Photographic Satire on Social Media

Shrek_(character)“The rules of satire are such that it must do more than make you laugh. No matter how amusing it is, it doesn’t count unless you find yourself wincing a little even as you chuckle”

– Some wise guy

What is satire?

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Elements of Satire – irony, sarcasm, parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, double entendre

4 Techniques – irony, incongruity, exaggeration, reversal

 

Irony

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 by Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917, replica 1964

The use of words to convey something that’s opposite of the literal meaning of the word.

Taking the piss – PHRASE BRITISH IMPOLITE – to say something to try to make someone look silly

take the piss out of

“His friends were taking the piss out of him”.

 Duchamp takes a utilitarian, industrial   object and presents it as art.

 

Incongruity

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Banksy, Rage the Flower Thrower (2005)

To present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to its surroundings.

 

 

 

 

Reversal

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Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q. (1919)

“Elle a chaud au cul,”(She has a nice butt)

Giving Mona Lisa a moustache and goatee, Duchamp plays with gender role reversal.

 

 

 

 

 

Exaggeration & Parody

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Exaggeration – a representation of something in an excessive manner.

Parody – work created to imitate, make fun of, or comment on an original work.

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Sacha Baron Cohen (b. 1971)

Is a British actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer. He is best known for creating and portraying many fictional satirical characters, including Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno, Admiral General Aladeen, Erran Morad, and multiple others. Like his idol Peter Sellers, he adopts a variety of accents and guises for his characters and rarely appears out of character.

Who Is America? is an American political satire television series created by Sacha Baron Cohen that premiered on July 15, 2018, on Showtime. Baron Cohen also stars in the series as various characters and executive produces.

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Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., PhD, a far-right conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed citizen journalist

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Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, member of the Israeli military, and former agent of Mossad

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Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello, a far-left lecturer on gender studies at Reed College, co-principal at Wildfields Poly-Ed, and a Democratic activist who wishes to “heal the divide” in America between conservatives and liberals

Who is America Preview (interview starts 1:01)

 

 

Baron Cohen utilizes a wide variety of satirical techniques to make his work successful. He employs two distinct approaches to satirizing political and social issues. One, where his character will highlight the follies, stupidity, or vices of the people he is talking with. This is the case with the clip above. Another tactic he uses is to play an absurd character that parodies, exaggerates and characterizes an idea, social, or political group (see Billy Wayne Ruccick & Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello). By making a fool of himself, he is satirizing his target group.

Baron Cohen’s mesmerizing but terrifying infiltration of these communities is what makes his satirical approaches to these issue so effective. The fact that the ridiculous and obviously fake characters (at least to the viewer) are able to deceive and manipulate their targets is what promotes introspection, and critical thought of current social and political circumstances.

The key is to have the target of the satire be completely unaware that they are in fact being satirized.

Social Media & the ClichImage result for instagram parody logoé

an interesting article on travel photography cliché on instagram: https://www.fieldmag.com/features/instagram-trends-outdoor-cliche-photography

“As in any creative realm you use inspiration of people who’ve already taken that path. And I think in photography, as long as you use it to improve yourself as an artist, and then transition out of that into your own space, I think it’s fine. It’s when you stay in that realm of just riffing off of other stuff, that when it becomes a problem.”

– Mackenzie Duncan, BC based commercial & travel photographer, 17.2k followers

neonnight“People eat it up, they love it. Whatever people are into is going to keep happening.” – @youdidnotsleepthere

What are the problems?

Unoriginality and a facade of innovation

Photographers’ unawareness of their role in keeping clichés thriving

Cookie cutter formulas for success

A subsequent hesitancy to do something different

The Goal

To identify trends and clichés that have seeped into visual culture. To satirize the Instagram portrait community by employing irony, burlesque, incongruity, and exaggeration. To bring a more conscious awareness to our image making and image consuming on online platforms. To highlight the uniformity and contrived nature of highly successful (most liked, shared, copied) image concepts. To expose the visual inaccuracies that are prevalent in popular Instagram portraiture.

 

Inventive Photography?

Final Project.

I would like to pursue the creation of inventive/surreal photographs that are based off of my own personal drawings, thoughts and experiences. Here are a few artists that inspire me to follow the direction I have chosen. These artist inspire me because of how they work and what they create.

Christopher Mckenney
American Photographer, well known for his “horror photography”. He creates quite interesting, dark and surreal images which often portray people, nature, horror and beauty. Some images appear to be edited, however the use of natural light and recognizable human form have an effective way of delivering an unsettling yet mesmerizing experience for the viewer.

Some of his work:

 

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Joel-Peter Witkin

Creates dark controversial photography that often deals with allegory, death, corpses and religion. He started taking unsettling photographs that depicted his childhood. He was drafted and enlisted as a combat photographer for three years and recorded on film the bodies of soldiers who have died during training  or committed suicide. Witkin claims that his vision stems from when he was a child he witnessed a car accident which included a young girl being beheaded.

“It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother’s hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it – but before I could touch it someone carried me away.

Some of his work:

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Daniel Richter

Richter is a German artist. Richter often paints in an expressionistic way. He creates art based off his experiences of reality and is also widely known for his large paintings inspired by contemporary culture and mass media. His work has evolved from corybantic abstractions to more  politically driven and representational images.

Some of his work:

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Exhibition View Daniel Richter – Lonely Old Slogans Photo: © Belvedere, Vienna, 2017

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Lonely Old Slogans: Daniel Richter

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Claude Cahun

Widely known for her self portraits where she takes on many different personas. Claude once explained “Under this mask, another mask; I will never finish removing all these faces.”  Claude stood against the way male surrealist artists viewed women, (as objects) and created images of herself which challenged the idea of gender.

some of her work:

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This is a bit of an early stage of research for me in terms of my final project, having said that these artists inspire me for different reasons, furthermore each artist and their work get my ideas flowing and challenge me to think of ways to overcome road blocks which I continue to encounter when thinking about photography and creating surreal images especially ones based off of my personal experiences and drawings.

 

https://christopher-mckenney.format.com/work

http://www.artnet.com/artists/daniel-richter/

http://www.soskine.com/attachment/en/54077be34aa62c246f6eea8c/TextTwoColumnsWithFile/573490a27cc1384d25dfd619

https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/claude-cahun-untitled-c-1921/

Roger Newton: The DIY Lens Guy

One artist that really interested me is Roger Newton. He is a photographer who creates large abstract images and whose determination to create nonrepresentational work has lead him to create his own camera, lenses and film. He originally became interested in photography when he was attending art school in New York during the 1980s. It was during this time he discovered the pinhole camera and was at once drawn to the blurry and unpredictability of the images created. He would eventually go on to make numerous pinhole cameras eventually branching out to create lenses made of mineral oil, corn syrup, water, glycerin, or other refracting liquids. At one point taking a break from his photographic practice in order to research and develop the kind of black and white film he desired (Margarett, 2001). In his artist statement Newton goes to say that, “by designing and fabricating my own lenses I can control the quality of the light collected, the size and shape of the image field, and the colors in the scene. This allows me to work more directly with fundamental problems in the processes of seeing and perception, and ultimately the ontological problems of the thing and or scene depicted” (Foundation for Contemporary Arts, n.d.). He fabricates his photographs by layering up various liquid substances to create a lens. The lens purposely made to “exists out of the normal range of our visual faculties”. To reject standard photographic imaging systems and photography as a medium of representationalism. Instead focusing on the optical experience of looking.

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It is Newtons rejection of photo-representalism and focus on the methods of imaging making that interests me when looking at my own idea for the final project. The reason I say this is because for this project I will be continuing my role as art researcher, and focusing on unearthing photographic practices; removing all subjective interpretations and limiting definitions. Instead focusing on the facts, presently that means understanding photography as the use and manipulation of light to maintain an image. An image which as author and curator Lyle Rexler points out isn’t always based on realism (Rexer, 2013) . With this definition in mind I intend to conduct several experiments ones which like Newton’s will circulate around methods of light manipulation to produce what can be describe for all intensive purposed as undisclosed images. Always keeping in mind my definition of photography and excluding anything from this experiment which would distract or hinder it. A second reason I am interested in Newtons work is that his use of liquids to create lenses has given me another possibility to consider in my own experimentation and manipulation of light for this project. Other methods/ elements I’m looking at include (but not limited to); types of light sources, the chemical composition of types of light and things that give off light, Photographic paper manipulation, reflection/ refraction, filtered light, aperture, shutter speed/ exposure, light wave lengths, energy, Inference of light.

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References

Foundation for Contemporary Arts. (n.d.). Roger Newton. Retrieved from Foundation for   the Contemporary arts web site:       http://www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org/recipients/roger-newton

Margarett, L. (2001, June 8). Photography Review; Reinventing the lens for large   abstraction. The New York Times.

Rexer, L. (2013). The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography. New York:   Apature.

Additional Sources

https://collectordaily.com/the-edge-of-vision-abstraction-in-contemporary-photography-aperture/

http://www.lpwalliance.com/publication/43/

http://www.photoeye.com/BookteaseLight/bookteaselight.cfm?catalog=TR222&image=1

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz is a brazilian artist and photographer who has a background as a sculptor. His art pieces are generally made with non traditional materials within photography which create that sculptural component within his images. He usually works in series and his images range from being constructed of thread, chocolate syrup, garbage et. His goal is to create bold, ironic and deceiving imagery that references pop culture, art history or political comments. His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim, and has been exhibited worldwide.

Muniz often works in large scale format but then destroys the originals of his work so the only thing that is left is photographic evidence. He uses his photography as documentation because it creates the vantage point in which mimics the way he saw the piece in the first place. He has spoken of an interest in making these pictures so that “reveal their process and material structure”, of the artwork he makes.

Two works of interest are his Earthworks series and Waste Land. In his Earthworks series, it resembles what the movement did in the 1970s in relation to doing on location type work however, he brings forth cultural and historical references within the images like the Nazca lines from the Inca Civilization in Peru.

In Waste Land, the documentary presents men and woman who pick through garbage as an occupation. He tries to take this act of garbage-picking and assemblage of recycling and turns art into a more accessible experience through the use of common materials. His belief being, the art world should not be just for the elite. He states in the documentary that, “at this point in my career where I’m trying to step away from the realm of fine arts because I think it’s a very exclusive, very restrictive place to be. What I want to be able to do is to change the lives of people with the same materials they deal with every day.”

Two elements that I wish to take from Muniz’s M.O. are addressing the human impact with nature and with things or situations that people see or deal with every day. I want to demonstrate human impact whether it is subtle or extreme. I think that with people interacting with their environment is one thing but the impact with other people is a lot fiercer and apparent in modern day society. This demonstrate of every day common gestures or materials can be as simple as a cell phone or a tree, or as complicated as the food that we eat and throw away.

 

Sources and Links:

http://vikmuniz.net

http://www.wastelandmovie.com

http://www.arndtfineart.com/website/artist_1147?idx=m

http://www.instagram.com/vikmuniz/

http://www.artspace.com/vik_muniz

 

Micheal Paul Smith

About The Artist:

Micheal Paul Smith is an artist whose work concerns small toys in the place of real life objects, therefore, making realistic scenes through the use of plastic toys and thoughtful placement. He then photographs these scenes in a way that makes them look very convincing. He makes these photographs by creating a 1:24 scale ratio to recreate everyday scenes from the mid 20th century to -mid 60s America.

How did it begin?

Smith started off with an interest in making scale models of objects as well as an interest in photography. This combination later grew into something magical. He used his sculptural skills and photography skills to create convincing photographs of olden day scenes. Smith wanted to recreate the town in which he grew up in which was a town in America in the 20th century to mid 60s. His work is not an exact replica of the town he grew up in but it does what he wants it to do and that is to create the feeling of the town he grew up in and bring back his childhood memories.

How is it made?

The buildings are constructed of resin-coated paper, styrene plastic, and basswood, plus numerous found objects. The vehicles are from Michael’s collection of 300+ commercially produced, diecast models.

These photographs were all made through the use of placement. No Photoshop was used in these images; they’re all composed in the camera. He refers to it as  the oldest trick in the special effects book: lining up a model with an appropriate background, then photographing it.

How does his work relate to my work?

I am interested in a similar idea that Smith uses within his work. For my final project I am interested in taking recognizable items/objects, constructing a sculpture and then using photography to make the objects look like much more then they really are. Through photography I will change the reality of the object so it is seen as something different then what it is seen as in person. This relates to Smith’s work because he builds structures and then uses photography to change the structure he built into realistic photographs of a fictional town.

Progress photos vs final photos :

 

His Links:

https://vimeo.com/116577464

http://blog.flickr.net/en/2013/10/04/crafting-scenes-of-iconic-americana/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/24796741@N05/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/automobiles/collectibles/14SCALE.html

http://hooniverse.com/2010/03/10/mps-interview-pt1/

 

Tim Knowles

Tim Knowles is a contemporary artist that works in a range of media from photography, video, drawing and light Installations. His work is process oriented and relies heavily on chance. The artist makes his work through the environment and the use of tools and/or mechanisms that he sometimes creates. His work tends to show a lot of emphasis on the recording of a journey or drift. Three of Knowles photographic series/works that provided inspiration was, ‘Night Walks’, ‘Mungo Bush Walk’ and ‘Full Moon Reflections’.

In Knowles series titled, ‘Night Walks’ he created what could be considered a undisclosed scene by illuminating a path at night leaving the rest in darkness. He does this by walking with three wide beam torches, which captures the trace of his journey. He managed to capture this journey with a camera and through long exposures creates a mapped trail of light. This concept of the camera as a tool to captures the environment in a way that would otherwise be impossible to see is interests. This concept is interesting because he uses light in a way that paints a picture. In this series, he does that literally by using a limited light source to only illuminate part of the landscape creating a map of his journey.

In Knowles work titled, ‘Mungo Bush Walk’ he once again focuses on the idea of tracking a journey. This time he does not use light to paint only particular part of the landscape, but instead uses the natural light provided to record his walk-through Mungo National Park. Knowles made this work by removing the lens from a camera and then turned it into a pinhole camera. He also used long exposers to capture motion and then cross-fades the images together creating what he refers to as a, “Turneresque impression of the journey”.

In Knowles series titled, ‘Full Moon Reflections’ Knowles again, like in ‘Night Walks’ and ‘Mungo Bush Walk’ uses long exposer to capture something in nature that would not be possible to see without the camera. This work shows something that is ordinary, something that people understand and at the same time creates this new perception of it through photography. This series presents the reflection of the moon on a slow even flowing body of water. This completely alters the reflection through movement and time into something that is unrecognizable. This is an import concept because it challenges the notion that photographs are thought of as a reproduction of reality. Even though these photographs present the moons reflection, the viewer is presented with something that is not recognizable as the moons reflection. It is instead a trace of the moon distorted by reflection, movement, light and time. The result is a photography that presents the viewer with an image of a common theme recorded in a way that give the viewer a new visual experience.

By using the camera through experimental processes such as long exposers and altering the physical aspects of the camera, Knowles can use the camera as a tool to capture scenes in nature that would be impossible to see otherwise. His photographic works are an inspiration because I am fascinated with the possibility to be able to capture photographs that present an image that is otherwise not visible through the human eye. For my final project, I am experimenting with the idea that light both creates and destroys images through long/multiple exposers. By using multiple exposer, I will be able to create single photographs that contain multiple images that begin to destroy themselves as they are being created. In relation to this concept I am attempting to create this record of daylight. Each photograph will be containing its own individual scene, but through multiple exposure I will be able to capture that scene multiple times at different times of the day.

Anthony Rietze

Links

http://www.timknowles.co.uk/Home/tabid/262/Default.aspx

https://vimeo.com/230134604

Experiment #1 Artists


RESOURCES ABOUT COLOUR and ARTISTS

 

Go here. It’s an amazing resource of artists.

OR, HERE TO THIS GREAT web-based component to a larger MOMA exhibition about reinventing color

Yves Klein | TATE Modern | MOMA


Go here. It’s an amazing resource of artists.

OR, HERE TO THIS GREAT web-based component to a larger MOMA exhibition about reinventing color

Yves Klein | TATE Modern | MOMA

 

Sophie Calle | Chromatic Diet | Explanation about the project

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JESSICA EATON

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Jessica Eaton | Interview in The Believer | Her personal blog | Her professional site (click on galleries to access images) | Interview in Canadian Art | Good list of interviews
Lenscraft:Jessica Eaton Asks Us to Think About What We See

This following text is from various interviews with Eaton, published or referenced from her blog.

“She was aware of the science of light at work even in what she calls “normal” photographs, aware that subject and content buried those phenomena, preventing viewers from seeing what was there. In 2006, her work shifted and she began to bring those hidden elements to the forefront. She isolated light and color and time, even though to do so was to challenge the classical definition of photography as a way to capture a single moment.

“Using a wide array of experimental, analogue-based photographic techniques such as colour separation filters, multiple exposures, dark slides and in-camera masking Jessica Eaton builds images on sheets of 4×5 film that address fundamental properties of photography such as light, chance, duration, illusion and spatial relations.  Eaton has written: “I often set up parameters for phenomena to express itself. In the best of cases I push things so that the response comes in ways that I could not have thought up until I was shown it on film. Once you get to see or experience something you can use it. Then you can use it to see something else.”

A quote from a TIME magazine article:

“Canadian photographer Jessica Eaton uses her camera to create color invisible to the naked eye. She gives bright hues to gray forms in her series Cubes for Albers and LeWitt, and that work was recently awarded the photography prize at the 2012 Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography—a prize for which TIME’s director of photography Kira Pollack sat on the jury.

Jessica Eaton

“We’ve all mixed two colors of paint together, and either it makes another color or, if you keep going, it gets muddy and progressively gets darker,” she explains. “In light, things work really differently.” Eaton explains that she exploits the properties of light through additive color separation: whereas the primary pigment colors (red, blue, yellow) get darker as they blend, the primary colors of light (red, blue, green) move toward white. Eaton applies filters in those three colors to her camera and takes multiple exposures, a process that turns the gray form seen here into the vibrant ones seen above. “The color itself is mixed inside the camera,” she says.

One of the byproducts of Eaton’s process is an element of surprise: because her images are created within the camera, she doesn’t know what she’ll get until the photos are developed. “It’s a bit of a conversation with the world,” she says. “With the forces of time and space and contingency and errors that happen, because often there’s so many steps going into one of these, I get back something that’s also new to me, and those are the pictures that tend to end up in exhibits.”

But the photographer likes challenging definitions, and not just photographic ones. Although she dislikes the term “abstract” as a description of her work—it implies that the light she captures doesn’t exist in reality—Eaton says that her photographs acknowledge “how incredibly limited our ability to perceive the world is.” We lack the sensory mechanisms to see her colors with our naked eyes, and Eaton sees that as a metaphor for our inability to see the extent of the physical universe, whether it includes multiple dimensions or parallel universes. And, in that metaphor, she sees hope. “I love the idea that no matter how bad it gets,” she says, “there’s this wild so-called reality way beyond what we have decided it is.”