Secondary Research – Sophie Calle.

Victoria Abril- Prenez soin de vous
Sophie La Clown
Take Care of Yourself – Sophie Calle.

Sophie Calle is a French writer, photographer and installation artist.
In her project Take Care of Yourself, Calle creates a collection of interpretations of women’s responses to a break up letter she received via email from her lover. Take Care of Yourself uses the narrative of a jilted lovers letter and she creates her installation by using video recordings, photographic portraiture and textual analysis. She also frames part of the text to go along side with the portraits in her work.
By creating this, she examines the conditions and possibilities of human emotions and opens up the idea of love and heartache, gender and identity and intimacy.


What I really like about Sophie Calle’s work is that she doesn’t purely stick to one particular media to be able to carry out her project, she uses mixed media and I find that’s what makes Take Care of Yourself really interesting. The use of video really helps to capture the individual’s interpretations of how it feels to receive a break up letter – everybody deals with the situation differently and being able to use different types of media to help recording that moment in time possibly relates to the emotions of the individual.
The pictures themselves use soft and subtle lighting which helps set the emotion in the photograph – having soft lighting makes the individual appear to be gentle and fragile to the situation Sophie Calle is putting them in. The use of framing is quite important, even though it is part of a collection, it also remains as an individual artifact. The framing secludes everything inside of itself – what is inside the frame is the story and the story is told as a tableaux as well a series.
The use of narrative is really unusual for this art project. It all has the same storyline, but because the 107 different woman used to create this installation everybody reflects on the letter differently. Memory is one key thing, everybody has been in a similar situation of going through a breakup and reading something can bring up the memory of that time.
How will Sophie Calle help me with my work?
Calle uses both photography and video recording to help create Take Care of Yourself. For my project, I will be using both mediums (if not something similar) to create my final outcomes for my final pieces. Take Care of Yourself is rather personal just like what my project will be, however I do not plan on gathering 107 women and a parrot  to create my pieces. Even though Calle has used other women to portray the emotion of reading a break up letter, she somehow manages to reflect herself through these women – everybody had a different emotion and she probably went through them all at different stages of when she read / re-read the letter. My project will reflect on my memories as well as my mothers, but using only both myself and my mother. I feel it would be inappropriate to use strangers to reflect on something that is really personal to me.

Secondary Research – Yaron Lapid: “The New Zero”

The New Zero is an ongoing project which plays on the nature of photography and it’s ability to assemble and disassemble layers of history.

yaron lapid.4In 1999, Yaron Lapid found several envelopes on the floor or a recently demolished area in Jerusalem. Inside the envelopes contained hundreds of black and white photographs and negatives which were assumed to be “leftovers” of a former photographic studio.
Lapin has repossessed the found material to create a non-typical family album that consists of moving portraits that fluidly fade to black before revealing their main features. The video is consisting this moving image focuses on the detail of how the portraits were taken, for example, body posture, clothes and accessories which suggests the time these pictures were taken in and the habits and clothing of Jerusalem.
The video is played on a loop, and this reinforces the sense of a stratified past that cannot be pictured at once. However, it has slowly informed the layers of a multi-faceted society – a society where formal differences are marked as cultural oppositions.
These photographs have frozen a particular moment of an individuals history, turning it into a yaron lapid.3visual archive that allows the viewer to use their imagination to fill in the missing gaps.

I decided to look at Yaron Lapid’s work via youtube (See video link above) and his website because he managed to construct a project based around found imagery, which is something that I strongly relating my work into for this unit.
All the images are constructed using a similar fashion – the head, torso and shoulders fin into the compositional frame and in the same manner (as if there was a set rule to apply to taking these portraits). What I find intriguing about Yaron Lapid’s video work is that all the images are cropped at the same position – above the nose, below the eyes, as if Lapid was trying to conceal the identity of the sitter in the portrait.
Is he trying to hide their identity?
Why is he trying to conceal their identity?
Despite the working creating these questions about hiding their identity, it also allows the audience to have some fun with their imagination of how the sitters would look like (trying to yaron lapid.2guess their facial characteristics) and guess what type of background they come from by only having the visuals of what clothes they are wearing and the accessories too (EG: Glasses).
All the pictures are monochrome, and to me this suggests that LApid has taken a scientific approach to creating his work. Having all the colours removed from the images gives everybody a sense that they are uniformed – being a member of a group and that they should be looked at as equals no matter the gender or clothing they wear. Having this approach can link directly to the fact that these images have actually been archived digitally and that they should be be viewed as a collection or together.
Personally, I feel that the cropping of the sitter’s faces is too extreme for me – I want to be able to use portraits in my digital screening and for me to do so,  the audience needs to know who the identity of the person is to be able to engage a personal response to my collection of work.

Project Proposal.

BA (Hons) Photography

Project Proposal

1. AIMS: SUBJECT, TREATMENT A brief description of the project you are carrying out, including the subject matter, narrative strategy and /or structure used for each narrative and intended outcome. Name a few key references (artists and/or theory) relevant to your approach or theme.

(Be brief and concise, use key words and specialist terminology whenever possible)

I aim to create a presentation that is video based on myself growing up and the changes I faced throughout the period of time. For my presentation video, I aim to use Flashback/Memory narrative structures as I feel I can personally relate to the images and will be able to give the audience a brief understanding of my life, by either adding text or experimenting with voice recordings.


For my publication, I will try to create a photo-album (or something in the scrap-book style) using found imagery of myself from an early age to present day. For this publication I aim to make it in a Linear narrative structure as well as focusing on Memory too, but maybe incorporating a family member’s input with captioning my photographs (as if seen through somebody else’s eyes).


RESEARCH: Roland Barthes, David Campany, Linear/Flashback/Memory Narrative, Victor Burgin, Araki Nobuyoshi, Nicholas Nixon – Brown Sisters.

2. SKILLS AND RESOURCES REQUIREMENTSIdentify the skills you think you will need to develop and the resources you envisage being required

  • Looking into the family archive albums
  • Familiarize myself with Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Scanning images to the highest  quality – recapping.
  • Get to terms with Indesign – recapping on it to help me create my publication
  • Book Binding – look into how books/photograph albums are made? Maybe look into scrap-book style
  • Blogging – familiarize myself with WordPress
  • Restoring the quality of images to place into the album – or doing the reverse and making them look older? Experiment.
4. OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMESWith reference to Assessment Requirements and Learning Outcomes for this project, specify what you intend to achieve by the end of the unit and what you hope to have learned.

1)  To have researched and analyzed in depth all research (primary and secondary)to show an understanding of my journey into creating my digital presentation and publication.

2)  To gain a better knowledge as to how to use video-editing software to create a presentation other than using Microsoft PowerPoint.

3)  Archiving images of myself/organize them in a time-line order to show progression of me growing up and changing over the years.
Using found images for this project, to clearly demonstrate how I went about this and using industry-standard equipment to create my presentation and publication.

4)  Creatively make a presentation that explores the use of text or audio.
To creatively make a photo album/scrap book that an audience can interact with.



When planning and writing your Project Proposal, keep in mind the Aims of the Narrative unit:


A1         Research and critically analyse various narrative strategies

A2         Develop an understanding of how the presentation and editing of the same images and/or text may be employed to construct alternate narratives

A3         Experiment with techniques and modes of production and presentation relevant to narrative

A4         Apply narrative as a strategy to represent a given theme


To help try and structure my slideshow for my Narrative unit, I decided it would be a good idea to write out a brief time scale of dates and events that happened around the time that I either know about (through stories and pictures) and dates that I can remember. By doing this, I can make sure that any pictures I find in my family archive will be placed in the correct order and that the presentation will flow without any disruptions (and thus not making any confusion.)



Primary Research: 21st Birthday Powerpoint

As part of my 21st Birthday, my family planned and arranged this slideshow of images to be played on loop onto a tv screen after my guests and I had eaten.
Luckily, my family have saved this slideshow and I thought it would be a good starting point for me  to begin with my own narrative. The slideshow is good, however I feel that I could add more into this selection that my family have organised, such as the period of time when I was undergoing my GCSEs, taking part in the Air Cadets an perhaps even snapshots of when I was studying Photography in college and the workshops I underwent. The slideshow is also very basic, just pictures of me moving from slide to slide and little text at the end (with the photo I dreaded the most!). With my slideshow, I hope to have something more – voice recordings to describe my changes growing up.
However, this powerpoint presentation was created from somebody else’s point of view – how they see me and the changed they noticed when I was growing into the person who I am today.

Primary Research: Family Archive (Pt1)

Once getting the idea of using myself for my Narrative Project, I decided to go home for the weekend to do some research.
I managed to get up into the Loft and brought three boxes down full of old images that my family have stored over the years that have been lugged around from loft – to – loft and never really seen much daylight.

I had an amazing find, I found lots of photographs that my Grandfather took when he was in the Navy and on his travels (pictures from Singapore to Hong Kong!) and I learnt so much about him – I just wished that he was here to tell me more about the photographs in detail.
Alongside this brilliant find, I managed to find some formal pictures of me growing up as a child… As much as it embarrasses me to post it on the web, I will be using these pictures to help get the ball rolling with a slideshow of some sort for my digital presentation.
Here is a selection of photographs I have found (From left to right… 1) First Baby Portrait 2) Toddler Portrait – Aged 1/2 3) First School Portrait – Nursery I believe, 4) Aged 4/5 – My Grandfather’s Favourite Portrait, 5) Millenium Portrait – Redgate Middle School Aged 8/9. )

My next steps:

  1. Go back and try and find snapshots of images of me growing up.
  2. Record & Interview a family member (my mother) about me growing up.
  3. Begin Slideshow using either Adobe Premiere or Adobe Lightroom.
  4. Timeline of events of my life.



LYP_1995 LYP_Toddler,-1995








Idea Map: My Life

I decided to create a mind-map purely focusing on the theme of my life.
By doing this, I hope it will help me to gain some sort of structure on how I will be able to shape my project in both my digital format and my final product.




When creating this mind-map, I discovered that in my family archive, I know I have a mixture of both formal photographs (eg: School Portraits and Holiday Snapshots). In my tutorial with Ellen Nolan, we discussed about having the same, if not similar format of photographs throughout the project. I think once I have dug into the boxes full of photographs I will have to experiment with how I can incorporate the formal portraits with my holiday snapshots.