up my concept, it shows how I can have a much deeper theory to my image making. Photographically it enhances my concept development and the way I will be producing these images. 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Knitted Beehive Shoot

Today I had my first real shoot for my knitted hair project. I done two previous test shoots with a different style of hair piece with Faith as a test model. I cast my model Holly because I thought she had a really strong side profile and a good potential 60s look to her. It was the first time I met my make up artist, Louise. I  generally get on really well with other Louises so it was really exciting. 

The beehive took ages to make, I decided to use the hexypuff technique I had seen on the bee keepers quilt, but shape it into the hives. I knitted so many hexagons, sewed them all up and then used strong flower wire to put it into shape. I wanted to make it as a working wig, but from the wire and then stuffing it, it became so heavy and the back became a little bit of a waste. 

Shooting it was a nightmare! But it was still fun. I had a yellow gel on the background and two polly boards to block it out, then a beauty dish lighting my model. Faith was assisting me and had to crouch down on the floor propping up the hive throughout the shoot. I used a yellow theme with the eye make up.

I felt for a first shoot I had the excuse for it to go a little wrong, the images I produced I was really happy with. Louise put her hair up in the hive because I had not made a fringe for it, but hopefully I can re-shoot this and get everything perfect.

Beehive in the making, on the wrong side

Friday, 2 March 2012

60s Beauty Ads

I have my knitted beehive shoot later today, so I needed to get some reference images for my make up artist. I am posting them on my blog so I have them for my sketch book.

Avon 1960

I like this advert, I think it is really lovely with the pink background, towel and table. Everything is very girly and luxurious. It looks like it is aimed at a house wife. I like the hair, with the volume and curls. I also love the bigger brows and the red lipstick.

Charles of Ritz 1962
This advert really caught my eye because it is so quirky. As I want to do something similar I thought it would be a great image to reference. This is more like an afro made of fuzz and bows. I love her position in the frame and the crop on the head pice. The make up matches some of the blue in the head pice, as well as the earrings. I am not sure if I like the red lipstick. I think that if it was a softer pink, like the bows, it would fit better. However the red is punchy and does draw your attention in.

Helene Curtis 1961
I like this advert because the hair is trying to reflect the bottle, with the lid on the top. It is very yellow, which I like as the beehive I am shooting follows the same tones. I thought it would be a good reference as I could then see what make up palette they have used. I like the lips a softer shade of red, and the eye make up not that heavy.

Revlon 1964
I also thought this would be a great image to show my make up artist, as it has the big beehive and the props all over it. Giving the idea of how far I can push the make up. I really love this photo, as it looks so effortless. The flick on the eye make up is really dramatic and the brows are a nice dark shade and look flawless. The lipstick matches the nails on her hand, which looks so delicate and finely placed. Also love how her cheek bones have a small amount of blush on to bring them out more.
Clairol 1969
I think this photo is really interesting, how the hair is also being used as a prop, tied around her like a scarf is visually quirky and makes you believe the hair is warm and soft. I really love the eye make up in this, the lashes look so perfect. I think all these images have quite a graphic look to them, which is something I would like to create with mine.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Edward Scissor Hands

I wanted to look at Edward Scissorhands for this project. I have looked at several unusual hair styles, but this film is one which I knew I could look at for styling ideas. I am concentrating on the scene where Edward cuts the ladies hair. Set in the late 80s the film is vivid and in a world of its own. Edward is brilliant at cutting hedges, and then begins cutting dogs hair and eventually humans. 

The styles he creates are quirky and interesting, and the women are engrossed with the process of having their hair cut. Concentrating on the visuals the hair is so interesting and would have been quirky, even for the 1990s, when it was released. As the whole film deals with American subcultures and stereotypical characters seeing how, even if it was for a short time, Edward transforming them is refreshing. 

I think what I can draw from this film is the visual style. It is very bold and vivid. I love how all the characters always seem to be matching or in one colour. Such as above, with the orange top and earrings. Everything seems to work so well together, but underneath it is a difunctional society, wary and cruel to outsiders. 

Things to think about:
The use of matching colours, colour on colours to reflect a vivid but perfect world. Like in Hollywood portraits you would never guess anything has gone wrong. On the surface the actress is smiling and happy. 

Hair styles: going vintage per era or creating a range of crazy styles, that are more obscure. 

Quirky and different models.