Changing Perspective – Kneeling Whilst Making Photo’s

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Walking with a crutch provided me with the opportunity to experiment with perspective. I can balance and keep the weight off my right heel, but what do I then do with the crutch? It’s made it hard to make photo’s unless I put the crutch down on the floor and kneel down. With this being the case I thought I’d make the most of it and explore what I could learn from the altered perspective.

When standing to take a photo, the head is generally pointing slightly down towards the horizon. From this viewpoint the sky takes up a third of the photo and the land takes two thirds of the space. When kneeling, the eye is looking up towards the horizon and reverses the sky to land ratio as below.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Usually this doesn’t work and detracts from the subject, the land. However, the above photo is balanced. The line of the boats mast balances the geometry and breaks the photo up. It would have been a better photo if the sailing boats had been further to the left, they would have made a nice subject.

In a narrow street, this new perspective makes the street appear narrower, but brings the buildings in closer to the centre, which could be good to highlight city lines, or to add an emotional tension (being followed on a dark night/a chase scene), especially when a short focal length is used.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

But, with a spacious foreground, a clear line through the image becomes prominent.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

In the wide open space of a Victoria train station the lines of the metalwork are heightened, and the spaciousness can emphasise the activity of the people. I like this shot.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

My favourite of the series comes next.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

OK, so the photo needs to be retaken without the people in the red and orange shirts. Putting that to the side I’ve found a real lesson for bringing the best out of a subject. The lower horizon provides more space in the sky, and this works well with the neutral foreground. And voila – the subject is what my eye looks at. I’m drawn to look closer at the detail. I love it.

Kneeling behind the prominade fence in the next scene creates layers of activity. Not the greatest of photos though. It would work better with a yacht on the sea, the eye needs a point of focus, but the layering works well.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

And finally, I don’t know if this was related to kneeling down and thereby being in a more submissive stance, or not, but I felt more confidence in making Street photography whilst I was in Brighton. Regardless of the reason, or lack thereof, it was fun to take photos of people.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton – An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

The intention behind this series was to create a simple documentary of a day out, but to shoot the photos from a kneeling position. Using a crutch makes photography difficult to do whilst standing up, so I thought I could make use of the need to kneel by exploring the altered perspective. I will write a further post to write about what I’ve learned about this, and to discuss the difficulties I’ve had with white balance and digital developing.

Of note, I felt reasonably comfortable whilst making the street photography for this series, which is an unusual experience for me.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Thank You For Your Kindness – Resting – Good News – London, The Glass City

London, The Glass City

I really appreciate all of the kind words, wishes and comments upon my last post. Since returning home I have rested deeply, and haven’t checked WordPress nor Instagram, I’ve allowed myself to switch off, and build my model aeroplane.

Although I am feeling better than I was I’m still very tired. Getting checked up by the Dr has confirmed my blood pressure is low and that the anaemia has worsened, which are as a result of anorexia.

I am going to take my time in replying to people’s comments over the next few days, and although I wont be able to catch up with your past posts, I will endeavour to read current ones as and when I can.

The good news is that my referral to the eating disorders day centre has gone through, funding has been approved, so fingers crossed that they will accept me. In the mean time I increased my calories again on Saturday.

Here are a few photos of reflections that I took whilst in London. I came to realise that central London could easily be known as The Glass City. It’s everywhere. It was useful preparation for one of the exercise coming up in part 4 of Foundations in Photography. There is a Starbucks very close by, which meant that I could recharge my lapstop whilst I was having a break.

London, The Glass City

London, The Glass City

London, the Glass City

London, The Glass City

 

Street Photography At Farnborough Airshow

A street photo of a member of the public taken at Farnborough Airshow

For those of you who know me, you will understand that I struggle with street photography. It’s my least favourite genre, but as a photographer it’s important to push myself.

Here are a few photos from the previous couple of days. Click on any photo to see a full size image.

A street photo taken at Woking train station.
One of the station staff at Woking train Station.
A street photo taken at Woking train station.
A street photo of two passengers at Woking train station, taken as a reflection upon mirrored glass.
Street photo taken at Woking train station.
A street photo of two passengers sitting on a bench at Woking train station.
Street photo of a man on a bus.
A street photo taken on the Farnborough Airshow shuttle bus from Farnborough main train station.
This is a street photo of a member of the public taken at Farnborough Airshow.
Street photo of a member of the public with two people walking by, taken at Farnborough Airshow.
A street photo of three members of the public taken at Farnborough Airshow.
Street photo of three members of the public sitting under umbrellas at Farnborough Airshow.
A street photo of a member of the public taken at Farnborough Airshow
A street photo of a woman eating an ice cream, juxtaposed with an ice-cream van, taken at Farnborough Airshow.
Street photo of a man taking a photo of aircraft at Farnborough Airshow.
A street photo of a member of the public taking a photo of aircraft, taken at Farnborough Airshow.
A street photo of two men looking towards the camera.
Street photo of two men looking at an Antalov from the Ukrainian Airforce, although it looks as if they are looking at the camera.

London

On the way home from my interview at the University for the Creative Arts in April, I had a few hours in London.

St Paul’s Cathedral and Millenium Bridge

London, April 2018

St Paul’s Cathedral

London, April 2018

Kings Cross Station

London, April 2018

Houses of Parliament

London, April 2018

The London Eye

London, April 2018

The women of world war II

London, April 2018

Field Marshal Earl Haig

London, April 2018

Horse Guard

London, April 2018

Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square

London, April 2018

St Pancras Station

London, April 2018

Review – Gillian Wearing

In preparation for exercise 3.5 Photographs from text we are asked to take a look at “Signs that say what you want them to say and not signs that say what someone else wants you too say”.

Gillian Wearing (OBE) (1963)

'I have been certified as mildly insane!' 1992-3 by Gillian Wearing OBE born 1963Fig. 1. I have been certified as mildly insane… (1993-3)

'I signed on and they would not give me nothing' 1992-3 by Gillian Wearing OBE born 1963Fig. 2. I signed on and they would not give me nothing (1992-3)

Wearing, G; 1992-3; Work towards peace [Fig. 3. Work towards peace (1992-3)

For this series Gillian worked with members of the public, requesting the opportunity to photograph them, and asked if they would write something pertinent to them on a large piece of paper. It’s a very clever concept, but also very simple. Its a collaborative process that allowed her to produce an image with the people that she photographed, rather than taking photos of them. She photographed people from varying walks of life, gender, race, sexuality, and the result is a series of photos where all are equal. They are equal because they have all been allowed to speak for themselves.

It reinforces to me what I have just read in The Civil Contract of Photography, in which Azoulay states “Anyone who addresses others through photographs or takes the position of a photographers addressee, even if she is a stateless person who has lost her “right to have rights… is nevertheless a citizen – a member in the citizenry of photography” (Azoulay, A; 2008; pp85). She goes on to discuss that the viewer is also a citizen of photography and that we are all involved and participate in the photo and its understanding of it, especially so in documentary/reportage/disaster/conflict photography.

Wearing’s approach is a very interesting one and it makes me think about how often this occurs, especially in comparison with mainstream documentary or reportage photography. Generally a photographer, who is working for a media outlet or other interested party, will have a brief and a duty to take photos according to the taste/politics/demands of the editor or organisation. How often do photographed people have the opportunity to consent to having their photograph taken, let alone to be a co-author?

The approach makes me consider my own photography in relation to the genres of street and events. I have worked with direct consent where I have explained my studies to people and gained their permission to make their portrait, at events I have worked on assumed consent, in which people are fully aware that photographers are around, and if they try to hide their face then I do not photograph them, and I have also taken some street photography without consent. This is not to say that any style is better, or correct, they all have their value, but I do like Wearing’s style, which is an approach that I have made use of for a project with homeless people (although I asked them what they would like to say to accompany their photo, rather than providing them with the means to write their own words) (Keys, R; 2018).

This is not an approach that I will be using for exercise 3.5 but certainly one that I would like to build upon in the future, and my tutor and I have discussed this previously.

 

Illustrations

Figure 1; Wearing, G; 1992-3; I have been certified as mildly insane… [chromogenic print on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-66092/5 (accessed on 12/05/2018)

Figure 2; Wearing, G; 1992-3; I signed on and they would not give me nothing [chromogenic print on paper]; http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-66092/3

Figure 3; Wearing, G; 1992-3; Work towards peace [chromogenic print on paper]; AT: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/gillian-wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-wants-you-to-say-work-towards-world-peace

References

Azoulay, A; 2008; The Civil Contract of Photography; New York; Zone Books; pp85

Keys, R; 2018; Homelessness – People are only invisible if we choose to ignore them; Online AT: https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/homelessness-my-photo-essay-published-by-the-sociological-mail/ (accessed on 12/05/2018)

Reflections Upon My Rights And Responsibilities As A Photographer

  • My views shall never be viewed as imposing upon the freedom of expression of other photographers.

My Rights

  • I have the right to make and produce photography according to my personal ethics as long as:- I do not invade the privacy of others, understand and respect what constitutes public and private property, according to the law of the country that I am in, respect that minors and vulnerable people cannot or may not (vulnerable adults) be able to offer informed consent, is not defamatory, does not cause breach of the peace.

Responsibilities and reflections

  • To review the ethics of my photography on a regular basis
  • To understand that photography involves the photographed, the photographer and the viewer.
  • Photography is not a “one off” experience. It can be viewed over centuries. This means that the interpretation of a photo is not fixed and does not conform to the intended aims of the photographed and photographer.
  • To ensure that the photographed understand both the permanent of a photo and the transience of its meaning and hoped for impact.
  • To question as to how to best achieve the desired outcome for the photographed and myself.
  • To know that I am embedded into my own socio/economic/political beliefs. Genuine neutrality is never a given in any situation.
  • Editor’s and curators change the meaning and impact of photography to suit their own needs.
  • Organisations can use anyone’s photography as a means of propaganda, it’s a simple as an addition of text or juxtaposition with a conflicting photo.
  • Copyright is only a legal definition of ownership for commercial purposes.
  • Ownership of photography can never be a moral truth. With photographed, photographer and viewer all having a determination in the use of photography then there cannot be an owner.
  • Reading the opinions of photographers and photography critics is my most valuable tool for reinforcing or changing my understanding of photography and my motivations.
  • Being clear about my motives and ethics frees me up to enjoy making photography and to explore the potential benefits to others.
  • I make photography first and foremost for me, and that’s why reflection is important.