Bye Bye Carbon? – Exercise 3.6 – Mixing Genre

Brief:- In this exercise you’ll make four photographs that mix genres together. Choose a subject you’d like to photograph. It can be anything at all, a place, a person, an object or a story. Landscape – Now decide on how you can enhance your subject’s meaning by joining it together with a place – a landscape. Make a photograph of your subject in or associated with a landscape or place of your choice. But choose wisely; there needs to be a ‘resonance’ between the subject and the place. For example, you could place a friend outside the house where he or she was born. You may not think it’s possible to combine landscape with other landscapes, but have a look at Beate Gütschow’s work and you’ll see it can be done (www. You can also place images side-by-side to be read as a single piece or make one picture out of several pictures. You may even be able to mix all four genres in one picture. Portrait – Make a photograph of your subject in combination with a portrait – the presence of a person. If your subject is a person, then you could add a second person, like a relative. Still life – Make a photograph of your subject in conjunction with an object or collection of objects. You could place an object in a landscape for example, as in Penny Watson’s photograph.  Story or event –
Make a photograph of your subject involved in a story or event. This could involve creating a narrative situation or a sequence of photographs that represent an event happening in time.When you’ve finished the four photographs arrange them together as a series, either in a computer program or as prints on a wall. When you view pictures repeatedly over time, they ‘work on you’ and you begin to notice things that don’t work and other things you’d like to improve. It’s a good way of learning from your own photographs.

A couple of months ago when I was visiting Redcar, I walked up the dunes and saw 50 – 100 christmas trees which had been planted into the sand. Dead christmas trees. Trees that are no longer drawing in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen. Instead, they have been uprooted by human kind, to be used for our pleasure for 12 – 30 days, so that they can then be re-planted into an area that they will never grow in.

You can probably tell that this sparked a photographic fire within me. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the wind farm juxtaposed with these trees. How many times must we find to destroy the planet, then find ways to correct out destruction, just to create more destruction and need newer inventions to counter our further interventions, and ad infinitum.

Watching current affairs also highlights climate change deniers, and those “leaders” and carbon heavy industries who are desperate to cling hold of fossil fuels rather than say goodbye to them and make use of renewables.

I have included both two and three genres to create a narrative within the one image; still life and landscape or still life, landscape and portrait.

bye bye carbon

bye bye carbon

bye bye carbon


The narrative is promising here and I’m pleased with how combining different genres I have been able to create a narrative within a single image. I think many photos naturally make use of more than one genre, not all, but a fair few. However the process of deliberately trying to make use of different genres places an emphasis upon deeper consideration of what it is that I want to convey. Slowing the process down is always good for somebody with my make up, who tends to run with an idea without considering alternatives or depth. It’s when I slow down that my better work is produced, it has become a deliberate ploy since beginning Foundations in Photography.

The developing of the second image has not worked for me, the white balance is wrong and has too much warmth, and the yellowish tint doesn’t look right, although its composition is strong, maybe even the strongest of the three, simple but bold.

The first image needs the top cropping slightly, I like the composition, and I like how the red of the rose draws my eye into the cross.

Ok, the third image. This has the potential to be a strong photo, with the model offering the flowers to the trees, almost as if he is pleading to retain the use of carbon based energy, not wanting to let go and allow it to die in peace. But it needs to be re-photographed. I need to go back to Redcar and take this photo in the morning so that the mans shadow does not lean into the trees. I find it off-putting. maybe the toy cars could go from this photo as well, or be re-positioned as they detract from the composition in my opinion.

Hand on heart I am not always great at following the brief. I had read the brief in advance, a month or so, but I did not re-read prior to going out and shooting. At some point I am going to have to get on top of this. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased with how my intuition and mind work together with some of my ideas, and this one particularly, and they have lent towards the brief in this instance. However, there will be times, either in higher education or with commissioned pieces where following the brief will be essential. With the times that I have deliberately chosen to go against the brief, and this has generally been once I have followed it for the first go but have wanted to explore, then that’s fine, thats personal development. However, I have said it before and will say it again until it sinks in, follow the brief.

16 Replies to “Bye Bye Carbon? – Exercise 3.6 – Mixing Genre”

  1. A heart touching narration. I so agree with you – when will humanity stop? Never, in my opinion. I find your third image to be the strongest – it gives me shivers – an ode to the dying nature. Even your other images sans the portrait also is very significant – when humans have destroyed nature so completely that they in turn destroyed themselves and all that stands to remind us of humanity is the dead trees and the windmills! Also, the juxtaposition of the windmills versus the dead trees is so powerful. Yes the shadow is kind of distracting and I did not get the intention of the toy cars being there. Can you please explain that. Very well done Richard. A truly soul stirring image.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou Archna. It’s a help to know that I’m learning to stand back and see the weakness and strengths in some of my photos. The cars represent the oil industry because they are powerful lobbyists against renewables, and they fight against changing the reliance upon fossil fuels.

      Maybe that’s a step too far for the photo?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah ok? Yeah maybe. Am not sure if placing them elsewhere would make them a little more prominent? They seem to be getting lost in there somewhere. I think without them also the photograph is really strong.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful messsage Richard. You have demonstrated mixed genres. Your analysis is good. Given the learning I see no need to repeat this unless you want to develop it into a specific project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou Sarah. I think I would like to repeat it so that I can eliminate the shadow. It’s not that it will be part of a project, but Redcar means a lot to me, as does the windfarm. So I’ll do it for my enjoyment.


  3. Hi Richard. I really like the trees against the wind farm. I think that’s very clever. The third image is the strongest in my view due to the balance on the subjects. In images 1 and 2 I would consider moving the cars back to the edge of the dune so they stand out more clearly against the paler sand in the background. Just a thought. Good work though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Richard, another of your posts I seemed to have missed! I will have to check my reader settings again.

    Well, I think this is very good, an excellent narrative and as usual, a very good thought process, it is something we should all be concerned about.

    Regarding the images, for me I prefer the one with the model in, I think he balances well with the trees to lead back to the wind farm, almost like an equilateral triangle. I know you are concerned about the shadow, maybe an off camera flash through some kind of modifier to soften the light would have mitigated this?

    Apologies again for missing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am fine thanks Richard, always seem to have a lot to do, the days seem to go very quickly. I am beginning to wonder how I managed to find time to work before I retired!

        How about you? How are you keeping?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Time – never enough. I’m mixed. One the whole I’m ok and enjoying life, but I’m going through a phase of increased paranoid thinking at the moment. It’s quite interesting to be enjoying life alongside it, that’s new, and fab, because it’s not overwhelming.

        And two airshows to look forward too.

        Liked by 1 person

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