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

Exercise 4.4

I have completed this exercise with one studio light, one reflector, a simple black background and I have used the light on different output settings. Looking at my contact sheets (below), leaves me thinking I may crop some of the images, but there will be no other editing. I have chosen black and white rather than colour, almost in homage to Sally Mann, whom has given me a new lease of life in photography, whilst not trying to recreate here own artistry.

Here are my contact sheets for this exercise, unedited, with the exception of the conversion to black and white. As I add these to my blog I have not yet made my final selection and I am unsure as to how many images I will use.

Below are my final 10 images with a small amount of cropping, compared to the contact sheets above. I have numbered them 1 – 10 and will add the lighting sketches below these 10 images. The catchlights do away give this in most of the images though.

 

Photoshop lighting sketches as for the above 10 images.

When looking at the above 10 artificially lit facial images, are the any similarities to the image in Exercises 4.2 and 4.3? I will briefly explore below.

Exercise 4.3 is simply a shoot with ambient light within an art gallery. The lighting there was  very much uniform, aiming to remove shadows to give an even view to the exhibition. You do not get any feeling of depth from the light and in my opinion is flat. Intentional to assist the viewer.  In this current exercise the lighting has created an opposite style of lighting. In my final 10 images above there is a feeling of reality and/or depth which is different to exercise 4.3. The photographs below show this.

Exercise 4.2 was dealing with natural light, rather than the ambient light in the gallery, as in 4.3. In this exercise (4.4) an artificial source was introduced. With exercise 4.2 you have to work with what is there and you cannot move the light source (in this case the sun). With exercise 4.4 the light source could be moved to suit my purpose. Both types of lighting created a shadowing effect and depth, but with the natural light shots the shadows were dependent on the time of day. With this exercise it was up to me where to move the light source to create depth, shadow and feeling. The following 2 images show the differences. I also had the ability to control the harshness of the light in this image and was able to manipulate this to suit my purpose, which was not possible with the natural light shots. Yes I could have used reflectors for the natural light shots but i did not want to do that at that stage. Natural light does hold an element of beauty when compared to artificial light and at certain times of day the lighting is softly poetic.  I love being able to have the ability to manipulate light when I want with studio lights, but there is something  romantic about using  what nature has provided for us.

Assignment Two Feedback

Overall Comments

A thoughtful submission that fulfills the brief.

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 how you have acted like a flaneur in making this work. Its worth checking out the book Psychogeography, plenty of references in it to the history of this ‘way of seeing’.

Sad to hear that permission to photograph was denied at LUFC.

Interesting that it was no problem to photograph at Sheffield station – we discussed the idea of privilege.

You have used a variety of vantage points, and this has still managed to retain a coherence, possibly due to them being the same viewpoints we would expect to find on a similar commute.

Your edit is arranged in an order that would make sense as a story of the journey.

You were also asking yourself ‘what is a crowd’? Looking for some purpose, an order, a seriality. This is really interesting, starting from a definition, from a commonly understood place is useful when attempting a critique.

To create images of interest you attempted a ‘frame within a frame’.

We discussed your bridge image using punctum and studium. It adhered to one of Barthes’ ideas in that, what the photographer intended is not necessarily what arrests the viewer’s attention. The side-lit woman in the middle ground for you and the clasped hands of the woman in the foreground for me.

References – Phillip-Lorca diCorcia, Beat Strueli, Paul Graham

You understood that the assignment was about a concern with aperture, forcing you to observe, being intuitive, having your antennae out – I think you have been successful here

The final image in the series is pushing the envelope of the definition ‘crowd’. It was a conscious decision on your part to attempt social commentary. You are to be commended for trying to use camera and technique to get create a political meaning for the work.

In attempting a narrative, perhaps the weakest image in the series is the first. Looking at the series purely aesthetically I would aim to tie red into this first shot – and leave an absence of red in the last as a prompt to encourage viewers to look further.

Take confidence from having moved out of your comfort zone and challenged yourself in making images of people..

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context

 With reference to the exercise shots of your dad – Bruce Gilden

Pu some of your thoughts on books you have read in your blog.

Suggested reading/viewing Context

 Keep up with the books! See one reference above.

 Pointers for the next assignment

For assignment 3 I suggest; keep it critical.

Assignment Two

Three’s A Crowd? 

Brie

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:

  • Crowds
  • Views
  • Heads

Use the exercises from Part Two as a starting point to test out combinations of focal length, aperture and viewpoint for the set. Decide upon a single format, either vertical or horizontal. You should keep to the same combination throughout to lend coherence to the series.

Crowds make a great subject for photography, not least because they are so contemporary. A city rush hour is a good place to start but events also offer great opportunities to photograph the crowd rather than the event. The foreshortened perspective of the telephoto lens will compress a crowd, fitting more bodies into the frame, but it can also be used to pick out an individual person. A wide-angle lens can capture dynamic shots from within the action. I have chosen to concentrate on crowds. 

What is a crowd and how is this linked to photography?  

  • A crowd is a gathering of people, large or small, in a certain place at a certain time. A photograph is an image taken at a certain place at a certain time.
  • Crowds are not there forever, but they gather and disperse. Photos are there in their entirety, they do not disperse and do not gather. They are created in an instant (usually).
  • Crowds can be read. Photographs can be read. They are both a sort of language.
  • Crowds can be large or small. Photographs also come in different sizes.
  • Both can show emotion, be violent, appreciative, sad, ecstatic etc.
  • Both can be colourful.
  • Crowds have a purpose. All photographs have a purpose too, at the time of taking, as this is why the photographer takes the shot.
  • Crowds and photos tell a story.
  • Both form opinion of the participant.
  • Crowds are not conformed by shape; photography is made “in frame”.
  • Crowds can be planned and controlled, as can photos.
  • Both can be policed and subject to censorship.
  • Crowds are managed, photographs are composed.
  • Both involve people and are world-wide.
  • People in a crowd can stand out from the crowd and so can images stand out too.
  • It is my intention to bring this link together, showing some of the main characteristics of both. I have not just simply shot a large group of people.  I have tried to tell the story of the crowd by using the different techniques learned.

The shoot was not planned. I headed off to Sheffield in search of a crowd as my home town is somewhat of a ghost town. I did not have a theme, just the words “crowds” to play with.

I have used a number of different techniques I have learned so far. This is also the first set of images that contain people. None of the images are captioned, with the exception of the basic Exif data, as I want the spectator to think about each image and what it means. They are also ambiguous.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I have used a selection of apertures ranging from f2.8 to f11. My place for the crowd was Sheffield train station and I tried to encompass the surroundings into the image where possible, giving the crowd context. All of the images were hand-held shots and shots and decisions were made in an instant.

Image 1 starts with how crowds gather at the station, as the crowd begin buying their tickets.  The aperture used keeps the majority of the image sharp and the angle of the shot with the lines of the floor and ticket machines take you down the line.

Image 2 was designed to show the frustration people feel with waiting for trains. I have kept the background of the line and surrounding station in focus to place the crowd. I have also tried to concentrate on the faces of the passengers as they wait.

Image 3 uses diagonals to draw you through the image. The aperture keeps the main players in the image in clear focus as it does the train. Due to shooting in Aperture mode there is no direct control over shutter speed, so you have to compromise at times.

Image 4 shows the crowd in the background and also how people can stand out from the crowd. (literally). Due to the aperture used the main crowd in the background can be seen.

Image 5 would have the majority of players in focus if they were still. The train is pretty much in focus and so are the reflections. However, I wanted to create some idea of movement, yet keep the lady at the front of the image as the main player.

Image 6 has people beginning to exit the station. The light was just right to capture the lady in the top left third. With a large aperture I tried to make her stand out from the crowd and the relatively slow shutter speed has created some motion blur.

Image 7 is of the crowd dispersing. It shows also how some people do not belong to the “in crowd” and how people just ignore those less fortunate. I have tried to keep the majority of this image in focus but use the wall and the paving to lead the viewer to the man begging, with his cap in front of him. The behaviour of the 2 teenagers is completely contrasted to that of the beggar.

Quality of outcome

I am happy with how the story unfolds and I have tried to think outside of the box, by not simply photographing a crowd, but I have tried to apply some creativity to the brief. I could have used more images of crowds, but I did not feel this set needed further images.

Demonstration of creativity

I have shown what crowds are, how people stand out from the crowd and how some less fortunate do not belong to the “in crowd”. The images have been shot from different angles. Head height, on stair cases, from the floor and sat on a wall. I have stood back from the crowd and also been in the thick of things. I have continued with my theme of not being afraid to make a “political” point, by including the poor man begging in the last image.

Context

On reflection, I may have been better shooting a few more images, further showing “crowds” but I did not want to detract from my story. One aspect I would have liked to incorporate more into my story was the use of wider apertures (smaller f stops) having looked at and enjoyed Gianluca Cosci’s work, but I felt too worried about losing my background and placement. This use of small apertures may have helped create a bit more tension and mystery in some of the images. I could have been more varied in my use of lenses but I was shooting in the instant.

 

 

Exercise 2.4

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1/200, f8.00, ISO 200, 160mm, Pattern

Say hello to my dad. He is 79 years old and he was more than willing to act as my model.

It was interesting to try to get him keep his eyes open, as he has a tendency to keep them almost  closed, and he squints due to his glaucoma. I also wanted to get a natural feel to the shot, which I feel has been achieved. I asked my dad to stand with his shoulders at an angle and asked him at first to look at the floor and slowly look up whilst thinking of the holidays we shared when I was a young child. This did not work, so I asked him to change this by moving his torso slowly from left to right, whilst holding the same thought.

 The notes for the exercise asks the student to use a wide aperture (small f-stop) and I decided upon f8 as i wanted to ensure with eyes were sharply in focus with the rest of his head. Dad’s eyes are interesting as they are naturally cloudy due to his age and glaucoma. In addition he has deep-set eyes and does suffer with dark patches around his eyes due to the medication he uses.

I chose to shoot outside with purely natural light and I have shot this without a reflector. The sun was shining down as you look at the image from left to right and was slightly behind my dad as I wanted to ensure the sun was not in his eyes.

The brief asked for a natural balanced portrait and I believe that this has been achieved due to the lighting and also due to the composition. Dad’s right eye sits nicely on the top left third. All of the face is sharp, with the background being blurred as a result of the aperture used with a small amount of bokeh apparent in the confer hedge in the background. The background whilst being blurred does add a warm feeling to the overall image due to the green and yellow shapes which can be clearly seen. The roses just over dad’s shoulder also gives this portrait a setting, thatch be identified and is something my dad loves, hence I included them in the shot.

I am quite happy with this shot and it has been treated with approved by my mum and dad. John Berger talks about photography having a language and images being read. It is my opinion this is easily read in a number of ways (though).

The shutter speed of 200 was needed due to the focal length of the lens and this also had a baring on the f stop as this was shot in Aperture mode.

 

Exercise 2.2

Here are my 2 images somewhat at the extremes. On the left is an image with a 24mm lens and on the right a 300mm lens. The cameras were mounted on a tripod with the subject only moving slightly as can be seen from the angle of the subject’s shoulders.

The closeness of a wide-angle lens to the subject introduces facial distortion (and chest too but this is harder to see), in so much as the features bulge towards the viewer. Secondly the space between the subject and the back ground has opened up and appears further away than it actually is. This is not a nice use of a wide angle lens and does not provide a life-like portrait.

In the second image the lighting has changed due to the angle of the sun (and the fun I had with my Dad), but this is a more natural shot and more pleasing on the eye. The subject appears to confirm to normal perspective rules and looks more like you would expect. The background has been brought closer to the subject due to the longer lens closing down the space.

Each shot takes on a different meaning, with the longer lens confirming more of what you would class as aesthetically pleasing for a portrait. The wider angled lens does let you place the subject more easily as the background has been opened up, but this isn’t a look I would generally want with a serious portrait. Although it may get a viewer to spend more time looking at the image as it would be unusual and the background may hold some interest for the viewer.