Creative Piece – Play.

Play

verb

  • when you play, especially as a child, you spend time doing an enjoyable and/or entertaining activity.

Before putting together any ideas, I asked a number of people what play means to them and how they ‘pratice’ this in order to broaden my thought process.

“chilling with mates and my boyfriend”

“going out, having fun”

“i go online, watch tv, go out with friends”

“things i do for fun, which generally involve watching films and tv, and going out with friends”

“playing playstation”

“where i can let my mind relax and invest in something that captures my imagination and interest; like singing, drawing, photography, horse riding”

“anything that involves having fun”

What does play mean to me?

  • Going out with friends.
  • Mario Kart on the Wii.
  • Playing video games.
  • Using the internet.
  • Music.
  • Watching Wolverhampton Wanderers.

From this feedback it appears that ‘play’ can often be situated around people socialising with others or doing things they are interested in. Following this, I could begin brainstorming ideas for my response.

Ideas & artist research.

  • Idea 1: I came across an article ‘Is my left or right side more attractive?…’ where photographer Alex John Beck took a series of portraits and photoshopped one side of their face so it was identical to the other. It was surprisingly interesting the difference between the normal portrait then seeing one side mirrored back. This went on to inspire an idea of taking a series of 10 portraits and each person what ‘play’ meant to them. I would then split the portrait so one half would be their face, and the other half made up of images representing their ideas of play.
  • Idea 2: I thought of photographer Michael Bosanko who creates incredible light paintings and that I could create this kind of style in my photographs but using a phone (digital device) as the light source.

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I absolutely love this work by Bosanko as it is so creative and visually pleasing. The images are almost magical and inviting which makes me think of an immersive environment therefore this idea for play with my mobile phone would fit digital media. He is very clever in the choice of colours in relation to set up as you can see in the beach scene photograph where the colours are quite calm and soft in comparison to the picture by the bridge where the colours are electric adding a sense of excitement. Essentially, this technique is also quite playful and displays great imagination as I know many people experiment with this photographer or not.

  • Idea 3: I came across a Photoshop tutorial on how to turn photographs into text images. I found this an incredibly intriguing technique, linking it to hybrid images and wondered how I could incorporate it into my own work. This is when I considered music as one of my personal interests for ‘play’ and could photograph things associated with it such as my guitars, headphones, CDs, amplifier ect. For the text image, I would use the lyrics of songs by my favourite band Young Guns. I could then edit these in Photoshop to turn them into text images.
  • Idea 4: Following the lecture on ‘virtually real – really virtual’ the video by Robbie Cooper really stood out to me where he captured a number of children playing video games with the aim to ‘capture the truthfulness of human expression as they are experiencing immersive environments’. As Mario Kart is definitely one of the things I find myself doing a lot in terms of play, I considered the idea of filming myself playing the game and creating it into a video.

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I find this video so interesting. The concept behind it is quite simple, yet it captures something quite strange. Although we may laugh at some of their facial expressions and the things they say, it’s fascinating seeing them become so involved and ‘lost’ in the game. I think Cooper has perfectly captured how we become so immersed into these gaming environments and I think regardless of age this will always be the case. Ross comments on his website “sometimes kids being interviewed would simply not look away from the screen during the whole process” which is incredible to think how caught up they are, almost like zombies. Particularly some of their expressions you can see how focused and fixated they are. I also think this project works so well because myself, as I’m sure many other games can have found themselves in these situations of being so glued to the game so you can relate and connect with the message he is trying to tell.

I don’t think I found it too hard weighing up which idea I wanted to go with. My first idea appealed to me but not massively as I don’t think it particularly highlighted digital media. Whilst I liked the idea of the mash up between my own imagery (the portrait) and use of images off the Internet, I felt this kind of limited the value of originality. Also if the person in the portrait classed play as spending time with friends or boyfriend for example, using images off the internet would not work in the same way photographing their real friends would which could end up being quite time consuming. I also think my second idea lacked scope with relation to digital media as although using my own phone a s alight source for painting with light would have linked, I was unsure how to relate this idea to play. I was tempted to experiment with my third idea as I really liked the idea of the hybrid form and digital mash up. However as I was so interested in the work by Robbie Cooper I wanted to try something along those lines therefore I decided to go with the idea of filming myself playing Mario Kart on Wii.

Another photographers work I looked at to inspire me is ‘Gamers’ by Phillip Toledano. On his website on the project he comments “I wondered if there was a way to unconsciously tease out aspects of people’s personality, and capture it on film. So I had them play video games.” This is another really interesting way to look at immersive environments and how this can affect us – ‘fun’ games can bring out happiness and laughter whereas more competitive games could bring out anger and frustration.

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I think Toledano has captured this essence of emotion through his pictures perfectly. The dark background focuses on the person and their reactions solely allowing the viewer to imagine what game they are playing and how they are immersing themselves in it.

What equipment do I need?

  • Canon 5d.
  • Tripod.
  • Mario Kart game/Wii.
  • Adobe Premier Pro CS6.

I decided for shooting my video, I was going to shoot it from various angles so that the viewer could also feel more ‘immersed’ and involved in the video. I think filming the screen and adding parts of this showing the actual game play contributes well to this. I also filmed straight onto myself and from each side. Firstly, after filming I watched the videos back and picked out key parts/timings that I wanted to include in the video. I then opened up Adobe Premier Pro and set up a new project with the appropriate settings according to the number of frames I filmed on. Iimported the videos I was using and then I edited the clips so I had the parts I wanted and placed them how I wanted. I also made some alterations to the audio as for some clips I felt it wasn’t required. I also included a few transitions between clips such as ‘dip to black’ in order to make the video look tidier and run smoothly. Initially, I was going to upload the video to Vimeo however under the rules it states ‘no screen-captures of video games or gameplay videos’ therefore I uploaded it to Youtube.

Final video response.

Evaluation.

Overall I was pleased with the outcome of my environment and you can see how I become immersed in the environment. When editing, I decided just to use the two angles of filming myself then filming the actual game play – I think this worked better at making the viewer more involved than the two side angles as well. Initially, I thought it would affect my response having a camera in your face while trying to play however I soon forgot it was there and got involved in the game. I can often get quite competitive with the game which I think is reflected in some of my responses, like how Toledano captures emotion through his photos. In the general game play, you can see how my eyes are focused on the game like the zombie like appearance in Cooper’s video. Although something which I found quite interesting doing this filming myself is how immersed in the game I did become, however when something went wrong in the game play or something did not go my way, I became detached from the environment and sometimes even looked away but I soon returned to playing normally. Although this does reflect detachment, it show show easily involved you can become again so quickly. I would like to improve upon this video as it is not technically the best therefore I think it would be interesting to experiment with it again with the scope to make a longer video. Also, I would love to work with other people and see how immersed they become, and if there reactions are similar or differ from mine. Altogether I am pleased with how my video reflects ‘Play’ and an immersive environment.

Bibliography.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online. (2014). Play. Available: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/play_1?q=play. Last accessed 8th February 2014.

Whitelocks, S. (2014). Is my left or right side more attractive? Photographer reveals what people would look like if both halves of their face were identical.. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2557079/Is-left-right-attractive-Photographer-reveals-people-look-like-halves-face-identical.html. Last accessed 8th February 2014.

Bosanko, M. (n/a). Michael Bosanko. Available: http://www.michaelbosanko.com. Last accessed 8th February 2014.

Cooper, R. (2009). Immersion. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfOUhwhdUV0. Last accessed 11th February 2014.

Cooper, R. (n/a). Immersion. Available: http://www.robbiecooper.org. Last accessed 11th February 2014.

Toledano, P. (2002). Gamers. Available: http://www.mrtoledano.com/gamers. Last accessed 11th February 2014.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on March 2, 2014.

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