Initial Ideas

I’ve had a few ideas straight away.

  • Photography of shoes with some sort of slogan
  • Music video advertisement to the song ‘Fancy Shoes’ by The Walters.
  • Comedic video advert. Story of two siblings, ones taller than the other and then they get tall shoes, making them taller than their older sibling.
  • Reaction video advert- recording family reactions to shoes.
  • Shoe story. A compilation of everything in a persons life those shoes have seen them through.
  • An etched, clear acrylic display that’s lit up.
  • Maybe someone finds their dads old dress shoes in storage and shines them up whilst reminscing
  • Maybe an old person finds old shoes in storage and when they put them back on they re-live a moment from their youth. I feel like this could link back quite well to sustainability.

There are a few concerns with my ideas. One, the song I want to use for the music video type of advertisement is copyrighted. Two, when I referred back to the brief, I remembered that I needed narrative. I think the acrylic sign could be really cool as a window decoration or in store advert, it doesn’t hold any narrative. I could etch it with a complicated design and pattern, which might add more meaning to it, but part of the beauty of light up acrylic signs is the simplicity. You look at it, and immediately know what it is. I feel as though I’d just get stuck with this like my last project that was too simple.

Also, some of the nostalgic based stories might not apply to a younger clientele. Personally, I love adverts like that, but nostalgia based things, like getting old, might not be that appealing to teenagers and twenty year olds. (Which is what I’m currently assuming their client base age is.)

Initial Research (Foot Patrol)

Footpatrol. Owned by JD sports. Retailer not an original brand. Mostly online, but has a few real life stores, one of which in Berwick Street, London.

They do have a few seconds of promotional video on their website. It’s sleek, with smooth fade transitions and panning camera movements. It has industrial undertones, but more of a ‘city vibe’ with the concrete floors and metal bars. Which makes sense, seeing as they’re based in popular cities and that’s where most of their clientele will be wearing their shoes. It also fits the aesthetic of their physical stores.

The Bobbsey Twins

If I do go the video marketing route, the Bobbsey Twins have made some of my favourite adverts. They’re relatable and funny, sometimes even cartoonish. I love the amount of character and confidence in this advert. I would love to recreate a same sort of humour and characterisation for shoes as they are able to do here.

Nostalgia

“A cinematic image of nostalgia is a double exposure, or a superimposition of two images–of home and abroad, of past and present, of dream and everyday life. The moment we try to force it into a single image, it breaks the frame or burns the surface.”

-Boym, Svetlana. “Nostalgia and its discontents.” The Hedgehog Review, vol. 9, no. 2, summer 2007, pp. 7+. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A168775861/AONE?u=sol_itw&sid=googleScholar&xid=28efb152. Accessed 3 Mar. 2022.

Experimentation

I started by recording videos of the shoes. I wanted to make the videos to this song as I couldn’t get it out of my head. Overall, the idea was okay and I do still like the song, but the images are boring. They weren’t very thought out, but that’s okay because it’s experimentation. I can definitely see this idea working, if I got more professional, interesting shots. Backgrounds, settings and different shoes that tell a better story, that give more personality to the shoe.

I like this image a lot better than my other experimentation. I think film adds a lot more personality than digital photos. I also like the backdrop for the shoes, I would consider it very similar to FootPatrol’s aesthetic. With a sort of urban, city scape feel to it.

Here, I just tried the image with the same music. It got cropped weirdly, so I might adjust it. But otherwise, I hate this less than my other video. It does feel a little like an album cover like this though. Which isn’t what I want my focus to be.

Taking images of inanimate objects like this, and trying to add personality to them, reminded me a lot of Toy Story. I kept seeing those scenes of when the Toys are frozen because there are people nearby, and even though they have the same expression on, it’s very emotional. I would like to recreate this feeling. Almost like the shoes are looking back at you.

Shoe Photography Practice

After taking these pictures, I started to realise what I liked about the shoes. I also think because of this, I was much better at catching those things and therefore adding personality to the shoes that I had tried to previously in my music video and polaroid.

I like the creases in my Docs, they show that they’ve been well loved and that Docs age quite nicely. With the polaroid, because of the flash, a lot of these details were lost, but I did gain a sense of nostalgia.

The flowers did end up being a large focus of a lot of the photos.

Originally, I was thinking of doing a light hearted video advertisement. But I was shown that I could do a photo essay as another form of story telling. Maybe I could take more polaroids and put them together to form narrative. I could also put text over the top. This is definitely something to explore.

I was asked how many pairs of Docs I have. I have three.

Stories

Two sisters. One is older and taller than the other. The younger one gets tall platform shoes and is then taller than the older sister. This story was inspired by my sister and I. I recently got some platform shoes and everyone was surprised by how tall they made me, especially my sister who is very tall. She’d often use me as an arm rest. I can see this as pictures or a video.

A family obsessed with Doc Martens. This was inspired by how obsessed my family is with Docs, they really like them. My Uncle and Dad often argue over who has the nicest or newest ones.

More Instax Photos.

After practicing with professional cameras and studio set up, I had a better feel for angles and framing of the shoes, so I decided to try taking more instant photos. I took them on a sunnier day so that I wouldn’t have to rely on the camera flash, which was often causing me to lose a lot of details on the shoes.

It’s definitely a lot harder to line up shots, as they’re not 100% accurate through the view finder. This means you end up taking a lot more photos, which isn’t great when you have a limited amount of film. Because of this, I did find that there was no point in trying to control the outcome of the photos to a certain extent.

Photoshop

I really liked the feeling of Polaroids, and the overall aesthetic, but I hated the lack of control over the final outcome. It occurred to me that you can add filters and change the look of photos on photoshop, and so someone must have tried to make normal photos look like Polaroids before. I managed to find a tutorial.

https://makeitcenter.adobe.com/blog/how-to-make-a-picture-look-like-a-polaroid.html#:~:text=Go%20to%20Filter%20%3E%20Motion%20Blur,Size%20and%20entering%20the%20numbers.

I added visual noise, darker blurry tones, made it a bit red and added visual noise. There’s also a tiny bit of motion blur.

Most of them didn’t come out looking exactly like film or polaroid, but I still really liked the aesthetic and overall shift in mood.

I really love the red tint.

Here, I started testing out word placement and typography. I was also coming up with taglines. I really like the look and feeling of this, but it definitely still needs development. I can’t see a clear story here.

Doing photography has made me realise I’d like to do this more than a video advertisement. I haven’t done photography as a project before and it’s really refreshing!

I would just like to point out that the images above me with people in, were not taken by me. They were taken by my friend Glenn, but I was there choosing location and making suggestions. The edit of the photo was done by me. I chose those ones specifically, because I really liked the movement and background. I also knew that the framing would be good for putting words around the shoe.

Defining Success. (Reflection)

Recently, I’ve been trying to redefine what success means to me. I’ve realised I’ve been too much of a perfectionist, which overall holds me back throughout my project, especially when communicating my work with others and experimentation. This is because these are the stages where my work is less than developed and probably not that good. But that’s okay. That’s the point of development.

It’s too easy to get obsessed with getting something perfect on the first try. From now on, success isn’t going to be about the end product, but what I learn from doing it.

Photo Essays

Street photography

Abandoned buildings

Powerful Imagery

Shoes from a concentration camp

This is an image that has always stuck with me. It’s very powerful, in that in communicates the sheer volume of people that were killed in concentration camps.

Ai Weiwei

When looking into photo essays, I came across Ai Weiwei. Originally, I started looking into photo essays as it had been suggested to me by my tutor. I also remember doing zines in college. When I saw the three panel picture of Ai Weiwei dropping the urn, it reminded me of the three panel zine I’d done in college.

“When he returned to China in the mid-90s, a time of rapid modernization for his home country, he was shocked to discover that certain objects of cultural patrimony were not highly valued.” 

-Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres (2020) Destruction as Preservation: Ai Weiwei’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn. Available at: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/global-culture/concepts-in-art-1980-to-now/x247213a3:post-cultural-revolution-china/a/destruction-as-preservation-ai-weiweis-dropping-a-han-dynasty-urn (Accessed: 24th March 2022)

Ai Weiwei’s picture above, is of him smashing a Han Dynasty Urn. What’s interesting, is that Its destruction became its preservation. This reminds me of Polaroids. They’re film, and overtime will decay and age. This aging adds to the story behind the pictures.

The Zine from College: ‘Leap of Faith’

More Ideas (Converting Ideas)

Now that I’ve got a better idea of what photo essays are and how to do them, it’s easier to imagine ideas and stories in this format.

First, I’ve started off by how to present my first video idea but in photography form. Originally, I was going to create a short film where one sister is jealous of her older, taller sister. She’s sick of being teased for being short, and so she gets some shoes that make her taller. As a set of photos, I imagine this as two sets of two, one above the other. It’s above shoulder shots, with their torsos cut out and the photo below being just of their shoes.

Then, the nostalgia video idea I had would be a collection of three photos. two people are standing, but you can only see their legs. One on the left only has socks on and the person on the right has on shoes. In the next picture, the shoes swap people, then in the third, there’s only one person left, the one wearing the shoes. I feel like this represents the idea of passing on shoes. This gives them an emotional connection, and also represents sustainability for the brief, as it shows the shoes last a long time.

Another idea was ‘The Doc Family’. My family has a LOT of Doc Martens. We really like them. As a video, I imagined this as a sort of mock interview with these almost chcaraterchure like people. It would just be of them gushing over the shoes and talking about how they really like them while other imagery of them going about their day in the shoes. As a series of photos, I just thought I’d collect all of my family docs and take pictures of them. I would like to find a way to communicate that this is a family in the imagery, so I might have people actually wearing them, rather than just empty shoes.

Critical Evaluation Feedback

colours, did feel nostalgic, understood the link of the polaroid and photo editing, liked the location- suggested having more locations.

Ai Weiwei inspired

After looking back at my Ai Weiwei research, I really liked the idea of preservation and bringing old artwork back to life and giving it new meaning. So, I decided to draw on copies of the polaroid pictures I didn’t like. I feel like doing this might give it fresh and completely different feeling. I also see a lot of younger people drawing in this sort of sketchy aesthetic on social media pictures and YouTube thumbnails, so it connects back to the brief and clientele. I also like how it reflects the tangibility of polaroid- it’s a physical thing that can be drawn directly on, that you can hold.

Personal Tutor Feedback

For all of the reasons I disliked my Polaroid photos, Matt really liked them. He said that even though they are not technically correct (in terms of lighting and composition) there is an honesty to them. It’s as though the Polaroids have become a relic themselves.

picture of a picture- first polaroid picture on blog (shoes on the furniture)

Polaroid are relics and will deteriorate over time- like shoes. they won’t be around forever.

Focusing too much on media brain/ media critic- just go for it. The look isn’t that important in polaroids beacuse of the honesty

date them or add little messages at the bottom to add more character- tis is what is lacking -a lot go digital photos will tell you the date they were taking- metadata. (Dad-date for family etc)

Honesty and these are meant for social media, which is not honest. -refreshing

research- Balad of sexual dependency -Nan Golding. -taken as a friend would as bad photos, but are honest and more personal.

Overall, considering this feedback and the feedback I had at the critical, I will probably focus back onto polaroids. I will also go ahead with digital photos as that was the original plan, but

Ai Weiwei quote

“According to the artist, “the power [of my artwork] comes not from the act but from the audience’s attention, the challenge to their values. The act is easy—every day we can drop something, but it is when we are forced to come face to face with this action and make a judgment … that is the interesting part.”

Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres (2020) Destruction as Preservation: Ai Weiwei’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn. Available at: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/global-culture/concepts-in-art-1980-to-now/x247213a3:post-cultural-revolution-china/a/destruction-as-preservation-ai-weiweis-dropping-a-han-dynasty-urn (Accessed: 24th March 2022)

Critical Feedback

looks cool- don’t underestimate how powerful cool can be

nostalgic- liked the selection of shoes photo- feels like family gathering but knows this could be differently interpreted by someone else so should write on the bottom of them to give context.

want to see them more in motion- being worn

try stop motion- like a giff for Instagram or whatever- maybe a flash in-between the pictures of stop motion or camera sound?

Liked the one of people in- tells you about the shoes and the person

The aesthetic of polaroid and doc Martens match really well.

Stop Motion Experiments

Fashion Storytelling

https://social.shorthand.com/alexander_coste/3gblKLldYi/the-art-of-fashion-storytelling

  • Think about what you care most about, what your personality is like, and the things that have happened in your life that contributed to who you are: Can you think of any symbols that could represent these things?

Tutor Feedback

They have quite a domestic feel to them

Anthroprmophic characterisation of shoes- one was flopped over the other- hugging

Face to the shoes

some chaotic some organised

Liked the odd pairs of shoes

These are my Mom’s shoes. I’m planning on writing ‘Mom’ at the bottom
Mom’s shoes and Anthropomorphic.
Chaos and order.
My Uncle

Bela Borsodi

Bela Borsordi is really good at anthropomorphising objects. This gave me the idea of how to do this to my own pictures. Maybe I could pose my shoes with other objects that remind me of my family members.

Looking at some of the other photography that he’s done without context, some of it does feel objectifying. The images above are pretty good research points, but looking at his work as an artist as a whole, some images do raise ethical questions.

Originally, I had only seen the shoe pictures and thought they might have been some sort of social commentary. Apparently they had sparked a debate on how women and their bodies are treated in media and advertising. However, the more I looked through his work, the more I saw continued themes of objectification. Though Bela Borsodi has stated that eroticism is very interesting to him and something he likes to explore through his work, he could still do this without being objectifying. The two aren’t inherently linked, though there can be a fine line.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090709121454/http://www.designtaxi.com/features.jsp?id=100249 (way back machine

Motivation Reflection

At the moment, what motivates me the most is anxiety. I get anxious about not doing the work, or worried about it, so I’ll do work out of anxiety rather than being excited to do it. I think having a set schedule will help a lot. I do find it hard to be strict with myself when it comes to setting my own schedule though, so I’ll need to find a way of doing it where it doesn’t feel overwhelming or too different to my current schedule.

Tutor Feedback

Lots of different elements to this project. location, tag lines, physical displays, social media coverage, emotion, nostalgia, zines,

my original song, think about using it. even though it copyrighted- foot patrols choice to make.

think about where and how to photograph the polaroids- consider how you used location. Could possibly drop the polaroids onto a foot print? take pictures of them on carpet, outside maybe even on the shoes themselves.

Need some sort of sound for the video/ stop motion, hence the music.

Overall, this got me thinking about a front shop display again. I was thinking that they could add the polaroid to a clear fishing line and hang them at the front of the store. FootPatrol could keep a polaroid camera in store to keep for customers and add customers to the polaroid window display. Customers can write at the bottom of the polaroids a small message and then take a picture on their phone of it and post it to instagram under the same hashtag, making it social media friendly.

Brief Reflection

Keywords: sustainability, social media and embedded.

FootPatrol is looking for something that promotes sustainability, fits social media and looks into the deeper meaning and usage behind shoes.

Overall, I think my idea fits the brief quite well. I’m looking into short videos and how they’d fair on instagram. I’m considering real world shop displays and how that would involve the public and how that would also present on social media. I’m using polaroids to invoke a sense of nostalgia.

I do think I need to look a little more into sustainability. Maybe if I’m able to make a strong enough emotional connection with the shoes and audience, it will make people want to throw away their shoes less. Kind of like Toy Story. I felt bad getting rid of my toys when I was younger, because I kept thinking they were alive thanks to Toy Story.

Old Polaroid Reflection

I’m taking a few more polaroids so I’m looking back on what I thought worked and what didn’t so that I can improve my next set of polaroids.

I’m actually a bit torn on what didn’t work. A lot of the photos I didn’t like, other people ended up connecting with and liking. The ones that got left alone the most were the more simplistic ones. The sort of head on ‘this is a shoe’ photos. I haven’t yet showed anyone those with the writing at the bottom like I was planning, so maybe that would improve them.

I personally didn’t like when I shot the shoes with a black flooring as it made them harder to stand out. People liked the more chaotic looking photos- like piles of shoes. They said it reminded them of family functions when everyone would take their shoes off at the door. I also liked the stairs photos where the shoes are organised in a certain way. I feel like that gave them personality.

Overall, I just need to experiment with interesting ideas to pose the shoes. A way to give them personality without being too predictable.

Polaroid Scans

Polaroid Poses

doesn’t need the polaroids to be that sharp. Likes the dreamy contrast to the sharp, realistic shoes surrounding them. Can edit them if you would like.

am going to edit them, because I feel as though the sharper polaroids look more put together and professional. Also underestimated how glossy they were when taking pictures- very glossy and ended up having to take pictures under my table to help stop glare.

Narrative Pictures

I don’t think these three worked as well as my other photos. It might be because the framing on the first photo isn’t consistent with the other two.

This narrative looks even worse as a polaroid. Again, maybe it was the framing. I did ask my sister to take these for me, and it’s very difficult to direct someone else to use a polaroid, especially since the results are difficult to control. I also think it looks better in black and white. Something about the black and white works better for this story. Maybe because it’s the idea of someone leaving behind/ handing down their shoes and black and white gives it a feeling of the past.

I love these polaroids. I think the effect I was going for really worked. Something I also noticed was that I didn’t feel like I looked very nice in these photos, but the polaroids have a sort of charm to them that I ended up not caring.

Polaroid DSLR pictures

In a few of these pictures, I do think the framing is off, which is partly due to me trying to avoid glare.

I thought these three images in particular might work as an Instagram carousel.

In trying to find interesting places to photograph my polaroids and avoid glare, I took some of them on the stairs. This made sense to me, as the shoes in the polaroids were also posed on the stairs. It was like taking the same pictures but in different formats. The shoes are the same and in the same place, but different.

Now that I’m writing that down, it sounds a little like memories. They don’t go anywhere, but can change over time, or you associate different emotions with them as you grow. This way of thinking links back to my initial ideas about nostalgia.

Editing

I’m glad I decided to edit them, as the polaroid now looks more the focus of the photo.

I must’ve pressed the wrong button, as I accidentally ended up making this picture black and white. I actually really like this and I think it ties it together quite nicely. I do think this style fits FootPatrol’s aesthetic better. It’s more sleek. I’m not sure if I’ll keep it this way, it seems a shame to get rid of all the colourful flowers, especially since at the beginning of my project everyone seemed to like the colours. Black and white does easily fix the pink in the corner though.

Compared the the other ones, I do think the front image feels a bit flat. The other images had a bit of shoelace for me to edit over it to help give depth back to the polaroid. I’ll edit it and see how it comes out, but i’ll also try just darkening the polaroid in the original image.

One thing I underestimated while taking these photos, was how glossy the polaroids are. It was extremely difficult to get a picture without glare on them. The contrast between a stark white polaroid frame and the black shoes didn’t help either. If I tried changing the camera settings, it’d be just right for the polaroids and then bad for the shoes. Eventually, I ended up taking the pictures underneath my dining table. It blocked a lot of light and reduced the glare. I got some good pictures like this.

Final Images

This is the example I made for the shop display

Final Reflection

Overall, I really like how my pictures came out. At first, when I was taking my digital photos of the polaroids, I didn’t think they were very strong images. But after editing them, they look really good. I’m glad Dawn suggested I edit them. I’ve never done Photography as a project before, so editing them together in this way didn’t occur to me at first.

I did change my stop motion pictures into Instagram reels instead. I thought it might work better, but the sliding to the side instead of cutting between each image does lose that stacking effect, which in my opinion, was what made the stop motion work in the first place. I do think I wasn’t as interested in the stop motion side of my project, so it did end up getting swept to the side towards the end. I’ll have to be careful of doing this in future projects, I do tend to dismiss things a little too quickly sometimes.

Also, the writing on the polaroids are very obviously text. I didn’t want to commit to writing on them in case I needed to take more pictures. I do think just writing Mom and Dad on them was effective in the end. It gave context, and will probably allow an audience to connect with the imagery further, hopefully reminding them of their parents.

One of my biggest challenges during this project was time management and motivation. After Covid, it has been really difficult getting back into a working mindset. I also think I have a hard time staying grounded or in the present moment. This makes it very easy for me to forget I have work or to get distracted by other forms of media. I definitely think this was a habit created by Covid. There wasn’t much to do, so I would spend all day finding ways to distract myself. This was great during lockdown, but not so great now that I’m back at university.

I’ve also noticed there’s been an increasing culture surrounding procrastination. People make memes about leaving their work to the last minute, some even going as far as boasting about how they pull all-nighters to write thousand word essays, with little regard to their mental or physical health. I even have a friend who has tried to convince me to hand in work late and just ‘make an excuse’ so that I could hang out with him. This can create a group mentality of ‘well everyone else is doing it’ or even people doing it to seem cool. Even though I try to avoid this mentality at all cost, being exposed to this continuously could start to affect anyone subconsciously. Procrastination has affected me this project, but I feel as though it has improved since last year, which I’m happy about. Moving forward, I will avoid this type of social media and continue to hold myself accountable.

In terms of creative process, the thing that helps me out the most is talking to others. I love bouncing ideas off of other people. I find it really inspiring and motivating. Sometimes all my ideas can get caught in my own head, and so voicing it out lour really helps. Maybe I should find other ways to do this, encase someone else isn’t available.

My biggest weakness still, is asking for help from others. When I was asking my sister and Mom for help with some pictures, I just felt really awkward and guilty for taking up their time. This is an issue that I’ll continue to work on. It’s definitely a mindset thing.

Overall, I enjoyed this project. It was super fun, and I learnt a lot. I got better at photography and learnt that sometimes trying to have complete control over a project doesn’t work. You need to give it room to breathe.