Cork – Favourite Two

Cork, 2017Without doubt this is my favourite photo out of all of those I took in Cork that didn’t include friends. I like the movement created by the different layers. The following is a second favourite. I have taken some tourist photos whilst away, but its the street and action shots that I prefer.

Cork, 2017

Festival of Angels – York

York is a busy city all year round, but in the build up to Christmas, the city hosts the festival of angels. The festival of angels hosts the St Nicholas fair, local vendors set up stalls in the streets selling mulled wine, festive food, and of course the famous Ice Trail. The ice sculptures can be found around the city, not just the city centre, so grab a brochure, go for a walk, and tick off all of the ones that you discover.

I took the opportunity to get out with my Olympus OMD EM 10 MK iii, with the 25mm F1.8 prime, I have faith in this amazing camera, but need to get used to the controls and settings. For this special but busy event in York, it gave me the opportunity to try out the tilt screen. Impressed, held the camera in the air, with the screen tipped down towards me, and I was still able to adjust the settings manually.

Welcome to York.

York Christmas 2017York Christmas 2017York Christmas 2017York Christmas 2017York Christmas 2017York Christmas 2017York Christmas 2017

 

 

Needing DirectionYork Christmas 2017

Know Minster – Know YorkYork Christmas 2017

A gap in the crowdsYork Christmas 2017

Chitty Chitty Bang BangYork Christmas 2017

St Nicholas FairYork Christmas 2017

All Saints (and a few sinners)York Christmas 2017

Viking Hoards (and my favourite view in York)York Christmas 2017

Exercise 2.6 – Part 3

A continuation of the exploration of people both near and far.

Again I am considering what genre of photography the style of image could be used for. This is not about whether the photos are good or not, but how the portrait impacts upon the photo.

With photo 1, I believe this would suit travel photography, some street and also family portraits, although the distance from the camera and the photo is not close enough to really benefit the third example. Often travel photography includes people in order to create an emotional impact that reminds the viewer that they and their loved ones could visit this beautiful place, and highlights the beauty if that place as well. In the second photo the telephoto brings the man closer to the front of the frame, and it also brings compacts the background, and again this could be used for travel photography. If we ignore the background then the position of the man would be useful for street and documentary photography, as well as showing people who are involved with an activity. The final photo is certainly better for formal and informal portrait photography, along with street and documentary. The second photo creates more emotional warmth for me than the others.

The people in the above photos are so distant from the camera that these could not be considered to be portrait photography. However, with the first couple holding hands, and then two couples walking on the beach, an emotional prompt is provided. For me there is a warmth. The positioning of the people could also encourage other emotional responses, depending on how they are involved in activity. They could be arguing, or throwing a ball, or one person walking on their own – throwing flowers into the sea. This means that the people can have a significant impact despite being so distant.

Exercise 2.6, Near nd FarExercise 2.6, Near nd Far

These last two photos are more about aesthetics, beauty and mood, and not so much about the people. If the fence was lower or the camera was higher than the people could have more of an impact. An evening romantic walk with a couple in the right position would make the photo better. I have seen editorial and stock photography that make use of these kind of images.

Exercise 2.6 – Part 2

As I mentioned previously, I do not have anyone to model for me at the moment, so I took these photos of the public on a trip to Whitby. The idea of thee brief is to have one person in differing positions in the frame and to consider the impact upon mood, narrative and visual impact.

Out of these three the first is more appealing to me, and I think this is because there is potential for the couple. There is a sense of beginning, go into and momentum. There are three exits that they can take, although from the way they are walking there are only two that are likely. It has a sense of movement and travel. It has a warmer emotional feel than photo three where the couple are leaving the frame. It does not mean that composing people similar to photo three doesn’t have its benefits, the positioning could represent goodbye’s, the end of a day out, companionship and to some extent even romance. The position of the couple in photo three is visually unattractive, and although they are moving physically (as can be seen by the positioning of their legs, the photo overall doesn’t talk of movement in the same emotional manner that the first two photos do.

The first photo, yuck, not nice, get away from my eyes. It’s a very poor tourist snap. The Abbey is the focus and the people are a distraction. Unless those two men were involved in some dramatic activity then they would have no reason to be in the photo. The second photo is cheesy, but I can still learn from this photo. Being so close to the front of frame, she is imposing, and my eye is also drawn between her and the Abbey so her presence creates some visual tension. Now the third photo I like, sort of. The camera and tripod were both quite low to the ground, and this means that there is more of a draw to the dog. Lower still would have been better, as being on the same level as the dog would have meant a doggy perspective, and with the dog looking at the camera that would have been good. However, the shot is also ruined by the two people standing by the whale bones. That’s street photography hey? No, not quite, because I was taking multiple shots  I had the same frame but with no people in them, so hey presto!!!

Now thats Better!

The position of the man means that he has more prominence in this photo, and with he and the dog both looking towards the camera then there is a touch of drama. The transitional space works well, and along with the other visual clues we can say that we have a man who has taken his dog for walk on the beach and is now going home. They don’t live in the town, but they come here regularly. It’s just a shame that the shutter speed wasnt fast enough to catch the dogs far side rear leg properly.

OK – so what do I say about photo one! Badly composed, have cropped the weather vane off of the top of the whale bones. Cheesy cliché – in this setting. So I will ignore the aesthetics and concentrate on the position of the people. They add some context and interest. The position is good for a full length portrait, and could be used for corporate photography, a wedding group. It would work better for a small group where the brief was to include clothing, but it would work better with a landscape perspective, especially for larger groups. The position of the closest group of people in the second photo would be good for street photography, to catch brief snippets of action where the activity is more important than the people. There is more of a feeling of distance between the people and the viewer, although the fact that they are talking and waiting for the couple walking up to them does create an emotional connection. However, the position of the couple walking up the steps is not good for portrait or activity based photography, unless they are involved with people closer to the front of frame. They would be too distant if they were on their own.

Juxtaposition In Photography – What Is It?

In the Foundations in Photography it was suggested that we take a look at a photo made by Kevin Carter in 1993 whilst he was filming the famine and drought in Sudan. The photo is of a sick child with a vulture in the background. A disturbing photo, that won Carter a Pulitzer prize, and also added to the guilt that he felt about photographing people who had been tortured, killed, suffering the effects of apartheid, war and natural disasters. (Neal; 2017)

The New York Times reported that the child continued on her journey after the photo was taken and that the vulture was chased away. Carter committed suicide on July 28th 1994. The juxtaposition in his photo was one of life and death. (Keller; 1994)

A powerful example of juxtaposition but there are many other ideas of what the word means. In my mind juxtaposition is about two opposing objects that create a dynamic subject. In my photo below the man in the skeleton mask wearing the chains and the leather jacket is in contrast and opposing the “church open” sign.

Street Photography

Eric Kim puts it simply “To be specific— juxtaposition is when you put two opposite things together, and the contrast of those two things becomes interesting.” (Kim; 2017) He goes through several ideas that relate to contrasting emotion, social circumstances, activity, past and present, and direction. For me the most enjoyable photo is one where he shows subjects versus shadow. I am drawn to the humour that is created by the womans shadow and how it distorts her features.

Shadow Eric KimFig. 1. Person and Shadow (2017)

Jason Row explores many themes including scale, colour and concept, as well as mood/emotion and age. The two examples below are good photos and demonstrate his ideas. They are themes that I will log in my mind as I am sure that I can make use of them at a later date, although I do prefer street photography based juxtaposition.

Fig. 2. A Juxtaposition Using Size (2016), Fig. 3. Scale, Colour and Concept are all featured in this shot (2016)

The photo that I appreciated most in this short excursion into researching juxtaposition is called Emoticons. It came second in the Curators Choice Award in the World Street Photography Awards 2015 (Kujaja). The photo by Paola Saetti captures contrasting emotions and also the diversity between the new age and maturity.

Emoticons-by-Paola-SaettiFig. 4. Emoticons (2015)

Although this has been a quick review it is something that will reinforce ideas and themes in my mind, so that when I am out with my camera I can be more aware of how ot create interesting photos.

References and Illustrations

Figure 1; Kim, E; 2017; Person and Shadow; At: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/juxtaposition/ (accessed on 13/11/2017)

Figure 2; Row, J; 2016; A Juxtaposition Using Size; At: https://www.lightstalking.com/juxtaposition-examples/ (accessed on 13/11/2017)

Figure 3; Row, J; 2016; Scale, Colour and Concept are all featured in this shot; At; https://www.lightstalking.com/juxtaposition-examples/ (accessed on 13/11/2017)

Figure 4; Saetti, P; 2015; Emoticons; At: https://www.kujaja.com/en/photo-competitions/winner/street-photography-awards-2015-juxtaposition-5 (accessed on 13/11/2017)

Keller, B; 1994; Kevin Carter, a Pulitzer Winner For Sudan Photo, Is Dead at 33; In: The New York Times [online] At: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/29/world/kevin-carter-a-pulitzer-winner-for-sudan-photo-is-dead-at-33.html (accessed on 13/11/2017)

Kim, E; 2017; 10 Tips How to Create Juxtaposition in Your Photography; At: erickimphotography.com/blog/juxtaposition/

Neal, LM; 2017; How Photojournalism Killed Kevin Carter; At: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/kevin-carter (accessed on 13/11/2017)

 

Exercise 2.6 – Near And Far

Brief: This exercise is about depth in the frame. Now you understand depth of field you can use deep focus to photograph a figure in an environment, combining portrait with landscape and emphasising the sense of space. Choose an interesting environment and think about the kinds of clothes your model should wear. If it’s a bright place like a beach, it would be good if the model wore dark clothes. If it’s a dark place like a forest, choose light clothes. The contrast in tone or colour will help the model stand out against the background. Aim to shoot a conclusive series of full-length and head-and-shoulders portraits using a foreground figure or face in front of a background scene plus a foreground space with a figure in the distance – with both areas in focus. If you have a DSLR, the lens may have distance increments that indicate the DoF in feet and metres; this will help you place focus. Place the figure in the edges and corners of the frame as well as in the centre and on the four points of the ‘golden section’. Be careful with your compositions, considering the shapes and lines in the background and how they interact with your model.

 

Currently I am not in a position to use a model for this exercise, so I have chosen a few photos that I have taken over the past year. None of these are good photos, they are practice shots that have been a part of developing my technique. These don’t fit the brief fully. The depth of field is poor. I will go out and complete the exercise without a model, because I would like the benefit of continued practice.

I prefer the second photo here, there is a sense of movement, the framing of the scene highlights the narrow lane and closely knit buildings. There is no intimacy in any of these photos, no connection with the people in them.

 

This series is more useful for my learning. Having been shot at the same location, with a slight perspective change, and having the lighthouse in each photo, means that I can gain more of an insight into how composition alters the understanding of a photo. There is nothing to be gained from the first photo. The couple are too far to the left, and too distant, and there are no points of interest. The lighthouse is left stranded and is rendered as a non interesting object.The second photo has more value. there may not be much of a story, but it is clear that we have a couple going for a coastal walk on a cold day. Their positioning on one of the golden sections and the light house on a third compliment each other. The fog horn in the centre is a distraction and yet it works. It creates a line between the couple and the lighthouse so my eye moves back and forward between them. The lighthouse is now part of the subject, and because of this its beauty can be appreciated. I find the third photo more pleasing though. The lighthouse is dominant and is a symbol of strength and importance, which reflects its former significance. There is more intimacy between my view and the fisherman than there is with the couple in the previous photo. Maybe it’s because I used to fish, or maybe its because he keeps the image maritime. The point of interest for me though is that a photographer can still create intimace between the viewer and the image even with a person far in the distance. The couple are important in the previous photo, but there is no intimacy there, no connection.

In this final photo the group of people are prominent, the head of the man being pointed at is in the golden area, his bike is in the centre of the frame. The viewer has more of an emotional understanding of and connection to this image. It raises a question for me, is this an argument? Is the pointer angry? What has happened on their journey? Is the car a distraction? Who cares. The photo isn’t a promotional photo of a motorbike, it’s the story of these three men and the questions that they raise.

Exercise 2.6