All Quiet because not well… boo hoo!

Not well at the moment. Some form of viral fatigue, not doing my study’s or work much good.

A lot of sleep and dreams but can’t remember them. If they ever market a dream recorder I am going to be first in the queue.

Trying to use this time to think and plan, but thoughts so muddled and waves of fatigue really laying me low.

Also making me miss a day of a City Lit course I am doing on Friday evenings.

I hope I can clear this by the end of the weekend.

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Assignment 3 planning part 2

I popped out at lunchtime to take some test shots of the junction using my Fuji X30 to see if they looked ok. The contact sheets of these test images are below:

Lightroom (DSCF0063.dng and 41 others)Lightroom (DSCF0063.dng and 41 others)Lightroom (DSCF0063.dng and 41 others)Lightroom (DSCF0063.dng and 41 others)

For this to work my shots need to take in the traffic lights so that it can be clearly seen when they are red or green. Although I intend to use a pretty wide-angle lens (10-20mm) with my Nikon D7200 when I take my shots, it is clear that I will need to carefully position myself to gain the best field of view. The proof of the pudding will be when I try the wide angle lens. This will probably require a few visits to the junction to get the kind of shots I am aiming for, and maybe just a bit of Henri-Cartier Bresson’s luck.

Assignment 3 first impressions and planning part 1

First Impressions

The concept of a ‘Decisive Moment’ made me think on something that has puzzled me for some considerable time, why do some cyclists take unnecessary risks like:

  • Ignoring red traffic lights at junctions
  • Undertaking large vehicles as they approach turning points
  • Not wearing cycle helmets
  • Wearing personal stereos and therefore unable to hear traffic (i.e. large vehicle turning announcements)
  • Thinking that the highway code is not applicable to them

Or any combination of the above, in turn; risking their own lives, those of other pedestrians or the mental distress caused to drivers who unwittingly hit, injure or kill these cyclists.

There are a couple of junctions close to my work where this kind of blatant action is common, especially early in the morning and early evening during rush hour. But also at time of quietness which brings its own level of complacency.

Sometimes we experience problems or situations in life where we feel like we are standing at a busy junction where the traffic lights are not working. Where we are unwilling witnesses to potential accidents and no matter how much we wave our arms, we are ignored. This is how feel about these irresponsible cyclists. We live in enlightened society where we are taught about danger from birth, therefore these cyclists must make a conscious decision (their own decisive moment) to take any or all the risks I have highlighted above.

The word cloud below shows the words that come to my mind when thinking about the issues highlighted above:

Decisive Moment Word Cloud

Planning Part 1

My idea is to take images at the junction of Stamford Street and Cornwall Road (London, SE1 9HN) at various times. I will try to take images from various points that take in the whole junction. Google map and satellite view of the junction below (Google.co.uk, 2017):

Junction 1

Map of junction of Stamford Street and Cornwall Road – London, SE1 9NH

Junction 2

Satellite view of junction of Stamford Street and Cornwall Road – London, SE1 9NH

I am not anticipating a crash or near miss, but I could end up witnessing an accident! The junction has pedestrian crossings which may also provide other interesting shots. My intention is not to make myself too obvious by; using natural cover, distance, muted clothing and slow movements. Hopefully catch my intended targets off guard.

Shooting from an elevated or low point might produce interesting images, but could attract more attention. Shooting from midriff might work best. Set camera up manually possibly try using a 10 – 20mm wide angle lens, using a good depth of field and use hyperfocal distance to ensure that everything of interest is in focus (Dofmaster.com, 2017).

Hyperfocal

Anticipated initial manual camera settings:

  • ISO 400 – 800
  • f/5.6 – f8
  • 1/500s
  • Lens 10-20mm (15mm)
  • Hand held
  • Multiple shots

The above give me a starting point for this assignment.

Reference

Google.co.uk. (2017). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5057334,-0.111333,19.25z [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].

Dofmaster.com. (2017). Online Depth of Field Calculator. [online] Available at: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].

Assignment 3 Brief

Assignment three The decisive moment

  1. Prints

    Send a set of between six and eight high-quality photographic prints on the theme of the ‘decisive moment’ to your tutor. Street photography is the traditional subject of the decisive moment, but it doesn’t have to be. Landscape may also have a decisive moment of weather, season or time of day. A building may have a decisive moment when human activity and light combine to present a ‘peak’ visual moment.
    You may choose to create imagery that supports the tradition of the ‘decisive moment’, or you may choose to question or invert the concept. Your aim isn’t to tell a story, but in order to work naturally as a series there should be a linking theme, whether it’s a location, an event or a particular period of time.

  1. Assignment notes

    Submit assignment notes of between 500 and 1,000 words with your series.
    Introduce your subject and describe your ‘process’ – your way of working. Then
    briefly state how you think each image relates to the concept of the decisive
    moment. This will be a personal response as there are no right or wrong answers in a visual arts course. You’ll find it useful to explore the photographers and works referenced in Project 3, if you haven’t already done so. Don’t forget to use Harvard referencing.
    Post your prints, no larger than A4, to your tutor together with your assignment notes.

Reasoning for submission of photographic prints for assignment 3:
The OCA strongly encourages students to submit a print submission for assessment (this is mandatory in Levels 2 and 3). Sharing some prints with your tutor half way through the module is an opportunity to get feedback on print quality. If you’re hard pressed to submit the prints you don’t have to send the whole assignment, you can send a selection and submit the rest of the series via blog or in the usual way that you’ve agreed with your tutor.

Project 3: What matters is to look – Research point

Research point
Watch the Henri Cartier-Bresson documentary ‘L’amour de court’ (‘Just plain love’, 2001)
available in five parts on YouTube:
www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL707C8F898605E0BF
Write a personal response to the film in the contextual section of your learning log,
taking care to reference properly any quotations you use (300–500 words).

  • Whenever you read or watch something, get into the habit of putting anything you
    take directly from the source in quotation marks and note down full bibliographic
    details. If you do this, you won’t have to spend ages hunting for half-remembered
    references later – and you won’t inadvertently plagiarise someone else’s work.
    Always use Harvard referencing; print out the study guide on the student website
    and keep this to hand.
  • Be very careful about what you put on your blog. Take a moment now to read what
    the OCA learning blog study guide says about copyright law and fair use or fair
    dealing.

Parts 4 and 5 of the Henri Cartier-Bresson video ‘L’amour tout court’ have had the
audio muted by YouTube owing to copyright. However, the subtitles are still
included in the video which does allow the conversation to be followed without
audio.
‘L’amour tout court’ is also available on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/106009378
(accessed 26/09/2016).


The YouTube excerpts of the Henri Cartier-Bresson documentary ‘L’amour de court’ started with Henri mentioning that he escaped from prison. I looked into this for more details and found out that he was captured during the Second World War. From his confinement in forced labour camps he finally escaped after two failed attempts. He says in the video ‘I always feel like a prisoner on the run.’ (‘L’amour de court’, 2001). It is my opinion that this experience has been one of the major driving forces to his developed style of photography.

Shortly after this Henri comments ‘It’s always luck. It’s luck that matters… just be receptive and it happens’ (‘L’amour de court’, 2001). But this I think is more down to his uncanny awareness, heightened by that feeling of being on the run; always aware, always, looking, always listening, always searching. Using this amplified sense of awareness allows him to instinctively understand the geometry of what he sees and visualise the golden proportions within his field of view, enabling him to take images that seem naturally balanced. In this way he selects his framing waiting for the decisive moment, in anticipation of his target moving into the perfect position.

He lets the viewer into a few trade secrets. When with other people he tunes out, to him taking photographs demands ultimate concentration. Yet to those around him when he is taking photographs he seems to converse as if aware of them, though he confesses to talking nonsense. While taking photos he does his utmost to blend in with and become one with the scene, gentle and unobtrusive. To the point that he painted all the shining parts of his Leica black so that the camera attracts the minimal attention. ’I look, I look, it’s an obsession’, he muses (‘L’amour de court’, 2001).

My overall impression of Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of deep and profound awe. He demonstrates such amazing spatial awareness and a sensitivity to his surroundings, it is almost magical.

Reference

‘L’amour de court’ parts 1-5, 2001 YouTube video, added by Rangefindergeneral [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL707C8F898605E0BF (Accessed 2 April 2017).

Project 3: What matters is to look – Exercise 3.3

Exercise 3.3

  1. What do the timeframes of the camera actually look like? If you have a manual
    film camera, open the camera back (make sure there’s no film in the camera
    first!) and look through the shutter as you press the shutter release. What is the
    shortest duration in which your eyes can perceive a recognisable image in bright
    daylight? Describe the experiment in your learning log.
  2. Find a good viewpoint, perhaps fairly high up (an upstairs window might do)
    where you can see a wide view or panorama. Start by looking at the things
    closest to you in the foreground. Then pay attention to the details in the middle
    distance and, finally, the things towards the horizon. Now try and see the whole
    landscape together, from the foreground to horizon (you can move your eyes).
    Include the sky in your observation and try to see the whole visual field together,
    all in movement (there is always some movement). When you’ve got it, raise your
    camera and take a picture. Add the picture and a description of the process to
    your learning log.

  1. Unfortunately the only film camera I have is a Nikon EM, which is an aperture priority semi automatic 35mm film camera. With the back open the shutter speed automatically defaults to 1/1000 sec and all that can be perceived is a brief flash of light. The only other speed settings are bulb (shutter stays open as long as the shutter button is depressed) and manual 1/90th sec setting for using a non TTL flash. Even when set to 1/90th sec the flash of light from the shutter is slightly longer but I am still unable to perceive a recognisable image. So the shutter speed would have to be a lot slower for me (personally) to be able to distinguish an identifiable image other than a vague shape. Maybe as slow as 1/2 sec or 1/4 sec. Without having the camera capable of setting these shutter speeds I am making only rough assumptions which for an experiment is not good enough.

2. Looking out of the study window I perceived the:

  • flat roof
  • caravan
  • driveways
  • cars
  • trees
  • roads
  • houses
  • telegraph pole & lines
  • sky

Taking in the whole scene there appears to be some natural framing and negative space. There is no wind so there is no movement in the trees and the clouds also have no distinguishable movement in the bright sky. I listen and hear a car door slam down the close and its motor start. From that I know it must come out of the close in front of me. I raise my camera to focus on the space between the two trees near the entrance to the close. I press my shutter as the car moves through this framing as shown below.

Out the study window

I believe that the purpose of this exercise is to help us to attune ourselves to our surroundings and to gain a level of spacial awareness that helps us to detect and act on movement within our peripheral vision. But for me it is not just sight but sound (as in the sound of the car, or people talking, sound of the wind in the trees etc.) and a level of gut feeling. All this Henri Cartier-Bresson called luck, but for me he was a man with amazing spacial awareness and sensitivity to his surroundings that borders on a 6th sense.

A link to my handwritten notes on my opinion of the Decisive Moment is below:

Notes on the Decisive Moment 

Project 2: A durational space – Exercise 3.2

Exercise 3.2
Start by doing your own research into some of the artists discussed above.
Then, using slow shutter speeds, the multiple exposure function, or another
technique inspired by the examples above, try to record the trace of movement
within the frame. You can be as experimental as you like. Add a selection of shots
together with relevant shooting data and a description of your process (how you
captured the shots) to your learning log.


As part of Assignment 2 I took a number of images around Waterloo station in which I was attempting to capture images that evoked the chaotic movement of commuter crowds. The following images were all taken handheld due to the restrictions regarding tripods within Waterloo Station. I tried various combinations of; height, angle, focal length and exposure. I think that the images evoke movement and provide the traces of time I was attempting to create.

Blur 1

Blur 1 – Focal Length 450mm, ISO 400, Exposure 2 sec at f/22

Blur 2

Blur 2 – Focal Length 123mm, ISO 400, Exposure 2 sec at f/22

Blur 3

Blur 3 – Focal Length 123mm, ISO 400, Exposure 2 sec at f/22

Blur 4

Blur 4 – Focal Length 90mm, ISO 400, Exposure 1 sec at f/22

Blur 5

Blur 5 – Focal Length 217mm, ISO 400, Exposure 2.5 sec at f/22

Blur 6

Blur 6 – Focal Length 450mm, ISO 400, Exposure 1/15 sec at f/6.3

 

Project 1: The frozen moment – Exercise 3.1

Exercise 3.1

Using fast shutter speeds, try to isolate a frozen moment of time in a moving subject.
Depending on the available light you may have to select a high ISO to avoid visible
blur in the photograph. Try to find the beauty in a fragment of time that fascinated
John Szarkowski. Add a selection of shots, together with relevant shooting data and
a description of your process (how you captured the images), to your learning log.


The following series of 3 images were taken at covent garden during the performance of a street artist. I was lucky to have a seat and be able to carefully use my tripod discreetly.

The 2nd of the three really captures the action but  the 1st and 3rd provide context and the series works really well as a triptych.

artist 1

Artist 1 – Focal Length 27mm, ISO 800, Exposure 1/1000 sec at f/4.0

artist 2

Artist 2 – Focal Length 27mm, ISO 800, Exposure 1/1000 sec at f/4.0

artist 3

Artist 3 – Focal Length 27mm, ISO 800, Exposure 1/1000 sec at f/4.0

Post processing involved aligning and cropping images in photoshop. Followed by conversion to black & white and a few minor adjustments.

Assignment 2 Feedback

Tutor feedback for Assignment 2 – ‘Collecting‘ below:

EYV2_Perry_Tatman

I am glad that my tutor thinks that this project has potential. There are potentially 3 or 4 threads I could expand on or distil from the images that I have taken to create a more meaningful body of work. As my tutor advises this may involve another station shoot to nail it.

She point to my difficulty with completing some exercises. I do find is hard sometimes to ‘marry up thought with deed‘ with regard to the given exercises. The problem children in this part of the unit involved people images, and my wife wasn’t willing to be my stooge! However these exercises are not forgotten and will be completed by the end of EYV.

I have tried to make it to OCA Study Visits and also some visits of my own. I still need to write up a couple of these up. I have also been going to the Thames Valley group meetings, and found them to be very inspiring and motivating.

My tutor is also right in that I should keep notebooks for ideas and potential projects. My handwriting is awful, but I will try and make a better effort to keep visual notes; doodles, drawings, mind maps, lists etc. These I can then scan or take pictures of to add to my Learning Log, along with some more reflective content as to how I feel and develop as I progress.

She was also kind enough to provided me with a very comprehensive reading list to help me further this project:

  • Many Are Called by Walker Evans
  • Compression Tokyo by Michael Wolf
  • Subway Commuters by Bruce Dickinson
  • Simon Terrill is an artist interested in crowd theory
  • Priests by Giacomelli
  • Non-Place by Marc Auge

I need to progress with Part three, but I will try my best to review and improve this project towards a more conclusive end. My camera club has its annual exhibition in May and I intend to submit a Theme Print Panel based on this project.

 

The Radical Eye – Tate Modern 11th March 2017

On my birthday I went to London to visit ‘The Radical Eye’. This is the showing of an assembly of Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the Tate Modern (10th Nov 2016 – 7th May 2017).

The entrance is dominated by a large scale reproduction of the Man Ray image ‘Glass Tears’ and the exhibition is divided into 6 areas:

  • The Radical Eye
  • Portraits
  • Portraits / Experiments / Bodies
  • Exhibition Film
  • Documents
  • Objects / Perspectives / Abstraction

The exhibition is made up of over 175 images spanning the first half of the 20th Century, taken from Elton John’s world class collection of over 8000 photographs. The exhibited images are the work of almost seventy of the key photographers of that time.

Among these photographers are some of the works of:

  • Man Ray
  • Irving Penn
  • Dorothea Lang
  • Walker Evans
  • Margaret Bourke-White
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • Edward Steichen
  • Helen Levit

I was struck by the framing of the photographs, though beautifully mounted the fames could be thought by some to be gaudy. However, when you realise that these paintings came straight off the walls of Elton John’s apartment you begin to realise they fit their hanging environment. I prefer the idea that they come from a home, are on display and loved, rather than stuck in boxed archives.

I enjoyed the exhibition and was very taken by a series of corner portrait images by Irving Penn taken in 1948, which were very striking. In particular, those taken of; Spencer Tracy, Noel Coward, Duke Ellington and the boxer Joe Louis.

Overall the exhibition presents a good cross section of photographs from some of the leading protagonists of the Modernist Photography movement.