Kellen Playford

“Moving Portraits is a series of short documentaries about artists that focus on representation and aesthetics. Each film centers on an artist and allows them a platform to discuss their history and their working practices, but it also raises some questions. When producing a film about a person and their work, who is in control – the filmmaker or the artist? Where is the line between profile and advert? What ethical considerations must one consider when representing others on film? The on-going project has resulted in a series of short films which were made as a collaboration between filmmaker and artist, with each film embracing personalised audio-visual aesthetics to best reflect the preferences and working habits of the person on screen.” 

In my time at NUA I have completed two short films for the series and am in the final stages of finishing three more for my final MA project. All the films feature NUA students and focus on their working habits and preferences, delving into the most fundamental questions of how and why they generate the work they do. 

Moving Portraits: Laure 

Laure is an MA student on the Fine Art course, and at the time of production, she was playing with words and language as a tool for her art. She embraced the nature of repetition and change. Our film together utilised Laure’s multilinguistic skills and played with the boundaries of looping audio and visual techniques to showcase her drawings. 

Moving Portraits: Dom 

Dom is an MA student on the Moving Image and Sound course, though his background is in photography and painting. His work is playful and vibrant and larger than life. His preference for abstract realism, along with his interest in generating abstract jazz-like music, resulted in an experimental film that embraced his energetic and joyful approach to painting. 

Moving Portraits: LK 

LK (Lucy) is an MA student on the Fine Art course, and her focus is on singing and vocal harmonies. She sings alone, often with just a loop pedal and an amp, and pushes the boundaries of durational and experimental performance. Her choral harmonies are often a reflection of the architecture which surrounds her location-based performances. Since she was not always comfortable to appear on the screen, we played with light, shadows, silhouettes, and colour to find a way to blend Lucy into the visuals and make her vocals the star of the film. 

Moving Portraits: Emmalouise 

Emmaalouise is an MA student on the Moving Image and Sound course who is both a filmmaker and photographer. Her work in the past has often been somewhat experimental, but always with an emphasis on strong colours and cinematic visuals. She enjoys embracing older, analog technologies to create something new, with layered and textured visuals. Our film showcases this with a mixed-media format, a slightly more experimental narrative approach, and the use of archival material to showcase her work. 

Moving Portraits: Rachael 

MA student Rachael is on the Fine Art course. She works as a sculptor, creating huge pieces, often animals, out of steel, iron, and other pieces of scrap metal. Commissioned to create a 3-metre tall horse for the Wells Heritage Art Trail, we decided that her film should act as a visual journey, following each stage of Rachael’s process, from conception and production, all the way through to installation. 

Words: Kellen Playford, Moving Image and Sound MA 

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