Assignment 2 Brief

Assignment two Collecting

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:

  • Crowds
  • Views
  • Heads

Use the exercises from Part Two as a starting point to test out combinations of focal length, aperture and viewpoint for the set. Decide upon a single format, either vertical or horizontal. You should keep to the same combination throughout to lend coherence to the series.

  • Crowds: Crowds make a great subject for photography, not least because they are so contemporary. A city rush hour is a good place to start but events also offer great opportunities to photograph the crowd rather than the event. The foreshortened perspective of the telephoto lens will compress a crowd, fitting more bodies into the frame, but it can also be used to pick out an individual person. A wide-angle lens can capture dynamic shots from within the action.
  • Views: If you choose to make a collection of views you need to be prepared to do some walking so keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum – you’ll walk further and see more. A tripod will be important to allow you to select a combination of small aperture and slow shutter speed to ensure absolute sharpness throughout the frame. The weather and time of day will be crucial, whether for urban or landscape views. A wide-angle lens is the usual choice but Ansel Adams also used a medium telephoto to foreshorten the perspective, bringing the sky, distance and foreground closer together.
  • Heads: Frame a ‘headshot’, cropping close around the head to avoid too much variety in the backgrounds. The light will be paramount and a reflector is a useful tool (you can ask the subject to hold it), throwing light up into the face, especially the eyes. The classic headshot is buoyant but neutral which is quite difficult to achieve, but try to achieve a natural rather than an artificially posed look.

Assignment 1 Feedback

Tutor feedback for Assignment 1 – ‘Square Mile’ below:

EYV1_Perry_Tatman

So happy that my tutor thinks I have made a good start.

I do wish to have my work formally assessed as I plan to continue my studies towards the BA (Hons) Photography, so I would welcome any guidance that my tutor or any other fellow students may be able to provide.

I have read and absorbed all my tutor comments and advice, I will take these forward into the following assignments. I plan to keep an eye out in my ‘Square Mile’ to see if I can capture more complimentary images that can use to potentially rework this assignment into a more focused theme, to see if I can add the personal response that my tutor feels is absent from the images. I am not 100% sure how I will make this happen, but trying to adopt one of my tutors suggested themes may help to produce the desired result.

I will make the suggested changes to the R&R section of my learning blog, and I will try my best to utilise the Learning Log as the crucible for my creative ideas. However here lies my main problem. My background has been of a functional and technical nature for the majority of my life. My interest in photography has come to me late in life, and I have tried my best to attack the learning curve over the last three years. I believe I can produce a competent image, but I feel I lack a creative drive. I am hoping that this will develop and improve as this (and subsequent) course continue.

I welcome suggested reading, and I have bought ‘Behind the Image’ and will be working my way through it over the next few weeks. I also intend to read ‘Hotshoe’ as well as the ‘BJP’.

Going forward I am unsure how to incorporate my interests into my work. My love of photography is continually growing, but it lacks focus with regard to genre. Though I am drawn towards B&W, film noir and documentary photography. My other great love is board games, principally those with a strategic content, and I have amassed a great collection. Both my wife and I adore the gritty ‘Nordic Noir’ films and TV series. But I am unsure how to incorporate these interests into my work.

 

Lifesaver

Ask me who went on holiday with camera, associated lenses and tripod, then realised that the tripod quick release plate was back at home on his other camera…….what a wally…..never a truer word was spoken!

However technology and modern living to the rescue….ta da!

A quick search on iPad to find that the quick release plate was available on Amazon…bingo. Also available for next day delivery to Amazon locker at holiday site…awesome.

Thanks Amazon…a real lifesaver.

P.S. I had been meaning to get a second quick release plate……honest!

The Documentary Impulse – Stuart Franklin

More lubricant for the rusty brain cells, this time in the form of ‘The Documentary Impulse‘ (Franklin, 2016). In fact, I am already half way through reading it for a second time.

TDI

The book is by the renowned photographer Stuart Franklin, who was responsible for the famous image of a lone man in Tiananmen Square stopping a line of tanks. In it he discusses and attempts to explain what has driven the human race to record events since man lived in caves to the present day.

The book cover covers the driving need or impulse to document life from cave paintings to everyday life. How photography full of bias and sentimentality tried to capture a lost Eden rooted in Colonial outposts or concord nations. The use of documentary photography to highlight inadequate or substandard care of the mentally ill or those in prison as a force to drive change or reform. The use of image-choc (shocking pictures) to influence or prick public and political conscience is discussed, along with the arguable concept of ‘Compassion Fatigue’.

Though I found the discussions regarding the way documentary photography has influenced and driven change most interesting. From social reform of the poor and child labour to driving political change in the cases of war such as the Nigerian-Biafran war and the Vietnam war.

The book also discusses staged documentary shoots and manipulation of documentary photography.

As I have already said I am halfway through reading it for the 2nd time as I really want to understand what Stuart Franklin is saying. If you are interested in documentary photography or just want to ready a good book about photography I do not think you will be disappointed, this is a well written, well presented and interesting read.

Reference:

Franklin, S. (2016) The documentary impulse. United Kingdom: Phaidon Press.

The Photograph as Contemporary Art – Charlotte Cotton

I have been doing a lot of thinking of late. Getting myself wound up in a knot over the exercises in Part 1. I guess I am trying to read too much into what is required. This feels like trying to start an old car; the key is in the ignition and the engine is making some sort of a sound, but it is not firing up and starting as it should and therefore isn’t moving. Depressing eh, and I guess I am far from alone in this regard. So I am trying to lubricate the mental machinery by reading.

TPACA

Along with the course materials I received a book ‘The Photograph as Contemporary Art’ (Cotton, 2014), so I started with that.

The book is broken down into 8 chapters each covering different ways and genres that photographers/artists have utilised the photograph as contemporary art. These are:

 

 

 

Chapter 1: If This Is Art – This chapter concerns itself with the photographic image being the desired outcome of the artists’ idea/s. Images look for all intents and purposes as unplanned happenstance or serendipitous, where in fact there are all carefully planned, crafted and executed.

Chapter 2: Once Upon a Time – This chapter discusses the use of storytelling by the use of contemporary art photography. The essence of creating a single image that tells a story by the careful crafting of a visual narrative.

Chapter 3: Deadpan – This chapter covers a range of photographers who utilise a Deadpan aesthetic in their works. The photographer takes the image with a cool detached and unemotional intent. A favoured documentary style that allows the viewer to engage with the image and form their own conclusions.

Chapter 4: Something and Nothing – This chapter is about how artists have created contemporary photographic art using non-human artefacts. Everyday objects, mundane items and the obscure are posed, positioned and staged into something artful.

Chapter 5: Intimate Life – A chapter devoted to how stories of intimate and personal nature are brought to life as contemporary photographic art. Narratives are portrayed in powerful, shocking and sometimes tender ways that are charged with emotional intent.

Chapter 6: Moments in History – This chapter considers how contemporary art photographers present images that bear witness to significant, momentous or infamous events. Many of these images cover war, conflict, distress and disaster, but can equally concern themselves with personal or domestic history.

Chapter 7: Revived and Remade – This chapter introduces a postmodernist stance towards the creation of contemporary photographic art. The postmodernist approach full of signs and symbolism is utilised in creative and manipulative ways to present a fantasy or homage.

Chapter 8: Physical and Material – The final chapter presents artists who utilise all forms of photography, medium, materials and methods of presentation in their contemporary art. They celebrate the rich diverse past of photography mending it with current methodologies to create something unique.

This book was an interesting and eye-opening read. It was complimented by 244 predominantly colour pictures. The chapters I felt most interested in and drawn towards were; ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘Deadpan’ and ‘Moments in History’ as I like documentary photography and could see how might employ these styles in my own photography. I also liked the created fantasy of the ‘Revived and Remade’ chapter. I think the hardest chapter for me to grasp was ‘Intimate Life’. I found difficultly in engaging with or relating to the presented imagery. I will endeavour to reread this chapter and try and fathom out why.

 

Reference:

Cotton, C. (2014) The photograph as contemporary art. 03rd edn. London, United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson.

Project 1: The instrument – Exercise 1.1

Exercise 1.1
Take three or four exposures of the same scene. Don’t change anything on the
camera and keep the framing the same.
Preview the shots on the LCD screen. At first glance they look the same, but are
they? Perhaps a leaf moved with the wind, the light changed subtly, or the framing
changed almost imperceptibly to include one seemingly insignificant object and
exclude another. Time flows, the moment of each frame is different, and, as the
saying has it, ‘you can’t step into the same river twice’.
Now bring up the histogram on the preview screen. The histogram is a graphical
representation of exposure – the camera’s sensitivity to light. As you page through
the images you can see small variations in the histograms. Even though the pictures
look the same, the histogram data shows that in a matter of seconds the world
changes, and these subtle differences are recorded by the camera. If you refine the
test conditions – shooting on a tripod to fix the framing, moving indoors and closing
the curtains to exclude daylight – still the histogram changes. Probably some of
the changes are within the camera mechanism itself; still, the camera is a sensitive
enough instrument to record them.
Add the sequence to your learning log with the time info from your camera’s
shooting data as your first images for Part One.


All four images were taken a few seconds apart hand held in Auto mode. The images all look the same but the histogram does show that each image has small but perceivable differences due to factors like movement of the objects within the image, movement of the camera, changes in lighting conditions, changes in the way light hits the objects within the image and possible changes within the camera mechanism and electronics itself. This clearly proves that the camera sensor is incredibly sensitive to change, which is what a photographer needs to capture or freeze a moment in time with as much information that can be had.

Exercise1.1 Image 1Exercise1.1 Image 1 Histogram

Exercise 1.1: Image 1

Camera: Fujifilm X30

Date: 03/08/2016

Time: 18:22:27

35mm Equivalent FL: 28.4mm

Shooting Mode: Auto

ISO: 100

Aperture: f/2

Shutter Speed: 1/90s

Exercise1.1 Image 2

Exercise1.1 Image 2 Histogram

Exercise 1.1: Image 2

Camera: Fujifilm X30

Date: 03/08/2016

Time: 18:22:30

35mm Equivalent FL: 28.4mm

Shooting Mode: Auto

ISO: 100

Aperture: f/2

Shutter Speed: 1/105s

Exercise1.1 Image 3

Exercise1.1 Image 3 Histogram

Exercise 1.1: Image 3

Camera: Fujifilm X30

Date: 03/08/2016

Time: 18:22:37

35mm Equivalent FL: 28.4mm

Shooting Mode: Auto

ISO: 100

Aperture: f/2

Shutter Speed: 1/105s

Exercise1.1 Image 4

Exercise1.1 Image 4 Histogram

Exercise 1.1: Image 4

Camera: Fujifilm X30

Date: 03/08/2016

Time: 18:22:44

35mm Equivalent FL: 28.4mm

Shooting Mode: Auto

ISO: 100

Aperture: f/2

Shutter Speed: 1/105s