COURSEWORK: WHAT MATTERS IS TO LOOK

Project 3

Exercise 3.3

Unfortunately as I have not a manual camera I have not been able to complete the 1st exercise, however I have read other’s observations on the exercise.

  1. Find a good viewpoint…..where you can see a wide view or panorama. Start by looking at the things closest to you in the foreground. Then pay attention to the details in the middle distance and, finally, the things towards the horizon. Now try and see the whole landscape together, from the foreground to horizon (you can move your eyes). Include the sky in your observation and try to see the whole visual field together, all in movement (there is always some movement). When you’ve got it, raise your camera and take a picture. Add the picture and a description of the process to your learning log.

The following were shot with aperture priority:

_MG_0692 panorama.jpg               _MG_0694 panorama.jpg

 1/200; f/11; ISO 400; 32mm                                       1/125; f/14; ISO 200; 30mm

With my eyes it was easy to focus 1st on the foreground, then the middle then horizon; however I then found it difficult to refocus on the whole depth. I found it was much easier to do this before focusing on the individual depths of the view. The camera was able to capture the complete depth of the view, although the width of the view that the camera can shot is considerably less than we see with our eyes, even using a wide angle lens. When we look we look in one gaze I think it is impossible to breakdown this coordination into parts and “look” effectively.

In The nature of Photographs (Shore, 2007) a similar exercise is suggested but with an image. It seems that when refocusing on different parts of an image “the direction and speed of your refocusing is not tied to the recession in depictive space” (Shore 2007, p84) but is affected by the flatness of the image. Shore talks about the way that our eyes see a photograph as a mental image and that it is our minds rather than our eyes that changes focus as we move through the image; that the mental level of a photograph “provides a framework for this mental image we construct” (Shore, 2007, p97). He also suggests that when an image is shallow mentally there is only a small sensation of the eye changing focus. I would guess that this is also true with an uncomplicated view and that our perception, experiences and mind can also affect the way we construct the image in a view and focus through it.

References: Shore, S (2007), The nature of photographs. 2nd edition. London. Phaidon

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