Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Assignment 3 - Prep Work

I'm currently working on Assignment 3 and I thought I'd update some of the notes that I have made regarding the make-up colour shoot that I have planned.

The first stage of the plan was to buy some make-up which I must say, having never done before, it's really expensive! I'm not sure how women manage to buy it, but I have been assured by my model, Andrea, that it lasts a long time. So the first notes were made, using the trusty iPad and the Adobe Ideas App, based on the makeup that I have bought.
The next step was to work out the best combinations of colours from what I had bought. I had selected certain items from around the colour wheel and I wanted to make sure that whilst I was demonstrating the different colour combinations, I didn't make my model look like a clown! The colours needed to be muted and complimentary. 

The photos have been taken and I am very happy with them, but I want to wait until I have all of my colour photographs for assignment 3 before I put anything on here.

I have also completed the water drop series of photos which I am quite happy with. I have started doing some found pieces, but am not thrilled with the results so far. It's a very drab time of year to do this project but I am determined not to let that stop me!

Photographer Awareness

Henri Cartier-Bresson - portraits

Born August 22, 1908 and died August 3, 2004. A French photographer who toured America with his exhibitions

What was he famous for?
Being the Father of Photojournalism. He was one of the first professional photographers to use the 35mm format and he helped develop street photography

Interesting Facts
He founded the Magnum Photos co-op with Robert Capa, David Seymour, and George Rodger

Photograph that most speaks to me

I love the expression of satisfaction on the young boys face as he carries the bottles. The composition works effortlessly as his motion is perpetuated by the angle of the frame.

Alexander Rodchenko - montage and alternative angles

Born 5 December 1891 died December 3, 1956

What was he famous for?
Using odd angles to postpone recognition

Interesting Facts
He wanted to liberate photography from conventions and from the standard belly-button perspective and thus he evolved into a distinct pioneer of photographic Constructivism

Photograph that most speaks to me

Girl with Leica - I like this because the eye follows the pattern first before it recognises the woman sitting on the bench, in fact the camera is the last thing you notice.

Duane Michals - photo sequences

born February 18, 1932, still living

What was he famous for?
He is famous for using sequences of photos to tell stories

Interesting Facts
He didn't use a studio which made him stand out from

Photograph that most speaks to me

The Dream Of Flowers - I like this one because even though I don't generally like his staged sequences, this one seems to flow better and whilst the flowers are clearly placed, the placement has been done well so it does suggest the man is falling deeper into sleep.

Peter Keetman - abstracts
Born April 27th 1916 in Elberfeld , died March 8 2005 in Marquartstein

What was he famous for?
Water drops and abstracts

Interesting Facts
He was one of the founder-members of the Fotoform group in 1949 with OTTO STEINERT and others.

Photograph that most speaks to me

I really like this shot, the image merges abstract and reality in a way i haven't really seen before.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Exercise 27 - Colours into tones in black and white

This was an interesting exercise which has left me curious about some of my previous black and white imagery and whether or not I could have drawn attention to different parts of the image by changing the colour filters.
I know that these images above are not as clear as they could be, but using the moxier app on the iPad is a much more effective way for me to make notes. The good thing is that they are posted to Flickr so that they can be seen more clearly.

Update - I have uploaded the originals to blogger so that they can be seen easier.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Exercise 26 - Colour Relationships - Part 2

Considering colours in combinations that appeal to me was interesting. I started off with a Christmas display in my local John Lewis store. The display consists of red, yellow, teal, orange, magenta and violet circles hanging down in columns. This is quite a complicated combination of colours and the whilst the yellow and violet are complimentary, as are (with a stretch of definition) the magenta and teal, there are some contrasting colours combinations here, orange and violet, teal and violet and yellow and red. but this works, it is a celebration of colour and I think that the contrasts are balanced out by the complimentary relationships and the fact that each colour is equally balanced in size and number of circles.

The next combination of colours that appealed to me was a family knitted quilt which serves the crucial purpose of stopping the cats from scratching the sofa arms. 
The colours here are quite subdued due to being dyed wools that are quite old, but the reds, oranges and violets are quite dominant in the photo and these colours are next to each other on the colour wheel, and shown in the image in different hues, so they work well together, to the point that the small amount of blue isn't noticeable until the photo is scrutinised.

Of all of the complimentary colours on the wheel, my favourite combination is red and green. I like these colours together because green is so natural and red is so deep, they work together and create different meanings. The other reason why this works is that it features in nature so often with many different red fruits, leaves, berries and flowers all being supported by green stems or branches. The mossy wall shows a subdued version of the colours but it is still a combination that works well. 

Assignment 3 - Ideas

Here are my current working notes for the next assignment.

Assignment Three - Planning

A - Colour Harmony: Complimentary Colours
Yellow and purple, orange and blue, red and green
B - Colour Harmony: Similar Colours
green and yellow, yellow and orange, orange and red, red and violet, violet and blue, blue and green
C - Colour Contrast
Yellow and red, orange and violet, violet and green, green and orange, blue and yellow, blue and red
D - Colour Accent
Any spot Colour

  1. Fashion shots with Andrea
  2. Colored water drops
  3. Flowers on graves
  4. Powdered paint / Lego / boats and buildings / front doors / colored gels

Fashion shoot plan
A. Green nails held against face with red lips
B. Pink lashes with purple eye shadow
C. Red lipstick and blue glasses
D. Depending on models eye colour, blue or green eye shadow with black sparkle lashes
Shooting order - C, A, B, D

Colored drops plan
A. Orange and blue
B. Green and yellow
C. Blue and yellow
D. Pink or blue

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Exercise 26 - Colour Relationships - Part 1

The first part of this exercise was relatively simple in execution but difficult to decide what the subject was. I decided it would be fun to go to a department store and rearrange things to suit my needs. 

Red and Green 1:1
For the red/green image I picked two different shapes to try and play with the different weightings of the colour but with an even proportion. I like this image as it makes you take a second look before you really see that the colour weighting is reasonably even. In retrospect I should have moved the plate and cups from around the bottom of the image.

Yellow and Violet 1:3
I'm really pleased with this picture. I tried a few different objects in the store which weren't really the right proportions but this works well even though the yellow is sporadic flashes across the image.
Orange and Blue 1:2
The proportions of this image were easy because I found two cushions that were blue and one which was orange and placed them together. The image was composed in the camera so that none of the area around the cushions was visible. This leads to a strong image with the complimentary colours.

Overall I think the 3 images show the colour relationships well and adjusting the proportions wasn't an issue for the yellow/violet or orange/blue photos, but as I said above, I probably should have prepared the scene better for the red/green picture.

I think these images show that the colours opposite each other on the wheel have very definite and pleasing relationships with each other when used in the right ratios.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Richard Avedon

Another short post I'm afraid, things are manic and the moment. I'm currently working on my colour ratio exercise but a wedding last weekend has meant a week of photo editing.
On with the photographers.

Born in New York in 1923, died in 2004.

What was he famous for?
Celebrity portraits

Interesting Facts
In the 1960s Avedon branched out into photo-journalism and recorded the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam at war and paitents in mental hospitals.

Photograph that most speaks to me

I love this image, I like the dynamic movements of the elephants and the posed, dignity of the model.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Exercise 25 - primary and Secondary Colours

This exercise was interesting and a challenge and I must say that the challenge was not entirely met! By this I mean that I had extremely high hopes about how I was going to capture the different primary colours but sadly winter and work impeded me greatly. I have managed to capture the primary and secondary colours, but I would have liked the images to be more interesting / creative / original!

This novelty crocodile clip was the yellowest item to hand after a series of photos taken in a flower shop( whilst being rushed by my nearest and dearest) turned out to be out of focus.
The shot shows the vibrance of the colour and I like the warmth it adds to the grey folder.

This Yankee Candle works well as a subject for blue especially with the pale blue walls in the background. the scene is cluttered but the shadow adds an element of dynamism to the shot. The blue isn't identical to the blue of the colour wheel, even after saturation tweaking in post production and this was the colour I had the hardest time capturing.
There are a lot of opportunities to capture the colour red. I initially tried capturing car tail lights but the camera sensor picks up less of the red colour than the human eye. I eventually settled on a poinsettia given the time of year and its impressive redness.
I also used the same plant for the green photo. There are so many variations of green it is amazing once you start looking at them all. I think of the primary colours, the green hues are the most different and have the broadest range.


Another difficult colour to find. I wanted to avoid anything that seemed too purple as I will freely admit to struggling to differentiate between them. This image shows violet wrapping paper with purple labels. Its a useful image for me as it helps remind me of the differences.


I think 50% of TOAP must photography oranges for this task. Although maybe I am the only person so unoriginal as to do so.
These dried oranges form a christmas decoration and they appealed to me as the fruit is dried but the colour has lost none of its vibrance.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Photographers Eye

Have just finished the Photographers Eye after intermittently dipping
into it for ages. It's a great book I really enjoyed it and can see
why it became the basis for TOAP.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Exercise 24 - Control the Strength of a Colour

This is the first of the exercises from Part 3: Colour. My subject for the image was one of the girders of a swing bridge in Newcastle.

I took these photos handheld - which may have been a mistake as the composition isn't exactly the same for each photo, however the colour fills the frame as required so they do the job.

The aperture stops that I used are F2, F2.8, F4, F5.6 and F8. I used full stop increments instead of half stop increments because I was using my digital compact which does use full exposure, but the indicator between the stops isn't very clear.

The 'correct' exposure according to the camera was F4 at 1/80 second and this is the third image. The exposure increases the brightness and seems to weaken the saturation making the colour seem more washed out the wider the aperture. When the aperture is narrow, the colour seems richer, more saturated and darker. It isn't actually affecting the saturation, it just appears to be doing so.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Assignment 2 - Elements of Design

Assignment 2 - Elements of Design

Here are the images I have submitted for Assignment 2 - Elements of Design
It was a fun challenege to choose a specific subject area for the series of photographs. I chose Street Details as my subject area and then I decided to make the streets coastal. This was still a strong subject with a wide variety of options available to me, but crucially it focused my trips out as I could only make two trips to the nearest coast-line. 
I started off at New Brighton on the Wirral, photographically made famous by Martin Parr in the Last Resort, but now a very quite town in decline. I then made another trip to the Wirral and visited West Kirby beach which is near where I grew up.
It was an interesting challenge having to focus my attention on the required set of design elements and I fear I may have looked slightly dememted roaming the promenades with my eyes scanning from side to side looking for particular points or lines. I am quite happy with my results, a further trip to the other side of the New Brighton sea wall would have been good.

Curved Lines
This image is of a wind shelter near the sea wall in New Brighton. I have an alternative curved image which I may yet replace with this one as the black and white stands out from the rest of the set and Simon has pointed out that whilst there is a strong curve, there are other dominant lines here.
Exposure 1.6 seconds at F22 - on a tripod to get as much detail in the morning light as possible.

Diagonal Lines
I am really pleased with this image. I am still not 100% happy with the crop and I may widen it again but I love the colours and I like the way that the diagonals are stacked on top of each other and they are created by perspective.
Exposure was 1/6 second at F13. I could have gone to a narrower aperture but the wind had started to pick up and I didn't want any movement.

Distinct, if irregular, Shapes
Again I am very happy with this image, I like the bleak feeling to it and the muted colours. The three shapes are made up of the low traffic islands and the roundabout itself. In post production the wonky lampost in the middle made me question my composition a few times.
Exposure 1 second at F22.

Horizontal and Vertical Lines
Although the horizontal lines are significantly more in number, the two verticals match them in strength due to the stark contrast between the rope ladder and the sea wall.
Exposure was 1/6 second at F13. I could have gone to a narrower aperture but the wind had started to pick up and I didn't want any movement.

Implied Triangles - 1
The three swans make up an implied triangle here. I tried cropping the sky out more than the original composition but it lost some of the image's success. I think the swans need the context of the sea front so that they fit into the whole set.
Exposure was 1/50 second at F5 to throw the background out of focus.

Implied Triangles 2
There are three implied triangles at work in this image and I'm happy to say that I spotted all of them through the viewfinder whilst composing the scene. The first is created by the rocks, the second from the smallest man in the distance and the third by the space made by the nearest man's legs.
Exposure was 1/640 at F4 as I was hand holding and didn't want too much detail in order to enhance the triangular shapes

There were a few choices for this design element but I decided to use the patterns left by the wind on the shifting sands.
1/6 second at F22 to get as much detail as possible.

A lot of the buildings and walls around the coastal towns had available choices for rhythm and I chose the sea wall, promenade side, in the end as I liked the curved sections that suggested movement.
Exposure is 1/320 at F4.5 to throw out all but one of the concrete sections in order to start the viewer on that section and let their eye move forward and back.

Several Points in a Deliberate Shape
This landscape shows several rocks left by the tide which create a circular pattern which appealed to me. I hadn't captured any other circles for the set and decided that, as it is a deliberate shape which does not occur often by accident, that it would work well here. Exposure was 1/125 at F9 which was the narrowest I could capture hand holding with a telephoto lens.

A Single Point
The lighthouse is one of the main landmarks in New Brighton these days so it seemed a natural single point. I walked down onto the sand to present it in a dominant position in the frame.
Exposure is 1/13th second at F16 on a tripod for good detail but a sharp lighthouse.

Two Points
The detail here was on the ship and the boat. The backdrop does distract the eye to a point but it still works reasonably well.

Exposure was 1/125 at F10 to get good detail in the two points but not the background.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ansel Adams

Due to generally being swamped I've decided to approach my write-ups of historical photographers in a quick fire way, so I'll use the same headings for each one I planned to research.

Born in America in 1902, died in 1984. 

What was he famous for?
Landscape photography and creating the zone system for better exposure and contrast in printing

Interesting Facts
Adams founded the Group f/64 along with fellow photographers Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham - dedicated to sharp, detailed and accurate photography.

Photograph that most speaks to me

Mainly due to the dramatic sky and the way the curves of the river help the eye roam around the image.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Successful L Panel Submission

Yesterday was a very proud day, after 18 months of working on it, attending advisory days and waiting for opportunities, I submitted a panel of 10 photos to the Royal Photographic Society and recieved my Licentiateship certificate from them, so I can now use the letters LRPS after my name.

This was my winning panel. A lot of people went with themes but I stuck to the letter of the manual and showed different techniques. I'm really pleased, it was totally nerve wracking and an exhausting day!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Photographer Awareness

One of the reasons why I wanted to do this course was to explore and understand the work of famous photographers and be able to appraise a photograph from an artistic viewpoint. With this in mind, I'm still working my way through the Graham Clarke book but whilst I am enjoying the book, reading an academic work on a subject area that I was completely clueless about before, doesn't produce great understanding under my particular learning style.
So to address this I decided to widen my knowledge and I bought four Taschen books second hand off Amazon. The first one that I have started (and nearly finished) reading through is 20th Century Photography.


This book is ideal for where I am right now, it contains 1/2 pages of information about nearly 50 photographers who are deemed important to photographic art and who's work features at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

I've read through most of the book now and it's given me a good understanding of who was responsible for what and its also been nice to identify the creators of some of the photographs that I already knew. 
So with this in mind I have decided to blog about 6 of the photographers who's work is quite different from each other. This will be useful in helping me consider my own work in terms of their areas and also get some inspiration and ideas.

I'm going to look at:

Henri Cartier-Bresson - street
Ansel Adams - landscapes
Richard Avedon - portraits
Alexander Rodchenko - montage and alternative angles
Duane Michals - photo sequences
Peter keetman - abstracts

There are so many to pick from I just decided to pick the one's in the book who's work spoke to me immediately from an aesthetic viewpoint.

Lack of Posting

I'm a bit concious that I haven't posted anything for a while, I have been working on Assignment 2 and now have 9 of the images that I'm happy with.
I need to retake an image for points making up a deliberate shape as I'm not happy that the points I had found are far enough apart, it's more of an implied shape.

I've also been a lot of reading around photographic history having bought some Taschen books, I will add another entry tonight summarising what I have been looking at.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Exercise 23 - Rhythm and Patterns

I was initially worried about thus exercise, I was worried that I didn't have a good enough understand of the difference between rhythmic elements and patterns to be able to produce enough images. In the end I found a lot more rhythm options than pattern options.

There was also an element of not wanting to 'waste' a good rhythm image on an exercise when I knew I would need one for my next assignment.
Here is my rhythm photograph.

This photo was taken with the 5D and the 100mm macro lens. I used the lens because I wanted to throw as much of the frame out of focus as possible as I was interested to see if the rhythm of the photo was dependent on the focus of the whole subject. I think this photo proves that it isn't and that the eye will still move across the frame regardless.

The pattern image is a photo of my bedside lamp. This is a bit of a cheat because the pattern is man made and intentional but I struggled to find patterns that weren't explicit and I like the colours and the feeling of motion in this.

But it it a crop of the original, which is below and my preferred photo. The exercise stated that the pattern should fill the frame, but I don't think that this photo loses the pattern as focus and the emptiness on the left of the frame gives it more prominence, as does the loss of focus.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Chapter 4

Just finished chapter four of Graham Clarke's The Photograph.
I'm really enjoying the book and it's great to have individual photos critiqued in detail so that we can learn to improve how we view photographs as art. I can totally understand why it is given as part of this course.
The last chapter did make me think though, I'm a massive fan of landscapes and I think that a landscape photograph can evoke more emotions and intrigue than any other subject matter, but I think that Graham Clarke may have given too much credit to some of the photographers and their intentions when taking the earlier photographs. A lot of early landscapes seem to have been commissions from governments which tells me that the photographers were fulfilling a brief and weren't simply creating art.
Not to say that there was no art in early photography, and Talbot , Fenton and Calvert Jones were certainly following painting traditions, but Clarke attributes a lot of social commentary to the photos and I don't think this was intentional. When Talbot took photos of his book shelf, it wasn't to produce an autobiographical commentary on his social standing, I imagine it was to practice his new technique, the same must surely be true of Daguerre.
This may come across as arrogant on my part and I don't mean to criticise Clarke's book or writing. Its just a thought that's been occurring to me.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Exercise 22 - Real and Implied Triangles

Real triangles

The triangles exercise was useful and there really are triangles everywhere. An initial stumbling block that I had was the idea that a 'real' triangle could be one that is 'made' using convergence. Apologies for all the quotes, but what I'm getting at is that when I started thinking about triangles, I was approaching it from the vantage that a real triangle is a solid, actual shape that has either been created by nature (unlikely) or by man.
Such as this:

This is a detail of a small swing footbridge and the triangle has been made from two wooden sides and one of floor tiles.

As mentioned before, I found the idea of a triangle made by converging lines being a real triangle a confusing one until I redefined an implied triangle as being a triangle where the points are made up of separate objects. I used the Bridgewater Hall for my Triangle created by converging upwards.

Then, as the book predicted, finding a triangle that had been created by downwards convergence was a bit more difficult. I achieved this by walking past a lock and noticing this:

Implied Triangles

The implied triangles gave cause for another still life arrangement. I would have liked to put more thought into subject matter, but time and light got the better of me for this exercise. There should have been 5-6 objects but I will hold my hands up and admit that I didn't notice this just now! oops. I think the exercise is still useful.

Still life with apex at top

Still life with apex at bottom

Finally the trinity image where the models heads make up the lines of the triangle. This image has quite a snapshot feel to it, despite being taken for the purposes of the exercise. The models weren't being co-operative :-)