Niki South Student number: 514516
INTRODUCTION TO SUBJECT
This assignment coincided with a holiday travelling round Rajasthan, India, so it made sense to choose a theme for images I could collect there. From previous travels to India I had a good idea of the situations and environments that I would encounter and crowds was the obvious choice.
I explored definitions of crowds, the one that struck me was “A crowd may be definable through a common purpose or set of emotions”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd (accessed 15.10.15).
I browsed images of crowds and found in the work of Syd Shelton’s “Rock Against Racism” exhibition many images offering interesting viewpoints of crowds, (http://autograph-abp.co.uk/exhibitions/rock-against-racism Accessed 22.10.15).
An interview of Andreas Feininger broadened my knowledge of perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23UjjfnlDDc&app=desktop (Accessed 10.10.15)
I also researched street photographers, in particular Alex Webb, Garry Winogrand and William Klein.
From this research I knew when collecting crowd images I should:
- Develop a feel for the emotion and rhythm of the crowds
- Use colour to portray emotions
- Show the context of the crowd
- Fill frames and layer interest
- Shoot in the “thick of things”
- Use various perspectives
I had to be focused on location, it was a holiday, also I must not fall into the trap of thinking that images taken in such a location would be interesting in themselves, I created a mind map of foci to use organised into reminders: viewpoint, focal length, aperture, fact and form, context and perspective. I set out to shoot crowds with different purposes and emotions.
DESCRIPTION OF THE COMBINATION OF APERTURE, FOCAL LENGTH AND VIEWPOINT USED, AND HOW THEY AFFECT THE IMAGES.
To ensure I collected a variety of viewpoints, focal lengths and apertures, I reviewed my images daily to form a “shopping list” of the next to capture or explore. I tried to fill frames with interesting elements, as well as details within the crowds. Often I found the right setting for a good crowd image, then waited for it to be the right shape or for some action to occur. Sometimes captured backs of heads, but also included facial shots to convey emotion and engage the viewer. Occasionally I used zone focusing when working rapidly, to shoot a particular focal length and sometimes concentrated on an interesting perspective. Most often I was shooting on the move, hand held and predominantly used my telephoto lens as it presented as compressed, not because it helped me to zoom from afar; I became confident at shooting from within a crowd and engaging and isolating individuals within a crowd close up.
How these techniques affect the images:
Embarking: This is the only image included taken with a wide angle lens; the perspective here supports a sense of a growing, not yet dense, still fragmented crowd.
Shopping: The street was shady, so a narrower aperture and longer exposure, enabled me to emphasize the fixed gaze of the shoppers in contrast with the movement of a passer-by.
Surging: I used a shallower depth of field and longer focal length to capture individuals at the rear of the crowd to accentuate the depth, power and concentration of the crowd; the focused individuals look like they are just keeping their heads above water.
Gathering: A deeper depth of field allowed me to show detail across a wide area, whilst the telephoto lens emphasises the density of the crowd.
Carrying and dropping: I noticed this man carrying and dropping cauliflowers so set a wide aperture to lift him from the crowd.
Embracing: I used the same aperture to capture this detail, but set the subject in the middle of the composition to promote the intimacy of the moment within the chaos of the crowd.
Chatting: This image is a decisive moment, capturing varying emotions whilst maintaining good composition.
Meeting: I experimented with the shallowest depth of field that my lens would allow at this focal length to isolate a subject, keeping an awareness of the background composition, knowing that even though I intended it to be blurred it would add context and interest.
Controlling: I zone focused and was probably lucky to get the depth of field that I did with this aperture; it picks out the ineffectual traffic controller as well as the traffic mayhem.
Departing: I chose a relatively shallow depth of field here to separate the detail of faces in the midground from the foreground which adds depth.
Link to Learning log – Research, mind map, shooting, editing and assessment criteria notes: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a2-learning-log/
Link to learning from lens exercises: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/project-1-the-distorting-lens-8/
What worked well:
- The research, reading and my mind map helped me enormously when on location.
- I experimented when shooting on the streets; my confidence increased as I tried various techniques.
- I was able to mix patient and spontaneous shooting; I hope I’ve shown that I have an eye for detail and good visual awareness.
- I believe I’ve created a series of images that communicates the essence of crowds, with continuity of place, time and colour also conveying emotion and purpose. I hope that they are in the main reasonably strong individual images.
- I applied learning from the lens exercises. I think my particular successes were the variety of apertures used for different purposes, consideration of the background element even when it would be blurred, and not distorting subjects with focal length and viewpoint but moving closer to them.
- I only cropped a couple of the images and was pleased with many of the compositions.
- I did edit ruthlessly and think that I “killed my babies”, however whether I was successful will be judged by the viewers.
What didn’t work so well and how the series might be improved in the future:
- I varyied the perspectives I shot, however the variety is not fully represented in my final images. I would like to have included an aerial view, but they were not as strong as the others. I experimented with a wide angle lens however these were not effective in representing crowds. These are areas I should develop.
- My focus was aperture and focal length, I would like to combine this with shutter speed and ISO to gain greater control over the image. In particular I would like to experiment with blurring images.
- I intend to continue to broaden my reading and research as this will give me further development ideas.
- Forming a series; I could have chosen, crowded transport or tourist crowds, did I concentrate my lens work ultimately in the right area?