Top Art Exhibition - Photography

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Charlotte Carter, New Plymouth Girls’ High School

My plans for 2014:

During 2014 I will be working a part-time job as well as gaining photography skills and experience from my dad, who is a wedding and portrait photographer. Alongside this I will be auditioning and taking part in various acting/stage opportunities.

Information about my work:

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

When I first began shooting photographs for my portfolio, I worked my way through Puke Ariki, our local museum in New Plymouth. Something about the lighting and compositions of a museum exhibit intrigued me, and the silhouettes and shadows that the light created captured Puke Ariki perfectly. As a development and contrast to the perfectly lit and placed exhibits open to the public, I asked for permission to take photos in the storeroom of the museum. The endless amount of clothing, furniture, artefacts, stuffed animals and historic artworks created busier and nosier photographs that provided an interesting point of difference from the first few films I took.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Because the light in Puke Ariki is limited, I often had to set my camera at long shutter speeds to allow it to capture enough light and fully expose the subject matter in my photograph. To create a sharp photograph with a long shutter speed, I used a tripod, ensuring the camera didn’t move or vibrate and create blur.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

An issue that arose while I was taking photos for my portfolio was that some exhibitions and parts of Puke Ariki were not allowed to be photographed because they are sacred to Māori. This limited my subject matter and forced me to think outside of the box to create a worthy photograph for my portfolio.

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Corey Harris, Kerikeri High School

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Daisy Friis, Northcote College

Scholarship

My plans for 2014:

I am moving to Wellington this year (from Auckland) to go to Victoria University. I am doing a conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science majoring in film, theatre and psychology, and also studying philosophy, criminology and statistics.

Information about my work:  ‘Statera’

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I came up with my concept pretty early on. I knew I wanted to do my board on ballet as I was doing it at the time and was super passionate about it. I also loved the film Black Swan, so I just meshed those things together – combined with the original story of Swan Lake – to create my board. The themes came hand in hand with the content, really – how society expects you to be perfect, yet they don’t want you to be a prude (the white swan) or completely wild (the black swan). They expect you to walk a fine line in the middle, which can be a lot of pressure. This is why I named the board ‘Stratera’, which means balance in Latin.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I really liked the idea of reflection – reflecting on oneself and not liking so much what you see – so that was used a lot throughout my board, along with double exposure and multiple images. I also used a lot of quite basic symbolism, like the water and black feathers symbolising the black swan..

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

High points for me were basically when I had a new idea or found a new artist I really liked, and when things began to click and come together. My main low point seemed to hit during the second board, when I had had no idea where to go from the point I was at. Thankfully I overcame this.

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Daniel Price, Lindisfarne College

My plans for 2014:

Gap year in Northern Ireland, then thinking of doing valuation and property management or P.E. teacher training.

Information about my work: ''Looking at Golf"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I developed my ideas from the artist models that I used and incorporated aspects of their work into my own. I kept the golf theme throughout my board, e.g. the round shape of the ball with the round mirror, the green grass.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

The main technique I used was black and white. I also used bokeh on a few photos – blur was one of my favourite techniques. I used mirrors to create an illusion. One of the artist models I based my work on had objects hanging down with the person looking up. I did this with the golf balls and clubs hanging and my subject lying down looking up at them.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

The high point was seeing my work completed and set on to the board. There were no low points.

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Estelle Dippie, St Hilda’s Collegiate School

Top Subject Scholarship

My plans for 2014:

Year 13 at St Hilda’s Collegiate (I was a Year 12 student studying Level 3 Photography last year).

Information about my work:

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

My initial ideas stemmed from artist models such as John Hilliard, David Hilliard and Cindy Sherman. I drew influence from each of these photographers and also from other sources, including psychological thrillers and dream interpretation, within locations such as institutional space, forests and the home. Key themes in my work include isolation, dissociation and reflection, allied with sombre and cold moods. I used items such as mirrors, water, doors, windows and corridors to create sub-themes and compositional elements in my folio. These sub-themes are physical and metaphorical in the sense that they can be visually photographed and also discussed as symbols with deeper meanings that relate back to the tableaux narrative depicted on my board.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

The most technical aspect of my work is the use of colour. I used cool blue tones to portray emotions such as sadness, melancholy and depression. These tones also establish continuity between my panels as I shot images in three different spaces (institution, forest/park and the home). I have also used cool blues against warm flesh tones to show emotional components and to contrast positive and negative ideas.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

A high point of producing such a folio was being able to develop my original ideas throughout the year and seeing these ideas come together as a result of this ongoing development. Another high point was being a member of a cohesive and supportive photography class, with whom I was able to share ideas and experiment with the different technical aspects.

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Glen Powell-Stanford, Wellington College

My plans for 2014:

Victoria University School of Architecture studying for Bachelor of Architectural Studies..

Information about my work: "Information Overload"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

Initially I was interested in the concept of the intervention of objects within a space, however the execution proved overly ambitious, requiring the transportation of the contents of my living room around town late at night. As a result I altered my theme to focus on the destruction of a living space. This change allowed me to have all my materials close at hand for last minute adjustments and additions to the staged scenes. As with all art, there are multiple possible interpretations of my portfolio. I personally like to think of the excessive amount of scrunched up newspaper as depicting the excessive amount of jumbled up information within our heads.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Tools: tripod, Adobe Photoshop CS6 (for post-processing), Sony DSC HX9V
Materials: leather chairs, 1960s bevelled mirror, bookcase, brass lamp with cloth shade ~ 8 weeks accumulation of newspapers, cushions, books, double-sided tape.

During every photo-shoot I always kept my desired layout of the photos on the portfolio at the back of my mind. I preferred the regular arrangement of photos in rows and kept each panel as symmetrical as possible.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

The creation of this portfolio was probably the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life. I decided to start again from scratch, with a simplified theme, in response to my teacher’s critique of the two panels I had just completed. However, I managed to complete my portfolio with a few late nights. One example of a difficulty I had was the night before the due date, as I was arranging the newspaper outside the window, the typical Wellington wind made it incredibly difficult to balance the newspaper without adhesive. I overcame this problem by affixing the newspaper to the windowsill with double-sided tape.

A tip for future photography students: don’t worry if your portfolio is not up to your original expectation; try to simplify your scope of investigation and leave things to your own intuition to sort out. Use what you had done before as learning material.

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Hamish R H Allan, Auckland Grammar

My plans for 2014:

I am studying a Bachelor of Design at Massey University in Wellington, majoring in visual communication design..

Information about my work: "Suburban Decay"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I started off with general photographs of the environment, focusing on the deterioration of the building, both interior and exterior. This idea developed into highlighting the damage and decay of the building as well as items left behind by a variety of previous occupants. This has been shown through the physical decay of doorways, empty spaces and framing of light.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Low colour saturation is used to enhance the atmosphere of the building. Another key element is the use of light. Given that the building is derelict, lighting is limited, but I explored the way that isolated areas of light coming from the windows highlighted areas of the interior. Techniques used: Photoshop and transfers.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

Gaining access to the derelict building proved difficult, but it was interesting to gain an insight as to the previous lives of the building.

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Jessica Bunnell, Queen Margaret College

Scholarship

My plans for 2014:

Studying spatial design and marketing at Massey University in Wellington.

Information about my work: "Stitch in Time"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

The idea I wanted to portray was the model searching for their identity within a family and community. This progressed into experimenting with stitching and wrapping with old photographs and the contrast of modern techniques.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I used a range of different materials on my portfolio. One of the main materials used was thread being stitched on to my photographs. I also experimented with printing photographs on to fabric to extend my ideas. These processes did take a long time, but were worth it in the end. Artist models I looked at were Odette England, with manipulation of photos, and Greg Sands, playing with scale and photomontage.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

It was challenging using a model, as they were unavailable a lot of the time, and trying to fit their schedule in with mine could be difficult. It was a great feeling when seeing the finished portfolio.

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Kate McDonald, St. Hilda’s Collegiate

Outstanding Scholarship

My plans for 2014:

Studying at Victoria University to complete a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in art history and philosophy.

Information about my work: "The Dystopia and Utopia of Food"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I am very passionate about food and cooking and wanted to develop the ideas from my Level 2 board further, which also explored the mess that food creates. Similar to Laura Letinsky, I was interested in the aftermath of human consumption and the contrast with the meal before it was touched. The colour range was also important within my photographs and was strongly influenced by the Russian artistic movement of constructivism and their use of red, white and black. I developed these colours further with the use of subject matter, stains and shadows.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

All my photographs were shot in a constructed studio-based environment to emulate a restaurant style table setting. I used studio lighting to control the colours in my photographs, and to emphasise shadows.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

High points – setting up my shoots, creating themes and finding different artists to emulate and use as inspiration to create my own work. Low points – figuring out how I would end panel three with a couple of photographs that would incorporate all my previous ideas into a new original composition/photograph.

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Kezzia Flynn, Queen Margaret College

My plans for 2014:

I will be living in Australia, probably doing a hairdressing apprenticeship, while continuing art and photography as a hobby.

Information about my work: "Working with Flowers"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

My teacher suggested I focus on flowers because I could not think of a subject. I knew that if I were to do flowers I would want to make it different from anything that would typically be done when photographing flowers.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I shot nearly all of my photos in the studio and some in my bath at home. I used fake flowers and real flowers. Photoshop was used a lot, especially with my more interesting works. The process for me was all about taking a traditional arrangement of flowers and transforming that idea into something different and special.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

There were no issues, I flew through this board and enjoyed every minute of it. I never knew I would get so much enjoyment out of using flowers for my entire board. I was really surprised and excited with what I created.

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Kristin Li, Burnside High School

Scholarship

My plans for 2014:

Studying a Bachelor of Arts in film, philosophy and art history at Victoria University of Wellington.

Information about my work: "The Homogenous, the Tangible, the Integrated"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

Through 2013, the idea I had in mind for photography changed multiple times. From the start, I knew I wanted to incorporate photographs I had taken in New York during the summer holiday. The idea of crowds, the individual within the crowd, and the individual out of a crowd became my basic and general focus. The ideas of identity loss in a group and free will to express our own personalities were also important throughout my portfolio. These grew to look at typology between my older sister and I – that is, at our similarities and differences.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

In the first panel, the main focus was on identity loss and the individual in a crowd. To convey this, long shutter speeds, low exposures and a Lensbaby lens were primarily used. Further on, the layout of images played a primary role in the comparisons between my sister and I. Different exposures, focal points, angles and lighting all showed the detail of our lives and hobbies. At the end I used transparency to overlay images.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

Initially I wanted to work with three people of different ages, but that proved to be difficult as many people I knew were busy. To overcome this, I decided to focus on my sister and I, as it was easier to coordinate our schedules. A high point was doing research through the year for inspiration, like watching films such as Never Let Me Go and Fight Club. The biggest challenge for me was to actually decide on what was the most effective way of conveying what I wanted to show.

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Mitchell Slade, John Paul College

My plans for 2014:

Studying occupational therapy at Otago Polytechnic.

Information about my work: "The Hunting Dream"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I enjoy hunting deer in the central North Island with my father and brother.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Board one focused on hunting preparation. I used a macro lens for some photos to get close up shots of the bullet reloading materials. Board two concentrates on stalking the deer in the bush. Close up shots and wide angle shots were used to help develop the hunt process, finishing with a close up of the scope. Board three shows the kill. I used Photoshop to depict the deer within the scope. Photoshop was used for the final photo to create a dream-like effect.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

The high point was participating in hunting. The low point was trying to get board three to flow on from the previous boards.

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Rosa Woods, Wakatipu High School

Scholarship

My plans for 2014:

University of Otago, studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English.

Information about my work: "Blending In"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

At the beginning of last year, during the time we needed to start brainstorming themes for our panels, my friend and I were on Tumblr searching for inspiration (procrastinating). To convince ourselves we were doing something productive, we decided to each select a random photograph from the dashboard and see if we could make up a decent theme from it. The photograph I found sparked my entire idea. The picture was of a girl sitting in a field, however the girl was edited so that she was transparent and "blending in” to the environment around her. After heavily reading into the image and coming up with something that wasn’t half bad, I decided that I'd found my concept for the year.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

My panel required only a little bit of Photoshop magic, which was good because photoshopping can be quite time consuming. For the most part the images were very straightforward. Dan Mountford, Paul Butler, Pol Úbeda Hervàs and Joeri Bosma were the main artist models I sourced my inspiration from. Double exposures and cut outs (print the image, cut out person’s silhouette, then rephotograph) are two examples of artist model influence in my panel.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

Solidifying the direction I wanted my panel to go in was difficult because I ended up having too many ideas and no way to link them. Originally I planned to do a panel of still life photography so I wouldn’t have the hassle of coordinating a model to photograph, but the images I came out with during my first few trials weren’t what I expected. I was confused by my concept and it showed in the pictures, so I had to refine my idea. I decided that a model of some sort would be necessary to help the ideas progress throughout the panel, and using myself seemed like an obvious solution. Doing an entire panel of self-portraits is great because you can just go out and take photos; you don’t need anything other than you and your camera. However, it definitely has its difficulties too, sometimes it would take hundreds of shots before I’d get the one I had in mind.

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Trisha Hasin, Westlake Girls’ High School

Outstanding Scholarship 

My plans for 2014:

I will be doing the Bachelor of Architectural Studies at the University of Auckland.

Information about my work: "Childhood Consumerism"

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

Right from the beginning of my work I wanted to establish that my young girl character has become very invested in adult-type consumer goods. I initially put her in places where children would actually spend their time, and later moved her to a more grown up area, along with distorting her face. This was to show how modern society has influenced this young girl with the glitz and glamour of today’s culture. In the end it is clear, through the use of bright colour, that the girl is now living a synthetic lifestyle. This emphasises her transformation from young and innocent to obnoxious and superficial.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Initially I used a documentary approach to give the audience an insight into the girl’s world as she interacts with a variety of adult-type consumer goods, then I began to explore scale, specifically focusing on enlarging her head. This led me to start distorting the girl’s face, allowing me to show how these consumer goods have transformed her into a ‘mini adult’. In the end the use of colour and collaging is prominent in my work to show how artificial this young girl’s life has become.

 

 
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