For my local project I have been tasked to investigate a social issue. I earlier in the year I was doing lots of experimentation with street art using aerosol paint and stencils, when given this brief I thought it would be cool if I could carry on with that. I began my research looking at the work of Flox, a prominent figure in the NZ art scene. What I wanted to do related to her practice because she is famous for cutting out gigantic elaborate stencils
I gave cutting my own stencils a crack, and really liked playing around with layering and enjoyed experimenting and finding out new ways to create texture. I used spray paint and custom wood to test the stencils out, with mixed results.
During Jerrys snapshot I ended up getting the wrong end of the stick and thought that we could use the Colours of New Zealand sub-brief as our local project. After changing the entire tune of my project from street art to designing a publication and committing to the idea, I was told that there had been a miscommunication between the tutors and that Colours of New Zealand would not fulfill the briefs requirements. After spending a week with my project in a state of limbo, I approached Nigel for a bit of guidance. He referred me to the street artist Cinzah, who he said would be visiting ideaschool to recruit volunteers to help him paint murals around Napier.
After Cinzahs visit I signed up to help but never heard any word back. Feeling the pressure of having made no progress in my project for a week or so I decided to go back to making a publication. I did some research on book design and came across a book in the library called graf/AK, which showcased Aucklands street art with stunning photos by Fraser Munroe. When I saw this I really wanted to do something similar, since I was lucky enough to have 30+ street artists working all around Napier.
I also had a look at the bookdesignblog.com which Jerry suggested, and found a one off publication called New Eden. New Eden caught my eye because of the way the designer lay the photos across the whole width of the spread, giving a wide and immersive angle on the landscape photographs.
I found the map of the mural locations online on stuff.co.nz and hit the streets with my camera, but because of my obligations outside of course I was only able to take shots between the hours of 4pm and 5pm. This seriously limited my ability to capture every mural effectively because the majority of the murals were in the shade during the late afternoon.
I experimented with longer shutter speeds, larger ISO grain and variable apertures to try and compensate for the low light conditions but it was difficult to have a sharp result because I only had access to a lightweight twenty dollar tripod outside of course.
Every mural I encountered I took multiple shots using different white balances, ISO, shutter speed, aperture and lenses to try and get the best shot possible.
One problem I encountered during shooting was the fact that I didn’t have a wide angle lens or a panoramic feature on my camera to capture some of the bigger murals so I compensated by taking multiple shots of the same subject from different positions to capture the entire work.
After which I would open them in Adobe Photoshop and stitch them together using the Automation -> photo merge feature, trying multiple perspectives and combinations of shots to get a desired result. The process was messy at times but after a bit trail and error I managed to have a few shots that were clean enough to use in the publication.
Before I could take all my shots I fell quite ill a couple weeks before the deadline and fell into a bit of a rut. I ended up approaching Nigel again for some guidance who said an extension would be best so I could concentrate on getting better.
Over the two week break I scrambled to get all my shots and all my post production on the images finished so I could actually insert them into my publication.
I played around a bit with the page layout, trying to find a certain way to lay out the photographs so that they are all the same orientation and scale.
After much fussing and second guessing, I settled on having one photograph covering the entirety of each spread. Having no boarders or additional content on the page allows the viewer to be absorbed into the photograph without a boarder cutting the image from reality.
With all my attention focused on having photographs and summaries I almost forgot to design a book cover. I think the cover definitely suffered heavily because of the frantic rush that followed.
Below is my final publication that I have loaded onto issuu.com
Overall I am glad I managed to get a publication complete but I feel like it suffered deeply from the lack of time I had allocated to getting the publication completed and printed and I feel it could have possibly been much more successful if I had dropped the publication idea altogether and focused my attention on having some clean and carefully considered photographs to present.
Figure 3. TRE’PACKARD. PangeaSeed foundation. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from https://www.pangeaseed.foundation/
Figure 4.-8. Munroe, F. (n.d.). graf/AKBeatnik Publishers.