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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

LEARNING LOG: THE DECISIVE MOMENT

ASSIGNMENT 3

REFLECTIONS AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

  • This assignment drew on my visual awareness which I think is quite strong, but even so I was aware during the assignment how much further my observational skills deepened.
  • I used my instinctive compositional skills but learnt much at a mental level about what it is that completes a composition.
  • I used a lens that I had not used before which I had inherited (17-85mm) and broadened my tool kit in the future, I can be over reliant on my telephoto (16-300mm) and wide angle lens as I am so familiar with them.
  • I found it challenging on shutter speed where I predominantly use aperture priority; this maybe why I moved away from closer shots of people as I would have wanted to use depth of field to isolate subjects and moments. I did however learn how to use shutter speed to freeze at the optimum level in the assignment and to blur in the exercises.
  • I only used post production to clean up one image (because of shadows) I did reshoot on a different day to avoid this however I felt that the original image was the most decisive so used that one.

Quality of outcome:

  • I was much more confident during the editing process; I did set myself criteria to work against when choosing images, but alongside this I used my instinct about what was effective/interesting and found that my link for the series evolved spontaneously rather than being forced and that this was more satisfying.
  • I am sure the printing could be improved on, I used a professional laboratory and I will trial other printers in the future to compare.
  • I am aware that I have one portrait shot amongst 6 landscape shots, but the images were chosen for their individual strengths and the order that I have presented them in would be their “hanging” sequence.
  • I hope that I have presented and communicated my ideas effectively in my learning log and essay.

Demonstration of creativity:

  • During the exercise I was experimentally creative, especially in project 2 A durational space. I used my imagination alongside observation when I was shooting. I believe that it was my imagination and sideways thinking that led me to bringing environments and people together to create decisive moments.
  • I look forward to being more technically experimental in future assignments.

Context:

  • It was different for me to have a context which evolved during the shooting, this took me out of my comfort zone and was challenging but ultimately enjoyable.
  • I needed to do a lot of reflection to get myself into “the decisive moment” but particularly to discover what it meant to me.
  • I learnt  that a decisive moment can be spontaneously captured or patiently hunted, however I also learnt that the first shot, the first angle, the first idea is usually the best one – to be instinctive.
  • I applied my learning from the reading and exercises of Part three.
  • I realise the importance of continuing to research and visit exhibitions to broaden my knowledge, as I know I am at the tip of the iceberg and how useful knowledge is.

LEARNING LOG: THE DECISIVE MOMENT

RESEARCH FOR ASSIGNMENT 3

I had already researched some street photographers for Assignment 2, in particular Alex Webb, Garry Winogrand and William Klein, as well as reading tips from Eric Kim (see link). I have researched Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Frank during this project’s exercises and additionally investigated these photographer’s to further broaden my view.

Additional research in preparation for assignment 3 

Robert Doisneau

A French humanistic photo journalist (1912-1993) who was a “deft and amusing observer of the minor aspects of life and culture which define frenchness” (Golden 2003, p 62). He considered that “The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street (Pollack 1977, p 144). His work bridges documentary and art. He was innovative and combined modernism, surrealism and narrative in his photographs.

In 1950 Doisneau created his most recognizable work for Life magazine – Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), a photograph of a couple kissing in the Paris streets. Apparently he never liked the photograph, perhaps because he had posed it. More typical Doisneau images of the 1950s are unposed, but still carefully stalked and framed (children, prostitutes or market porters, and other street-dwellers in the unfashionable, parts of Paris). “He would often find a location, or a “stage” as he called it, and lie in wait for many hours for the right action or characters to arrive.” (Lichfield, 2010).  He has also been described as a photographer “with an eye on the world and a love for others” (Clark 2016).

Doisneau   Doisneau 2  Elliot Erwitt 3

Elliot Erwitt

A French documentary/commercial photographer with a sense of humour, who has captured some of the defining images of the 20th century. His images may sometimes look simple but on closer inspection are not. A “gently mocking and probing eye that has always preferred to look at life’s absurdities rather than its ills” (Golden 2003, p 74). He has been called a purveyor of the “non-photograph” and “combines a deceptively casual approach with an unrivalled, sometimes gloriously silly, visual sense of wit. (O’ Mahony 2003).

He has a masterful technique although believes that the instinct that creates great photography is casual and uncontrollable. He is widely considered a ‘master’ of the indecisive moment, as he captures the irony and absurd of daily life.

Elliot Erwitt 2   Elliot Erwitt Elliot Erwitt 3

Joel Meyerowitz

An award-winning New York photographer, who is a “street photographer” in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, although now workings exclusively in colour. He was instrumental in changing the attitude toward the use of colour photograph. Speaking to Sean O’ Hagen he said “A lot of what I am looking for is a moment of astonishment,” (Guardian 2012). He believes in “recognition and the power of the frame to put disparate, unrelated things together” (Kim). Meyerowitz often uses juxtaposition or constructs relationships between subjects.

Meyerowitz 1   Meyerowitz 2   meyerowitz 3

References:

Clark, D (2016) Diverse Doisneau in Amateur Photographer 18.14.16p 30-31.

Golden, R (2003) Masters of Photography. 3rd Ed. London. Goodman.

Kim, E (unknown) 82 lessons from the masters of street photography. E book.

Lichfield, J (2010) Robert Doisneau: A window into the soul of Paris, Independent Sunday 5 December 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/robert-doisneau-a-window-into-the-soul-of-paris-2151370.html (accessed 30.1.16)

O’ Hagen, S. (2012) Joel Meyerowitz: ‘brilliant mistakes … amazing accidents’. Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/nov/11/joel-meyerowitz-taking-my-time-interview (accessed 30.1.16).