The Archive: Alice; Not All There

The Archive: Alice; Not All There

Was it a dream? Was it a hallucination? Whatever it was, Alice wasn’t really there (I’m pretty sure Wonderland isn’t a real place, all the rabbit holes I’ve explored just ended in dirt), so with that main theme in mind, I embarked on a very self indulgent set of prehistoric selfies and amazing in camera double exposures.

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Somehow this concluded the work for the Alice project. I’m not sure what happened, the sketchbook just ends, but I have a box of prints and negatives including a few undeveloped rolls?!? I know a breakup happened, and as we know, at 17, that’s massive. Though looking back, I was totally the proverbial dick – so to that guy, I’m sorry. There is an evaluation in the sketch book though and the next one is for exam prep (exciting times coming up!) so that’s probably a factor.

Though the project fizzled out, it’s still one of my best bodies of work, maybe not technically, but because of the size of it and the sincere intent to make pieces that have substance. At this point I glanced the idea that photography could be art, that photography is art.

I still have to remind myself that. In this day and age where photography has become such an enormous umbrella, it’s hard to remember that Art is one of it’s segments. Especially when it’s easy to be bombarded by the photography of social media, where the images are mainly scantily clad women, for no other sake than provocative. And for a long time I hitched myself onto that, and the goal became flimsy and self seeking. It wasn’t why I started photography. I lost sight of what I wanted from the medium. That in it’s self was very dramatic.

There’s nothing wrong with shooting nudes, and there’s nothing wrong with the proactive media (as long as it’s all consensual, well managed and all parties are transparent in their motives). I like making beautiful images of women. It can be really empowering in the right context, but for me, it’s not substantial and it’s one dimensional. It’s not really what I want to do, to be known for.

I’m still working on what my “thing” is. I’m not rushing it, and that’s okay. At the moment my heath (which is rats at the moment) needs my focus and more importantly, my daughter. She’s the best.

Okay, so that’s the Alice project done. Coming up next is exam prep and final pieces. It’s more exciting that it sounds! There’s fire!!!

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The Archive: Alice; Tea Party

The Archive: Alice; Tea Party

This is still the biggest project that I set out to do, so the next few (more than few) posts will be all from “The Alice in Wonderland Project”.

At the end of our first year we were asked to think about our final year project that would span the whole year, so it had to be good. I knew that this was my time to shine and do something epic, but also something that would appeal to my mates so I could rope them in and just have a blast.

I had come across Annie Leibovitz’s Alice in Wonderland spread for Vogue, and in awe of the colours, surrealness and beauty I decided “I’ll lift that”. Don’t worry, I didn’t just copy, I had a concept; The Adult Issues found in Alice in Wonderland. A concept that was spawned from a book lent to me by my friend Lira; Lewis Carroll, Photographer by Helmut Gernsheim .

I vaguely knew that Carroll took some photographs, but not to the extent and to the subject that is explained in this book. If you don’t want to ruin the Disney version, or even the lovely twee romanticism of the books, don’t read that book and don’t read the rest of this post and subsequent posts. Just look at the pictures.

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Turns out that Mr Carroll had a lot of troubles; Opium, eating disorders, the questionable fascination with little girls, particularly that of Alice Liddell, the real life Alice, and generally a disconnection to reality. All of which I’ll go into more depth as we go.

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The Tea Party scene pretty much encapsulates all the issues, and is such an iconic “event” that it would have been daft, if not moronic, to not get my mates over, throw a tea party in my parent’s garden and rope in my sister’s friend’s younger sister because she was cute and blonde and had a dress! It was a beautiful day.

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In that Tea Party scene, as I’ve said, there’s a lot going on. The social gathering and it’s eccentricity, apparently Carroll would swing his tea pot from side to side to get the perfect brew; The grown men, who are clearly not compos mentis, who have this, flippant attitude to Alice, but ultimately intrigued with her company, she also flips from having fun to being annoyed with them; And the various riddles and questions about reality which arise throughout the story.

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This was the first time that I really saw that photography might be able to go beyond what you get in a fashion magazine, and really be something that goes over into the realm of conceptual art.

I also don’t think I’ve enjoyed making work as much as this. Everyone was wonderful and worked hard, it was fantastic. So to all my Alice players, wherever you are now, thank you.

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Next time; there’s a caterpillar, a cat, a white rabbit and some excellent photoshopping.

I’m currently scouring all the reference books I used to find the quotes and information to back all this up, but teenage Jemma didn’t reference well. But when I do, I will include a bibliography. In the mean time, there’s loads of articles and you can view the biography online.

The Archive: Composition & Days Out

Warning: This is a MEGA post.

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Any art student worth their salt will know how to make a new project brief fit work already made. This means that time that would be spent making new stuff can actually be used for sleep, replaying A Link to the Past and eating Reeces’ Cups. It was a magical time.

So when we were set with the project of exploring composition and understand it’s uses, I was like “heck yeah, just use them photos from them days out!”.

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Much composition! I know it really doesn’t look like much, but it was literally set for a week’s work to occupy us whilst the new first years were being sorted out by the tutors.

But I took a fair amount of photos that summer, mainly in preparation for our final year project, which will come up later, but also from some days out.

It was a good summer.

I had mainly male friends, I found guys easier to hang out with, but I did have one girlfriend, who was my very best. Sadly we drifted apart and I do miss her. Anyway, most days out revolved around skating and taking photos of said skating. It was great.

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I really miss that time, that age. Life was lived in the now, not worrying about anything. We we’re old enough to enjoy our independence but still young enough that we didn’t have to worry about bills, or work (other than that horny weirdo manager at Pizza Hut), the biggest concern was lack of pocket money, to buy CD’s and stickers and Lucozade.

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I went to Havering Sixth Form Collage, so we either went into London town (a lot) or down to Southend (before it got mega shite) for ice cream and visits to Honky Tonks of PMT for new  guitar picks or drum sticks (I like to play).

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The college hasn’t changed much, except for added buildings and security gates that make it look like a state federal. But I miss it, and I regret how the last term was spent in fall outs and loosing friends due to shitty teenage relationship politics bollocks.

Kids, when adults tell you that you’ll miss school and that it was the best time of your life; they ain’t lying. Don’t wish it away, and don’t ruin it with petty squabbles. Enjoy the bollocks off it.

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Macbeth

Macbeth

On the 31st October, I was asked to photograph the technical/costume rehearsal of an all female production of Macbeth by Tigz Theatre at the London Welsh Centre.

It was incredibly challenging as I only knew the basic plot, and spent most of the time pacing up and down to get the best shot, all in “real time” (and I had only time for one attempt), whilst being very aware that I had to be “non distracting”. I’m also used to being fully in control and dealing with natural lighting!

Followers will know that I’ve photographed a lot of women, and the cast of Macbeth were the most beautiful, dynamic and engaging. Wonderful on and off stage, I only wish I could have photographed more rehearsals! And I hope you like these as much as I do.

For full cast information please visit the Tigz Theatre site.

If you’re interested in seeing the full production photographs, or wish to inquire about a production being photographed please contact me; jemmabannocks@icloud.com

Edit: the whole album can be viewed Macbeth