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PHOTOGRAM DIPTYCHS

What Photograms of gelatin-silver negative and positive prints. Each print is on 16” by 20” multi-grade paper, with both negative and positive prints placed alongside each other to form a diptych. The negative and positive prints depict black-and-white abstracted yet recognizable familiar shadows of twigs, water droplets and a chemistry bond structure kit

How It was made in a darkroom with the following materials: a cookie tray, light sensitive paper, a jug of water, an off-camera flash, twigs, coins and a chemistry bond structure kit. The choice of material was mostly related to the university setting I was in, basically whatever I could find in the dorm room. After filling the tray with water, the paper was submerged into it. The twigs, coins and bond structure were then placed on top of the paper. The flash was then turned on, exposing the paper and creating a negative print photogram. This negative print was then put on top of another paper, embracing it with its already exposed print. Exposing this second print then led to the creation of a positive print.

Why The project began with an examination of the etymology of photographing, drawing with light. A photogram is an imprint caused by light, drawing itself around a shape. A camera-less process like making a photogram in the darkroom breaks the act of photographing into an uncontrolled playful act of working with light, light sensitive material and pure darkness. The imprinted images, both positive and negative, reveal forms and shapes colliding with light.

CLOSE UP: MEIKHA’S HOME

What: A digital photograph, close up and cropped, of a segment of a house. Everything is in focus so the background and foreground appear somewhat flat. On the background, an old window with lace curtains and rusty rod fencing. The walls are falling apart, with the brick exposed and the wood starting to crumble. A sheet of tarpaulin hangs below to hide some exposure. On the foreground, part of a clothesline droops with some torn shirts, held up by a bamboo stalk.

How Using a setting that allowed for a deep depth of field, this photograph was taken with a DSLR on a gray afternoon. The camera was handheld and zoomed into the scene. The intention was to provide more detail within the crop but also very little information about the general scenery. The ratio of the frame was set to 16:9.

Why For a close up, the 16:9 ratio (associated with narrative filmmaking) in this image reveals and hides at the same time. The intention of narrative is perhaps given in the form of 16:9 but not much is revealed in a close-up. I didn’t want to reveal the entire house, mostly because the rest of it is falling apart. But I wanted to reveal parts of the house that show it is still a living space: clothes line, tarpaulin and lace curtains. On a personal level, this house used to be where my late-paternal-grandmother used to live. Currently, it is inhabited by people I do not really know, someone in the family gave it to people who needed it more. To an extent, the image engages with an attempt to reveal a memory of a place. An attempt which ended up as a close-up of its current state.

GIF: FEMALE BODY

What GIF, graphic integrated format, images of body parts: neck and chest. As the image moves, the parts come alive: the neck swallows and the chest heaves. It is the body of a female that is depicted. Before the movement is repeated, a layer of splattered paint filters above the image before the cycle repeats.

How The process begins with videography: capturing digital video footage of myself breathing and swallowing while naked. The camera is zoomed in, capturing the form as organs and not as a full body. The video footage was then compressed into mere 5 seconds of movement and then converted into a GIF format.

Why The GIF format is a very fleeting engagement with the moving image. Essentially, GIFs are flickers of images that are given a new context because of their short time-span and low resolution. Commonly used in the internet to morph long scenes into new internet meaning i.e. the meme, the GIF is a very impersonal format. Injecting footage of a female breathing into GIF-meme format, I decided to do this project to play on the concept of the female body online. The intention is devoid of sexuality, rather it tries to be more personal and abstract. Especially as the paint splatter filters over the GIF like a curtain, the intention is to disorient the average GIF viewer who associates the format with readily shareable flickers of content.