LEARNING LOG ASSIGNMENT 5: PHOTOGRAPHY IS SIMPLE

REFLECTIONS AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

  • I believe that I have shown a good degree of “looking” for detail, the wider picture, visually pleasing aspects and composition.
  • Unusually I have cropped some of the images, although only two significantly, to ensure that the viewer will be focussed on the aspect that I intended; I felt this was justified in order to focus the viewer where I wanted to, not to improve their composition.
  • Technically the shoot was challenging, with a high degree of movement constantly (wind, sea, and boat), a tight working space moving around crew and equipment, and the sometimes unhelpful position of the sun at a “decisive moment”. I am aware that although I did my best, some of the images may have suffered a little for this, however I still think the aspects and concepts that I present are most important.

Quality of outcome:

  • When shooting I was looking for variety of viewpoints with some difference, but also an awareness of what information these images would offer. I deliberately looked for some images that would be ambiguous and need some unravelling, to maintain the viewer’s interest.
  • During editing after picking a short list of images, I next adopted a more analytical approach than in my last assignment (see my grid in my learning log: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a5-learning-log/).This worked well for me and helped ensure that I met the brief for a variation of “moments” and unique information in each shot.
  • I applied this approach partly to the ordering of the images within the series; but thought foremost about slowly revealing my subject, by not giving away too much in the first images and leaving questions in the viewer’s minds. As a final stage I considered the overall visual effect and balance.
  • I hope I’ve communicated my though processes in my learning log. 

Demonstration of creativity

  • Considering the informational aspects of this assignment I have been imaginative in the way that I’ve approached it. I had to think creatively to present a variety of images of the boat whilst actually contained on it, and am pleased that I thought laterally and included the porta cabin to give a final complete image of the boat.
  • I definitely took risks and initially moved outside of my comfort zone; firstly when seizing the opportunity to shoot this subject for my assignment, “in the moment”. I also took risks with the technical challenges that photographing this subject posed.
  • The assignment brief was not one that I would have chosen and I don’t think it gave me huge scope for showing my personal voice; however in my interpretation I hope that I have shown my creativity, eye for detail, unusual viewpoint and love of shape and colour.

Context:

  • I reflected throughout the exercises and assignment and have recorded this.
  • When researching for the assignment I first explored documentary photography, but realised that this wasn’t really relevant as the brief was encouraging me to present something I was comfortable with and  say something about me. I then explored the way that we read images to help me put the series together, as I realised that they would reflect my specific viewpoint “We need not only to see the image, but also to read it as the active play of a visual language “(Clarke, 1997, p 29).
  • I also researched throughout the exercises and recorded this on my blog.
  • I thought critically to consider how my images, and the order of them, would affect the way they were read by the viewer. I was also aware that as most viewers would not be sailors, the literal meaning, which Clarke (p 30, 1997) calls denotative, would be more accessible than the connotative visual clues; for instance the dangling legs of the passengers sitting on the boom suggesting the sea conditions were benign and how the sails used and their fullness give clues as to the wind and sea conditions.
  • Reflecting on what the subject says about me , I would hope it shows my love of sailing, outdoors, and history, the importance of a personal connection, as well of my sense of adventure; see my Assignment notes: https://nkssite.wordpress.com/category/a5-analysis/
  • Choosing The Jolie Brise as my subject also told me how much my confidence and photographic skills had developed over a year, as when I sailed on her a year ago I took very few photos.

Reference:

Clarke, G (1997) The Photograph. New York. Oxford University Press.

LEARNING LOG: PART 5 PHOTOGRAPHY IS SIMPLE

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:

mind map planning

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:

mindmap shooting

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:

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:

Analysis grid 2

 

Images last to be eliminated:

_MG_3396 1500     _MG_3482 crop 1500

_MG_3381 crop 1500     _MG_3409 1500

_MG_3341 1500   _MG_3441 1500