Part 2. Assignment 2. Painting with light

Below is some self portraits where I’ve started to experiment with light and exposure. I know it doesn’t fulfil the brief.

I’ve always been drawn to the portraits by Francis Bacon. I’ve always found them really dark and intriguing. I wanted to try and re-create them in photography by using exposure time to create the blur and disfiguration.

See the source image

Bacon, Francis. Three Studies for Portrait of Lucian Freud. 1965.

I experimented with different exposure times, but didn’t get close to the look created in his work! I will keep trying. I’m thinking that I may have to introduce some make up to help create definition in the blur.

However I was really pleased in what I discovered by experimenting…. I discovered that by playing around with longer exposures I was able to create almost a double exposure…

After playing around I decided to set to 10 seconds. In that 10 seconds I would move my head and change my expression at 5 seconds. The idea was to create some conflict within the image.

Not sure why I chose green…just seem to work the best while I was playing around.

Next day.… I came back to the Francis Bacon idea…. I put on some make up and cut down the exposure time to 1 second. There isn’t enough definition in the photos to replicate most of his work, they are far too blurred…however I did find this painting below which is less defined than some of his other work.

See the source image
Bacon, Francis. Study for Head of Lucian Freud. 1967.

I feel like I got slightly closer to his work with the images below. It felt like I am painting with light in these photos.

Part II

I came across the work of the artist Leonid Pasternak, and with this assignment in mind, I was drawn to his work On the Sofa. See below. There were some similarities to the work of Francis Bacon, mainly in the way the faces of his portraits were not sharp, more blurred.

Pasternak’s work was different in that his portraits are painted in a very candid style… ordinary people getting on with their every day. His work includes the individuals surroundings.

Leonid Pasternak. On The Sofa. 1916.

Below is my take on his work. As you will clearly see its not very different from the self portraits I took in the style of Francis Bacon.

Part III

In my last set of photos I followed the brief more closely; using models, a torch and setting the exposure time to 30 seconds.

The emotional feedback I’ve received regarding the above photos from my children and from a photo I posted on Instagram was ‘scary’.

My generation is probably the first generation that have had to deal with ‘parenting tablets and phones’. Its all new to us on how we should deal with it, we cant look back at our own upbringing and cite what our parents did right and wrong. We also don’t know what the long term risks are for children. We can assume and make our own judgements but there’s not much research that can give facts.

Our gut says that its not good for them to spend too long on them. This causes conflict between Us the parents and them. Tt is also slightly hypocritical as I spend a silly amount of time stuck on my phone.

So what I wanted to achieve in these photo’s was a sense of unease and maybe even conflict.

I was conscious that I wanted to continue to be influenced by Bacon and Pasternak. I chose the ‘everyday’ settings found in Pasternak’s work, along with the blurred faces found in Bacon’s.

I particularly like this one (above) as there’s an almost alien feel to her.

4 thoughts on “Part 2. Assignment 2. Painting with light

  1. Fantastic Paul. Such a great creative interpretation of the brief. Great technique, creativity and execution. If you try this again some time it may be worth trying foundation on your ears to reduce the reflection.

    I find these enjoyable to see. Especially the 6th.


  2. Great set of images Paul, very creative. In the green set I like the 5th image, I like the contrast between the full on smiling face, the one we present to others and the side view which is a more reflective, pensive face.

    Your final images at the bottom of the post are also very good giving a “there but not there” feel for the subject of the portrait.


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