This project has been one that has interested me from the very start. I find when I do projects I kind of lose interest or momentum with the project, however this project was different. The project set out to investigate the realm of analogue and digital processes within photography using the one piece of technology that it at the tips of most of our fingers…our mobile phones, specifically iPhones. There is a new world of technology within modern day mobile phones. iPhones are known as a ‘smart phone’ and their ability to use Apps (Applications), which enable you to use your phone on a much wider scale. For example, for this project I was looking into iPhone Apps for photography. There in one App in particular that I love, Instagram. This is an App that allows you alter the appearance of the photographs that you take on your phone and also have the ability to share these photographs on Instagram and other social networking sites. The alterations on the App resemble those that are analogue, for example, Polaroid of Kodachrome. The thing that fascinates me with these sorts of Apps is although the digital era is in its prime, it is always in some way seeking to resemble the old analogue aesthetics. The ability to take, alter and share images is at its easiest. The concept of this project isn’t necessarily what the subject of the piece is about, but rather the idea, methods and concept behind it.
Within this project I think certain elements have gone well and have scope to further into an extended or different project. I have been able to experiment with modern, digital technologies compared to my preferred analogue approaches and exploring new ground. I have always been against web sharing of my photographs and it has always been a minor phobia of mine, in fears that my work would get stolen or copied. This project has encouraged me to go against my fears and display and share my work digitally. It is a much more convenient approach and in some ways a cheaper way to produce your work.
I have learnt to apply digitally analogue aesthetics to photographs, without the necessary problem of making the images look too fake and false. The project has allowed me to understand that although I really don’t like digital editing programmes like Photoshop, in fears that the images will then look to fake and horrible, I really like the digital editing in Apps such as Instagram. The phrase, ‘a genuine fake’ comes to mind because although I hate photoshopped images I like the convincing editing aesthetics in Instagram, which seem like they could be more real in terms of analogue appearances than other editing programmes/Apps. It is a very weird phenomena that I am still trying to understand myself.
I think that the artefacts thats I have produced are good and reflect well in terms of how our modern world is now, with a much more varied way in how you can present and display our images. The thing I love is that although the digital seeks to have the ease of not printing, we still seek to have our images printed like analogue images. Although these are in ways of magnets, books, iPhone cases etc., our need in wanting the material object in our hands is still wanted.
There are also some weak points to my project that needs to be worked and be developed upon if I choose to continue with this project further. I am slightly disappointed with the amount of time I have spent on my minor project. It has suffered as a result of my dissertation and felt that more could be done to improve or develop the piece. With more time I feel I could experiment more with the subject matter of my pieces and create better mimics of the analogue uses and approaches that could be reflected in the digital. I have tried to produce images that I thought mimicked the traditional methods and subjects of the analogue, however, with that further research and experimentation that issue could be better resolved.
In terms of presentation I wanted to have mini installations for the pieces to show the analogue mimesis in the modern environment that we now all live in. I would have presented the magnets on a fridge door, presented the book amongst other magazines and books on a coffee table and actually have my iPhone case that I produced on my own phone. I am really disappointed that the iPhone case did not get delivered in time due to the company ‘misplacing’ my order and as a result delaying the production and delivery of my product. The only fortunate thing with the phone case is that you are able to view the product online, however, this really isn’t ideal and what I wanted for my project.
I have also found it hard in some instances that trying to prepare and order things for my project over the Christmas period is a nightmare, as places close and do not commence work until the new year. This has proved to go against me in my project and as a result has suffered, weakening my final outcome and feeling rather disappointed with the finished article. I have worked really hard with this project but I feel that doesn’t really come across.
To conclude elements that could be built on next time:
- Explore more with how analogue was used and what was being photographed and then apply that to the digital.
- Research further into the Apps.
- Built a better foundation on the subject matter.
- Prepare my time better to try to avoid accidental misplacements etc.
- Create a better presentation of my final piece (getting and using props that I ideally want).
Although I am not 100% happy with the final piece I think there is so much more scope for development, which I would really like to pursue in the near feature. I’m hoping to relate this project with my Major Project.
For my final presentation of my project I had the idea of creating mini installations that introduced my project pieces in the modern environment. For example, with my magnets I’d like to present them on a fridge door showing my image snap shots. Possibly display my digital Polaroids with the false frame, alongside my genuine Polaroids to compare the difference. Spread my book out with books/magazines of the present day and lay them on a coffee table as in you were in a casual environment at home etc. I would place my iPhone case on my phone to show the analogue inspired images on the digital technology that produced the images and also demonstrates the digital printing techniques.
However, I think I am currently unable to retain a fridge door that I could display for this project in such a short amount of time, as a result I am having to use a magnetic white board, which will need some imagination to create the illusion of a fridge door surface.
Another issue is that my iPhone cover has not yet arrived due to delivery issues, so I think I will have to show my cover online on the website I ordered it from. This is really not what I want or is ideal, however, I have little option. As a result I feel that my project is a little bit of a let down.
Below however, are the images I have chosen to place inside my magnetic Polaroid frames that will be displayed alongside some of my (failed) Polaroids. I chose these five images because I thought they were the ones that worked best in term of their subject matter and how they would relate back to the traditional use of the analogue.
As an additional element, I am thinking I will take in my FujiFilm Instant camera to photograph the the digital images, mimicking the analogue, in the modern environment with their modern printing approach, coming full circle in creating an analogue image of the products. So the project in essence will fold in on itself.
Below are some of my more recent Instagram images that I have produced:
Once upon a time there was a man called Ken, he owned the most beautiful Polaroid camera. He shot his Polaroids of his life and had many fun times snapping away gaining the snap-shot memories of his life. However, times soon moved on and Ken packed away his Polaroid camera into the depths of his cupboard and moved onto his next new photographic toy. The camera got left there for years and years and years, until one day, a young girl called Becky became interested in Polaroid. Ken announced that somewhere in the depths of his cupboard he owned a Polaroid camera. He searched the cupboard high and low and dusted off a black Polaroid camera bag. Sat inside was Ken’s Polaroid camera. He said ” Oh young Rebecca you can have it, I don’t use it anymore!”. The young girl Becky thought all her Christmas’ came at once, she now owned a Polaroid camera. She purchased some film (which wasn’t cheap) and was ever so excited to try her new toy. She shot her 8 not so cheap Polaroids and was disappointed with her results. The images didn’t come out how she imagined and wondered whether she used the camera right, the film somehow fogged or whether she is actually a dense blonde that likes to think she knows what she is doing. Since this day she has been too scared to buy some more film in fear that she will waste another large sum of money. So lets hope she lives happily ever after and plucks up the courage to purchase more film and produce some Polaroids that she is proud of!
Photograph of the young girl’s Polaroid camera:
Below are the young Becky’s failed Polaroids:
Before her Polaroid camera:
7/8 years before having the Polaroid Land camera, Becky was given a FujiFilm Instax Mini 10 camera by her mummy and daddy, which works in a similar way to a Polaroid whereby the film ejects from the camera after exposure. What was special with this particular instant camera was that the film is the size of a credit card. It’s mini and extremely easy to use.
Having had the mini Fuji beforehand, Becky purchased a more modern version of the Polaroid Camera herself. This was the FujiFilm Instax Wide 210 Camera. She loves this camera even though it doesn’t follow Polaroid characteristics in terms of the film size and final image, but you are more likely to have a better exposed image, which kinda takes the Polaroid aesthetics away but is still has its own aesthetic and appeal.
Becky’s FujiFilm Instax Wide 210 camera images:
The FujiFilm Instax Wide 210 camera is more like the digital Polaroids I produce on my iPhone because of the heightened guarantee that you’ll produce an image that is clear. The only obvious difference is the varying sizes of the digital Polaroid and the unconventional wide size of the Fuji Instax 210 film.
The differences among the Polaroid and FujiFilm can be seen when purchasing the film. Polaroid withdrew the Polaroid instant film, however, was redeveloped by The Impossible Project and they retail the film from £16/17 (excluding the £7.95 delivery charge!) for 8 single exposures. The FujiFilm on the other hand, retail their film from about £15/16 (in some cases including delivery) for 20 single exposures. The economical differences between these two types of film alone can be seen.
When introducing the digital Polaroids however, the economical differences can also be seen further. Digital is an age whereby printing digital images can cost next to nothing compared to the analogue technology. You don’t necessarily need to print the images but instantly share them in social networks and photo forums/blogs. The cost can instantly disappear. Even choosing to print from home computers now costa very little in comparison.
Although the digital is cheap and are more likely to get a clearly exposed image, it for me takes the analogue magic away. I like to be able to take the photograph with the original camera and watch the image develop before you. There is nothing like it. No digital App will ever effect me the same way analogue does. There is a certain sense of achievement when you do mange to achieve that one photograph that is amazing!! So for me…analogue all the way!!
Another thing to think about when doing a project like mine is how am I going to materialise my project? There are many ways using Instagram as a foundation in creating secondary artefacts. On the Instagram website there is a list stating what companies/secondary sites support Instagram in creating or viewing your photographs in various forms. The list can be seen below:
I have investigated some of the listed sites and have found them to be quite useful. Firstly, there are sites that simply support Instagram images being viewed online in a larger scale. One particular web view site I like is ‘Insta-Great!’. It simply allows you to look at your own images, people who you are following and popular images on a larger scale.
1. You sign in using your Instagram log-in details and you are taken to the ‘Popular Photos’ page.
2. From there you can navigate to your own Instagram photos by clicking on the middle icon at the top left of the screen (looks like two rectangles). Here you can view your images on a larger scale in a form of a scroll bar.
3. By clicking on the heart symbol at the top left of the page, you are able to view all the images you have ‘liked’. Whether that includes your own or other people’s, they appear in the form of a scroll bar. Another feature is that you are able to see how many people have ‘liked’ your image, the day it was taken, what filter was used to create the image and the location it was taken (if that feature is turned on on your particular settings). This can be done by simply placing the cursor over the image.
4. You are also able to view images from the people whom you follow. You can do this by searching for them or clicking on their name if they have liked your image or commented on it.
Another good thing about Instagram is that it is supported by popular book publishing company ‘Blurb‘. There is a particular App on the Blurb website that allows you to log into your Instagram account and then Blurb automatically arranges the images into a book. You are able to adjust the layout, order of the images and add further images too. It is so simple to do.
I have made one myself using my Instagram images, it is so simple to use:
1. This is the Instagram book opening page (you are also able to use Facebook to create books too) where you are able to look up how much your book will cost, depending the the amount of pages, whether it’ll be a hard or soft cover, the paper quality etc. From here just click on the ‘Make an Instagram Book’ button.
2. This screen the asks you to log into your Instagram account…
3. …redirecting you to this screen where you are able to give your book a title and name the author.
4. Blurb then automatically starts uploading your Instagram images, ready to be put into your book.