Mixed media objects created using cyanotype test prints by Jo Howell
A sick bed creation. Living and dying proof that you can still dick about with photography even when you’re trapped in the house and unwell.
If you were so inclined to go through the back catalogue of my blog posts, you will see that for quite a few years now I have been exploring the photograph as an object. You don’t need to go through my other posts, I will summarise here: photographs exist as real things.
Revolutionary thinking, I know. Probably linked to some crisis of being. Existentialism as small photographic objects. I want a legacy that you can hold in your hand. It’s all photographed for digital consumption, but there’s a happy few who can have a real and personal experience with the things I create.
Here are some examples of 3d art that I have created this week whilst sick with covid. I’ll probably have to disinfect the work before anyone can really hold it! But, that in itself is the life of the object.
Seagull suitcase, cyanotype photography book
I made a couple of animations of me as the seagull a while ago. It’s really good fun. I use birds a lot in my work. The seagull is my antisocial alter ego. Bird brained and unnecessarily loud. A coastal bird.
So, I had the animation cells leftover and I thought that the seagull would be a good visual narrator for a few handmade books about mindful photography walks on the coast. It fits the theme and is representative of me. I have made Seagull Suitcase whilst isolating unwell with covid. I’m missing being able to go out for a ride on my scooter. Covid has aggravated my fibromyalgia as well, so I’ve not left the house since last Tuesday. That’s 9 days of house arrest.
I want the book to feel like a child’s treasure. For the exploration of the book to be as joyous as the original photography sessions. In winter I taught several mindful photography sessions in South Shields. Using smartphone cameras to explore the coastal town. I take photographs to show the themes and how I look at the world as we go along. It’s a lovely activity. I just practice what I preach.
Anywho, the point being that although I made the book over the course of a low week, the work in it has spanned 2022 and 2023. I’ll probably revisit it again. It’s a sweet format.
Once I’ve edited the images in photoshop, I turn them into a contact sheet to print cyanotype versions. I only need small photos because I am putting the books inside matchboxes. I accidentally over exposed the prints then washed them too long. So, there are many things that I can improve on!
The casing for Seagull suitcase is a recycled Polaroid cardboard box. Cut in to and then covered with cyanotype prints on linen. Additional cut outs glued on top. Usually I would just bin the box but I figured it was a good size for the matchboxes.
Matchbox 1 – Sea Air
Small loose leaf prints of the South Shields trips with a paper boat. Seagull icon appears in the bottom of the drawer.
Matchbox box 2 is in a similar format to the first. Loose leaf tiny prints and a small framed cyanotype print. Images show more scenes from South Shields mindful photography sessions.
Pointless things make sense. Most of the materials would have just gone to landfill. Rubbish. Treasure. Art. Journal. Experience. interchangeable. Neither and all.
Ok. I am pooped! It has taken me hours to write this with brain fog. Now it’s time to rest for a bit.
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Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think. Have you done anything similar?