The brief for this assignment is to illustrate a story for a magazine with a cover and then a series of pages inside. I needed to choose a caption for each image but not a full story - thank goodness!
The cover needed to show techniques of illustration and then the inside pages will be a picture essay similar to what I have created before. I needed to consider linked images, different aspects of the story and use of juxtaposition and narrative.
The theme was a crucial decision. The brief allowed be to chose anything which is quite a daunting prospect, I found my mind racing from one idea to the next. I wanted to choose something that I knew about. I was tempted initially to do a recipe as there is great joy to be had in food photography but this seemed like to obvious an idea.
My picture essay earlier in this segment was based on one of my interests, running. I am preparing for the Great North Run and I started to think about the idea of doing a series of photographs and self portraits based around the preparation of someone who is new to running (less than 6 months) but who has signed up to do quite a strenuous race.
I started to put more details into this plan. What I liked about it was the concept of combining self portraiture with some still life and some street photography. I am planning to the do People and Places unit next which will possibly mean I have to convince various friends and family to model for me, I don't seem to have surrounded myself with model wannabes and it always takes nagging or bribing them all.
So I thought that to use myself would work well in this one, also, I'm picking something about me so I should man up and put myself in front of the camera, not something I like doing.
The other aspects I liked of my idea was a combination of photographic styles in order to establish a more coherent story. I wanted to use modelled self portraits, still life shots of objects that relate to the story and provide some context and juxtaposition and also some street photography. This last one was proving a sticking point. I like street photography but it is an area I need to practice at length. I wanted to put it in to stretch myself and I had an idea of capturing some joggers going past a cafe with people sat outside looking at them as they passed. I know you shouldn't try to be that specific when planning street photography, but hey, I wanted to be ambitious for this last assignment.
The Final Idea
As happy, and excited, I was about the types of photographs and the approach that I was going to take, the subject just wasn't doing it for me. I felt like I was repeating myself slightly. I had already done the narrative of a race and this did feel like repetition even though I had planned to make it more personal. So I decided to retain the method of execution, but reconsider the concepts.
I thought about things that I am doing at the moment, interests that I have, and one of the things that has been taking up a lot of my time at the moment has been developing an Android smartphone application.
Some background is needed here as that may seem a bit random.
I used to be a java programmer before moving into education. I manage an IT teaching team at a college and as part of my job I still teach a few hours. This year, two of my more intrepid tutors started teaching the development of iPhone apps. As an iPhone user, I thought this was marvellous, looked into it, discovered that the Android platform, iPhone's biggest rival, uses Java and after a lot of scraping around in my brain to remember java, I started teaching very basic Android app development.
In order to teach myself so that I could teach the students, I have been making a Wedding Planner app which I'm going to release on the Android Market as a marketing tool for my wedding photography sideline.
I started to wonder about how I would use this as an idea. One of the things that leapt at me straight away was one of Android's strengths, it's iconic logo. The Android logo, a little green robot, has started to crop up in all phone shops and in the media.
- A magazine article about homebrew - the practice of developing software at home
- The theme will allow for modelled self portraits, still life and street photography
- The street photography element will capture the rise of smartphone usage
- The still lifes will show the shabby approach to home dev
- The self portraits will aim to capture ambition and isolation
- The android logo will be used
I was slightly concerned that my subject is a bit to niche, but then I decided that it didn't matter. The brief states any subject and even if my audience aren't the types to read smart phone app magazines (like me - app nerd!), the techniques of illustration and narrative should still shine through.
This is a first for me, I usually stick to an idea once I have started it through bloody determination (stubbornness). In past assignments this has let me down a bit and I feel like I've grown a bit in my art work that I am willing to abandon an idea after thinking it through.
Another of the early decisions I made was that I wanted my submission to look like a magazine. With this in mind, I have been using Adobe InDesign at work. This isn't a package I have used before but it is brilliant. Using InDesign, I really feel like I've made my photos look like I imagine their use in a layout. I've never studied page layout or attempted it much so I am pleased to have used an industry tool.
The use of a proper layout is important because it made certain considerations when I was taking my shots. For instance, the space to the left of the frame in the shot used as a background for pages 2/3 was intentional for text. Another example is the image of the mouse, this photograph was taken to be a context shot, intended to be smaller and more discreet than some of the others.