Ethan Bennett

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Lucy Soutter posed a concept insisting that 'Up to and including the instant of exposure, the photographer is working in an undeniably subjective way'. Discovering this concept prompted me to enter a period of self-analysis regarding my own photographic approaches. The subjectivity of the photography that Soutter discusses is fascinating as it implies that the photographer plays a more influential role in capturing and questions the positivist science that emerged shortly after the introduction of photography. Positivist science, as Sturken and Cartwright detail, supports the idea that 'empirical truths can be established through visual evidence and that the photograph itself is an 'unmediated copy of the real world'.

This project project has been directed with the objective to explore the process of capture and mediation, using the work of artists such as Thomas Ruff and my own archival pieces to inform a resolution that interrogates my photographic practice. Examples of such mediation that I have explored in this project include pre-established landscape aesthetic codes and the reliance upon data instead of instinctual artistic methods. As detailed by David Green, technical limitations of early photography encouraged the pre-visualisation of images before capture. I am of the belief that such foresight has remained prevalent to this day and the democratisation of photography has a great influence on how individual images are composed before being measured as 'successful'.

Sturken and Cartwright discuss that 'aesthetic choices such as focus and framing are made as if by the camera itself, implying a sentiency to the equipment we use for capture. The manufacturer of the camera installs aesthetic predispositions through the inclusion of features such as a digital horizon level or rule of thirds grids. My resolution consists of a group of images that have been extracted from a series of shoots I undertook to capture the tranquillity of Hampshire's lakes and rivers. The majority of the images from the series make use of a methodology in which I convert the green tones of typical landscape photography to vivid fuchsia and amber. I take inspiration from Richard Mosse's 'The Enclave', using uncommon colours found in British scenery to re-depict these landscapes as ethereal and exotic, being cautious not to over-saturate each colour to retain a grounding in artistic realism.

The images have each been altered in a way or parts focused upon to highlight the intervention and manipulation that affects the final outcome of each image. Some of the images reveal aspects of the capture and post-processing stage, the viewer is being directed to involve them as aesthetical considerations as opposed to their usual lack of presence after exporting. Other images encourage the consumers' eyes to navigate the images in a conventional manner, tracing outlines, leading lines or grids, with the difference being that the viewer knows that they are being led.

©EthanBennettShoots Conceptual ArtistHampshire based