Commercial products vs. Still Life Project

Having not done a project in a while I thought it’s time to get my butt in gear and do one. I’ve been looking at a lot of product photography jobs in the last few weeks, all of which want a product style portfolio. Whilst it’s not in my nature to produce a series of “consumerism” images, I can’t think of a better job than spending all day in a studio with objects and playing around with lighting.

This made me think about a project in which I can both fulfil my desire to create and build a series of images for product photography jobs. I looked around my room, thinking “What objects can I photograph?” I thought about this past year and decided things I brought back from Japan would be great.

Not having access to Cov uni’s studio anymore I had to improvise and googled it. To my delight I found this great tutorial article “How to Create an Inexpensive Photography Lightbox” – so I did. It’s a great temporary solution if you are tight on money and rich in time.

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I started with the conventional white background set up, and then moved onto a more meaningful idea – using posters-maps and documents that coincide with the object. I know neither of these ideas were great or original, but I just had to start somewhere.

I took my Blue Rose figure down from my shelf and began shooting, I used a map of Tokyo’s Akihabara district synonymous with anime/manga and Otaku culture.

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As I said before this is just a kick off point, my plan is to research still life projects. However, I’m aware that what constitutes as good commercial product photography is not what I would consider a thought provoking series, I may have to run two series at the same time using the same objects.

Let the research begin… Yay!

Printed Figurine

Today I awoke to an exciting text message telling me my figurine was ready to be picked up from the basement in Graham Sutherland. I was very excited to see it and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It was presented to me and I was confused at first, the figurine was surrounded in a plastic waxy substance, the technicians put me at ease once they told me that is to be washed away. The figurine is also slightly smaller than I originally wanted but due to the Universities 3D printing facilities it is the biggest I could get it.

The next step was to soak the figurine in cold water, I did so for about an hour before starting to clean it.

On the technicians advice I used a tooth brush and scrubbed the figurine, this took just over an hour but was strangely therapeutic and relaxing. I took a video of myself cleaning the figurine for around 10 minutes, I found it really hard when doing research to see any videos on the post production of 3D printing i.e. cleaning, prepping and painting so I thought I would make a video which anyone could access and not have the problems I had.

The figurine still has a rough texture on the back half so I will leave it in soak over night and scrub it again tomorrow, then it will be ready for painting.

Product placement outfit

In preparation for Japan there is one dress I have decided to buy before hand. Most outfits will be bought in Japan because anything I would order for the project will be shipped from Asia so there seems no point. However this dress needed to be bought in the UK as its very unique. For my consumerism/ product placement look I bought this dress. It’s all ready to go to Japan and has got me excited about the photographs.

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M.A.C X Nick Knight continued

I suddenly remembered this advertising campaign I found, and decided to re-look at it. It could be used as one of the consumerism examples of a cute and sexy representation of women.

The image below in particular uses the iconography of hello kitty, cute dickie bows and pink throughout the image. But this is harshly displayed against black latex corsets. And a  bowl of white liquid (strange for a makeup ad) which connotes questionable material. The style of lighting also resembles a cheap singular flash. The kind of lighting used by amateurs which emphasises the colours and makes the image almost trashy. The great thing about this as an example is it’s advertising a Western product via a Western photographer. Much like my already existing example of Nick Knight’s shoot of Brittany Spears is.

Supporting the idea of sex and cute, connoting Otaku culture the models appear at the product launch with a plastic look, and appear to be standing in a giant box. Reflecting the idea of figurines/ barbie.

Alex Gross

“Bizarro” Mixed Media on Antique Photograph, 7 x 5 Inches
“Leia’s Very Bad Day” Mixed Media on Antique Photograph, 7 x 5 Inches
“Peter” Mixed Media on Antique Photograph, 7 x 5 Inches
“Batman” Mixed Media on Antique Photograph, 7 x 5 Inches

Alex Gross’s mixed media pieces take vintage cabinet photos and transforms them into modern pop culture icons through paint. The majority of the photographs are transformed into fictional characters from comic books, by transforming sepia, simple images into fantasy like images completely transforms the purpose of the subject. A person who is forgotten in time, and a family photo which has somehow become lost suddenly is given an identity and use, in a way it is comforting as well as comical.

Los angeles-based artist alex gross has created a collection of reconfigured cabinet cards from the late 19th and early 20th century.
the vintage photographs have been altered by means of mixed media to portray the figure depicted the image as an imagined or
contemporary comic book super hero. the photographs, originally a commercial printed portrait standard forms gross’ collection.
The cabinet cards will be on display along with nineteen new mixed media pieces in gross’ solo exhibition ‘product placement’
at jonathan levine gallery in new york city beginning february 25th, 2012.

– http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/10/view/18839/alex-gross-reconfigured-cabinet-cards.html

Product Placement @ Jonathan LeVine gallery

February 25, 2012 through March 24, 2012

Product Placement is a solo exhibition by Alex Gross featuring his painting and his multi-media art, looking at consumerism, pop culture, and branding.

Here are some of his paintings…