Exercise 2.2 People and Activity – Planned

This has been a really enjoyable exercise for me from researching other photographers, planning the exercise, shooting and developing my photography. Following the research I planned to take candid photos that would include people at the two stations and in the engine sheds, and I have succeeded in following my plan in these regards. I made use of a tripod and remote trigger at times, so that I could capture people involved in activity, without being too obvious. This was more relevent for the public than for the railway staff who are used to being photographed. Using the remote shutter was a new experience for me, and on the whole this went well. There was an occasion on one of the platforms when I had set my gear up so that I could make the shot with the right composition when the train pulled in, and then people stood in the way. Then another occasion where a train guard asked me to move. It’s the way it goes, and it did not interfere with my process too greatly.

Whilst shooting for this activity I was aware of composition, changes in lighting, and white balance, as well as trying to get the composition that I thought worked best for the photo I was trying to create. Have I achieved my aim of making photography in the style of Parr or Bravo? No. I did not create the visual or emotional juxtaposition of Parr, and I have developed neatly. I prefer to tidy my photography in the development process. My photography was closer to the style of Bravo. Although there are no staged photos many of the staff were aware that I was photographing them. I have prefered to include the photos where people were not interested or aware of the camera. I like the natural shots and they show more of the activity. The people who made it to my final 16 did so because they are involved in the activity, which is primary, rather than the activity being a background for the people. Visually I also believe that these are the stronger images.

The lighting within the engine shed that I have photographed was challenging, and I made use of ISO and flash for those photos, and prefered the ones with the higher ISO and also those that I shot for the external light at the end of the shed. I did explore the use of flash, and a home-made tube so that I could direct the light rather than have it bounce off of the engines and ruin objects that were closer to the camera. It wasnt particularly successful in this instance, but its good practice for me, and something that I considered in advance.

Here are my final 12 photos, and contact sheets can be found below them.

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway

North York Moors RailwayNorth York Moors Railway

First draft 217

Second Cut – Developed

Third Cut – Developed

Last 16

Brief: The first project in Part Two starts by asking you to photograph people engaged in an activity, where the activity is the main subject rather than the people themselves. You’ll then look at some aspects of composition in more detail.

Making photographs involves a creative process and it’s important to become aware of the choices you’re making (or not making) throughout every project you do. Your first exercise in this project is to photograph people (preferably outside) involved in an activity – walking a dog, playing football, involved in a street carnival, a stage rehearsal or a political march. You choose.

10 Replies to “Exercise 2.2 People and Activity – Planned”

  1. These photographs are very expert and capture the activity of running this steam railway very well. I especially like number seven, taken behind the engineer who is squatting to observe his work on the bench. Good to see a familiar engine … 44806. I am sure I recognise the rear view of the driver in image number twelve!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great set of photos once again. What is visually strongest here, as per me, is the framing that you have tried to achieve and succeeded at so well.

    5/16, 7/16, 13/49, 15/49, 26/49, 29/49, 32/49, 36/49, 46/49, 49/49, 9/123, 11/123 are some of my favourites from the contact sheets.

    Numbers 4, 7 and 8 are my favourites from your final edit. The learnings and application of skills learnt from the coursework is quite evident in the images here. And great learning point for me. Thank you, Richard. Your work compels me to look and relook and study it over and again and hence it’s an excellent research point for people like me. Thank you as always to be so inspirational for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your detailed feedback Archna. I agree about 4 and 8. The concentration on the man’s face can be detected in 8 even though you can barely see the front of his head. My favourite is number 6 though. I like how I’ve controlled a large space by the composition.

      I’ll cross reference the contacts with your comments when I have my pc on.


  3. Richard

    I’m a sucker for any railway themed photos – steam, diesel or electric. My favourites are those of the chaps in orange, particularly 2, 7 and 8. 8 by the way has a ‘decisive moment’ about it that HCB would have been proud.

    I haven’t been to the NYMR for nearly 30 years. Do they allow the public to walk about the yard and engine sheds, or did you gain some special permission?

    Dave C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s quite an open place. You can’t go into the sheds, but they are open at both ends, and the space between the shed and the coal hopper isn’t a public space, but it’s so wide open that you can walk around the side of half of it.

      And thankyou for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really like the way you have captured the atmosphere. Without having been there I have a sense of the activity and the nature of the people. I’m not sure which other photographers style this represents, but I don’t think that matters, it is Richard’s view and that works for me. I guess Cartier-Bresson is the closest. This method of capturing people and activity is a real eye opener for me, and so much more appealing than straight portraits.


    Liked by 1 person

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