COURSEWORK: THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT

Exercise 4.5

Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screengrab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images. Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One. You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using juxtaposition, focus or framing. Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill Brandt. Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots. In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.

_MG_3799 ex   _MG_3802 ex

These images show how by moving around a subject you can present it in an entirely different way, in this case bringing two contrasting and unrelated subjects together to create a more interesting image.

I went through a similar process with this image moving until I could capture the weather vane next to a ferry on the sea._MG_3689 ex

I then moved on as suggested to explore and compare subjects in the conventional sense and to present them in a more original way.

Welsh Mountains My google search for mountains generated images of mountaintops in the distance with beautiful skies around them and sculptured rocks and or green valley’s in front of them, many with lakes in addition. I then narrowed the search to the specific mountain that I would be working with, Carnengli in Pembrokeshire. This generated images of the rocky summit with beautiful blue skies behind and colourful heathland in the foreground.

Welsh Mountains                                                              Carningli Mountain

carningli screen grab.JPG  carningli screen grab

 

These images are conformist to views of mountains general, picturesque, with rolling landscapes in the foreground, interesting skies behind and strong summits. Carningli Mountain is traditionally shown with the gorse and heather fields in front of it and often the pretty village nestling below it. The summit and its context are presented with clarity.

_MG_3813 ex  P1000374 ex _MG_4055 exMy shots include the summit so that a mountain summit (or Carningli in particular, to those local to it) is obvious. However I have is presented in an unconventional manner; either with the juxtaposition of the road sign (which was chosen for content and effect), as incidental appearing behind the fencing, or in a relationship to the chimney of a village house giving it an alternative context.

Strumble Head lighthousestrumble screen grab

These google images are conventional in that they generally show a fairly complete view of the subject (lighthouse). The images show the wider context of the lighthouse (landscape) and present it with blue or dramatic skies and often picturesque seas._MG_3718 ex   _MG_3721 ex  _MG_3737 ex   _MG_3733 ex  _MG_3730 ex

My images are less orthodox; their perspective, framing and or focus points create some relationships and contrasts and present the lighthouse as more abstract and incidental than in conventional images.

Norman church Towersnorman church towers

These google images generally present the towers in their context with the church. They most often have interesting skies and green grass in front of them. The towers are presented to highlight the importance of their size and shape. I offer some alternative images:

_MG_4077 ex    _MG_4078 ex

_MG_4072 exIn the final image my positioning and framing of the Norman tower renders the tower diminutive in contrast to the church façade, so that it appears incidental; it is not obvious what its relationship is to the church building in front of it and there are less other contextual clues than is traditional. In retrospect I would like to have lined up the centre of the tower with the centre guttering on the church façade, which would have also provided a more perfect and unusual symmetry, however as the objective was to creative and experimental I believe that this images meets the criteria.

 

 

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COURSEWORK: THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT

RESEARCH FOR EXERCISE 4.5

Bill Brandt 1904-1983

brandt 1  (Brandt, n.d)

 

Brandt wrote that he admired photography’s power to make people see the world anew, to experience it with “a sense of wonder.” (Smith, 2013). He had a distinctive visual style, which came from many different influences, documentary photography, surrealism, Brassai, Agtet, Paris then England. This resulted in a wide range of photography from night photography, portraits, landscapes, city views, to light bathed abstract female nudes taken from exaggerated viewpoints. Brandt saw this as his most important body of work, and many of his best pictures in the genre are in Perspective of Nudes (1961). He drew on Surrealist distortion, and shunning eroticism in favour of highly abstract compositions and psychological drama.

 

His “The English at Home” (1936) and “A Night in London” (1938) showed a variety of subject matter, particularly across different levels of the British class system: miners, parlor maids, wealthy Londoner’s, the London blackout. It was his feeling for social life – and for all types, from the working class to artists and writers – that lent distinction to his work”, (Houk, n.d).  He toured Britain to document the country’s most inspirational landscapes, from northern industrial towns to Hadrian’s Wall and Stonehenge. These were often uninhabited and melancholy with “a coldness about these pictures but also a haunting beauty” (Golden, 2013)

Many of his photographs invite questions, like “Belgravia, London” — in which a woman’s legs loom from the bottom of the image and makes us wonder where the photographer is.

brandt 2 (Admin 2012)

Whilst some like those taken on pebbly beaches seem strange as human parts are juxtapositioned on the pebbles.

brandt 3 (Admin, 2012)

 

He certainly preferred to rely on ‘camera vision’ rather than his own subjective vision: “Instead of photographing what I saw, I photographed what the camera was seeing. I interfered very little, and the lens produced anatomical images and shapes which my eyes had never observed”.                                                                          (Victoria and Albert Museum, n,d).

 

I am particularly inspired by his work and will experiment with some of his techniques, particularly juxtapositioning and abstraction.

Chris Steel Perkins (b 1949)

He joined Magnum in and began working in the Third World, most recently Afghanistan and Japan. His work has won several awards, including the The Robert Capa Gold Medal in 1989. He sometimes uses juxtapostioning and interesting framing. When asked “What’s the greatest picture you didn’t take?” He said “The one I missed yesterday, then the one I missed the day before” (Steele, 2011).

steel p (Steele-Perkins, n.d)

I especially like his unusual use of framing.

References:

Admin (2012) Bill Brandt – Inspiration from Masters of Photography. http://121clicks.com/inspirations/bill-brandt-inspiration-from-masters-of-photography (accessed 4.4.16).

 

Brandt (n.d). Bill Brandt Archive. The photography of Bill Brandt: http://www.billbrandt.com/ (accessed 4.4.16). 

Golden, R (2013) Masters of photography. (Third edition). London. Goodman books.

 

Houk, E, (n.d) Edwyn Houk gallery: http://www.houkgallery.com/artists/bill-brandt/ (accessed 4.4.16).

 

Smith, R (2013). A Camera Ravenous for Emotional Depth. Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light at MoMA. New York Times, page C21. 7.3.2013: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/arts/design/bill-brandt-shadow-and-light-at-moma.html?_r=0 (accessed 4.4.16).

 

Steele Perkins, C (24.1.11) Q & A. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/8278879/Chris-Steele-Perkins-QandA.html (accessed 4.4.16).

 

Steele Perkins, C (n.d) Chris Steele-Perkins. Magnum Photographer: http://www.chrissteeleperkins.com/# (accessed 4.4.16).

 

Victoria and Albert Museum (n.d) Bill Brandt Biography: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/bill-brandt-biography/ (accessed 4.4.16).