Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a specific group of people; it comprises the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs, jokes, etc. They include material culture, from traditional styles of building to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore also includes customary lore, celebratory forms and rituals such as Christmas and weddings, folk dances, and rites of initiation. Each of these is considered a folklore artefact, either individually or in combination. Like the form, folklore also includes the transmission of these artefacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. Folklore is not something that a formal school curriculum or study in the fine arts typically can gain from. Instead, these traditions are transmitted informally either through verbal instruction or demonstration, from one individual to another.
My main reason for choosing folklore was the nostalgia for summer nights back when I was a child reading my folklore books. I grew up in a family with a passion for books which made me explore different types of literature from my youngest years. I quickly got addicted to folklore and mythology stories to the point when I would not sleep at night to read just a couple more before going to bed. I always loved to pretend that I am folklore characters and tried to experiment with my mum's clothes and make up just to disguise myself as them as best as I could. Now that I am way more capable of making my childhood dreams come true I decided to give it a try and chose it as the main topic for my FMP.
Janelle Pietrzak Janelle Pietrzak is a photographer based in Los Angeles who specialises in fine art and fashion imagery driven by narrative. Through a combination of craft and personal style, Janelle brings a unique vision to the world of photography. From vibrant and whimsical to dark and mysterious, Janelle's photographs commonly depict fairy tale themes. Her work often refers to the past but feels fresh and contemporary, drawing inspiration from various fables and historical time periods. Her process includes extensive research and attention to detail, building her own props, costumes and sets often by hand. The things I admire about Janelle's work are the colours and the effort that has been put into every single piece. As I stated before she makes her own props and costumes which motivated me to try and also create as much as I can with my own hands. Her work also inspired me to find some locations for my shoots because her locations are just simply incredible.
Marko Stamatovic is a Serbian documentary photographer who decided to shoot Slavic mythology after he noticed that not many people attempted to capture this theme. He is very passionate about Slavic mythology and always wants to gain as much information as he possibly can. Marko wanted a broader view of that world but didn't follow anyone’s attempts at illustration because he wanted to give characters completely new and previously unseen shape. All the costumes he uses for his shoot are 100% hand made which sometimes takes him and his team even a couple of months to create it. The models also have to be perfect for his shots so he spends months looking for the perfect facial characteristics that he thinks would suit a particular creature. Personally, I find his work absolutely breathtaking because of how realistic and unrealistic his pictures look at the same time. Everything in his photos seems to be as if taken straight out of a book and put into a real world. His work inspired me to do some more research location wise and to put an extra effort into small details during my shoots to get the best results.
Covid-19 also known as Coronavirus is a newly discovered virus which has transferred from animals to humans. It can cause a fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion and aches and pains or diarrhoea. Some people report losing their sense of taste and/or smell. About 80% of people who get Covid-19 experience a mild case – about as serious as a regular cold – and recover without needing any special treatment. For most people this virus is not dangerous but elderly people and people with underlying medical problems are very likely to catch it and become severely ill and sometimes even die. The lock down stared on March 23rd and it's supposed to finish on the 8th of May. It is only an assumption because everyday in the UK number of daily deaths is about 850 which is a lot and doesn't seem like it's going to go down any time soon. Because of the lock down there are new restrictions about everyday life which is going to make my FMP extremely difficult.
Since meeting with people out of your own household is prohibited I will not be able to take pictures of my models and I will have to shoot self portraits or use my boyfriend which is very disappointing to me because I wanted to have big variety of models to make my FMP more interesting. Another rule that's also a big difficulty for me is the fact that people can now leave their houses only for essential stuff such as grocery shopping and all public places will be patrolled. This will make it very difficult to me as I wanted to take mainly landscape portraits for my FMP and since going to parks is now banned I will have to shoot my FMP at my house. I will probably have to buy a lot of equipment to take some decent pictures indoors since my college is also shut down and all the necessary resources are there.
What is a mermaid?
According to Wikipedia.com ''in folklore, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In ancient Assyria, the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks, and drownings. The word mermaid dates to the mid-14th century word ‘mermayde’ which literally meant ‘maid of the sea’''. How far into the past of humanity our mermaids storeys reach is unknown— maybe since we first started to find creatures in the sea. Archaeologists found accounts of Oannes, a male fish-god from over five thousand years ago, in Mesopotamian mythology. One of the most popular tales is The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen. Published in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1837 as part of a collection of children's fairy tales, the storey was adapted to many different media forms, including theatre, opera, and, most popularly, a 1989 Disney animated film. Versions of the tale by Andersen and Disney have noticeable differences. In the storey of Andersen, the mermaid princess loses her tongue to get legs and whenever she walks; her pain is compared to "walking on knives." While the tale of Disney ends with the marriage of the heroine and the prince, the storey of Andersen is a little more tragic. The princess is failing to undo her curse and the prince is marrying another. The little siren ends up killing herself and ends up living with the "air spirits"
Why I chose mermaids?
Mermaids are one of the most popular mythical creatures used in movies, literature and art which makes them very easy to research and to see how do they look like. My main reason for choosing them is that they are my favourite folklore creatures since as a child I watched ''The Little Mermaid''. I loved the idea of half human and half fish creature with angelic voice and always wanted to become one as a child so now, with a little bit of make up and a camera I finally got to achieve my dream.
Katerina is a photographer who has a passion for creating unique portrait imagery of high quality. Her portfolio includes jewellery, vintage clothing, fashion, and accessories. Additionally, as a photographic portrait artist she constantly creates her own personal imagery. She is often drawn to bizarre / taboo nature themes, macabre, fantasy, and eroticism. Katerina's work caught my eye because I really admire her mermaids costumes and wanted to get some inspiration from her work. I also love landscape in her pictures and aspire to find something very similar for my photos.
Planning my shoot
My first idea for this shoot was to find a lake that I can get into and shoot it as a landscape portraits but because of the lock down things such as going to the parks are prohibited now so I think I will have to shoot this shoot in my house. For my costume I was planning on collecting some seashells and painting them many pastel colours but because of these circumstances I'm forced to buy some on Ebay. I'm not sure how am I going to give myself scales but I have seen a video of a woman using a fishnet to do it so I will try this method and see whether it works. I already bought myself a professional lamp for my shoots as I'm forced to take them indoors I figured I will need some decent lightning.
This shoot was really fun to do as it gave me a lot of time to play around and experiment with make up. I tried my best to give myself the best mermaid look I possibly could using only basic resources such as fishnets and eye shadows. Unfortunately, due to some new restrictions I had to do this shoot at home which very frustrates me as I really wanted to take some landscape pictures for this project. I think it would feel much more mythical and supernatural if I could take the pictures outside so I might re shoot it after the restrictions will no longer apply. Another disadvantage of this shoot was that my lighting that I ordered hasn't came in time so I had to use a natural light from my window which resulted in lower quality of my pictures. Overall I am very pleased with this shoot because it turned out much better than I expected it to be considering all of the obstacles that I had to face; the imagery feels like it was shoot in the studio and not inside my living room.
Whats a siren?
Throughout Greek myths, the Sirens were deadly beings, who tempted local fishermen to shipwreck on their island's rugged shore with their enchanting songs and singing voices. It was claimed that sirens appeared like a combination of women and birds in various ways. Sirens were depicted in early Greek art as birds with large female heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. They were later portrayed as female figures with bird heads, with or without wings, playing a number of musical instruments, especially harps and lyres. By the Middle Ages the siren's figure has become the dominant image of the mermaid. Ovid claimed Persephone's human companions were the Sirens. They began to look for her everywhere after she was carried off by Hades, and finally prayed for wings to fly across the sea. The gods granted prayer to them. In some versions Demeter transformed them into birds to punish them for not protecting Persephone.
Difference between siren and a mermaid
Somewhere down the literary and mythological path, mermaids and sirens became mistaken into one entity: an entity of half-woman, half-fish known for her magnificent singing voice. Originally, only the mermaid was a half-human, half-fish being and in early myths there was no indication of a singing voice. Sirens were the singers and in essence they were half-woman, half-bird species.
My first shoot for this project were mermaids who are confused with sirens very often so I wanted to show the drastic difference between those two creatures. Sirens are also known in two versions: a head of a woman and a body of a bird or a woman's head and torso with tail instead of legs. I will choose the second version as I was more familiar with it and it is much more easier for me to recreate this look since all of the costumes shops are now closed due to the current situation.
Sirens in art
Probably the most known sirens in art are mermaid from the movies ''Harry Potter and the goblet of fire'' and ''The pirates of the Caribbean on stranger ties''. In both of the movies the sirens were portrayed as dangerous half women and half fishes which gave me a lot of useful inspiration for my shoot. I admire both of the movies make up and costumes/special effects for the sirens as they made it look very realistic and perfectly reflected the descriptions from the internet that I have read. In the Pirates of the Caribbean there is a scene of siren's transformation (2nd clip 2 minutes 20 seconds until the end) into her true dangerous self which gave me a lot of inspiration in ideas for my shoot. I'd love to recreate the very last second of the clip as best as I can which will be very difficult for me as I am terrified of having my head under the water but I will try to do it anyway.
I also did some more research about Sirens using a couple of books I borrowed from a library. I found three pages about Mermaids in just one of them called ''A dictionary of fairies'', which was confusing to me because the description of the ''Mermaids'' was matching the definition of sirens perfectly; I'm assuming that it's just the authors mistake. This book told me more about sirens, their appearance and stories related to them which I found very interesting as I couldn't find any interesting siren stories on the internet. This book really encouraged me to do more book based research rather than focusing just on the internet.
Planning my shoot
I really want to take this shoot outside but since it's forbidden now I will have to use my bathtub as my water background. To make it more realistic I will take some grass and twigs from the from of my house and put them into the bath to make it look more like a natural water source. For my make up I decided to use the same technique as I used for mermaids with the fishnets to recreate the scales. I will also use white contact lenses and order some fake teeth which will give me more dangerous look. I will also ask my boyfriend for help and make him responsible for taking the pictures under my command while standing over me on the bathtub. I will tell him when to take the picture while looking at myself in the camera screen.
This shoot was definitely one of the most challenging shoots I have ever done although it is the one that I am most satisfied with the final results. One of the biggest issues I realised after the shoot was that my boyfriend didn't tell me that most of the pictures were blurry; I realised it after taking all of my make up off. The reason why I didn't check it myself during the shoot was the fact that the water was only getting colder and it was getting more and more red with every minute which was not a part of my plan. I just recently dyed my hair pink and I didn't think about it before the shoot; only during the shoot I realised that it's staining the water red which has really upset me as I wanted the water to look natural. I also tried to recreate the scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean that I was talking about before but I couldn't bring myself to put my head under water. Leaving all the bad parts of the shoot, I think that the outcome was worth all of it as I am absolutely surprised about how it turned out. Turns out that my hair staining the water gave my pictures this mysterious and fairy tale effect that I am very proud of. I also think that my make up and characterisation was on point even though I was scared that it will come off in the water, it also gave my a dangerous and mysterious look that I was after. All of my classmates were also stunned by my final pictures and couldn't find anything to criticise which made me feel very proud.
What's a werewolf?
A werewolf is a person with the ability to shape change into a wolf or a wolf like creature either deliberately or after being put under a curse or affliction (often a bite or scratch from another werewolf) with the transformations occurring on a full moon night. It is unknown precisely when and where the myth about the werewolf came from. Many scholars claim that the werewolf made its appearance in The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest known Western literature, when Gilgamesh jilted a future lover for turning her former husband into a wolf. Werewolves made yet another early appearance in the Legend of Lycaon in Greek mythology. According to the legend, Pelasgus's son Lycaon offended the god Zeus when he served him a meal made from a slaughtered boy's remains. The angered Zeus transformed Lycaon and his sons into wolves, as a revenge. The appearance of a werewolf in its animal form differs from culture to culture, but it is more often depicted as indistinguishable from regular wolves however it has no tail (a typical trait of witches in animal form), is often taller and retains human eyes and a speech. According to some Swedish accounts, the werewolf may be differentiated from a normal wolf by running on three paws, dragging the fourth backward to appear like a tail. Typically, upon transitioning to their human forms, werewolves are reported as frail, exhausted, and experiencing intense nervous exhaustion.
Mine 3rd choice of a creature for my this project are werewolfs as they are one of the most common mythical creatures in the world. At the start of the project I wasn't planning on shooting werewolfs but after being put in quarantine I have realised that I have no female models anymore so I have decided to use my boyfriend as a model. The only creature that he resembles in some kind of way after not getting a hair cut for a month was a werewolf so I decided to give him a chance.
Werewolfs in art
For my werewolf in art research I wanted to go to an art gallery but due to existing circumstances I wasn't able to. After doing some online research I have discovered that in some art galleries you are able to take virtual tours inside the galleries so I decided to try it. At first I couldn't find anything linked with mythical creatures, let alone werewolfs, because most of the exhibitions were Christian themed but after some time I found just a few paintings in London Art Gallery that had mythical creatures in it. I took some screenshots of the paintings to show that two of them were about centaurs and another one was about a dragon. Unfortunately I wasn't planning on shooting either of them but I still wanted to put these paintings in my research as I have struggled for 3 hours just to find them. Even thought they are not about werewolfs or any other mythical creatures I am interested in I think that these paintings would be a great visual reference on how people imagined those creatures.
One of the most known werewolfs that I have heard of appeared in two well known movies; Twilight and Harry Potter. In Twilight werewolfs were portrayed as humans being able to transform into a wolf where as in Harry Potter werewolfs were half human and half wolf creatures. I really adore the way that each of the movies showed both very different ways transformations and types of werewolfs but to me the Harry Potters one felt much more realistic rather than the Twilight one. It's because in Twilight the guy just becomes a wolf within a second where as in Harry Potter we can see the transformation in much more detail. After watching both of the movies I decided to go with the Harry Potter style as it would be much easier for me to do considering that I don't own a dog.
Planning my shoot
For this shoot I decided to buy some facial hair, fake ears, yellow contact lenses and some tattoo wounds to make my model resemble a werewolf as best as possible. My photography lightning was also just delivered so I am very happy that this shoot will look much better light wise. This shoot will be also done in my living room as we are still not able to leave our houses so I will have to experiment with pothotoshoping some forest backgrounds to make it look as if we were in the forest as it is a natural habitat of a wolf.
I can't even describe how disappointed I am with this shoot as in my opinion it looks very cheap and unprofessional. First of all the characterisation looks very tacky, which is only saved by the black and white filter as it made it look a little bit more better. The second thing is that my boyfriend is an extremely shy model which made it hugely difficult to shoot these kind of pictures with him. Every-time I suggested a pose for him he would do just a couple of them that he was comfortable with which made me ending up with some extremely awkward poses. What I had in mind was for him to pretend to be angry and aggressive but he couldn't bring himself do it well as he was too shy. Another thing that I fell could be a little better are the background in my photos. Since we are not able to actually go to the forest I had to improvise by photoshoping some pictures from the internet as my backgrounds. I didn't expect them to look perfect but in my opinion I could choose much better ones and blend them with the pictures way more professionally. In this shoot I also tried to experiment with some textured screens which in my opinion saved my pictures from looking like a disaster. I think that these screens give my pictures an antique feeling that I wasn't even planning on creating. Overall, I am not entirely proud of this shoot but I think that despite the difficult circumstances I have managed to make them work by using the textured screens and putting my images into black and white filter.
What's a fairy?
In European folklore a fairy is a supernatural mythical creature or spirit that has a human appearance and magical powers.The earliest appearances/mentions of fairies date back to the 12th century. An English lawyer, Gervase of Tilbury is popular for the early mentions of fairies in his writings. In his writings he wrote about enchanted places, both good and evil spirits and human like animals. When we think of fairies we picture a small, flying, human like creature who are usually female with magical powers and the act of disappearing. Fairies in appearance and possessing supernatural abilities are usually described as human. Over the ages, diminutive fairies of all sorts have been recorded, varying from very small to the height of a human child. Rather than permanent, these tiny sizes may be automatically presumed. European folklore however sometimes pictures fairies as good or evil spirits like the living dead. In Scotland, possessing the form of deer was specific to the fairy women; while the witches were rats, hares, birds, gulls, or black sheep. In "The Legend of Knockshigowna," a fairy queen took on the form of a great horse, with an eagle's wings, and a dragon-like tail, hissing loud and spitting flames, in order to frighten a farmer who pastured his herd on fairy land. Then she would turn into a little man with a leg lame, with the head of a bull, and a lambent flame playing around it.
Why I chose fairies, experimentation and planning my shoot
I chose fairies to break the darkness in my project and also to use my little sister as she is a beautiful model and I think she will suit a fairy. I also wanted to experiment a little bit with taking pictures of someone who is not in the same house as me and I think I will be doing that by calling my mum on video chat and taking screenshots of my sister. I'm not quite sure whether screenshots qualify as photography but I have no other way than taking pictures this way right now especially with people from other households. I am very concerned about the quality of the pictures because screenshots have much lower quality than a camera but I have no other choice but to try it. I will also give my mum instructions on how to dress Hanna and where to go with her for the shoot.
This shoot was my first shoot that wasn't face to face with the model but via a mobile phone. I asked my mum to dress my little sister Hanna in a flower dress and give her some flowery make up that matches her dress. After she has done that I asked my mum to take Hanna to the garden and call me on Messenger video call. When she called me I turned off my camera so I could only see Hanna and I took screenshots of her. The quality of the call was quite low therefore the screenshots quality went down as well which troubled me very much but after a careful consideration I realised that not all of them were as bad as I thought. Afterwards I asked my mum to take some pictures of Hanna with her own phone just to compare the quality of the pictures and show the difference. I think I'm not going to use this shoot for my final pictures as the quality is still to low for my expectations and Hanna isn't a great model which in my opinion makes the pictures very awkward and you can' feel any fairy vibe.
What's a witch?
It's unclear exactly when witches came on the historical scene, but one of a witch 's earliest records is in 1 Samuel 's book in the Bible, thought to be written between 931 B.C. and 721 A.D. It tells the storey of when King Saul was seeking the Witch of Endor to summon the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel to help him overthrow the Philistine army. Around 1645-1646, witch fever seized East England for 14 disastrous months. Such eastern counties' inhabitants were strongly Puritan and ardent anti-Catholics, and easily manipulated by bigoted preachers whose mission was to hunt out the slightest hint of heresy.Most of the alleged witches were usually old women, and always poor. It was assumed that anyone who was unfortunate enough to be 'crone-like, snaggle-toothed, sunken cheeked and with a hairy lip had the 'Evil Eye!'. If they had a cat as well, this was taken as a proof, since witches always had a 'family,' the cat being the most common. On this form of proof, many unfortunate women were condemned and hanged after suffering appalling torture. One lady named Mary Sutton was brought to swim test. She was flung into the river with her thumbs tied to opposite large toes. She was guilty if she floated, if she sank, innocent. Unfortunately for her she floated which led to her execution. In Europe, up to 80,000 alleged witches were put to death between the years 1500 and 1660. About 80 per cent of them were believed to be women with the Devil in cahoots and filled with lust. Germany had the highest execution rate for witchcraft while Ireland had the lowest.
The main reason why I chose witches as my last shoot was that they are one of the most if not the most popular mythical creatures and I just couldn't ignore this fact. Additionally, I think that witches can be portrayed in a lot of different ways and in my opinion it will be a great fun for me to choose how I would like to show my version of this creature. Also my best friend's style is very witchy/gothic which makes her the perfect model for this shoot as she also has tons of witchcraft related accessories. She already agreed to model for me so it motivated me even more to make this shoot my last but also the best one.
Witches in art
It would be a sin for me not to use the most famous movie about witchcraft which is Harry Potter. This movie is about a young boy who discovered that he's a wizard and later goes to a wizard school. The movie shows us in depth every single aspect of wizards and witches life. There is a lot of different views and versions of how witches and wizards use their power and how their world looks like but I'm going to base my shoot on Harry Potters version as it was my favourite series as a child. To refresh my memory I have watched a couple of Harry Potter movies before doing my shoot to gain as many appearance tips as I possibly could.
I have uploaded some clips from the movie to show how witchcraft was pictured in it. In the first clip we can see a group of wizards flying on their broomsticks which is a very popular stereotype. I would love to have a broomstick in my shoot but the prices of them are very expensive unless I will make one myself which I doubt will look good. In the second clip we can see a group of young wizards in their school on a potions lesson learning some potion recipes, which gave me an idea to give my model a chalice with a ''potion'' in it to make the picture look more magical. In the last clip we can see a lesson against dark arts, which gives us the information that in this world magic can be divided into good and dark. I'm not sure which side I want my model to represent but I think that I am more likely to choose the dark magic as my model suits this kind of energy.
Planning my shoot
For this shoot I am planning on getting as many witchcraft related accessories as I can to really bring out the magical feeling. I know that my model will bring a lot of her own accessories and clothes which makes it a lot easier for me but I'm still thinking about what jewellery and make up should I give her. I will also purchase some smoke tablets to put inside her chalice to make it look as if there is a potion inside it. I'm not sure where should I do my shoot as we are still under quarantine but on the other hand me and Angelika were isolating from the very start so I think there won't be any danger if she will come to my house.
This shoot was definitely one of the best shoots I have ever took. Angelika is such an easy model to work with and also her face was just perfect for a witch. I decided to make her a villain so she wore all black and I also made some blood potions for this shoot. I absolutely love the outcome and genuinely can not decide which picture I like the best as in my opinion all of them show exactly what I wanted to capture. I am also very pleased with all the accessories that I have purchased for this shoot as they were delivered to me within 2 days and the quality of most of them was on point. Some obstacles we had to face were for sure the smoke bombs as they were so intense hey started to irritate our eyes so each set of pictures had to be taken within 5 minutes and then we would have our break by the window to give our eyes a break. By the time we have finished the shoot our eyes were very red and itchy so we had to get some eye drops as we were very concerned them. One other thing I am very upset about is that I also wanted this shoot to be a landscape portrait but unfortunately, we were unable to go to a forest (as I originally planned) as the quarantine had been expanded for even longer so I had to create a witchy environment inside my house. During the very end of our shoot I experimented with shutter speed to make my models hair blurry but keep her face in focus at the same time and after a couple of attempts I have finally achieved the result I wanted. I am very proud of it and I think that if not an emergency that ended this shoot I would try to experiment some more with different camera settings.
In my opinion, my project ''Two Tales of Folklore'' was one of the most challenging projects I have ever completed. I think that because of all the complications I have encountered due to the Covid-19 situation around the world. It affected my project significantly as at the start of the college year I wanted to shoot landscape portraiture to capture the full essence of each creature, but because of the new regulations that British government introduced I had to improvise inside my own house. I also had a big range of models chosen before the Covid-19 break out for my FMP but because of self-isolation I had to shoot self portraits which was very challenging for me as I didn't have any professional equipment in my house that I would usually use in the college. To overcome all of that I bought some professional lightning and a lot of accessories for my creatures costumes to make them look as realistic as I possibly could without going outside. Another problem I discovered half way through my project is that I was the only model in my FMP and it started to feel a little bit bland to me as I hoped to have a large range of models before. To overcome this I asked my boyfriend that I live with to be my model for just one shoot, I asked my mum to dress my little sister as a fairy and I took screenshots of her during our video call and lastly I invited my friend Angelika to my house after we both self isolated for at leas a month and made sure we were safe. The last problem I can think of is that most of my pictures don't have any landscape background which in my opinion makes them feel a little bit less mythical. I tried to overcome it by photoshoping the backgrounds in, using a bath tub or taking pictures via video call and only one of them worked to some extend. I wasn't able to overcome it fully and that's why I feel like some of my pictures don't give off the mythical and enchanted feeling that I was aiming for.
Due to all the Covid-19 complications I had to come up with a lot of new plans for my shoots as I was suddenly deprived of a bunch of stuff that I needed from my college. I had to purchase a lot of photography equipment to improve my images quality and I also had to forget about my plans with other models as I was the only model that I could use. I tried my best to plan each shoot very carefully and buy all the necessary accessories and props that I would need to achieve my desired outcome. I did all of my shoots in order and didn't start another before finishing the previous one which helped me to focus on each one individually without getting distracted. I also evaluated each of them and tried not to make the same mistakes in the next shoot by for example upgrading my lightning. With Polish being my first language I found it quite difficult to write in English after not speaking to any of my English friends for a long time properly. I live with my Polish boyfriend so I spoke Polish only for the past 2 months and whenever I had to do some writing for my project I struggled a lot with remembering correct words.
As well as my language barrier, one of the biggest challenges was doing my research as I had planned visiting libraries and galleries to look for some inspiration there but since everything has closed and we were told to stay home I had to find other ways to do so. Before my college closed I rented as many books about mythical creatures as I was allowed to and they turned out to be a life saver as one of them had actually helped me during my FMP. Another way I had to think creative about my research were virtual gallery tours which are only available in specific galleries. I am very happy that I found out about them as the experience was unbelievable and I found some amazing art to put in my research as well. I hope that even if it's online it still shows my willingness to explore other places of art rather than just using internet as that was the only way I could access an art gallery right now. Another very helpful thing for my research turned out to be movies such as ''Harry Potter'', ''Twilight'' and ''The Pirates of the Caribbean'' as they talked about a variety of mythical creatures. It helped me to see how other people portray certain creatures and gave me a lot of inspiration on how to dress for my shoots and even what poses to do. It was pretty difficult for me to find some photographers who shoot anything about a folklore or mythical creatures as there is only a few people that have done it which made my selection very bland. I'm not fully happy with all the artist I have chosen but their art was the closest thing to what I tried to capture as well. I think it's because a folklore is not a very popular topic among artists which really saddens me as it is such a beautiful and fascinating thing to talk about. In my opinion folklore and mythology are very underrated in the art community and I would love them to gain a greater interest among artists as you can create some very amazing art with them. I have learnt so much stuff about folklore that I thought I knew but my research proven me wrong, for example I always thought that sirens were half human and half fish creatures but they turned out to be half human and half bird creatures at first and then they were cursed into what I always thought they were. I have also learnt more in depth about the difference between sirens and mermaids as I only briefly knew it but now I finally understand how different they actually are.
Unfortunately, due to my college closing because the lock down I was unable to access stuff like darkroom, scanners and a studio which would give my project a wider range of techniques. If it wasn't for the lock down I was planning on using a scanner for this project and a darkroom as well to see what would make my photographs look the most mythical. To make up for that I tried taking pictures via a video call as screenshot but sadly it didn't work as I hoped it would because the image quality was too low for my liking. If I had a chance to do this project all over again I would definitely use a wider range of techniques to make it more interesting and experiment with different ways to present my pictures.
For my final presentation I was planning on creating a book which would include stories about each of the creature and pictures that I took myself as illustrations. I was very enthused about this idea but because of the lock down most of the shops that were necessary for me to create this book were closed which unmotivated me to the point where I chose to buy simple frames for my final pictures. I was looking forward to my colleges final show where people could see my book and just the thought of the show being cancelled made me feel very dull and unwilling to continue with this project but in the end I chose not to give up that easily. If I had 3 more weeks to work on this project I would probably try to include more models and try taking some landscape pictures in some alienated places to give more pictures more mystery. I would also try to borrow a scanner from someone to give my project more technical variety or try to shoot on a film camera instead of a digital one.
Even with all the obstacles and difficult working conditions some of my pictures surprised me with how well they turned out, especially my Siren shoot. I did not expect it to look that good as my boyfriend, who has no photography experience, had to stand over me on the bath tub and press the shutter whenever I told him to do so. Most of the pictures came out blurry but the sharp ones were absolutely on point. Overall, I think my final pictures are on a very decent level and reflect what I have had in mind as best as it was possible. I am a big folklore fan so obviously I am a little bit disappointed about how some of the pictures turned out but I tried my best. I think that when you look at my final 4 pictures you can tell that my project was about folklore and mythical creatures without looking at the title so for me that is a win.