Photos As Research

I have been taking photos as I walk around London. These are part of my research for when I begin the degree in Photography with the Open College of the Arts.m. Square Mile is the first assignment. I’m considering shooting in The City and capturing the contrast between wealth and poverty.









My Initial Definition Of Still Life

I am shortly going to embark upon part four of Foundations in Photography with the Open College of the Arts. Although I am not going to begin the coursework exercises until I return from London, I am going to read the manual before I go. I am sure that London will provide additional opportunities for me.

Recently I have been taking some test photos so that I can explore Still Life and what it currently means to me.

My starting point is of course my schooling. Still Life in art classes was focused upon fruit, flowers and pasta in a jam jar. I am aware that still life in art and photography often focuses upon these, and in the days of mobile phones  meals have become very popular to photograph and display upon social media.

I am going to posit that Still Life in art and photography are secondary features of themselves they are  not Still Life.

“Still life is how people organise material or natural possessions, food stuffs, homes, the working environment, and shops. Photography and art develop from our basic need to be organised in order to function, and to possess objects as a means of individuation and pleasure. Often when we hear the words Still Life, we think of works of art or photography, and these are mistakenly believed to be the primary experience of Still Life. This is a misperception, and these are secondary reflections upon how we live our own lives.

Still Life in art and photography is the arrangement, organisation and presentation of objects for display, classification, documentation and study. Still Life is most often aesthetically pleasing, organised and an accurate representation of the subject.”



A peer on Foundations in Photography has commented that eye’s come up as a theme for me throughout my photography. I have cropped a few photos which had eye’s within them develop a test series to see if eyes have the potential to become a future project. It’s certainly something to bear in mind. If at some point I decide to take this further I will make new photos in which eyes are the point of focus.

Exploration Of Lighting, Skin Tone, Skin Colour, Make Up And Costume

All of these photos are taken of the TV screen from my mobile.

White Balance

One of the things that I am most interested in is how lighting effects different skin colours. As a photographer, unless I am using lighting for a specific effect then I want the results of a photograph to match the skin colour of my model. Lighting affects different skin colours differently, and make up works differently as well. In the examples below, the first photo is the closets representation of the mans skin colour. For the others I have changed the white balance and have included incandescent, flourescent, cloudy, daylight and auto.


Facial Up-lighting

An interesting effect for a surreal/scary look, and also for highlighting certain features if the lighting is directed towards the features that you wish to highlight.


Coloured Lighting and Skin

Green is my least favorite lighting colour. I think that it makes skin look unhealthy, although the highlight upon Tess Daley is used to good effect for a Halloween theme. The highlights are better than general green lighting that affects the whole face as in Craig Revel Horwood. I like how red lighting affects the skin, but when it’s too bright it can create a sunburned affect, such as Sam Black below. In the examples below the blue brings out the features of Nicole Scherzinger, which it doesn’t on Spencer Sutherland, however I do like the mixed lighting of the blue and pink, and I intend to use mixed lighting for my assignment. Blue Lighting can make hair look greasy, whereas white can destroy details and tone. Diffuse blue lighting can bring out texture and detail if it is used appropriately, and this can be seen by viewing the coursework of fellow Foundations in Photography student Archna Singh. Something else that I am aware of is how the lighting is positioned, head on, below, side and behind. Front on coloured lighting produces a blanket of diffused lighting that flattens the face and hides texture, side lighting and lighting from below highlights facial features and exaggerates them. Lighting from behind can be good for highlighting skin and hair, but can also cause a halo.


Theatrical Makeup

This is something that I wish to make use of for the Painting with Light assignment. These examples are an exploration. I particularly like beads and glitter when they are used around the eye. It’s also possible to use them to create contour, so that in a dark rook and with a black background, lighting can then pick out skin or clothing contours.

Natural Skin, Skin With Make Up and Good Lighting

Good examples of natural looking make up, that is enhanced by the lighting, on black and brown skin. Minimal foundation on Debbie McGee, Aston Merrigold and Martin Brundle. Good make up and lighting on the next five, but over use of the wrong colour foundation on the final two photos. Foundation is the key for good make up that enhances the natural colour of an individuals skin. The wrong colour, and on top of a fake tan tends to be a male showbiz thing, although in saying that, Jack from Jack and Joel does look good with the make up that he wears.

Foundation is also used to soften the glare of lighting on the skin, it acts as an absorber of light rather than a reflector. It is also used to  make the skin appear smoother and in doing so it removes the detail.


Costume, Lighting Effects

A brief look at lighting effects in general, and lighting upon costume.



Singh, A; 2017; Exercise 2.7 People in light; Online at: (accessed on 31/10/2017)

Sing: Ultimate A Cappella; 2017; Series 1, Episode 4; Sky One; 27/10/2017

X Factor; 2017; Series 14, Episodes 17 and 18; ITV; 28+29/10/2017

Strictly Come Dancing; 2017; Series 15; Episodes 9, 10, 11 and 12; BBC 1; 21,22, 28+29/10/2017

Formula 1, Mexican Grand Prix; 2017; 29/10/2017; 6pm