Glitch Me

Beginning to think of a concept for a project is often difficult for me. However, writing my essay for Themes in Contemporary Photography allowed me to investigate a subject I was heavily interested in and wanted to pursue as a further project. The topic of life online has always been an interest to me, and therefore I pursued an essay question relating to this. My question was “Should the self surveillant nature of social media photography be a matter of concern?” While writing the essay I discussed how negative outside interference from audiences can, in some cases, seriously affect the individual. This was a matter I believed would work strongly for my 5 photographs

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As mentioned I was first unsure on how I would make this concept work as a successful photo project. However, while in lecture we discussed manipulating images in a more destructive way. One way of manipulating was glitching. A glitch is described as a flaw or a fault in a medium, like a video game or an image. "Literally, a glitch is a spike or change in voltage in an electric current.” (Glenn 2004) Through this came glitch art, where such errors are aestheticized, to create art. I began searching glitch art and glitch art ‘artists’, and fouund that the manipulation when controlled by the artist, can vary from slight to extreme (see links). As well as images I also looked at music videos, as glitching and another similar manipulation called ‘data moshing’ is often used by artists to create an alien or dreamy aesthetic, something I am a fan of. I believe that when an image is glitched, it is affected negatively by the bug. The image almost looks as if it is ‘broken’ or ‘shutting down’. This led me to investigate my original inspiration which was social media photography/life online. The aesthetic of the image shutting down, the glitch, could be attributed to outside interference from an audience, whom pass negative, unnessacary comments on a person(s) photograph. The abuse received through a comment could make an individual 'shut dwn, so to speak, and it affects them negatively, this can be portrayed through the glitch. As my photographs plan to be portraits, the glitch will affect their appearance, and will diminish the original photograph of themselves, so this works successfully with what I am trying to portray while creating an interesting aesthetic and a more edgy portrait.

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Jack Addis has so far been a big influence on me and my project. He is a digital image maker whose work features on altering the logistics of the image to create a cracked, mashed or destroyed colourful interface. Although his glitch art is more intensified than I plan, I can still gain influence from his work. Included is some of my favourite pieces from him. His work shows a blatant and purposeful lack of control, as the glitch is so strong it may take a few moments to garner what the image actually is. The work features technicolour, which creates another dimension, it enters us into a surreal world of graphics and rainbow hues. His digitally created images creates juxtaposition between the original and the unrealistic. The purposeful system fault in the image allows him to create interesting pieces.

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Aswell as looking at a particular glitch artists I also investigated looking into glitch when used in music videos. The music videos I looked at were from pop artists Charli XCX and Kanye West. I think that looking at these music videos has helped me explore the glitch art topic as a whole more deeply, as compared to photography, I am able to see the glitch in movement. The Charli XCX video features a more dreamlike aesthetic in comparison to the Kanye West video. The outline of Disney princess characters can be seen being affected by the bug on a background of pastel rainbow colours. The palette used in the Kanye West video will be more the palette I plan to execute in my photographs. Rainbow is replaced with more basic colours such as red, green, blue, greys and blacks.

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From gaining two inspirations I was able to instantly try out the art of glitching for myself. However, I was only going to experiment, by no means was I looking for a final aesthetic look. As I wanted to see results instantly, I used a generator and I also used stock photos of celebrities to perform the experiments on. These can seen on a photo blog I have been running alongside my Yarn (see link)

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Item details…

text document of a photograph

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I was happy with my first tests, even though the photos were not mine it allowed me to create effects that I could possible use in my own photos. From here I took headshots to perform the glitch myself. I was able to find tutorials on how to glitch and these entailed opening the text document of an image, and essentially destroying it. Included is an extract of what a text document of an image looks like. For glitching purposes you cannot alter the first half of the image, as this is the basis of the image. Towards the end of the document I removed some characters, and replaced them with my own characters. As my files were shot in RAW, the text file was pretty humungous and took some time to load and save. I tried to then view my images but they were no longer there, the editing I performed had destroyed the images and they were no longer able to open. Luckily, I had backed up all my original photos so they were not completely lost. After trying a number of times, altering the text different each time, and not as destructive I kept getting the same results. I may have to try and think of another way to manipulate my images if the text edit does not suffice.

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Included here are my first tests with my own photographs. The profile shoots are not executed how I wanted them, as at the time I wasn't sure of the pose I would want them to perform but I have decided the models will be looking straight into the camera, to create connection with the audience. I have glitched most of these myself, hence the pretty extreme results, which I am not happy with. I still wanted my model to be properly seen through the glitch, however, destruction of the text document of the photo changes the photo in unexpected ways each time. Overall, I am pleased with my first shots, they have not gone exactly how I wanted them to go, but I've enjoyed seeing the varying results and how they can affect the photograph. I think when I execute the profile shots more professionally, rather than rushing, the results will be better, as at the moment they look rather messy

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I have become frustrated recently. I have tried a form of editing named 'image bending' (see link), as I think it would be an interesting experimentation. However, after viewing multiple tutorials, and reading LOTS of instructional websites, I am still none the wiser. Image bending requires sound editing an image like Audacity, and adding sound effects like you would on a audio track, but to an image instead. It requires careful and VERY confusing editing, changing the images properties, and file extensions, something I'm not familiar with. Everytime I went to open my presumably saved file, it would tell me that the file was either corrupy, destroyed or not familiarised to open with a certain programme (I tried Photoshop, Paint, Image Viewer, Word, Preview and GIF). After trying upon 20 times, I have decided to put image bending to the side for the moment. Even though it seems to give me the effect I want, I currently cannot get the hang of it unfortunately. I suppose I shall watch more tutorials....

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Some recent edits can be seen on my Tumblr photo blog

www.charles-shaw.tumblr.com

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