HOW IT WAS BORN –
In the first few weeks of the project I was at a bit of a loose end of what to do with the project. The idea that we could literally do anything other than photography stumped me.
I knew that I didn’t want to use a sketchbook, as I had always found them a real pain, to piece together. So I decided to use tumblr and create a sketchbook- blog. I didn’t really encounter any problems while using this format. It was easy to share information, show the use of interview/video influences and find useful research. It also allowed me to share my work with the public, giving me ‘likes’ and ‘reblogs’, even the occasional comment, giving me the positive reinforcement to continue with my idea.
My first idea of photographing stereotypes was now I look back at it, a bit of a joke. It seems to me that I was just doing what I always did before that, was try and think of an idea that the tutors would like to see rather than do anything I would actually enjoy. The set backs I came across while trying to photograph this particular idea were that, stereotypes are just too hard to define. I wanted to show that stereotyping wasn’t always a true reflection of a person, but it’s hard to get that kind of thing across without looking like you’re playing dress up. Needless to say, I started experimenting with new ideas of which one was linocut. Something I have enjoyed in the past and would maybe help me get back into the swing of things. When lino cutting I gained some rather annoying comments which brought me to the point of realising I don’t really think people on photography are very creative. Which made me think how can I show my own frustrations and get them to realise photography is more than just images.
That’s when Photographers against Photography (PAP) was born. A pack aimed specifically, at photography students to get more creative, including lino prints, bracelets, pin badge, camera shaped biscuits, my business card and a QR code linking them to my Manifesto page.
The use of using a blog was that it allowed me to link efficiently to a twitter account ( https://twitter.com/#!/ZoeLEstrange ), which I used to post parts of my manifesto, it also allowed me to link to a separate page displaying my manifesto.
For the project I knew I wanted to keep at lino cutting, as I had gained so many comments as to why I was doing such a thing.
The only problem I faced with the lino cutting was coming up with things to actually lino cut, coming up with ideas for illustrations at the beginning was difficult, as it wasn’t something I often saw in the world of photography, and not something I have considered myself particularly good at. However once I had gotten into the idea I found that the illustrations poured out of me.
I also had some minor issues with printing, as the print room was often to full for me to print at uni, so to get around this, I ended up setting up my own print room, buying a glass chopping board, inks and a roller, I was ready to mass print, at my own pace.
Once I was ready to print, I considered what kind of paper stock to use, the colour of the inks and which linocuts would fit together in the finished pack. I ended up printing on an off white thick paper, as I didn’t want the prints to be flimsy, printing in colours red, green and blue, which are the main colours on the colour darkroom enlarger. Looking back, if I would have had more time and money I would have liked to include the colours magenta, yellow and cyan. I did a few prints in magenta, but felt that the ink was too expensive for me to use 6 different printing inks. I am very pleased with the use of the colours and feel they work well, and look considered throughout my process.
I dropped a few of my early lino print ideas, as I felt they didn’t fit in with the prints I had done since. The process of editing down was hard, as each lino cut takes a long time to prepare and cut, but I had to put that aside for the sake of my finished pack.
I wanted my pack to look different to others that I have seen around uni, for example the ‘Don’t Panic’ packs, that are presented in envelopes, including postcards and posters, so baring this in mind, I felt that a paper bag maybe better suited. When putting the pack together I looked very closely at Fabien Barral’s Graphic ExchanGE website, as his website includes packs that have been highly considered and put together so that everything looks like it belongs together, and nothing looking out of place. With the idea of what to place on the front of the pack, I knew it had to be a lino cut to keep things consistent, printing this on the front with red ink, as I felt that would go best with the brown colour of the bags.
The back of the pack was the perfect place to put a QR code linking to my manifesto page, as this is the only thing that links the pack to is why I have put together this pack in the first place. How to put the QR code on the back caused a few problems. I tried to solvent transfer it to the back of the bag, so that it had been printed directly onto it, which I personally felt would look really good, in keeping with the print on the front, however this did not work. This was a tough one because I knew that my QR code had to be included, so using the same paper that my prints where printed on, I attached the QR code to the back of the bag, ideally would have liked to of had it printed on the back, but due to time constraints this was not possible.
Considering what else besides prints should go in the pack was something I though very hard about. I wanted the pack to be fun and inspirational, to get people more creative, so I thought about some of the things I enjoy doing when I am feeling creative and one of them was baking. This was when I decided to include camera shapes biscuits. I am quite a confident baker and thought this would be a piece of cake! However the baking process was a struggle, and they nearly did get scraped, but in the end they worked. I knew that if I were going to include a food product, I would need packaging, because you can’t just throw a biscuit in a bag. I had to consider what sort of thing would hold my biscuits nicely, that was clear and individually packed. I also had to consider how to seal these biscuits to avoid them going soft. Early on in the project I had made a rubber stamp, but had yet to use it. So this was how I would seal my biscuits, using a sticker that showed my logo.
The pack also includes hand made clay bracelets and pin badges, to make these I kept in with the colours of red, blue and green, and had very little set backs when making them, other than that they maybe too small for some mens wrists, as I used my own as the template for size.
It was very important for me not to use any photography at all in the process of this project, other than photographing the finished pack for my website, portfolio and sketch-blog ( http://zoelestrangesketchbook.tumblr.com/ ). To not use any photography is my way of making a stand that photography can be much more than images, I did not once pick up a camera, when the idea of PAP came to me, and I think it is possibly the most successful project I have pieced together.
The thought process and considerations I have made trying to piece this together has made me think differently about photography all together, I am not going to do it for the tutors or the grade anymore, I am going to make good work because it’s something I want to do and if I am not enjoying it, I will now have the confidents to step back and change the project to make it my own. This project started out as pure frustration against the whole photography course, and in some ways gave me a break from the conventions of what other people think I should be doing, as I do a photography degree, but now it has changed the way I think and made me excited to grab the 3rd and final year with both hands and make it my own, giving it my all.
The finished packs, including prints, business card, pin badge, bracelet and camera shaped biscuits.
Lino cut of the Photographers against Photography logo, and it printed onto the bags which will hold all of my prints.
The bag will also have the QR code on the back that will direct you to my manifesto.
I put a lot of consideration into what I wanted the pack to look like, I think that this simple printed bag, not only looks good, but is also different to other packs you see around university at the moment, an example being the ‘Don’t Panic’ packs.
Self explanatory really. Don’t copy whats current, think of your own thing.
I find this lino print amusing as it includes at least 3 current design trends in it.
This was just a lino cut I did for fun while coming up with what to place in my manifesto. Then I thought it could be quite fitting to include in the pack. It basically states don’t do exactly what your told, be different to everyone else, think outside the box.
A quote I felt that was very fitting for my project. I know myself that I have feared to get things wrong therefore hindered my own creativity. I can imagine that many others are the same.
This is something I think a lot of people need to take on board when it comes to their work. I know people, myself included who have often been too afraid to try something knew, as they don’t know how it will come out. But after the project I did before this one and this project as well, I know that you might as well try and do it, and if it goes wrong you learn how to do it better next time.
This is a lino cut and print I knew had to be included in the pack, to make photography students realise it’s not about the sketchbook, it’s the project. So many times I have over heard, “That would look really good in your sketchbook” and it infuriates me every time.
Showing a process yes that is good, but doing things just to bulk out a sketchbook, what a waist of time. The time it took to do that, you could have done something meaningful towards your actual project idea. Stupid!
I had to include this in the pack, not only because I like the lino cut and the look of the print, but because it is very important for me to keep in my mind. If I have been shown to hold this opinion of photography, I have to stick to it.