Part One Self Assessment

Based upon the Assessment Criteria set out on page 34

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I do believe that I have demonstrated some technical skill in this first part of the course. I believe I can control the camera and lens combination and have a good understanding of the implications of differing shutter speed and aperture combinations. Setting the camera in Programme mode was a new experience for me though! I can see the value of this in these early exercises because it did focus the mind on framing, subject selection and the image rather than the process. I feel my work does demonstrate an understanding of the conventions of composition, rule of thirds and what might broadly be called the orthodoxy of composition in practice. However I do recognise that this is both strength and a weakness. I am aware of how this can limit creativity and this is perhaps one of the greatest aspects of learning in this first phase of the course.

Quality of the outcome

I think I have created a simple but coherent structure to the assignments and the exercises set out in my blog. This has been a learning curve as ‘blogging’ is an entirely new experience. It hasn’t been without its challenges and I slowly getting to grips with this activity. I still can’t quite get the blog to co-operate in the presentation of images and the spacing of images and objects in my blog is not quite where I want it to be. In addition to the exercises I have been keeping some research notes and reflections in the Research and Reflection section. As I become more confident in the use of the blog I will increase the pace of posting.

Demonstration of creativity

This is perhaps the weakest area of my work to date. I recognise I need to consider risk taking and break some rules! I also need to free my self from self imposed limits that are probably somewhat entrenched from years of somewhat repetitive image making. I have some clear ideas about this and I hope to take a very different approach in assignment 2 than I did in assignment one. I have very proactively being looking at the work of others but with a view to trying to identify themes and approaches in a

Context

I have really enjoyed researching, with purpose, the work of other photographers. I have for many years enjoyed looking at the work of others but in many respects this has been a passive act, merely observing. I am already far being more analytical I believe. I have also, through the magic of youtube, actively sought out footage of photographers talking themselves. I have done this to hear straight from the horse’s mouth their perspective on the motives for the images they have made. A developing feature of my blog is youtube clips of photographer reflecting on their work. This is something I plan on developing further. I am conscious that my blog entries don’t scratch the surface of all the research into the other artists. Time is perhaps an issue. A good example is that I have spent a lot of time looking at the work of Paul Graham. I find his approach exceptionally engaging, but as yet I haven’t put anything on the blog about this work. I don’t want the blog to be cluttered but equally it does need to reflect the development of my thinking and practice. It isn’t that yet.

Summary

I feel I have made a positive start to the course but I need now to do the following:

1. Synthesise my research into coherent summative learning points that inform what I do when making images, particularly with regard to framing, subject selection and viewpoint.

2. Demonstrate the impact of research and part one exercises in my next assignment

3. Break out from the constraints of my practice to date and produce in Assignment 2 a more creative set of images even if that means producing work that I am uncomfortable with!

Exercise 1.4 Frame

The final exercise of this project makes use of the viewfinder grid display of a digital
camera. This function projects a grid onto the viewfinder screen to help align vertical
and horizontal lines, such as the horizon or the edge of a building, with the edge of
the frame. If your camera doesn’t have a grid display, imagine a simple division of the viewfinder into 4 sections.

Take a good number of shots, composing each shot within a single section of the
viewfinder grid. Don’t bother about the rest of the frame! Use any combination of
grid section, subject and viewpoint you choose.

When you review the shots, evaluate the whole frame, not just the part you’ve
composed. Take the same approach you used to evaluate the point and line
exercises: examine the relationship of elements to the frame. Composition is part of
form and formal analysis will be a useful skill for your exercises and assignments as you progress through the course.

In many respects this proved to be the most challenging of the exercises. I tend not to use the grid screen on my camera and I think of the frame as a whole. It was an interesting learning experience to think about just one element of the frame. I kept to a single theme of ‘things in the street’ in order to bring some sense of continuity to the activity.

I was quite firm with myself in trying to frame picture element in just one part of the frame and I almost tried to ignore the rest of the frame. This did provide difficult and I took a lot of images that were immediately deleted! As some one who ordinarily shoots with a film camera , the ability to delete a shot proved very helpful in undertaking this task!!

The Exercise

Framelines 1 (1 of 1) Framelines 2 (1 of 1) Framelines 3 (1 of 1) Framelines 4 (1 of 1) Framelines 5 (1 of 1) Framelines 6 (1 of 1)

Framelien 334 (1 of 1)Framelien 337 (1 of 1)

I selected a range of images that i took that placed focal points in sections of the 3×3 frame of the camera. in mosts instances i placed the objects in the corners although I did deviate from this on occasions.

If I am honest I was really mindful of the rest of the frame when I was placing aa focal point in one part of the frame. In some ways this means i failed in the task, i found it difficult if not impossible to only think about one part of the frame.

That said, this still provide a useful activity in that it did make me think differently, if not quite achieving the focus the activity called for,

Composing a picture is a complex process, a mix of previous experience, thoughts of other images, compliance to or active breaking of  compositional rules, creating a sense of balance and self satisfaction as well as trying to respond to the brief!

Certainly lots to learn still.

Exercise 1.3 (2) Line

Take a number of shots using lines to flatten the pictorial space. To avoid the effects
of perspective, the sensor/film plane should be parallel to the subject and you may
like to try a high viewpoint (i.e. looking down). Modern architecture offers strong
lines and dynamic diagonals, and zooming in can help to create simpler, more
abstract compositions.

Review your shots from both parts of Exercise 1.3. How do the different lines relate
to the frame? There’s an important difference from the point exercises: a line can
leave the frame. For perpendicular lines this doesn’t seem to disrupt the composition
too much, but for perspective lines the eye travels quickly along the diagonal and
straight out of the picture. It feels uncomfortable because the eye seems to have no
way back into the picture except the point that it started from. So for photographs
containing strong perspective lines or ‘leading lines’, it’s important that they lead.

I spent some time looking at the work made by the Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy, my interest was piqued by the picture in the course materials. The Bauhaus online resource is fascinating (I was familiar with the work of Walter Gropius) and one work emphasised the look I wanted to achieve in meeting the requirement of the exercise, ‘using lines to flatten the pictorial space’ Interestingly it was a painting rather than a photograph.

Construction Z1 has a mix of sharp intersecting line and shapes, there is an interesting use of colour and also what might be the reflection of glass or some other transparent material. this eve me an idea that I followed up upon. I sought to flatten space and create an abstract feel to the images.

EHIMG_0681

EHIMG_0685

EHIMG_0683

EHIMG_0686

Reference

http://bauhaus-online.de/en/atlas/werke/construction-z1

I took the theme a little further and sought out some architecture with strong lines that I photographed at right angles to keep the flat face on composition, emphasising a zero element of perspective, trying to keep the sensor/film plane parallel to the subject.

Flat 3 (1 of 1)

Although the shadows hint at perspective and depth, an effect I was striving to avoid, the flat plane effect is still quite strong I feel.

Flat 1 (1 of 1)

This image was far more experimental. Whilst more than 50% of the image is flat, the sharp angular form of the building I think dominates the image, retaining to a large extent the desired flat effect. The exercises clearly demonstrate there are ways o control whether an image has depth or not and therefore are tools the photographer has at their disposal to express the theme or idea they are setting out to create.

Exercise 1.3 (1) Line

Take a number of shots using lines to create a sense of depth. Shooting with a wide- angle lens (zooming out) strengthens a diagonal line by giving it more length within the frame. The effect is dramatically accentuated if you choose a viewpoint close to the line.

Depth I used, as suggested, a wide angle lens to create a sense of depth in the images. Initially  I looked for some locations with defined lines that would accentuate the effect.

St Savious Lane (1 of 1)

In this first image Iused the lines on the road as well as the wall on the left. This creates a clear sense of depth in the image with the road markings creating physical perspective lines in the scene.

Norwich street 2 (1 of 1)

Again, road marking are used but this image was made withe camera much close to the ground further accentuating the sense of the lines moving off into the distance. I can’t help but notice the problems with the vertical lines but I have purposefully not corrected these as I wanted to keep image post processing to a minimum for these exercises as suggested in the course materials.

Norwich Arcade (1 of 1)

The lines are far less obvious in this image but the eye and the brain fill in the gaps and again believe the is a clear sense of depth in this photograph.

line 12 (1 of 1)

In the image above an object within the frame creates the sense of the church being in the distance. It emphasises convergence and line even though it occupies only part off the frame.

Rural line (1 of 1)

A final ‘road into the distance’ image, taken from a low angle. Not straight angular lines but the effect of distance and line  is clearly expressed I believe.

Exercise 1.2 Point

Exercise 1.2 Point

There are essentially three classes of position [to place a single point]: in the middle, a little off-centre, and close to the edge. (Photography 1: The Art of Photography,
p.72)

1. Take two or three photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts
of the frame. (A ‘point’ should be small in relationship to the frame; if it’s too large
it becomes a shape.)

One

point 1 (1 of 1)

Two

point 4 (1 of 1)

How can you evaluate the pictures? How do you know whether you’ve got it
right or not? Is there a right place and a wrong place for the point? For the sake
of argument, let’s say that the right place shouldn’t be too obvious and that
the point should be clear and easy to see. As there’s now a ‘logic’ to it, you can
evaluate your composition according to the logic of the point.

As you look at the pictures you might find that you’re also evaluating the
position of the point by its relationship to the frame.

Reflection on Image One and Two

This was in interesting exercise and one that did tax me as I was uncertain about the nature of a point! I made an educated guess and created the images below.

The first two illustrate an inserting point for me  in the second image does not feel right somehow? The eye and the brain make us see some relationships as being more satisfying the others . Although the original and future of that satisfaction are somewhat elusive. Proximity to the edge and the relationship to the farm as a rectangle seems to imply that some images is somehow more balanced than others. Interestingly, to me anyway is the unsatisfying position of the object in the second image? It is near the edge and off centre, the framing is calling me to crop the photograph and also raising questions about why I framed the point in that position? In considering the term ‘crop’ my comment above clarifies crop as a post capture act, where as framing is a choice at the moment the image is taken.

2. Take a number of images in which a point is placed in relationship to the frame.
Can you find any place where the point is not in relationship to the frame? If it’s
in relationship to the frame you can place a point in any part of the picture and
the picture is balanced somewhere within the frame.

I don’t think there are positions where the point is not in a relationship to the farm, however some locations work better than others. the concept of balance is interesting because it is a perceptual rather than an absolute concept. Whilst there are rules of composition, I know some very striking and engaging images are created by breaking the rules of composition, which are at best a set of cultural conventions and not an absolute truth. There is though a fine line I feel between breaking a rule and making an image that challenges or eaven grates on the eye.

I remain uncertain about the motive of this exercise but it has asked me to consider some interesting questions!

point 3 (1 of 1)

point 5 (1 of 1)

point 6 (1 of 1)

point 7 (1 of 1)

point 8 (1 of 1)

point 2 (1 of 1)

Some of the above compositions have a greater sense of balance than others, but all show a set of relationships. the other personal issue for me is coming to terms with a rectangle from, Much of my photography to date has been undertaken with cameras that produce square images. More to reflect on I think?

Project 1- The instrument Exercise 1.1

Exercise 1.1

Take three or four exposures of the same scene. Don’t change anything on the
camera and keep the framing the same.

Preview the shots on the LCD screen. At first glance they look the same, but are
they? Perhaps a leaf moved with the wind, the light changed subtly, or the framing
changed almost imperceptibly to include one seemingly insignificant object and
exclude another. Time flows, the moment of each frame is different, and, as the
saying has it, ‘you can’t step into the same river twice’.

Now bring up the histogram on the preview screen. The histogram is a graphical
representation of exposure – the camera’s sensitivity to light. As you page through
the images you can see small variations in the histograms. Even though the pictures
look the same, the histogram data shows that in a matter of seconds the world
changes, and these subtle differences are recorded by the camera. If you refine the
test conditions – shooting on a tripod to fix the framing, moving indoors and closing
the curtains to exclude daylight – still the histogram changes. Probably some of
the changes are within the camera mechanism itself; still, the camera is a sensitive
enough instrument to record them.

Add the sequence to your learning log with the time info from your camera’s
shooting data as your first images for Part One.

Exercise in practice

This was an interesting exercise to execute, it was a new experience to set the camera to Programme.

I chose a subject with quite a lot of contrast in it, as well as some strong areas of colour.

the three images where loaded to Lightroom and the histograms were copied using my iPhone. I am sure there is a better way to capture the histogram, but this worked in the absence of a better way.

The slight changes in light and framing can be seen in the work set out below. Indeed it is interesting just how much change there can be from moment to moment when seemingly taking an image of the same scene?

Image One

Ex 1.1 P1 (1 of 1)

Hist P1 (1 of 1)xx

Image Two

Ex 1.1 P2 (1 of 1)

Hist P2 (1 of 1)xx

Image Three

Ex 1.1 P (1 of 1)

Hist P3 (1 of 1)xx