First Person – Graphic Novel – Ideas/Research

One image that I remembered distinctly for the exhibition visit was by August Sander Three Generations of the Family (1912). I think this image stayed with me because family is a very important thing to me, I have been lucky enough to grow up knowing various generations of my family. This photograph by Sander made me think about a photograph of 4 generations of my own family. This started me off my thinking about family and generations, what family means? what generations are? These questions lead me to think about changes from generation to generation.

Three Generations of the Family 1912, printed 1990 by August Sander 1876-1964
Three Generations of the Family c.1912 printed 1990 by August Sander

To start with my research I thought that it could be interesting and useful to look at photographs of my family find anyones I could of the different generations in the photographs together. I thought that this could offer me a story of my family or I might find somebody who inspires me. I was able to find 4 photographs with 3 or more generations in them, two of which I am in then 2 from older generations of the family.

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Family images showing 3/4 generations of the family. 

There is something called the Generation Gap which according the Cambridge English dictionary is “a situation in which older and younger people do not understand each other because of their different experiences, opinions, habits, and behaviour” (2019) This generational divide can be seen in a lot of ways but it also cannot be seen. For example, using a mobile seems like second nature to me whereas to my grandparents it seem like its another world. I’ve grown up in the world around technology whereas it’s something that is another world to majority of my grandparents generation. 

This idea of generational gap made me think about showing a snap shot of 3 generations day to try and show how depending on peoples habits and how they grew up depends on their morning activities. For example my grandfather likes to have his newspaper everyday whereas I tend to use my phone to read the news. This would mean that the graphic novel shows people that the generation gap isn’t a bad thing because people find thing out in different ways we can still have a conversation about the same thing. I draw up an initial storyboard of the idea to show how it would work.

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Initial Storyboard 1

After studying some of the photographs of my family I thought that it might be interesting to consider showing the story of different generations. I took the photograph of my great grandmother, grandmother, father and me for inspiration for the story as the other photo with myself in wasn’t complete blood relation my great aunt was married into the Williams family. I drew up an initial story board to show how they might relate to one another. In this idea I would have to use found imagery, family photographs to show different generations lives. I could also show how family values are passed down through generations which could be something interesting to look at.

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Initial Storyboard 2

Out of these two initial ideas I think that looking at the generations of my own family would be better for this project as I think that it’s more interesting for the reader. I also think that this would be more personal to me and would allow me the opportunity be little more creative and expressive. I will take both of these ideas along to the next tutorial where I can gain further feedback.


References
Cambridge English Dictionary (2019) [Online] Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/generation-gap (Accessed: 18 November 2019)
Sander A. (1912) Three Generations of the Family. [Image] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sander-three-generations-of-the-family-al00013 (Accessed: 13 November 2019)

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First Person – Graphic Novel – 19.11.19

Throughout the day we had various lectures and workshops to help us develop our ideas and understanding about creating a graphic novel. These were all very helpful and enabled me to start thinking further into how I could create the novel.

Lecture 1 

The first lecture (2019) was about Visual Storytelling- Sequential Narrative Forms. In this lecture Duncan talked about the different ways of showing a sequential narrative. From this I learnt that there were three main categories for this; linear, non-linear and unconventional (anti narrative). These are all ways of telling a narrative but each one used a different approach.

Linear Narrative – Has a beginning middle and end in the timeline order. This type of narrative is to replicate human experience, everyday has a beginning middle and end, it’s familiar to us. This chronological way of story telling is most common the one that you would find in most of the books. It’s seamless and orientated for the reader/viewer, meaning that they don’t really have to think about it.

Non-Linear Narrative – This form of narrative also has the structure beginning, middle and end however, it breaks chronology. For example it might show the end of the story before it shows the beginning. This type of narrative requires a more active viewer, to ensure that the story is understood. In order for the viewer to know that there a change in time, the creator must indicate this, potentially changing the aesthetics to do this. Where as a Linear Narrative replicates human experience, non-linear replicas human memory, so it’s somewhat familiar to the viewer.

Unconventional Forms – We spoke about two approaches montage theory and anti – narrative. Anti- narrative was inspired by surrealism, focusing on attention to the narrative’s construction and relationship between sequence and audience. For example you might be reading the story when suddenly the creator/author addresses you (the reader) creating shock, it reminds you that what you are reading isn’t real it made-up.

We also spoke about the showing narrative structure visually, as this is what we will need to do in our graphic novels. We talked about keeping them all stylistically similar unless indicating a change in time. Each image must bind together and infer meaning for the one before. The other interesting aspect that a graphic novel offers compared to film is the ability to revisit frames from before. This would allow the viewer to opportunity to revisit something that they might need to look at again. To see this we looked at the work of Duane Michals – who creates these small narratives using photography. We looked at his work the Fallen Angel (1968) which highlighted to me that you can show a story without the use of words simply and effectively. This is something that I might consider doing for my own novel.

 

Furthermore we also looked at the work of Marc – Antoine Mathieu who showed 3 seconds of someones life in his photography. It was like he’d showed down the 3 seconds down so that you could see everything all the tiny details that were in the images. This is something that I might use within my novel to show the smallest detail of someones day but how different it is showing detail.

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Mathieu, M. (2011) 3 Seconds

Artist Special Books Collection. 

We also had the chance yesterday to visit the artist special books collection in the Cardiff Met Library. This was an opportunity for us to see how some graphic novelist had put their books together, what mediums they had used, it was an opportunity to see similarities and differences. It seemed that a lot of the graphic novels in the collection used bright, bold neon colours, this is something that I could consider in my own work as I want my graphic novel to stand out by still appear to the audience. Furthermore, I thought that there was a larger majority of images that were illustrative, but there were still photography being used. I have had my mind set of using photography within my novel as this is best for me however, it might be interesting to consider having a mixture of photography and illustrative elements. From seeing the books in the collection it has given me a lot of ideas about how I can develop my own graphic novel further.

Lecture 2 

In the afternoon we had a seminar from Dan Anthony (2019) on Creative writing for narrative. This was again really helpful because it allowed me to think more about how to structure my own graphic novel. He talked about time being important as the creator/writer we are the masters of time within the story, we decide time scales. He also talked about structure being very important, and further reiterated what Duncan had said in the morning about having a beginning middle and end to the narrative.

We completed a task where we had to find a narrative within an image. He showed us the Fall of Icarus by Pieter Bruegel (1555), but he didn’t tell us the title to start of with only asked us to find a narrative in the image. We then shared these narratives and it was interesting to see that everybody had used different characters within the image to create a different narrative nobody’s was the same. This tasked showed that images do really have a story within them, and everybody interpretations are different.

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Bruegel, P. (1555) The Fall of Icarus. [Painting]  

References
Mathieu M. (2011) 3 Seconds. [Graphic Novel] [Online] Available at: https://bookmunch.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/is-an-interesting-idea-enough-3-by-marc-antoine-mathieu/ (Accessed: 19 November 2019)
Michals, D. (1968) Fallen Angel. [Gelatin Silver Prints] Akron Art museum, Ohio, Online Collection [Online] Available at:https://akronartmuseum.org/collection/Obj1526?sid=1&x=173519 (Accessed: 19 November 2019)
Bruegel, P. (1555) The Fall of Icarus. [Painting] 20th Century Collection, Royal Museums of Fine Sets of Belgium. [Online] Available at:https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/landscape-with-the-fall-of-icarus (Accessed: 19 November 2019)
Cook, D. (2019) Visual Storytelling, Sequential Narrative Forms. [Lecture to Level 5 Field Project ADZ5888_19 Class] 19 November.
Anthony, D. (2019) Creative Writing. [Seminar to Level 5 Field Project ADZ5888_19 Class] 19 November.

First Person – Graphic Novel – Brief & Exhibition Visit

Project Briefing

On Tuesday we start our first Field Modules for this year. My first project is First Person – Graphic Novel, which I was initially nervous about going into because I haven’t read many graphic novel before. However, I was intrigued about learning how I could create something like this.

During the briefing of the project we spoke about what we thought about graphic novels but we also discussed three main ideas. These ideas I will need to remember throughout the process of the project, they will helpful for me to evaluate my work.

  1. The Protagonist – Character? Who is the main person? Is there multiple?
  2. Empathy –  Can I place myself in somebody else shoes? Have I been able to connect emotionally to the audience and to the character?
  3. Interior Monologue – Inner thought? Can I show how my character is thinking during the story rather than just describing?

These elements will contribute an interesting element visually to my work. After the briefing for the project I feel much better about what I am going to do. I think that this will also link about to my subject area thinking about pace and storytelling which are both important parts to my practice.

Exhibition Visit

After the briefing we all walked to Cardiff Museum to see two photography exhibitions. The one exhibition was showing the work of August Sander, a German photographer in the early 1920’s. He documented people living and working within Germany at the time showing people from all walks of life. The second exhibition was by Berndt and Hilla Becher who work was arranged in a panel format, showing old industrial buildings throughout Europe and America. Out of the two exhibition which both showed extraordinary work and showcased the idea of typologies, I felt that I was personally able to connect more with the work of August Sander.

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Three Generations of the Family c.1912 printed 1990 by August Sander

For example the image above (Three Generations of the Family) made me think about a photograph that I have with four generations of my own family. Family is a really important thing to me personally and this photo brought back memories of having the photo of the 4 generations of my family being taken. This could be the topic for my work thinking about family, thinking about generations, thinking about learning from the previous.

Another interesting thing that occurred to me when walking around this exhibition of Sander’s work was how he had arranged the categories. He had one called Skilled Tradesmen where he had a brick layer next to a business man, which is something that I would have never considered. It was interesting as I think today we wouldn’t see that happening, people wouldn’t group them together. Also, all the different categories were so diverse made me think about how there was such a diverse culture back then it was really interesting to see how many different walks of life there were.

Police Officer 1925, printed 1990 by August Sander 1876-1964
Police Officer c.1925 printed 1990 by August Sander
Children Born Blind c.1930, printed 1991 by August Sander 1876-1964
Children Born Blind c.1930 printed 1991 by August Sander
Widower 1914, printed 1990 by August Sander 1876-1964
Widower c.1914 printed 1990 by August Sander

All the images within the exhibition I was able to connect with and understand maybe what they were going through. As I went around the exhibition I wanted to try show empathy and think about what it might have been like at the time to be them to be in their shoes. I gave myself this small task to do while going around in order to be able to start understanding these terms that I think are going to be so important to me throughout this creative process. From all the images I seen in the exhibition a few have sparked a couple of idea within me so my next stage now is to start thinking into these more and start creating.

 


References
Photography Season (2019) [Exhibition]. National Museum Cardiff. 26 October 2019–1 March 2020.
Sander A. (1912) Three Generations of the Family. [Image] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sander-three-generations-of-the-family-al00013 (Accessed: 13 November 2019)
Sander, A. (1930) Children Born Bling. [Image] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sander-children-born-blind-al00116 (Accessed: 13 November 2019)
Sander, A. (1925) Police Officer. [Image] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sander-police-officer-al00061 (Accessed: 13 November 2019)
Sander, A. (1914) Widower. [Image] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sander-widower-al00122 (Accessed: 13 November 2019)
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