Niki South    Student number: 514516


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Image 183: Exposure 1/1250, Aperture f\6.3, ISO 400, Focal length 133mm


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Image 134: Exposure 1/400, Aperture f\9, ISO 400, Focal length 300mm


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Image 128: Exposure 1/2000, Aperture f\5.6, ISO 400, Focal length 87mm


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Image: 34: Exposure 1/320, Aperture  f\10, ISO 400 Focal length 52mm


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Image 172: Exposure 1/100, Aperture f\13, ISO 400, Focal length 92mm


LR -3416 final 1500


Image 56: Exposure 1/320, Aperture f\18, ISO 400, Focal length 141mm


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Image 147: Exposure 1/800, Aperture f\11, ISO 400, Focal length 48mm


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Image 67: Exposure 1/640, Aperture f\11, ISO 400, Focal length 17mm


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Image 38: Exposure 1/500, Aperture f\11, ISO 400, Focal length 16mm


 LR -3480 1500


Image 109: Exposure 1/500, Aperture f\6.3, ISO 400, Focal length 300mm






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



Niki South Student number: 514516



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.


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.


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).


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:

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:


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:


Anon (n.d). The Art of Documentary Photography. National gallery of Art Washington (Accessed 27.3.16).

 Blees Luxemburg, R (2015) “Photography is a powerful tool”: (accessed 27.4.16).

Emer (2012). Rut Blees Luxemburg. (Accessed 12.4.16).

Delahaye, L. Cited in: O’Hagan, S (2014) Michael Schmidt Obituary. Guardian online. 28 May 2014: (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 (accessed 27.3.16).




Niki South Student number: 514516


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.


Anon (nd) Uta Barth Biography.

Fallis G (nd) Uta Barth.

 Link to work submitted to tutor:

Link to learning log:

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


mind map preparations



mind map shooting



mind map editing







Niki South   Student number: 514516


No smoking_MG_1668 crop print lighten 20 1500Exposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/ 5.6, ISO 640, Focal length 82mm

Metal man_MG_1260 print.jpgExposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/ 5.0, ISO 800, Focal length 44mm

Never grow up!_MG_1712 exp crop print lightened 1500Exposure 1/250 sec, Aperture f/ 6.3, ISO 400, Focal length 28mm

Ambush_MG_1803.jpgExposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/ 5.6, ISO 800, Focal length 63mm

Convergence_MG_1690 used.jpgExposure 1/400 sec, Aperture f/ 5, ISO 400, Focal length 44mm

The eye_MG_1277 Print lighten 1500Exposure 1/640 sec, Aperture f/ 4, ISO 500, Focal length 28mm

Think safety_MG_1626 used.jpgExposure 1/250 sec, Aperture f/8, ISO 400, Focal length 39mm



Niki South Student number: 514516


Brief: Submit a set of between six and eight high-quality photographic prints on the theme of the ‘decisive moment’. Street photography is the traditional subject of the decisive moment, but it doesn’t have to be. Landscape may also have a decisive moment of weather, season or time of day. A building may have a decisive moment when human activity and light combine to present a ‘peak’ visual moment.

You may choose to create imagery that supports the tradition of the ‘decisive moment’, or you may choose to question or invert the concept. Your aim isn’t to tell a story, but in order to work naturally as a series there should be a linking theme, whether it’s a location, an event or a particular period of time.

Assignment notes: Submit assignment notes of between 500 and 1,000 words with your series. Introduce your subject and describe your ‘process’ – your way of working. Then briefly state how you think each image relates to the concept of the decisive moment. This will be a personal response as there are no right or wrong answers in a visual arts course. 


The decisive moment is not a dramatic climax but a visual one: the result is not a story but a picture.                                  (Swarkowski, 2007, p.5)

As I had used street photography in with my previous assignment I tested other ideas initially; I wanted a different challenge. I experimented with capturing sea spray and waves, but found that though beautiful pictures, overall they lacked interest. I resolved then to return to street photography for this assignment, but try to find “my difference”.

I  reconsidered the meaning of the decisive moment. Cartier Bresson defines the decisive moment as, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” (Cartier Bresson, 1952). Others are decisive in different ways; Erwitt for instance instinctively pursuing absurdities (Golden 2003, p74), Diosneau waiting patiently (Lichfield, 2010), or Meyrowitz seeking astonishment, (O’Hagen, 2012), juxtaposition or constructing relationships.

Link to research page:

I agree the decisive moment is “that infinitely small and unique moment in time which cannot be repeated, and that only the photographic lens can capture”. (Zouhaighazzi, 2004); however to discover what this meant in reality I headed onto the streets to capture images.


I learnt much about the practical aspects of street photography during my previous assignment, so I set out this time concentrating on really looking, observing and to capture some shots planned with strong geometrical composition and some spontaneous “moments”; I had starting ideas for subject matter and intended to present in monochrome to present a difference to my India street photography.

See planning mind map:

Whilst capturing I found that my style of looking was evolving. Often I composed a shot, even took it, then looked deeper and noticed something else adjacent or within more visually interesting. I quickly learnt to look deeper at the outset. From the first shoot I found some of my best images were those where there was a visually pleasing background or graphics where a person added substantially to the image. I began to pursue this theme. On my second shoot I returned to some locations to see if I could improve on any images and search for more; however my first shoot was the best and often the first shot in a series was the most effective. I generally found that if I waited too long for the completion of the composition, then the image appeared contrived. Converse to my plan, I realised that colour was important and enhanced my visual messages.

When editing I strove for “beauty in a fragment of time”, a fleeting precise organisation of form, as well as images that linger, engage the viewer or poses questions. I additionally looked for:

  • Images with ambiguity or open to interpretation by the viewer.
  • Juxtaposition.
  • A graphic and/or visual message.
  • Contrast
  • A synergistic relationship between an environment and a person.

The theme for the series emerged: Images where the relationship between the environment and person create a decisive moment.

See link to editing mind map:

Technically I set the shutter speed to freeze the moment. I used my 16-300mm telephoto lens for the first shoot and after discovering that my images were all shot under 85mm I used my 17-85mm lens for the second shoot.

  • To give homogeny to the series I used eye level viewpoint throughout and composed full frame, where I have cropped I maintain the original 3:2 ratio.
  • I have presented in colour as in most images it accents an important visual component or creates a contrast in an otherwise urban coloured scene.
  • The compositions were instinctive rather than fulfilling any rules. Framing mainly focuses attention into the images, separating the contents from their context. Focus is balanced between the environment and the person. Some images are more depictive than mental (Convergence and Metal man), whilst some function on a depictive and mental level (for instance, Smoking, Ambush, the Eye (Shore 2007, p 97).


  1. No smoking: As I rounded the corner I saw simultaneously the graphics of the man with the cigar and the man smoking beside it; the addition of the no smoking sign and the cigarette butts on the floor was a bonus. Realising the significance of this combination I shot quickly to capture it.
  2. Metal Man: This image is a picture not a story, created by waiting for a decisive moment. I was attracted to the metal shutter, stairs and rails but I needed something to create a picture. In my several attempts lying in wait, this “grey, sharp” man appeared with his unknowing face and metal briefcase; He created the visual climax of a “precise organisation of forms” (Cartier Bresson,1952).
  3. Never grow up: The graffiti clearly needed a human touch to create a picture. I knew if I waited the right person could turn this from a potential picture to a strong story. These subjects were a perfect enactment of the graphics and their exact location on the pavement was critical to the composition.
  4. Ambush: The idea behind this shot was at first accidental. I was focusing on gestures of a man and then noticed his backdrop. I moved in to create a possibility for an interesting composition, taking a number of shots experimenting with passer-by’s looking for juxtaposition, ambiguity, contrast or relationships. I choose this moment to shoot as the people and the positioning created a mini drama.
  5. Convergence: I found this building and graphics on a quiet street and knew that to complete the visual picture I should capture people exactly the correct position  in the frame (converging) and against the graphics to complete the geometry of the composition and to emphasise the graphic message.
  6. The eye: I was firstly attracted to the line of bicycles and waited for a cyclist to appear to complete the composition. The eye was part of the pattern of image, however it wasn’t until I reviewed the images on site that I was really aware of the importance of the eye visually. I shot more but ultimately chose this first subject, as they seem to be looking at the eye looking at them; which creates tension and empathy. So my first impulse had been the decisive moment.
  7. Think safety: I was attracted by the graffiti background as a pattern and the text of the notices. I framed some pleasing compositions and hoped additionally for something interesting or even “unsafe” to occur, it didn’t. However I seized the moment when this man in the safety jacket appeared giving emphasis to the textual messages and completing a pleasing composition.


What worked well:            

  • I feel that all of the images are decisive moments, they were the perfect moment to press the button.
  • My observational skills deepened enormously during the shooting and editing.
  • Flexibility with the assignment. Unlike my previous assignments I was fluid in my thoughts and preparation and much more instinctive when shooting.
  • Working with colour in a different way, as an accent rather than as a main component.
  • I was more decisive and instinctive when editing and forming the series.

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

  • Now I am in a more decisive mode and have learnt that often the first shot is the best, I will try to take less images to catch the image that I want.
  • Technically I would like to move to from shutter priority to manual.


Cartier Bresson, H. (1952). The Decisive Moment, New York: Simon & Schuster.

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

Lichfield, J (2010. Robert Doisneau: A window into the soul of Paris, Independent Sunday 5 December 2010. (accessed 30.1.16).

O’ Hagen, S. (2012). Joel Meyerowitz: ‘brilliant mistakes … amazing accidents’. Guardian. (accessed 30.1.16).

Shore, S (2007).The nature of photographs. 2nd edition. London. Phaidon.

Szarkowski, J (2007). The Photographer’s Eye. New York: MoMA.

Zouhairghazzal (2004). The indecisiveness of the decisive moment. (accessed 28.2.2015).


Niki South Student number: 514516


My Tutors feedback has given me much encouragement.

Strengths highlighted:

  • Scouting, planning and patience whilst shooting.
  • Editing from lots of images post shooting, as well as reviewing and reshooting whilst on location- This I was especially pleased about because I felt after my last assignment that this was an area that I needed to develop, and had lost confidence in; this time I had more of a “feel for it”, I was instinctive about which were the images to choose.
  • Forming a cohesive project – I struggled with this more the previous assignment, I believe I overthought it at first; however this time I found that the idea for the series for emerged almost by itself as I was editing, and I went with the flow.
  • The use of humour – This was a relief as was nervous about how that would be perceived.
  • My visual and conceptual viewpoints.
  • Creativity – I was particularly pleased about the positive comments about this as I had set out on the streets to “find my difference “and thought that one had emerged. This happened in part as I took my tutors advice from the previous assignment on not over planning, and being flexible whilst working through the assignment.
  • My self-reflection.

Areas for development:

  • Study the images to see whether they need any post processing (a couple would benefit from lifting the shadows).
  • Consider slower shutter speeds if needing to increase depth of field (for the future).
  • Trying a “pop of flash” when shooting on the streets (for the future).

My own Learning points:

  • To trust my instinct, remain flexible throughout an assignment and have more confidence in my photography.
  • That recognising the decisive moment, and acting instantaneously is essential to successful photography.
  • To move to using manual settings as a default.

Link to work submitted to tutor:

Link to learning log:The Decisive Moment:

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

Preparations notes:

planning mind map

 Post shooting notes:

Post shoot mind map

 Editing notes:

Editing mind map