Kafka’s short story The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung), first published in 1915, is the tale of a man called Gregor who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a beetle. The story then explores how Gregor and his parents deal with this transformation. The Metamorphosis is set in Gregor’s bedroom in his parents’ house, and the door of the room
becomes an important visual metaphor for being trapped.
Research how different illustrators have tackled this story. You’ll find that there’s a limited range of images – the bedroom door, the beetle and the bed. How have illustrators used these elements?
Extend your research to look at film, artists, theatre, TV and other visual representations. Where in the narrative have artists placed the image – before, after or during the transformation? How have illustrators’ choices framed your understanding of what the story is about? Which do you
think is the most successful version?
My favourites: Luis Scafati
Catherine Anyango uses film, sculpture and mise-en-scene devices to reconstruct physical environments that are disrupted by psychological, intangible phenomena. Many of her images are powerful graphite black and white drawings, often dealing with political issues.
Heart of Darkness 2010, a graphic novel adaptation of Conrad’s novel about colonialism
She has produced live film events around London, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Film Theatre.
Current projects look at the emotional manifestations of crime and guilt upon public and private space.
In upcoming graphic novel 2×2 the banality of corruption affects the physical structure of a city and in recent drawings of crime scenes and police violence the images act as subjective evidence of horror.
She studied at St Martins and the Royal College of Art followed by an MA in English Literature at UCL. Since then she has exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach, the London Design Festival, Guest Projects and Design Miami Basel. She is currently a Tutor in Visual Research at the Royal College of Art.o
William Scott (15 February 1913 – 28 December 1989) was a British artist from Northern Ireland, known for still-life and abstract painting. His apparently simple paintings of pots, pans and stylised nudes explore relationships between space, form and colour.
“behind the facade of pots and pans there is sometimes another image … a private one … sensed rather than seen”.
my love for the primitive and for the elemental
“The frying pan comprises, in essence, a circle and a line, and dozens of critics have discussed the intimate relations between his objects, and the sexual element to his work.”
Geoff Grandfield is an award-winning British illustrator now living in London. He has worked with major newspapers and publishers since 1987. His work centres on the visual communication of ideas, narrative and atmosphere, influenced by the cinematography of film noir and the reductivism of modernist graphic art.
As an educator he has led BA Illustration at Middlesex University (1994-2005) and is currently Course Director and Associate Professor for BA Illustration Animation at Kingston University (since 2006).
As co-founder of ‘Mokita’ the illustration forum (since 2010), he has campaigned for the greater recognition of Illustration as a subject and its significance for international visual culture.
His work is characterised by carefully composed minimalist silhouettes and limited palette, exaggerated perspective and scale contrasts. The bold shapes and perspective have a very strong immediate impact. Other meanings and shapes are often hidden and it is only by following the lines that the meaning of images become revealed.
Grandfield draws with chalk pastel, usually the German make Schminke, and sometimes Talens. “When I work for black and white reproduction I use tones of grey. The tones have some ‘colour’ in them, but mostly I’m going by the weight and contrast between areas. Colour is another thing and I try to prioritise a particular set of colours for a result.” Since 2001 he has been using Photoshop to scan and prepare for reproduction, which in turn has changed the visual look of my work. He scans his originals at A4.
Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist. Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazzmusicians for record covers. In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977.
1960s and 70s: black and white social landscape
His early work was influenced by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans.
Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander evolved an influential and often imitated visual language of urban “social landscape,” with many of the photographs including fragments of store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, posters and street-signs.
He also experimented with use of his own shadow as an extra element in the image – giving many of them a more haunted eerie feel of an obvious onlooker to the scene.
In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander’s first solo museum show. Friedlander was then a key figure in curator John Szarkowski‘s 1967 “New Documents” exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus. In 1973, his work was honored in Rencontres d’Arles festival (France) with the screening “Soirée américaine : Judy Dater, Jack Welpott, Jerry Uelsmann, Lee Friedlander” présentée par Jean-Claude Lemagny.
1980s – present
Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). While suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his “limbs” reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio.
Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970s. A student at the time, she was paid only $25 for her 1979 set. In 2009, one of the images fetched $37,500 at a Christie’s Art House auction.
In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship.
He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of Friedlander’s career, including nearly 400 photographs from the 1950s to the present. In the same year he received a Hasselblad International Award. The retrospective exhibition was presented again in 2008 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
Lee Friedlander monograph America by Car (2010)
All the images in the series are taken from the driver’s point of view, incorporating into the viewfinder all of the familiar architecture of the cockpit (dashboard, rear-view mirror, views from side windows and wing mirrors and so on). This claustrophobia presents an American landscape at odds with the car and its driver; the windscreen forms a barrier between the individual and the landscape beyond. The car can only take you so far into the wilderness. The vast majority of the images in Friedlander’s book were made after 2001, and several images hint towards the international concerns of the past decade and beyond. The road – or, rather, whatever passing motorists will notice – is where political voices are articulated in loud, upper case letters: “WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”, declares Little Millers diner in Alaska (p. 89). A campaign vehicle covered with pro-Obama stickers (p.104) is a prime example of using a vehicle as a legitimate extension of ideology and identity. [See Martin Parr’s From A to B (1994)].
Endless gas stations, a ubiquitous motif of the road trip narrative, inevitably contribute to the collection.
Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery not far from SFMOMA. “America By Car” was on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in late 2010.
Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death. Sugimoto is also deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movements as a whole. He has also expressed a great deal of interest in late 20th century modern architecture.
His use of an 8×10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures have given Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability. He is equally acclaimed for the conceptual and philosophical aspects of his work.
Exerpts from his description of selected works from his website:
Joe: Like a work of architecture, this sculpture has to be experienced by walking around and through it… Joe is different according to the time of the day, the season, and the viewer’s position. It is in the visitor’s memory that the sculpture “takes shape” in the most complete way…Using a photographic technique involving areas of extremely soft light and blurred darkness, he sculpted views that seem like aspects of visual memory: the arts of photography and sculpture overlap and memories of the two-and the three-dimensional mix.
Revolution: For a long time it was my job to stand on cliffs and gaze at the sea, the horizon where it touches the sky. The horizon is not a straight line, but a segment of a great arc. One day, standing atop a lone island peak in a remote sea, the horizon encompassing my entire field of vision, for a moment I was floating in the centre of a vast basin. But then, as I viewed the horizon encircle me, I had a distinct sensation of the earth as a watery globe, a clear vision of the horizon not as an endless expanse but the edge of an oceanic sphere…There remains… a great divide between comprehending (i.e.explaining) the world and being able to explain what we ourselves are. And even then, what we can explain of the world is far less than what we cannot ― though people tend be more attracted by the unexplained. In all this, I somehow feel we are nearing an era when religion and art will once again cast doubts upon science, or else an era when things better seen through to a scientific conclusion will bow to religious judgement.
Seascapes: Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence…Let’s just say that there happened to be a planet with water and air in our solar system, and moreover at precisely the right distance from the sun for the temperatures required to coax forth life. While hardly inconceivable that at least one such planet should exist in the vast reaches of universe, we search in vain for another similar example. Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.
Lightning sheets: The idea of observing the effects of electrical discharges on photographic dry plates reflects my desire to re-create the major discoveries of these scientific pioneers in the darkroom and verify them with my own eyes.
Architecture: I decided to trace the beginnings of our age via architecture. Pushing my old large-format camera’s focal length out to twice-infinity―with no stops on the bellows rail, the view through the lens was an utter blur―I discovered that superlative architecture survives, however dissolved, the onslaught of blurred photography. Thus I began erosion-testing architecture for durability, completely melting away many of the buildings in the process.
Chamber of Horrors: People in olden times were apparently less fearful and grievous of death than we are today. To some it was even an honor to be chosen by the gods as a sacrificial victim, a liberation from the sufferings and strife of this life…Must we moderns be so sheltered from death?