Dorathea Lange – Politics Of Seeing – Barbican

I attended with fellow OCA Photography student Sarah A, which was invaluable. To walk around and share thoughts, ideas and opinions with another photographer, to be able to walk slowly and really see the photos was invaluable.

  • Dorathea was a highly respected and sought after portrait photographer before being commissioned by FSA
  • FSA motivation was to highlight how America was recovering during/after great depression
  • Her early work for FSA demonstrates she was a portrait photographer
  • Her portraits at this stage were technically wonderful but have a feeling of no emotional connection with her subjects
  • When she began to work with her future husband her work becomes more social/documentary in nature, she begins to make photos that matter
  • This highlights that she was very uncomfortable with portraying the America the FSA wanted to show, which was propagander and not reality
  • This is backed up by her passing copyright to FSA, she wasn’t interested in retaining her photographic rights
  • When she begins to make photography about racism in the US the quality of her work is stunning. This is clearly something which matters to her
  • Many of her photographs have a lot of grain.
  • I have grown up with computers from the age of 9 and have rarely made film photos, and when I have this has been as a complete novice
  • I over develop and use software to remove all traces of grain. This isn’t necessary
  • Some of her photos are slightly out of focus, they are really pleasing to my eye. Do I really need to delete everything that’s not technically perfect? I think this is about intent pre-shoot
  • Black and white photography is wonderful for showing texture. Having been anti black and white then my perspective has altered from attending this exhibition

Pannet Art Gallery

Today we visited Pannet Art Gallery in Whitby as part of a family day out. It was not a planned study visit for me, but I thought I would take some notes for my studies – Foundations in Photography. I am preparing for the Workflow exercises on Shadow, so my focus was looking at shadows, highlights, contrasts and diffuse lighting.

The exhibitions were predominantly acrylic, oil and water colour; there was no photography.

Three artists caught my eye, although they didn’t necessarily fit the brief that I was researching. However – light is the medium of artists and photographers and without light we cannot create.


Colin Cook; Grand Canal; Venice; (Accessed on 29/06/2017)

The luminosity in the painting is more impressive than the photo, and there was slightly more depth in the shadows. The luminosity and shadow detail were what caught my eye. There is a richness and subtlety to the colours that appeal to me. I am aware that some of the photographs that I develop can appear HDR as I have a tendency to over contrast my images. Cook’s photo has an intense dynamic range that has also has a gentle quality.


John Freeman; SS Rohilla Rescue;

This was not the image on display at the gallery but the diffused lighting and broad tonal range are similar to those in his painting at the gallery. The colour saturation decreases gently across the frame but the vibrancy is consistent.

Sue Atkinson also had two paintings on display. She is a member of Leeds Fine Art Club and The Fylingdales Group of Artists.

A New Year, Runswick Bay

Acrylic   30 x 40 cm

£695.00            Sue Atkinson; A New Year, Runswick; (Accessed on 30/06/2017)

Again I must say that the photo of this painting really does not do it justice. The luminosity and the light were striking on the painting in the gallery. However, the learning for me was the importance of setting and position in relation to photography and other images. I first looked at this head on, and walked quite quickly past it. Then I sat down and spoke with a friend about 12ft away from the image and 4ft to the left. Then I really saw the lighting. Displaying my photography online will have its advantages, but it will also have drawbacks.

Learning – Consider how best to display a series of photographs. What interaction do I want the viewer to be able to have? How can I make use of multi media and different environments with my photography?