Assignment One – Square Mile – Developing My Ideas

I have decided that I am not going to follow the postcard into the style of Hinde idea. Why? Taking tourist and summer beach photos doesn’t inspire me at all.

So I have two ideas which I am going to pursue. I can make both series on the same day.

1 – The stories I’ve heard about York.

It was once legal for a man born within the Bar Walls to stab a Scotsmen in kilt.

The father of the lie. Constantine the Great lived in York when his father was the governor of the city. Constantine the Great was involved with the Council of Nicaea – which had a role in choosing which books to include in the bible.

A pregnant woman can ask a policeman for his helmet to take a wee in.

York is the most haunted city in the UK.

York has a different pub for everyday of the year.

The destruction of the Jewish community, burned to death in Clifford tower to cover the theft by a local lord.

I will need to research Clifford tower and the history of the Jewish community in York. I feel that ethnic cleansing is too much to portray as a story I have heard without checking the validity. It requires sensitivity.

My inspiration for this story has come from briefly looking at the work of Tom Hunter. I am considering taking photos of text, signs and notices around York and having them as the background and then blending the themed photos into them.

(Update 2 hours after original post:- I am not going to use the idea of the destruction of the Jewish community at Cliffords Tower in this series. The other ideas are more light hearted and I don’t feel this theme fits. I also don’t think one photo in a series of six gives the just attention that is merited. I would like to explore and research the history of the Jewish community in York in more depth later in the course or when I move on to the degree.

I will use the connection between Guy Fawkes and York instead.)

The second idea will be a collaboration based upon Johari’s window. A psychological tool designed by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. It’s a tool for helping people to understand relationships. It explores what is:- known to self and others; known to self but not others; known to others but not self; unknown to self and others.

I will take a photo of a transition area in York that I have a connection with – known to self. Then turn around and take a photo of something I haven’t noticed before – unknown to self. And leave an envelope asking passers by to take a photo in the area of something they like in the area – known to others.

I like both ideas so I plan to take them both forward. I can then review which photos work best as a series.

I will be able to build upon the skills from 100 photos coursework with using manual mode, manual white balance and use of contact sheets. The transition photos will build upon the exercise from stillness and movement. I will also make use of techniques I developed in the light and shadow exercise coursework. I also feel that by photographing the things I haven’t seen before, and collaborating with others, will improve my skills in relation to looking and seeing. These skills are highlighted through the the Workflow coursework.

Reference

Luft, J and Ingham, H; 1955; The Johari Window Model; Online at http://www.selfawareness.org.uk/news/understanding-the-johari-window-model (accessed on 12/08/2017)

www.tomhunter.org (accessed on 12/08/2017)

Lightroom Tutorial 2 – Library Module

As we are going to begin our process of developing our photos it would help if you were to create a new folder on your desk top and copy six photos into it. We will then be able to use these as a practical means of understanding and making use of Lightroom.

If you open Lightroom it will begin in the library module, and with the last catalogue that you developed. It will look something like this.

Library-1

There are four numbered arrows and four circles. Before we consider their importance press the tab key, its above Caps Lock “│←→│”.  The tab key removes the side menus so that you can see a larger grid view of your images. If you now repress the tab key. There are other ways to remove the side menus, and that is by the tiny white arrows that are in the circles in the image above. This gives you the option of seeing more of your photos, or a larger photo if you are in Loupe view.

The numbered arrows are parts of the library that we will explore in this exercise

1 – This arrow is pointing at metadata

2- Folders that you have previously imported into Lightroom

3 – A menu that gives you the option to view images that contain certain text, metadata and attributes.

4 – Quick Develop, Add/View keywords, Add/View metadata, Add/View comments

Exercise

Import the folder of photos that you just made by going to the top menu, Click File, Click import photos and videos. We are importing in this manner rather than using the import button at the bottom left of the screen so that we don’t add our photos to the current library.

Locate the folder from your desktop. It will then bring the photos into the library. There is a button at the lower right of the screen that says import but don’t press it yet.

Your screen will now look like this.

Library-2

1 – Build Previews. Lightroom generates thumbnails and full pictures as virtual copies in the library and the develop module. I use 1:1 previews because they are the highest quality. It may take a while for Lightroom to build the previews, but you can still work with your images while it is doing so. If you set this to standard or minimal then Lightroom will import more quickly, but each time you edit a photo it will build a 1:1 image each time and this slows down your workflow.

2 – Develop Settings – Until you are sued to the develop settings, which isn’t necessary right now, then either select auto tone or none.

3 – Keywords – Keywords are an important part of recording metadata into photos. Keywords are not the only metadata and I will explain more later. Lets add some keywords. Why? Over time you will process thousands of photos and will want to find one or two really quickly. If you have keywords then you can search all of your photos in Lightroom via keywords and it will take you to the photos with those words. I have added Lightroom library module walk-through, followed by a comma. Adding the comma after each word or sentence means you can add another keyword or phrase, so I have then added Lightroom, and FiP. Adding keywords here will add them to all photos that you are importing, but you can add photos to individual photos later on. Now click Import.

Library-3

Because I had my develop settings as auto-tone, my photos have been imported with the tone corrected. The first photo with the light grey around it is the active photo.

The screen that you are seeing is called grid mode. You can select a different photo with the arrow keys, left click or Ctrl left click for multiple images. You can also click on one photo, then move to any other photo and press the Shift key “↑” and click with the shift pressed down. This will now select all of the photos from your orignal selection to this photo.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Press Ctrl A and all images are selected and then Ctrl D to deselect the images.

Press E – you now have one photo selected in full screen and this is Loupe mode. Press G and you are taken back to grid.

Click on any image to select it.

Press 2, and a message set rating to 2 flashes on the screen, now press { (next to P) this will decrease the start rating “attribute” and the key next to it will increase it. Keys one to five will do this. Keys 6-9 add a colour rating. 6=red, 7=yellow, 8=green, 9=blue. I use the attributes to select photos that are either worth developing or to review again as Maybe’s.

Press 2 on three of your photos, and on one of these press 6.

Above your photos is a short menu, text, attribute, metadata or none. Click attribute and your screen looks like this.

Library-4

Where it says rating click on the first star and your screen will now only show the photos with an attribute of 1 star or above, so you now only have three photos showing. Now tick the red box, and you will only have one photo showing. Click on the red again to deselect it. This is a really good way of reviewing your photos, and sorting through which ones that you want to develop so that you don’t take them all into the develop module and feel like youre wading through photos to find the ones that you wish to develop.

The right hand side of your screen will now look like this

Library-5

Click Metadata, then where it says preset None, click the arrow to the right and then edit presets.

Library-7

Edit Metadata Presets is an important tool. Once you have this set up you can then import your photos with your presets, copyright and contact information embedded into your photos.

IPTC metadata

IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) state that “Photo metadata is key to protecting images’ copyright and licensing information online. It is also essential for managing digital assets. Detailed and accurate descriptions about images ensure they can be easily and efficiently retrieved via search, by users or machine-readable code. This results in smoother workflow within organizations, more precise tracking of images, and increased licensing opportunities.” https://iptc.org/standards/photo-metadata/

Not all search engines look for photographic metadata, but some do, and Adobe are encouraging Google to do so. Many Stock libraries use metadata and WordPress has a widget that can tag your photos by reading metadata. We can add lots of information.

Here are the settings that can be most useful

Camera Info

IPTC Copyright – in this section there are four boxes.

1 – Copyright – I add my email as my copyright but you can add your name.

2 – Copyright Status – I tick the Copyrighted box

3 – Rights usage terms – I use a creative commons license and add the details of my specific license https://creativecommons.org/

4 – Copyright info – I provide a link to my copyright page on my website

IPTC Creator

I don’t fill all of the boxes within this section but I do add my name, email, Country and website details. You can add your address and phone number if you wish, but I am not comfortable with this at this stage of my development as a photographer.

IPTC Status

Title – If I am producing a series such as Northern Pride then I will add a title here, as its OK for all of the images to have the same title. However you can add individual titles to photos later quite easily without using the user preset that you are now creating. I then add my name in the credit line and my website into the source.

Keywords

I then skip down to the last section and add keywords. These are words that fit the whole series generically, and then can add photo specific keywords to the individual photo later.

Click DONE and then you can name your preset. You only need to do this once, and then in future you can import your photos with your preset. You will need to add title and keywords in future but nothing else.

Warning

I have found that sometimes Lightroom has not saved my keywords to photos, so whenever I close Lightroom, I go to the menu at the top of the screen – Click Metadata and then Save metadata to files. NOT ALL FILE TYPES RETAIN METADATA, but RAW, TIFF, JPEG and PSD do.

PNG files do not retain metadata, but we don’t need to worry about this in Lightroom. Be aware of this if saving photos in other editing software such as Photoshop. If you save photos in formats other than TIFF, JPEG or PSD you will lose the metadata that you have spent time adding.

Metadata for individual photos

Click on a photo to select it. Using the slider on the right hand side of the screen find where it says title, add a title to a photo. Then go up slightly to where it says Keyword List, there is an add button + and you can now add keywords to individual photos. Once you have done this you can again go to the metadata drop down at the top of the screen and save metadata to files.

You can also use the quick develop module by moving the right hand slider to the top of the screen and adjust tone, white balance, exposure, clarity and vibrance, but I prefer to do this within the develop module, which will be the next theme.

 

Review – Dan Holdsworth

Brief:-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)?

Initial Thoughts

I am aware that when I make my initial notes and present them in my learning log, I need to expand upon these to turn them into a critique. My notes often form an impression of my thoughts but the lack of detail can leave people unsure of my meaning. However I am going still going to record my initial thoughts for each of Holdsworth’s series that I have looked over, in my own way,  and then answer the questions at the end, followed by a reflection.

Spacial Objects 2015

Spacial Objects no 17 C-type print

Physical installation, large dimensions, over two meters tall. Constructed shapes, bold colours, reds, greens and blues of various hues. Constructed linear shapes, angles, bright highlights, deep shadows, some blacks but not many. Geometrical.

I am aware that this series is not photography, however it has relevance to me for two reasons. I had no understanding of photographic series before beginning Foundations in Photography. I had been working on a series about homelessness, but wasn’t aware of how to link photographs together in any way other than typography. Spacial Objects is typographical, coloured geometric shapes that have the same physical dimensions. But more than this they are of similar tone and use of highlights and shadows. The geometry is of linear angles, but there are circular patterns as part of the texture.

The other relevance to me from this series is seeing how an artist develops their photography over time and builds upon existing pieces of work. His series California from 2003 explores man-made structures and geometry; Mirrors from 2014 is a representation of natural form and structure where angular geometry is introduced by the axis of symmetry and thereby bringing man into the natural world; Spacial objects – a physical installation – man made geometrical shapes, which are a reflectiin of the best of man made and natural structure.

Mirrors FTP 2014

Mirrors FTP 2014 cg05a C-type print

Landscape, geology, rock forms taken from a distance, possible from above (flying over?) 180 degree symmetry rotated around mid-point. Muted colours of natural landscape possibly from igneous rock. Good tonal range, few blacks. Ice and snow in some of the photos in the series. Excellent depth of field, crisp, sharp photos. What is not being shown? Why has the half of the image that is used to create the symmetry included and not the other half?

Upon the first viewing of this series I have to say that I was somewhat perplexed. I asked my self:- What do I think he is trying to convey? and I responded that I had no idea, they are pretty photos that demonstrate excellent photographic technique, and are a great example of how a series of photos work well together. Similar tonal range and image ratio. Similar in hue and saturation, a typology of igneous rock formations.

I had to take a break and re view the photos. This time I asked:- What is missing from this series of photographs? Now were getting somewhere. I do not see any signs of life. No animals, no trees, no people. And what I now see, after reflecting upon what is missing, is that Holdsworth is using symmetry to bring the man-made “marks” into the natural form of the earth. The mirrored formations have sharp edges and create unnatural patterns which add an artificial dymension and destruction into a part of the world that man has not damaged through encroachment. It’s a very clever way to highlight the relationship between nature and man, without showing anything of man.

Blackout 2010

Blackout 2010 11 C-type print

Metamorphic rock formations, snow-covered mountains/glaciers at night. Either artificially lit, or long exposures then when digitally developed the skies have been darkened to black. I suspect there is a form of artificial lighting. There is light drop off at the far side of the scene and highlights at the bottom left. If the photos were taken with bulb exposure there would be some light drop off, but the sky would be brighter and we would see stars or clouds. The scenes are not lit by the moon. To have that level of lighting the moon would need to be higher in the sky than is suggested by the lack of light in the distance, and there would not be light drop off.

Surreal, ghostly, as if looking at the surface of the moon whilst being in a “moon rover” The photographs in the series have a definite sense of space, depth and timelessness. We are shown the “unseen”. Very few people will have seen these landscapes at night, and the artificial lighting means that we are exposed to the light that resides within darkness. This series appears more metaphorical to me, with the psychological aspect of looking within our shadow to see our light. I remain unconvinced by the series and of my analysis of it.

California 2003

California 2003 02 C-type print

This is a small series of only three photographs. A road, a factory and a car park (possibly from a petrol station or shopping mall).

Taken at night. Artificially lit, but the lights are from street lighting or building lights rather than lighting that has been introduced to the scene. Man made, sterile, angular, solid, defined, harsh lighting, are words that I would use for this series. Whereas the terms flow, movement, texture, smooth, balanced tone, are words that I think of when considering Blackout and Mirrors.

Questions from the Brief

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)?

I have looked at a mixture of Holdsworth series, some that have been shot at night and others during the day. My belief is that Holdsworth deliberately avoids shooting people, and in doing so he is trying to get the viewer to question the relationship between man and nature, and natural geology and geometry, in comparison to man-made structure and geometric marks.

There is a subtlety of texture, movement and tone in the landscape photos. The mountains in the Blackout series may have strong lines and angles but the interaction of a multitude of lines, textures and structure has a fluidity to it. This is a contrast to the series that I looked at with man-made structures (California) that have many straight, rigid lines. I believe that the series Mirrors exemplifies this. By introducing symmetry to the natural landscape Holdsworth is making a statement about the structures that man makes, and how “man made” interferes with the beauty and flow of the natural world.

This sense is added to by the lighting. In California the artificial lighting presents a sterile environment that eliminates nature. It highlights straight marks, straight lines and an inability of Man to add to the environment. The lighting in Blackout – whether it’s artificial or long exposure – brings out the surreal and creates flowing, ghostly ice sculptures. These have a multitude of texture and detail, and create a feeling of awe. The wonder of looking at the moon or the surface of Mars. We are seeing the unseen.

Holdworths work does not feel objective. I find its highly subjective and is leading the viewer to consider the impact of man upon the environment, the difference between the sublime and the sterile, and the confined and the free.

I have felt out of my depth with this review. Partly because as a student I am considering photography in a more serious manner, and partly because I have been reflecting upon themes, that Holdsworth presents, in a context that I have no familiarity with. I also have a thought that maybe I have over complicated this.

I am not used to the concept of a photographic series. Yes I have grouped my own photos together. My project on Homelessness is my first attempt at this, and I had only considered the importance of theme, or a basic typography. Holdsworth many series have their own individual theme, and fit into an overarching schema which explores:- marks, shape, form, structure and light. His most recent series Spacial Objects builds upon his previous works, by trying to represent the best of space, geometry, light and structure that runs through many of his series of work. Spacial Objects is an installment of man made physical structures, that have some of man’s rigid geometric shapes combined with nature’s flow, space and texture.

Each individual series is made of photos that are a similar aspect, tone, lighting, hue and saturation, and also have contours and lines that are common throughout. This has been a wonderful, if somewhat challenging, opportunity for me to gain some understanding into how to present a series of work and how an artist builds upon previous knowledge and experience as they develop and mature.

References

Fig 1 Holdsworth, D; 2015; Spacial Objects no 17; Online at http://www.danholdsworth.com/ (accessed on 08/08/2017)

Fig 2 Holdsworth, D; 2014; Mirrors FTP cg05a; Online at http://www.danholdsworth.com/ (accessed on 08/08/2017)

Fig 3 Holdsworth, D; 2010; Blackout 11; Online at http://www.danholdsworth.com/ (accessed on 08/08/2017)

Fig 4 Holdsworth, D; 2003; California 02; Online at http://www.danholdsworth.com/ (accessed on 08/08/2017)

Keys, R; 2017; Homelessness; Online at http://www.photosociology.info/homelessness (accessed on 08/08/2017)

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.

 

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

 

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)

 

I Have Gained Insight into My Old Statement “I Don’t Like Landscape Photography”

My tutor, Jayne Taylor, suggested it might be beneficial for me to review “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pensylvania” by Walker Evans, and “Shot at Dawn” by Chloe Dewe-Matthews.

This has been a real blessing for me. With Walker Evans I have been able to see how one photo can tell a story on its own. All I had to go on was the name of the photographer, the photo, and the year. I analysed the photo in the manner that we were guided to in Foundations in Photography – Picture Analyses Red Bridge, Okawa by Toshio Shibata. Having the year of the photo was beneficial because I remembered about the Great Depression and could therefore contextualise the photo.

Shot at Dawn had no impact upon me until I had read the introduction to the series. Although to be fair on myself, my analysis of the photo was OK. I had picked up on the divide between both sides of the first photo, and the leafing lines pointing to nothing, a meaningless draw of the eye. I now suspect this was intentional. Why? A division of opinion about war and deserters existed during the war, the meaninglessness of executing armed forces personnel, and I believe Dewe-Matthews questions the validity of war in that first photo.

So what does that tell me about my dislike of landscape photography?

Until begining this research is had no understanding of the potential to tell a story or provide context with landscape. I had only a vague understanding of the potential for an introduction or context to help the viewer to interact with the narrative. I like the idea of an introduction or a post script to get the viewer to engage with the presented photography.

The other thing that I have realised is my lack of technical understanding on how to express myself within, and control such a broad canvas that landscape provides.

My sociology and events photography are ways of expressing myself and gaining insight into the world around me. Its visual story telling and relationship building. Macro photography slows me down and is more about my process of grounding myself in nature – it tells the story of my inner process.

I feel that I can now be a little more adventurous with landscape photography and can begin to explore landscape with a new outlook.

Review of “Shot at Dawn” Chloe Dewe-Matthews

Chloe_WW1_R4936F17-10x81/34 (Dewe-Matthews; 2014)

Thoughts upon viewing:- leading lines of wall, telephone wire, tree line. They all take the eye to the centre of the image. This makes no sense, there is no obvious meaning there, was this deliberate or an accident? It divides the photo in two.

Lots of space with the grass in the foreground and the sky.  Graveyard with flowers and a wheelie bin. Church is obviously regularly used. Gravestones, death, flowers, love and remembrance.

Scattering of houses with space and green areas around them. Small community. The scene suggests a small but active community. I’m intrigued as to why the eye is initially drawn to nothing and the significance of the divide between the houses and church, especially as the church is clearly part of the community.

I am beginning to enjoy analysing specific photos, especially when I don’t read about them first.

The purpose of the series “Shot at Dawn” (Dewe-Matthews;2014) is explained in the introduction at http://www.chloedewemathews.com/shot-at-dawn/. Due to the limitations of my mobile phone I can only read part of the introduction.

However it explains that Dewe-Matthews re-visited the sites where deserters from the Belgian, French and British armed forces were executed, during World War One. She took the photos at the time of day and seasons that the executions would have taken place.

As a series there are grasslands, fields, trees, forests, bunkers and the occasional building. Lots of space and emptiness.

Without the introduction, the photographs would not appeal to me. Most are not aesthetically appealing, the composition varies, and there is little narrative or continuity (I emphasise, without the introduction). I am starting to understand how a photography series works, and how different photographers make use of captions, or as in this case, an introduction.

Chloe_WW1_R02F18-10x815/34 (Dewe-Matthews; 2014)

Now I have read the introduction my observations  and thoughts become secondary to my questions.

  • What horrors did the executed soldiers witness on the front lines?
  • How did those experiences affect them mentally and emotionally?
  • Now we have an understanding of post traumatic stress disorder do we treat our service personnel differently? (I am a pacifist who believes that in the UK we treat our service men and women abysmally. Leaving it to charities to provide the mental health support without providing them with the resources to do so for all that need it)
  • Did this traumatised military staff receive a fair court-martial? (No! Without the understanding of how trauma affects people a court-martial could never be fair)
  • How would it feel to walk up to a wall to face a firing squad on top of the trauma from the front line?
  • Would it feel like an injustice?
  • Would there be shame and guilt?
  • Would there be an internal voice saying “I’ve let the side down – I deserve this”?
  • I don’t believe that anyone can knowingly walk in front of a firing squad without being terrified.
  • How would it feel to be in the firing squad knowing that you are about to/or have killed a person who is on “the same side”?

References

Dewe-Matthews, C; 2014; Shot at Dawn; Online at http://www.chloedewemathews.com/shot-at-dawn/ (Accessed on 26/07/2017)

Dewe-Matthews, C; 2014; Shot at Dawn; Oxford; Ruskin School of Art; Online at http://shotatdawn.photography/ (accessed on 26/07/14)