ASSIGNMENT4: LANGUAGES OF LIGHT

Niki South    Student number: 514516

Final Images

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Image 178:exposure 1/320, Aperture f/13, ISO 400, focal length 151mm

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 Image 57: Exposure 1/320sec, Aperture f/11, ISO 400, Focal length 77mm

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Image 168: Exposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/11, ISO 400, Focal length 103mm

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Image 69: Exposure 1/200 sec, Aperture f/11, ISO 400, focal length 48 mm

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Image 157: Exposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/11, ISI 400 133mm

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Image 42: Exposure 1/320 sec, Aperture f/8, ISO 400, Focal length 162mm

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Image 89: Exposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/13, ISO 400, Focal length 100mm

 

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ASSIGNMENT 4: LANGUAGES OF LIGHT

Niki South Student number: 514516

FINAL NOTES AND ANALYSIS

BRIEF

Revisit one of the exercises on daylight, artificial light or studio light from Part Four (4.2, 4.3 or 4.4) and prepare it for formal assignment submission:

  • Create a set of between six and ten finished images. For the images to work naturally as a series there should be a linking theme, for instance a subject, or a particular period of time.
  • Include annotated contact sheets of all of the photographs that you’ve shot for the exercise (see notes on the contact sheet in Part Three).
  • Assignment notes are an important part of every assignment. Begin your notes with an introduction outlining why you selected this particular exercise for the assignment, followed by a description of your ‘process’ (the series of steps you took to make the photographs). Reference at least one of the photographers mentioned in Part Four in your assignment notes, showing how their approach to light might link in to your own work. Conclude your notes with a personal reflection on how you’ve developed the exercise in order to meet the descriptors of the Creativity criteria. Write 500–1,000 words.

 Include a link (or scanned pages) to Exercise 4.5 in your learning log for your tutor’s comments.

INTRODUCTION TO SUBJECT

Working on exercise 4.2 daylight “a combination of direct light from the sun, from the sky, and light reflected by the clouds” (Prakel, 2007, p58), stimulated me to further explore daylight and its impact on photography.  I was fascinated by: colour temperature, clarity, the quality of shadows and reflections, all this without the additional effects of location, season and sudden localised changes. I researched light conditions and considered carefully the impact of different lighting that occurs during daylight, their influence on photography and how to use to their advantage. Previously I avoided shooting at less favourable times of the day and now challenged myself to work with the light, consciously turning it to my advantage.

 MY PROCESS

I experimented with daylight at midday, the beginning and end of the day, to see which would best lend itself to a particular subject. I was influenced at the outset by Michael Schmidt and Eugene Atget. Both photographers worked with midday sun, presenting subjects in a documentary manner, “Photography was invented to enable us to portray reality with complete precision to the last detail” (Schmidt, 1979). Atget also “sought to illuminate his subject with even clarity, to best convey information” (Anon, n.d).

After initial experimentation, I found that photographing angular modern urban buildings in the midday light yielded interesting images and focused on shooting these. Reviewing my first images of the buildings in monotone, I decided to depart from the monotones that Atget and Schmidt used, as I considered in colour light reflected in the vertical surfaces was more visually interesting and presented the saturated colours evolving from harsh midday sun most effectively.

As I worked into the light reflected in the predominantly glass surfaces of these buildings, I recalled the work of Rut Blees Luxumberg, containing representations of urban phenomenon, revealing often abstract detail with glows of light, colour and tone.  Although shooting in daylight, I also was capturing some interesting colours and effects, bringing out details that might not otherwise been obvious. She suggests photography has the capacity to critically deconstruct the present, “photography is a powerful tool to question received notions of representation…to give visual pleasure” (Blees Luxemburg, 2015).

RBL

In deeper 1999. Blees Luxemburg (Emer 2012).

Despite their neutrality Schmidt’s photographs also “retain an opacity, a mystery and they become a support for our imagination”, (Delahaye, 2014). I continued shooting to capture images that were less obvious, a support for the imagination and gave alternative representations of urban buildings; I found I could do this by exploiting reflections of light in the buildings. When researching I found the “Fallout” (2014) work by Jonny Savage and noted how he used reflections to create layers in his images.

Link to research page: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a4-research/

Because of the short daily window for stark overhead lighting and only occasional bright sunny days, I returned many times for short shoots, often reworking the same locations, buildings and reflection with slightly different light, perspective and exposures.

When editing my priority was to fulfil the creativity criteria: imagination, invention, experimentation and personal voice. I shortlisted images which I thought were the most interesting, whole or partial reflections of light, steering away from representations which were less challenging for the viewer. When forming the series I ordered the images to break the rhythm of the photographs, by varying form and colour, to maintain interest for the viewer as they move through them.

See link to learning log for mind maps on preparations, shooting and editing: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a4-learning-log/

REFLECTION

How well have I developed the exercise to meet the creativity criteria?

Experimentation: I realised after exercise 4.2 that I usually shoot to avoid the midday sun, so challenged myself with these lighting conditions, therefore taking some risks. Using harsh overhead daylight was unforgiving and exposed some technical challenges: possibilities for blown out details, excessive contrast and light spots. I tried to overcome these by avoiding shooting with sky detail included in compositions under the brightest sun; instead then focusing on buildings vertical surfaces entirely, to avoid different relative exposures. I used cloudier days to include sky detail and shot away from the sun. I was careful of dark shadows, but did use it deliberately on my 1st image to emphasise the contrast between an actual building and its lighter reflection.

Imagination: I tried to capture imaginative images and look deeply. I found it quite difficult to vary perspective physically as these buildings were sited around a busy road system with limited pedestrian access (although I did manage to get in some unusual spots); I was unable to gain much height to photograph but did get underneath some buildings. I tried to compensate by using the reflections themselves to give a variety of visual access to the buildings. My thought processes were fluid which led to experimentation with abstract reflections and saturated colours.

Invention: Photographing the effects of reflected light in urban buildings, emphasising distortions, abstraction and colour was new to me; it has probably been shot by others but I have not come across similar myself. I hope that I have made the conventional more interesting.

Personal voice: It is becoming clear to me that I love to work with colour, this may come from my background in fashion and textiles. In my final images I deliberately choose images that appear either as brown tones in cloudy daylight, and as a contrast those accentuated by diffuse sky radiation in sunny daylight, which appear very blue. I sequenced these to alternate as much as possible in my series.

Additional reflections:

What worked well:

  • Fluid thinking and hence evolving ideas
  • Observational skills
  • Manual exposures
  • Experimentation
  • Use of colour
  • Use of manual settings

 What didn’t work so well and how the series might be improved in the future:

  • I’m sure I still have much to learn to improve my technical skills
  • I used auto white balance and it will be interesting to see how I can use this when I have the confidence to vary it
  • To continue to strive for varying perspectives
  • To use post production to enhance the images, as I tend to be quite pure, and compose and get things as I want them in camera.

 

Link to exercise 4.5: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/exercise-4-5/

 REFERENCES

Anon (n.d). The Art of Documentary Photography. National gallery of Art Washington www.nga.gov/feature/atget/bio.shtm (Accessed 27.3.16).

 Blees Luxemburg, R (2015) “Photography is a powerful tool”: http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/photography-and-film/art525886-photography-is-a-powerful-tool-artist-rut-blees-luxemburg-on-her-new-exhibition-at-the-museum-of-london (accessed 27.4.16).

Emer (2012). Rut Blees Luxemburg.

http://www.photoforager.com/archives/rut-blees-luxemburg (Accessed 12.4.16).

Delahaye, L. Cited in: O’Hagan, S (2014) Michael Schmidt Obituary. Guardian online. 28 May 2014:  

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/28/michael-schmidt. (Accessed 27.3.16).

 Prakel, D (2007). LIGHTING. New York. AVA Publishing SA.

Schmidt, M. (1979) Thoughts about my way of working’ in Camera Magazine #3 (March 1979) in http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/10/michael-schmidt-thoughts-about-my-way-of-working-1979.html (accessed 27.3.16).

 

 

ASSIGNMENT 4: LANGUAGES OF LIGHT

Niki South Student number: 514516

REFLECTIONS ON FORMATIVE FEEDBACK

My Tutors feedback has gave me encouragement, confidence and further food for thought.

Strengths highlighted:

  • The way that I explored and used various possibilities of light.
  • That the planning, notes and research support the images and explain the rational and methods.
  • I was particularly pleased that my Tutor commented on the sharpness and good exposures of the images as this was the first time that I had consistently shot in full manual mode and this had been a challenge for me in the harsh midday lighting conditions. I also noted this as a development point for myself after the last assignment.
  • The successful forming of a series. This I was relieved about as the series had evolved as I shot and subsequently edited, and was concerned that I may have strayed too far or misinterpreted the brief as it was unlike any other work I had seen for this assignment.
  • My creative concept combined with my choice of light. It seems that from my exercises and development work I was able to correctly assess the best light conditions for my subject.
  • Following on since assignment 2, when I lost my confidence to edit my images, it seems in the last two assignments, that my more fluid process and thinking is working well. 

Areas for development:

  • To ensure that I “kill any babies” during editing. I completely agree that the first image (29) does not fit as well as the others in the series and have dropped it from my final submission. This was definitely a case where I held onto the image for too long in the editing process because it was one the earliest images which I “liked”.
  • To take a step away from subject matter and develop my seeing eye, as in the work of Uta Barth whose photography “ isn’t about what is seen in the photograph; it’s about the very act of seeing”. (Fallis, nd).

 My Learning points:

  • To continue to trust my instinct, remain flexible throughout an assignment and have more confidence in my photography.
  • To continue to research widely and follow up on the photographers suggested by my Tutor. I particularly like the work of Uta Barth who “has made visual perception the subject of her work” (Anon, nd) and will explore further the work of Keld Helmer-Peterson.
  • To continue to learn how to voice the rationale behind my images; although my tutor commented that my explanations supported my images well, his comments seem to describe my rationale in both a more artistic and interesting language.

 References:

Anon (nd) Uta Barth Biography.  http://www.tanyabonakdargallery.com/artists/uta-barth/series-photography

Fallis G (nd) Uta Barth. http://www.utata.org/sundaysalon/uta-barth/

 Link to work submitted to tutor: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a4-work-submitted-to-tutor/

Link to learning log: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a4-learning-log/

The following mind maps summarise the narrative of my preparations, post-shooting thoughts and editing notes contained in the learning log.

Preparations:

mind map preparations

 

Shooting:

mind map shooting

 

Editing:

mind map editing