I have slowed down when taking images. I admit I used to rush a bit when I first started this course, or rather I went straight to taking the photographs rather than thinking it out before hand. Now, I pre- plan what I want my images to convey and how I want them to do it.
When my husband and I decorate a room together, I always want to get the colour on the wall, straight away. He always wants to fill the tiniest cracks, gather all the best tools for the job, buy samples of this and that, lay the dust sheets, etc . I feel that I am like that now with photography. I need to set the foundations and get the plan in my head before I approach the final selection.
During assignment one (Dark Arches), instead of going straight out to take what I could find, I felt increasingly that I wasn’t at the ‘ready’ stage to just go and shoot. I needed time to think. I needed to plan my shoot, think about it and think how I would compose and expose each image and think about what I wanted to say. I approached the assignment by taking snapshots of my intended location, rather like a kitchen designer will produce a CAD image to give an idea of what the finished room will look like. I liked this approach and found it worthwhile.
This part of the course has widened my knowledge of practitioners and their different approaches and voice and I am pleased to be expanding my knowledge of the photography canon as I did with the literature canon a few years ago.
I have recently been out for the afternoon taking images for the exercise on colour and black & white see here . The exercise was to take thirty images in colour and thirty in black & white and comment on the difference between the two formats.
Aside from having a great afternoon in the sunshine, I think this exercise has opened my eyes. Together with the course work, which considered how street photography started to embrace colour, and independent research, I have learned about colour as a subject in itself and how it can set the mood of a scene.
After returning home with my images I opened them in Photoshop and looked at my colour images in black & white and vice versa. The most striking one for me was the deckchairs. The green and blue are striking and the contrast is what makes the image interesting but compare it with the monochrome and the ‘colours’ are the same.
I think these two images have made me ‘see’ differently and I will consider tone, colour and contrast more easily now in my future projects.
There has been a lot of learning in part one of the course. So far, I have studied:
- Documentary photography and its intention to give ‘voice’ to (or exploit) the human elements of global events; whether successful or not (an example being ‘Migrant Mother)
- Photojournalism (news imagery), and its relationship with the ‘truth’ along with viewpoints regarding problems associated with it.
- Aftermath photography and the works of Paul Seawright (aftermath of the war in Afghanistan) and Edgar Martins (aftermath of the USA housing market collapse).
Here are a few things that I have been thinking about:
- How far I have come. I admit I was disappointed with my 2.2 EYV results but when my tutor, Derek Trillo pointed out that I had gone from not even having a camera to gaining 57% in my assessment, all in twelve months, then I felt much better and gave myself credit for what I had achieved.
- At the beginning of EYV when I went out to do my Square Mile assignment I just wanted to take images that showed the place where I used to live, albeit with a linking theme of mining. However, I never thought about creativity or a message or concept. I was thinking more of composition at that stage. Now, I don’t even want to take an image (except for technical practice) if it hasn’t anything to say.
- I have friends who volunteer what may be a ‘good’ photograph and, although I am polite, I usually think ‘why’? Why would that be a good photograph? I know I have changed in my thinking around photography because now I don’t think a ‘good’ photograph is necessarily one that just has a ‘nice’ subject.
- Again and again, I find myself drawn to topics such as the ‘women’s issue’, injustice and social concerns and find myself wondering how I could articulate these through photography.
- Weeks after researching Erik Kessels I still come back to the ‘why do we all take the same photo’ question and while watching Mo Farah, during and after his silver medal win in the 5,000 metres, I noticed that some members of the audience were far more interested in taking his photograph than in actually watching the race. Why is this?
This is my second module of BA (Hons) photography and I admit that I have not been quite so enthusiastic over these last few weeks, as I was with Expressing your vision. I, and many of my fellow students, have commented that this course is increasingly academic rather than practical. Personally, I enjoy both sides equally and am very at home in front of the computer researching and learning, actually more so than behind the camera, so it’s not that. I enjoy the learning and the academic side but it is the practical side that worries me. I am still clumsy … though I can see definite improvements.
However, I am feeling at the moment that my priorities are ‘computer based’ rather than ‘camera based’ and as a result my camera skills are not having chance to improve. I am worried that if I don’t engage in some practical work I will forget how to use my camera. So, I have been practicing on non-course related projects just to keep my practical work ticking over.