Lightroom Tutorial 1 – Setting up Preferences and Catalogue Settings

I know that we all want to get on with developing our photos and brining the best out of them, but if we get this bit right at the beginning, then Lightroom will run efficiently for our PC, and we will have a smoother workflow process.

The aim of this walk-through is to help us set Lightroom up in a manner that is calibrated with our PC and monitor, and to ensure smooth transition when switching between Lightroom, Photoshop and back to Lightroom.

 

I am going to write as if you have no understanding of Lightroom. There may be some things here that you are familiar with and you may have other tips to share. Feel free to leave comments with your own tips and guidance.

I am no expert, I have been using Lightroom for 5 months and it is becoming more intuitive as my experience develops. Some menus are different on a MAC, but for this you will only need to find the Edit menu.

Some of this may seem a bit Techy, but once it is done, you shouldn’t need to do it again and it will keep your work flow smooth.

Library and Preferences

There are alternate ways to manage folders:- Our own way, using Bridge, or using Lightroom. However Lightroom will not create folders unless you export to a specific folder that you ask Lightroom to create.

As a beginner I would recommend using your own system. I do this so that I know where the originals are kept. I don’t move them once edited, because Lightroom remembers the file path in order to find photos at a later date. Heres an example of my folders

Folders

When you import photos into Lightroom it creates a virtual copy. So you’re not editing the original photo. You’re editing the copy, and then Lightroom creates a catalogue of those copies. It also creates an XMP side car file and places it next to the original image in your folder and looks like this.

XMP-side-car

This may sound a bit technical. Its nothing to worry about. As long as you don’t move folders around then Lightroom will find them and open them with the develop settings that you have made.

When you open Lightroom, the last folder/catalogue that you opened will appear and will look like this.

Library-Mode

We are going to focus on the left of the screen.

Library-Mode-2

The red arrow which points to file and edit are where we can import images and edit our preferences. The second red arrow is pointing to folders that you have previously opened in Lightroom. At the bottom of the screen you will notice an import and export button. If you use this button to import, then it will add images to the collection that you currently have open. It won’t move the photos around in your hard drive, they will stay in the same folder. However Lightroom will now have a catalogue with two separate series of images in the one catalogue. This is the difference between catalogues and folders. Originals stay in folders unless we manually move them. Catalogues have virtual copies and Lightroom creates a pathway so that it knows which folder to look in to find them. We will look at Import and Library settings in the next walk-through, but now we will set up Lightroom preferences.

Press Edit and then Preferences. You should now have a grey box appear that looks like this.

Preferences-2

I have watched a few YouTube videos by Julieanne Kost and set my preferences up from her guidance. These settings are a good starting point.

Presets

Preferences-3

Leave all check boxes blank for now.

External Editing

Preferences-4

This is an important box. Why – Lightroom is excellent for developing photos, however it is not so good at cloning and healing large distractions. There are times that we need to quickly pop over to Photoshop and then return the edited photo to Lightroom. The settings in section 1 will ensure that you can easily transition between Lightroom, Photoshop and back to Lightroom. We will discuss exporting in a future walk-through. Lightroom also gives us the option to export photos to other photo developing software and you can alter those preferences in section 2.

File Handling

Preferences-5

I leave most of this alone and have only altered the camera Raw Cache settings. The cache settings are Lightroom’s editing memory. The more space we can use the quicker Lightroom will operate. What size you set this too will depend on the speed of your computer and the amount of spare memory. With this in mind, when I set up my folders – I set them up on my D drive – it has more space for storage, so I have no pictures on my C drive which is where Lightroom operates as a programme. This means I have the 20G spare on my C drive. Only you can know how much spare memory you have – but I believe as standard Lightroom has this set to 4G. If you are unsure about your spare memory then leave this alone and allow the Lightroom preset to run as it is.

We don’t need to worry about any more of the preferences. Click Ok, go back to the edit menu and click catalogue settings, and this box will appear.

Catalogue-1

I have changed the Backup drop down, so that it backs up the catalogues every time that I exit Lightroom. The catalogue back up, is part of how Lightroom recognises where your photos are stored and what virtual changes have been made. Lightroom only edits virtual copies so having the catalogue backup means that if your computer crashes then Lightroom knows what it has done to your virtual photos. Photos remain virtual unless we export them – that’s for a future walk-through.

We are advised to back up our original images somewhere other than our PC and it is important to back up the Lightroom catalogue separately.

The red arrow points to the location of my Lightroom catalogue, so I find the catalogue and copy it to my cloud account.

File Handling

Catalogue-2

Ensure Standard Preview size is set to auto – it will detect your screen resolution and ensure the preview fits your screen.

Preview quality – Medium is good if you are not running a fast PC with lots of memory, but if you have a good PC then set this to high. I have the 1:1 previews set to discard after 1 week. It doesn’t delete your image after one week, but it means the virtual image preview will be stored in your catalogue but NOT in your working memory, so your editing memory will not be slowed down with photos you have finished editing.

Metadata

Catalogue-3

This is the standard setting. Keep it at this and we will discuss metadata in more detail in the next walk-through – Library Module. The library module is where we can begin to develop our photos.

 

Proud of Pride

Pride is a celebration of diversity and gender in all of its many forms. It’s an opportunity for the LGBTQ community, friends, family and supporters to gather together and be proud of being who we are. Being visible as a community means that equality and diversity can be promoted and homophobia and discrimination can be challenged by presence and a carnival atmosphere.

Review of Lyndsey Jameson – PhotoRealist Artist

I am reviewing Lyndsey Jameson as part of the planning and research for my project on mental illness/mental wellness.

Lyndsey is a visual artist who predominantly paints with oils in the photorealistic style. She has been awarded the British Portrait Award with the National portrait Gallery (2015). She also received second place in the visitors choice of the British Portrait award in 2010.

I find her paintings to be hard-hitting expressions of emotions and inner conflict. She produces a narrative within each painting, but there is adequate space within that for the viewer to become the co-creator of story by questioning our emotions, inner thoughts and our concept of self and identity.

 

The Harpy – Oil on Linen 2013

The Harpy - Oil on Linen 2013

Fig 1

Initial Observations

Woman melting, Rook on Head, Rose and hair pin above ear, Eyes – white-no iris-no pupil, mouth wide, burnt orange-brown-red-yellow canvas, with some whiter/highlights as frame around head. Photorealistic, Emotion – anger-fear-loss

The woman could be materialising (left side of body has no lines of melting) so could be forming. She Could be melting (right hand side of body is like wax, melting down the page. A sense of not being seen as only shoulders and head visible.

The colours of canvas initially suggested anger, movement, energy, intensity, but I also see warmth, sunrise, mist.

Narrative:- The appearance of woman, self, arising through the mist of the morning sunrise, with a need to be heard and seen. There is a strength in the mouth and eyes and the form of the body, which is very defined other than the left arm. Were are not being shown, subtle, tender curves of the woman, we are being shown the dynamic strength of the feminine, the goddess. The Power.The Power is not a confrontation or hostility to the viewer, we are not being lead to be fearful. The perspective is side on, and although the woman is looking forward, she is not facing us. This is power without threat. Inner strength.

Research The Harpy and Celtic power animal (Crow, Rook, Raven)

Harpy – Roman Greek Mythology, half maiden half bird, hunger, faster than the winds, swift-footed, Swift Robbers, bringer of justice, protective of family – especially when harmed, considered ugly by MEN

“But even as early as the time of Aeschylus, they are described as ugly creatures with wings, and later writers carry their notions of the Harpies so far as to represent them as most disgusting monsters. The Pythian priestess of Apollo recounted the appearance of the Harpies in the following lines:

“Before this man an extraordinary band of women [i.e. Harpies] slept, seated on thrones. No! Not women, but rather Gorgons I call them; and yet I cannot compare them to forms of Gorgons either. Once before I saw some creatures in a painting, carrying off the feast of Phineus; but these are wingless in appearance, black, altogether disgusting; they snore with repulsive breaths, they drip from their eyes hateful drops; their attire is not fit to bring either before the statues of the gods or into the homes of men. I have never seen the tribe that produced this company, nor the land that boasts of rearing this brood with impunity and does not grieve for its labor afterwards.” also Vicious, cruel, tyrants that punished the wicked. (Wikipedia; 2017)

The Poem The Harpy by Robert William Service gives a different perspective on the Harpy, and suggests that the harpy is wise, wise to the shame of men, but punished by the gods to play the game of love, either for loves sake or payment. However, this is not a submissive role. These are women of power and are the hunters and not the hunted, even though the man may feel that he is the one with the power.

Celtic and Druid Mythology around ravens and crows concern, wisdom, the oracle, fortune-telling, seeing the future, death but he one that strikes me is that crows can be trained to speak.

I believe that Jameson is showing a woman, truly stepping into her own power, sense of self and will no longer be subservient, quite, shy. She knows who she is, she sees who you are, she sees the future and do not dare stand in her way, because you will pay the consequences if you do. This is also symbolised by the cawing crow. She is also mysterious and has hidden depths

 

 

Raven

“A lot of negative raven symbolism comes about from their appearance on battlefields. They are scavengers (and curious to a fault), and are often seen picking at mangled remains of fallen warriors on battle grounds.

For example, the raven’s intelligence is possibly its most winning feature. Indeed, these birds can be trained to speak. This speaking ability leads into the legend of ravens being the ultimate oracle.

In fact, the raven is often heard to cackle utterances that sound like “cras, cras.” The actual word cras is tomorrow in Latin. This lends more fuel to the legendary fires that distinguish the raven as a bird who can foretell the future, and reveal omens and signs.

Countless cultures point to the raven as a harbinger of powerful secrets. Moreover, the raven is a messenger too, so its business is in both keeping and communicating deep mysteries. The raven is symbolic of mind, thought and wisdom according to Norse legend, as their god Odin was accompanied by two ravens: Hugin who represented the power of thought and active search for information. The other raven, Mugin represented the mind, and its ability to intuit meaning rather than hunting for it. Odin would send these two ravens out each day to soar across the lands. At day’s end, they would return to Odin and speak to him of all they had spied upon and learned on their journeys.

 

Keywords Associated With Raven Symbolism

Vocal, Brassy, Knowing, Curious, Truthful, Creative, Authentic, Intuitive, Mysterious, Insightful, Intelligent, Unpredictable, Unconventional” (Veneficia; 2015-2017)

 

Druidism and Crow

“Another belief was that the birds were faeries who shape-shifted to cause troubles. Magickal qualities included bringing knowledge, shape-shifting, eloquence, prophecy, boldness, skill, knowledge, cunning, trickery and thievery. In the Middle Ages, people believed that sorcerers and witches used the symbol of Crows foot to cast death spells. In most of England, seeing a solitary crow meant anger, but in Northamptonshire, it meant ill fortune. Crow, cawing in a hoarse voice, meant bad weather. A death omen was a crow cawing thrice as it flew over a house. The Irish believed that Crow flocking in trees, but not nesting were souls from Purgatory. Finding a dead crow was a sign of good fortune. Russians believed that witches took the shape of Crow.” (Clara)

 

Torsion – Oil on Canvas 2006

Torsion Oil on canvas 2006

Fig 2

Initial Observations

Male Face, tortured, bruised, cyanosis, haematoma, locked in, unable to express, constricted emotions and thoughts, the eyes – restricted vision – no hope – no future – suicide, the wires wrap tightly around his face – he is mentally and verbally squashed, everything is kept in, his emotions and thoughts are tight and becoming tighter, he can’t get enough oxygen. He is dying with the weight of what he cannot think about or say. He has witnessed or committed tragedy, intense trauma. This is a form of inner suffocation and strangulation. The torture is not as a form of assault, the wires suggest this and say that something has happened to him. The trauma has happened to him and its eating him alive. He is in so much pain but there is no way that he is going to let it out. He is going to die. The pressure is too much. There is no sign that he is going to hit out, the wires tell of impotence, an inability to express.

Pain, sadness, grief, trauma, suffering, intensity, suffocation, powerlessness and death.

With the dictionary definitions of testicular torsion I believe the man may have suffered sexual abuse, and that this has cut of the life within him, as in the first dictionary definition. A hard hitting painting that made me pause deeply.

 

Torsion – dictionary

“Testicular torsion occurs when the spermatic cord (from which the testicle is suspended) twists, cutting off the testicle’s blood supply The most common symptom in children is rapid onset of severe testicular pain The testicle may also be higher than usual and vomiting may occur. In newborns pain is often absent and instead the scrotum may become discoloured or a testicle may disappear from its usual place” (Wikipedia; 2017a)

“def 1; late Middle English torcion wringing one’s bowels < Old French torsion < Late Latin torsiōn- (stem of torsiō) torment, equivalent to tors(us) twisted (see torse ) + -iōn- -ion” (Random House Dictionary; 2017)

“The Harpy – Poem by Robert William Service

There was a woman, and she was wise; woefully wise was she;
She was old, so old, yet her years all told were but a score and three;
And she knew by heart, from finish to start, the Book of Iniquity.

There is no hope for such as I on earth, nor yet in Heaven;
Unloved I live, unloved I die, unpitied, unforgiven;
A loathed jade, I ply my trade, unhallowed and unshriven.

I paint my cheeks, for they are white, and cheeks of chalk men hate;
Mine eyes with wine I make them shine, that man may seek and sate;
With overhead a lamp of red I sit me down and wait

Until they come, the nightly scum, with drunken eyes aflame;
Your sweethearts, sons, ye scornful ones — ’tis I who know their shame.
The gods, ye see, are brutes to me — and so I play my game.

For life is not the thing we thought, and not the thing we plan;
And Woman in a bitter world must do the best she can —
Must yield the stroke, and bear the yoke, and serve the will of man;

Must serve his need and ever feed the flame of his desire,
Though be she loved for love alone, or be she loved for hire;
For every man since life began is tainted with the mire.

And though you know he love you so and set you on love’s throne;
Yet let your eyes but mock his sighs, and let your heart be stone,
Lest you be left (as I was left) attainted and alone.

From love’s close kiss to hell’s abyss is one sheer flight, I trow,
And wedding ring and bridal bell are will-o’-wisps of woe,
And ’tis not wise to love too well, and this all women know.

Wherefore, the wolf-pack having gorged upon the lamb, their prey,
With siren smile and serpent guile I make the wolf-pack pay —
With velvet paws and flensing claws, a tigress roused to slay.

One who in youth sought truest truth and found a devil’s lies;
A symbol of the sin of man, a human sacrifice.
Yet shall I blame on man the shame? Could it be otherwise?

Was I not born to walk in scorn where others walk in pride?
The Maker marred, and, evil-starred, I drift upon His tide;
And He alone shall judge His own, so I His judgment bide.

Fate has written a tragedy; its name is “The Human Heart”.
The Theatre is the House of Life, Woman the mummer’s part;
The Devil enters the prompter’s box and the play is ready to start. “(Service; 1953)

 

References

Fig 1;  Jameson, L; 2013; The Harpy Oil on Linen; Online at http://www.lyndseyjameson.com/ (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Fig 2; Jameson, L; 2006; Torsion Oil on Canvas; Online at http://www.lyndseyjameson.com/ (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Clara; Crow Divination Part 2 of 3; Online at http://www.avesnoir.com/crow-divination-pt-2-of-3/ (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Random House Dictionary; 2017; Origin of Torsion; New York; Random House Inc; In Dictionary.com; Online at http://www.dictionary.com/browse/torsion (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Service, RW; 1953; The Harpy; Online at https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-harpy/ (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Wikipedia; 2017; The Harpy; Wikipedia Foundation;  Online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpy  (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Wikipedia; 2017a; Testicular torsion; Wikipedia Foundation; Online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testicular_torsion (accessed on 05/08/2017)

Veneficia, A; 2005-2017; Raven Symbolism and Symbolic Meaning of Ravens; Online at  http://www.whats-your-sign.com/raven-symbolism.html (accessed on 05/08/2017)

 

Pride Portraits and Organisers/Sponsors Now Online – Lightroom Adjustment Brush and Airbrushing Portraits – Big Tip for Skin at the Bottom of the Page

The series that I will keep for my portfolio will be 24 of my favourite/meaningful photos of the day. I am currently reviewing the contact sheet and will select  the final 24 from 40 over the weekend.

I have uploaded the portraits and the Pride Makers on my website. I will include a few at the bottom of this blog.

Portraits Page OnePortraits Page TwoPride Makers

I have used a lot of the skills that I have learned on Foundations in Photography with making and developing these photos. I am more aware of how ISO, shutter speed and aperture affect lighting, grain and depth of field. With some of the portraits I felt anxious and I didn’t check to make sure that I had all of what I wanted to include in the frame, at other times my anxiety wasnt so bad and it was clear that I took more time.

It wasnt the kind of environment where distractions could be avoided altogether, but the people I photographed were happy to move so that I could light them more effectively or get rid of the background distractions. This was something that got easier as the day progressed and I became aware of how people allow you to direct them once they have consented to their photo being taken.

On the whole I use Lightroom for my developing, and tend to only use Photoshop for clone and healing brush. The healing brush tool is really useful for those times when I have cloned complicated areas of clothing or sky where the cloned section has been lighter or darker than the surrounding area. Clone first, then find smooth toned area with some texture, use the Alt key to select the source, then smooth over the cloned area. The key for me was finding a textured area, as it prevents the healing brush from turning the cloned area into a smudge. That’s a new trick up my sleeve.

Developing portraits in Lightroom has become more intuitive as this process went on. The first thing that I realised was to set the exposure and tone curve for the main subject. Once I had got that right I could then use the adjustment brush on the background. For many of the photos I have used the adjustment brush with decreased exposure and clarity and brushed over the background. This works well for complex scenes, but can look messy on bright white sky’s, however that’s what the grad filter is for.

I Feather, Flow, density and auto mask have taken me quite a while to get used to. Feather is useful for brushing around the outside of a subject as a harsh boundary with no feather creates the halo. I tend to use auto mask in conjunction with the grad filter, and use it as an eraser inside a subject so the filter doesn’t effect them. Density gives me more control of the affect – so a burn of -.3 can be toned down using the density slider and this decreases the incidence of “brush strokes” on light areas.

Airbrushing – using spot heal for blemishes, adjusting saturation, temp and tint on lips, eyes (am amazed at how you can bring out the colour of eyes) and skin. Whites adjustment for eyes. Increase exposure for deep-set eyes or eyes in shadow. Decrease highlights and whites for reflections on glasses. I am also going to change my Lightroon and Photoshop background to white. The sites I use have white backgrounds and the tone appears different to my eyes on a black background than it does on white.

Big skin tip – don’t do a global increase of contrast, it changes the skin colour. I have found that the best results came from a typical ‘S’ tone curve, but with darks at no more than 10% and then increase the mid-tones and bring up the shadows.

Assignment One – Square Mile – Initial Thoughts and Ideas

“However you choose to approach this assignment, it should communicate something about you: your interests, motivations, and your ambitions for your photography. Think of it as a way to introduce yourself to your tutor. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to respond to this brief, as long as you try to push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of subject matter; try out new approaches rather than sticking to what you think you’re most successful at.”  (Enoch; 2017)

My Interests

Sociology, People, Inequality, Diversity, Events, Macro, Transcendence, Buddhism, Colour, Sweets, Flowers, Birds, Digital Developing, Films, Meditation, Routine

Out of Comfort Zone/Dislikes

Landscape, Tourism, Being out at night, Conflict, Talking to people, Black and white/Monochrome photography, Carrying a tripod, Exercise, Enclosed Spaces, Crowds, Anxiety

Ideas

1) Taking photos in a city that is familiar to me and looking for things I havent seen before. Leaving envelopes where I take photos with a request “I am a photography student and am exploring the idea of ‘things we overlook’. Would you be so kind as to have a look around and taking a photo, right where you are standing, of something that you havent noticed before. You can email it to me at…. My only requirements, for reasons of ethics and consent are that you must be over 18, if you are not then please ask an adult to take the photo and send it to me. The photo cannot be of an individual or a group of individuals with them as the main focus, but a general street photo with people in it is acceptable. Many thanks”

This idea is one of collaboratively exploring a familiar place with different perspectives. What do we overlook because of familiarity? Do my ideas of a place prevent me from seeing what is there?

2) Exploring the use of text and captions to add narrative. I follow other OCA students blogs, and a recent entry from Emma Pocock’s Landscape Blog. Emma is studying Landscape as a module of the BA (Hons) Photography with the Open College of the Arts. Exercise 2.5 is an exploration fo text in Art. After completing the exercise she says:-

“Although this isn’t a form of art I think I am cut out to make in its pure form, I am definitely going to try harder to jot down words which convey my thoughts and feelings when I start my walks for my assignment. The tiny glimmers of something interesting in the work above is enough to show me that there is merit in trying this out, either with a view to using the words alongside the images or just to trigger new ideas about how to visually represent the way I experience the journey.” (Pockock; 2017)

Along with the inspiration from Pocock’s blog, I have recently reviewed photography by Chloe Dewe-Matthews and an image by Walker Evans. The introduction to Dewe-Matthews “Shot at Dawn” and the title and date of Evans “Graveyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania have helped me to see the importance of text, captions and introductions, and the consideration of what style of text is best with a series or narrative. However I like the idea that Pocock used of writing notes as she walked around, and I could explore this technique as a way of exploring myself and my thoughts and feelings whilst I am photographically exploring the Square Mile. Present the idea as a photo book series with the photo on one page and text on the other.

3) Going to tourist attractions and taking photos in the style of John Hinde, following my recent review of his photography. I don’t find myself attracted to the photography that he made and neither do I enjoy tourist photography. However I found myself to be impressed with his development of his images and, what at the time was, pushing the boundaries with colour photography. Residents in tourist towns often have a negative view of tourists. I could go to popular tourist attractions and take postcard style photos of them and develop them in the style of Hinde, either through digital manipulation or over painting in the style of Gerhard Richter. If I were then to speak with tourists and locals and ask their opinion of the town or attraction and its tourists, I could use these with the images. It would be good to produce these a postcards with the tourists comment on the back, as if they were sending a postcard home, but with the quote from the person who lives near the attraction on the front.

I believe that conceptually idea 3 is the strongest from a conceptual viewpoint. I like the juxtaposition of a tourist postcard and a locals view of tourists. I remember someone from Filey referring to the tourists as “Comforts” meaning “Come for T’ day” as a derogatory statement. Tourism is a great source of local income and also disruption. This idea would also push me with regard to technical ability with regard to landscape photography, how to use space, or control space to tell a story, and with developing photographs. There is an emotional challenge as well. Being in busy, populous and confined spaces with people is something that provokes anxiety within me.

Any feedback on the strengths of the above ideas would be appreciated.

References

Enoch, R; 2017; Foundations in Photography; Barnsley; Open College of the Arts

Pocock, E; 2017; Exercise 2.5: Text in Art; Online at https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/63756241/posts/1538253432 (accessed on 01/08/2017)

Keys, R; 2017; Review of “Shot at Dawn” Chloe Dewe-Matthews; Online at https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/review-of-shot-at-dawn-chloe-dewe-matthews/ (accessed on 01/08/2017)

Keys, R; 2017; Review of “A Graceyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Walker Evans; Online at https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/review-of-a-graveyard-and-steel-mill-in-bethlehem-pennsylvania-by-walker-evans/ (accessed on 01/08/2017)

Keys, R; 2017; Review – John Wilfred Hinde; Online at https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/review-john-wilfred-hinde/ (accessed on 01/08/2017)

Richter, G; 2016; Gerhard Richter (online gallery); Online at https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/ (accessed on 01/08/2017)

Brief for Assignment One – Square Mile

Assignment one Square Mile

In our earliest years we know a patch of ground in a detail we will never know anywhere again – site of discovery and putting names to things – people and places – working with difference and similitude – favourite places, places to avoid – neighbours and their habits, gestures and stories – textures, smells – also of play, imagination, experiment – finding the best location for doing things – creating worlds under our own control, fantasy landscapes.

(Professor Mike Pearson)

Photographers and artists have always found inspiration in their immediate location. There is a concept within Welsh culture called Y Filltir Sgwâr (the ‘Square Mile’), which is described above by Professor Mike Pearson and refers to the intimate connection between people and their childhood surroundings. Use this as the starting point for your first assignment.

Brief

Make a series of between 6 and 12 photographs that responds to the concept of the ‘Square Mile’. Use this as an opportunity to take a fresh and experimental look at your surroundings. You may wish to re-trace your steps to places that you know very well, examining how they might have changed; or, particularly if you’re in a new environment, you may wish to use photography to explore your surroundings and meet some of the people around you.

You may wish to explore the concept of Y Filltir Sgwâr further, or you may deviate from this. Decide whether to focus on urban space or the natural environment.

You’ll need to shoot many more than 12 photographs for this assignment from which you’ll make your final edit. You should try to make your final set of photographs ‘sit’ together as a series. Don’t necessarily think about making a number of individual pictures, but rather a set of photographs that complement one another and collectively communicate your idea. Title your photographs or write short captions if you feel this is appropriate and would benefit the viewer.

However you choose to approach this assignment, it should communicate something about you: your interests, motivations, and your ambitions for your photography. Think of it as a way to introduce yourself to your tutor. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to respond to this brief, as long as you try to push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of subject matter; try out new approaches rather than sticking to what you think you’re most successful at.

As research for this assignment, look at the work of two photographers and note down your responses.

Dan Holdsworth http://www.danholdsworth.com

  • Why do you think he often works at night? Is it because there’s less people and traffic about to clutter the view? Is it because of the effect of light in a long exposure and the sense of artificiality or ‘strangeness’ that brings to the image?
  • What happens to your interpretation when the views are distant, wide and the main emphasis is on the forms of the man-made landscape?
  • Is there a sense that these images are both objective (because you are looking out at the world) and subjective (because they seem to deliberately conjure up a mood)?

Tom Hunter http://www.tomhunter.org/gallery/

  • Look at the two series Life and Death in Hackney and Unheralded Stories.
  • Do you notice the connection between the people and their surroundings? How does Hunter achieve this?
  • What kinds of places are these photographs set in? Are they exotic, special or ordinary, everyday places?
  • There’s something ‘mythical’ and yet also ‘everyday’ about Hunter’s pictures. Look carefully at one or two images and try to pick out the features that suggest these two different qualities.

Send your images to your tutor.

The format for your images should be: 1500 pixels along the longest edge, Adobe (1998) colour profile, RGB JPEGs.

Include a digital contact sheet (no more than 36 images per page) of all of the photographs you shot for this assignment. Also answer a written analysis of no more than 500 words (in Microsoft Word or PDF format), answering  these questions:

  • What was your initial response to the brief and what ideas did you have for how to complete it?
  • What have you learned from the two photographers you looked at, plus any other photographers you sought inspiration from? How did they influence your work on this assignment?
  • What was your technical approach to the assignment? And what techniques did you use to make it?
  • What’s your opinion on how you did? Are you satisfied? Are there any areas you’d like to improve?

If you prefer to submit prints, you can post them (no larger than A4 size) to your tutor with your contact sheet and written analysis. Make sure they’re labelled with your name, student number and the assignment number

FINALLY…

It’s important you try to complete this assignment as soon as possible. Your tutor will use your assignment to get a rough sense of your current level of technical, visual, analytical and creative skills. While you should commit to the assignment and pursue an idea that interests you, it primarily has a diagnostic purpose so don’t labour it.

Review – John Wilfred Hinde

Reviewing Hinde was a suggestion by my tutor Jayne Taylor. Landscape isn’t a strength of mine and the reviews she has suggested have been really helpful.

First thoughts on Hinde. Yuck. Dull. Tourism. Not my thing. In fact I dislike his photography so much I decided not to review it.

However, here I am. Reviewing. Why? Because after looking at Hinde’s postcards I started thinking how I could create something similar and yet different for assignment one:- Square Mile.

bm13aFig 1

My initial thoughts:- Summer, enhanced sky and sea, muted buildings, sand and people. Fast shutter speed. No blur/movement from people. Perspective creates four layers. Sea, sand and people, promenade and buildings, sky.

Shadows are strong, although there is cloud the sun is out. People and buildings in direct sun are not washed out. Photo has been developed well or filters used.

The sand, buildings and people have had black added which gives the acidic look (i.e. if you make a colour wheel with paint you can pastelise the colours by adding white or make them acidic and muted by adding black).

bp15Fig 2

Perspective, colour, movement suggested by lights reflection on road, but definitely reflection from illuminations not traffic going past. Wet road but no signs of current rain. Colours acidic. Development suggests possible overpainting (lights from street lamps have very little gradient).

Notes from john hinde collection contact and essays (Beale and Abadie; 2009)

Developed interest in colour photography just prior to leaving school. Used three colour Carbro process (single colour on tissue for each three colours exposed onto gelatin – bit to complex to explain just now). Work for Adprint on Britain in Pictures series and further developed expertise in colour photography. 1955 set up John Hinde Ltd and developed his postcard works which coincided with increase in tourist industry.

Notes from Kate Burt – Independent

Burt quotes Edmund Nagele – a photographer for John Hinde Ltd who explains the extensive planning and production of each image to ensure the timing and lighting were correct and that obstructions were removed or obscured.

Negele explains how Hinde would make extensive notes for the Milan based photo developers he used, telling them what to remove, what colours to change and how to complete the developing.

“After John had masked the transparencies, black and white negatives and the prints for the colour-notes would be made. More umming and arring behind closed doors: John himself would prepare these instructions for the colour separations, which were produced in Milan (Italy). No PhotoShop in those days, only skilled Milanese Signores who would change colours, follow the scribble “make new sky” to the letter and insert the perfect holiday wish. They would eagerly remove objects of lesser desire; telephone posts and TV-aerials scored especially high. More desirable items included people and cars, thus the scribbles became frantic: “make jumper red” and “change colour of car to yellow”” (Nagele)

Having made a brief review of Hinde it’s clear that he was a very skillful photographer and perhaps more importantly a developer. He broke the mould with his vision on producing idyllic landscape, tourist photography, believing that high quality and aesthetically pleasing colour photography rather than the custom black and white. He was a master developer who made use of his experience in the printing industry to ensure he produced colour rich (high saturation) photos. Knowing that there was a lack of technical ability in the UK to produce the colours that he wished, he had his photos developed in Italy. I can see the skill, planning and vision that Hinde had, but I neither like his subject matter or photos. I do wonder if this is a commonly held view (Parr excluded), as there is no mention of Hinde in the bibliography  of Hacking (2014) nor in Johnson, Rice and Williams (2016).

 

References

Fig 1 – John Hinde Studios; BM13A The sands and promenade, West cliff, Bournemouth; Online at www.johnhindecollection.com (accessed on 30/07/2017)

Fig 2 – John Hinde Studios; BM13A Blackpool illuminations, The pleasure beach; Online at www.johnhindecollection.com (accessed on 30/07/2017) (I have not signified John Hinde as the photographer as it’s possible that his employed photographers made the photos).

Abadie, M and Beale, S; 2001-2009; Nothing to Write Home About; in johnhindecollection contact and essays; Online at http://www.johnhindecollection.com/contact_nationalmedia.html (accessed on 30/07/2017)

Burt, K; 2011; King of technicolour tourism: A new exhibition celebrates John Hinde’s postcards; Online at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/king-of-technicolour-tourism-a-new-exhibition-celebrates-john-hindes-postcards-2307780.html (accessed on 30/07/2017)

Nagele, E; Wish you were here: The early days of my photography; Online at http://nagelestock.com/uk/Stockphotochat/postcard.htm (accessed on 30/07/2017 (link is inconsistent – sometimes works/sometimes doesnt)

Hacking, J; 2014; Photography the whole story; London; Thames and Hudson

Johnson, WS, Rice, M, Williams, C; 2016; A history of photography; Cologne; Taschen GmbH

 

Paranoia Says…Mindfulness Replies…

Paranoia – The thought that my neighbours go to bed at the same time as me because they are spying upon me.

Paranoia – That feeling I get that the people who live on the other side of the road are spying on me as I make coffee and toast.

Paranoia – The cautiousness I have about talking on the phone because my phone is bugged.

Paranoia – That man talking on the phone, the one with the glasses. He’s watching me, following me and talking about me.

Paranoia – That car that just pulled up with the two men inside, that was on my street, in front of my home when I left this morning. Why are they following me?

Mindfulness – Naming. I am aware I am experiencing paranoid thinking.

Mindfulness – Acting opposite. I have decided not to follow the man who has been following me.

Mindfulness – Sharing. I have told a friend about my paranoid thinking because I know it will help me to gain a better perspective.

Mindfulness – Writing. I’ve written my experiences of paranoid thinking in my journal. Getting things down in black and white helps me to stop mentally creating the story of paranoia.

Paranoia – Shame. I don’t like to experience the feeling of shame, so I subconsciously create the story called “My Paranoia”.

Mindfulness – Meditation. I sit with my feelings of shame and say “Welcome shame, come and sit with me. Be as much or as big as you are”.

Mindfulness – Acceptance. When I accept my feelings, no matter how painful they are, I am far safer than when I create a story out of them.

Comparing My Photo “Abbey View” with “A Graveyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Walker Evans

 

(01/08/2017) Following advice from tutor Jayne Taylor I have reworked Abbey View using the burn tool for the whites at the edges of the sky that were bleeding into the background, and gone back to the original tone and saturation for the layer of grass at the foot of the image. The burning into the highlights has been a difficult process. I’m not sure what the issue is but in Lightroom and photoshop it looked good, but when uploaded to here there were dark greys where I had burned in. I then reset my background in Lightroom and Photoshop to white, but the problem still persisted. In the end I have made the adjustments whilst having the image displayed in wordpress. For me it was key to make the adjustments but only slightly. Therefore I have set my adjustment brush tool to a feather of 91 and the flow at 12, with the standard -0.3 exposure for the burn.

Exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape

(27/07/17) I update my tutor Jayne Taylor around every 10 days to let her know where I am up to with my coursework. In replying to an email last week she said:-

“We’ll talk more about individual images when it comes to feedback on your assignment. Meanwhile, I would say that, for me, the landscape image you have chosen is the strongest image here; the visual layering is effective and it evokes impressions of ‘natural’ and ‘social’ (or ‘societal’) landscapes. For some reason it brought to mind an image entitled ‘A graveyard and Steel Mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’ by Walker Evans.  (On a technical note, I’d be inclined to darken the sky, very slightly, as the edges of the image are in danger of disappearing into the white background of the page – try it.)”

 

Fig 1 and Fig 2

Over the past week I have reviewed “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania” by Walker Evans and also “Shot at Dawn” by Chloe Dewe-Matthews. If I had not have reviewed those then I would have struggled to see why Jayne has been reminded of Evans’ photo. The reworked photo will be at the end of this post.

I took Abbey View as a part of coursework, following the instructions for exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape. I had no intention of creating or telling a story, and as far as landscaped photography is concerned I at that time had no concept of narrative and context. What do I see now?

An Abbey and a church in the distance. This must be an old town as in the UK Abbey Ruins tend to be on the sites of older religious grounds that can go back to around the 5th to 10th Century. On the left and right hand side of the photo the ground drops a little so the Abbey is on a cliff. There are signs of a town at the front of the mid-ground and to the left of the church. The town will have had a connection to the fishing industry and will possibly have a river or harbour. Old towns required food and possibly trade so fishing was important. The distance between the fore and mid-ground say that there is a lot of surrounding countryside and the town is very rural, and although there are not a lot of houses in the scene there are enough to show that the town has grown.

This means that we have an old religious town that is set on the cliffs in a rural or remote location. The town has grown to support the religious community that lived and worked at the Abbey and has developed a fishing industry. The town has grown over the centuries but it remains a small coastal town. There has to be some good beer around too. monasteries produced differing types of alcohol for consumption and as a commodity to trade.

This is not a strong narrative, maybe it would be if it were part of a series that were to explore the monasteries of the UK, or maybe it is, but because it’s so familiar the story is rather benign to me? It’s not important. What is important is that I can approach landscape photography differently now. I can explore narrative with landscape photography now, and that is a skill worth developing.

 

In view of what Jayne said with regard to the edges disappearing into the background I have tried a few options. The most straight forward was to creat a border around Abbey View. The original is on the left.

 

Then I took the photo back into Lightroom for re developing. It took several attempts to develop the photo in a manner that didn’t lose the subtlety of the sea and sky. I believe the strongest photo is the one on the left – the re-developed photo without the border, but it is still in danger of losing the whites to the background ant the top of the photo. Which do you prefer – with or without the border?

The changes to development are as follows. The left hand side is for a grad filter that I used over the sky and sea with a very narrow feather/small gradient, dragged to the cliffs. The right hand side is for the whole photo. I have only made minor adjustments but I believe that they work.

Develop Settings

References

Fig 1 Evans, Walker; 1935; A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; MOMA (online archives); Online at www.moma.org/collection/works/55226 (accessed on 23/07/2017)

Fig 2 Keys, Richard; 2017; Abbey View; Online at https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/exercise-1-9-soft-light-landscape/ (accessed on 28/07/2017)

Keys, Richard; 2017; Review of “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania”; Online at https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/review-of-a-graveyard-and-steel-mill-in-bethlehem-pennsylvania-by-walker-evans/ (accessed on 28/07/2017)

 

Northern Pride Taster Photos – What I Have Learned About Portrait Photography – How I will Publish These Photos

I am going to include 8 taster photos from Northern Pride at the end of this blog.

There were some things that I had planned well for making photography at Northern Pride. I had taken a notepad and paper with me, which means I can now email people their photos, as I took down emails of those that wanted a copy of their photo. This is something that I will do more often at events in general. I had prepared my self to ask people if I could take their photos.

There is something really important that I have learned this weekend, if people have agreed to be photographed they are generally very comfortable in being directed as to where to stand. I did not ask people to pose, but I did move them around so that they did not have objects sticking out of their heads, where possible. It wasnt always possible as the event was very busy. Initially I didn’t feel comfortable with this, but as I became more relaxed then I stepped into the role.

I used continuous shooting mode, and I am glad that I did. People move, they close their eyes, the wind blows the hair across their faces, they talk to people and have weird expressions on their faces when doing so. Having used CS mode I managed to get some good photographs that may have been ruined by movement if I had only taken a single shot. In future I really need to step into the role of being the director of photography. Once you have asked, if people agree, then direct. Slow down and direct.

I made sure that I got photos of the Northern Pride Committee, Newcastle Council, The Lady Mayoress of Newcastle, the main stage sponsor, the security and the police. I believe that its important to demonstrate that I take high quality event photos that show off the organisers and supporters. This is also part of my long-term plan to become a professional events photographer.  Start as I mean to go on.

It would be sensible if I developed a contact card, although it isn’t completely necessary, if I have my pad and take people’s emails if they wish to have a copy that will suffice for now.

I have made a point of deleting photos of people from the march who were not happy to be around a camera. It’s impossible to ask individuals for consent in a large group – but I am not here to make people feel uncomfortable. So their photos are gone, as are others that would show people in a bad light. I don’t see my role as a sensor, but neither do I wish to hurt people who may have had too much to drink, or been caught with an expression that makes them look silly.

The Plan

I have completed two runs of evaluation and categorised photos into three sections.

Series – I am going to produce a series of 24 photos of my journey with Pride. I have selected around twice this many and they include Newcastle, before the march, the march, the venue, portraits and the event makers (organisers, supporters and sponsors).

I will have three pages on my website, one for the series, one for event makers and one for individuals and groups.

The individuals and groups page will contain a lot of photos. I am then going to use Twitter, local newspaper, pride tv, and LGBTQ lifestyle magazines to inform people that they are able to download any photo that they wish of themselves or the day without charge.

I will do similar with the event makers, but I will also use the internet to get e mails from organisations so that I can inform them that they can use my photos free of charge to promote themselves.

The Taster Photos

These are not the strongest photos that I took, I have kept those for the series, but I wanted to get some up here. I like to blog every day.

Northern Pride, Newcastle, July 2017

There are so many technical and creative reasons that I shouldnt like this photo, but I do. Its one of my favourites from Northern Pride. She was very photogenic and agreed for me to take other photos of her on the day, but I like this. It suggests a furtive glance to the camera, but it wasnt. She was engaged with the camera for half a minute or more, when the crowd werent in the way.

I look forward to the developing process, now that I have completed the evaluation, and feel free to let me know what you think works, and what doesn’t and why.