Identity

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Still Life #1, 2 and 3
portrait, still life, triptych, photograph, photography, photographer, chair, Polish, grandparent, grandmother heritage, light, illness, colour photograph, triptych, still life, grandmother,the Pope, rooms, pregnant woman, television, propane burner, propane flame, memorabilia, heritage,
description

Don Hall’s  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of photographs Still Life #1, 2, 3 was the result of an art history project. Hall researched a work of art by Max Beckmann, and then used a portrait, painted by Beckman of his wife, as the stimulus for his own photographic triptych.

start quoteI feel very comfortable living on the prairies and I realize that once you establish a sense of place and you feel comfortable about where you are, it makes it easier to make art.end quote-- Don Hall

In the first photograph of this series, Don Hall has presented a hospital waiting room in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. This is a room where he spent many hours while his Grandmother was ill. It is predominately blue in  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  and stark. The television is on, but no one is watching. The middle image shows a burning flame from a propane burner on a stove. In the luminous background, a pregnant woman with her hand on her belly turns to look out the window. The last image is of the "pope's" chair, his grandmother's favourite chair. She was of Polish descent and as the Pope shared the same heritage, she collected his memorabilia. When Don was growing up, he spent a lot of time with his grandmother.

additional resources How He Got Interested in Photography
Duration: 1:16 min
Size: 5672kb
Identity is Reflected in Environment
Duration: 1:30 min
Size: 6467kb
Influencial Photographers
Duration: 1:36 min
Size: 6987kb
Place Identity and the Ability to Create Art
Duration: 2:13 min
Size: 9681kb
Still Life
Duration: 2:43 min
Size: 11224kb
Things to Think About
  • He focuses on interior spaces in this triptych, what could each interior suggest?  Could each photo represent some form of waiting?
  • How has your identity been defined by your relatives, places you have lived and your early experiences?
Studio Activity

Paintings and photographs

Don Hall used a  portraitA work of art that represents a specific person, a group of people, or an animal. Portraits usually show what a person looks like as well as revealing something about the subject's personality. Portraits can be made of any sculptural material or in any two-dimensional medium. Portraiture is the field of portrait making and portraits in general. Portrait is a term that may also refer simply to a vertically-oriented rectangle, just as a horizontally-oriented one may be said to be oriented the landscape way. (Artlex.com)  painted by Max Beckman of his wife as the inspiration for Still Life #1, 2, 3.

  • Look at other artists’ work and try to incorporate something from their work into your own photography.

Self-identity

  • Take a number of photographs of yourself.
  • Choose the best shot and make an eight by ten print.
  • How does the way you photograph yourself speak to your own self-concept and identity?

Darkrooms

References

Burton, Randy and Don Hall (eds).  1989.  Between Time and Place: Contemporary Saskatchewan Photography. Markham, Ontario:  Fifth House Publishers.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning