Trent Parke – Exercise 1.6 – Light and Shadow

Before you start this exercise, have a look at the work of Trent Parke.

Trent Park

Not all, but a lot of Trent Parke’s photography is in black and white, and this is certainly a good way to reinforce highlts and shadows, but it is also a good way to demonstrate perspective and depth. I found that many of Parke’s photos have a mood attatched to them which is emphasied in monochrome. His Dream/Life series has a morose and rather depressing feel in many of the images, although there are some with a more warming feel.

I sometimes get worried about the grain in my photography, but many of Parke’s images have grain, which I find adds texture and does not take away from his photography at all.

First thoughts on Dream/Life:- Perspective, Depth, Activity, Grain, Silhouette, Evening, Autumn, Winter, Joyless.

Parke 1

Trent Parke; 1997; AUSTRALIA. Sydney; Dream/Life series;  (Accessed 30/06/2017)

Context, perspective, timing, height, smallness. The timing of this decisive moment is excellent and I expect Parke had planned this image so that he got the right time of day when the sun would shine between the two skyscrapers. He may also have had to return to the scene so that he would get the person running past the highlight between the shadows.

Parke 2

Trent Parke; 1998; AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Summer rain; Dream/Life series; (Accessed 30/06/2017)

Viewer, leading lines, hesitation, autumn, winter, despondent. That could be me in the photo, or any viewer, although I am sure that the reaction that I had to this photo is based upon my dislike of getting wet. The man has a shirt on, probable after work, on his way home. The emotional impact of this photo is more important for me that Parke’s technical ability, and that demonstrates how good this photo really is. I am studying photography and my aim is to evaluate this photo so that I can improve my own photography, and yet the evaluation is rendered secondary.

The man in the left, the leading lines taking the eye across the road to the silhouettes walking away, through the heavy rain. The quick shutter speed that catches each drop of rain, and again, the hesitation to step into the rain. Excellent composition.


Parke 3

Trent Parke; 1999; AUSTRALIA. Sydney; Dream/Life series;; (Accessed on 30/06/2017)

Battlefield, war, space, silhouette, detail in the highlights, use of caption. All of the photography that I have seen from Parke on magnum has a caption, and it works for this image. It does not work on all of them though, or at least I question whether it is necessary on them. From my perspective the captions in Parke’s photography on magnum do not add to the photo, especially as my mind will focus on the words first and then at the image. It detracts from my ability to respond to the photo from my own perspective. Once I have read the caption I am asked to view the image from Parke’s perspective, and then try and stay with the photo long enough to become immersed in it. Parke’s photography does not have the caption added on in-public and this works better.

I certainly prefer the style of Benjamin Lowy in Iraq Perspectives (2011), where there is only a brief caption at the beginning of the book and none with the photographs. Benjamin invites the viewer to immerse themselves in his photography and to dare to relate.

First thoughts on Dream/Life:- Perspective, Depth, Activity, Grain, Silhouette, Evening, Autumn, Winter, Joyless.

First thoughts on The Seventh Wave:- Movement, Fine Detail, Ethereal, People.

First thoughts on The Seventh Wave:- Shadows of People in highlights, Dodge, Burn, Perspective.


Benjamin Lowy; 2011; Iraq Perspectives; Duke University Press; Durham

Exercise 1.6 Light and Shadow


Make a series of photographic studies of light and shadow. Use your spot meter to expose the highlights correctly, but make the shadows dark. Use the edges and corners of your frame to create dramatic compositions. You’ll need to shoot many exposures for this project, perhaps more than you’re accustomed to taking. Be observant and go out specifically with taking pictures in mind.  Notice: Sunday streaming in through windows, the way trees cast their shadows, patches of light cast through trees and shrubs, angular shadows cast across city streets.


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?




Preparation and Exploratory Photography for Project 2 Shadows, and Development of Sociology Projects

Foundations in Photography – Work flow – Project 2 Shadows.

I have briefly looked at the work of Trent Park and Gabriele Brasco, along with reading the brief for exercise 1.6 – 1.9. I am in company this week so I was aware that I wouldn’t be able to focus as much as I wanted. However – this is perhaps better for my development. Instead of going ahead with preconceived ideas I have been able to use our days out to learn from the environment that we have visited, try some ideas, and now have two places to return to for the exercises.

Learning – reading a brief and exploring a new environment with the brief in mind means that ideas develop naturally and I can then build my creativity into this.

The light meter on my camera is inconsistent when my ISO increases and I must review an image to test my light meter.

I don’t like taking photos in churches.

I am not able to upload my camera test images at the moment but I have also explored a little on my android.


Father Brown – BBC productions (Alibi; Chanel 132; SKY; shot from Android on 28/06/2017)


I took this photo of the back cover of a book in a second hand book shop. I apologise to the author and publisher for not crediting your work – I didn’t make a record of the book title, author or publisher.


An example of diffuse lighting – I photographed this photo inside the Natwest bank in Whitby on a day out.

Development of Sociology Ideas

I have a few projects in the pipeline, but the next two that I am developing are on mental health and stigma, and social control. I have decided how I can move forward with these by making a montage and a magazine style documentary, and have collected more articles for this along with some exploratory photography.

My homelessness project is an ongoing project that I will continue to develop over the next two years, and Making My Mark is a project that falls within the scope of my Beauracracy project. I am collecting images for these longer term pieces of work, but focusing on mental health and social control are my priorities.

White Point and White Balance

I have been exploring white point and white balance by taking a series of images of the sky from my flat window. The images are not inspiring at all, but it doesn’t matter. The process has got me to explore what I think white point and white balance are.

My initial thoughts were

The brightest part of the image was the white point.

When developing photos you can’t recover clipped highlights because when part of an image is maximum white 255, 255, 255 then there cannot be detail.

White balance is the colour shift in the scene based upon the tone of the white in the image.

I had no understanding of light and weather conditions affecting white balance.

I did know that I liked being outside just after it had been raining because everything was more vibrant.

I did know that overhead bright sunshine made everything duller and lose vibrancy.

Learning:- light is not the same. Cloudy conditions – diffused lighting.

Light has a colour temperature in relation to blackbody radiation. (Newton, Kirchhoff, Plank, Wien, Einstein) Manjit Kumar; 2008; Quantum – Einstein, Bour and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality; Icon Books; London; p14 and Chapter 1.

Cooler temperatures have a longer wave length so light is redshifted,  hotter temperatures have a shorter wavelength so light is blue shifted.

Bright over head sunshine – hotter temperature (of light in kelvin (5500), bluer light with less vibrancy.

Cooler sunset – red shifted light (3500 – 4000k) yellow to orange.

Cooler sunrise – redshifted light (3000 – 3500k)- red to yellow.

Slightly cloudy – (6500 – 8000k) greener

Cloudy – overcast – deep shade (9000-10000k) (accessed on 28/06/2017)

As light changes then colour tone of light changes so colour tone of scene has more or less red, green, blue.

White balance is also affected by the green/magenta shift especially with artificial light.


Manjit Kumar; 2008; Quantum – Einstein, Bour and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality; Icon Books; London; p14 and Chapter 1.

Being a New OCA Student – Time and Health Management – Thank You OCA

I am really enjoying studying. I haven’t studied for a while so a couple of things have helped me a lot.


Reading other students blogs. By reading the blogs of other students my concepts and creativity are becoming more flexible, open and dynamic. I follow blogs of non – photography students such as fine artists and writers and these have a positive impact upon how I think about photography.

The group email for Foundations in Photography is good for me, as I struggle with social contact. The group email means I can connect with fellow students. OCA have developed a positive student forum so that we can get the most out of our studies. ocastudent and the group email are excellent platforms for engagement. At this moment in my life attending a university in person wouldn’t be possible so I appreciate how OCA have developed the student platforms, it means I can get so much more from studying than what I expected from open learning.

I have my own photographic projects outside of my studies. The most important of these are my sociology projects. However I have been to a few events recently so sociology has been on the back burner. I have developed my events photos so I can refocus on sociology, and I am now reading the light and Shaddow project in Workflow.

My health comes first – sleep, eat, meditate, connect with friends. Then I do what I can. Recently it has been evaluating and developing photos, alongside getting out with my camera. Now I can re read my sociology project notes and FiP study material. When I have 15 minutes spare I listen to youtube – several photographers and lightroom/photoshop experts that I follow.

Since starting FiP I have had more creative ideas, started writing again and brought a violin. I’ve never played before and am enjoying learning. Creativity = bliss. Thankyou OCA.