Top: I was attempting to create an image in which I appeared to be a translucent ghostly figure by moving during a long exposure (an example of intentionally doing something which could be considered a photographic error) but unfortunately I set the focus on me rather than the wall behind me as I should have done. I think the resulting image is interesting, but is also an example of both intentional and unintentional errors in one image.
Bottom: This photograph was taken whilst my camera was on a timer, continually taking photographs whilst I prepared for a self-portrait. It was a fairly long exposure so I appear blurred and, in my opinion, I look a bit like a penguin. The photograph was taken basically accidentally, although I have taken a little time to improve the raw image and make it look more penguiny.
When creating the series ‘WOMAN’ I was thinking a lot about how we perceive beauty in society and perhaps whether this obsession with the beautiful was a little dangerous. To make the images I photographed women on 35mm monochromatic film and then used fire to distort and warp the negative. I wanted to demonstrate the reckless side of beauty and how damaging the effects can be.
I printed through these in the darkroom. Each time the negative is handled it partially breaks away or changes. Each image is therefore unique and can’t be recreated, like every woman. Although this ‘error’ is in fact deliberate in my series, using fire as an artistic tool is uncontrollable which resulted in images that I couldn’t possibly predict. Each photograph is so unique and the traces left by fire cannot be reconstructed.
We had no idea we were going to be at the centre of this chaos. A lady came up to us and demanded my camera and ushered my boyfriend and I to stand in front of Notre Dame. She then threw seeds up in the air and the pigeons flew everywhere. I’m not sure if she knew how to work my camera but I don’t think she cared either. As you can tell my boyfriend was not at ease becoming the pigeons’ new perch, but I was having the time of my life!
In all these images the error has occurred naturally due to bad lighting or the
camera falling out of my hand or a photo taken in too much of rush, or wrong camera setting.
These photos would usually be the ones I delete but because I have over 3000 images I haven’t got the chance to delete all the “bad ones” which are images in my opinion which are unsuitable for the purpose I needed them for, they are blurry or the image is slanted or just in my opinion looks dreadful.
I purposely sought out broken or malfunctioning compact digital cameras for this project. I looked for keywords such as ‘faulty’ or ‘sensor problem’ in the hopes of obtaining cameras that would produce distorted images. All the images are accidental and are the result of the transient or fleeting nature of the malfunction of the camera.
I have no control over the resulting photographs, all I can do is point and shoot. I find this way of ‘working in error’ to be liberating and therapeutic as it seems to be the antithesis of perfectionist thinking as I am choosing to relinquish control and embrace the flawed.
These are black and white 35mm film photos, this are the first photos of this film. My camera is quite old and sometimes don’t work very well. These are some examples when her mechanism blocked. Of course you can find more “photographic” errors in these photos. I like this art approach because from the errors we can find new forms.
Photography is something that I’ve been adding into my practice and I’ve been enjoying exploring with this new medium, meaning though that accidents do happen often, especially while using film, and that I’m not familiar with camera’s terminology and I can’t even develop my own films. With drawing I can use my imagination and they tend to be fictional suggestions; within photography though I’m trying to capture the gloom of reality especially when I’m visiting home. Black and white film has been a new revelation to me and I’m happy how it serves my thoughts about my home and my country.
Left: The image is completely out of focus, which I hadn’t intended. I was filming with an
automatic film camera, so I’m assuming that I didn’t give the camera enough time to focus; this way the image is more poetic though and I’m happy with the accident.
Top: The water marks on the picture weren’t intentional, although it was snowing when the picture was taken. My friend offered to develop my pictures and before he scanned the roll he didn’t properly dry the film. I didn’t ask for him to re-scan it though as I thought that the marks suited the film’s grainy texture really well.
Bottom: An error with winding the film, very much unintentional.
I have been taking “mistake” photos since a child when I used cameras
with no film in them. I am looking for spaces in between the things we think we have seen. I am looking for an atmosphere, a connection between subject and viewer, ghosts, fleeting light, movement, something I missed when looking through the viewfinder
When I am deliberately in pursuit of error I find it best to have minimal or no expectations of the images at all. I really like these ‘mistakes’ and have, through trial and error over the years, tied to replicate them selectively to produce unexpected images. Using and finding mistakes: Certain unsuitable techniques produce consistent yet unpredictable results for example over/under exposure, a faulty camera. I like the camera to produce something that I did not see at the time of taking the photograph.
In the first image “Eve” my subject had already been photographed in a more straightforward way and was willing – and had the patience – to let me play for a bit. I had found a pool of odd, interesting end of day light and put my subject in it. I set up the composition and the deliberately did not look through the view finder . As we talked I clicked the shutter. I wanted to catch something liminal or fleeting in the light, but instead caught an expression or feeling from the subject that I wasn’t aware of at the time and didn’t see until I reviewed the pictures later. These are things that just evaporate or fail to appear or when watched to closely, when I try deliberately to photograph them.
In image two “Bonfire” I wanted to see what the digital camera could do. I thought it would struggle with the contrast of light and dark and it did, but I was happy to waste quite a few frames just to see how it would manage. I don’t like using settings to help the camera cope. Again I didn’t find this image until I reviewed the images the next day. I like the pinky orange cast it has given the flames. I like that there is movement that give the subject life.
These two photographs represent attempts to experiment with digital as I used to with film. I think it is harder to deliberately make mistakes with digital. Film is something that can be played with more easily.
While photographing one of my sculptures, I decided to take some photos on my phone that I could quickly upload to Instagram. I realised after taking my set-up down that one of the pictures had glitched, which was completely out of my control and, at the time, rather annoying. I ended up keeping the image because I like the sunset-like colours it produced and the contrast of the intended monochrome picture to the intensely colourful glitch.