The final assignment is an open brief. Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject exploring the theme ‘Photography is Simple’. Each photograph should be a unique view; in other words, it should contain some new information, rather than repeat the information of the previous image.
First Impressions, Initial Response
A wide open brief like this at the start of this module six months ago, I would have been at a loss, but through extensive thought, reflection, research, making mistakes and reworking my images and figuring out an effective process to produce work has all helped to get me to quickly decide what work I will make, and most importantly, why. The “why” is about self reflection and knowing my passions and interests in life and then expressing these through my work so it becomes personal and true to me, in this way it tells a compelling story. The statement “Photography is Simple” is one I have to disagree with. There are so many aspects to photography that makes is far from simple, from
Through trial and error and learning from my tutor feedback over the last four assignments I now have a process that works for me so I can complete all the necessary work to meet the submission deadline. The outline process is in my learning log here
Research / Inspiration
I revisited the module and focused on the photographers that stood out for me and there was one that my tutor recommended I researched further in the first Assignment, he was Mahtab Hussein’s and his book of work called “Going Back To Where I Came From”. This work has different techniques within it and also each image is new and tells something different but tied together (which is what this brief has asked for). Examples of this in his work are wide angle landscapes, buildings that show great composition and also close up detailed shots of corn or flowers or a wooden ladder leaning against a building, also portraits.
Sally Mann’s use of light in her work “Immediate Family” has taught me about the use of light and I have tried to bring this into my work. Henri Cartier Bresson’s decisive moment technique has also influenced my work, I now see street scenes differently and I think about composition and the right moment before each shot a bit more now. Gianluca Cosci’s work with shallow depth of field and shooting mundane objects in an urban landscape but in an unusual way is something I am also inspired by for his creativity
My ideas are easier to formulate now, again because I have spent time understanding what makes me tick, what I love to shoot and why. I really love my morning walk to work and I identified five reasons why this is and these stem back to the self examination over the last six months working on this module, they are:
1) “The Old And The New” – how old buildings sit alongside new ones or how old ones are repurposed for new uses.
2) Architecture, I love beautiful buildings and I am interested in the different styles through history.
3) Street Art is another love of mine and I have started to build quite a collection of great pieces of work as I travel or just in my own neighbourhood.
4) Human/Social History – I love to know how communities interact with eachother, the history of an area and how they lived in a time gone by.
5) Nature. Being raised in Africa I have a very strong affiliation with nature and the outdoors and notice small details like flowers or in my work for this assignment a small ladybird on a flower whilst on my walk to work while others are walking along looking at their phones instead.
I have chosen to make a series of images about my walk to and from work in Cheltenham, UK and the interest and beauty I have noticed and appreciate every day, twice a day, based on my five main interests above.
Some ideas I had for making work about my journey to work didn’t materialise, they are for example, there are people I sometimes say hello to in the morning, this takes time to be able to find them and ask if they don’t mind having their photograph taken, probably several more sessions than I undertook where I return to the same area so I have the opportunity to come across them again.
Inspired by Gianluca Cosci’s approach to making the mundane interesting, I used this technique with two shots in this series. I have tried to be creative in compositional techniques by using nature to frame architecture and using the “incidental technique” when photographing the tall spire of the church, there are people I tried to capture using the decisive moment technique in the foreground, along with other more modern buildings to add more interest to the image and show how much taller and how different this structure is from it’s surroundings.
Shallow depth of field I still find a challenge to get the subject suitably in focus, I love the creative result of such images so I will continue to work on this. I used an F9 in most streetscape shots and in some instances where I was taking architectural shots I slightly overexposed to show more detail in the shadows. It was an overcast day so ISO400 was used. I did attempt some night time shots of street art in a car park because at this time of day it was empty but soon realised I needed a tripod because of the slow shutter speed needed.
Selection of Final Images (Final Outcome)
I started off with just over 150 images and then edited this down to 15 images in the “finalised” contact sheet below. I find this part the most challenging of my work, choosing one image over another and the reason why. The brief is to ensure each image is different and tells a different story and this and the editing is a skill I have had to develop over the last six month. I am hoping that the next module “Context And Narrative” will help me further with this part of my work.
I can see my work in an exhibition in Cheltenham to showcase a specific part of Cheltenham, there is an art gallery in the area that holds photography exhibitions. Alternatively it could be reproduced as a story in a local “Cotswold” magazine as it has an interesting historical tale about the people in the area and also the evolution and repurposing of old buildings into something new and vibrant today.
I have tried to use different technical skills to ensure the images are different and interesting. From tutor feedback I have kept it creatively simple and focused more on the narrative and selecting a series that works together well. I would have liked to include some portrait shots of people in the area and also capture the street art in the car park when it was empty to get a better shot of the art I really liked.
The portrait shots would be nice to capture of people I talk to on the way to work, also the street art at night and some low light images would add to the series. It would be good to research the area more and get to know key people in the area who have untold stories of past and present day as this would enrich this work further.
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