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Since I've been gone...

Whilst I may have been extremely quiet on here, I have been busier than ever devising, fine tuning and beginning my Final Major Project at college. For those of you wondering, this is the project that I will present and exhibit for my degree so it's a rather important body of work to say the least.

I thought a lot over summer about what I wanted to accomplish this year and what I wanted my FMP to be about. I knew that it had to follow along the lines of what I'd been doing previously and I knew I wanted to work on the large format 5x4 camera:

I also knew I wanted to work with black and white film and hand colour, and that my project was going to revolve around three specific children's books - ones I read to my children. In terms of the topics I wanted to explore within the images, I was keen to amalgamate what I had been writing about in the critical and theoretical side of my photography degree:

Identity and how it is formed.

Representations and how we read them.

Objectification and stereotypes and how these shape our understanding of what we see.

I want to take the books and use them to portray the negative impact stereotyping and idealised body images can have on our children, at a time in their lives when they are most susceptible and vulnerable to damaging representations and idealisations, which they can neither fully understand nor recognise. I hope to achieve this by mixing Disney-esque aesthetics with the sinister undertones of Tim Burton's iconic style, making them whimsical and theatrical.

And so, little by little, I began to eat, sleep and live what I'm hoping will be my best work yet.

In November I shot the first two images of the first book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Photographing in the studio I projected an image onto my background and began experimenting with 5x4, 400 ISO film. The lead up to this also saw me laser cutting food shapes out of MDF and painting them:

Many a night was spent in front of the TV watching Cold Feet and trying to keep the paint to the wood and not the carpet! All in all, eight pieces of food were made, each a different shape and size.

The shoot went well. My makeup artist (Holly) blew me away with her skill and transformed my model into the perfect caterpillar balancing just enough cute with the right amount of sinister.

December found me huddled away in the dark room attempting to master the largest prints I have ever done (16 x 20). Luckily, all went well and I was able to finish the hand colouring before the Christmas break.

In January I returned to the studio to tackle the concluding image of this story. Having made a giant pair of butterfly wings from welding rods and an old net curtain (whilst binge watching Marvel's Jessica Jones) I was undecided as to which direction my final image would take. I had the choice of using my original model or the teeny little person she had given birth to.

On the day, I photographed them both, deciding to wait and see how the negatives came out before I made my final choice. But even then it wasn't simple, it was only after I had printed full sized and coloured that I made my final decision, ending up with the first three completed images for my FMP.

So, now I look towards my second book, The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, and starting all the way back at the beginning again. I intend to document my journey in much more detail so if you're interested keep checking back for regular updates.

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