Creating a Visual Brand

websiteidea4

Since thinking about my CV, my site and my blog, it has become clear that I need to create a sort of brand, an image that defines my work, which will become a visual identity. My blog and website don’t match in aesthetic, and I feel this could potentially be confusing to audiences. Hollie Woodward isn’t an overly unique name, so my identity has to be clear.

I had started to make a visual identity, through banners on blogs and websites and using particular fonts, but looking at it now, I feel it is quite gimmicky, and could potentially be seen as tacky. I used typewriter fonts to continue my theme of using analogue in my work. This is increasingly becoming irrelevant, as my work is no longer strictly analogue; I have started delving into photo manipulation and digital practices.

Now, before leaving university and looking for opportunities outside of my studies, I feel it is time I start to make a visual identity and to appear as a professional. I have looked at a number of different photographer’s websites for inspiration, and it has become clear that simple is more effective. I particularly like Bertil Nillson’s site, the simple font and colour theme.

After some time searching for suitable subtle fonts and playing around with layouts and colour schemes, I feel I have found a suitable visual identity that can be transferred across a number of different platforms. I have started to transfer the design to my website, adjusted banners on my blogs and have also used it as part of my CV design. I feel this is a visual brand that is clean, subtle, timeless and visually works with any of my work.

To complete this, I think I now need a suitable photograph of myself that would act as profile photos and avatars for a number of different platforms, as well as to put on my CV. I would like to collaborate with my colleagues in creating this, as I don’t feel my strength is taking portraits.

 

Playing Detective

I haven’t posted on here for a while now, and I’m ashamed to say it’s mainly because of one reason. I recently discovered the PS3 game L.A Noire, and I must say, I am hooked. I have never really been one to play video games, mainly because I’m not very good at them, but driving around, stealing cars and running over people seemed a little immoral to me. But this game is really something different.

Set in 1940′s Hollywood, you play the role of Cole Phelps, a young detective, wading through the cesspit of violence and corruption within the city. This game doesn’t just include driving around, shooting suspects and chasing after them (although there is a lot of that), you also collect clues, interview people of interest, interrogate and read body language. You get to piece together the whole picture yourself, through a number of different forms of information.

Looking at reviews for this game, it is clear that there are plenty of others that appreciate the game’s seemingly real-life gameplay. With numerous game review sites stating that “clue-gathering is a methodical process – the challenge comes not from finding evidence, but knowing when to deploy it.”(Edge Online, 2011) It’s the reality that is attractive about this game, but it is essentially solving puzzles. Saying it is like Cluedo would not do it justice, but it uses the same principles, and Cluedo has been around for decades, with many different versions of it available on the market.

Whilst working with my uncle’s archive, I have been playing detective, and so has my grandmother, since she inherited it when he passed away in 2006. Piecing together the letters, photographs, postcards and diary entries to reveal a secret about my uncle that no one knew has been so satisfying that we now feel that we know him better than we did when he was alive. This is somewhat tragic, as we no longer have the chance to discuss these stories with him, but the archive is so strong that there is almost no need to.

For my work, I would like the audience to have a chance to put the pieces together for themselves, and take the same pleasure in exploring the archive as I have.

References

Edge (2011) LA Noire Review [online] available at <http://www.edge-online.com/review/la-noire-review/&gt; [18 May 2011]

Reparez, M. (2012) L.A Noire review [online] available at <http://www.gamesradar.com/la-noire-review/&gt; [24 June 2012]

References

5selection, (n.d) Things Organized Neatly: Curated by Austin Radcliffe© [online] available at <http://www.5election.com/2012/03/25/things-organized-neatly-curated-by-austin-radcliffe/> [Accessed 10 March 2014]

Allmer, P., Sears, J. (2013) Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs. London: Prestel Publishing

Barthes, R. (1980) Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. London: Vintage Books

Camobell, D. (2011) David Campbell- Narrative, Power and Responsibility [online] available at <https://soundcloud.com/mattjohnston/david-campbell#t=0:00&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2013]

Carmichael, Y. (2011) Edward Newton – Others [online] available at <http://www.yvonnecarmichael.com/38b/index.php?/exhibitions/others—edward-newton/> (29 January 2014)

Dillon, B. (2011) Rereading: Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes [online] available at <http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/mar/26/roland-barthes-camera-lucida-rereading> (26 March 2011)

Doctorow, C. (2012) Knolling: a verb for those who like things nice and Kentucky [online] available at <http://boingboing.net/2012/06/16/knolling-a-verb-for-those-who.html> [16 June 2012]

Foam Press (2012) Album Beauty – Erik Kessels [online] available at <http://www.foam.org/press/2012/erik_kessels> [3 May 2012]

Frequency (2013) Erik Kessels – Album Beauty for Format 13 [online] available at <http://www.frequency.com/video/erik-kessels-album-beauty-for-format13/83486195> [Accessed 3 March 2014]

Gorospe, J. (2013) Rain on the Baltic. Spain: self-published

Gorospe, J. (2013) Rain 0n the Baltic [online] available at <http://www.jongorospe.com/gallery/rain%20on%20the%20baltic/gallery-rain-publication.html>

Guardian (2010) Martin Parr: how to take better holiday photographs [online] available at <http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/24/martin-parr-take-holiday-photographs> [23 August 2010]

Harrols, W. (2014) Alternating Weekends [email] to Woodward H. [19 March 2014]

Highchair Editions (n.d) Others [online] available at <http://www.highchair-editions.co.uk/#/client/template.xml?aaa=portfolio/56461> (29 January 2014)

Hirsch, M. (1997) Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Kenedi, A. (2011) 13 Questions for Things Organized Neatly Founder, Austin Radcliffe [online] available at <http://www.printmag.com/featured/13-questions-for-things-organized-neatly-founder-austin-radcliffe/> [25 April 2010]

Kessels, A. (2012) Album Beauty. Amsterdam: RVB Books

Newton, E. (2014) Others [email] to Woodward. H (4 February 2014)

Power. G. (2011) TEDxVancouver – Greg Power – The Power of Story [online] available at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iExl_rF7zgQ> [13 April 2011]

Radcliffe, A. (2014) Things Organized Neatly [email] to Woodward H. [17 March 2014]

Romanek, M. (2002) One Hour Photo. [DVD] United States of America: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Rowland-Smith, R. (2013) The Real Thing [online] available at <http://photoworks.org.uk/real-thing/> [30 October 2013]

Simon, T. (2011) Taryn Simon: The stories behind the bloodlines [online] available at <https://www.ted.com/talks/taryn_simon_the_stories_behind_the_bloodlines> [November 2011]

Simmonds, C. (2012) It’s Nice That: Things [online] available at <http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/things-65> (29 January 2014)

Swazey, K. (2013) Kelli Swazey: Life that doesn’t have to end in death [online] available at <https://www.ted.com/talks/kelli_swazey_life_that_doesn_t_end_with_death> [April 2013]

The Photographer’s Gallery (2014) Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs [online] available at <http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/the-photography-of-william-s-burroughs> (Accessed 30 January 2014)

West, N.M. (2000) Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press

Woodward, C. (2013) Eulogy [email] to Woodward, H. [15 December 2013]

Woodward, P.A. (2014) Uncle Bob [email] to Woodward, H. [30 January 2013]

Album Beauty Revisited

I have previously looked at Album Beauty by Erik Kessels, but at the time I was more interested in the content of the photographs rather than the narration. Now, I want to focus on the curation of both the exhibition and the publication to get a better idea of what affect the presentation of the work had on the audience.

With the exhibition, some of the content was printed to a much larger scale than the original, with album pages blown up to over 6 foot high and passport photos propped up against the gallery walls. Kessel’s intention was to give the audience the feeling that they are walking through a photo album or are in amongst a family archive. As the content of the images is what Martin Parr refers to as “family propaganda” as well as shots that would be considered to be mistakes, this creates a general overview of the family album, allowing the audience to identify with what is depicted.

As well as this, Kessels presented some of the actual collected photographs, inviting the audience to touch and look through the albums, dipping into what was of interest to them. This is something I want to create for my exhibition piece. I want the narrative of the overall piece to be plotted by the audience member. Much like looking through a family album or rummaging through the family archive, you turn to what is of interest to you, unravelling mysteries that appeal to you the most. Presenting my work as a film or a book dictates the flow of the work as well as the narration and the content. I will have some part in the narration, as I plan to present collections of material, curated by myself. This again, is very similar to that of family photo albums. Someone has spent time on the presentation of the album, considering what goes into the album and what is left out. The album maker is the curator, but because of a book’s natural linear format, they are also dictating the pace and the order of which we should read the images. Personally, I don’t think this is an efficient way to tell a story of something so extensive. The audience should be more free to take the narrative in a direction of their choice, based on the content of the archive. As my project is largely about curating, I will look into different methods of presenting work to be sure of exactly how my methods will affect the way the work is read.

 

References

Foam Press (2012) Album Beauty – Erik Kessels [online] available at <http://www.foam.org/press/2012/erik_kessels> [3 May 2012]

Frequency (2013) Erik Kessels – Album Beauty for Format 13 [online] available at <http://www.frequency.com/video/erik-kessels-album-beauty-for-format13/83486195> [Accessed 3 March 2014]

Guardian (2010) Martin Parr: how to take better holiday photographs [online] available at <http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/24/martin-parr-take-holiday-photographs> [23 August 2010]

Kessels, A. (2012) Album Beauty. Amsterdam: RVB Books

 

 

Eulogy

https://soundcloud.com/hollie-woodward/eulogy

For the past 8 years, inside the pocket of his suit jacket, my father has kept the eulogy he wrote for my uncle at his funeral. I asked my father to re-read it and record it, providing he was comfortable, to which he agreed. I wanted to include this as part of my research because I see this as my father creating a narrative from both Uncle Bob’s experience and his own. My father was asked to write about the entire life of one man and his affect on the people he knew, within 10 minutes. This is no easy task and something I know he found difficult to write.

Is it fair to do such a thing? Why does tradition dictate us to summarise a potentially long and fruitful existence in a few minutes? To me, it seems unfair on both the subject and the writer. The writer has to be selective with what they include, having to choose the highlights of an entire life. The subject, although passed away, is summarised. There is something very unsettling about this to me. The thought that when I die, someone will have the task of picking the ‘best bits’, my whole life being reduced to minutes.

But what this does is invites others to share their stories, making the funeral of a loved one become a celebration of their life. We still talk about our uncle regularly, seeing parts of him in ourselves; my father’s intelligence, my brother’s mannerisms, my sister’s love for music and my absent-mindedness, he is always there. Now, especially after listening to this, I can see what Swazey meant in “Life that doesn’t end in death”, our uncle’s physical appearance may now only exist in reproductions such as photographs, but his legacy and memory will last so much longer.

Presentation Methods

For this project, the mode of delivery is very important to me. Because I want the narrative to be non-linear, this has to reflect in the presentation methods. I have previously looked at a few bodies of work that work in this way and am interested in how they achieve this through presentation.

Rain in the Baltic ©Jon Gorospe

Whilst in Santander for the #picbod exhibition last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting photographer Jon Gorospe. He showed us his body of work Rain in the Baltic, but for me, the presentation of the work made it all the more inviting. He presented the work as a series of loose prints, stored in a cardboard casing. This allowed for the reader to look at the images in the order they wish to see them. He didn’t want a pre determined narrative, but to allow the audience the freedom to choose themselves. He also inserted prints just with quotes on in relation to the work, which could also be arranged how the audience felt suit.

This is a method I feel would really work with my work. I will have a series of images of artefacts that are to be seen in no particular order, but to give the artefact more meaning I think maybe the prints could work as postcards, with additional information on the back of each print. The information would be sourced from the archive, maybe using excerpts from letters he sent or quotes from interviews with my grandmother. This allows the audience to build upon what they see, and put the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that we do as curators.

Other ©Edward Newton

I have also recently been in contact with Edward Newton. His works Others consists of a small collection of prints he found in flea markets. The prints were then published as a collection printed on loose sheets. I asked Newton as to whether this was done on purpose, he responded saying that this method of presenting allowed the audience to do what they wanted with it. They could hang the prints on their wall, leave them in book format, re-order the, do they want with them. There was no particular narrative in mind when curating the images, he was more concerned with the unusual content, but allowed room for the audience to make of it what they wanted.

This method of presenting is very liberal, allowing the audience to have a huge amount of control over what is made from the series. But for my project, I feel this method may be a little too liberal. I do want them to eventually reach an understanding of a narrative, but want them to have the freedom to go about it in their own way.

In terms of presentation, another source could be by looking in museums and how they present their archive. Because I am working with an archive rather than a photographic body of work as such, I need to understand how they present their material to its maximum potential. I plan to go to a few museums in the near future and possibly meet their curators in order to understand why they present their material in the way they do.