In week 8 we discussed the philosophies of Jean Baudrillard and how the real has been disseminated by the endless stream of images now producible as of new technologies. The week prior we also learnt about participatory culture and how barriers to communicate and express artistically through images are low as of online networks. In this image I wanted to explore the combination of these teachings and how our online and offline identities are in conflict and how each influence our perspective of self and how others perceive us. The front figure represents our online identity and the obsessive nature of selfies which we use to construct a new reality of ourselves. The back figure portrays our offline identity and how we sometimes priorities our online life’s and have become judgmental on how we construct it. The phrase ties this all together in that it affects responders to consider their self; who are they really.
Ethically, I asked my friend to voluntarily participate in the images and kept them updated with the process and how it was being manipulated. I used Adobe Photoshop CC to composite this image which was originally two singular photos in a mirror which I then sliced and blended together. I experimented with how to manipulate the image to portray the figures artistically through the use of noise to distort the background but in retrospection, this cheapened the image which would affect how serious responders would consider its meaning. A peer recommended that I try “darkening the rear figure’s features to make it look more foreboding.” I took on this feedback and slightly darkened and blurred the background on the image and figure to give that ‘haunting’ appearance as well as sharpened the front figure. In looking back from my first image, I am glad that I incorporated this as it completes the final composited image by subtly alluding to the two dichotomy’s present and the characteristics of each; the selfie figure is sharpened and concise reflecting the venal nature of the practice and the back figure is blurred representing how it is forever present but not prioritized. Through the text, I wanted to mimic ‘eye charts’ and how they are used to test the depth of our perspectives. I choose to use ‘Andale Mono’ to allude to this sterile diagnosis process and shrunk the size of each progressive word. The final word is blended subtly into the background to force responders to look closely and the use of brackets to compound the word ‘selfie’ to take a moment in considering its meaning.
I enjoyed working through the process of compositing this final image and it was interesting having to be conscious of the small changes made and considering the affect it would have. Holistically, I hope this image captures my intent and makes responders more conscious of their selves.
“ Hey Cait, this is an interesting take on the differences in online and offline identity. The overall vibe and photography is really great and definitely draws attention to the figures on screen. I’m not sure if you intended it but it kinda looks like the figure at the back is non-too impressed, disgusted even, at the figure taking the selfie. It’s a really interesting effect to explore the reality of selfie taking. Maybe darkening the rear figure’s features to make it look more foreboding would be an ideal way to heighten her displeasure at the pressure to present the online self. Really cool concept, it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.”
All throughout this semester it has been discussed how mobile devices have become integral to our everyday life. Originally I wanted to explore the idea of capturing a moment contrasted to experiencing a moment and how this is affected by the device we use: either mobile device or a camera. However, through the iterative process of developing the image, it eventually turned into a visual commentary on what we miss out on by being consistently on our phones. This is seen through the use of 4 images where the main focus has been covered by a phone shaped box with text. This placement is paramount in making a direct comment on how we can miss moments that are right in front of us.
Luckily photography is one of my hobbies thus I just had to go through my files to find the images. I choose these ones specifically as they are very fond memories and although unbeknownst to responders, the most important part of the images is covered to create an urgency and intrigue. I used Adobe Photoshop CC to edit the images and composite them into a collage. I subtly altered the images through contrast and saturation to make them appear appealing and naturally beautiful. This is then contrasted to the plain black boxes to allude to a smartphone. I choose not to detail the blank spaces as I did not want to overcomplicate the image or take focus from the other images. This received positive feedback in comments as it was clearly identifiable although it lacked detail. The text I wanted to mimic a text conversation thus I created text boxes that looked similar, used Helvetica as it is the font of IPhone’s and mimicked the dialect of text messages amongst youth. The text becomes a part of the image and forces responders to consider what they interact more with; where they are in the moment or their device. Prior to changing my concept, peers recommended that I invert the masks, however through research this has become a common trope in making a comment on what phones capture thus I wanted to create something unique rather than copy the artistic expression of another work. This also meant I can avoid ethical complications as it was entirely my own work.
This image was stimulating to create as I learnt about how ideas do develop and grow which I am glad I got to capture through the reflective process. Holistically, I hope responders are affected to be intrigued by what they are missing out on seeing in the images thus become more conscious of where they are and taking in their immediate world.
“Hey Cait, this is a really cool way to explore the idea of connectedness. The shape and placement of the rectangles is a really poignant way of getting people to think about what they are actually seeing when they try to capture a moment. Maybe on the other photos, you could alternate the rectangles with the silhouette of a camera that way it gives a bit more breadth to the “disconnecting” experience. Just an idea. I’m interested to see how your caption will bring this all together. Keep at it, I’m liking the concept.”
“A very interesting concept that made me have a good think myself about camera and phone experiences. It is interesting that the only representation of the phone is the solid shape yet it’s instantly identifiable. I definitely agree with the statement this image makes about the loss of experience through phone photography. I myself know the difference made between using both devices and using a proper camera definitely adds an element to the overall narrative. If you’re considering making a collage maybe you could invert the masks and have the background black/white while the phones contain the ‘inferior’ photos. The huge empty space would represent the lost opportunity presented by the proper camera”