I chose the word entropy because, when I searched for a definition of the word, there wasn’t a set meaning so I was free to interpret it as I wished. I found one source that defined entropy as “lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder” and so I chose to use this one as this implies a sense of chaos which I thought would have been interesting to research and photograph. I decided to take photos of children’s toys that had been burned and destroyed as I felt like this showed contrast between the purity of a child’s toy and the destructive tendencies of fire. I also chose to photograph destroyed toys as I felt like this would have a greater impact on the viewer rather than random objects that had been burned.
One of the main influencers on my project was Linus Lohoff, a still life photographer who experiments with solid colour (and occasionally contrasting) backgrounds in his work. He inspired me to think more about how I wanted to position my objects and which colour background I wanted to use. I was particularly interested in how he placed his objects in the exact centre of the frame which means the viewer’s eye didn’t need to move much to view the photo.
Mike Stimpson was also an influencer in terms of photographing children’s toys as he has many interesting works.
“Any photograph has multiple meanings; indeed, to see something in the form of a photograph is to encounter a potential object of fascination” – (p. 23) On Photography, Susan Sontag 1979
This quote made me think about what messages the viewer will take away from my work and how I should present the shots in order to portray my own ideas of the theme. It also relates to my composition in the sense that the objects I photographed are definitely objects of fascination, to me and hopefully to other people.
“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” ― Mikhail Bakunin
This caused me to think about destruction and chaos in a more creative light and how they can be used to affect people’s thoughts and opinions.
In terms of the destruction aspect of my work, I wasn’t influenced by anybody because I wanted my ideas to be wholly my own influence and unaffected by anyone else. I decided not to research into chaos and disorder as I wanted to form my own opinions about these themes in order to investigate into my own abilities and how creative I can be.
When I first started thinking about this task, I had so many ideas that I had to take the time to write them all down and sort through them all. My original idea was to soak the toys in lighter fluid, set fire to them, and take photos as they burned. I had to discard this idea fairly early on once I realised that there were too many health and safety things that could go horribly wrong. It would also be difficult to take aesthetically pleasing photographs because it would need to be fairly dark outside for the fire to look impressive but then I would need extra lighting if I wanted to control what was in the background of my shot.
Once I had decided on the idea that I was going to photograph, I started to think more about which toy’s I wanted to use and how I wanted to destroy them. I decided to buy one of the traditional child’s dolls as it reminded me of a doll I used to have when I was a child and so did most other children. This made me think that if most people have memories related to that doll or similar ones then the destruction of it would have a bigger impact than if it was a random toy.
When I was destroying the toys, I had to think about how much I wanted to mutilate them and which would be the best method of destruction in order to achieve a maximum impact among the viewers. When I was melting the doll, I decided to focus more on its face as this was the body part that people looked at the most. I thought that it was the most innocent looking part of the doll and if it was covered in soot and disfigured then it would help to portray my idea of the loss of innocence and childhood. I decided to use fire to mutilate the toys as fire can be associated with purity in that it burns away any impurities so it was a paradox of sorts in that a medium used to burn away impurities was, in this case, used to burn away innocence and purity.
I think, overall, my composition was effective in that it portrayed the concepts I wanted it to and it did them to such an extent that it has made a lasting impact on everyone who has seen the images.