Reflection and demonstration of learning following my tutor feedback

In my tutor feedback, Les has asked my not be too hard on myself and this, sadly is a personal trait that has been with me prior to having the ability to hold a camera. I will however try, going forwards, to keep a little distance in my self-critique, remain reflective and not be overtly self-negative. This is a good point made by Les and one we have discussed over Skype. This will be demonstrated in more depth on my Context and Narrative course.

Be careful when choosing black and white, was another well-made critique. This was discussed at length and also in previous assignments with Les. Les knows I love black and white images (Sally Mann in particular), however on reflection, I have listened and taken on board this feedback. My final selection is in colour, as they were recorded on my sensor.  I agree the colours do show the narrative more clearly, possibly because the lighting was poor in church and partly because this is how we would have seen it with our own eyes. This is something I have discussed in the past with Les and I now get it. With the black and white set, I was trying to show the “truth” of the Liturgy, but colour is unedited and therefore it must be closer to the truth than converted images, which have undergone a transformation process.

I have made my final edit based mainly upon colour and shape, with the final image showing the Metropolitan, as a “real” person and not just a senior member of the Orthodox church.  I feel this adds to the narrative and places him as an individual. This image also enhances the feeling of being there, due to the depth of field and the fact that this is shot over someone’s shoulder.

I have listened and taken on feedback from Les about eye contact, losing impact in the series and affecting the overall feeling of this narrative. I have ensured no images in my final selection have any eye contact with me or the camera. I did not feel this was a problem prior to my tutorial, however on reflection I feel that this is a fair critique and the final edit is now better for it. Any eye contact simply places me in the scene as a photographer with a camera (weapon of intrusion) and loses the impact and feeling that the viewer was there (in the church), rather than the viewer just looking at a photograph.

I have made a further 3 re-edits since my Skype with Les, all of them in colour and I have used prints to do this rather, than on-screen images. This is something I have learned during the course and this type of editing is more beneficial than on-screen editing. The re-edit amounted to a further five hours of work, but this was well spent, not only as the final edit is better than my original, but it has given me further opportunity to practice this art, which is not by any means easy to master.

I have added the original edit and the final edit side by side below, to showcase my final series and to demonstrate my understanding and the progress made, even within the final assignment.

I have also chosen images that are both portrait and landscape, after discussing this with Les. He felt that this would not distract from the narrative. In my first edit, I had purely concentrated on portrait images, as I was under the impression that seriality can only be achieved in one aspect ratio. Examples of mixed ratios can be seen in Sally Mann’s Family Pictures featured on her website. Please refer to http://sallymann.com/selected-works/family-pictures (accessed 23/03/2017).

Please refer to my prints that I have submitted for my assessment, as the images need to be seen in print, in order to gain the optimal viewing experience.

As a postscript to this I have managed to sell over 200 images from the images on my contact sheet, with all the proceeds being generated to the church.

1-20170212
original edit
01-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
2-20170212
original edit
02-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
3-20170212
original edit
03-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
4-20170212
original edit
04-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
5-20170212
original edit

05-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images

6-20170212
original edit

06-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images

7-20170212
original edit
07-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
8-20170212
original edit
08-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
9-20170212
original edit
09-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
10-20170212
original edit
10-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images
final edit
Advertisements

Final Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

A fitting end to the course, once again challenging yourself attempting to assimilate a variety of influences whilst documenting an event close to you.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Notes from, and in addition to, our Skype tutorial :

We discussed your overall self-evaluation, its good to be critical but don’t be too hard on yourself. This is the first course in your first year and as you note, you’ve already come a long way. Always remember your best photographs are ahead of you!

The photos in this submission do the job of recording the visit. Important details in the service are noted, interactions are observed, and key elements of the Liturgy shown.

Your sequence shows us the narrative of the event.

The processing and rituals are well observed. You are successfully showing us what goes on in an unfamiliar (Greek Orthodoxy historically being a minor religion in the UK) environment.

We discussed your use of the close up, we as viewers get the feeling of being the ‘man in the crowd’, its less like you’ve got a camera and more like a person’s eye view.

This is paparazzi style, documentary, the blurred shoulders in the foreground are a typical indicator. All to give us the feeling that, not only did this happen, but that we were there.

You had to use the highest iso (3200) setting that you’ve ever used. The prints are fine, however, and your camera is obviously up to the job. In your choice of black and white you need a little more justification. The contrasts were a little dulled by the low light. The colours of the robes, fabrics and ephemera are so attractive that really we need to see them.

You are best placed to not fall into the trap of Orientalism, whilst still showing us something culturally interesting. In effect you are a bridge between our worlds.

We went through the contact sheet again choosing images on colour, composition and illustration of the event. Remember not to break the spell of the observer by having eye contact with audience members – we want to be engrossed in them being engrossed.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context

Good to see you continuing to read and review. This all stands you in good stead.

Suggested reading/viewing Context

Keep cross referencing from Bate, Bull and Wells, and try to find a new contemporary or historical photographer a week.

Pointers for the next assignment

For assessment; showcase your learning, point to where you’ve used a reference, where you’ve listened to advice, how you changed things – show your process.

Assignment five re-edit

I was asked by my tutor to re-edit, even though he felt my original posting had met the brief for the assignment. He felt the assignment would be better for the images in colour and he asked me to concentrate the re-edit on colour and then shape. My final edit is below.

I await his written feedback, which will be posted upon receipt. I  was told previously  to make a series uniform, in regards to the  aspect ratio i.e. landscape  or portrait, but on this occasion  I have been asked to mix them up. Hence my edit below.01-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images02-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images03-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images04-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images05-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images06-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images07-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images08-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images09-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images10-20170212-Nick Ward 516128 EYV Assessment Images

Assignment five

20151222-pretty-mudda-2

The above image was taken by myself of an Icon of Saints Columba and Kentigern, patron saints of the church in Doncaster. The icon has been painted in the age old icon writing tradition and is a work of pure love, and genius. This icon can be seen in the upper left corner of image 8  (below) and will give you some sense of scale. It was painted by a nonagenarian, who decided to take up such painting two years ago. The iconographer is the grandma of one of the congregation and she lives in Bulgaria. The icon was painted free of charge and shipped free of charge, all the way from Sofia, Bulgaria. It goes to show what amazing art is out there that never gets seen and how beautiful people can be.

Please note my images are to be presented and submitted as a series of ten, 12×8 inch, black and white glossy prints,  as this medium shows off their beauty and meaning, fully. This church is a relatively dark environment to shoot in and the ISO was increased accordingly to 3200, which is higher than I would normally shoot at. This therefore presented a number of issues for me. Not only did I have to work within the confines of a moving and living Liturgy, but I also had technical difficulties and issues around angles with each shot.

My chosen subject for this assignment is a “Greek Orthodox Hierarchical Divine Liturgy”, which took place on Sunday 12th February 2017, at Sts. Columba and Kentigern’s church, in Edlington, Doncaster.

There are many moments within the Liturgy that make this a special subject to photograph. I have tried  to capture several and various people within the Liturgy, that make it so special, and it is these people and surroundings that constitute the overall subject I have chosen. Without the collective people, the Liturgy would become simple prayers of the clergy.

It is uncommon to see a series of images on this subject matter, especially ones that take you behind the iconostasis (in the Altar area), as this is off-limits to most, including to all ladies and those who do not belong to the faith. The faith can trace its’ beginnings directly back to the teaching of Christ, and there is a continuous line of Ministry from Christ until this present day.

This was a special day for the church, as this was the first Hierarchical Divine Liturgy there in over twenty years. It was a special honour for me and a privilege to be given the approval to photograph this.

Ambient lighting was used, as flash photography would have been disrespectful and could have caused issues.

Metropolitan Silouan Oner attended and led the Liturgy. He is the clergyman in the dark robes and hat with the veil, and he can also be seen with and without his crown. I have captured various parts of the service, from the arrival of Sayedna (Master in Arabic), to the preparations at the prosthesis table, Sayedna’s crowing and showing his affection and love for his Church family.

I have converted to black and white, as the majority of images on the web are in colour and I wanted to do something different and showing that I am still developing my photographic voice.

Photography is a language and I prefer reading these images in black and white. I also feel that the tonal contrast of black and white is beautiful and they are better compared to those in colour.

The lighting again is non-dramatic in comparison to some of my peers. Does this mean my images are of less worth than theirs? Not in my opinion.

I have been asked in the brief to capture a unique view of the same subject and these ten images, certainly are unique and are of the same subject.

I have captured humourous images within a serious religious service, as demonstrated in image number 7. I have also demonstrated  an awareness of my surroundings, as seen by capturing the baby in image number 6.

Shot number 4 is an image that needs to be looked at for a while, to ascertain what is going on due to the multiple elements within it. I am pleased to have captured the incense rising from the thurible, adding to the drama and movement within the image.

Having the images in black and white, in my opinion, also adds an element of truth to the images, bearing in mind this subject is something that is rarely seen by most people. This series is therefore an educational piece too.

I have added the photos as a series rather than adding my best image first, which was something that was discussed with my tutor at my last tutorial. This is also necessary to fulfil the brief.

There is unique information in each of the 10 images, whilst all remaining fully focused upon my subject of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. The order of the images is chronological and they are therefore a natural series of the Liturgy developing.

Interestingly I cannot find any famous photographers who specialise in Greek Orthodox clergy/services. There are several hundred images on Getty’s website, but none that follow the full process of a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

My series is all about bringing to life a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and to give the viewer a flavour of this and the diverse nature of what happens. Another purpose is also to express the beauty of the people attending, their diverse age range and also acknowledge the wide cultural base we have. The Lord’s prayer for example was said in 7 languages i.e. Arabic, Welsh, Bulgarian, Russian, Romanian, Greek and English.

This is not only a piece to celebrate Orthodoxy, but it embraces and celebrates people of all different cultures and backgrounds and shows how beautiful all people are and not just those who are native to Britain.

I have received much praise for the work at this Liturgy and this has come from as far afield as Bulgaria. Some of the comments received are copied below :-

  • By Fr Gregory: Photo 75 is probably the best photo taken of Sayedna to date!
  • By Jan: AMAZING,WONDERFUL,FANTASTIC. THANK YOU SO MUCH
  • Hello Nicholas. Your photos are amazing.It is a great joy for me to see Boris and Zlatina with all of you in the church and to have their photos with me.God Bless you and all your family.much love in Christ,Katia. С най-сърдечни благопожелания – Катя Тодорова.
  • Nick has captured the essence of meeting Metropolitan Silouan for the first visit to the Parish in Doncaster. That essence is Love! The skill of getting the exact moment to grasp the best image is not easily learned, but Nick has aquired that ability in bucket loads! Will definitely hire IkoNick to capture our important memories. Hope your business goes from strength to strength, with Many Years of happy snapping.
  • You have done the parish proud Nicholas. Much Love, Fr. George.
  • I really like these and the fact that they are in black and white, the lack of colour makes the colours stand out more… I particularly liked images 3, 7 and 9. OCA student.
  • Love the series especially image 7. great set – good luck. OCA student.
  • I like them all, but I love no.7. Kids will be kids, whatever the occasion. OCA student.

My images will also be displayed shortly on the following websites and are being sold to raise money for the parish ; –

http://www.ikonickimages.co.uk/guestbook.html

http://www.antiochian-orthodox.co.uk

I hope you enjoy reading this series as much as I did writing it.

 

1-20170212

1

 

2-20170212

2

 

3-20170212

3

 

4-20170212

4

 

5-20170212

5

 

6-20170212

6

 

7-20170212

7

 

8-20170212

8

 

9-20170212

9

 

10-20170212

10

Contact sheets with basic exposure details.contact-sheets-for-assignment-five-1contact-sheets-for-assignment-five-2