Reflection Following Tutor Feedback on Assignment 2

I’m feeling kind of raw about this, so it may not be the best time to post, but on the other hand, ‘strike while the iron is hot’. I Shall focus on certain aspects of feedback first, and then broaden my view and see how I feel.

Specific Points

“I am sorry that you were confused about certain elements of the brief Steve. Annoyingly, there are no hard and fast rules about what you should photograph and what you intend to include within a series. Really this section of the unit is to get you to think about how you can present a coherent series of pictures that considers slightly different aspects of an overarching idea or set of themes.”  White (2017)

The problem I had was not with the subject matter, it was with what was supposed to be demonstrated. The way the assignment was worded, it initially looked like a demonstration of the various different skills from the previous exercises was required. Things then changed tack, and it became apparent (though I didn’t recognise this until far too late) that one particular format was to be adhered to. The key phrase, in reference to focal length/aperture setting, (and which I initially missed) was “you should keep the same combination throughout.” ‘Should’… not ‘could’.

“It is great that you have chosen a subject that you are clearly interested (mildly obsessed?) with. It is better to deal with the things we are interested in than attempt to bolt an interest on to something that we perhaps feel we should deal with. However, it does feel that you fell back to something that was easier to work with.” White (2017)

I have Asperger’s Syndrome, so obsession is a way of life.

I didn’t really fall back on something easier to work with. As I said in my submission, while the subject matter was something I’m more familiar with, the manner of photographing it was far from my comfort zone. The original plan was, for me, far easier.

The final choice of subject matter was dictated by the fact that I only had two days before the deadline when I realised I had made an error in interpreting the brief.

“However, what is it that each image adds to the reading? How can you use the skills at your disposal to ask questions about this particular collection of objects? Could you begin to ask about the need for humans to collect things? Or about how collectors are often seen as outsiders or obsessives or nerds etc.?” White (2017)

There was nothing in the brief and there has been nothing in the coursework covering any aspect of meaning or interpretation in this manner. I realise that such things are an important aspect of art/photography, and I expect such things to come up later, but if something is not mentioned in the brief, or at any point in the material so far….

This feels like moving the goalposts.

I can create conceptual art until the cows come home, but when I have a brief to work to, I try to provide what has been asked for.

Society has moved on. ‘Nerds’ (I prefer to call myself a geek) and ‘Geek Culture’ are now considered cool and part of the mainstream. “However, geek culture is becoming increasingly mainstream…” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142200 McCain (2015)

“What if you were to arrange some of the objects to begin to look like some kind of utopian city? Or by photographing in selective ways suggest that these things are in fact state of the art and not obsolete? What is it about these images that so clearly tells us that they are out of date, colour, material, shape?” White (2017)

It is not part of my methodology (my own voice?) to move or arrange things to create an image. I try to show things as they are, and view or interpret them through the use of the camera, not the manipulation of the objects themselves. To do otherwise would, to my mind, be contrived. These images fall far more into ‘documentary’ than ‘still life’.

Why would I want to suggest that they are state of the art objects? They are not. If the brief were to ‘represent something as opposite of what it is’, that would be fine, but it is not. I find the very idea, somehow, wrong.

There is nothing specific about these images that says the objects are out of date. That was not my intention. As I said in my submission notes “It may be that the viewer is unaware of the details of the object entirely, and quite unlikely that they will be aware of any ‘retro futurist’ aspect or context. The viewer is forced to look at specific fine details, or vague forms or shapes, and to interpret what they see in whatever manner suits them.”

If I am trying to send any kind of message with this series, it is “what a thing is and how you view it, may not be, and do not have to be, related”

“Although I understand that you were worried about adhering to the brief but after looking at your Church images, I wonder if it would have not been a better idea to continue to wrestle with this subject than to fall back on something that is practically easier to photograph?” White (2017)

As I stated in my submission notes, there was not enough material to create a coherent set, and coherence appeared to be the main objective of the brief. There was neither the time, nor suitable weather to take more shots.

What I fell back on was not practically easier to photograph. That the objects were in my own home did not make the task easier. Shooting with a tripod in a very confined space, while it’s warmer, is a lot more stressful for a person who suffers sensory overload, than shooting in a graveyard.

“Think about how you could have utilized the different technical approaches to photographic image making in order to suggest very different readings of the same actual building.

If you think about the definition of a series that I gave in the initial part of this feedback, in the church example, there would have been a coherence set by the use of the same building but each image would add another way of seeing the same space.” White (2017)

This is something I considered doing before going for a different subject. The problem here is, while the brief is written in a very confusing manner, its meaning, when finally appreciated, is specific, and it requires one specific technique to be adhered to.

So, my choices were, adhere to the brief and change subject matter due to time/weather and produce something less interesting… or stick with the original set and produce something that does not conform to the specifics of the brief.

It seems that neither one is a satisfactory solution, but I had to ask myself, when submitting for formal assessment, would the assessors mark me down for not adhering to the brief? Or more specifically… why would they not?

“The series as a whole would be more successful if the nature of these objects were to subtly unfold as the series progresses.” White (2017)

This is interesting. I placed the images in their current order based  on their place in computing/gaming history. Taking a less literal approach makes sense given that my intention was to detach the aesthetic of the object from what it actually is.

A Wider View

So, taking a wider view, partly of my own reaction to this feedback, and partly of how I shall address it.

As is probably clear from the tone of my responses, I’m feeling a combination of frustration and irritation.

I’m very frustrated by the vague nature of the assignments, and on occasion, the coursework itself. I understand that interpretation is a big part of creative work, but I also know that when working at degree level, if there are specific requirements, they should be addressed. I feel there are conflicting messages here, and that troubles me.

I feel irritated by some of the feedback. Some of this will surely be down to my own grumpy and irritable nature. From my perspective, I feel like my tutor has made remarks on aspects of my submission that ignore statements that I made.

I feel irritated that his advice contradicts the requirements of the brief. Would an assessor take such an open view, at formal assessment?

Having said that, I have to ponder… what if I had never even mentioned my aborted project in the church yard?

What if I had presented this assignment in its current form, and concentrated on explaining what it was about?

What if I had not been open about my hobby, where these items are, and what my interest in them is?

I am thinking sometimes less is more. Rather than telling the story of how I came to produce the series that I did, I should have presented it in isolation. Use the limited word count to explore the set I created in more detail.

I definitely need to explore my own interpretations of my work in my submissions, lest interpretations that are a million miles from my intention are attributed to them.

On the topic of ‘finding your own voice’… I recognise that it is a tutor’s job to encourage students to find theirs. Thing is… I already known what mine is. I just haven’t expressed it or explored it openly. It is in much (though not all, due to requirements of exercises and assignments) of my work. It just isn’t obvious. I need to address this.

Conclusion

I shall do two things, and then make a decision.

  1. I shall, when the weather permits, go back to the church yard and take more shots, conforming to a specific style/format.
  2. I shall re-write the notes for the computer/gaming set I submitted, exploring the work I actually submitted, and remove any mention of the aborted set.

Whichever of these turns out best will be the assignment that I submit for assessment.

A final note to myself: Be sure I have fully understood the brief in future assignments before I start shooting. Get a second opinion.

Reference

McCain, J (2015) A Psychological Exploration of Engagement in Geek Culture AT http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142200 (Accessed 12/1/2017)

White, M (2017) Formative Feedback [Email attachment sent to Steve Challis 11th January 2017]

Advertisements

Assignment 2: Tutor Feedback

Original Feedback Document

Overall Comments

 I am sorry that you were confused about certain elements of the brief Steve. Annoyingly, there are no hard and fast rules about what you should photograph and what you intend to include within a series. Really this section of the unit is to get you to think about how you can present a coherent series of pictures that considers slightly different aspects of an overarching idea or set of themes. Each image should add something to the experience of looking whilst all of the photographs hang together as a workable collection. The way that different series’ actually hang together depends on the conceptual and compositional elements within each specific project.

Have a look at some examples of series that adhere to this formula and some that don’t (see below).

 Assessment potential

 I understand your aim is to go for the Photography/Creative Arts* Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   

 

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

It is great that you have chosen a subject that you are clearly interested (mildly obsessed?) with. It is better to deal with the things we are interested in than attempt to bolt an interest on to something that we perhaps feel we should deal with. However, it does feel that you fell back to something that was easier to work with.

In technical terms, you have a good grasp of the use of shallow depth of field and you have thought about the composition of each image and about how these pictures work together as a series. Indeed, the fact that there is a uniform hue and that they are all in the landscape orientation makes sure that they sit together.  However, what is it that each image adds to the reading? How can you use the skills at your disposal to ask questions about this particular collection of objects? Could you begin to ask about the need for humans to collect things? Or about how collectors are often seen as outsiders or obsessives or nerds etc.? Or about how institutions rely on collections of things to tell stories about the past? What function does the design museum have? Could you photograph objects there?

All of these things are really interesting cultural possibilities that could be utilized through a photographic series. You talk about the fact that these objects were, at one time, state of the art and that technological gadgets and tools very quickly become obsolete both in terms of purpose and design. Again this is a great starting point. What if you were to arrange some of the objects to begin to look like some kind of utopian city? Or by photographing in selective ways suggest that these things are in fact state of the art and not obsolete? What is it about these images that so clearly tells us that they are out of date, colour, material, shape?

Although I understand that you were worried about adhering to the brief but after looking at your Church images, I wonder if it would have not been a better idea to continue to wrestle with this subject than to fall back on something that is practically easier to photograph?

Churches form an important part of our everyday as well as creative culture. They figure as places of celebration, of mourning, of horror, of splendor, of magic etc. etc. etc. Think about how you could have utilized the different technical approaches to photographic image making in order to suggest very different readings of the same actual building.

If you think about the definition of a series that I gave in the initial part of this feedback, in the church example, there would have been a coherence set by the use of the same building but each image would add another way of seeing the same space.

In terms of individual images, for me, number 4 is by far the most successful. The shallow depth of field is used to selectively obscure elements of the picture frame that otherwise might give too much away. This image works because it is beginning to ask some of the potential questions that I raise earlier in the feedback. There is an intrigue about this image because although the colour and material suggest older computer technology, the way that it is photographed leaves much more work for the viewer to do and means that the specific age of this or these objects is not clear.

The antithesis of this reading is perhaps suggested by image 3 where the nature, design, age of the computer is far too obvious. We know exactly what it is and roughly how old it is without having to think too carefully.

The series as a whole would be more successful if the nature of these objects were to subtly unfold as the series progresses.

 

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Your coursework continues to be very thorough, keep it up.

 

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Try to broaden your research by looking at more photographers, artists and writers. Visit exhibitions where you can and reflect on what you see.

 

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your learning log is easy to read and gives a good sense of your development.

 

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

Sian Bonnell – look at the way that Bonnell photogrpahs easily recognizable objects but yet makes us think about them very differently. Her Constructed Coast project is a good starting point.

Cindy Sherman – Look at Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills project and think about how coherent the series is and how each image adds more to the series.

Thomas Ruff – portraits – the coherence here is obvious but each human subject is, or course, very different.

Hendrik Kerstens – again a very coherent strategy to image making.

Wolfgnag Tillmans – perhaps Tillmans presents the antidote to a series? I would be interested to read your thoughts in a blog post?

 

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

 

  • More research in a wider range of contemporary image makers.
  • Try to work through ideas rather than jump to a new ‘idea’

 

Tutor name Matt White
Date 11/01/2017
Next assignment due 8th March 2017

Assignment 2: Collecting

Image #1

4-gamesroom1_30a_800

View 1500 x 1000

 

 

Image #2

5-gamesroom2_15a_800

View 1500 x 1000

 

 

Image #3

6-gamesroom1_14a_800

View 1500 x 1000

 

 

Image #4

2-gamesroom1_12a_800

View 1500 x 1000

 

Image #5

1-gamesroom1_2a_800

View 1500 x 1000

 

 

Image #6

3-gamesroom2_10a_800

View 1500 x 1000

 

 

Contact Sheet #1

contactsheet1

Contact Sheet #2

contactsheet2

Assignment 2: Collecting

 

Introduction

The subject matter I settled on fell well within my comfort zone in terms of subject and location, though was a polar opposite in terms of style. This set comes into the category of ‘a subject of your own choosing’.

My collection of vintage and retro gaming hardware, be it computers, or games consoles, offers many visually interesting objects, which can be viewed from different perspectives, both aesthetically, and philosophically.

When designed, these systems were, if not at the absolute cutting edge of consumer technology, at least had the future in mind. There was an awareness that the future would be dominated by technology, and efforts were made to push towards that future.

Looked at now, we are perhaps in the future that these systems were pushing towards. They could be described now as ‘retro futurist’.

 

Methodology

These images were all taken using a 50mm prime lens which, on my cropped sensor camera, is the equivalent of around 90mm on a camera with a full frame sensor. They were all taken at f1.8, indoors and under artificial light at ISO 100. The camera was situated approximately two feet from the subjects, using a tripod.

This had the effect of creating a very shallow depth of field and a very tight viewing angle. That the images show only part of the objects depicted, while being largely an artistic choice, was also necessitated by the use of such a lens in what was a very small room. It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to get the camera far enough away from the subjects to show some of them in their entirety.

 

Artistic Decisions and Influences

The decision to use a very shallow depth of field, while showing only part of the subject in the frame, changes the way these objects are viewed. It may be that the viewer is unaware of the details of the object entirely, and quite unlikely that they will be aware of any ‘retro futurist’ aspect or context.

The viewer is forced to look at specific fine details, or vague forms or shapes, and to interpret what they see in whatever manner suits them. What they don’t get is a photograph of a computer or games console handed to them on a plate.

I have previously had almost no experience of shooting with a very shallow depth of field, as until recently, I have not had a camera capable of achieving it.  So with this being my chosen format and an indoor location being necessary due to weather and time constraints, the results were always likely to look a certain way.

My final selection was influenced by the work of Cosci (2006) and his ‘Hidden’ series http://www.gianlucacosci.com/page9.htm

I had shortlisted several images containing views of whole objects, while I had rejected another, due to shelving being in the shot and affecting the composition. Cosci’s work gave me cause to re-evaluate these decisions, and I feel the set is stronger for that.

 

What Worked Well

Working indoors, as opposed to the outdoor settings I often opt for, allowed me to work in a relaxed manner. While I produced fewer images, in significantly less time, those that I took were more usable. ‘Less haste, more speed’. The results also fit together nicely as a set, partly because I was shooting everything using the same lens, camera settings etc. and partly because of consistent lighting conditions.

 

What Didn’t Work So Well

Being indoors with fairly low artificial lighting, and using a 50mm lens at ISO 100 required fairly long exposures. Attempts to use a higher ISO resulted in unacceptable noise; so longer exposures were needed, necessitating the use of a tripod.

Shooting in a confined space using a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor camera was a tricky proposition. It was not always possible to achieve the angles or views I wanted, simply because I didn’t have the room to position the tripod correctly.

 

How the Series Might be Improved in the Future

As for improving the series that I selected, I would spend more time, and make efforts to improve the lighting conditions. With better light, I could attempt handheld shots, and so achieve some more interesting angles.

(Word Count: 762)

Reference

Cosci, G (2006) Hidden At: http://www.gianlucacosci.com/page9.htm (Accessed on 09/01/2017)

This submission can also be viewed on my learning log at https://photosthingsandstuff.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-2/assignment-2-collecting/

Note

Following tutor feedback I have altered the order that the images appear in, and removed references to and descriptions of a previous, abortive assignment project.

Shooting for Assignment 2

Things have not gone to plan.

The trips into Lincolnshire to take photos of ‘Views’ did not happen. My wife had some time off, but it was Christmas, and things had to be done, so jaunts into the countryside could not be fitted into our tight schedule.

Plan B was to visit several, or even many, local churches… to create a collection of shots of different churches, which could possibly be categorised as ‘Views’, but more likely comes under ‘a subject of your own choosing’.

This did not happen either.

My first shoot was at The Priory Church in Worksop, just down the road from where I live. The building is somewhere between 800 and 900 years old, in parts, and in my opinion, it’s the most interesting feature in what is an otherwise unremarkable town.

I went along with the kit lense for my Canon EOS 1300D, a fairly standard 18-55mm zoom that’s adequately versatile when you don’t really have a proper plan in mind.

It had been my intention to make just the one visit to this church, take plenty of shots, and then visit different churches on subsequent days.

Nope. That didn’t happen.

On getting home, I looked through the many photos, and was reminded of just what a ‘vanilla’ lens the 18-55 kit lens is. Sure, everything was bright and sharp, but when the widest aperture setting is f3.5, and you only have access to that at 18mm… the results are all very ‘happy snaps’ and not much better than you would expect from a decent phone. I imagine someone with more skill than myself could get interesting results from it, but in this case at least, I failed.

On the plus side, this trip did prove to be useful in terms of reconnaissance, and I got a pretty good idea of what was where… where the good angles and features were.

So I returned with a different lens, and got some fascinating shots…. at night. Yup… some really dramatic stuff, but not much that I could use..

Another visit was needed. At this point though, I re-read the brief, and realised (I thought) I hadn’t really been covering the required criteria. “Use the exercises from Part Two as a starting point to test out combinations of focal length, aperture and viewpoint for the set. Decide upon a single format, either vertical or horizontal. You should keep the same combination throughout to lend coherence to the series.” So I began shooting with specific goals in mind. Long/short focal length with deep/shallow depth of field. Near/far in focus… etc.

Now, on looking at that brief again, I had interpreted it as meaning keep the landscape/portrait orientation consistent, while covering all of the bases in terms of focal length, depth of field, etc. to demonstrate the skills that were learned in Part Two of the coursework.

Looking again… it seems that I may have misinterpreted, and not only should I have kept the orientation consistent, but also the focal length/depth of field.

Having said that…. upon reading the work of another student doing this assignment, his tutor reported that using the same settings created a repetitive feeling, and so he used a variety of focal lengths etc.

 

Anyway… here are some of the images I shortlisted before realising my (probable) error.

#1 

priorychurch_4_800

View 1500 x 1000

With a focal length of 32mm and aperture of F4.5 at ISO 100, this is fairly nondescript in terms of depth of field and angle of view, but I do like the composition and lighting.

 

#2

priorychurch_8_800

View 1500 x 1000

The wide angle produced by the 18mm focal length coupled with an aperture of f4 at ISO 100 creates a pleasing visual sensation. Things are largely in focus until they get up very close, or are right in the back of the shot. To my eyes, it feels quite fluid and easy to look at.

 

#3

priorychurch2_4_800

View 1500 x 1000

Shot using a fully manual 28mm prime lens, at f2.8 with a 30 second exposure at ISO 100. Though this was only just after dark, it was in fact *much* darker than it appears in this photo. I couldn’t see a thing through either my viewfinder, or on the camera screen, which made framing the shot and focusing very difficult. I had to take several test shots, just to get a clue.

 

#4

priorychurch2_18a_800

View 1500 x 671

Again, shot shortly after dark using my 28mm prime lense. This lens gives a very soft image when using a wide aperture, so I stopped it down to f16. At ISO 100 this required a 10 minute(!) exposure using bulb mode.

A little context. I was standing in the middle of a large graveyard. It was, without exaggerating, pitch black, to the extent that I could barely see my hand in front of my face. It was cold and it was misty. And there I was, waiting 10 minutes with my finger on the shutter button of the phone app I use to control bulb mode on my camera. (I hadn’t realised at that point that I could take my finger off the button and it would keep going).

So I can’t use this image for the assignment. But So much went into taking it, that I had to show it somewhere, and here will do.

 

#5

priorychurch2_19_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, ISO 100, 30 secs. I doubt I can use this, but I love it.

 

#6

priorychurch3_14_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/4000 sec, -1 exposure bias.  There are many things wrong with this. It’s underexposed, it’s barely focused anywhere, and it’s completely off kilter. Obviously I can’t use it. But I love it. It reminds me of the kind of photo my dad used to take in the 70s on his SLR (that he didn’t know how to use). All kinds of random things came out of that camera, often by accident, and I loved those shots.

 

#7

priorychurch3_20_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/20 sec at ISO 100.  A 2nd go at the first shot, but this manual lense, going for a shallower depth of field and a more ‘interesting’ angle. I liked this a lot, for a while. I find I’ve gone off it now.

 

#8

priorychurch3_26_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/250 sec at ISO 100.  I like the rather desolate feeling of this, but the entirely different quality of light means it won’t fit as part of a set.

 

#9

priorychurch3_45_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/320 sec at ISO 100. This one speaks volumes to my deranged brain. Ever woken up in a graveyard, propped yourself up, looked around and thought “Huh? That was either one hell of a party last night, or something seriously messed up is going on.”

Again, I can’t use this. The light and the off kilter nature of the shot won’t fit in the set.

 

#10

priorychurch3_50_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f16, 1/2 sec at ISO 100. Taken for the purpose of demonstrating clarity from the front to the back of the shot when the lens is stopped down. It achieves this aim, but with the poor light, it’s seriously dull.

 

#11

priorychurch4_2a_800

View 1500 x 1000

23mm, f3.5, 15sec at ISO 200. A 2nd attempt at some night shots. I upped the ISO to 200, as long exposure times generate excessive noise, with the intention of stopping the lens down to f16 again.  I had to take test shots with a wider aperture just to get the focus and this is one of those. Despite appearances, it was *very* dark when I took this. The light on the church is very dim, and being cast from the windows of some nearby offices, while the grass is being lit by the headlights of the occasional passing car.

 

#12

priorychurch4_8_800

View 1500 x 1000

23mm, f3.5, 40 secs at ISO 200. Dark. Very, very dark. It’s amazing what a long exposure can do, and how images look, especially when you alter the white balance to compensate for artificial lighting.

 

#13

priorychurch4_11_800

View 1500 x 1000

18mm, f3.5, 30 secs at ISO 200. I still didn’t get round to going down to f16, but the wide angle somehow made things appear sharper here.

 

#14

priorychurch4_13a_800

View 1500 x 1158

18mm, f3.5, 15 secs at ISO 200. Epic. Can’t use it, but I love it.

 

#15

priorychurch5_4b_800

View 1500 x 1000

50mm, f16, 1/50 sec at ISO 200. Taken to demonstrate the flattening effect of a closed aperture at long focal lengths. It succeeds in this, and while I like the light, I don’t like the composition as much as I did while I was taking it.

 

#16

priorychurch5_5_800

View 1500 x 1000

50mm, f1.8, 1/250 sec at ISO 200 with +2 exposure bias and an ND filter. One of the few handheld shots in this series. I couldn’t use a tripod for this, as I had to hold the camera above my head to frame the shot. Taken to demonstrate shallow depth of field with a wide aperture and long focal length.

 

#17

priorychurch5_33_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f16, 1/30 sec at ISO 200. Taken to demonstrate deep depth of field, even with close objects in the frame,  using a tight aperture on a wide(ish) lens. I like this shot a lot.

 

#18

priorychurch5_39_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f16, 1/50 sec at ISO 200. Taken for the same purpose as the previous shot. The light is not great, but I do find the way those crosses line up interesting.

 

#19

priorychurch6_2a_800

View 1500 x 1000

50mm, f16, 1/200 sec at ISO 200 with -1 Exposure bias. Another handheld shot, taken to demonstrate deep depth of field using tight aperture and long focal length. I love the colours and the composition, but am not a fan of having everything in focus like this.

 

#20

priorychurch6_4_800

View 1500 x 1000

50mm, f16, 1/60 sec at ISO 200 with -1 exposure bias. Same purpose as above. It makes everything so flat.

#21

priorychurch6_8_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/6000 sec at ISO 200 with -1 exposure bias.  Taken to demonstrate blurring of close objects with a wide aperture. This is my favourite setting, and now I think I’ve figured out what it is I’m supposed to be doing, I intend to go and take some more like this. (I really hope the weather holds).

#22

priorychurch6_13_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/1250 sec at ISO 200 with -1 exposure bias. Same purpose as above. Not so keen on this.

#23

priorychurch6_14_800

View 1500 x 1000

28mm, f2.8, 1/1000 sec at ISO 200 with -1 exposure bias. Demonstrating close focus with wide aperture and bokeh on background objects. I wanted to show the ice in the stone flowerpot (or whatever it was), but the end result isn’t as interesting as I’d hoped.

 

Conclusion

So here we are. I’ve taken a mass of photos (these are only a small fraction of what I took), and I’ve concluded that while I have several good shots demonstrating each type of format, I don’t have enough of any one format to create a set.

I may or may not shoot some more to conform to one format, but this depends on the weather, and the forecast is not good. It may be that I shall submit a selection from the shots I have here, and then shoot more, or not, depending on the feedback from my tutor.

 

Edit:

Okay, on looking at the brief again, I’ve definitely interpreted it incorrectly. So, rather than submitting a set that doesn’t comply with the brief, trying to create a set using inferior material, or going out and shooting in unsuitable light… I have decided to shoot an entirely new set.

This new project is being shot in just a couple of days as opposed to several weeks, and while the subject matter and location are very much within my comfort zone, the style of photography is very far from that. Should be interesting.

 

 

Planning

In an unprecedented move,  I’m thinking about what I shall do for assignment 2 before I actually go out and start shooting!

By nature, I’m an opportunist photographer. I go to a pre-decided location with my camera, look around, and if I see a scene that I like, I take photos. That’s it. That’s what I’ve always done, and there’s never been any more thought put into it than that.

Currently, things have not changed… much. Just a little.

What I have right now is a (relatively) clearly defined objective.

Collecting

Brief

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:

  • Crowds
  • Views
  • Heads

Okay then….

Crowds? Nope. I don’t like ‘people’ in general, and the last time I was in a public place with a camera, a chap came up to me and very sternly demanded that if I had taken any photos with him in them, that I delete them there and then, while he watched. I complied without question, obviously, but found the experience unsettling.

Views? Maybe. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

Heads? File under ‘people’.

Coming back to ‘Views’ after the aforementioned moment. My wife is on Christmas holiday from work, which is nice. For her work, she travels a lot by car, and happens to pass through some beautiful locations. She often remarks that I would probably love some of the places she has seen, and would no doubt have my camera out at most of them. So… given that she has some free time, she’s going to drive us to a few of these locations, so I can see what she has seen…. and take photos.

This is probably a bit (no… it’s a lot) hit or miss. ‘Views’ is a vague subject, and while it’s one I’m very comfortable shooting, the potential for different types of location, not to mention weather, may cause difficulties when it comes to creating a coherent and unified ‘collection’ of images.

We’ll visit the places, I shall take the shots, and we’ll see how they come out… but with having a coherent set in mind, I have a Plan B.

Plan B comes under “or a subject of your own choosing”.

I like architecture. I like old things. What kind of old architecture could fall into a well defined category that could form a coherent set of images, while being numerous enough to find easily?

Churches!

Castles would be cooler, but they’re not so numerous,  and can involve significant travel and entry costs. My budget is minimal to non-existent, so… churches it is.

The trick here is actually to keep the number of shots down. It would be very easy to find six to ten churches and include one photograph of each, but that would be very predictable, and potentially quite dull.

What I would really like to do is go back to the village on the Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire border where I grew up, and photograph several of the churches in that area, as they hold real nostalgia for me. (I didn’t attend them… I’m not remotely religious… I just like the buildings). Sadly, time and funds preclude this.

I had the idea of taking night shots of churches, as I really like low light photography (though I may actually not be very good at it)… and this would certainly solve the issue of inconsistent weather / lighting.

I also like the idea of visiting around 3 different churches, taking a wide exterior shot with deep depth of field, a tighter, detail shot (gravestones?) with shallow depth of field, and if at all possible, an interior shot (sunlight flooding through stained glass can look incredible).

I shall keep all of those ideas in mind, visit various local churches at various hours, and find out what’s possible. Should be interesting.