Project development

FMP - Reflections

I can’t believe it’s really the end. I so much enjoyed to be a student again.

I signed up for this course with the hope it will help me to break the impasse in my creative practice through finding my own visual language within photography. I wasn’t sure if it was the right move. For many reasons. One of my biggest concerns was the language as I was never confident in writing and especially talking in English. I was also afraid of balancing the course with permanent job and private life and to be honest I wasn’t really convinced that the photographic medium is really “my thing”.

The language was never a problem. It was a bit intimidating to talk during the recorded webinars but during the second year I found out that I talk too much and I am not really aware of passing time and other students waiting to be heard… It wasn’t easy to balance the study and private life and in fact during the last six months I didn’t have weekends or holidays but I was happy with that as it was a fascinating time. The true is I made it hard for myself but it was worth it.

It took time and a lot of effort but now when I know and understand the photographic medium much better than two years ago, I can say without hesitation that I love it.

What I gained during the two years course is invaluable. I will draw from the knowledge and experience for a long time. It changed me as an artist and I really like that change.

I feel very well equipped for the future and looking forward to turn my room into darkroom again. I have lots of ideas for the new projects which will be a further exploration of the motifs from the On dichotomies project. I have a long list of institutions, organisations, competitions and also individual artists to approach with hope for some sort of collaboration and a opportunity to be present on photography stage.

FMP - Statement

This is an eleventh version of the short statement I have been writing and rewriting during the last weeks. In these four paragraphs I’d like to encompass the essence of the project and I hope in this latest version I got it all concise and clear:

‘On dichotomies’ is a visual reflection on the omnipresent phenomenon of binary oppositions. It originates in the simple realisation that the nature of dichotomous pairs which I often understood as divisive and antagonistic, is in fact harmonious and complementary.

In this body of work, I revisit my perception of the seemingly conflicting entities and explore the balance and synergy that can exist between them. I focus in particular on dualities intrinsic to the photographic medium, which are in my works both the subject matter and the means of expressing it.

The images, created in the language of abstract forms and various experimental photographic techniques, tell a story about the coexistence of the analogue and digital, physical and virtual, organic and geometric, human and non-human, and many more dichotomous configurations which make up our contemporary world. 

It is a story that challenges what is real and exposes the relativity and fluidity of everything. A story that reveals the genius of chance and serendipity, and exposes the beauty of light manifesting its presence as pure blackness. It is also a tale of desire to see the unseen, and the joy from letting it be visible.

FMP - Failures

I don’t know where to start really - there was a lot of failures…But are they really failures? Perhaps they are but it was necessary to let them happen to get where I am today so perhaps it is better to think about them as a byproducts of a journey. Very long and exciting journey with periods of extreme excitement and total despair. Five moths of looking for something unimaginable from the point of departure, which began to reveal itself slowly only month ago or so.

The biggest “failure” was to stick for too long to some methods which were not very promising or it was very unclear how they may be incorporated to the whole concept of the project. The most spectacular example is the wet transfer from the acetate sheet onto paper which I came across by accident and found very interesting conceptually and visually. I liked the way the printed photograph change the form when submerged in water and then pressed onto paper. The watercolour qualities of the photographic records printed onto the paper this way were really seducing and I spent weeks on trying to make it spectacular, beautiful, significant…But it was very tricky to make it work and the acceptable effects were consuming a lot of time, paper, ink and patience.

This image consist of two separate A4 images created using various techniquest (algorithmic shapes printed on the acetate sheet and wet transferred on the paper, the organic pattern as a result of pressing the paint, hand drawing). Those physical, unique images were then scanned, digitally merged and then placed as a background for the browser based algorithmic “shape generator' to capture the computational forms on top of the composition.

This image consist of two separate A4 images created using various techniquest (algorithmic shapes printed on the acetate sheet and wet transferred on the paper, the organic pattern as a result of pressing the paint, hand drawing). Those physical, unique images were then scanned, digitally merged and then placed as a background for the browser based algorithmic “shape generator' to capture the computational forms on top of the composition.

Planning photobook as one of the primary means of dissemination and in the end not making it is perhaps a bigger failure. I underestimated the effort involved in producing a printed publication. I don’t want it to look like a quick mockup printed with Blurb so its better to focus on the exhibition and make it right.

I didn’t manage to produce any moving images which I’d be happy with. I created a lot of screen recording videos based on the algorithmic animations. They’re very attractive visually but there isn’t enough thought and intention involved there…

FMP - Exhibition venue and date

For some time I was convinced I will not organise any gallery exhibition and instead do some anti-exhibition somewhere outdoor and without any audience. I still like the idea but decided to challenge myself a bit and try to go out of my comfort zone.

So, I contacted the Centrala gallery in Birmingham created by Polish PEA non -profit organisation with aim to promote the eastern block artists which seems to be blurred out now and the place operates like a regular cultural venue and it’s quite active on the Birmingham art scene. I was there at the end of August just to see again the space as it was quite long ago when I was there last time. The space is just enough to fit the small 2D exhibition. I asked if there is a chance to squeeze me somewhere in November but the person dealing with the schedule wasn’t there. I sent the official submission online couple of weeks later and in two days I got the “Yes” and two date slots proposition - one in October and one at the end of November.

The November works for me so it will be a week from 27th of November till 2nd December. It will be a firs solo exhibition after a six years break so quite exciting.

The white walls and black floor seems perfect for the works which will be predominantly rather dark. I am thinking of using the floor for some flat symbol display too.


FMP - Photograms/luminograms

The third day in a IoP darkroom at Falmouth University.

I came here for five days to experiment with cameraless techniques with some ideas to verify. I spent Monday and Tuesday on getting used to the flow, trying different options and simply being overwhelmed with excitement and absorbed by the process itself. 

During the first day, I produced many prints mainly based on the acetate prints of the moire and other algorithmic forms I brought with me. I used various papers including the expired paper someone left in the shop which had a low contrast but lovely warm tones so, even though I wasn't able to achieve the deep dark tones, I used all the available sheets. I learned from the mistakes but also took some helpful advice from the other person present in the darkroom. It is a simple process but without realising, for example, how to control the light in an easy way - it would take much longer to get the desired results.

I also tried out the initial idea which actually took me to Falmouth Uni darkroom six hours drive away from where I live - the direct transfer from the virtual to physical and in a result a dichotomous fusion. I had a vision that projecting the image directly on paper will expose it. It turned out to be possible but not very easy to achieve. I also imagined that perhaps I will be able to use the animated algorithmic shapes and get the dynamic forms printed directly from projector onto paper but this stayed as a nice vision.

The time of exposure using projector is less than a second. I was manually uncovering the projector light beam and covering back as soon as I was able. It was all clumsy and there was a lot of unsuccessful attempts on the way but I managed to print some interesting images eventually.

Luminogram. Digital image projected onto the photosensitive paper. 

Luminogram. Digital image projected onto the photosensitive paper. 

Luminogram. Digital image projected onto the photosensitive paper. 

FMP - Experiments/Visual research

Really quick "sketches" using basic 3D forms and landscape photograps.

I almost completely forgot how to use zBrush - the only 3D application I had a patience to learn about eight years ago. Today I see it from the different perspective and perhaps its good I had to start from scratch as it is that basic, raw algorithmic pattern I am interested in now. The forms feel so organic - that's the beauty and uniqueness of this application. The organic geometry. Duality and unity.

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial attractiveness of some forms. One side of me is protesting agains even saving them on my hard drive but the other side is fascinated with that effortlessly generated places which I wish were real.

Algoritmic island


FMP - Experiments/Visual research

I always felt it is an easy trick to draw on the photograph but I decided to let it happen just as an experiment - the drawing, scribbling, writing on the top of the photographic fabric. The aggregations of lines just happened spontaneously and intuitively. Record of a moment, thoughts, emotions but not by the mechanism of the camera but my own biological mechanism. Not much difference since I can hardly control the shapes. I can only decide if I want to keep that record or not which applies to images captured photographically too.

I realised that there is an another dichotomy in those images - the language of selected/recorded external world and the visually manifested inner voice. Duality of expression. I had again that thought that I am also an apparatus.

I will continue my digital sketchbook. It is an another channel of releasing the involuntary forms. Perhaps something interesting will come up "by accident".

Digital sketchbook


All images by Rita Rodner