When taking the photos for my “found” posters I had to think carefully about which objects I selected. The idea was that I was bringing an invented meaning to meaningless things, but I didn’t want to start bringing in rubbish/litter as this has very different connotations to what I wanted: artwork featuring litter becomes artwork about environmental issues, climate change etc which isn’t at all what I wanted to do. On top of this, for me, discarded belongings have much more interesting connotations. They are things that once had a meaning but are now in a state of complete nothingness. Rubbish has never been anyone’s property, just a piece of matter in a kind of void. For these reasons rubbish is a strange thing to work with – it is meaningless yet carries meaningful connotations. I like the idea that now I have brought these things (or photos of these things) into my work, they are now in a sense mine even thought they once belonged to someone unknown and now belong to no-one. Even though I left them where they were I have some kind of claim over them.
Once I had set these guidelines I couldn’t be selective; I photographed everything that I found on my walk from my flat in North London to the Barbican. The photography itself was very important, although photography isn’t my greatest skill. I wanted the photos to be almost dramatic – they needed to have the feel of serious posters and poorly taken photos would make the posters feel more like a joke. I think I was, for the most part, successful in my photography and editing, however a few of the images (for example the wooden model and the flowery canvas) were for some reason less impactful.
For most of the photos I left the objects exactly as I found them – thinking about the comment made in my labelling work about how it appeared that I had arranged the scene, just because I was presenting it as art. I regret the few items that I did arrange or move, even though the viewer wouldn’t know that I had done this, and it made for a better image.
This is an interesting thing to think about. When working in this way I need to set rules, but since the viewer will never know if I have stuck to them or not, does it matter if I follow them? As long as the viewer believes I have.
The layout of the poster was also very important. There is obviously a strong element of humour in this work which I wanted to embrace, however, I did want it to have a strong resemblance to an actual “found” poster so it could blend in and go unnoticed when walking past.
I took phrases from actual lost/found posters I found online as well as language used in advertisements e.g please no time wasters. I also took aesthetic features from these sources such as the large eye catching title, tabs along the bottom and neutral, automatic font.