BIBLIOGRAPHY

Definition of veganism (2016) Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

Soth, A. (2013) Broken manual « Alec Soth. Available at: http://alecsoth.com/photography/?page_id=213 (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

hellenvanmeene (2017) Photos: A selection of works (in chronological order). Available at: http://hellenvanmeene.com/photos/chronologic (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

J A Mortram (2017) Small Town Inertia. Available at: http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/about/ (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

One day in history (no date) Available at: http://andreagjestvang.com/projects/one-day-in-history/ (Accessed: 16 January 2017).

Hilton, J. (no date) Isle of Sheppey. Available at: http://www.janehilton.com/photography/isle_of_sheppey.php (Accessed: 16 January 2017)

Jane Hilton / Isle of Sheppey

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Jane Hilton – a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in the UK. Her series entitled ‘Isle of Sheppey’ (local to myself), depicts numerous characters on the island. It is obvious notions of Martin Parr are carried throughout the work due to the lighting used, wether it being fill flash or available. The heavy contrast brings density to the portraits, playing upon the colours embedded within the clothing and objects. Appreciating said candid feel, this juxtaposition plays upon typical seaside town life and maps the way we perceive the subjects shown. These natural unframed photographs are open to our interpretation through exposing their homes and local events which helps piece together their identities, class and welfare. Influenced, this is an aspect I would only hope to transfer within our brief. Whilst documenting local vegans I will consider simliar production methods to Hilton’s, by introducing elements which reflect personality through exposing their environments subtly.

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Task I / Alec Soth – Hellen van Meene

Alec Soth, a portrait photographer devotes his series entitled ‘Broken Manual’ to escapees of civilisation. Documenting numerous individuals from monks to hermits, the overall series represents those who wish to seek an alternative lifestyle in conjunction to the everyday. Evidently, Soth’s use of available light endorses a cinematic feel. Pose profoundly plays a vital role in dictating the subject chosen. Visually the expression appears blank yet relaxed, a natural reflection left to our own interpretation of the image – adding depth to the portrait conceptually and visually. Is his expression a symbol of the sanctuary in which he has found from breaking the mundane? Granted, prop hinders subtle notions through styling too. An example shown within the subjects facial hair, indicating an “off grid” nature. The figure has fully let go of everyday routines and subjected appearances of a clean shaven man. The marked clothing worn also shares an indication of the subjects characteristics, a gesture of the rawness of living away from the commercial lifestyle and his personality as an individual. Displaying the subject outside forms a canvas, a blanket in which the body is laid against stimulating us as audience to question the significance of the environment surrounding the body. The figure shown is truly immersed with nature. His position between the mossy background forms juxtaposition between his self worth as a being whilst comparing the figure to nature itself. Soth breaks away from stereotypes of the working man and interrupts our ideologies of lifestyles today.

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Hellen van Meene – an artist whose approach bares witness of teenage girls through the use of square format. It is apparent, Meene reflects upon adolescence throughout the portrait of the subject portrayed. Prop vitally plays a role, comparing the figure to the mattress behind. Symbolising the girl as an object in multiple aspects. The towel beside reflects the light onto the subject, directing our viewpoint as the audience whilst mimicking the figures clothes. Simliar again, the towel below also mirrors the subjects styling, in this case the blue toned skirt opposite. Conceptually Hellen Van Meene reflects the “single” mattress as a means to project the status of the individual stood by herself, as if the mattress is a symbol for her independence as a female. The pose is left as a blank canvas, allowing us as the audience to again project our own subconscious upon the subject portrayed. Although blank, it is clear the viewer holds herself confidently yet her facial expression conflicts against this, carrying notions of someone who is overworked and fatigued. The combination of framing and location invites the viewer into the environment in which the subject is standing within. As the audience we able to connect to the surroundings as her residence, signifying home further forming the figures identity and her placement within class.

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J A Mortram / Visting Guest Lecture

Having spoken to our class through video call, Jim Mortram shared deeply personal and moving insights into his ongoing photo stories – Small Town Inertia. Mortram faced many challenges since leaving art school in Norwich, adapting to a Norfolk market town in contrast to city life whilst becoming a full time carer in his family home for his mother and balancing his own mental health.

Living inside a VW camper and with only a small window of time a week to himself (a mere 3-6 hours) Mortram worked around his mothers schedule. With a borrowed Nikon D50, shooting only local trees and wildlife – if by fate, he began watching a BBC4 photo season documentary Genius of Photography, sparking his interest in street photography.

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Mortram found himself walking around at night and the early morning between caring for his mother and with such a short amount of free time he developed a relationship with a local resident. An older gentleman living at the front of his house watching TV at an obscene hour in the morning. Over time, Mortram began to build trust and form a bond with said resident. Not only did the resident open up, Mortram found himself opening up to him after being secluded for many months. Mortram adapted accidentally into a part therapist for the community, yet it must be noted he wasn’t at all interested in taking photographs instead ready to seek human interaction again.

Carrying a camera soon became a comfort blanket, shooting whilst residents spoke to him exposing their stories and the identity they carried. Mortram produced works oblivious of how original his insights into a small village were. From suicide to now photo essays, Mortram’s work extends further afield than just the digital age, conducting our way of empathising with others and bare witnessing to stories which the mainstream media refuses to publish.

Jim Mortram’s interest in other beings lives instead of his own is an selfless and admirable factor – a direction in which I can only hope for my own work to eventually reflect. Many of the subjects Mortram depicts follow simliar paths as himself, low income carers who are heavily forgotten about in todays society. Mortram found love in a place where he hated with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Instead of feeling stuck and trapped he found pleasure in others without undermining the subjects. Shooting in B&W projects nostalgic notions whilst empathising the tones and texture within the portraits. Carrying Mortram’s interest in other beings lives, I will consider his approach to allowing time between myself and the subject to fully understand their moral stance on veganism to favour my work and produce a series which eliminates the stigmas towards said group.

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Andrea Gjestvang

Andrea Gjestvang

A Norwegian photographer, focusing upon northern parts of the world, documenting subjects who live in obscure places. One day in history depicts the aftermath of a massacre, revisiting a number of surviving victims.

“That day, a car bomb killed eight people and damaged the executive government quarter in Oslo. Few hours later, 69 young people were killed at a summer camp on the island of Utøya. The camp was organized by AUF, the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labor Party.” (One day in history, 2011)

One Day in History

These raw yet insightful portraits carry a sombre notion, many victims are of a simliar age to myself – its difficult to fathom experiencing such an event and having to continue with “daily life”. Noted through subtle facial expressions and muted body language, the survivors still carry the impact of the massacre everyday through physical attributes and mental.

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Andrea Gjestvang’s use of natural light highlights the victims forms whilst contrasting against the subjects personal environments. Conceiving their bravery – allowing the subjects to be depicted in a manner which doesn’t glorify the aftermath of the massacre yet signifies the importance of their survival. Using their own environments, reflects a sense of normality to their lives despite such an event occurring. Engrossed by such portraits, introducing simliar techniques into my own practice whilst combing natural lighting and personal environments will expose identity behind a vegan lifestyle in a subtle manner simliar to Gjestvang.

One Day in History

CONCEPT / VEGANISM

Vegetarian for a number of years and fast approaching a year of veganism, animal rights are more than a matter of principle for myself but a passion in which I strive to voice for the unspoken through subtle “everyday” activism and choosing a cruelty free plant-based lifestyle.

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
(Definition of veganism, 2016)

Responding upon the brief set of Identity, focusing my attention towards “groups” and the notion of documenting “strangers” – the stigmas surrounding veganism and the stereotypes faced everyday will stimulate my work. Having contacted a local group of vegans through social media whilst gathering responses from many who wish to break these stigmas, they have agreed to be part of this project – the outcomes will be a series of portraits taken on medium format film confronting who vegans truly are.


A number of stereotypes/stigmas gathered in response –

“You don’t look like a Vegan, you look great (referring to weight)”

“A lot of people tell me I do it to lose weight/stay slim or tell me I do it for being a dotwork artist and want to fit that hippy onelove stereotype, the neggy type that literally will not listen to a word I say will believe this. Tend to block out the friends and family that persistently felt like this about me.”

“A lot tell me the teeth thing, I think I may have even agreed with it way in the past! But the concept that we’re closer to carnivores than herbivores due to our teeth or something? I’m not entirely sure on that one tbh but I feel like it’s not strong enough. Our teeth and stomach seem pretty fine to chew and digest plant based foods.”

“The protein / malnourished thing is a big one – that often bothers me the most when it’s some chicken nuggets burger diet person telling you this..”

“It upsets me that there are people out there that not only typically see vegans as angry, self righteous characters, but they tend to not have the willingness to even understand the grand schemes of what this Earth is going through and how we play a part in that.”

“People assume I’m a hippy because I care about animal rights, whenever I’m ill it’s obviously because I’m vegan, my protein and calcium levels are DEFINITELY awful, people assume I think I’m better then them. The list goes on..”