This is what I think I want to work on for the next year!
Click here to view my two-page project proposal in Google Docs. This is what it says:
“Here is my working title:
All My Many Doubts and Explorations: Figuring Out Who I Am and How I Feel and Why I Care
(A collection of personal reflective essays and self/portraiture by Allyson Laidlaw)
What will this piece look like when it is finished?
Let’s start at the end and work backwards: when all is said and done, I want to have a physical book/booklet of a body of my work and the thoughts I had while I was making it. Like the title suggests, I will create a series of traditional and less-traditional self portraits. These, with the essays, will go in the final book. I’d like to use photography to accomplish this like I have in the past, but I’m interested in pushing that technique by collaging, compositing, painting, and/or otherwise manipulating the images to reach a final piece. I will likely use both film and digital photography to these ends. As for the accompanying “essays” (I use the word loosely), I am interested in writing commentary on my own work and reflecting on what each piece in the series means to me and/or using words as part of the piece itself. I have a feeling the final booklet will have a narrative element to it because of the time and thought it will take to develop the work it contains; I want this book to develop as I do.
What actual pieces will I make to put inside this booklet?
The pieces I put in the final book will be based on self portraiture and/or be thematically self reflective. I will not just have a book of essentially the same photo of me in different places and times; each piece will explore different parts of my identity, thought process, growth, etc. The essays will work in a similar way, with each one complementing a piece with explanations of how I came up with it, what emotions or experiences it recalls, and what it means to me.
With some of these pieces, I would like to explore reworking art that has influenced my thoughts and work. One such piece is Duane Michals’s “What is the Universe,” and another artist I am interested in researching and drawing inspiration from is Gerhard Richter. I would pay particular attention to his series “October 18, 1977.” The reworked pieces would not necessarily be imitations of the original artworks, but I might use the original piece as a sort of template and go from there. For example, I might use a similar technique, a similar pose, or a similar format, but ask different questions.
I may include past work in the final book for context if necessary, but I won’t count that as work created for this project.
What are the key elements and themes I want to work with?
I want to focus on narrative, vulnerability, exploration/experimentation, negative space and design minimalism, and my past’s relationship with my present and/or future.
What do I hope to accomplish with this project?
The reason I have decided to create a booklet out of a series of my own work is to integrate my fine art with my graphic design. I love editorial design because of the way it unites words and images and the way it makes images out of words. I love photography because of the way it can tell or conceal or suggest a story. Putting my work in a booklet makes it accessible, intimate (you can hold it), and portable (I can hold onto it for as long as I can keep track of it).
With this project, I am interested in getting to know myself in order to understand the extent of what is knowable about me, and perhaps by extension, about others. If I am successful at that, this booklet will be unavoidably personal and intimate, reminiscent of a journal, and a common journal format is a book.
More technically, I want to practice editorial design, to continue to refine my photography by slowing it down and being intentional in my process, and to learn and experiment with darkroom practices.
For the viewer:
I would like for people to be able to sort of step into my brain for a few minutes so they are reminded that everyone around them is a self-centered consciousness with their own experiences, thoughts, interests, feelings, situations, struggles, and whatever else a human endures in a given hour, day, year, lifetime. I would like to relate to people on a fundamentally human level and encourage vulnerability by practicing it myself. If I can put someone on to a new way of expressing themself or get them interested in experimenting, I would be more than satisfied with my work.”
This concludes the written proposal.
Below, please find sketches of the types of work I am proposing. These include photographic concepts, potential layouts, a cover concept, and more.
Next, please find below several examples of my recent work that is similar to what I am proposing. I feel that these pieces demonstrate my capacity to make larger, complex works for my capstone project.
Here is a link to view the full PDF of Brexit: What the hell is going on?. I designed the booklet and wrote the copy for it. The images are stock photos, some of which I manipulated in Photoshop.
Here is a link to view the full PDF of Zany Magazine. I designed the booklet; only stated photos are mine.
Lastly, click here to view my proposed timeline for this project in Google Docs. This is what it says:
- Brainstorm and plan subject matter, concepts
- Begin taking photos, including double exposures, to practice, experiment, and begin gathering source material
- Stockpile film and paper while I am working enough to afford it
- Develop summer film if not already done
- Compositing/collage work
- Make some optical prints, cut ‘em up and put ‘em back together in new way
- More prints (learning curve?)
- Scan prints/negatives, photoshop those guys into their final forms
- Keep making more images and putting them together
- Write regular journal entries corresponding to the current photos/pieces
- These will be the basis for the essays/written word part of the booklet
Winter (break) 2021-22
- Finalize writing and photo pieces
- Digitize the above material to be put in the book
- Design, assemble, and print the final booklet! (multiple copies)