Beauty and the Bench
Beauty and the Bench is a video piece that captures and unlocks the simple beauty in the bench
Benches are a part of everyday urban lifestyle and at the same time they are incredibly mundane, part of the unthought-of in society. The video attempts to show as, Murray puts it, ‘Locate beauty in the mundane’ (155, 2008). The benches have a standard presence in our society and are seen on the street and in parks, but are often over looked by taking photos of them is an expedition into the urban eye, seeing what is not intentionally seen and can display the category of photography that Murray calls ‘ephemera’ (155, 2008).
Benches have unconstructed moments that continuously happen, these happen on benches, birds resting, rubbish that has been disposed off, clothing that has been misplaced, newspaper left for someone else to read. These unconstructed moments clearly show Murrays everyday aesthetic because these moments are gone as soon after they appear, the bird flies away, the rubbish is cleaned up, the person finds their clothing, or the newspaper is taken away, these images can be speedily replaced with more recent images, (Murray, 157, 2008).
A total of 44 photos of benches were taken around the Sydney and around the western suburbs and 23 were used in the final video. All the images were taken with a three Megapixel camera on a phone. The clip goes for a total of 31 seconds before crediting myself for the music.
iPhoto was the tool used for editing the images. Some colour correction was used to bring out the depth and highlight colours like greens and browns that weren’t especially captured by the camera. Brightness was taken away to balance some of the colours more effectively; saturation was either added or decreased to also bring some balance. The iPhoto boost filter, as well as the Antique filter, were added to some pictures to bring some warmth to the colours. As the pictures were of objects that have a very similar shape, to ensure an aesthetically consistency iPhoto was used to straighten the images so that the top of the benches were horizontal.
In iMovie a series of effects were used in the final video, Ken Burns were used to give the benches some movement and life. Two different types of movement were used in the ken burns. A zoom was used to enhance the sense of largeness, to show the benches were bigger and more beautiful than they seem. A pan up was used to imply an elevation, a heightened sense of importance to the images and it made for a strong start. Two types of transition were used; a fade transition between the new park bench and an old one of the same style, as well of the doorway one. These were inter placed throughout the to visually give some more movement and life to the stagnant pictures.
An original musical composition was created for the purpose of the video, called MAS110 song, it was designed as a juxtaposition to the ‘mundane’. The piece was made with a series of vocal layers to give it a choir effect, a strong sense of reverb in the instruments, and cathedral like effect was created. This gave the piece a sense of largeness and an epic nature. Combing this epic sound with these pictures that could be mundane make the pictures more epic in size and proportion and gives them some more beauty. The intonations in the piece matched the change in the images to give a stronger connection between the music and the images.
MURRAY, S. (2008). Digital Images, Photo-Sharing, and Our Shifting Notions of Everyday Aesthetics. Journal of Visual Culture. 7(147), pp.132-163