Week-3-Coursework: Constructed Realties.

Tasks: Video One, Constructed Realities:

Task: As you watch this video take note of:

  • How many photographs you have seen today.
  • The contexts in which you saw them.
  • Whether you read them as records or recognised their artifice.
  • How you balance fact and fiction in your own work.

I looked at 5 images:

  1. Skoglund: “Revenge of  the Goldfish.” Arts image context. Artifice, (undoubted)
  2. Erwin Wurm: “One minute Sculptures.” Arts image context. Artifice
  3. Joan Fontuberta:”Solenoglypha Polypodida from fauna.”  Documentary Context. Artifice. (Thought record till researched. Discovered to be a fiction)
  4. Calvin Klein: Advertising context. Artifice.
  5. Donald Trump: Twitter: Photojournalism context. Artifice.

My practice for the MA is fine art. In this context, I presume most viewers will have the understanding that my practice is part fact, part fiction.


This week so far, I have taken an extended look into some works of photographers listed in this weeks video: Constructed Realities. Art Wolf, Sandy Skoglund and Miriam Backstrom.

I found it interesting that Wolf had added images of to his photograph, as at first I did not know this, and in the context of his work I expected to see what I was getting as actual, truthful and not constructed ij the way he did it by adding flamingoes to the final image. So, I have to admit I find myself cheated here. If I had never been informed, he would have got away with it and I would have been none the wiser. The problem I have with it is that basically the skill or luck to get a truly unique image is gone. It can all be recreated in photoshop, which is in the hands of another creative individual other than the photographer. In essence the photographer of to-day is the tea-boy. They bring the beverage, and some-one else sweetens it up. So with this work, I expected it as record, when in fact it is artifice. In the context of Wolf as a ‘wild life’ photographer I expect record. However on closer inspection of him, I read him described as: ‘best known for color images of landscapes, wildlife, and native cultures.’ I guess this says it all, now understand why his images are constructed.

Sandy Skoglund (born September 11, 1946) is an American photographer and installation artist. Skoglund’s work is particularly interesting to me. I enjoy the esthetics of the images and find the concept of her work very inventive and creative. Her work is constructed, and immediately apparent, therefore the moment I set eyes on her pieces I know it’s artifice and do not need to question that part of it any longer. This allows me to enjoy her work from a truly creative perspective.

Miriam Backstrom was born in 1967, Stockholm.  She studied history of art at the University of Stockholm before enrolling at Stockholm’s Academy of Photography in 1994. “She photographs her subjects straightforward, without touching anything and using only existing light.” *  When seeing her work, the fact that it’s artifice is not immediately apparent, however, in her work, there is always something “off” in her images, something does not seem to set right. Of course as one discovers, these images are made in places like Ikea. Her work from the get go alludes to artifice, which is conformed with a little investigation. I like the fact that I have to do some research into her work, and make ‘discovery’ which gives the work an added demotion.

Balancing fact and fiction in my own work is pretty easy. I lean towards the abstract, so it is a given that the image in manipulated and constructed  I am content with that. The advantage of ‘art’ photography over advertising photography for examples: art photography stimulates contemplation. Commercial / advertising photography is manipulative, controlling and deceitful, I have done it, however, I do not like it for these reasons, among others.



Art Wolfe: University of Washington, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, Accessed April 2013.

Sandy Skoglund:  Charles Hagen (September 23, 1994). “Art in Review”. dagbladet. Retrieved 2010-07-22.

* Miriam Backstrom: https://the-artists.org/miriam-backstrom/