Blog

 

October 22nd 2016

Two Birds With Cameras Exhibition Review

This exhibition was shown in May 2015

The Exhibition, “Inside Out” by 2 Old Bird’s with Camera’s (Jill Reidy and Dawn Mander) is a photographic exhibition that was being held in the gallery above local Blackpool coffee shop, Galleon Coffee Bar and is a documentary piece looking into the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Society in Blackpool. The exhibition consisted of 71 images that were in two sizes, either just bigger than A3 or 6″4. The smaller images consisted of mainly singular and group portraits where as the bigger images were more artistic and consisted of more identity less portraits where the head was missing which made it more of a question about the sexuality of the people involved in the images. Each large image had a hand written quote underneath it which summed up that image of the person in that photograph, a lot of the time the quote didn’t help towards the unknown gender of the model either.

A couple of the images really caught my attention but one of the main images is the one featured below of a pair of legs and part of a torso leaping in the air and the shadow that is being cast on the wall background. The quote below reads, “I can flawlessly recreate Beyonce choreography….Can they? Exactly….”

This image caught my attention because although I don’t see it as being one of the most technically perfect images I feel that it embraces the documentary style best and the decisive moment. The reason that this image is one of my favourites is because I think it incorporates everything in which these women were trying to show, that it doesn’t matter about there sexual orientations that these people are still ordinary people. This image makes it completely impossible to be able to tell the gender of the subject.

© Northern Star Photography 2016


June 7th 2016

GRADUATION DAY!!! 

I have just graduated from Blackpool and the Fylde College with a 2:1 in BA(Hons) Photography! 

🎓🍾📸
🎓🍾📸

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 5th 2016

GAME TIME ON GAME DAY – INCANDESCENT ’16 exhibits at Hoxton Arches

Incandescent '16 📸
Incandescent ’16 📸

This evening we exhibited at Hoxton Arches in London. I am really happy with how it went. I have had some really good conversations with people about my work especially with a group of acting students who I had a great conversation with about my work and the reasons behind it all. I also had an interesting couple of conversations about philosophy which has intrigued me greatly and got me thinking more about the philosophy behind my work. 

Here are a couple of images of me with my work:

Me with my work 📸
Me with my work 📸
IT'S ALL ME! 📸
IT’S ALL ME! 📸

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 5th 2016

GAME DAY – Incandescent ’16 exhibits at Hoxton Arches

Today we arrived bright and early at the gallery ready to hang the last few pieces, attach our artist labels and add the last bits of paint to the gallery before we exhibit tonight. I spent my time here hanging my own work with the help of fellow photographers James Burns, Ash Blakeley and Dan Nichols. 

First things first holes had to be drilled into the corners of each panel of my work and I was trusted with the power tools and this job (something I was rather excited about).

Drilling holes ready to hang (Photo credit: Gabriella Csutor 📸)
Drilling holes ready to hang (Photo credit: Gabriella Csutor 📸)

Once this was done we had to work out the measurements for hanging, use special screws and drill my work into the wall. This is where things started to go wrong:

Firstly, my work is rather heavy (the boys struggled more than myself though holding it up ready for hanging but admittedly I have been lugging it around for over a week so I’m kind of used to the weight of it!) and so to maintain holding it at the height it needed to be at proved to be rather tedious and hard and this was made even harder when having to make sure each piece was level with the others.

Secondly, the second piece of wood had warped and when we tried to hang it we came up against a couple of issue such as the screws not being able to go into the wall because we couldn’t straighten the board enough. This was great though because it meant that this piece was only hung with 3 screws and that there was a step between this piece and the one next to it which I felt added to the affect of my work.

We finally managed to hang it all though, put all the labels up and finish the painting in the space of a couple of hours which left us the afternoon to go and explore and sort anything out we needed to.

It is finally up! 📸
It is finally up! 📸

This time consisted of frantically searching for shoes to wear for graduation for me as well as having graduation nails done! Once I had finished pampering myself though I arrived back at the gallery to do our chalk board to go outside the gallery entrance.

My chalk board for Incandescent '16's exhibition 📸
My chalk board for Incandescent ’16’s exhibition 📸

Now it’s time to get ready for the exhibition!

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 4th 2016

Setting up Incandescent ’16’s Exhibition at Hoxton Arches

Today I, alongside my fellow photographers arrived at Hoxton Arches ready and raring to set up our exhibition. Due to traffic though this meant that the van with all the work and tools in didn’t arrive until 12ish so for about an hour we started to recover the walls with paint in preparation for hanging. This was an interesting experience though because the first paint we found looked to be white until it was on wall where it turned into a lovely grey/ silver colour which would have been fine for a bedroom wall colour but was definitely not the colour we wanted for the walls of our exhibition. The van finally arrived though and we got to work unloading the van and unwrapping the frames. Once the van had been unloaded and the frames unwrapped we split up into two groups: the first group continued to paint the walls whilst the second group started mirror mounting the frames that hadn’t been exhibited in Manchester. We were like a dream team with all of this though and impressed ourselves with the speed and efficiency of our mirror mounting teams. After this we went for lunch whilst our curator, Aaron, waved his magic wand and curated our exhibition. On arriving back from lunch we then proceeded to hang the majority of the work on the walls so that tomorrow we only have a few left to hang (which does in fact include my work). Here is a photograph of the awesome people I got to work with this time when hanging (I apologise for our sweaty looking faces we had been working hard all day though!) 

London Dream Team selfie 📸
London Dream Team selfie 📸

After this with the group I was staying in a hostel with we went and had a lovely meal in a restaurant before going to bed to get our beauty sleep before game day tomorrow!

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 20th 2016

London Exhibition Preparation

Over the past week I have started working on my piece of work for our London Exhibition. Although this piece is going to be a lot bigger than my previous piece that was exhibited in Manchester I have used the knowledge I have gained from producing that one to speed up my process and also develop on it. My London piece is going to 8x4ft and so far is looking a lot more impressive than my Manchester piece. This is the thing I love about my work though. It can constantly be developed and changed and built upon and it doesn’t matter how messy or destroyed it gets because it all just adds to the effect. 

The feedback I got from my Manchester piece was that it was too neat and clean so I have had great fun this week messing about and experimenting in several different ways:

Experiment #1

Mixing dirt into my wallpaper paste before flyposting my images.

This seemed like it was going to be a really good idea and had positives and negatives to it

Positives

  1. I didn’t have to really get my hands mucky – Although I can be a bit of a tom boy playing with dirt and having to get my hands mucky is not something that I am a big fan of so it was rather nice to just be able to use my empty wallpaper paste bucket to scoop dirt up in before adding the wall paper mix and water and mixing it all together without getting a single speck of dirt on me. 
  2. It left a dirty residue behind – Applying my work in this way meant that when I was ripping the images back off the board a dirty residue was left underneath which dealt with the issue of my Manchester piece being too neat and clean. 

Negatives

  1. The images didn’t stick well enough – When I stuck the images down they looked like they were fairly well stuck down until it came to the point of having to rip my work off the board in when it all just went to pot really. I wanted to be able to rip at the work and only some of it rip off and for only the top layers of parts of it to rip off but this did not happen instead all of the image ripped off every single time which just left me with what I had had the day before just with some dirty residue on it. 

Experiment #2

Applying wallpaper paste over the images and throwing dirt at it

This experiment surprised me with how well it actually worked but also had negative and positive aspects to it. 

Positives

  1. It left dirt behind and the images ripped correctly – Because I had just used normal, clean wallpaper paste to stick my images down when it came to ripping them off the work had the aesthetic I wanted. Because the dirt was on top of the prints as well bits that weren’t ripped off were still covered in dirt which definitely added to the aesthetics of the piece. 

Negatives

  1. It meant getting my hands dirty – As I have already pointed out above I am not a big fan of dirt or muck and so to have to physically grab handfuls of dirt to throw at my work was not an ideal situation for me! This was made worse by the fact that once I have picked the dirt an army of ants seemed to run out from their hiding place and congregate around the place where I had removed the dirt from! THIS IS NOT OKAY WITH ME! I do not like ants! 

Experiment #3

Spray Paint!

My final experiment was to use spray paint and graffiti over my final layer to be ripped off. This was my first attempt at using spray paint and I found it to be great fun.

Positives 

  1. It added to the affect of the work – By using spray paint to graffiti over my work it added to the realistic feel. I also found that it made my work look messier (in a good way) and felt like it fitted in really well with the aesthetics of my piece already. 

Negatives

  1. It took a while to get right – As I have never used spray paint before it did take me a while to get it right. It took time to find the right distance and then I found that it tended to need a couple of layers to really stand out on top of my work so it was a little bit more time consuming than I would have hoped for.

 

All in all though I am extremely happy with my London piece and have attached some images below of the work coming together 🙂

Beginning the Layering of imagery 📸
Beginning the Layering of imagery 📸
Experiment #1 left hand panel Experiment # 2 centre and right hand panel 📸
Experiment #1 left hand panel
Experiment # 2 centre and right hand panel 📸
Spray painting graffiti over my work 📸
Spray painting graffiti over my work 📸

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 14th 2016

Development and Reaction

Over the past few days I have started to edit the images I shot last Friday. This has been an interesting process because although I have some idea of what I want my images to look like I am also experimenting with how I edit them and the use of typography in my work. 

There were a few necessities that I believed that I needed to include when editing the images:

  1. I wanted them to look like propaganda/advertisements which meant that I needed to include typography and think about typefaces, font size and colour, as well as the positioning of the text. 
  2. I felt that the images had to be ridiculous, extravagant and just generally over the top and so wanted to make sure there were bright colours involved in all my images.
  3. I wanted it to be obvious that this is a body of work is a mockery and so wanted to highlight the fact that it is an ice cream cone that has been PVA glued onto my models head – I mean I’m not trying to fool anyone with this fact! 

So this was my starting place when editing but firstly I wanted to see how one of my test images would go down with people and so I shared it on the Northern Star Photography Instagram page and Incandescent ’16 shared it on theirs. Here were the responses:

Test shot posted on Incandescent '16's Instagram page
Test shot posted on Incandescent ’16’s Instagram page

 

Test image posted to Northern Star Photography's Instagram page
Test image posted to Northern Star Photography’s Instagram page

 

They seemed to get a good general reaction to them and so I began to carry on with my actual edits for this new body of work that I am creating. 

I had asked my model whilst working with her if she could have any colour unicorn horn what would she have. Gold! She would have a gold horn! As my princess unicorn I felt that this was fairly appropriate and so when editing I decided to look for a shade of yellow/orange that was close to gold but also worked well with the rest of the colours I was working with. 

On originally editing my images I just put the # that I wanted to use in this selection of images in but the more I researched into advertising I realised that I needed to add in a few more bits to some of them such as terms and conditions in small writing at the bottom of them all. When writing the terms and conditions though I wanted them to be a ludicrous and out there as the images were so I began researching into the sort of terms and conditions included in adverts. It was through this research that I feel that I have been able to create the most realistic and at the same time unrealistic advertisements that fully match my original aim. Check them out at:

©Northern Star Photography 2016 

 


June 10th 2016

2:35pm

The start of a New Project

Today I had the joys of working with Rhowan in the studios. I knew that I wanted something different and that I was going to turn her into a mythical creature but I didn’t know how I was going to go about shooting it so just kind of experimented.

I firstly made Rhowan up into a unicorn with the help of face paint, PVA glue, a tiara and an ice cream cone

Rhowans hair and makeup
Rhowans hair and makeup

And then we got to work and started to shooting. Today I used a beauty dish and some barn doors to create my images along side lighting gels. 

Lighting set up on todays shoot
Lighting set up on todays shoot

Now it is time to crack on with some editing 🙂 Watch out for the work to be uploaded once it has been edited. Incandescent 16 will probably post some too so look out for us on facebook, instagram and twitter as well

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 10th 2016 

12:26pm

Beginning to Shoot some NEW WORK

So today I am beginning to shoot some new work along the same lines of Улыбка with the central message challenging social constructs and expectations. I am working with a 15 year old model Rhowan who has the most perfect aesthetics for what I want. When she arrives she is going to be transformed through the use of facepaint and PVA glue into a mythical creature. Watch this space for the new work to be presented.

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 9th 2016

Inspiration for New Work

On April 19th 2016 I went to !Audacious Church – Manchester, to The Belonging (The young adults night they run) and Pastor Paul Garner spoke. His word for the night really spoke into the work I was producing for Улыбка and inspired me for a new body of work which I am just about to begin shooting. The point that inspired me the most was the idea of the Instagram goals hashtags and how these encourage people to aim to meet these social goals and insert their own goals into it. This is unrealistic because we should not have to be trying to achieve these goals. The definition of a goal is

“the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”

This really aggravates me because I don’t see why I should have to aim to meet these goals and compete aspects of my own life with the same aspect in other peoples lives. This is what I want to base my next work around. I want it to highlight the ludacracy of these #goals.

On researching into this I found that there are a range of different goals for me to work with (along with a screenshot of what came up when I searched these hashtags):

  1. #lifegoals

    #lifegoals
    #lifegoals
  2. #bodygoals

    #bodygoals
    #bodygoals
  3. #hairgoals

    #hairgoals
    #hairgoals
  4. #squadgoals

    #squadgoals
    #squadgoals
  5. #relationshipgoals

    #relationshipgoals
    #relationshipgoals
  6. #bestiegoals #bestiegoals
  7. #gaygoals

    #gaygoals
    #gaygoals
  8. #makeupgoals

    #makeupgoals
    #makeupgoals
  9. #eyebrowgoals

    #eyebrowgoals
    #eyebrowgoals
  10. #fitnessgoals

    #fitnessgoals
    #fitnessgoals
  11. #foodgoals

    #foodgoals
    #foodgoals
  12. #weddinggoals

    #weddinggoals
    #weddinggoals
  13. #tattoogoals

    #tattoogoals
    #tattoogoals
  14. #summergoals
    #summergoals
    #summergoals

     

I love to use aspects of my own life in my work as well and as I don’t want this to be fully made up of self-portraiture, I have decided to turn my models into an aspect of my life. A very special teenager whom I used to have the joys of attending church with has always known my crazy coloured hair as unicorn hair and this is something I want to include in my project. I want to do it in an obviously ridiculous way as I believe these #goals to be absolutely ridiculous and yet again see a resemblance between propaganda and them so am planning on turning my work into propaganda again.

 

Below I have inserted mood boards that I have created on Pinterest for my own personal reference:

Inspiration #1
Inspiration #1

 

Inspiration #2
Inspiration #2

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 8th 2016

Unfold exhibition – Pack down day

The exhibition was open until lunchtime today which was brilliant as it gave us all the opportunity to have a bit of a lie in and the opportunity to try and recover a bit from last nights antics! 

At around 12pm a group of us arrived to help pack down and this included removing all of the work off the walls, wrapping work back up ready for it’s journey back to Blackpool (and in a few weeks down to London), and taking the walls down, packing the stage down from the fashion show and basically just getting the room back to how it was before we arrived! This seemed to go a lot quicker than I personally expected it too! I mean I was on my way back to Blackpool just after 2pm!

The past three days have been an incredible experience! I have learnt so much and have been involved in my first ever exhibition. It has been a stressful and tiring experience but I would not change any of it for the world! These stressful and tiring times have not over shadowed the highlights and great times that have also come with this experience. All I can say now is BRING ON LONDON!

 

July 5th 2016 

6 – 10 pm 

Hoxton Arches,

402 Cremer St,

London,

E2 8HD

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 7th 2016

Unfold exhibition – Exhibition Day!

Morning

Today is THE DAY! So first things first I need to go and get myself sorted for tonight which means a hair cut and SHOPPING!!! << My favourite sport!

Afternoon

My hair is now looking fabulous and I have an outfit so I will most definitely not be showing up to the exhibition private viewing in my paint covered leggings and a casual top! On the way back from town, alongside Michael Snape and Charlotte Parkin, we decided to pop in to the exhibition and see how it was all looking and make sure there was no last minute things which were needed to be done – thankfully there wasn’t – and then we continued back to our hotel so that we can now start the pampering and attempting to make ourselves look presentable for tonight!

Evening

IT’S BEEN AND GONE!!! It was such a good evening and we had a great turn out! I got talking to some really interesting people and my work seemed to go down rather well (This was a relief for me because I had decided to present it in such a different manner to how photography would traditionally be presented). Here is some photographs of me with my work:

Me with my work (Photo credit: Ashley Blakeley )
Me with my work
(Photo credit: Ashley Blakeley )

 

Photo credit: Allan Findlow (my proud father)
Photo credit: Allan Findlow (my proud father)

And now from me and some of my fellow photographers

Thank you so much for all the support we have received through this process we really appreciate it! 

We hope you have enjoyed our work and don’t forget our London exhibition:

July 5th 2016 

6 – 10 pm 

Hoxton Arches,

402 Cremer St,

London,

E2 8HD

We will be where the red dot is (Just google map us! That's all I did and this came up)
We will be where the red dot is
(Just google map us! That’s all I did and this came up)

Now we are off for a celebratory drink!

So from all of us 

GOODNIGHT! 

X

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 6th 2016

Unfold exhibition – A day of mirror mounting, painting and mounting of work

Today I, alongside a group of fellow photographers, artists, graphic designers, illustrators, fashion designers and tutors, arrived in Manchester at The Old Granada Studios and began to set up ready for Unfold tomorrow night. I set off from Blackpool just after 8 in the hopes of arriving at around 9:30 so that I had the entire day to help with set up. After getting ridiculously lost attempting to find the venue (which did not surprise me in the slightest as my sense of direction is atrocious!) I arrived at just after 10:30am and got put straight to work. A group of 7 of us were given a refresher course in how to mirror mount framed photographs and then started cracking on screwing the mirror mounts onto the 30+ frames. As we continued with this task our forces grew as more fellow photographers arrived and began to cut our work load down.

Mirror Mounting (Photo Credit: Beanie Steadman )
Mirror Mounting (Photo Credit: Beanie Steadman )

Whilst we were doing this some of the more manly guys on our team started putting our walls together as can be seen in the collage created by Katrina H Burton

Once the walls were all up and ready a group of us set to work scrapping any lumps and bumps off the walls, filling in any holes that we could see and repainting every single piece of wall (This bit was the messy bit – I ended up with massive blobs of white paint of my forehead, my arm and my new leggings as well as the rest of my right arm looking like a dot to dot puzzle!)

Photo/ collage credit: Libby Nightingale
Photo/ collage credit: Libby Nightingale

After all this was done we got a well deserved break and went our separate ways to get food and in some of our cases, MOCKTAILS!

Photo credit: Beanie Steadman
Photo credit: Beanie Steadman

 

The lovely Beanie and her mocktail
The lovely Beanie and her mocktail

Upon arriving back at the gallery, the curator, Aaron (an absolute legend of a man whom this whole exhibition would not have happened without!), had organised and curated all the work so all that was left to do was hang it. To do this we worked in teams of 3/4 and Aaron explained to us how to hang the work. Although he had explained to us how to hang it we soon realised that there was an art to it! I worked alongside fellow photographers Libby Nightingale and Dan Nichols. On our first attempt at hanging a frame we: Firstly, worked out all the measurements (the distance of the section of wall we were working on minus the length of the top of the frames that were being hung in that section and then divided the total by how many gaps there were going to be [so if there were two frames we divided it by three and if there were three frames we divided it by four] and this gave us the distance between each image); Secondly, we worked out where 5ft from the floor was (Originally we worked it out from the bottom of the wall which we soon realised was wrong when the image looked far too high); Thirdly, I held the frame up and making sure that it was straight (we used a spirit level for this) we marked where the screws needed to go; Finally, we screwed the frame to the wall. We soon realised this wasn’t a great technique though for many different reasons and so had to find a new way about it. Our new way wasn’t vastly different from the original way we just screwed the left side in first, then used the spirit level to make sure the frame was straight and marked where the right hand screw needed to go and then finally screwed the right side in. This way seemed to work perfectly for us! This was all well and good until it came to two people’s work. Firstly James Hess’ image was A0 and in a frame (Basically it was a monster of an image it was so big) which made our jobs ridiculously hard and it took more people than normal to hang his frame!

James Hess' work being mounted (Photo credit: Katrina H Burton )
James Hess’ work being mounted
(Photo credit: Katrina H Burton )

And the second awkward photographer was Libby Nightingale who had six images to hang in a column! For this we hung the first image as we had before at 5ft from the floor and then we had to keep repeating the process of hanging but making sure that there were 5cm between each image! This was fine for all the lower images and the image above the originally mounted one but it all became a bit of a challenge when it can to the top image! With the help of two chairs we embarked on what could only have appeared to be a lovely game of musical chairs to hang Libby’s final image! I got on a chair and marked the necessary distance between the image below and where the final image was going to be hung, Libby then joined me up on the chair with the image and I marked where the screw needed to go and then swapped places with Dan so that he could screw the image into place. All was going well by this point until we realised that we needed to do the other side so we enrolled the help of another trusty and sturdy chair! I jumped up onto the second chair and placed the spirit level on top to make sure the frame was straight (this proved to be difficult as none of us had a great view of the spirit level and neither did those on the ground so we just had to go with what we believed was right) and then yet again marked where the screw needed to go only to then swap places with Dan so that he could finish mounting the frame. Here is a photo of us during our fun game of musical chairs:

Photo credit: Charlotte Annie
Photo credit: Charlotte Annie

After this all the work had pretty much been hung bar those that needed to be hung in as a banner or in an obscure way (Mine was the obscure hanging!) which Aaron hung later on. All in all though it was great fun and provided us with a lot of entertainment and opportunities to learn some valuable skills and try our own hand at mastering these skills!

Why not come down tomorrow to view the work?!

Private viewing 6-9pm
Private viewing 6-9pm

 

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 3rd 2016

Unfold exhibition – The Making of My Piece

Unfold Exhibition is where a collective of photographers, fine artists, graphic designers, illustrators and fashion designers are coming together to showcase the work that has been produced over the past year. It is to be held at The Old Granada Studios, Manchester on the 7th June 2016 with a private viewing between 6:30pm and 9:00pm. 

Over the past three days I have been working hard to prepare my exhibition piece for Manchester. At the start of the week I had three final images for this section of the body of work. In this blog post I’m going to go through my week so far and the process to making my final exhibition piece and then will explain why it has all been done at the end. 

Monday

This Monday was a bank holiday and so I spent it having of so much fun getting confused and looking rather blonde in a timber yard. I went to the timber yard to buy an A0 size piece of MDF board as I had decided to exhibit my images in a fly posted style. I managed to buy the correct piece of board with the help of a very friendly member of staff and then started on the rather adventurous journey home. I believed it possible for myself to carry this board home on my own on a windy day by the seaside in Blackpool. I can promise you that it was not an easy task to undertake but I did undertake such task and I did succeed.

Tuesday

On Tuesday I shot and edited the rest of the images for this body of work and began to print them ready to start preparing my MDF board. Although this was slightly stressful, I did have great fun in working on it and you can check the final images produced out at http://northernstarphotography.co.uk/%D1%83%D0%BB%D1%8B%D0%B1%D0%BA%D0%B0/. 

Wednesday

Wednesday was the day when I began to start preparing my exhibition piece. I mixed my wall paper paster and then started to whack some images onto the board and managed to get myself covered in wall paper paste at the same time. Here is what I had got it to look like by the end of the day

End of Day 1

Thursday

Now Thursday was a joyous day in the exhibition piece making department because I got to spend my time ripping all this work back off of the board but before I could even get around to this I had to apply a layer of plain paper to the back of my board! I had to do this because I did not realise that when the paste dried it would shrink (or something like that someone who understood and knew what they were on about explained it too me) and it meant that I was greated by a bent and warped board when I arrived at uni in the morning.

After I had applied the layer of paper to the back I got to start of the most AMAZING and fun task of ripping my posters from yesterday off. For me this felt like a great anger management technique! Got to love ripping paper up! Here is what it looked like afterwards:

Part 2 of the Exhibition piece process

After this I went on to reapply a couple of layers of posters and yet again get wall paper paste absolutely EVERYWHERE! It was on the floor, on the board, on the posters, on my arms and somehow I even managed to get it on my feet! Here was what my board was looking like when I left yesterday early afternoon.

End of Day 2 in the Exhibition Piece making process

Friday

Today I was greeted by an even more warped and bent board when I arrived at university so I had to spend a good hour just adding layer upon layer onto the back of the board in the hopes that it will warp the board back to a straight shape *Fingers crossed*. After this though I got to go back to ripping the work which had been done yesterday off. This was the most satisfying and nerve wracking thing I have ever done! I didn’t want to rip too much off and it was hard to not just go with which bits of the paper wanted to come off. In the end I was happy with the final results of this section but I can’t show you that because it isn’t that much different from the final, final piece so you will either have to come to the exhibition in Manchester to see what I am on about or wait a few days and wait until I post a picture of it on here from the Manchester exhibition!

After this I slapped a few more images on which are not going to be ripped off or damaged in any way shape or form and then left it to dry and be transported to Manchester ready for Monday! It really has been a hectic couple of days! Here is why I have produced my work in this way though:

 

I was offered, like everyone else, to banner hang or hang my work in a frame but that just didn’t do it for me! My work can’t be framed. You don’t frame propaganda! and although it looked good just pinned to a wall when it was exhibited in the university gallery I didn’t believe it had really helped my concept all that much. I decided to fly post my work because:

  1. My work is standing against what society tells us – society says that art and photography should be hung in a certain way – I say stuff that I will hang it however the hell I want to!
  2. Propaganda comes about and we believe it and then someone points out that it is a social construct or expectation and people start to fight against it and rip the propaganda down, just for it to come back in a different way, shape and style and people begin to believe it again until it is pointed out to them again that it is something created by society. This vicious circle is what I want my work to be personifying!
  3. I want my work to personify myself as well and I am a broken person, as we all are, who tries to act whole and unbroken in places and that is what my work is doing – there are unbroken images on the top layer but underneath all of that the images are broken.

 

©Northern Star Photography 2016


June 2nd 2016

Incandescent ’16 Book Launch

This evening we have had the honour and privilege of launching our book Incandescent ’16 at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool! We arrived early and set up the book, beverages and snacks ready for the main event that started at 6:30pm. At 6:30pm all our guests were invited into the main room where two of the artists from the publication, Keeley Bently and Beanie Steadman, alongside photographer A.J. Wilkinson and our tutor David Gregory spoke about the work that they had been producing recently and the reasoning behind the work. Everyone who turned out was really happy with the book and we managed to sell a nice selection of books.

Here is a photo of the book front cover (picture credit: Katrina H Burton )

Incandescent '16 book front cover ©Katrina H Burton 2016

If you want to get a copy of the book you can buy one at our Manchester and London Exhibitions!

Manchester – 7th June 2016, Old Granada Studios, 6:30 – 9:00pm

London – 5th July 2016, Hoxton Arches, 6:30 – 9:00pm

 

©Northern Star Photography 2016


February 28th 2015

Breath is Life Exhibition Review

I recently visited the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and wrote a review on the exhibition currently showing there. Here is my critical report:

Ian Whittlesea’s “Breath is Life” exhibition, which is being held at the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool between 17th January – 14th March 2015, is a mixed media, fine art piece of work based around the Mazdaznan religion and the breathing exercises they practice. On entering the gallery you are greeted by a foyer, which has three photographs displayed on lightboxes on the wall to the left, with the welcome desk and shop to the right. The light from the lightboxes illuminates the whole of the foyer. Once reaching the centre of the foyer it is possible to look up and see the bulb, in which the whole exhibition is based around, pulsating above. Just before the stairs, that lead up to the rest of the exhibition, you see the artist statement hung on the wall that gives a bit of background knowledge to the religion and their beliefs, as well as what the exhibition is showing. Upstairs there are four plain white walls with only one of the walls including imagery. Along the left hand wall when you enter the room there are fourteen drawings showing the different breathing exercises involved in Mazdaznan. Over the balcony in the centre of the room hangs the light bulb, which could be seen from the foyer, which never stops pulsating through the entirety of the exhibition.

“Breath is Life”, suggested that it was going to be about something we cannot live without as humans, such as air and breathing. When originally viewing the exhibition, without reading any of the supporting texts, I didn’t fully understand how it linked into life or breathing, but interpreted the work to be a newly founded form of therapy that had a calming effect on people. I interpreted it this way because the pulsating light bulb had an extremely calming effect on me and helped me control my breathing, which is something that is often taught in therapy, especially for mental health conditions. I also believed that it was a new technique due to age of the models and the age of the people in the drawings. If it were a technique that had been round for a while I would have expected there to be more of a range to the ages shown.

After reading the supporting text I found that the exhibition was based around the Mazdaznan religion and the breathing techniques they are taught, which were demonstrated in the drawings and then in the photographs. The reason all the models were young was linked to the Bauhaus, Art school, where tutor Johannes Itten, a devote Mazdaznan, used to teach all his students these breathing exercises. After reading the supporting text I can also see how it links to other religions where correct breathing technique is essential, such as meditation being taught in the Buddhist religion.

Aesthetically it was interesting because all the work was separate, but connected in a way that lead you round the exhibition, and made you question what it was about, and why it was set out in the way it was. The use of lightboxes to display the photographs was unusual, but it linked to the work really well as it is all about light and the effect light can have. Only using one wall to display the drawings was also unusual as normally, art is displayed with space around them so as to be able to focus on one image at a time, but this almost worked as a narrative with the basis of the exhibition. The three empty walls also added to the calming effect of the exhibition, as you didn’t feel like you were being bombarded with images, and it also drew more attention to the light bulb. I feel so calm when thinking about this exhibition, it is rather unusual the effect it has had on me and it makes me want to return just to get the overall calming feeling again.

© Northern Star Photography 2015


May 25th 2016

A few weeks back I had the honour and privilege of being asked by Woodland’s school to spend a couple of days, alongside a fellow photographer, working with the children and staff capturing the amazing work undertaken at this school. 

The school caters to children aged 2-19 who have a wide range of severe learning and educational needs including: hearing and visual impairments, a vast amount of children on the autistic spectrum; alongside a wide range of other health conditions.

We came across a variety of complications whilst shooting such as being unable to use flash or reflectors due to it being too distracting for the children and there was constantly something going on so it was simply IMPOSSIBLE to capture everything that the school was doing to help these children over the short time we had to photograph the school.

The children were incredibly inspiring and the staff are so nurturing and place the children’s needs at the forefront of everything that was embarked upon.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to go back and work with this incredible school again.

©Northern Star Photography


December 8th 2014

In Absence of the Smoky God Exhibition Review

I went to see an exhibition in Sheffield at the Site Gallery. Here is my report:

The Exhibition “In Absence of the Smoky God”  by Matt Stokes was commissioned by Sensoria (a Sheffield based film and music festival) and the Site Gallery (where the work was being exhibited between the 27th September and the 8th November 2014). The exhibition consisted of two large screens angled slightly towards each other in a dark room both playing seperate videos. The videos were polar opposites of each other in almost every visual aspect. One was of a dark colour palette consisting of mainly dark browns and blacks whilst the other consisted of bright whites, rich purples and greens. The darker video seemed to be lit by one light source just out of view in the centre of the frame creating harsh shadows and high contrast, whilst the other was lit evenly using large soft boxes to create low contrast, soft shadow images of a more clinical look. Both videos used actors but no speech only faint noises and only showed what the individuals were doing and what they did as a group through a mixture of close ups and wider angled shots.

The title “In Absence of the Smoky God” suggests that something negative has happened and that the piece is going to show the after affects as in Absence suggests that there was a God before whatever has happened recently. I felt that it was trying to show the two sides of society in a parallel universe; the darker video showing the negative/ poorer side whilst the brighter shows the more positive/ richer side. I feel that this project could be dealing with the social issues of consumerism and poverty in today’s society, as well as there being a link between socialism leading to communism. I interpreted this through the way the videos are complete opposites visually and don’t come together at all, but audibly the videos become more similar until it almost sounds like the two sides of society are ‘singing off the same hymn sheet’ which suggested to me that the two societies were becoming equal. It was obvious that these videos were science fiction but I didn’t see the influences in the video until after originally viewing the exhibition and then reading the supporting text. This work was inspired by Barry Hine’s, “Threads”, (A Sheffield based programme) and was trying to show the two different sides of society and how the nuclear explosion affected life.

I feel that Stokes has been successful with this exhibition as after reading the supporting text I understood the links and found that I was able to interpret the title better. On first viewing the exhibition I felt the need to remove myself from the environment because the audio tracks together made me feel unnerved and uncomfortable due to the lack of harmonisation between the tracks which subconsciously made me think that there was a negative undertone to this piece or that something more sinister/ negative was about to happen. As a result when I came to write this review later on that night I realised that my emotional response was all I had got from the exhibition and that the feelings evoked had stayed with me and affected me all day. The next day when revisiting the exhibition I looked at the work in more depth and detail and started feeling empathy for both sets of people as I began to notice positives and negatives in both situations. This is why I feel that the exhibition was successful as it created an emotional response that deeply impacted me and kept me thinking about the exhibition.

© Northern Star Photography 2014


25th May 2016

Hello and welcome to Northern Star Photography’s blog 🙂

Here you will find exhibition reviews; thoughts and ramblings that help support and inspire my work; archived photographs and writings; and finally images from other work produced by myself as part of my personal projects outside of the Fine Art.

Hope you like it all

Jessica

x