MFA Image Transfer: rocks, bark, and A4 canvas

Long overdue are some organized notes about my other transfer experiments. The photographs of objects have notes about how they were made directly on the photograph. Upon reflection I realize that for small objects with textured surfaces, more graphic (and less chaotic photographs) will appear better. This will involve me doing a re-edit of my photographs from the MA portion of the course, focusing on original files (photos without manipulations) and enhancing adjustment layers; specifically contrast and vibrance.

Once I find a transfer method formula which pleases me I can move on to this more serious aesthetic decisions. Thus far, I have found the most successful combination of gesso for both stone and wood has been a base layer(s) of white gesso with another layer of white/clear on top as a binder. This makes a mostly smooth, surface for the image on a textured object while still leaving me the option to easily distress the image. Multiple layers of clear gesso seem to be the least successful, giving a murky look to the images and taking on a colored hue in the gesso itself.

The A4 canvases each have their own experiment. There is one which has been dyed with tea (about 15 bags of Earl Grey), one which has been taken into the woods and aggressively rubbed into the ground, close to where the photograph was made, and the last two have watercolored borders and layers. I plan to alter one of the watercolored canvases further, making it a sculptural piece with the addition of natural materials fixed to the surface (pebbles, shells, wood, etc.)

The watercolored pieces have been well received among non-photography peers who have the impression that the work is related to fairy tales. In one sense, this is appropriate as "story-telling methods in Photography" is an important theme of my written work this term. Peers and tutors in the Photography realm have found the objects much more intriguing than the work on the canvas. I plan to continue to experiment with both approaches, perhaps finding a way to merge these two ways of working.

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