Southwestern Michigan College

Elisabeth Gokey

Elisabeth Gokey
Art 251: Advanced Studio Art 1
Digital Prints
Both photos are 8×10’s in physical form
2 photos in the series so far.

This is a series, but it’s still in progress. I’m currently working on setting up four more shoots dealing with fabled stories. These two portray Snow White and Red Riding Hood.

35 thoughts on “Elisabeth Gokey”

  1. I appreciate the time you put into not only shooting but cleaning up/editing these photographs. It certainly paid off — these are lovely images. I like the idea of combining color and black & white images. I am curious to see more from this series as well as which fairy tales get represented in color and which in black & white.

    I do think that the apple in the Snow White photograph is oddly placed; it looks a bit unnatural. Bringing it forward and playing off the foreshortening already present in the photograph might have been interesting.

  2. The quality of work here is really great – it is obvious you put in a lot of time and it shows. Some truly beautiful images — I like the idea of combining color and black & white photographs within one series. It does not always work, but I feel you are successful because of your consistency. The choice of which fairy tales to represent in color and which in black & white also adds some nice subtext.

    The placement of the apple in the Snow White image seems a bit odd. The problem I have with it is that it looks very staged. Assuming you are trying to quote on quote “capture the moment,” I think the apple would be further up in the foreground, closer to the hand. I look forward to more from this series!

  3. These photos would make a great series. I’m especially drawn to the black and white one. The different textures and contrast is really interesting and done well. The top photo is interesting as well, but for some reason the bark in front of her face is distracting. Maybe if there was a little less of it or if it was more out of focus. The colors are nice and rich. I think too, if her face was lighter, and the background toned down darker, it would improve the photo. My eye is drawn to the background because of how light it is, instead of her face. Love the series idea and detail, and the girls portray the characters well.

  4. This is a fun idea for a series! I think that there is a lot that you could do to take known fables into your own hands to create a new perspective! You have done a nice job with depth of field in the top image. I like the way that you have used the tree to frame the shot, but I would like to either see a little more or a little less of the subject’s left eye as it is currently cropped at a bit of an odd spot. Same at her mouth– I would like to either see more room at the left corner, or I would suggest to crop it a bit further with the tree. I love the angles in your bottom image… and you have done a great job of selecting textures for your scene.

    Are you planning to do your series in color, black and white, or both? I would suggest sticking to one for consistency. Color could be an interesting aspect to explore… perhaps using color selectively to highlight certain parts of the photo. You have done some of this in the top image, with the red cape/hood and her red lips. What might the image look like if you were to keep the red popped out, but mute the rest of the color in the image?

    I hope to see more from this series soon! You have a great idea!

  5. HI Elizabeth,

    I am drawn to the top color photograph because the red crushed velvet is so rich. I am usually drawn to b & w in my own practice but feel your color photo is interesting. That said the spooky tree in the top of the b & w photo is great.
    What grasps mw about the color photo is my (and many others) association of certain colors to these stories. They are played up in the photographs making them not only recognizable but also trigger the actual story and the (childhood) memories that are tagged onto hearing/reading them.

  6. It is always safe to have a tried and true narratives like fairy-tales as the subject of an artwork because it is relate-able and hearkens back to childhood memories. Many of the stories from original folklore were much darker than what we grew up with and I feel like you have tapped into that same mood.

    For me the black and white image has a much stronger composition. It is an eerie and disorienting composition which fits extremely well during this scene of the story. The lighting falls perfectly on the important part of the scene. Overall a very strong photo. I think that it is essential that if you are continuing this project to have a consistent style, both are good, but they don’t read the same.

  7. Since these are fables or fairy tales, it may be appropriate to mix color and black and white.
    I love your compositions, but they are busy. It may help draw specific focus to make an element color or black & White against black & white or color, respectively.

    I love what you’re doing.

  8. I understand that you need to shot in color for the first image so everybody knows it’s Red Riding Hood. But I don’t understand why you decide to use black and white for the Snow White one. I think the image will be much more effective with color. At least you can make the apple red and it’ll really stands out. I love the composition of the second image though. It’s beautiful. For the first image, I feel the color should be more dramatic.

  9. These photographs really capture the feel of the books they are referencing. The top photograph is stunning but I would have enjoyed more focus in the back of the photograph to show how creepy the woods are. The bottom photograph is harder to understand. I think if you added some color to this photograph it would draw far more attention.

  10. This is a very fun concept, it is very illustrative. I feel that the second one is stronger than the first. However the use of color in the first one really pulls me in. I would love to see these as a series. It is interesting to see a photographer’s take on these classic stories.

  11. Very intriguing and fascinating photographs. I love how it tells a childhood story that everyone has come to know. The color choices in the series is also done very well which works well with the story and concept.

  12. I definitely think you needed the red color for the little red riding hood but I really enjoy the black and white of snow white. I think the snow white photo is really successful. It almost shows the dark side of the fairy tail which is interesting because obviously, that’s not what they’re supposed to be about. I think that continuing this concept with black and white and maybe a darker twist would be really interesting!

  13. The photos really gives of that whole fantasy, magical, storybook feel. I love the use of color in the Color photograph and the use of light on the black and white was used to emphasize the idea of each story. Looking at the two photos it made me question if the two models is the same.

  14. I really enjoy the story portrayed by these photos it’s a very nice interpretation of them on your part. The perspective in the first one is also really nice with you being focused in on her face and letting the background go blurry.

  15. The concept if find very intriguing, taking on the fictional roles that we learn as children. I feel that the black and white image is stronger compared to its counter. The Snow White image has more elements to it than the Red Riding Hood, maybe if you added a little something else, like a prop it would add a bit more to the concept. Overall I enjoy both, would love to see the series.

  16. Its a great idea taking a cartoon fairy tale and making it look like its in reality. The vibrancy of little red riding hoods coat really captures your eye, although i think the picture would be even more interesting if you found woods more creepy or darken the background. I think your second picture of snow white is at a great angle but i would love to see it in color more. Overall though this is an awesome series and i would love to see more.

  17. I enjoy the idea of your shoot and I believe the layout and positions you have put your models has really brought out the real sense of what the stories are about. I wish that the snow white picture would have had color just because I think it would have given it a lighter, more vibrant tone. Even though I understand that the idea of it was to be dark and ominous, a little color overlain on the image would give it a more “story come to life” feel.

  18. I love the idea behind this project and I think that these images are beautifully composed. The angle of the second one is very interesting to me. The one thing I would change about the first one is that the hood is very vibrant and maybe it is detracting from the image a little. And i don’t know if the darkness of the second image is to give off a sinister vibe but it is just a little to dark and contrasty for my liking.

  19. I really like these photos! I feel like the vibrance of the red in the first photo is really effective against the neutral colors of the wood behind her. I also feel that the shallow depth of field in the second photo is very well executed.

  20. I really like the sequence of these two shots. the colors in the first was one are bright and eccentric , the red really stands out and brings the eye in. the blacks and white are used very well also in the second. i like the angle and composition in both of them. good job!

  21. I love the fairy tale romantic feeling I get from the images, and I think they are well executed technically. I wish to see more images from the shoot of the top photo- I especially would like to see an image of high contrast between the red of the models lips and clothing, and the background. A muddled wooded shot with greys and browns would really make her pop. My favorite part of the bottom photo is the sequins on her dress. It makes the mystical nature seem more justified. Nice work- I would love to see the final product.

    Stephen Kruse
    WMU 10/22/12

  22. These images and the concept behind them are great. I really enjoy how you were able to capture the stories in an interesting, non-cheesy way. The color in the first photo works perfectly, but I’m confused as to why the bottom shot is in black and white. In both photos the composition works extremely well. My only suggestion would be to try the bottom photo in color. Love these photos!

  23. I enjoy looking at the photos because they portray things to me that I knew of when I was a little kid and you photographed the concept well. Nice use of lighting and focusing. I really enjoy the bottom picture with the angle you chose to shoot the girl, very interesting.

  24. I really love the feeling that these photographers give you. I love the vibrancy of the color in the first photograph, and I think it would’ve been very interesting to put the bottom picture in color as well especially with the apple and the red hood. I think that the idea of the project is very interesting and I’d really like the to see the other fabled stories. The angle of these photographs are perfect!

  25. I think these are really cool. The vibrancy of the colors in the first one really attracted me to the set of images. I agree that the angle is very effective and gives it a fantasy feel.

  26. Both images are great. Although, Little Red Riding Hood has too much makeup on. Her lips seem to compete with the hooded cap. (Those beautiful, startled, innocent eyes and more nude/bare lips might be an idea???) I wish LRRH looked more natural like Snow White, which is AWESOME! Wonderful, unexpected composition and perspective/vantage point and the tonal range is very dramatic and moody. Great work!

  27. By using well known stories you open your work to a large group of people, some who may not know much about art. Its important to draw people in and I think you have down a great job at that. I love the image of Snow White. I know the story very well but I find the background and the wood most interesting.

  28. I love how these photos make the fairy tales and fables we knew as children come literally to life with actual people. It shines a light on how dramatic and frightening these situations could be if they were real. It doesn’t seem as scary when we’ve heard the stories a million times and then seen them in cartoon form rather than with real people. I feel that the high contrasts in the colors, and the black and whites help to really emphasize the drama and high emotions.

  29. How engaging is the fact that you have based your work on a topic that most of us grew up with. These stories presented in a different way is so captivating. I like how carefully you planned the set up for both compositions. Also, nice job with the color and the black and white piece as well. Something I feel you could do is to take one element in your B&W composition and make it red to match the one above.
    Very nice work!

  30. I think your idea is brilliant and will defiantly be an interesting series. Sometimes combining black and white photos with color photos does not work but I think you are portraying it very nicely with these two images. It might also be the red and black that makes it work because of the contrast and history with those two colors together so i think picking one might be a better option. The look in red riding hoods face works great with the story because it portrays curiosity, which is how she was. I think the brightness in the black and white photo could be about 105 higher to better contrast with the color photo.

  31. I like these photos, and I agree with the above comments they would be a great series. However I think that you need to either stick to black and white or color. either way it’s fine, but i think intermixing them is a visually confusing conflict. I really enjoy the photo with color, i think that it is saturated great, and exposed well.

  32. I think the quality of these photos are great. I love how vibrant the red is and the use of black and white. If anything though, I would stick to either just color or just black it white but its fun to play with both. The depth of field is great in the first picture and the love the angle the 2nd picture was taken at.

  33. I think this series is really cool, I love when people recreate fairy tales in photography. I like that you chose to make the Snow-White photo black and white. I think it gives a good sense of the timelessness that Snow-White has, after all the Disney movie alone is almost 100 years old. I like the way that your eyes are drawn to the apple but then there are all these lines that pull you around the photo from the planks to her arm and through her.

  34. I think these are both really cool – the way these two stories are relayed through these images gives off an almost ordinary feel since they happen in real life rather than in animation. They also leave you wanting more about the stories even though you know what happens.

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