Assignment 3 planning part 3

For my second planning visit I utilised the anticipated settings I outlined in Assignment 3 planning part 1

These settings outlined below were how I set my Nikon D7200 with Sigma 10-20mm lens:

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

The link to the contact sheets for my 2nd scouting visit is below:

2nd Scouting Visit Contact Sheets

I must admit to being somewhat disappointed with the results. My aim in using the wide angle lens was to try and encompass the majority of the junction so that the status of the traffic lights could be seen as well as the junction activity. Whilst I could see the junction fairly well the action and activity was too small to be useful. I need to use a longer focal length and concentrate on a smaller part of the action for the images to be worthwhile.

Also on reflection I may need to try a few different areas of pedestrian congestion around the Waterloo Station area. This may necessitate a 3rd scouting visit, before I can get any useful images. Although I work close to the chosen area work is always manic, but I must make the time.

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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).

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.

 

Project 3: Surface and Depth – Research Point

Research point
Read the reviews by Campany and Colberg and, if you haven’t already done so, use them
to begin the contextual section of your learning log. Try to pick out the key points made
by each writer. Write about 300 words.

If you wish, you could add a screengrab of an image from Ruff’s jpeg series, and one or
two of your own compressed jpegs (taken on auto mode of course!). You can achieve
the effect quite easily by re-sizing a photograph to say, 180 x 270 pixels, and saving at
‘zero quality’ compression. If you use Photoshop’s ‘save for web’ you can see the effect
immediately without having to save, close and reopen the file.


Campany and Colberg both appraise Thomas Ruff’s work ‘jpegs’ in different ways and come to differing conclusions.

Colberg’s article starts with the public perception of Ruffs work as creative and inventive. However, he comments that Ruffs work could be considered by some not to be photography in the orthodox sense. Though he quickly avoids this potentially dry debate. He speaks of Ruff’s experiments with internet images of the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack, and how he saw a great deal of beauty and visual aesthetic in these pixilated images. The way Ruff’s images were presented also made a difference, as Colberg clearly preferred to view them in book form and commented that the oversized exhibition images at the Zwimer gallery were overly showy. Colberg appreciate the beauty of the images in the book, but felt that the narrative wasn’t clear even with the associated text.

Campany’s view of Ruff’s work was that although beautiful and clever it could appear cold and dispassionate. He comments that this fails to elicit a universal concord, and Ruff’s images appeal to no one and everyone at the same time. Campany remarks that Ruff’s found image photographic art have its roots in Dada, Cubism and Surrealism. Campany poses a lot of questions, but no real answers and attempts I think to provoke the reader to think deeper.  The flow of the presentation is important to Ruff, and though his images represent unpredictability they are designed to be presented in series. Camapny believes that the power of Ruff’s jpeg images is rooted in multiple layers of archived material. Ruff is trying to use pixels like film photographers used grain to elicit a sense of urgency, realism and authenticity to his jpeg images. But Campany rightly comments that pixels produce a mechanical repetitiveness compared to the unpredictable analogue properties of producing grain in film.

Both articles helped me understand Ruff’s work a bit better. Viewing multiple sources is defiantly helpful in gaining a more balanced view.


Below is Thomas Ruff’s image ‘jpeg ny02‘ followed by two of my attempts at Ruff like images.

jpeg-ny02

Thomas Ruff: jpeg ny02

reykjavik

Reykjavik

crowd-texture-5

Crowd Texture

 

Reference

Thomas Ruff | jpeg ny02 | the met (2000) Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/287237 (Accessed: 29 January 2017).