Study Visits

28th March 2015 – Derby Photographic Festival

Attended oca study day (work in progress)

26th March 2015 – Wolverhampton Gallery and Museum

Visited the museum with Jenny, another OCA student who lives a few miles from me. (write up work in progress)

24th March 2015 – Day at the NEC Fantastic day at the NEC photography show. I attended a talk by Adrian Dennis a sports photographer… All I can say is, his work is brilliant and one of his shots is too good for words. He gave some very sound advice and some good tips.  The other photographers talks I attended was Don Mccullin and Simeon Dennis. Dons talk was eye opening, such a honest account of his work in areas of conflict. Some very thought provoking work. Simeon put a different perspective on taking photographs, using them to really tell a story and use client experiences to take shots that are not recognised to be the norm.  Brilliant but tiring day…. Didn’t get around all the stands as my husband was at day care today and i had to get back in time for him coming home. (work in progress -will add link to write up when its done)

Date 21st March 2015 – 1 day Studio Lighting Workshop One day Lighting Workshop with a company called fstop10, had a great day in a studio environment. After attending a studio lighting workshop with 10stop last week, I can recommend it to anyone, especially if like me, you have never done studio work before. I found the tutor patient and put me at ease. Help was at hand on every corner. I wanted to produce a specific image and didn’t now how to go about it, but was soon reassured and pointed in the right direction by the tutor. The size of the class was 8, which gave more than enough time for each one of us to spend time with the models and get the shots we wanted. 1 to 1 tuition during the practical session was a bonus, and questions were encouraged

The workshop started with a welcome bacon bap and coffee, then onto the introduction to the day and the equipment we would be using, followed by what equipment/lighting was best used for.
(For further reading on the day and what I got out of it click here and go to Studio Lighting)
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Reflection

29/11/2014

About my Strengths and Weaknesses

As main carer for my husband who has alzhiemers I find it hard to get out on field trips sometimes to take photos. I think this slows me down a little. I am a very determined and motivated person and want to finish my degree in 3 years. I plan to work a little each day on projects, exercises and assignments. This I do when my husband is in bed, with his carer or at his day centre. He goes once a week to the day centre from 9am to 6pm, so this will allow me to get out and take photos. If the weather is bad on this day, I have to think again and plan my outings accordingly.

I have found that I work better at night or early in the morning. My weakness is that I have a short term memory problem which means I have to read through information a few times, this is the result of having 3 strokes. The last was in July 2014. Even going through the menus on my camera can be a problem, so I have little drawings to remind me where I can find settings.  I have to keep going back to check what I am doing, so I have to take this into consideration when planning, and when I can let my tutor know about submission dates.  My problem is that I cant remember detail, Take for example the myriad of photographers I have research so far.

There were 6 who stuck in my mind, and I used these for my first assignment. as I read up on them I made notes, and kept constantly going back to the material source to read it again and again. Each of the 6 gave me food for thought, and I used this new learning to develop my own perspective and thoughts towards photography. I am already finding that there is a lot more to photography than just pressing the button! Now I can remember what impressed me about these 6 photographers, but can I remember their names. Well lets see, Arnatt, Rousse, another is Knorr, yep Karen Knorr with her photos and captions. What I now have to do is to keep going over their names and marrying them up to the information I can remember. Little notes do help.

My strengths are that I am good at planning, I have to be. Take my blog for example. Its the first time I have produced a blog, but its important. So I downloaded the OCA template and tried to work through it. It was a futile exercise. As I didn’t design it, I found it complicated so I went back to wordpress and worked through that, learning how to get a blog up and running through trial and error. The fact that I had to design it makes it easier for me to find my way around it and to keep it simple. Not just for me but for my tutor and if help is needed by my fellow students, they will find it easy to navigate too. And thank goodness for my thesaurus.  I do forget words, and when writing up an essay I know what I want to say, but I cant remember the word. And I can sit for a long while before it comes to me. So I just put a big cross in place of the word till I find it….. its hard for people to understand this problem, I have ways and means for getting around this weakness, and my philosophy is, A WEAKNESS IS ONLY A SOLUTION WAITING TO HAPPEN.

Making Time For Reading

I have ordered some books so hopefully they will be arriving soon, in the meantime I am using the internet to do some research on different photographers and artists. There is an exhibition of Andy Warhol work in Liverpool soon, and although I cant make it, I decided to find out as much as I could online. http://timeweb.warhol.org:3000/

the Andy Warhol time web is a fascinating website with so much information, you can use the time line to navigate through his whole life. it takes you to whats around in certain decades like the Bolex 16mm camera http://timeweb.warhol.org:3000/#/network?id=132

Sometimes though, I find I go looking for something like peoples/photographers/artists thoughts on certain subjects, then I come across something else and get side tracked. Its like when I have been planning my assignment or exercises, I have to read up and right about the subject before I can complete it.  I did a city & guilds photography course some time back and have used my work book/portfolio from that course to take me back to basics. It seems to jog the old memory as its my work and it was locked away in my grey cells till I re read my own notes.

Hows it going so far

So far I think that I have been working well through the course requirements and feel that I have XXX the XXX. I am enjoying the exercises, they are really making me think. I keep wanting to do something different, think outside the box.  am learning a lot about myself too.

Setting a little goal for myself

In the oca forums there has been mention of American Photographers, so I intend to go see if American Photographers are any different to British or any other nationality photographer.

Also I have open views on manipulating photos, I have a basic knowledge of manipulating software, cropping, contrast, highlights and shadows and so forth.   I am a member of our local photographic society I quite often see photos that have been manipulated, and the question is ‘does this change what photography is all about?‘ is it about ‘getting it right in the field’ OR is it about ‘being able to fix it on your computer?’

I have seem a mediocre photograph turned into a WOW photograph using PS, and Elements.

Project 2 – Exercise 1.2 (2) Point Frame

As per usual I will start off this exercise by reviewing what the requirement is, and my understanding of the subject matter. Again, as I have done in previous exercises, using my own photographs, (unless otherwise stated) I can look objectively at each one, and demonstrate the relationship between, line point and frame. Then at the end I will do the exercise.

What draws us to a certain area within a photograph?

Our eyes will follow certain paths within an image when we first look at it. I say when we first look at it, because the more times you visit an image, you will see other things that you missed the first time. Therefore the initial path, will not only depend on the elements/shapes within the image, the other things to take into consideration:  How busy is it? What and how many shapes can we see? Are there any negative spaces?  Within a second or two of looking at an image you will be drawn to certain points, following an invisible line drawn in only the minds eye. Where is our eye drawn to, the first moment we looked at the image? Where is the point that we are drawn to and what is its relation the frame? The line may not be a straight line, it may swirl or curve. This maybe a hard or soft line.

Some interesting reading can be found here

How to Use Leading Lines for Better Compositions

In the images below, the swirling line we can see travels around the rose petals. The circular elements within the rose are natural lines. The dark background and the dark areas within the rose itself emphasises the swirls,

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The image of the bridge below has sweeping lines, curved lines and straight lines all competing with each other. But in the end they take us to the circular shape of the bridge and its reflection

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Below in the photograph of Haughmond Abbey, we have an upward sweeping movement, that takes up to the top of the apex.  The arched windows also act a an arrow, with the tops coming to a point, joining the sweep upwards. The lines take us to a point just left of centre in the upper 3rd, where the clouds then, become increasingly emphasised.

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This photograph of my husband steering our narrow boat has a triangular frame within the frame, changing the depth of field from behind the subject blurring the flowers in the foreground. The log in front of his face is also a triangular shape taking us up to his face. On the whole his head is not far off the upper, right hand 3rd. Normally, depth of field is used to emphasis the foreground image, to make it seem sharper in the scene.

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The segments in this image of a back lit lemon slice, draw us to the centre, then out again to the rind. The eye roves around the triangular patterns in each segment, finally moving and coming to rest on the little light circle to the right within the lemon.

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In this canal image we are almost taken in a circle to the building in the distance. The sweep comes from above and below. Our eyes seem to totally ignore the dark area on the upper left. Here again we have a frame within a frame. The Trees on each side, frame the building, pushing the focus to it.

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Below (another screw in the coffin)

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Symmetry is most pleasing to the eye, without realising it we do seek out mirrored images.

Quote One of the Holy Grails of nature photography is the classic reflection shot. Mountains, sunsets, or fall colours reflected in the glass-like surface of a calm lake create an image that although clichéd has tremendous visual appeal. I believe the power of such images lies in the symmetry of the subject matter presented. Humans and most other animals are symmetrically divided creatures with one half of the body mirroring the other half. Given the powerful allure of symmetry it is no wonder that photographers are so driven to make mirrored images – we can’t help it – the appeal of symmetry is hard-wired into our DNA.

http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles1204/dw1204-1.html

Below grains of salt lit from the top with a small torch give arching lines and left/right symmetry.

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In the cropped image above we see the lines taking up to a vanishing point, In vision lines that are parallel (or almost parallel) give the sensation of meeting at the vanishing point, like the example above of the Llangollen Canal, or perhaps if we think about railway lines going off into the far distance. Normally vanishing point lines will start at the front of the picture and travel towards the back (or top of the image.

It got me thinking, and I asked myself the question, When we look at a picture, Where do we first look, to the left or the right? 

http://gazehawk.com/blog/where-do-users-look-first/

I found this article very interesting. Its talking about web design and where you should place things to catch the spectators eye. So when we look at an image do we look to the left or the right of it first?. According to the article it would to some extent depend on our cultural background. The article talks about books and how we read, left to right or right to left. The article states that in experimental tests, most will look at the centre of the screen, then move up to the top left hand corner. In conclusion, this is what it had to say:

Quote “The conclusion we can draw from all this math is that overwhelmingly, people look at the top left of a website before moving on to other features. That’s where they expect navigational information to go; it’s where they expect to orient themselves. It’s also where you can capture their attention; and it’s where you should put your stuff.”

Additionally, according to the Neilson Norman Group we spend 69% of our time viewing the left hand side of a page and only 30% time viewing the right. I have to assume the missing 1%, means we are looking at the middle.

http://www.nngroup.com/articles/horizontal-attention-leans-left/

All very interesting reading, and I wondered how I could apply this reasoning and principles to my photographs, so that they become more pleasing to the eye. Firstly, I decided to look at some of the photographs I have taken in the past and found that after I have looked at the middle of an image, I look to the left. I was surprised to find that the a large percentage of my photographs lead in from the left. I hadn’t noticed this before. Thinking about it I am more comfortable with this. We learn something new about ourselves every day!

Some examples below, I have to keep this mind and make a conscious effort to try something new!

DSC05123 DSC05597 DSC04951-001 2012 Nov Exhibition   (23) 2012 Nov Exhibition   (112) 2012 Nov Exhibition   (113)

Exercise 1.2 (2) 

  • Take a number of images in which the point is placed in relationship to the frame

So to the exercise, I pondered on what the instruction meant, did I move the POINT around the frame, or did I move the frame around the point? So I did both!

It was a nice Sunday afternoon and off I went to the local park, where we have a pavilion in the centre. I thought that would be a good starting point. But as I walked around the trigger finger came to life and I started looking at interesting things to photograph: a leaf on the floor, the sun shining on the dead leaves, a crushed concor  that some little boy would be proud of. So pulling my self together I started looking for the best place to stand and get the shots I wanted of the pavilion. I had planned that I would take photographs from different sides of the pavilion, putting it in different parts of the frame. I managed to get some of the shots I wanted, but its a park and there were children playing nearby.  

(just to add a note: I am always very weary of taking photographs when there are children about, parents my not be too happy So I did the best I could. Ordinarily if I come against a problem that stops me for taking the shot I want, I would go back at another time and day. But a park is a park and there will always be children about, and rightly so)

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First of all on my list was, to take a shot of the pavilion to the left of the frame, then to to the right. Because there were children about I could not get a shot of the path leading up to the pavilion from where I stood into the frame. I did manage to get one with the path and the pavilion towards the left of the frame. I think this would have been better to lead the eye up to the pavilion. I did manage to get the path leading away from the pavilion in both images, the one above on the right showing more of the path. With the other image having a path come towards the pavilion from the right. In my opinion, the bins and benches balance the image, so I used them to my advantage.

   

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P1230219The images above show only part of the pavilion, but are still balanced within the frame. Looking more closely at the three shots, the one to right, that shows more of the pavilion, has shadows that take the eye upto the buildings and the sky. In the middle of that shot, there is a hanging flower basket, which catches the eye. I was hoping that the steps leading up into the pavilion would be a strong enough line to take you into the pavilion. But I didn’t account of the shadows from the trees behind me, leading my eye to the white roofed buildings, straight past the hanging basket.

lines2I think the hanging flower basket is a good example of something sticking out like a sore thumb, even though it only takes up a small area within the whole image, Reading the course notes (a point attracts attention out of proportion to its size) I totally agree. It reminds me of my brother. When he was 15 years old he would not go out of the house because he had a teenage spot on his face. He thought it was massive, but it wasn’t, its just that it was in a prominent place just under his eye.

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The point, (a little duck) is moved around, but there are only two places that it will fit to work in relation to the frame. Left or right of the white tea pot in the negative space (the dark triangle between the tea pot and the plate/vegetable pot.) When it is placed in front of the teapot, it upsets the balance because it touches the teapots ‘space‘ and becomes one with the teapots line.

I read an interesting article at  http://willkempartschool.com/compostional-mistakes-in-drawing/, put simply what it is saying is that, if we are able to see spaces as shapes, (not just looking at the shape of the subject/element), we will better understand the relationship between point, line and frame, thereby producing a more effective composition.

magboots

This picture (source:  Page 10 of British Journal of Photography November Edition)

When I first looked at this picture, my eyes were drawn to the sole at the bottom of the picture, and to the lines in between the bricks. I scanned around the boots. They seemed to stick out, maybe this is because of the white background, finally coming to rest on the star logo. But there is a distraction at the bottom right hand corner, that I kept looking at. The longer I look at the picture the more I see, there are other lines that jump out at you, for example, where the sole of the shoe meets the upper part of the shoe, the laces on the shoe and going up out of the frame.

I read an interesting article at  http://willkempartschool.com/compostional-mistakes-in-drawing/, put simply what it is saying is that, if we are able to see spaces as shapes, (not just looking at the shape of the subject/element), we will better understand the relationship between point, line and frame, thereby producing a more effective composition.

Project 2 – Visual Skills – Exercise 1.2 Point

Balance, a photograph should be balanced, so that the spectator can identify with what you are saying in your image. This balance or composition should be pleasing to the eye and follow the route to the subject. There will be a point that the eye will travel to follow a shape in the photograph

In the photograph below we have a post almost in the centre of picture, and your eyes are immediately draw to it, totally ignoring the church. Then your eyes are drawn to the centre of the picture, where there is a white swan at the place where the water line meets the stones in front of the church,  and then travel along the stones to a second white swan where there are two people. In the end your eyes maybe draw to the subject of the photograph, the church! 

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 Most people can look at a photograph and immediately tell you whether it is good or not, (although to some extent individual taste does come into the equation) They are able to do this at a subconscious level, evaluating the image against an internal checklist.

So balance in the key word when talking about composition, this involves an attempt to arrange all the different elements of your image into a pleasing  and balanced arrangement. At a very obvious level it means checking to see that the main subject or other parts are completely with the frame.

I have been used to using Rule of Thirds, this works for me in many subject types. The Rule of Thirds simply says that, instead of placing the main focus of interest in the centre of the frame, (which can get a little boring) you look at the position and place it at an intersection of the thirds. That is to say one third up and one third in OR two thirds up and one third in and so forth. Many digital cameras today have this facility built into the menu, so that the grid is visible when taking the shot

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In the image to the left, the eye is immediately drawn to the branches on the left. where as in the image below, where the branches have been omitted the sweeping curve of the water line takes you to the church. Even though the church is right of centre, the sweeping action moves you along the path, round the church and to the swan that is filling the empty space. The thing that is not pleasing with this image is the tower is too close to the frame, and has no where to goDSC06721ab

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Talking of no where to go, this picture I took a few seconds too late, the horse is just passing the post ahead of another cart rider that can just be seen behind, but the horse is far too close to the frame. Its needs space to run into so that the spectator can visualise it moving forward.

Exercise Project 2 Visual Skills

1. Take 2 or 3 photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame and evaluate (test)

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After some thought I decided to use an satsumas on a dark background so that there were no distractions, I found this exercise quite hard, because I kept wanting to place the satsuma in a pleasing position. I find the first image, where the fruit is placed to the right badly framed. It is far too close to the frame for comfort.

The 3rd image is still too close to the frame, but what did surprise me is that I find that I ‘like‘ it better than the first image. I would attribute this to the point/satsuma being almost equal to the top and the side of the frame. The middle image reminds me of a full stop at the end of a page, something is missing, and yet again, although it is placed close to the frame, in a surreal way it almost works.

In all the images there is a lot of empty space, like a black board waiting for the chalk to write something exciting. Maybe this is why I think of the 2nd image as a full stop, the end of the sentence yet to be written. Using a small object in a frame certainly gives you food for thought. In my case the norm is to remove ‘clutter‘ from an image, as it can be too ‘busy‘, so I find these images need something else to make them more exciting.

As an after thought, I wondered what the result would be if I had something that was not ‘round‘. Use a different ‘point’ of reference. I decide to use a small mustard pot with a spoon.

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In the first image, the spoon is pointing toward the frame, I would have thought this would direct the eye to the frame, but instead, my imagination fills in the story and paints the spoon as tail, thereby moving the eye into nothingness… and the mustard pot wants to travel to bottom right hand corner. In the middle image, the spoon points to the right hand of the frame. At this angle, where the spoon is horizontal, the ‘tail’ becomes a pointer, (‘that way out’) and subconsciously, my mind draws a line at the bottom of the frame. This in a way is like the middle image above, a full stop, leave here, turn the page………… In the 3rd Image  again I placed the mustard pot equal to two sides of the frame, with the spoon pointing towards the upper and right hand of the frame.

Finally I thought what difference would a small point make if there were other shapes to consider in the frame, when you only have one object.

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What we have in the three images above are three shapes, 2 reflections and the lit candle. The first two, although the candle is in frame, the reflection at the base of the candle take you out of the frame. This reminds me of the time I put a picture of a dog on the laptop for my dog to see, then I removed it,  and my dachs, Mindy looked behind the laptop to see where it had gone. In the second image in particular, my minds eye wants to look into the image and down inside the frame. I feel like I am missing out on something, therefor viewing this image may be uncomfortable as its not balanced.

Then I decided to take it step further, by actually adding other shapes into the equation.

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Moving on from my previous tests of adding other elements, like the reflection, I decided to play around with colour and shape. So using a fruit bowl to add colour, and two glasses that, that only have out line, I moved the satsuma around to see what effect this would have.

In the first image above and on the left. The colour makes the whole image lopsided. Using a dark background intensifies the colour, but the whole image becomes unbalanced, as the glasses, although reflect some orange tint are not bold enough in colour for the minds eye. The next image has the satsuma placed very near the edge of the frame, to the left. Although this helps towards balancing the colour, the frame is too small to accommodate all the objects,so the satsuma, in this case, ‘has no where to go

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Of the three images in the test, the last is the most pleasing to the eye, as the tint in the glasses is stronger, adding more colour, because the satsuma is closer, this helps balance the whole image. but its not perfect, but better than the two previous images. This image also has less negative spaces.

In summary, shape, placement, negative spaces and colour in the frame, have their role to play in composition.

2. Take a number of images in which the point is placed in relationship to the frame (real)

3. Print two or three photographs and trace your eye route, then do the same with newspaper/magazine. To learning log with brief observations…

Project 1 – The Instrument Exercise 1.1

A camera doesn’t take a picture, arguably it records light through the lens. In 1666 Issac Newton was carrying out an experiment using a prism in a darkened room, allowing the only light, sunlight, to enter the room through a small hole made in the window shutter. This was directed onto a prism which resulted in a multicoloured band of light to be produced. This experiment showed that there are varying levels of light. The first person to use the word photograph was Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. The word comes from the Greek words,  photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”). So drawing by light is what the camera does, or as we know it today, thanks to Sir John F.W. Herschel, we take a photograph, and as Issac Newton discovered, there are varying levels of light.

http://www.thestargarden.co.uk/NewtonAndLight.html

In photography the amount of light that enters the lens is the exposure. Basically, how much light is exposed and recorded. Getting the right amount of light or exposure is important as this will determine how much information is recorded. It can be the difference between a really good image or a bad one.  Too much light and the image will seem burnt out with the detail lost, too little and the image will be dark. Although it must be noted, when shooting in RAW, more information is recorded. This means that although an area looks burnt out, you will be able to recover more of the image as the recorded levels of brightness are increased. More levels of light equals more information.

Getting the exposure right can be difficult. In most of today’s digital cameras, there is a histogram that can be a valuable tool.

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 The histogram can be used to reduce some of the problems associated with exposure. In my cameras, I can use the histogram when taking or setting up a shot. It highlights the light and dark areas of the shot.  I can then use the exposure compensation button (+/-) to add or reduce light recorded. The histogram is represented by a graph that will change shape as you move the camera around, Ideally a bell shape is what you are aiming for. In the first image above there are two peaks, these identify both sides of the fruit bowl, and the kitchen roll in the middle. There is also a semi light area to the right, depicted in BLUE in the histogram, this is actually a grey coloured battery charger behind the fruit bowl, but most histograms are only black and white.

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The images above where taken one after another, seconds apart on automatic setting, yet the histogram shows that the level of exposure changes with every shot. The automatic setting compensates for slight movement, although the 3 images look the same, they are not, the histogram does not lie!

Below are these 3 shots showing their individual histograms. When compareing the histograms from each image you can see the slight changes. This give food for thought. When taking photographs out doors, and a cloud comes over, what happens to the exposure level???? hmmm

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Below are the screen shots showing the properties of each of the shots taken, although no changes were made to the camera settings, and the exposure is the same, the size of P1220845 is .5mb larger than the other two, which means that there is more information in this image, the histogram will reflect this

Properties P1220845

Properties P1220846 Properties P1220847

Below are further shots taken

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http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-read-and-use-histograms/ – An interesting site

The Square Mile Images

It was a bright sunny day. One of the problems I encountered was the sun. Too bright, in the shadow too dark. I also had to think about the sun reflecting in the mirror. Getting the right amount of the reflected image into the mirror was difficult too. In some of the photographs, I actually got my my own hand and camera in the shot. I took a few photos of each place I visited.

When I got home I had to make a decision, whether to use the background or not, whether to include the person or not.  I cropped the images to show just the mirror, but something seemed to be lost in the cropped image.  The message was not the same somehow. It told a different story.

Taking these photos has taken me right out of my comfort zone, they have made me look outside the box. I could just go out to my normal haunts and take some really good shots, even maybe technically sound and with a bit of a wow factor, brilliant sunset, tranquil water shot, cute dog, trees and landscapes glowing with autumn tints but that’s not what this exercise is all about.

I have thought about changing them to b&w or sepia, its an old town I live in, may well add a little nostalgia to these shots, of such an old market town, or maybe b&w, adjusting the contrast to give an aged feeling to the image. Food for thought me thinks….

people the high street people the archway people Tesco people natwest people millenium clock people little lane people last post inn people Home people civic hall people Bulls head people black bear inn

After Cropping

mirror black bear inn - Copy mirrir Home - Copy mirror Bulls head - Copy mirror civic hall - Copy mirror last post inn - Copy mirror little lane - Copy mirror millenium clock - Copy mirror natwest - Copy mirror Tesco - Copy mirror the archway - Copy mirror the high street - Copy

The cropped images loose the message.

BW people the high street people the high streetS people the high street

I have decided on the b&w as it defines the lines better. The tones give a clearer definition of the outlines

BW people black bear inn

Girlfriends house, wonder if her dad is home!

BW people the high street

Ha,ha, No Parking spaces left? but I managed to park on the pavement, hehe

BW people the archway

I am frightened of the dark, and is that a monster coming my way??

BW people Tesco

Oh no, its her again, ‘Hello’ my backside, now, has she seen me?

BW people natwest

The paparazzi love me ‘cos I can eat mirrors

BW people millenium clock

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.

BW people little lane

Come on George, its down this alley, I am not lost….. I think….

BW people last post inn

Just one more pint…. no one will see me going in AGAIN..

BW people Home

Do I have to clean the windows AND the bbq?

BW people civic hall

Cant read it, must be in French

BW people Bulls head

The landlord took the car keys off me, now I have to walk home.

Contact Sheets of Photographs for Square Mile Assignment

Contact sheet Square Mile-1 Contact sheet Square Mile-2 Contact sheet Square Mile-3 Contact sheet Square Mile-4 Contact sheet Square Mile-5

Making the contact sheets what a nightmare, until I asked for help on face book then I was directed to the link below.

How to Create Contact Sheets in Lightroom

Part 1 – Assignment 1 – The Square Mile – Planning
Part 1 – Assignment 1 – The Square Mile – Assignment
Part 1 – Assignment 1 – The Square Mile – Images
Part 1 – Assignment 1 – The Square Mile – Tutor Report
Part 1 – Assignment 1 – The Square Mile – Review and Reflection

How to tell a story with images

My further thoughts on Surface and Depth click here

The story within a photograph is what’s in the frame, what does the image say? where is it displayed? why is it displayed? Does it tell a story? Things to think about are:

  • Purpose
  • Background
  • Context

Where ever it is displayed, when we look at an image it will tell us something subconsciously.  Without realising it, we will form some type of opinion, have some type of feeling towards it. We may like it or hate it or wonder what’s it’s all about? In marketing images, there will be a message, maybe not initially apparent, that sends us a message on what we should be wearing, eating, feeling, and so forth.

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A story or narrative can be told by using just one image or a series of images. For example the image above was taken on recent visit to Turkey. I wanted to capture the tranquillity of the moment. There were no other tourists there and it was so peaceful. I thought the mountains on the other horizon looked almost magical. The blues from the sky and sea were inviting me to make sure I visit this place again. The seating says to me, come sit down and enjoy, relax. I wanted to portray an image of the way I felt at the time so that others may enjoy the moment or feel that they would like to visit there too.

Look where I was… don’t you wish you could have gone there too!

When taking a family snap, we want to convey a happy atmosphere caught in a moment of time. The words ‘say cheese’ are widely used when these types of snaps are taken. This is where we can manipulate the situation and convey the message we want.

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For example these two photographs were taken minutes apart. The one on the left was taken first. It was a really hot day, we needed a cooling drink and had been walking along the marina. My husband here couldn’t wait to get his cool beer drank, so I snapped the shutter. When I reviewed the photo I could see he looked, tired, hot and bothered. The second shot  was taken after a ‘come on look like you are enjoying yourself’ promp. Besides the smile, The beer glass was even lifted up to say ‘look what I have got’

Content is also important to think about as this will convey a message too. Making sure the correct message is portrayed so that there is no misunderstanding.

Where we decide to place/display our images/photographs is also important. Where they are displayed whether in an album, online or a gallery, we need to think of the ideal place for them. The images here, I took for a specific reason, on very quiet Sunday morning.

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Market Drayton a small town near where I live, asked for photographs of the locality for the towns Artfest, with the theme ‘Our Town’. I offered two photographs which they accepted and were displayed in the Arts Festival Hall gallery. I don’t think these two photographs would have meant anything to anyone who did not know the reason for taking them. The image above, is just a street of old looking buildings. If I had displayed it say in my photo album, the question may have been asked, ‘What’s this?’ or the page may have been quickly flicked over! But for people visiting the ‘Our Town’ festival, would have found it of interest.

Understanding the context of an image we can begin to understand the narrative. In a series of images, the narrative is a constant, telling a story giving it a general flow and transmitting information. In this case a narrative is a pattern in the images that knit together and show the aims and values. Like any story it should have a beginning, middle and end

  • Allen Feldman has stated “the event is not what happens. The event is that which can be narrated”
  • Stuart Freedman recently declared, we need “a return to a storytelling in photography as rigorous in thought and research as it is beautiful in construction and execution.”

(Source: http://www.david-campbell.org/2010/11/18/photography-and-narrative)

 Put simply, a linear narrative is a detailed description or theory that has an exciting high point, ending, and all parts have a common theme and are connected in one form or another.

Using the theme, MY HOME, I have to think about, what is the story I want to tell? How shall I portray it?

The picture here is a series of photographs taken around my home. Each photograph depicts a letter of the alphabet; together they read ‘bless our home’. Although they knit together because they have meaning to me, an outsider may find it difficult to understand, and it also begs the question, does this image have a beginning middle and an end?

I would argue that it does, but only on a personal note, It is very individual,

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The ‘B’ is from the bread bin, bread being a staple diet, with thoughts of providing for the family, the breadwinner, money and full bellies.

The ‘L’ is part of the clock, which says time spent together, it’s a pedlar clock, old a reliable, dependable and marks the passage of time spent together

The ‘E’ is the fire grate, giving warmth and a cosy feeling in the home.

The ’S’ made up of dried flowers, two poppy heads and a catkin. Poppys always remind me of those that have past on, maybe this is because of the military conections in my background, and the catkin swirling round the poppy heads reads as the beginning and the end of life, a never ending cycle going round and round.

The other S is a church eve, which would have seen my children, baptised and then married as they begin their own life cycles and build their own homes with their children

R is made up if pebbles we have collected over the years in the shape of a heart, reminding me of all the places we have visited and the bringing back memories and happy times

The ‘H’ is the window frame that we look out of every morning and plan our day, being able to be part of the out side world yet in the safety of our own castle.

The ‘O’ is part of my Royal Albert Collection, collected over the past 30 years. The first cup and saucer bought by my husband on our 1st wedding anniversary. Then the following 33 years, my children added to the collection, I now have a full dinner service for 10 people, which is only used at Christmas, so it brings so many memories. Its not Christmas without ‘Albert’

The ‘M’ is part of a dried flower display, bought for me by some very dear friends, one of whom is no longer with us. Memories of their involvement in my life are remembered every time I look at the vase

The last ‘E’ is made up of the front and back door keys to the house as well as a keyring which has an L for Lucy on it, this depicts the way in and the way out, a passage for people I love and care for to be able to come into my home and then leave with my best wishes.

These images as a collective change the thought of a HOUSE to a HOME and what ‘home’ means to me. It tells a story, be it on a very personal level. It spans decades and tells of what the future holds for us all, life, birth, death, family, friends, and the image is full of memories.