My Blog

Bethany Martin

Bethany Martin


8th June 2018

STRENGTH IN NATURE is an abstract experimental short film, that I have filmed and edited, which focuses on texture, movement and colour, through a combination of substances and materials. Drawing inspiration from early abstract and experimental works by Len Lye and installations by Marielle Neudecker. The project explores environments and atmospheres in a contained space. This introduces the resilience of nature and highlights the endurance of nature in the outside world. The short film creates an atmospheric experience through the use of moving image and sound, provoking the audience to immerse themselves in their own imaginations and interpretations.


Skilcom Ltd. Promotional Documentary Film

12th December 2017

I collaborated with Skilcom Limited who are an electronics manufacturing company. The film takes you through a visual journey. Using visuals, music and sound effects to show off the working environment and the company. Revealing the main aspects of Skilcom Ltd. through close-ups and detailed shots and displaying the care that goes into their products. I directed, filmed and edited this promotional film showcasing the behind the scenes of the process and building of the products, by looking into detail and showing customers the working environment in which their products are being made. 


Water Distortion & Reflection

Bringing all of my blog posts together, I wanted to link each experimentation within my final self-portrait piece. As I am interested in water and reflection (which is highlighted within my portfolio, as I have experimented a lot into this area in my projects) I decided to focus on how water changes the way we see objects, people and our surroundings.


I took inspiration from Laurence Demaison who explored the way water can distort and change a portrait of someone.

In the artist's work they focus on water which is highlighted through the ripples and pattern that has been created of the movement water. In Laurence's images, it shows distortion of the face behind the motion of the water.

The water covers parts of the face, but not fully, so that you are able to recognise that there is a person behind, from the shape of the figure and some features within the face.


I like the idea of showing myself in this way by changing the way I am seen in person and how water can change the way we view a person, as well how I see through the water and if that distorts my vision. 

I concentrated on distorting the face. I wanted to include my GIF of me holding a clear ball to my face which enhanced my eye and blocked out the rest of my face, letting the viewer only see a part of me through the way I dress and the surroundings as well as the enhanced feature of my face. 

Goldfish bowl

I then explored further by using the bowl and water and taking away my body so that there wasn't a distraction. I focused on just the face through the water. I positioned myself so that the viewer was able to see my face and the distorted facial features.

photoshop 1

From experimenting with GIFs and cinemagraphs in my previous blog posts I have decided to create my experimentations solely on cinemagraphs for my final. I find that GIFs have too much going on and movement within them which I feel wouldn't work with my ideas. I want to focus on the distortion and the water, instead of the surroundings and other movement within the images. I therefore feel that cinemagraphs work better as they produce slight movement and I am able to select the parts I want moving so that the main focus is on one particular subject to portray my ideas and myself. I used photoshop to create these cinemagraphs by making a part of the video still so that when I masked the image and painted over it, the parts I had painted over were the only parts that were moving and that I wanted to be the only movement. 

Distortion bowl
Fiz Bowl

Both cinemagraphs show the distortion of my face through the bowl of water. This shows how the water and glass changes the way I look and the way I see, as the water distorts my vision too when looking through it. This shows how each individual see's things differently. We are all human but we all have different ideas and thought processes. For the right cinemagraph, I dropped a Berocca tablet into the water to if anything would change in the water and how my face is seen because of it. The tablet fizzes within the water creating bubbles and a cloud of yellow powder, like smoke. This blocks my face, obscuring it a little. Within the cinemagraph I kept the surroundings and my face still and focused on the fizz produced within the water which I kept moving. This takes you away from the distorted face a little and you don't notice straight away the background and the distortion of the face because of the movement in front. This changes the way we view the image. 

I then researched into water and cinemagraphs and came across work by Mason Drumm and Jens Nuehlen.


Both cinemagraphs show reflection within water so instead of looking through water and seeing the distortion within that, it shows a different way of seeing the subject and surrounding. I like the way you are able to see the transformation of the surroundings and subject from seeing both the original and the reflected image. This inspired me to look more into reflection and how I could portray myself in this way. The reflection is an upside down image/figure of the area and is slightly distorted due to the movement and reflection of the water. 

photoshop 3

Within my experimentations I wanted to keep myself still and have the ripples of the water and the reflection to be moving. This shows the way the body is distorted through the movement of the water and a way of seeing a different perspective of myself through my self-portrait. I wanted to focus on the water as it reveals a different way of looking at a self-portrait.

Reflection shadow


This is my Final self-portrait:

Reflection water flow



  • Arrieta, Carlos. "Photographer Highlight: Laurence Demaison". Carlos Arrieta. N.p., 2010. Web. 11 May 2017.
  • "Les Bulles - 1998 - Laurence Demaison - Site Officiel". Web. 11 May 2017.
  • Drumm, Mason. "Jumping Puddles". Flixel. N.p., 2016. Web. 11 May 2017. 
  • Nuehlen, Jens. "Upside Down". Flixel. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 May 2017. 

Focus & Distortion

To follow on from my first experimentation I wanted to look into it further. I was interested in the distortion of the face and the different perspective from the viewer’s point of view and my own point of view. I concentrated on the focus of a camera lens within my next self-portrait. I wanted the viewer, instead of me behind the camera as a photographer, to feel like they are the ones controlling and focusing the camera. I wanted them to see what I see through a camera lens and how I see the world.

I took inspiration from these two gifs:

tumblr m9qj96f3Bs1rbzx0po1 500

I like the way they go in and out of focus, showing what it looks like blurred as well as in focus. This is also what you see through the camera lens. I like the way the blurred movement distorts the image so it is hard to see but it is still recognisable especially when you can see the focused image within the GIF. This gave me the idea to create self-portraits through distortion and focus.


By looking at blur and focus I was interested in the distortion of the face, where the features aren’t crisp or enhanced which makes it harder to see facial expressions and what a person actually looks like. I looked work by Tinca Veerman and within their project they focused on blur creations of portraits. These portraits are out of focus but they still feel some what recognisable, as you can point out different aspects of the person, such as the hair, you can see each portrait has a different hairstyle - plaited or tied up or falling down over her face and eyes. I also took inspiration from the painter Laura Lancaster who paints abstract pictures. I like how you are aware of the figure standing in the painting but the features don’t stand out. The subject is anonymous in a way where the painter uses broad strokes to blur the picture. The person is shown through pattern and colour. This shows off how the painter views the subject and the surroundings, as well as what the person in the painting is feeling through the artwork.

Experimenting with Blur and Focus

bluefocus screenshot image

As I am interested in slight movement within my self-portraits I wanted to create a cinemagraph as I find gifs show too much movement. Within my self portrait I wanted the viewer to feel like they are the ones controlling the camera. To make a cinemagraph I used photoshop and recorded a video. To create this effect I used two cameras (both on tripods) and positioned one behind the other. This is so the camera behind could record the focus of the front camera and also capture the camera as well as the surroundings. I wanted myself to be blurred in the background so that the focus is on the camera screen. I wanted to make the self portrait as a cinemagraph so that only the screen was moving. As I am an aspiring photographer I felt that letting the viewer see what I see through the camera lens shows the way I view the world. Within photoshop I stopped the movement of the video and then masked it and painted over the bits I wanted to be moving, this then keeps the camera and the surroundings still and just letting the screen loop so that it is constantly re-focusing onto my face.

Gifwork setup image
Camera Focus

Final Outcome

Camera Focus3


  • "Camera GIF - Find & Share On GIPHY". GIPHY. Web. 10 May 2017.
  • "Camera GIF - Find & Share On GIPHY". GIPHY. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 May 2017.
  • "Flea Market Inspiration: Laura Lancaster's Work References Found Imagery". Arts Observer. Web. 10 May 2017. 
  • "Laura Lancaster - 11 Artworks, Bio & Shows On Artsy". Web. 10 May 2017.  
  • "Sunset GIF - Find & Share On GIPHY". GIPHY. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 May 2017.
  • "The Jealous Curator /// Curated Contemporary Art". Web. 10 May 2017.

Feeling the surroundings in a photograph

For my second blog post I wanted to look into solely cinemagraphs as I like the simple look, where there is slight movement but it is mainly still.

I wanted to focus on surroundings so I explored that within cinemagraphs. I chose this because I liked the simple look within my self portrait. I didn’t want much going on so I focused on one particular part of each video I took. To get an idea of what I wanted to portray within my work I looked at different artists such as Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck.

‘A cinemagraph is a living moment in an otherwise still photograph. It exists in the world in
between a photograph and video to bring to life the image and make it last forever.’
(Burg and Beck, 2011)

They work with minimal movement within their cinemagraphs, creating a very simple look. In all their work there are little parts of the image moving to create an idea of the surroundings and the feel within that place.

Cinemagraph 2 ref
Burg and Beck 2

I like how you have a sense of feeling even from not being at the place by the way the little movement. Such as the record playing in the second image, even though you cannot hear what is playing you have a sense of what the atmosphere is like. I like how there isn’t much going on but you can have more of a sense of surrounding than when the photograph is still. Within a still photograph you are unable to picture it in the same way as a cinemagraph. This is what I want to portray in my own work and show off my feelings of the surroundings I am in within my self portrait for the viewers to feel what I was experiencing.

I like reflection and water, so I wanted to create a cinemagraph that included this aspect of my interests, however I was going to create reflection within puddles but there hasn’t been any rain recently. The sun recently helped out though for the lack of rain, I was interested in the shadows created by people walking about and movement of trees in the wind.

I found inspiration from Jens Nuehlen’s Cinemagraph images of shadow and reflection. This photograph focuses on the movement of the water but not by the actual movement of the subject but the reflection it gives off on the tree near by. I like the way the artist has created a different view on seeing movement and reflection.


Within my first cinemagraph edit I created movement through the shadows of the trees moving in the wind. To show my surroundings I picked out all of the movement of the shadows. I did this on photoshop, using a video. I wanted to create a cinemagraph that showed the shadows of my surroundings without showing what the actual surroundings were making the viewer wonder what is moving. Instead of reflection of water I concentrated on the shadows the sun had created of the nature and trees around moving in the wind. However because it was windy the tripod wasn’t as stable making the shot move. For next time I would need to think about how to stabilize the tripod so that the movement flows, maybe with sand bags or something heavy to hold it down.


I then explored the actual movement of the trees and a different angle, to portray myself in a different way.

Cinemagraph screenshot gif image

I created this cinemagraph by duplicating the video and creating a still within it. I then painted over all the areas I wanted to be moving. I then created a loop by using the first clip of the video on the end of the main clip, so that the movement didn’t jerk and so that it ran smoothly throughout.

moving trees

The movement of the trees creates a sense of what the environment is like and my own feeling in that area. By keeping myself still it makes the viewer imagine how I am feeling through the movement of the surroundings even without any expression on my face.


Is a portrait still a portrait if the face is obscured?

First of all I looked into what a portrait is. A portrait can be a painting, drawing, photograph etc. It is an art of capturing a subject in which the main focal point is of a person, mainly of the face and facial features which are made predominant. The focus is on the person however this does not mean the person’s body or the surroundings cannot be included. Normally portrait photography is of a ‘rehearsed’ image of a person in a still posture.

Even though portraiture is of the person and focusing on the facial features, it can also be shown in an abstract way such as paintings by Kwangho shin. He uses colour and patterns to express a human feeling instead of revealing the face. It blocks the viewer from seeing the person however it’s shown in such a creative way that it doesn’t bother me. It shows the creation of thoughts through the painter's eyes as well as viewing the feeling within the person being painted. This makes us feel the emotions of the subject.

Portraiture image


- Mobertz, Lauren. "Striking Abstract Portraits That Eerily Express Human Emotions". The DashBurst Blog. N.p., 2013. Web. 7 May 2017.
- Shin, Kwang Ho. "Behance". N.p., 2013. Web. 7 May 2017.
- "What Is Portrait Photography?". HEADSHOT LONDON. N.p., 2012. Web. 7 May 2017.

Portraying MYSELF in a way that highlights what I am like, through a Self-portrait.

Within a module at University we were asked to come up with ideas for our own creative self portraits, to portray ourselves and to explore the ways in which professional practitioners create a self-portrait that reflects their identity to the world. The self portraits I create are to be presented as animated GIFs or Cinemagraphs showing movement within still images and creating another way of presenting ourselves. With this in mind I researched into self portraits, with nothing specific in mind I scrolled through finding interesting pieces of work to focus my first GIF and ideas on.

Chuck Close

I looked into work by Chuck Close who focuses on creating self-portraits through painting. He discovered that art was one thing that gave him a sense of identity, which therefore shows his passion through his self-portrait by painting himself with his own techniques and desire of painting. He creates designs that amplify abstraction and qualities through colour and pattern. The descriptive detail of the face is lost a little within his paintings as he goes for an abstract approach, however to balance out the lost detail within the face he focuses on colour and pattern which impacts the portrait and gives the viewer an alternative way of reading an image. His paintings are still recognisable as you can still notice the main aspects of a face; the eyes, mouth, ears, nose etc.   

I like how you can work out what Chuck looks like through the abstraction but because the face is distorted you are made to figure out the features within his face. This shows Chuck in a way that he wants people to view himself. He portrays himself through his artwork and his passion towards it. It shows the way he thinks and in a way we can see him though his thoughts and through his eyes, how he see’s things.


chuck image double


I then carried on exploring distortion and abstraction which landed me on to the work by Pablo Picasso. He painted self-portraits of himself throughout the years which shows a sense of change, where his earlier paintings are completely different to the later ones. It shows his thought process throughout the years which I like and how his painting techniques changed over time. As you get more into his later work his paintings of himself become unrecognisable. He starts using patterns and different strokes to portray his features on his face. Making some features more amplified than others. I like the idea of seeing their own thought process when creating a self-portrait of themselves. 

Pablo Picasso Self- Portraits (1896 - 1972)

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 14.56.51

pablo image

By looking at self-portrait artwork by Chuck Close and Pablo Picasso it has given me an idea into how I want to present myself in a self portrait. I like the idea of making the viewer see what I see. When thinking of ways to present my own photography and videography work i see things that other people wouldn’t necessarily think of and vice versa. I like that each of us have a different thought process and the ways we see things change from each individual. Not everyone has the same way of thinking as yourself which makes each person unique.

Romain Laurent

This led me on to look at more Artist work. I researched more into animated GIFs and movement within still image. I came across Romain Laurent who as well as creating GIFs and cinemagraphs, also creates still image and moving image. As he says he works on ‘Moving, half moving and non-moving’ photography.

Romain laurent image

He focuses on creating images where there is little movement but still noticeable. When looking through his work I was interested in images where the face was blocked or distorted, this making the viewer focus on the movement and the surroundings and maybe the way the person is dressed, thoughts about what the person, underneath the object that is stopping the viewer from seeing the face, looks like, why the image was created in this way etc.


Romain Laurent 4

Romain Laurent 3

Romain Laurent


I narrowed down what I was interested in and decided to focus on what I want my GIF to portray and look like.

These two images became my favourite:


Romain Laurent book



I like that in both images you are unable to see the whole face but they are both looking through something even if the object, such as on the left, is opaque, it feels like he is skimming through the book. Even though on the right image you can see features of the face, it is not letting you see what the person behind really looks like, this makes the viewer imagine what that person may look like through the way they dress and the surroundings. This is distorting her vision, as well as the viewer's because the viewer can only see the enhanced feature of the face through the glass. When I see this image I first think of what she may see through the glass. She looks around seeing the world in a different perspective, one that we cannot see without the glass. It’s like seeing the world differently when photographing something, a camera can pull out something that the naked eye cannot see. This actually goes back to a project I did a few months back which focuses on water movement where the camera can capture something that we are not able to do. This is a different way of viewing the world.

I wanted to replicate the right image and see what I could come up with, within my own self portrait. I used a crystal ball which when looked through you can see your surroundings but everything is upside down and a bit distorted.





I created this cinemagraph in Photoshop. I wanted the surroundings to stay still and only make the eye moving like I am looking around the room, just like Romain Laurent’s image. However, I felt that there was too much movement inside the circle as I couldn’t hold the ball still enough so it is a little wobbly. 

photoshop crop

Close up eye ball

I then created an animated GIF which showed the movement of the hands. I feel this works better as the ball does not look edited to fit in my hands. However, I am interested in seeing the surrounds and what I am wearing for the viewer to see the area and myself more.

Full Body Eye ball

This is my final outcome. I like how you can see the surroundings and what I am wearing so that can have an idea of what I am like. As the eye is the main focal point I wanted to make the surroundings and my body still it didn’t distract the viewer away.


"Romain Laurent". GIPHY. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
"Romain Laurent". Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
"Picasso’s Self Portrait Evolution From Age 15 To Age 90". Bored Panda. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
"Chuck Close". N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

Bubbles wrapped around fruit

Fruit in carbonated water

18th March 2017

This water based series focuses on objects within carbonated water and how they are affected. The series shows fruit submerged in carbonated water in which the water produces bubbles that form on the fruit. These bubbles form around and on the fruit and where the light passes through the water it reflects off the bubbles creating a layer of light that outlines the fruit. The bubbles reflect the light off of the surroundings and cling on to the fruit outlining the exterior of the object. The reaction of the carbonated water and fruit reveals a beautiful effect, in which the bubbles find an area of the fruit to cling on to, creating a layer of texture around the object. 


Water Reflection


10th October 2016

This series focuses on the reflection of water. Each image is shot in the daylight on an analogue Hassleblad camera. The reflection of the water creates shadows where the light from the sun travels around buildings and trees, which creates shapes and patterns within the water. The surroundings of trees, buildings and objects act as shadows where the light cannot get through. The objects from the surroundings are reflected almost like they have been painted on the ground.




18th January 2017

Within Berlin there are posters everywhere, it is hard to ignore them. They are all piled on top of each other where the older posters are hidden behind and more or less forgotten, as the newer ones become priority and stuck on top. The layers bring the posters off the walls, pillars, traffic light poles and anywhere that there was space, making them 3D and stand out. We went on an unplanned journey and explored different locations in Berlin.





As a group we focused on mass media and mass culture, in different locations. We explored into the comparisons and connections of the diversity of culture within today's society. The collaborative project explores the contrast between the culture in Berlin and Plymouth. One way this can be shown is through the distribution and the art and social advertisement between the two cities. In Plymouth, putting up art or posters on the streets can be seen as vandalism or an illegal act, due to the council or local authorities being against this. Whereas in Berlin, it's a way of expressing or informing the community - it's seen as art rather than vandalism.

We wanted our piece to be interactive where you were able to get up close and even walk on top of it. We placed Berlin and Plymouth posters next to the posters we created, showing the comparison between the two locations. By placing our piece on the floor you were able to see it from different places and angles, representing the posters in Berlin where wherever you go within Berlin you always see posters plastered up. 

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