Project 6: A Picture of Health – final image

Now that all the images I need have been shot I have reviewed them and it was easy to see that one of the challenges to make the set work in the way I wanted. Here is the full set. 


Look carefully at the colour of the backgrounds and you will see they reflect the colour of the urine. While this didn’t appear to matter early on it did disrupt the final imagery. (Although it is quite hard for you to see this due to the format of the image below).

Urine bags – shot straight – different colour backgrounds due to reflectionsTextured backs (1 of 1)

The issue changes when different colour temperatures are applied but it doesn’t disappear. I’ve attempted to demonstrate this with a few approaches below.


33inch (1 of 1)33inch (1 of 1)-233inch (1 of 1)-333inch unprocessed (1 of 1)

Urine bags-Hard light

Accordingly, as I wanted to emphasise the colour of the urine I would need to manipulate the backgrounds of the images otherwise they would also have the colour amplified. This seems less important when shown on screen but imagine the disturbance the reflection would cause if the image was large scale.

I experimented with various approaches such as removing the background entirely and trying radical processing options but these moved the images to a sort of pop art evocation rather than faux documentary.

Urine bags-vivid light

However the best rendition was when I just left the urine bags pretty much alone but selected and de-saturated the backgrounds. This gave the set the “straight” look I was after.

colourfinalHard light finalNew urinefinalTextured backs (1 of 1)Health final

So the final image is clear to see via the comparison above. Here it is on its own.

Health final

The first thing to note is that any viewer can notice the different colours of the urine and then relate their own experience and meaning of this.  The differences in the colour of each nights’ urine output is clear enough to see and doesn’t need anything doing to it to make the statement.

I selected the straightest image because it speaks for itself whereas some of the more obviously processed images speak more about the processing rather than the subject matter.   While the approach is similar to Project 5 Evidence the repetition in this project emphasises the focus on one aspect – urine colour. But where I began this set with an idea, my earlier images of blood and scars were too realist in nature and did not offer a strong sense of aesthetic, whereas this set does. Indeed that is what I like so much about it as it worked both as a discourse on health and at a purely graphic level.

So, for now I can say I am pleased with the outcome. The images work as a visual discourse that does not need to be grotesque or sublime – they just tell the facts.

Exhibition values
The production values I have used will enable me to print this project at a large size if needed. The finished article doesn’t work so well on my blog screen because of the narrow format but works well when shown using other programmes on the PC and so will look good on my website. I am not sure how I want to present the work when I come to exhibit but I could possible offer two versions: one as a standalone set typology image the other as a long lightbox where the light moves the viewer through each stage.

However the production and exhibition values are so inextricably linked to how the projects work (or not) together that it’s too soon to answer these questions.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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