This exercise allowed us to pick a subject and produce four photographs that cover each of these genres: Landscape, Portrait, Still Life and Story. The subject could be anything at all but had to be the same throughout.
I generally quite like mixing things in the image, and because of this wanted to try and create something worthwhile. The object I chose was a rocking horse. I chose it for a couple of reasons – 1) being the general kitschness of it, and 2) I thought it would give me some scope across the various genres. I didn’t want to simply pick something that was simply at hand. I think in general I may be spending too long on the basic projects compared to others, but I don’t really mind as I enjoy putting together the concepts and the structures of the images. Plus to me, these are really just notes, starting points, and could potentially be larger scale projects.
For the still life image, I tried to work out ways of including the horse in a variety of set-ups. Initially I began with a dutch master style, before I ended up with the idea of the horses head in the bed clip of The Godfather. I had been playing with the idea of ‘full’ horse surrounded by objects, or whether to do a head-shot. Then of course it took a typical cheesy turn, so that it did become a ‘head shot’ – just the horse’s head. I started looking at the photographs of Tim Walker, as a rather interesting fashion and media-portrait photographer. I liked his use of the fish-eye lens, and his use of props – working on a Tim Walker shoot seems like it could be a good laugh. Unfortunately I don’t have a fish-eye lens, but I do have a Lensbaby lens that someone bought me as a present a few years ago. Its a good gimmick, and I thought might liven the shot up a little – in a Walker way. I tried having Play Dough as the blood, but it didn’t work, it looked just like Play Dough – so got rid of that idea and just placed an Italian crime fiction book in the background, blurred enough by the lens baby to appear really as an Italian flag.
For the portrait I had it in my head that I would do a Portrait of the Horse as a Muybridge. This is a total project on its own, and the background could certainly do with being adapted. I thought I could find a suitable background online, but it seems not. I might do a few more of these stupid Muybidges in the future. It turns out a rocking horses leg never leaves its rocker.
The landscape was pretty straight-forward. I took the rocking horse out to run free (rock free) in the mountains. We think that it is more of a mountain horse than a field horse, so chose mountains.
As for the story I wanted to play with the famous image of the Richard Prince’s Untitled (Cowboy) – so his was I guess a re-photograph of the old Marlboro adverts – spread through Marlboro country. Well I don’t live in the countryside, so I put it in the middle of the city. I wanted to put in around some flats, because there was a period when I was younger when people in flats seemed to have horses and would ride them in and around the flats, then set them to pasture in the central common gardens. Thankfully, this trend seems to have past. I came across Prince’s photograph simply in an article about the most expensive photographs are auction, so I had known the photo and thought it was something could be used in this.
Looking at the 4 images, they do appear to be very separate even though they have similar content – so I guess in that regard it was fairly successful. I tried to tackle a variety of images to go along with the genres, and I quite enjoyed this project.