Throughout this unit I have looked at narratives and the ways in which artists present them in their work. After attending multiply workshops I had the idea to place my own images inside a previously published book, changing the meaning and the context of the pages. To get inspiration for how to do this, I looked at artists who have created work in this way and the methods hey used to change the pages. I researched the likes of Alec Soth, Broomberg and Chanarin, Christian Patterson and Cristina DeMiddel, after looking at all of their work I decided that the work that inspire me the most was ‘Party’ by DeMiddel. In this she used tip-ex to change the words of a Chinese political book as well as added her own imagery, in doing this she changed he ending and context of the book and this is what I wanted to achieve in my own work.
With the technique in mind I decided I wanted to alter and remake a caldrons story, I started to look at all the well loved classics, Beauty and The Beast, The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood, then after tutorials I came across the stories of Peter and Jane. These are Ladybird, Key Words books, they had the intention of helping children learn to read and were extremely popular in the 1960’s and 70’s. I began researching the books and found that the text and imagery of the original book was very outdated and would be seen as sexist in today society. A lot of the imagery depicted Jane as an innocent little girl who wore floaty dresses, played with dolls and help her mother do household chores, whereas Peter was shown playing outside and with his ‘boys toys’, truck and cars. I researched the concept of sexism within these books and related that 10-20 years after the original copies were released, updated versions came out and we saw Jane saw her dress for jeans and leave her dolls behind and grabbing a pair of roller skates to play outside with hr brother.
I did some more research into gender stereotypes and they way in which they effect people, and are taught to us as children. This was the original concept of my book, I wanted recreate a Peter and Jane book, adding my own images and giving the books an updated, modern look, changing the text in the style of Cristina DeMiddel, I wanted the fact that my work word inhabit a children’s book, that has the purpose of assisting their learning, to represent the way we teach children gender stereotypes. I began looking through the Peter and Jane series and looking for a book that was unable, there was different factors I had to look at, such as the text and how I could change it, and the illustrations, how they covered the pages and how easy they would be to replace with my own imagery.
Once I found a book that I felt suitable I experimented with the text to see how I could alter it in order to create my own story. When doing this I found that my story within the book was making a turn down the domestic abuse route, what began with looking at gender roles turned into looking at the family dynamic when living with an abusive person. I then decided to research domestic abuse instead. I found texts explaining that domestic abuse can also be taught to us as children and looked at how gender roles tie into this.
As children we are taught that girl are the weaker sex and that to boys, ‘being like a girl’ is negative a negative. If you are bad a sports or show your emotions too much you are told to ‘stop being a girl’. This not only teaches young boys that they are stronger than girls, but also that to be a man you must be tough, not show emotion and have interests in the things society says you should, such as sport and cars. This can have a negative affect on their mental health and cause hem to be aggressive towards women in later years as they are taught that they are more powerful than females. Along side this, young girls are taught that if a boy is mean to them it means they like them, that if a boy pushes you over than ‘boys will be boys’, and girls are taught to raise children an look after they house through the toys they are bought, doll houses and toy kitchens. Girls often feel they can’t participate in sports past a certain age as they will appear manly, and can’t raise their opinion as they don’t want to seem overpowering. All this leads to women being submissive and feeling like the weaker sex, it teaches girls that its ok for a male to hurt them emotionally and physically because they are man and they are strong, and it means he likes you right?
After looking at all of this I decided that I wanted to change my concept to who we teach children domestic abuse. Still using the Peter and Jane books to demonstrate the act of teaching , I changed the text using a correctional roller and covered the illustrations with my own images to change the meaning of the book and make it my own. My shoot was inspired by artists such as Donna Ferrato and Sara Naomi Lewkowics, both of whom shoot scene of domestic abuse and explore violence within the home. I planned my shoot to show a narrative of the process of freedom for a family under the power of a domestic abuser. I created a story board and showed it to my models to give them a clear understanding as to what I was looking for and to make sure that each image fitted with the words left in the text.
Overal I am pleased with how the images of my shoot turned out and I think that they express my story and narrative well. I think that the images set the tone and mood that I want to create in my work, the dark tone and the contrasting black and white shots further express the overall mood of my work and help express the sadness and fear within the family. They also give the father figure a more menacing and dominant look. If I was to do this project again or further develop it, I would find a different way of sticking the images into the book, as the multiple pages that have been added that created a heavy thickness to the book and I don’t think that it looks as professional as it could do. Other than this I am happy with the aesthetic of the book and the message that it evokes.