General Overview

General Overview

Despite a rocky start and delays throughout the year due to personal circumstances I completed Expressing your vision in 15 months. Three to eight months longer than I had anticipated.

Because of circumstances I sometimes lost motivation and direction.  As a result I feel that some of my assignments were rushed and not thought through as well as I might have done.  Especially assignments 2 and 4.  

Having reflected on this I still seem to have made progress and my photography has improved over the time.  A comment from Celena Beech after Assignment 1 suggested that I did not take risks.  I still feel that I stay pretty much in my comfort zone and I need to try to think a bit more laterally when approaching assignments.

I have learnt a lot both from the course work and from my research.  Through this I have increasingly looked at photography from an art perspective rather than reproducing “snapshot” images.

Response to Course Aims and Outcomes:

  • Enable you to begin using technical and visual skills appropriately

I am still getting to grips with the technical side of photography.  My camera skills are improving and my knowledge of the camera and its settings has improved greatly.  My processing skills using Lightroom and Photoshop still have a long way to go.  I have at last improved my ability to produce decent Contact Sheets but some of the other more technical points for improving images need more work.  I do limited processing because of this but can still manage to over process on occasion.

  • enable you to produce practical work which uses the above understanding and demonstrates skills of personal engagement, enquiry, imagination and experimentation

Despite my need to improve my technical skills I think I have managed to produce some very acceptable work.  I engage well with my subject and am beginning to see how the photograph can be a powerful storyteller.  In Assignment 5, I feel that I went a little too far in my enquiry, imagination and experimentation.  I over thought the subject and made my brief wider than necessary.  I used my imagination to try to bring to life the story of the fishing industry and I experimented with documentary photography.  I am relatively happy with the outcome, although there are a couple of shots that I could have improved on and I could have shot at different times of the day to bring more drama into the story. In response to tutor feedback I have now re-worked this assignment and am much happier with it.

  • develop your understanding of contemporary and historical approaches to photography

This is probably the area I have learnt most about.  I understood the development of photography having lived near to and visited many times the home of Fox Talbot but the development of the physical image and what makes a good photograph has been a steep learning curve.  I now also appreciate modern photographic art more.  As for the move from film to digital,  I appreciate the benefits of film photography and the processes required but I am more inclined to the digital process.  The use of black and white photography can help in some circumstances to further enhance the story and I experimented with this in Assignment 2.

  • introduce critical analysis and self-appraisal of ideas, processes and outcomes.

I have found that using critical analysis and self-appraisal is a good way to help me to learn more quickly, using the mistakes and methods I used to move my thought processes on.  However, in my work and on reflection, I can see that when I am under stress I do not always apply that learning and need to remember to do so in future.

Conclusion

Overall, I have enjoyed the experience and am pleased with my progress.  I am looking forward to the next module.

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Assignment 5 – Photography is Simple (Fishing Boat Images Re-Work)

Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing. Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject; in other words, it must contain some ‘new information’ rather than repeat the information of the previous image. Pay attention to the order of the series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There should be a clear sense of development through the sequence.

This series started as the life and death of fishing boats but after researching the subject it became the resurgence of fishing.

The time of sailing ships is past New faster automatic vessels upon old ships shadow cast © Patrycjusz Kopec | Year Posted 2014

The time of sailing ships is past
New faster automatic vessels upon old ships shadow cast
© Patrycjusz Kopec | Year Posted 2014

The graveyard is a place that inspires. You will found the unknown legacies, untold stories of the forgotten many. ©2014 copyright Michael Cross

The graveyard is a place that inspires.
You will found the unknown legacies, untold stories of the forgotten many. ©2014 copyright Michael Cross

My fishing boat lies sleeping in the harbor Anchor weighing heavy on the ocean floor I still miss all those nights at sea My fishing boat will sail again no more

My fishing boat lies sleeping in the harbor
Anchor weighing heavy on the ocean floor
I still miss all those nights at sea
My fishing boat will sail again no more.  ( Part of Me, Vince Suzadail Jr. 2006)

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” ― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”
( Janet Fitch, White Oleander)

The sea is calling to us in a blithesome voice and free, There's keenest rapture on its breast and boundless liberty! Lucy Maud Montgomery

Build me straight, O worthy Master! Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel, That shall laugh at all disaster, And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!  (from The Building of the Ship (1849. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Sea of azure waves descend Golden streams flood through porthole. Stephen Parker Sep 5, 2012

Sea of azure waves descend
Golden streams flood through porthole.  (Floating Hammock Descends, Stephen Parker
Sep 5, 2012)

my ship coming in with its cargo of joy. Carol Ann Duffy

my ship coming in
with its cargo of joy.
Carol Ann Duffy

The quota’s nearly done for me, too many a catch thrown back to sea The jobs-worth from the ministry, care’s nothing for my misery Lobster pot and fishing creel, Dover sole and jellied eel Biting wind and roaring gale, I risk it all when I set sail

The quota’s nearly done for me, too many a catch thrown back to sea
The jobs-worth from the ministry, care’s nothing for my misery
Lobster pot and fishing creel, Dover sole and jellied eel
Biting wind and roaring gale, I risk it all when I set sail. (from The Trawlerman, Howard Bull.  2009)

You shall have a fishy on a little dishy, You shall have a fishy when the boat gets in You shall have a herring on a little dishy

You shall have a fishy on a little dishy,
You shall have a fishy when the boat gets in
You shall have a herring on a little dishy (Trad.)

Town By The Sea There's a steady mist rising, Down by the sea, Glowing red in the lamplight, I see fishermen unloading their catch, The sea gulls trying to snatch.


There’s a steady mist rising,
Down by the sea,
Glowing red in the lamplight,
I see fishermen unloading their catch,
The sea gulls trying to snatch.  (from Town by the Sea. Laura Williams, 2015)

 

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ERNST HAAS ESTATE | COLOR: FLORA

Source: ERNST HAAS ESTATE | COLOR: FLORA (Accessed 17.1.2016)

Ernst Haas, an Austrian born photography who emigrated via Paris to America just after the war,was a pioneer of colour photography.  It has been said that before Haas there was no coloured photography, only coloured photos.  He arrived in New York in 1950 he was invited by Robert Capa to join Magnum photos.  This was the heyday of photojournalism but Haas did bit pursue colour as photojournalism.  He portrayed the essence of New York in his presentation of the city scape, through posters, signs and what is loosely termed “street photography” all in colour.  He was given an unheard of amount of coverage in LIFE magazine – a whopping 24 page spread and it was his work that formed the Museum of Modern Arts firs Colour Retrospective.

Once he had changed colour photography forever, he began to experiment with movement, moving with the camera to create the feeling of movement.  He started with bullfights but quickly moved on to other subjects.

I attempted to replicate the way Haas captured movement in the Alnwick Garden Bamboo Maze.

 

Race Cars, Indiananpolis 500, 1957. Haas E.

untitled-shoot-054

Alnwick Garden, Alnwick. 2016.  Wearn L.

Whilst I made no attempt to study how Haas had achieved his capture of motion by moving with the camera the experiment was interesting and showed me that it really is not as easy as it seems.

Haas continued to travel the world capturing sacred sites, shrines, dances of indigenous people for magazines, books and films.   He also ran workshops and received honours in almost every year of his life until his death in 1986.

Posted in Photographers, Research & Reflection

Book Review: Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set | DPanswers

Review of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set. These books are badly organised, poorly researched, and sometimes confusing.

Source: Book Review: Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set | DPanswers

 

I own this box set and after hearing Kelby speak at The Photography Show I read this review.  It is perhaps understandable why Gisle Hannemyr in the review is unimpressed.  Kelby uses a particular style, a particular humour and a particular approach that does not always comply with the rules.  I think he sets out to be deliberately provocative by apparently flaunting some of the rules.  His jokey style and flippant approach can be a bit irritating and he warns of this at the beginning of each section.  When I was first starting to take photography seriously I found the bite size morsels found in his books very helpful.

At the Photography Show his speaking style is very similar to his writing style and his apparent disregard of the rules is not actual but is appears more about how they are interpreted.   The comments that accompany this online review suggest that Kelby is like Marmite, you either love him or hate him (his style).  For me it was a little in between and like others I grew very tired of his funny guy style.

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Assignment 3: The Decisive Moment – Images

 

 

 

 

 

the look

  1. The Look

In this shot (1) I particularly like the look on the woman’s face, it is almost saying “talk to the hand”, not listening” or “let’s get on with the shopping”.  I edited the orange light on the right hand side so that it was not so distracting.

Piolice

2.Police on Duty

In this shot (2), I was just leaving when the two policemen arrived and stood at the barrier.  They agreed I could take the shot.  The older man was from the outset, a little self-conscious and on all shots he had his eyes closed.  I like the context of this one – police doing their job wherever they are needed.

Little girl

3. Little girl

Being a newish grandmother, this little girl caught my eye toddling through the shopping centre with an adult pose, hands behind her back.  I considered editing the white space to the left out but it really changed the composition and context of the shot.

 

-Dave

4. Anything but shopping

This shot (4) is of my husband who had been very patient.  I thought it was reminiscent of a Thomas Leuthard shot.  Although I did not capture or attempt to capture the same composition the concentrated look and the blurred background is similar.  I feel that the bigger space behind the subject gives the shot more context and story.

 

_1100135

5. Lost

At Cabot’s Circus this couple (5) was quite obviously lost or looking for something.  They stopped just below me giving me the opportunity to compose the shot using the shadow as a leading line to the couple and their activity.

Glass walk

6. Glass Walk

The Glass Walk image (6) allowed me to combine architectural detail with the capture of a young girl admiring it.  The almost monochrome effect of this shot is lifted by the detail of the street below in the right hand corner.   Soon after I shot this the girl took off at a run which I captured but she bent her head and it was obstructed by the hand rail.

balloons

7. Balloons

In this shot (7) the little girls are clearly excited by their balloons but the woman on the right is in a hurry to get past.  I particularly liked the movement and the vague look of impatience on the woman’s face.

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Assignment 3: The Decisive Moment – Reflection

Reflections using the assessment criteria assessment

Demonstration of technical skills

  • Equipment:
    • Cameras
      • Canon 5DMKIII
      • Lumix GX7
    • Lenses
      • Canon 25-104mm
      • Lumix Vario 45-200mm
      • Lumix Vario 14 -42mm
    • Settings
      • Aperture priority/Manual
      • Auto Focus
      • RAW format

Composition

  • Using feedback from my tutor for Assignment 2, I extensively researched Street Photographers (See Research) and paid particular attention to composition. Especially, at Cabot’s Circus I took time to visualise the shot and how the shot might be framed.
  • I also looked to some contemporary Street Photographers for influence e.g. Vineet Vohra and Rui Palha for use of stairs and escalators, Brend Schaeffer, Valerie Jardin and Thomas Leuthard for lead in lines and the use of architecture. I have a long way to go but I feel that I have improved on previous attempts.
  • I thought hard about where to position myself and took most shots from a high position or a low position looking up. This worked to a greater or lesser extent especially those looking up (see Contact Sheets) however, what did help greatly was that I had more of an idea of what I wanted my shot to look like.
  • I was more patient (especially at Cabot’s Circus) in waiting for the shot to appear.
  • I used a shallow Depth of Field on the more candid shots.

Quality of outcome

  • I was much happier with the outcome of the shots compared with Assignment 2 composition improved and I visualised the outcome more.
  • However, a number of my shots lacked vibrancy and contrast and were a little under exposed when I downloaded them even though they and the histograms looked alright on the back of the camera. Therefore, I did some editing using Lightroom.  On two candid shots there was some distracting back ground (a yellow strip in one and a red sale banner in the other), I used Photoshop CC to reduce the impact of these on the shot.  I have a lot to learn in using the “digital darkroom”.  This is the first time I have attempted this type of editing and I am quite pleased with the results.
  • Printing was a nightmare. I used two local well respected printers and I was very disappointed with the results.  In one the contrast was way too high to the extent that it blew out highlights (I had already printed these at home on my Canon 100S printer and they were fine), the other was on low quality paper even though I had ordered them on high quality.  I therefore, decided to attempt to print them myself.  I still need to learn about how to resize photos that have been cropped but overall I was quite pleased with the quality.

Demonstration of Creativity

  • Feedback from Assignment 1 stated that I did not take risks, I feel that I have been riskier with this assignment but still have a long way to go.  I would love to emulate some of the photographers who obviously get down low the take some amazing shots but as yet I have not got the confidence to do so.
  • That said, I feel that the shots which include architecture and depth of field are more creative than previous shots and I have tried to tell a story in the shots using lead in lines and the rule of thirds to place important features.
  • I have learnt a lot about “The Decisive Moment” and what it means from the more received definition of Henri Cartier-Bresson to a more contemporary definition that would include the work of Diane Arbus. No matter what the approach I take I have learnt that the planning of the shoot is of utmost importance to capturing “the” shot.
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Assignment 3: The Decisive Moment – First Thoughts

First Thoughts

My first thoughts for this assignment were that I was NOT going to do street photography.  I find it emotionally challenging. However, the weather and circumstances worked against me and I found myself considering another go at street photography.

mind-map

My first thoughts included a number of subjects and a number of locations.  As I was about to start the shoot a very strong storm (Imogen) blew through, causing damage and making outside photography impossible.  I waited and then visited Slimbridge Nature Reserve.  I took several images of various exotic birds but for most I was rather too far away and the cold weather was a limiting factor.  I re-considered my options and decided to shoot in shopping malls.  I started in Newcastle Metro Centre and did a second shoot at Cabots Circus in Bristol.

Notes

 

Based on feedback from my last assignment and before the shoots I considered:

  • composition
  • framing
  • leading lines
  • reflections
  • simplicity
  • backgrounds
  • architecture

Again taking into account feedback from Assignment 2 I researched a great number of famous street photographers paying particular attention to how they composed and framed their shots and how they used other “props” such as reflections to lead the eye around the image.

Research

It isn’t hard to see the influences of the “Old Masters” such as Cartier-Bresson, Capa and Adams to name but a few, of the Decisive Moment in many modern photographers work.  For me the interesting thing is how they then use it to develop their own unique style.

Thomas Leuthard

Thomas Leuthard  particularly caught my attention in the way that he captures the essence of ordinary life and the candidness of his work.

“Street photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Leuthard T. (2011) http://thomas.leuthard.photography/ebooks/GoingCandid.pdf   (accessed 28.2.2016)

Valerie Jardin

I particularly liked the way Jardin  uses structures as well as reflections and candid shots for context.  Like Leuthard he also writes and shares his expertise freely.  Hi work helped me make a final decision between colour or black and white.

When is color preferred? The color can be an integral part of the story, which also means that a black and white conversation would take away the most important component of the image, and it would not make any sense. Jardin V,http://digital-photography-school.com/7-tips-anonymous-approach-street-photography/ (Accessed 28.1.2016)

 

Diane Arbus

I have long admired the work of Diane Arbus and her ability to capture the most unusual and interesting aspects of life.    An on-line biography of her quotes:

“ During her wanderings around New York City, Arbus began to pursue taking photographs of people she found.” Biography.com Editors

Whilst her photography does not quite fit with the received definition of the decisive moment as she quite obviously sought out her “subjects”  As Eric Kim  points out, we can learn a lot from her about street photography. 

 Arbus was not always comfortable about the type of people she photographed earning the question by some of whether she (or we who view her work) was voyeuristic or not.   That said there is no doubt that some of the expressions tell such as story that they may well be classified as a decisive moment.

Lee Friedlander

As part of feedback from assignment 2 I researched Lee Friedlander to help me understand composition and how he used reflections and objects to dissect the frame to lead the eye around the image.

His work is challenging for me because he often dissects the frame in places where I wouldn’t have even considered and might have discarded shots that I have taken (I will come back to this in the Reflection section).

Friedlander

©   Lee Friedlander, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1971

Molyvos

©Lynda Wearn, Molyvos 2012

While I am not suggesting that this is a good shot in any way I am now thinking, having reviewed Frielander’s compositions that if I had positioned myself in a slightly different position so that the ladder and sail had somewhere to lead the eye to, the fact they are in the middle of the shot would not have been important.

A few of the other photographers I researched:

Rui Pahla

    • Eric Kim
      • Eric Kim is a young photographer photographer from Berkley, California who has a mission statement:Influenced by Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Besson, Pahla an amateur photographer, takes some of the most inspiring and candid street photography I have seen.  He has the ability to get in close and capture shots which seem to reach into the souls of his subjects.   
        • Vivian Maier
          • Another American photographer although born in Hungary and spending most of her youth in France, Maier’s use of reflection in self-portraits is inspiring. She photographs herself at work, at the hairdressers, shopping and in car wing mirrors.  In fact almost anywhere and she obviously carried a camera with her most of the time.  Maier died in 2009 aged 86 and I have not been able to find anything written about her on the web. http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/self-portraits-color/#slide-2 – Accessed 29.2.2016

         

    “My life’s mission is to produce as much “Open Source Photography,” to make photography education accessible to all.” http://erickimphotography.com/blog/start-here/ Access 2.3.2016

    A prolific user of social media Kim has interviewed many photographers and it is through the interviews published on his website that I was introduced to many of the photographers that I researched.  He describes himself as a teacher of photography but in fact he himself is a great photographer and has been interviewed in his own right.

    • Garry Winogrand
      • Winogrand another favourite of mine was a prolific street photographer who left behind an enormous archive legacy.  He was described as always being on the streets and hated the description of “Street Photographer”.  He did not think that photographs told a story but did think that the photograph should be more interesting and more beautiful than what was photographed.   Eric Kim on 10 Things Garry Winogrand can Teach you about Street Photography  http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/08/20/10-things-garry-winogrand-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/ – Accessed 3.3.2016
    • Helen Levitt
      • Levitt has been described as the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_.  Her photographs taken on the streets of New York of ordinary everyday life; children at play, adults in conversation and shopping and elderly people observing her intention was not to tell a story nor to document social history but to capture what was visually interesting in the poor neighbourhoods she worked in.  Levitt continued to work into her 80’s and died at the age of 96 in 2009.   Levitt http://www.atgetphotography.com/The-Photographers/Helen-Levitt.html (Accessed 2.3.2016)

All of the photographers that I researched take very interesting and compelling street photography and although different in style they together bring the concept of how to take effective street photography together.  In my next assignment I will be using some of the techniques and compositions I have read about to improve my street photography.  After all it can only get better after my last attempt (I hope).

 

 

 

 


 

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