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

EYV reflection

One of the most important learning points I have come across during this course is to reflect upon my work and also to reflect upon the work of other artists. I have completed a number of other photography courses including some with the OCA and the Open University. However, I can say that this course has stimulated a wonderful thirst to pursue the work of other artists and to explore how they use their skill, craft, power imagination, ethics, feelings, emotions in their pursuit of their photographic goals. A good photographer can never read too much. I don’t profess to be Sally Mann, Elliott Erwitt or David Bailey, but I have read until I have dropped to sleep with bleeding eyes and my work, when my eyes have recovered, is showing signs of developing a voice and improving.

My collective reference list is extensive and includes a number of books that I have bought and have that been read with passion and sometimes with confusion, with ideas and understanding developing through the fog, to reveal wonderfully crafted learning and points of view I have never considered. These books will now stay with me for life and I am convinced they will not be dust gathers on shelves, but will be points of references, learning and lifelong relationships that will build my own photographic voice.

I have added my first and my final assignment below as a side by side comparison. I can now see how I have evolved. They were both black and white assignments. The first  assignment was a black and white set because I simply liked black and white images, at the outset, with no apparent reasoning behind this. I still love black and white images, but I do now understand more about this way to display the images I make and the meaning and context for this colour scheme.

My first assignment  was aimed at working as a series and was a political statement from me. The images were both landscape and portrait in nature and there was no real uniformity. There was some seriality, but this was not too evident. They were also captioned, not leaving the image to stimulate the viewer and potentially closing down on interpretation. There was also a lack of people in there. This was intentional, but the piece would have benefit from the human touch.

My final assignment is also black and white, but is full of people, with studiums and punctums interspersed in each image. My two assignments are similar, in so much as they are a series on one topic, yet they are miles away in terms of what they instil and inspire in the viewer.

My current work has definitely been inspired by Sally Mann. Not so much as copying her beautiful Southern lighting, her techniques, but using her thoughts on photographing her family. The final assignment is based around my wider family (not too dissimilar to her book cited in my reference list called, My Family) and I feel have captured the love that is the centre piece of any happy family.

I have benefited greatly from the tutorials with Les. He has made me think about myself as an artist (and as a person too) and what I want to get out of the course and how to progress on to being a successful degree student. His suggested reading and the pointers to other students’ work has been cleverly thought through and taken on board. There has been invaluable guidance on how I work and what other artists to look at. It has been very interesting, eye-opening and has helped me grow.

I feel the two comparative sets below, demonstrate the strides I have made and that this insight will be a building block for me.

 

 

Reference list for Part Five

 

2.bp.blogspot (2009) Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare | Iconic Photos, Available at: https://iconicphotos.org/2009/07/26/derriere-la-gare-saint-lazare/ (Accessed: 14/02/2017).

2.bp.blogspot (Not known) Same Mann’s three children, Available at: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NAfizOjAN3s/VogGmzAzgnI/AAAAAAAAAzA/r3O-Wu801VM/s1600/mann3.png (Accessed: 14/02/2017).

Aperture (2016) On Empathy 10 Powerful images from Magnum Photographers, Available at: http://aperture.org/blog/magnum-photographers-10-powerful-images/(Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Barthes, R (2000) Camera Lucida, 27 edn., London: Random House.

Bate, D (2014) Photography The Key Concepts, 2nd edn., London: Bloomsbury.

Berger, J (2008) Ways of Seeing, 20 edn., London: Penguin.

Berger, J (2013) Understanding a Photograph, 8th edn., London: Penguin.

Clarke, G (1997) The Photograph, Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press.

Cotton, C (2015) The Photograph As Contemporary Art, 3rd edn., London: Thames and Hudson.

Erwitt, E (2014) Personal Best, Belgium: teNeues.

Erwitt, E (Not known) Elliott Erwitt, Available at: http://www.elliotterwitt.com/lang/en/(Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Faby & Carlo (Not known) What is empathy for photographers and why is it so important?, Available at: https://fabyandcarlo.com/2016/08/02/what-is-empathy/(Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Gefter, P (2013) View from a judgment seat – Aperture Foundation NY, Available at: http://aperture.org/blog/view-judgment-seat-quentin-bajac-conversation-philip-gefter/(Accessed: 12/02/2017).

Getty Images (2017) Greek Orthodox Stock Photos and Pictures , Available at: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/photos/greek-orthodox?excludenudity=true&mediatype=photography&page=2&phrase=greek%20orthodox&sort=mostpopular(Accessed: 14/02/2017).

Jeffrey, I (2003) Photography A Concise History, 2nd edn., London: Thames and Hudson.

Kim, E (Not known) How to show empathy in street photography, Available at: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2014/10/28/show-empathy-street-photography/(Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Lawford, M (2017) ‘Portrayal of Migrants’, British Journal of Photography, 164(7857), pp. 10-13.

Linfield, S (2012) The Cruel Radiance , 21 edn., United States of America: Chicago.

Magnum Photos (2009) Empathy and Photography, Available at: https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/empathy-photography/?utm_source=fb-social&utm_campaign=Editorial_EmpathyandPhotography&utm_medium=social&utm_content=Linkpost(Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Magnum Photos (2014) Magnum Photos Photographer Portfolio, Available at: https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=2K1HRG672062#/CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=2K1HRG672062&FRM=SubHeaderFrame:MAGO31_13(Accessed: 14/02/2017).

Magnum Photos (2016) Conditions of the Heart on Empathy and Connection in PhotographyEmpathy in Photography, Available at: https://www.magnumphotos.com/events/event/square-print-sale-conditions-heart-empathy-connection-photography/ (Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Magnum Pro (2017) Empathy and Photography, Available at: https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/empathy-photography/?utm_source=fb-social&utm_campaign=Editorial_EmpathyandPhotography&utm_medium=social&utm_content=Linkpost(Accessed: 06/02/2017).

Mann, S (2014) Immediate Family, Italy: aperture.

Merriam Webster (2014) Distance | Definition, Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distance (Accessed: 06/02/2017).

Merriam Webster (2017) Empathy | Definition, Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy (Accessed: 06/02/2017).

O’Hagan, S (2011) Worlds apart: who has the best shot , Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/dec/07/deutsche-borse-prize-photography-2012 (Accessed: 14/02/2017).

Pantall, C (2016) Empathy in Photography, Available at: http://colinpantall.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/empathy-in-photography.html (Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Sontag, s (2003) On Photography, 36th edn., London: Penguin.

Wells, L (2011) Photography A Critical Introduction, 5th edn., London : Routledge.

Woodward, D (2012) Elliott Erwitt’s Dogs, Available at: http://www.anothermag.com/design-living/2176/elliott-erwitts-dogs (Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute (2001) War Photography propaganda, outrage and empathy, Available at: http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/curriculum/units/2006/1/06.01.01.x.html (Accessed: 10/02/2017).

Assignment five

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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.

 

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

Exercise 5.2

 

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Image Taken from 

The above image is made by one of my favourite purveyors of the art of photography, Sally Mann. Her work as I have covered before, has a dream like quality with the Southern Light she uses and is truly inspiring. These three kids clearly have attitude and if anyone knows her worked they are clearly loved, nurtured and photographed in the way only Sally Mann can do so.

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I have certainly not tried to copy this image, but have responded to it by showing three children with different attitudes and their wider (immediate) family, the book which the Sally Mann image is taken from. In my image there are two boys and one girl. I have converted to black and white but have deliberately not copied the tonal qualities of the above image. Due to the process Mann uses to make and develop her images, they develop a mystical tonality which I would never try to emulate.

I am unable to discuss the context in relation to Terry Barrett and his essay as any link to Terry Barrett’s website is broken and will not load. There I have no way of accessing this. I have tried on numerous occasions to access this but to no avail.

I am responding explicitly to the three children, their attitude and their wider family, which although cannot be seen in this image, is a question that springs to my mind when I see the image. i.e. are they related and who is their family.

In my response I have decided to show the childrens’ wider family and I have given them a setting and context, unlike the Sally Mann image.

The Mann image is a posed one, with all the children posing away for their mother, something to which they have grown accustomed, due to her many works she has produced of her family. In my response, although this is a posed image, the three children, two of which are brother and sister, are all behaving slightly differently with only the girl being attentive to the camera. In contrast the adults are all aware of the photographer and are well-behaved.

The aim of Mann’s image is for me to portray the kids as they are and the are the sole subjects of the image, with the background deliberately kept out of focus, adding to the mystery of where they are and who they are. It is clear though that this is an outside shot, which appears to have been lit by ambient lighting. Mann is an absolute master of this and she maximise the ability of her full format camera and bellows to full effect. Her image would have been tripod mounted, where as my response was hand-held.

In both images the children are the main focus of the image and spite the inclusion of the adults in my response, I did not want these to detract from the children. You can see in my image the affection of the adults, but the way the adults are touching them, yet in Mann’s image, this love may not be at first apparent due to the stares manufactured by the kids and captured so wonderfully.

Whilst both images contain only ambient light, the two light qualities are so different. Mann’s Southern mystical light works it magic with a dappling effect probably created be the trees in her garden, where as the lighting in  my image, comes from a set of widows with a couple of overhead candle style bulbs. They are both extremely different in light quality, but my position could not be moved  as the setting was the only real place for such a posed photograph. It also was necessary to shoot there, to give context to the image via the setting and so I could donate this image to the metropolitan, for his own archives.

Mann’s image does not contain any props, where as my image contains a number of props in the form ofgifts given to the Metropolitan and a drawing made by the children and their parents as a welcoming gift.

The two images, whilst both containing three children are miles apart in terms of photographic light, style, context, quality, meaning, setting, tonal qualities and yet they both work in very different ways. In my image, there are only two English people, whereas the three children are all native to the photographers home land.

There is both a studium and a punctum in both images as Barthes woud say.

To summarise, both images contain three children, but there the similarities end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise 5.1 contd…

The subject I have chosen for this exercise is a charity, which is close to where I live and one I have used before in my work. It is also close to my heart and empathy comes easy. This time I have not concentrated on the animals, but have focused mainly on the human side. This is a subject that I can empathise and sympathise with and all of the volunteers do this out of their love of animals and assisting others. Two qualities that are dear to my heart.

Getting permission to photograph the people you see was not easy as most objected, although the charity were more than happy for me to be there. There were only 2 people who immediately said yes, and I will leave these 2 unnamed.

The day was over cast, wet and thoroughly miserable. The light outdoors was muted and shadows were kept to a minimum. It was also raining, which made the work of the volunteers harder and it was not nice for shooting. It was 1 degree above freezing so my hands were cold. I made a conscious decision to avoid adding any extra light and worked purely with the ambient light, as I felt this would create more mood and assist with showing empathy. My select and series are below and I will explain my reason for my select, where I will critique my photos and link back to exercise 1.4.

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My select

The above photograph is untitled but I will give this photo some context and reflection below; –

  • This lady is a volunteer book seller for the charity.
  • She works in a stable/barn selling hundreds of books. The stable/barn is near the proverbial barn door and 7 months of the year this is very cold work.
  • She hates having photos made of her, yet she exudes warmth and kindness, yet with a muted warning that you should not mess.
  • This warning is in the form of her Lonsdale Boxing hat, albeit predominantly pink to soften the blow.
  • The fingerless gloves also contribute to the outfit.
  • Her outfit exudes warmth and practicality.
  • The purple bum bag adds to the feeling, as does the way the coat is fastened.
  • The background places the lady in her rightful place. The books, although they stacked, they are not uniform and this is expected for me in such a wonderful place, where emphasis is placed on caring and not appearances.
  • There is somewhat of a contrast between the coldness of the building and the warmth in the colours she wears. Maybe this is a conscious decision to look bright,  warm and inviting or maybe it is a subconscious decision. Either way this adds to the feeling of wanting to get to know her and having an understanding of her, as an amazing volunteer and as a person.
  • Is she hiding behind the mug?
  • The bars in the background also place this as a barn/stable environment and the depth of field adds to the image by making you looking to see if you can recognise any of the books. I can spot a Harry Potter book and an Indiana Jones game. It must be a magic adventure working there.
  • I think it is great when people give their time freely to such charities and other worthwhile causes and the people who do so should be celebrated.
  • She is an amazing lady and I will be going back to show her the photo I made. I hope she likes it.

A similar exercise was carried out in 1.4 and I am pleased to reflect that my creativity has improved. Rather than focusing on birds, I have moved on to people, who add different challenges and more of a dynamic.  Below is my contact sheet from 1.4 and I am much happier with what I am producing now, as this is not only more meaningful, but also thought-provoking. It is also harder to photograph people in such a way than simply clicking the shutter as birds fly by. I am not sure if my work even had a studium at that stage, where as I feel my select has both a studium and a punctum and means something.

As you can see from my book reviews, I have done a great deal of academic reading and this is now starting to pay dividends. This excercise is not directly influenced by any one artist or author, but by a multitude of them and I am now beginning to find my voice.framing

My series