Reflective Report / Evaluation

joseph kesisoglou
click through the image to be directed to virual exhibition.

I have been researching for over two years the impact of informational media on society, with a specific focus on photography and the internet. In the same time I am photographing subjects that depict portions of enormous global networks, that are either infra-structurally invisible or mundane and ordinary, that we fail to notice them. For my final project I am exhibiting a set of images from this extended body of work, as framed prints in a gallery.

The previous research undertaken for the photographic symposium has helped me identify the medium’s limits but also the extended history. The research undertaken and also the extended two year period I have been doing this project, can be reflected in this final piece. On the way there were many difficulties, ranging from the logistics behind the project, to crucial curatorial decisions. There were multiple instances that I could not photograph because I could not have a window seat, or having the wing within the frame. I will seek with this body of work to prove my passion for the current subject of communications and networks built by humans and hopefully, it could work as a key to unlock, inaccessible locations.

I have based my work on classic principles of the documentary discipline, but with a modern twist, since it is informed in various instances by practitioners and artists like Simon Norfolk, Edward Burtynsky, Rob Hornstra, Richard Mosse and Trevor Paglen. I have been taking in interesting aspects of their practice, or simply specific bodies of work, selected for the mediums the utilise, the language used, the research undertaken and aesthetics. The same time my work is inspired by more traditional photogaphers like Ansel Adams, Bernd and Hilla Becher, other practitioners within the New Topographics and of course Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work.

As I previously mentioned in Definition and Mapping of final project I have deliberately targeted a wider audience, utilising visual aesthetics that can easily attract one. I some way it subversive, that my photographs could seem to document skies and clouds, but only act as front to the major project undertaken in the background. The same time are appealing to photography collectors, a means to fund the the rest of the project, and get this work under attention.

I have printed 6 images for the purpose of this exhibition. All photographs are printed of high quality photographic paper, clear white mat at 240gsm. In order to give the photographs an appropriate companion, I collaborated with a local framer that created 4 bespoke wooden frames, with white finish, glass, and preservation backing. It wasn’t the cheapest way to go, but I had decided from the beginning that if these photographs where to be exhibited in a white wall gallery, they have to adapt to the medium. This is the reason I will only be printing a limited number of 10 for the whole set, at 420x420mm. The prices are yet to be announced, but interest have been noted already, even before the exhibition opening night. On the time being, the set can also be viewed at the virtual exhibition, Alex Edwards and I developed, and download lower resolution copies from my flickr account under Creative Commons licensing.

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Definition and Mapping of final project

Purity of nature attracted me photographing the sky scapes, but soon enough I discovered that human intervention becomes visible with a closer look. Documenting human traces within the edges of my frame unconsciously became my practice. All locations photographed are distant from society. While traveling through Europe by airplane I found myself witnessing the beauty of the skies. Ever since I take advantage of my trips to collect those landscapes. The second part of the project is about the airport and its infrastructure. Restricted access of the particular spaces, intrigued me to look closer to the mundane objects that assist the complex operation of air transportation. I am considering to publish it in print.

Important aspect of this project is that I cannot finalise it in a few days. I have come to understand that in order to dedicate myself into a project I need time. And this time is either for researching the topics or spending it with my subject in a more relaxed fashion, letting spontaneity invade my plans. Rob Hornstra dubbed this in The Sochi Project as slow photojournalism. I can certainly relate to the term, especially in the age of information overflow, where words like slow and relaxed become strange, foreign.

Simon Norfolk has made a tremendous impact upon my work, ever since I researched his work for a an essay. His landscapes can often be mistaken as calm and peaceful, but in reality through his lens he registers tortured lands, not by the elements of nature, but the destructive force of humans in conflict. Similarly Edward Burtynsky documents massive landscape transformation by our industrial apparatus.

Richard Mosse, only recently being awarded the Deutsche Börse photography prize, for his multichannel video installation, documenting human conflict in Congo in an extraordinary way. His work calls for attention to the long-lasting issues of Congo, by using as a beauty as a tool, as Simon would say, to captivate the audience. Unlike traditional documentary Richard used an old reconnaissance infrared film to create unusual aesthetics that draw your attention, while as he said it registers the invisible, referring to the lack of awareness.

Indirectly, through the aforementioned practitioners, I have described you the ways I will follow in order to document topics of sociopolitical interest, which at the moment might only be a few lines on my notebook or an image but I feel confident in terms of direction.

I have been documenting nature for quite some time, and the I have realised that there is little or none of the pure untouched environment that used to exist before the industrial revolution. It has been this my current focus, to visualise even the most subtle human intervention, even the ones that try hard to hide from the visual spectrum, something that Trevor Paglen has been meticulously been documenting with the assistance of various technological devices.

Over the summer I will be looking into further education, through other photographic communities and the experience gained from the working environment. I have already applied for the International School of Photography in Latvia, and chose workshops from Simon Norfolk – “Photographing the Past”,  Rafal Milach’s and Ania Nalecka’s workshop “The Photobook: from Idea to Completion”, which is accepted will give me an opportunity to expand my skills and network with people from the international photographic community.

Exhibition Text Panel

Somewhere above Continental Europe, there are no borders.
One will come across temporal landscapes.
Details fade away and our traces become less.
The horizon dominates.

I have chosen to keep my text panel as minimal as possible to match the aesthetics of the photographs. These specific set of photographs are open to interpretation, and basically could address anyone. I have though addressed the general feeling that the create for me, which is about societal traces, control and authority.  The reason I did not reveal all information about this project in the gallery space, is because it would not be the appropriate medium for disseminating it. I decided to create a body of work that could appeal to the a greater audience, by using beauty as a way to attract one into the story, to paraphrase Simon Norfolk. In a way this exhibition was used to see the responses of people and take that “data” into account before I continue.

final set of images:

photograph below, courtesy of Christopher Trafford and img19.org
click on the image to get directed on the virtual exhibition website Alex Edwards and I developed for the purposes of the degree show.

joseph kesisoglou

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Curatorial Decisions

Even before I had selected the final set of photographs to be mounted I was certain of the frame type and colour. White is a conscious decision as it makes the prints look bolder than without any frame. Due to space restrictions in the gallery. Due to space restrictions in the gallery I had to determine appropriate size for the prints and then the frames. After the curatorial team meeting, we had calculated, with some new walls put up, that each of the 19 exhibitors can have up to 2.5 metres.

With this in mind I decided to go for an A2 cropped in square, which translates into 420x420mm. Keeping in mind that I didn’t want the frames to become a distraction to the prints I deliberately choose 30mm wooden frames with glass and white finish. A perceptual ratio of frame thickness and print size was simulated beforehand in photoshop. The prints are to mounted from edge to edge, without gaps, in order to dominate within the borders of the frames. Also I think the specific thickness is just about right compared with the size of the photographic elements.

Since I was still unsure four which of the six would be mounted, I printed six proofs. After all is much easier to judge with the artefacts in hand rather than on a screen. The photographs looked better in a mat finish. I printed them on a 240gsm paper with inkjet pigment-based inks.

Although I have edited on a calibrated screen, printed colours were over saturated and I banding was noticeable, even though all my files are in raw format, taken on a an 21MP image sensor.

I re-edited the images on photoshop and this time lowered the saturation and contrast, to adjust to the printer’s specifications. Resizing the images to 42cm from the native 31cm was not an issue, since all the elements are smooth enough that pixelation or other artefacts associated with up-sampling.

 

Second set of photographs, to be edited down to 4:

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