ASSIGNMENT FIVE: PHOTOGRAPHY IS SIMPLE
NIKI SOUTH Student no: 514516
Subject: This was initially easy to choose: The local Boat Club in Pembrokeshire. It is the social and active hub of my life there, as it is for most locals, and I thought it would give me plenty of scope.
I brainstormed what it meant to me: socialising, drinking, sheltering, sailing, rowing, kayaking, racing, musical gigs, just as a start. I believed it would be relatively simple to capture unique views with new information with this wide choice of aspects. I decided that I would capture events occurring outside of the clubhouse, as the boat club is the facilitator for all of these events and the interior is incidental. I had to consider that as I don’t spend all of my time in the area I would have to shoot over different visits and hope that within my time limit I would be able to capture the variety of events, weather and contexts that I wanted.
Original planning mind map:
I decided that I would present the assignment as a “slow reveal” with early images being abstract, partial and leading into more revealing contextual shots. I began shooting to my plan and then left Pembrokeshire for Hampshire and shelved the project for a couple of weeks.
Change of subject: Then out of the blue another opportunity presented itself, I was invited for a day’s sailing. I almost didn’t take my camera as I had sailed on this boat the previous year, and found photographic opportunities limited, but luckily I just couldn’t leave my camera behind.
I spent about 6 hours on the boat and initially just shot for interest; it was only during the 2nd half of the day it occurred to me that I could use the boat as the subject for my assignment. I found surprisingly that I was shooting lots of images; this was telling in itself for me as it highlighted how much more confident as a photographer I had become over the past year. I reviewed what I’d shot, recalled my planning for my previous subject (luckily this was fresh in my mind) and assessed what else I would need to capture during the day to meet my brief. I actually enjoyed the pressure that this put me under. Shooting conditions weren’t easy as there was constant movement from the boat and the wind, it was a sunny day and I had to work with the direction of the sun as it presented on the boat according to the boat’s shifting position. Had I not planned the assignment already I would not have been able to work with this window of opportunity and shoot for the assignment brief.
Original shooting mind map:
Shooting: At the forefront of my mind was the need for shots with new information, a variety of viewpoints, and my original desire to present the series of images as a “slow reveal” and to “look” for a difference. As I had to capture all on this day, there would be no further opportunities, I had to be sure to secure a variety of moments and viewpoints.
My first concern during my on the spot translation of my original subject planning into a new subject, was how to capture a complete shot of the boat for the end of the series, whilst I was on the boat all day; it would not be possible to shoot the boat sailing from a distance. I resolved to get the most complete view of the boat that I could by climbing out onto the bowsprit (a net suspended at the stern/front of the boat); even once there it was tricky due to the instability and movement of the net supporting me and the boat. Later I observed a passenger drinking from a promotional mug of the boat so zoomed in and took a shot of this to show another more complete view of the boat. I also recalled before leaving shore the boat’s porta cabin emblazoned with a complete image of the vessel. I shot this at the end of the day. Other than these shots the other images I wanted, I either had or found them by “looking” during the afternoon.
Technically it was a challenging shoot, due to reasons already mentioned; constant movement, the often unhelpful position of the sun, bright daylight and staying mobile myself and out of the crew’s way. However I enjoyed the challenge. I generally shot with aperture priority so I could control the depth of field but work quickly, as I knew due to the light conditions I would get a fast shutter speed, which I needed to counteract movement.
Editing: I revisited the brief and set out in a mind map things that I should consider when choosing the 10 images.
Mind map editing:
Initially I chose 10 images and ordered them and set out information in a grid (see below) to record what information or specifically new information each image contained. This helped me to evaluate which were strong candidates. The next stage took me several days as I left the images laid out and returned to them repeatedly. I was keen to include my end on view of the tiller but eliminated this as I thought it was too obscure and didn’t contain enough information. I eliminated the flag with the sea on the horizon as you could see the boat at sea in the image “Enjoying“. I added the “Reefing” image for both its additional information and to add further human presence to the series, and then the “Promoting” image to give the completest view of the vessel.
I spent some time rearranging the order of the series from the original in the editing mind map to the final order. I knew I should present the most ambiguous images first (Dangling, Tying, Climbing) before giving the subject away by showing the sails and then views of the boat, ending with the most complete view of the boat. I then broke up the close up images containing factual information (“Owning, “Beginnings“) with the “Reefing” image.
Image analysis Grid:
Images last to be eliminated: