Sunday, 9 December 2012

Photo size and juxtaposition of the photos within the magazine article

1. The Sign Holder

   This would be the front page of the standard-sized article/magazine as it was in my opinion one of the strongest. Maybe a portrait format photograph would have better suited the first page of the article but this could maybe fill the middle of the front cover with space for the title of the article above and the description below. So this photograph's size would be 6 inches high x 9 inches wide.


2. Halloween in London

   I felt this was one of the most striking images I produced to meet the brief so somewhere near the front of the magazine and by itself would work best for the desired impact. Probably the third page for the article specifically would work best as it would be the second image observed by the reader of the magazine (after the first page of the article), with the introduction to the left on the second page. Photograph 2 would be about 9x6 inches.

3. Homeless but Being Watched Over?

   I felt this photograph was quite effective on its own anyway but I imagined a good juxtaposition for this photo in relation to one of my other images. This was Photograph 6: Sleep Out and the reason I felt they would work well together was the subject of the two photographs were directly related. The homeless man in Photograph 3 was being 'watched over' if you will by the volunteers of the 'Sleep Out' in Photograph 6. Therefore I decided it would be best to have both photographs on the same double-spread of the magazine, with the 'Sleep Out' photograph placed purposefully and directly above 'Homeless but Being Watched Over?'. It could then potentially be inferred from the reader that the two were related semantically with the 'Centrepoint' sign at the top of the building in Photograph 3 being the connection. 3 would be roughly the same size as 6 so around 7x5 inches for 3 and 5x7 inches for 6.

4. Anyone for the Big I?

   This was a photograph that in my opinion worked well in combination with another photograph as well. The photograph it worked well with was Photograph 5: Heading Home. This was because as a lot of the commuters headed home, it was also the time they might encounter a Big Issue vendor such as this man. Again both photographs would be the same size and would roughly match the previous two photos: 7x5 inches for Photograph 4 and 5x7 inches for Photograph 5.

Photograph 5. Heading Home

   See 4.


Photograph 6. Sleep Out

   See 3.


Photograph 7. Graffiti and Tricks of South Bank

   There would be no special juxtaposition for this photograph but it would be printed quite large for the magazine to fill a double spread so the photo size would be around 10x15 inches. The reason for this was to further consolidate the high impact of this photograph.

Photograph 8. 'Hovering' Street Statue

   I really liked the 'new' square crop of this photo and I decided it would be fitting to have this photograph placed at the back of the magazine article - as it provided, I felt, an impressionable ending to the magazine article. The photo size would be 6x6 inches.

How Each Photograph for the Assignment Relates to the Brief

Another criticism that my tutor suggested was that explanation of how the photos taken related back to the brief was lacking in the assignment. In retrospect this was quite obvious for me as well and it would be here that I would endeavour to clarify the concept behind each photo.

1. The sign holder:

   I thought the 1st photograph showed well how certain street users of London were largely ignored by the masses of people walking straight past them. This fitted in with the idea that you had to be aware of this alternative user in order to notice them. Also I felt he was an alternative user because he was trying to get across a message to the people walking by.

2. Halloween in London:

   This was obviously an alternative user of London but it showed off London at a once-in-a-year time, which wouldn't be so accessible to a casual visitor/user.

3. Homeless but Being Watched Over?:

   Unfortunately this user was common in London but still too often ignored. This user was habitual although the photo would maybe bring to the attention of the reader what this London user had to live like. I have gone into greater detail about this in the post named 'Homeless but Being Watched Over?'.


4. Anyone for the Big I?:

   Another resident of London, this showed a London Big Issue seller in his local environment. Again he was not usually noticed by tourists or casual users. This was  due to people cynically choosing not to see him as they didn't want to buy the Big Issue off him.

5. Heading Home:

     These Londoners weren't strictly unusual London characters but I thought the setting showed a different side to London itself; namely the rush hour, which wouldn't be observed by many people other than the commuters themselves.

6: Sleep Out:

   This connected well with 3: 'Homeless but Being Watched Over?' I thought in that it showed a completely different kind of user and event within London that definitely wouldn't have been seen by a casual visitor. The users were better-off citizens of London or England who were trying to 'help out' homeless people like the person in Photograph 3. This therefore showed an alternative side to London that was positive. I have gone into greater detail about this in the post named 'Sleep Out'.

7: Grafitti and Tricks of Southbank:

   This showed an unusual setting in London, which would only be immediately apparent to those who knew about it or stumbled upon it. Although the user photographed wasn't exactly different or uncommon it did show variety.

8: 'Hovering' Street Statue:

   The street statue was the person in this photograph that was out of the ordinary. He was noticed, at least by the boy, and it conluded the article nicely as the last image I felt. This was because the other users would not usually be noticed but this one was and it seemed to make an impression on the boy who could be seen as a casual user.

The three ammended photos

Photograph 3 for assignment 5: ammended to correct converging verticals and barrel distortion:

3. (ammended)
Photograph 5 for the assignment: I decided to change to a similar photograph but one that I felt better reflected London's commuters, was more dynamic and also featured improved context. I felt there were simply more commuters visible crossing the bridge, which added relevance to the reality of London Bridge in the rush hour. As for dynamism this was due to the number of commuters as mentioned already. My reasoning for why the photograph featured improved context was because the bus on the left side of the photograph showed 'London Bridge' as the destination, which happened to be the bridge it was crossing. The photograph was also edited differently in terms of colour; the edting was more subtle than the equivalent photo I had already posted (5.Heading Home). Here I added only some orange to the highlights on the left of the photo, while leaving the shadows as a more natural blue as I felt the peruser of the photo could make their own minds up as to what they chose to infer from the photograph:


5. (replaced and edited differently)


 Photograph 8: with a revised crop of the scene in order to better show off the expression on the boy's face and compound the relationship between the 'statue' and the boy:


8. (cropped)

Ammendment/improvement to my brief for Assignment 5

In light of receiving feedback from my tutor I had come to realise how general and somewhat vague my initial brief for the fifth assignment was. In this post I aimed to divulge much more information about the brief, client, what the photos would be used for and even small details such as print size and juxtaposition for each photo within the article that would show to what extent they would be salient within the article. Seemingly small improvements like this would make the brief and choice of client more relevant to the photos themselves.

   I felt also after reading my tutors comments closely that some of the criticisms were related to editing; changes that I could make quite easily but which I hoped would be impactful towards the credibility of the photos within the article. I would also be showing the edited photos in some subsequent posts so they could be compared back to the original photos and indicating the print size sand juxtaposition of these and the remaining photos.
  
   Here is the REVISED choice of client:

A magazine (narrative and illustrative), which specialises in subjective and current issues in a particular place.

   REVISED purpose of the assignment: 

Informational; documenting a topic that is potentially sensitive to the reader.

   
   REVISION of how the images will be used:

To complement and illustrate the text of an article showing how the city is used by people of varying backgrounds, relating this back to the reader as the article would be distributed in the same city.

   And here is my REVISED brief in its final form:

The photographs should portray an underlying alternative side to London and its habitual users, which isn't immediately obvious to a casual visitor but that is brought to light by the photos.

  

Saturday, 17 November 2012

'Hovering' Street Statue

It had been my intention for some time (since I started the assignment) to photograph a street 'statue' that was not really a statue at all. They were prevalent around London's South Bank and Covent Garden and in my opinion made for good subjects for this brief for a couple of reasons. Firstly they were quite good at provoking reactions from innocent passers-by, which I thought would make for an interesting moment to be captured. Secondly, I personally found them an integral part of London's character, providing an alternative style of entertainment for London's visitors.

   I had initially set out to capture one of the street 'statues' startling one of the tourists/public. However I came to realise most people now knew about the street 'statues' not really being statues and so it was difficult to find a street statue that actually stood still for long periods. Instead I shifted my attention to 'hovering' street statues. This was because I thought they were an interesting subject and they attracted lots of people trying to work out how they managed this.

8. 'Hovering' Street Statue
   I chose a low viewpoint for the 'hovering' street statue I decided to photograph. This was to emphasise the apparent hovering of this silver 'statue'. I waited for an opportune moment to capture the expressions of some people trying to work out how the 'statue' appeared to be sitting on thin air. I was lucky to catch a telling moment as a boy was clearly startled (there was a look of wonderment on his face) by the 'statue'.

Graffiti and Tricks of South Bank

This photo was quite visually impacting, I thought, especially with the graffiti splashed out all around the photograph. There was a lot of colour and life in the setting alone and I felt the BMX rider was a suitable addition to the scene. The element that made the photograph fit my brief was the way the skate park appeared almost 'dissenting' especially considering the contrast it provided to the rest of the South Bank, some of which was visible behind the BMX rider.

   Of course the BMX rider was the focal point of the photograph and I tried to place him in the frame deliberately in such a way that he attracted the most attention. If there was a criticism I would make of myself taking this photograph it would be I could have captured a more 'decisive' moment where the trick looked as impressive as in reality. This would probably have meant taking the photograph either a fraction of a second before or after I took it but I've found these fractions can make a big difference.

   'Girl Jumping Rope on the Burning Ghat, Benares, India 1995' by Mary Ellen Mark was a photograph that sprung to mind while thinking about these differences. It was an action shot, in that action was frozen in the frame, similar to the BMX rider. Furthermore the two photographs showed their respective subjects during the middle of the action they were performing. But as mentioned above, mine was captured a little late/early while Mary Ellen Mark's was spot-on.

   This was another photograph I had planned for in advance; I had been to this location already to try to assess the best position to take the photograph. What I couldn't neccessarily plan for however, was who would be using skate park. Fortunately there was this BMX rider who didn't mind me photographing him. I was pleased in the end I photographed him as he was clearly in his element, which meant I could concentrate on things like lighting and composition.

7. Graffiti and Tricks of South Bank
   One area I thought the photograph could have been improved on slightly was the lighting. I was pleased it was an overcast day so there was not too much contrast between the skate park and outside, which meant some detail of the rest of the South Bank was retained and not washed out as I exposed for the foreground and middle distance. The area I could have improved on concerning lighting however, was the fill flash. While it illuminated the BMX rider well, in my opinion a secondary fill flash (at lower power and placed in front of the BMX rider) would have eliminated any shadows on the stairs.

   Overall though I felt this photograph had a lot of impact, which was paramount for me in delivering the 'dissenting' look, which helped it to fit the brief.

Sleep Out

Simon Roberts made an impression on me with his high viewpoints, particularly in 'The Election Project', which helped show the scenes 'objectively' rather than making it 'subjective'. I felt this was useful in 'The Election Project' as the viewpoints chosen helped inform the viewer as the 'action' took place in the middle of the frame. It also gave the viewer a unique perspective, obviously visually, because they were looking over from distance rather than in among what was going on. This let the viewer decide what to infer from the photographs, which was different from many of the photographers I had been looking at, where it was more 'forced'. This wasn't to say the photographs were any less 'personal', often 'revealing' themselves after a closer look.

   In practise I discovered it was pretty difficult to reach or gain access to such high viewpoints but I persevered; hoping at least one of my shots for 'Alternative London' would be captured from a high vantage point. I improvised, and using my articulating LCD screen that my camera possessed I managed to achieve a relatively high viewpoint. This was standing on top of a small ledge and holding the camera above my head as described.

6. Sleep Out
   The high viewpoint I found overlooked an organised event aimed to help raise awareness of homelessness, which was called Centrepoint Sleep Out 2012. I was able to capture an image that documented the event, where voluntary fundraisers decided to sleep out the night. Using Simon Roberts' technique of using a high viewpoint and letting the middle ground tell the story I took a wide angle shot of one side of the scene. The signs did help show what kind of event was occurring and the middle ground (a few of the fundraisers getting into 'bed') informed the viewer what all the bags were for.

   Another point I wanted to get across in this photo was how it could be related to the homeless man next to the Centrepoint building (photograph number 3 of this assignment). It showed perhaps there are people who care and are aware of that 'alternative' side to London.

Heading Home

First of all I had planned this photo out beforehand and it resulted in an image that closely resembled what I had imagined prior to getting the shot. So it was quite rewarding, if challenging, to get the end result. It was also technically challenging for me to get right, which made it quite satisfying as well.

   Philip DeCorcia inspired me to look at dramatic lighting and sometimes colour to further enhance what would already be an interesting photo. Also with 'Heads' series he took an almost voyeuristic approach where the people were completely oblivious as the photo was taken. This was helpful to leave a natural look to the faces of the unknowing models - something I would hope to incorporate into this photograph for the assignment. C. Cotton (2009) also made this observation saying: ''a form of photographic portraiture in which the subjects are entirely unable to influence their representation." and I thought this was an accurate summation of Philip DeCorcia's 'Heads' images.

   So I went to London Bridge to photograph commuters crossing the bridge on their way home with a dramatically lit photo similar to DeCorcia's 'Heads' series but from my own perspective in mind. This included a wide angle view to show off the vast number of commuters crossing the bridge, with them being unknowing of the fact they would be lit by a flash going off from a perpendicular angle (similar to DeCorcia's 'Heads' series). This provided the dramatic lighting I was after as well as the 'neutral' expressions of the unknowing commuters.

    I was pleased with how all the commuters were heading home in the same direction, with a bus also going in the same direction, with maybe more commuters on board. The bus also added to the scene, making it (in my eyes) unmistakeably London. Factors that made it 'Alternative London' for me though were: the commuters wrapped up warm in coats to fight the cold, the backdrop of some of the city at night and the wet, reflective pavement the commuters were walking on. This last factor was quite typical of London in my experience and I had actually planned for this kind of weather to add some interest in the photograph. In this respect I felt I was successful.

   One area that could have been improved in this image though was the shadows of some of the commuters caused by the fill flash I had positioned to the side of the commuters. The fill flash really added to the dramatic scene of commuters crossing London Bridge in the dark I felt but at the cost of creating somewhat unnatural shadows in the process. If I had had another flash I would have used it (on a low power setting) from the front just to avoid these shadows.

5. Heading Home
   Other than that I thought this was an attractively colourful image and one that fitted the brief well from my point of view.

   Aesthetically, the city looked vibrant in the background and the orange/blue complementary colour relationship was quite obvious to me and worked well in my opinion. The photo unedited showed a mild orange/blue relationship already before I edited and I decided to place more emphasis on this relationship. This was to depict the 'cold' blue of the commuters crossing over London Bridge on their way home set against the 'warmer' orange of the bus and its headlights on the road as it was taking other commuters to their homes.

   A photograph by Paul Strand called ' Day of the Dead, Tilisca, Romania, 1967' I thought shared a resemblance to this final image, in regards to all of the people in the image facing in the same direction and all not wary of the camera.

Anyone for the Big I?

Quite sensitive topic for me, although not as much as the homeless man in the previous photo, this portrait showed a strong sense of place and also person within place, in a way that was consistent with the brief. I was pleased with his photograph technically and thought it was well-balanced. This was because there was symmetry with the trees leading up to the London Eye, the colours in my opinion worked well on a dull day and most importantly the portrait was impactful - mainly because of the model's expression.

4. Anyone for the Big I?
   I would say the composition was good in regard to including such a famous landmark as the London Eye, but at the same time the Big Issue seller was deliberately placed out of line so as to still draw a lot of attention in the frame. This was to the side of the symmetrical line of trees and the London eye. That being said, I wouldn't think it would have worked so well had the Big Issue seller not been wearing the bright red jacket or had his expression been less captivating.

   The fact the London Eye was so obvious in the frame gave the photo some context and I thought I got the distance between the model and the London Eye right. This was to distribute weight fairly equally between the two subjects and incidentally so the London Eye fitted into the frame.

   One photographer I had been looking at and in particular his 'Motherland' project was Simon Roberts. My photograph of the Big Issue seller was similar to some of his portraits in that project in regards to letting the viewer observe how positive the vibe of the photograph was for themselves, even though my subject and Roberts' subjects were trying to make the best out of adverse circumstances. In the words of Rosamund Bartlett on Simon Roberts' website: "Whilst acknowledging their country's deficiencies, Russians nevertheless believe their native land to be a remarkable and exceptional place." R. Bartlett in http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_0 accessed on 13/11/2012. While this perspective on poverty was more patriotic than survivalist, they shared the same purpose in terms of showing a brighter side of a darker theme; the big issue seller wasn't sleeping rough like the homeless man in my previous image. The portrait photographs by Simon Roberts which stood out most as similar to my photograph of the Big Issue seller were 'Identical twins, Elena and Vera Karnova, Magadan, Far East Russia, August 2004' - found at: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_3 and 'Driller, Kupol gold mine, Chukatka, Far East, September 2004' - found at: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_7 both accessed 13/11/2012.

Homeless - but being watched over?

This was probably the 'darkest' photo I've taken and I would admit I didn't particularly enjoy taking it but I felt it was necessary, almost essential, to have a photograph like this within the set of photos I had assigned myself in order for the brief to be met accurately. This was because a lot of 'Alternative London' for me revolved around homeless people and this was one way of answering criteria about people who are down on their luck and without a home.

   I thought I managed to tackle this sensitive subject quite cleverly and creatively though, by including a famous related building to the homeless man - in the frame. The building was Centrepoint - the headquarters of an organisation for young, homeless people. I thought this was a fairly unique perspective to see a homeless person in - the Centrepoint building in the background suggested an obvious relationship between the man and the building.

   The work I felt this image was most comparable to, even though his was rural and mine was urban, was that of James Ravilious's. In particular 'Farmer Using Antique Farm Equipment, ca. June 1975' (found at http://www.corbisimages.com/Search#p=1&q=beaford and accessed on 14/11/2012). This was because both my image and his showed each subject clearly in their own setting.

   I thought I executed the photograph well technically, correcting the converging verticals of the Centrepoint building in post-production. Again the photograph had been planned out before the fact (similar to the sign-holder) but it still took a lot of luck and reconnaissance to find a homeless man in the immediate area of the Centrepoint building. Then it took a lot of courage to ask the man's permission to be photographed. Lastly, I used some fill-flash to help attract attention to the homeless man as he was inevitably placed right in the corner of the frame (because of the height of the Centrepoint building fitting into the frame). This was also so he was properly exposed in relation to the rest of the image.

3. Homeless - but being watched over?
   I thought this was one of the strongest photographs I took for the assignment, the colours for me worked well, with the blue of the homeless man's sleeping bag and clothing symbolising coldness/loneliness. This contrasted with the warmer orange of most of the rest of the photograph, including the street scene and the main part of the Centrepoint building, indicating maybe a safe refuge for the homeless man below. Finally the blue of the top of the Centrepoint building matched the homeless man's sleeping bag and clothing, again symbolising coldness as it was a lone haven in London helping homeless people.

Halloween in London

Here I decided I couldn't let a good opportunity pass me by so I went into London on Halloween to see whether there were any Halloween revellers and I was glad I did because I found some and they provided me with the shots I was looking for.

   The shots I took weren't really pre-conceived other than that they should reflect 'Alternative London' but with a Halloween theme. Well, I was very satisfied with what I found and captured. There were a group of people dressed up in Halloween costumes. They were located outside the National Gallery and I recognised the National Gallery would make a good backdrop for one of these Halloween themed people as I assessed the scene. The reason for this was that seeing such dark and macabre costumes in front of such an usually orthodox, conservative (and well-known) landmark was a bit of surprise. I asked one of these people in Halloween costumes if they would mind having a portrait taken and he kindly obliged.

2. Halloween in London
   This showed a side to London that was strange and contrasted with the usual day-time tourists, revellers and business people, as well as showing off a time of the year where such out of the ordinary clothing was reasonable. At the same time being outside the National Gallery with its trademark pillars and triangular roof, it suggested that perhaps the Halloween reveller I photographed was eerily related to the gallery he was in front of, or at least went against what was the 'expected' user of the building.

  

Friday, 16 November 2012

The sign holder

I have come across a (very) important idea that wasn't immediately obvious to me concerning the way I approached this assignment. I have been becoming aware of this idea as I have been making my way through the course, particularly with Assignment 4: 'A sense of place' but it really came to the forefront when exploring possible photographs for the fifth assignment. This was the conscious imagining and precognition of what I wanted certain potential photographs to turn out like before I took them.

   My first image for the assignment was therefore a well-imagined shot, which turned out to be similar to what I wanted beforehand. This made the experience of taking the shot rewarding but also the photograph fitted well into the brief. I managed to conceive the subject and the backgorund beforehand, while leaving the overall 'feel' of the photograph for the moment in which I was taking it. The fact I went about taking the photograph this way meant my creativity was 'channelled' towards the brief and the photograph was to order. Lastly, I tried to make the photograph creative and eye-catching.

   I tried to portray how a person advertised something (in this case a religious message) on a sign, while showing them in the context of 'Alternative London'. 'Alternative' because, from my experience of London streets, the sign holders were usually largely ignored and in my opinion contrasted strongly with the 'rest' of the street users. The reason for this was because in this case the signholder was so still compared to the other users. I had decided on the subject - a sign holder - and the background - a London street with an underground station in the background. This was to retain a sense of place. The feature I had planned which would  make this photograph stand out however , was the movement of people in the street; this was in direct contrast to the sign holder, who was very still. To achieve the sense of movement I employed a slow shutter speed; introducing motion blur.
1. The sign holder

   To achieve the slow shutter speed I used a tripod and cable release (ensuring the background and sign holder were sharp) and a neutral density filter (which gave me a slower shutter speed).

   This was a technique I had been utilising (and practising) quite frequently in part 4 of People and Place and I thought I produced a well-balanced photo with the main feature being the contrast between the sign holder and the people around him.

Bibliography: People and place on assignment

Bibliography:

R. Angier, (2007), Train Your Gaze, AVA Publishing SA, Lausanne, Switzerland.

R. Bartlett, "The Meaning of Motherland", In S. Roberts (2007), Motherland, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_0 [accessed on: 13/11/2012].

C. Cotton (2009), the photograph as contemporary art – New Edition 2009, Thames and Hudson, London WC1V, 7QX, 2009.

P-L. diCorcia (2000), Head #7, 2000 and Head #23 [Photograph] In. C. Cotton (2009) the photograph as contemporary art – New Edition 2009, C. Cotton, Thames and Hudson, London WC1V, 7QX, 2009, Pages 20 and 46.

C. Dunn [WWW] Cheryl Dunn. Available from: http://www.cheryldunn.net/#/photos [accessed on 13/11/2012].

M. Harris (ed), (Fall 2012), aperture, 208.

M. E. Mark (1995), Girl Jumping Rope on the Burning Ghat, Benares, India,1995, [Photograph]. In. C. Hagen (2001), Mary Ellen Mark 55, Phaidon Press Limited, London N1, page 105.

M. E. Mark (2001), 'Rat' and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington, USA, 1983, [Photograph]. In: C. Hagen (2001), Mary Ellen Mark 55, Phaidon Press Limited, London N1, page 39.

J.Ravilious (1975), Farmer Using Antique Farm Equipment, ca. June 1975, [WWW] Corbis Images. Available from: http://www.corbisimages.com/Search#p=1&q=beaford [accessed on 13/11/2012].

J. Ravilious, [WWW] James Ravilious - photographer of rural life. Available from: http://www.jamesravilious.com/gallery.asp [accessed on 13/11/2012].

S. Roberts (2007), Motherland, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_3 [accessed on 13/11/2012].

S. Roberts (2007), Motherland, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_7 [accessed on 13/11/2012].

S. Roberts (2010), The Election Project, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/election-project/#PHOTO_0 [accessed on 14/11/2012].

P. Strand (1967), Day of the Dead, Tilisca, Romania, 1967, [Photograph] In. Aperture (1987), Masters of Photography, aperturefoundation, New York, N.Y. 10001, page 83.

Reference Page: People and place on assignment

Reference Page:

R. Bartlett, "The Meaning of Motherland", In S. Roberts (2007), Motherland, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_0 [accessed on: 13/11/2012].

C. Cotton (2009), the photograph as contemporary art – New Edition 2009, Thames and Hudson, London WC1V, 7QX, 2009, page 46.

P-L. diCorcia (2000), Head #7, 2000 and Head #23 [Photograph] In. C. Cotton (2009) the photograph as contemporary art – New Edition 2009, C. Cotton, Thames and Hudson, London WC1V, 7QX, 2009, Pages 20 and 46.

M. E. Mark (1995), Girl Jumping Rope on the Burning Ghat, Benares, India,1995, [Photograph]. In. C. Hagen (2001), Mary Ellen Mark 55, Phaidon Press Limited, London N1, page 105.

M. E. Mark (2001), 'Rat' and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington, USA, 1983, [Photograph]. In: C. Hagen (2001), Mary Ellen Mark 55, Phaidon Press Limited, London N1, page 39.

J.Ravilious (1975), Farmer Using Antique Farm Equipment, ca. June 1975, [WWW] Corbis Images. Available from: http://www.corbisimages.com/Search#p=1&q=beaford [accessed on 13/11/2012].

S. Roberts (2007), Motherland, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_3 [accessed on 13/11/2012].

S. Roberts (2007), Motherland, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/#PHOTO_7 [accessed on 13/11/2012].

S. Roberts (2010), The Election Project, [WWW] Simon Roberts. Available from: http://simoncroberts.com/work/election-project/#PHOTO_0 [accessed on 14/11/2012].

P. Strand (1967), Day of the Dead, Tilisca, Romania, 1967, [Photograph] In. Aperture (1987), Masters of Photography, aperturefoundation, New York, N.Y. 10001, page 83.

Inspirations for the fifth assignment

There have been a few photographers that I have been looking at recently in relation for this fifth assignment. The first was Mary Ellen Mark. Her photographs ranged greatly but there was always the same style even though the photographs were often to order. This was definitely something I could learn from as I was completing a brief and her photojournalistic style is powerful for documenting many topics. For example ''Rat' and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington, USA, 1983' portrays two outcast children in a harsh, urban reality, which also related to my current brief coincidentally.

   I consequently found out about Cheryl Dunn through looking at Mary Ellen Mark's work - Cheryl Dunn had shot a film including Mary Ellen Mark (Everybody Street). I found her work to be very impactful and always seeming to make a statement. I realised a lot of her work included text in the images to aid with these 'statements' and provide stimulation for the viewer. I thought it would be a useful possibility to incorporate into the assignment.

   I looked at James Ravilious' work on rural life in Devon in the Beaford Photographic Archive with the intention of gaining insight into how he managed to convey different angles on rural life and of both people and place in a set of photographs. Then I attempted to transfer these observations into contributing towards my own project with the main difference being that photographs would be based around urban life. I discovered after looking at some of his 'Beaford Archive' that just by placing the subject in the frame in a way that attracted the viewer's attention, he suggested relationships between the subject and the background. I thought this 'compositional awareness' was something I could learn from in this assignment because it would potentially allow me to show off the alternative side to London where the backgrounds would be as important a factor in some of the photos as the subject. Secondly, I admired the vast variety of his photographs in his study of rural life in Devon and thought it would be applicable to my study of 'alternative' urban life in London. It gave me confidence for the assignment because if he could create such variety in a study of a small village like Beaford, then it could mean lots of possibilities for me.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Preparation for Assignment 5 Including the Brief and What I Have Set out to Achieve

Introduction to and preparing for Assignment 5: First and foremost, the most crucial aspect of this assignment for me would be that it was a subject or subjects that were practical and at the same time personal to photograph. I knew such criteria was important for it to be a project that worked. I have found it is vital for me to enjoy what I'm photographing in order to achieve the best results.

   This didn't necessarily mean the subject matter has to be all 'airy fairy'; conversely it didn't have to be all 'doom and gloom'. As I brainstormed ideas however, I discovered I was starting to lean towards a more dark and melancholy theme for the brief as it would perhaps be a step sideways - an opportunity to depict something a little more 'gritty' and less 'perfect'. This was in contrast to the fourth assignment and I felt it would be an opportunity to make it more personal as mentioned above but also potentially to express myself.

   The obvious location for me then was up in the streets of London city. It was an obvious location firstly because I loved the atmosphere and vibrancy of the place, which would help me to enjoy myself as mentioned. Also the diversity present in this city would hopefully allow me to get a unique perspective of the city as I saw it.

   As I began to formulate a more specific brief I realised I was fairly sure the notional client would be one that helped circulate information, so probably a magazine, but with topics that were personal/insightful as well as of course important to potential readers - not just informational. This suggested for me then, as the location of the brief would almost definitely now be London, the photographs could perhaps be used in a local magazine attempting to spread an awareness article concerning the topic at hand. The topic at hand would most probably be the otherside or darker side to London's character.

   Here is the choice of client:

A magazine (narrative and illustrative)

   Purpose of the assignment: 

Informational - raising awareness

   How the images will be used:

To complement and illustrate the text of an awareness article


   My brief:

'Alternative London' - These photographs should portray a side of London City that is not immediately apparent to the average visitor but that should demand more attention, which this project will bring to light.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

People and Place Musings

Most photographers know (and some take for granted) that people - singular or plural - make for interesting subject matter. However, recently I have been questioning why this is, partially in order to help me with the fifth assignment. I've come to the conclusion the main underlying cause is the intricacy of their features and the consequent uniqueness of each person because of this.

   The first intricate feature (or set of features) that springs to mind is the human face. This is
justified as it is the defining feature of the human body. There are other distinguishing parts though such as the hands or body posture.

   Another thing that makes people an attractive subject for many photographers is that they are malleable in terms of the amount of space they take up in the frame. This could range from a tiny figure in a massively scaled building or the person's eyes filling the frame. This would be possible potentially using just one zoom lens at the minimum. In this sense in some ways they are the ideally-sized subject for a photographer - more specifically for normal-ranging focal lengths.

   Places I found were for me a lot less compromising- they were either of huge proportions with viewpoints where a lot of the objects within the vicinity potentially got in the way and were immovable, whichever viewpoint you chose. The other extreme was where they were too confined - only a couple of interesting or informing viewpoints were on offer and even more frequently objects would be within the space getting in the way (although these could sometimes be moved around). In between these two extremes was of course, a mid-sized space but I'd found, quite frustratingly, they tended to be spaces that required permission to photograph in. This included libraries, certain museums, shops and certain public spaces where photography was just prohibited.

   People and place together I had discovered were challenging (for me at least) to convey in an interesting way but I thought perseverance was key here in that sometimes you just had to be patient or assertive in order to get the shot you were looking for. An example of this would be choosing an angle that showed off the people's faces rather than just the backs of their heads, which consequently and inadvertently gave a sometimes unusual viewpoint. I have learnt that these viewpoints often are more desirable than 'standard' viewpoints if you were trying to convey something in your photograph.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Assignment 4 - A sense of place - the final selection

Firstly I was overall very satisfied with the strong selection of images I had been able to produce. These ranged from shots that captured a more 'decisive moment' than I had been able to produce previously, to a couple of shots that were influenced by other photographers. I saw Greenwich as a very rich, diverse borough, with the people within it mirroring this. I tried to capture this variety of both people and place. In the process I tried to show the viewer of the publication some of the character and range of (some well-known and others not so well-known) places with the intention of showing the borough as an enticing place to visit; but in a way that was more complete.

   I have included the shot I was most pleased with technically first (number 7). It was also the shot that I had been heavily influenced by another photographer in my preparation for the assignment. I looked closely (as can be seen in the previous post - Reconnaissance!) at the photographer Thomas Struth. I was most impressed by the expressions on the faces of the people looking at famous art and I think this obviously showed in my image of the Painted Hall as the visitors were all gazing intently upwards at the fascinating art on the walls and ceiling. I was also pleased with the symmetry and sense of size replicated in the photograph of the hall. I managed to show off some of the details of the walls and ceiling behind the visitors as well as capturing their expressions while staring up at the ceiling above.
7.

8.
  



   The next shot (number 8), which I felt was almost mandatory to include was a photograph of the Cutty Sark. I felt it was mandatory because Greenwich has such a deeply vested history in shipping and obviously the Cutty Sark is the most iconic feature of Greenwich in terms of this history. I tried to photograph it in a slightly different way though. This included photographing it at the time of day of sunset with a moody sky and Canary Wharf catching the last of the light in the distance. I also chose to include a person walking in front to add a sense of scale of the ship as it helped to show how massive it was. I chose to include a working man (wearing a high-visibility jacket) in this image to contrast the usually tourist-filled popular space. This was because it differentiated it from the usual tourist/brochure treatment.

9.
  




   Third, with (number 9), I wanted to concentrate on another side of Greenwich, which while not as famous as the Cutty Sark, was an aspect of the borough that was refreshingly different. This was namely kite-flying at Blackheath and it required some patience (for a windy day and present kite-flyers) to take. I eventually got an occasion when there was both and managed to capture a shot that was slightly humorous but also more importantly showed a potential peruser of the travel publication a different side to Greenwich.

  
















  



   I mentioned while I was researching the area for the assignment that I stumbled across some photographic opportunities and this fourth-selected photograph (number 10) is one that I thought was particularly effective. It showed off Greenwich Market from an unconventional viewpoint, namely through a mirror on sale at one of the stalls. I thought it showed off well the vibrancy of the market and it was the kind of oppportunist moment Helen Levitt might have tried to capture (well that was where I got the influence to take the picture from anyway).

10.
  

   One photograph I could choose easily to be included was a photograph of a girl playing around in one of the fountains on the way to the O2 Arena (number 11). The O2 Arena was obviously visible in the distance and the girl was captured decisively jumping around in the fountain. This was one of my favourite photos as it had clear context (the O2 Arena) and was fun to look at - especially with the low viewpoint emulating the user's (girl's) viewpoint.

11.



   The final photograph (number 12) was at Greenwich Park and offered a view of people relaxing on the brow of a hill in the park overlooking Canary Wharf. It was a sunny day and so the colours were vivid but what I liked most was the way the lying people were placed in a manner that led the eye to the horizon and the view of Canary Wharf. This was (in my eyes) similar to Tina Barney's 'Sunday New York Times' (1982) where the people seemed to be 'placed' conveniently so the eye was led somewhere of importance. In the 'Sunday New York Times' photograph the eye was led to the table containing the Sunday newspaper, whereas in my photograph the people within it (especially those on the left) led the viewer's eye to the horizon. This was, of course, by chance but I thought it corresponded with a statement written about the 'Sunday New York Times' photograph in the book Train Your Gaze by Roswell Rangier (2007): 'Her method is a combination of chance and choreography.' In my photograph the chance factor was the fact I waited until the man on the right walked into a suitable position (in the sunshine and facing the camera) to create a contrast to the people on the left who were in the shade and facing towards the view.

12.
   If I had had more time I would have waited for a more windy day for the Blackheath kite-flying photograph, which might have made a more impressive array of kites being flown and so a better choice of kites from which to photograph or even a wide shot of all of the kites to show how big Blackheath was.

   Another change I would have made would have been to have taken maybe more (or more interesting people) in the Cutty Sark photograph. However I was very pleased with the moody sky and the way the setting sun caught the buildings in the far distance as I had mentioned earlier, which would have been difficult to replace. Also the fact that I didn't end up including what had been I felt a successful technique in using motion blur in some of the exercises leading up to the assignment was a bit of a shame. I know I used it for one of the Greenwich Market shots that I didn't choose for the final selection but maybe the Cutty Sark photograph would have been a candidate for using this technique as well.

   Altogether though, there wasn't much I would change and considering I found it a bit difficult to choose which photos would make the final selection I felt it was a strong group of images for the travel publication.

   If I had been simply taking the photographs with no end-result in mind there would probably have been less variety as the 'intelligent, thoughtful' part of the brief made me think more widely. Also perhaps I would have taken the shots with less context apparent and concentrated more on the people rather than both people and place.

Assignment 4 - the best of the rest

I decided to post these six photos first in order to show the 'strong selection' of photographs I had taken for the travel publication. These would be the supplement to the six photographs I would actually select for the travel publication. I still tried to provide variety within the selection of 'the best of the rest' though, with the intention of not selecting images similar to one another in this selection and with the final selection that I would post in the next post.

   The first of the photos (number 1) that didn't quite make it into the final selection was a photograph of a man and his dog as an accent in the middle of Greenwich Park. While it showed off the scale of the park well in comparison to the man and his dog, I felt there were more 'action-packed' shots to choose from. However the minimalist side of just one tiny focal point worked well, I thought. Because he was quite a small accent in the context of the scene I chose to employ a bit of dodging and burning - dodging the man and creating a vignette burn around the man to highlight him. This was to make him stand out more.

1.
   Second (number 2), was a photograph I had a hard time justifying to leave out of the final selection. It comprised of two young children, sitting in a cable car that went over the river Thames at North Greenwich, with the O2 Arena in the background. I thought it was well-composed with other cable cars visible as well as the O2 Arena and also managed to capture the moment - the expressions on the childrens' faces was telling.

2.
   The third (number 3) shot I chose to be in the final dozen photos (but not the selected six) was a shot that aimed to capitalise on what I felt was quite a success with a few of the exercises leading up to this fourth assignment for People and Place. This was the use of motion blur of people in a scene with the technique used primarily to show a sense of busyness. The technique worked well here too at a (very) busy Greenwich Market; helping to depict how crowded and full of activity the place appeared.

3.
   Fourth (number 4), was probably the photo I worked hardest to get and I was a bit disappointed to be leaving it out. I did leave it out in the end though because it was a bit similar to one of the photographs I was adamant about leaving in. Here was a night scene from the Royal Observatory overlooking Greenwich Park and then further away Canary Wharf. The reason I had to work hard to get it was simply due to the convenience of finding people overlooking the view at night (which I felt added to the photo) and getting the lighting right to illuminate them. In order to illuminate them I used flash lighting and it was difficult to get the angle right without creating harsh shadows but eventually I managed to succeed and I was satisfied with what I had achieved. That was the main reason not including this picture in the final selection was a bit hard for me.

4.
   The fifth photograph (number 5), I found interesting but not as strong as some of the others. It was taken inside the Maratime Museum. It was perhaps a fairly orthodox shot of a couple exploring the museum. The thing I liked about this photograph though was the framing - an (important) inclusion of a boat model combined with the couple with visible facial features and the backdrop of the museum. Incidentally, I also dodged the couple to make them more apparent (a technique I was finding very useful).

5.





6.
   Finally, and after much deliberation, I left out a theatre shot from the final selection (number 6). While I liked the shot because of its atmosphere I felt it lacked context a bit - it was difficult to set this Greenwich Theatre setting from a different theatre. I suppose it showed some of the local Greenwich people in the audience (albeit their backs) but I felt I had stronger images for the final selection.

Bibliography - People interacting with place

R. Angier, (2007), Train Your Gaze, AVA Publishing SA, Lausanne, Switzerland.

S. Bainbridge (ed), (September 2012), Cutting-edge Fashion Photography, British Journal of Photography, 159, (7804).

C. Cotton (2009), the photograph as contemporary art – New Edition 2009, Thames and Hudson, London WC1V, 7QX, 2009.

M. De Witt (ed), (August-September 2012), Hotshoe, 179.

M. Freeman (2009), Photography 1: People and Place, Open College of the Arts.

M. Harris (ed), (Fall 2012), aperture, 208.

D. Kilpatrick (2012), British Journal of Photography, August 2012, Volume 159, Incisive Financial Publishing Limited, London SW1Y, 4RX.

The Leica Camera Blog. [WWW]. Available from: http://blog.leica-camera.com/photographers/interviews/thomas-struth-composing-pictures/ [accessed on 20 September 2012].

H. Levitt (2008), Helen Levitt, powerHouse Books Cultural Entertainment Inc., Brooklyn, NewYork, 11201.

M. Short (2011), Basics Creative Photography O2, Context and Narrative, Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA.

T. Struth (2002), Pergamon I-VI, [WWW] Marian Goodman Gallery. Available from: http://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/2002-04-30_thomas-struth/  [accessed on 20 September 2012]. 

T. Struth (2005), Audience / Read This Like Seeing It for the First Time, [WWW] Marian Goodman Gallery. Available from: http://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/2005-04-07_thomas-struth/ [accessed on 20 September 2012].

T. Struth (2007), Making Time, [WWW] Marian Goodman Gallery. Available from: http://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/2007-04-04_thomas-struth/ [accessed on 20 September 2012].


L. Wells (2009), Photography: A Critical Introduction - 4th Edition, Routledge, 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14, 4RN.

Reference Page - People interacting with place

T. Barney (1982), Sunday New York Times, [Photograph]. In: R. Angier, (2007), Train Your Gaze, AVA Publishing SA, Lausanne, Switzerland, Page 178.

M. Freeman (2009), Photography 1: People and Place, Open College of the Arts, page 46.

D. Kilpatrick (2012), British Journal of Photography, August 2012, Volume 159, Incisive Financial Publishing Limited, London SW1Y, 4RX, page 87.

H. Levitt (2008), Helen Levitt, powerHouse Books Cultural Entertainment Inc., Brooklyn, NewYork, 11201.

T. Struth (2002), Pergamon I-VI, [WWW] Marian Goodman Gallery. Available from: http://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/2002-04-30_thomas-struth/  [accessed on 20 September 2012].  

T. Struth (2005), Audience / Read This Like Seeing It for the First Time, [WWW] Marian Goodman Gallery. Available from: http://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/2005-04-07_thomas-struth/ [accessed on 20 September 2012].

T. Struth (2007), Making Time, [WWW] Marian Goodman Gallery. Available from: http://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/2007-04-04_thomas-struth/ [accessed on 20 September 2012].

T. Struth, (2011), Thomas Struth: Composing Pictures, The Leica Camera Blog. [WWW]. Available from: http://blog.leica-camera.com/photographers/interviews/thomas-struth-composing-pictures/ [accessed on 20 September 2012].

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Reconnaissance!

I have been busy looking around Greenwich Borough for potentially interesting places to photograph, as well as determining whether the ideas I already had for the assignment were feasible or as I had imagined. I also brought my camera with me on these occasions and have been rewarded with a few unexpected photographic opportunities while out.

   I have found most of my original ideas to be perfectly reasonable. Also I have been generating many more ideas so I should be able to produce a strong selection of images.

   I have also been researching what is on at Greenwich and looking at other photographers including Thomas Struth. I was hoping to emulate or show my inspiration from the kind of photographs he took for 'Audience' in particular. I thought this was true for a couple of shots I had planned for in particular: the flow of people at Greenwich Market and more intrinsically the people looking around the Painted Hall. The latter place I imagined would have very good potential to show the impressions I had gained from looking at Struth's work such as obviously the sense of awe (on people's faces) at looking at such fascinating art within a building, which the Painted Hall would be in common with. The other sets of photographs by Thomas Struth that I found relevant and useful for this assignment were 'Making time' where the composition always captivated me for each shot and 'Pergamon I-VI' where the scale of the place and the comparitively small people within it made for a striking combination.

   Also the way Thomas Struth managed to convey the crowd as one, even while retaining expression in each photograph, made an impression on me. The reason he managed to achieve this I found was because of his meticulous preparation for each photo as described here: "I am rather considerate and precise in choosing my subjects, very analytical in preparing the photo shoots and extremely sensitive during the shootings."- T. Struth, (2011). I felt the last part of this sentence was something I could also learn from.

   I had already visited the Painted Hall at Greenwich in one of my reconnaissance missions, if you will, and so knew this was a good place to carry out creating a photograph like this; there was a constant flux of people visiting. The second thing that struck me was the scale in some of the shots and again, I felt the Painted Hall would be good for this as the space and paintings were of massive proportions.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Preparation for assignment 4: A sense of place

Well, I have been busy preparing for the fourth assignment: A sense of place. I had decided (quite early on) whereabouts I would be photographing for the assignment. It was quite an easy choice for me and a choice I had made quite long ago and also, incidentally, a place I was quite excited to be photographing.

   The place was Greenwich Borough and the reason I was excited to be photographing it was because as well as the massive scope and variety of the borough; it was a place I had grown up living close by to. I thought it would be very interesting to look at it in a way I hadn't looked at it before: namely through the viewfinder of a camera.

   I was aware that the aim of the assignment was to show the place as attractive for a thoughtful travel publication; not a tourism promotion. However, I knew the borough was very popular with tourists so I would try to incorporate a bit of a sense of that into the publication.

   Obviously I knew with Greenwich Borough there were a few famous features/landmarks like the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. So part of the challenge would be to photograph them in a way that showed off Greenwich but maybe in a different light.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A dramatic change

1. Original
First of all, I was very pleasantly surprised with how useful this exercise was as I wasn't expecting the changes between the following photograph and its fellow versions to be so dramatic and, in my opinion, convincing.


   Here was the original photograph:

  










The 'emphasis on person' version was striking and in some ways it looked like a natural spotlight was shining down on the man. I tried however, to make the dodging and burning I had applied to this photo to be subtle enough as to not look too fake or contrived.

3. Emphasis on place
2. Emphasis on person





   Similarly with the 'emphasis on place' version I tried to make the same, subtle changes but essentially in reverse. Here, the man was made darker so that he effectively became another feature of the place in contrast to the other version where he was the main attraction of the place.

   Overall, the dodging and burning was very effective, I thought, and was a technique I decided would be useful in the future as I would be able to (to some extent) change the mood of the photo.

Friday, 31 August 2012

An opportunist moment

Luckily I had my camera on me last night at a show. This enabled me to get a shot or two that I had been struggling a bit to find and it occurred very unexpectedly.

   The show was actually comprised of several acts at a pub where they performed different kinds of acts from comedy to music. I really enjoyed myself but that's another story! What I got as a bonus was a couple of shots showing a shift in balance between the person and the place.

1. Emphasis on person
   I got many other shots of the performers in their acts but fortunately I had my camera ready for this first, comedic act. Importantly, one of the doors to the pub was still open at this time so I could get a photograph where the balance between place and person was with the place (as seen in photograph 2.)

   With photograph 1. I closed in on the person on the stage so that he was clearly the main subject with the rest of the stage providing the backdrop for him and taking a subsidiary role.

   I thought photograph 2. was clever and unconventional in that it used the place to 'frame' the person so he was still a feature of the photograph but was small enough in the frame that the place came to the fore.

Lastly I was pleased that I had 'thought on my feet' to take the second photograph through the door as described above but I was also a bit annoyed that I hadn't shot in the raw format as the lighting was very tricky.
2. Emphasis on place
  

Helen Levitt

Wow! I have recently purchased a book of photographs by Helen Levitt with her name as the title after discovering some of her work on the Internet. I came across a few of her photographs at http://www.lensculture.com/levitt.html accessed on 11 August 2012. As you might be able to tell (from the first word in this post) I was quite inspired by the work on the Interenet and later in the book. It encapsulated everything I had been working on in this part of the course, even though I kind of wish I had come across her work for 'People Unaware' where it would have been a bit more relavent perhaps. This was because her work was based around street photography with less emphasis on buildings.

   I found her work inspiring because of the vibrancy throughout - not only aesthetically (especially the colours) but also in  meaning; with wonderful humour prevalent and the essence of the streets of New York, where the photographs were taken, captured beautifully in my opinion.

   I would say Helen Levitt's work has come at a timely moment to inspire me as I start preparing for the fourth assignment. There will be lots of colour at the place I am planning to photograph at, which was a major feature and strength for me of her work. I thought also the composition, including the size the people took up in the frame, was something I could learn from as it sometimes helped to suggest a sense of place.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The virtues of having your camera accessible when you're out and about!

Today I learnt a valuable lesson in regards to capturing a moment you're not expecting. I knew this was mostly applied with street photography but today I found it comes in useful when you are looking for a certain photograph but you end up with a completely different but equally effective one compared to the one you intended to take.

   More specifically I was looking to make figures anonymous by the means of photographing people from above, which I thought was a different treatment to this kind of photograph. I eventually got the overhead photograph as well but only after finding a scenario where people were made anonymous by facing away from the camera. This unexpected scenario occurred at a busy train station that I happened to be getting off the train at. All the people had to take the same exit from the station. I thought this would be a typical situation of people facing away from the camera and so anonymous. The people photographed were also in multitude, which added to the effect of anonymity as none of them stood out as individual.

1. People exiting a train station
2. Inside the station but from above
   My one regret about this session was that I wasn't shooting in the raw format at the time, which I felt was a shame as the scene was high contrast where post-processing of the raw file would have helped. However, I thought this was a good lesson for me and a good advocate of the raw format on digital cameras (that have that feature).

    My main objective for this session I managed to achieve as well, which was to photograph a busy place, although from the fairly unconventional angle of above. This was to make the people less prominent and to show them in the light of just a part of a place, rather than the place being just a 'backdrop' for the people. The reason I chose a busy place was so I could use one of the techniques suggested in the course - small and many, where the people were less prominent.

Another use of the 'blurred person' photograph effect

Knowing I was using an effect in a photograph that had a lot of visual impact was one of the reasons I chose this treatment again. Also I thought the focal length and composition were significantly different in this photograph to the Wembley Stadium photograph to make it stand out on its own in comparison.
1. Bustle in the city

   The main feature that struck me about this photograph when looking at it again was that the people, just about distinguishable as blurred figures, added to the space rather than dominating it. I felt I had gotten the balance of how blurred people were nicely between being too blurred and so therefore indistinguishable and not blurred enough where they might have become the main subject of the photograph.

Friday, 17 August 2012

An anonymous accent

1. A solitary figure in the morning
Well, I finally managed to complete one exercise of 'People interacting with place' that had been at the back of my head. In the process of doing so (showing a person as an accent in a subsidiary role in a landscape setting) I also captured the person as anonymous; the project I was then exploring.

   I felt the silhouette figure going for their morning walk in the park was just discernible as person and captured enough of the viewer's attention as to be apparent. Therefore I thought it was a successful accent in the setting and also a good example of an anonymous person as they were a silhouette against the morning Sun. The monotone colours of the scene (green and black) contributed to making the person stand out as an element of the photograph too in my opinion.

A very busy place

I decided to take advantage of the massive inflow of people into Wembley stadium during one of the days of the London 2012 Olympic Games. They had come to see a football match and so I thought I would try to capture all the vibrancy and colour as best as I could. I also remembered what I had found in the previous post regarding the relationship between focal length and ease of composition. This meant I could easily get the shot described below quickly lined up well.

   My main objective of course was to try to convey how busy the walkway leading up to the stadium was. I decided to use a deliberately slow shutter speed to induce motion blur on the people walking up. There was an interesting discovery I found as I took a few shots with a slow shutter speed. This was that the people closest to the camera blurred visibly a lot more than those further up the walkway and so further from the camera. This had the pleasing effect, for me at least, of leading the eye up towards the stadium.

   That lead me to my next point, which was that I thought I managed to convey a sense of place as well. This was because as the eye 'travelled' upwards from the blurred people to the not so blurred people the last thing it settled on was the extremely distinctive arch of Wembley stadium at the top of the frame.

1. The walk to Wembley stadium
   As far as the technicalities of the photo went I used a stack of a neutral density filter along with a circular polariser to get a slower shutter speed. I also used the maximum aperture value of f22, the lowest ISO value possible of 100 and a wait for cloudy weather (rather than sunny) all just to achieve a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds. However I felt this shutter speed was good at blurring the people sufficiently to create a sense of busyness without blurring them so much as to make them indiscernible. I knew there would be diffraction coming into the photo by using such a small aperture as f22 but I felt it was a necessary compromise to reach the slow shutter speed.

Using a short focal length on a wide angle lens

I read in 'British Journal of Photography' - August 2012 that wide angle lenses give you lots more composition alternatives than telephoto: 'Within a metre or two of a portrait subject, you could find a dozen angles and 'Fit a 135mm portrait lens and getting the same range of angles requires access to a convenient cliff, half a playing field and perhaps a first-floor window.' - D. Kilpatrick (2012), British Journal of Photography, August 2012, Volume 159, Incisive Financial Publishing Limited, London SW1Y, 4RX, page 87.

   While flicking through people interacting with place I found something that made this relevent to the course in the busy traffic exercise: M. Freeman (2009) - 'Aim to show the 'busyness' of the place, which might involve altering the composition'. I 'only' had the kit 18-55 lens as my widest focal length lens to play with at 18mm but in my opinion that was quite adequate for the moment.

   With the idea that I could change the composition more easily with a wide angle lens in mind I became on look-out for a busy place and knew I wouldn't have far to look with the Olympics occurring in the city I lived.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

At the Tate Modern - Assignment 3, Buildings in use Part 5

1. Light, shadows and sculpture
 I decided to visit the Tate Modern partly because of the massive display area that I knew usually holds some kind of exhibition within it. Unfortunately there wasn't one in the main display area but I thought I got over this quickly and soon found more (much smaller) rooms where there was interesting light. I was impressed with how the Tate Modern almost 'escorted' the visitor around the galleries. There were many different kinds of galleries - like interactive ones as well as more conventional ones where there were paintings.


2. A closer look
   So, (not getting distracted!) I found one, large and spacious room with tall and wide windows from one side only. Because of the time of day and the nature of the windows, the shadows of people crossing where the light from the windows fell was interesting. These suggested with the right composition, which I thought I managed to find (photograph 1.), the vast size of the room and the relationship between the highlighted people (from the light of the windows) and the tall sculpture the room was accommodating.

   Next I wanted to show how the gallery 'escorted' the visitor (as mentioned earlier) around it. The parts to a floor were mostly divided by many doors in line with each other. The rooms of the floor congregated to the middle side of each floor. This meant I could get a shot where all the line of doors for part of a floor lined up and still show a visitor staring intently at one of the works of art (photograph 2.).


3. Observing the art
   Lastly, I found another space with a window: this time shorter and creating less vivid shadows as photograph 1., as the Sun was to photograph 1.'s side of the building. Photograph 3. aimed to show the gallery in use again but with an emphasis on the part-silhouettes and their fascination with the different works of art they were looking at.

   Overall I was pleased with the quality of most of my photographs but more so with the amount I gathered as I carried out the assignment. I discovered first and foremost that light could be key in suggesting a relationship between people and the buildings they were using. Also that composition (especially at the gym and Tate Modern and ) could make the photograph stand out more. At Covent Garden I felt colour was as important in getting across the atmosphere of the place.