This assignment was a challenge due to the amount of images per colour combination and resisting the urge to repeat myself and use the same scenarios with slight tweaks. I put a lot of thought into this work and I think it comes across.
I started off with some ideas:
And then some prep work - showing that I had learnt from my mistake with assignment 2
I had a lot of images to choose from after my various shoots:
And then I made my submission with annotated images to explain my thoughts:
Tutor Report Form
You have done well with this assignment David; You have fulfilled the briefs well in that you have used a variety of controlled and uncontrolled situations. You have avoided, as suggested in the manual, too much photographing paint as suggested in the manual. Your use of themes including models shows imagination, initiative and commitment. Although you have used of dyes and make up you have at least used the make up in interesting and novel ways. However I do think that on some occasions you have set up the situation and “chosen” the colours but they aren’t always as clear and precise illustrations of the necessary colour as they should be in a chosen situation - I’ll explain more in the specific examples. Although I have one or two issues with some of the submissions but generally they are well executed and show a lot of thought and consideration.
One or two comments on your learning log
Your log is well written up in terms of recording your thoughts and reasoning behind your shots. You continue to include information about what the conditions were (lighting, aperture shutter speed etc) which is useful in giving an insight into the rationale behind your choices. What you don’t include is any information about the influences of other photographers’ work – this would be useful reminder to you and give you useful bases to work from in developing your images.
Comments on the actual images in the assignment
You have a good mix of images in this group – the coloured nails placed next to the vivid lips show good imagination in their arrangement – it could so easily have been a more straightforward and obvious composition. However, I do think that including the eye inevitably draws viewers’ attention and this is away from the intended colour combination. I wonder if a closer crop would be better – see what you think. My other observation is that as this was a controlled situation in which you were able to choose the exact colours, I do wonder if the “green” is edging towards a cyan (blue/green and so getting away the straight green that is opposite the red of the lips. An alternative composition could have been to have the model to
lift a green paper napkin to her lips with clear nail varnish.
My fear with these images was that they looked to staged and I think adding a napkin would have increased this effect.
The food dyes – An interesting and novel way of what I see as photographing paint. You are choosing the colours to photograph but introducing the random element of how the dyes dissipate though the water. You mention that you choose a balance between orange and blue of 1:1. To my mind you have as you point out a range of brightnesses in the colours and that the blues are lighter overall. The balance is that the orange is darker than the blues; I have experimented by increasing the contrast in the right hand section of the blue which, I think evens out the balance better. As to the movement in the image – I can see why you have chosen the particular image as the orange tendrils give a sense of movement – however, I do think that there is too much dark orange verging on the brown and this distracts too much from the fine tendrils of orange. It’s a tricky subject to shoot as it is so uncontrollable in how the dye dissipates - to get the right balance, composition and movement you would have to repeat the shot many times - a good imaginative idea but not quite as successful as it could be in illustrating complimentary colours as there are too many distractions from what you were
I agree, the orange is too dark in parts and I think I made this worse in post production. I'd now substitute this image:
This is a crop of one of my rejected images but there is a lot more orange tones and the range of the orange saturation almost fights the dominance of the blue for equal notice and the eyes dart around the image making this fit.
Grave Stone image – I think that you have rightly anticipated some of my comments . I don’t have a problem with the red and green placed against the grey background because you have the two colours in equal measures and so you could argue that it isn’t a single colour against another (Accent). What I do question is the balance between the grey and the colours – there’s too much of the grey (and writing) that to my mind is too distracting –what about a cropped version? It’s the colours you are focusing primarily on and you don’t want to spend too much time reading the inscription, which is what I find myself doing. An alternative could
have been to used an asymmetric crop to break the attention on the writing.
I agree, a crop makes this image a lot stronger in the context of colour relationships.
Having said that, bear in mind that this is just my opinion and there is nor right or wrong in this. You have argued your case and backed it up with a rationale in your log, which is good. What is important is that you have your log and can return to it and reflect on whether you are still of the same mind. A useful piece of advice that I was given was to live with a picture by pinning it up on the wall and live with it for a few weeks – it’s a great editing tool as I find that dissatisfaction can creep in after a while; if you still like it then fine.
Lines of love hearts – The colours red and green are obviously good examples of colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. However, the green is very pale and not sufficiently strong. Even the red is fairly pale. Pillar box red it isn’t. To pick up on your thread of the cocaine theme – you could have had a tube of green paper – may be a party staw to keep in with the theme - placed next to the red line. You have a chosen scenario rather than one that you have chanced across . As to the movement through the frame – this is fine you have good diagonals to create this. What made you reject the other version of the lines? – you don’t go into this to much length in your notes other than to say that the saturation was weak – it is in your chosen image – and the ratio was wrong – again is seems to be the same in the rejected image.
Pink and purple make up on the model – yes similar colours around the wheel but I would make two points – they occupy a small proportion of the image – why did you reject the close up of the model’s eyes? The other distraction I have is her brown irises – One thought I had was to have tried a shot with her eyes closed – this would have removed the distracting brown colour. It may have also made an interesting shot with those lashes?
I really disagree that the brown of the eyes is distracting, I think that the similar colours work well and I chose the full face because it was a better overall photograph outside the requirements of the assignment brief.
Coloured drinks: I find the colours of the straws and the liquids too far apart to be truly meeting the brief of similar – I take them to be more yellow than orange and more pink/violet than pink/red – it’s a matter of degrees I accept but for me they are too far apart. I think that the
movement and balance in the image is fine.
I felt that they were similar enough for the image to work.
Yellow and Green in the vase of water – yep this works for me – a better rendition that some of the earlier ones in that you have clearer yellow and green nicely next to each other on the wheel and you have got a good imaginiative composition and idea to carry it off. Your lighting and exposure is good to keep the glass incidental and yet bring out the tint of colour in the water.
Crushed love hearts – I think that this theme is a good imaginative idea but one that is weak in meeting the brief of colours because of the weakness of the strength of colours (old fashioned smarties are much more saturated but wouldn’t have come across as well in the theme of crushed powder) leads the yellow and the orange to be too close together. (I disagree with your comment that they are more saturated than the other image - complimentary – to me they are more saturated but still too weak to illustrate the distinction well).
As to the composition – that’s fine and I do like the pun of crushed love hearts simulating cocaine; it’s just the two colours are a bit too similar.
Can colours be too similar under the heading similar colours? I can see Simon's point about the saturation but if I had used anything else, with stronger colours then it would not look like powder and the joke of the image would be lost. I think you can still demonstrate colour relationships with less saturated colours.
Green/Violet in water. I don’t think this works so well as some of the others – for a start, because you have lit the background to show the water as translucent, there is very little light falling on the thick parts of the leaves/flowers with the result that they are very dark and as such make the rendition of the colours difficult to perceive. The exception is in the small number of translucent petals/leaves at the edge of the bundles. In these, colour can easily be seen but the occupy such a small part of the image that to my mind colour gets too lost. Also I’m not convinced about the “violet” it’s not sufficiently strong to be recognized as being between blue and red – or at least to my mind. So it’s a nice idea but just doesn’t fit the brief - I think that you have become too distracted by the idea and not paid sufficient attention to getting the correct colour rendition.
This was the photograph that I felt the most uncomfortable about and I think Simon is right, the colours aren't prominent enough to show a contrast. I would substitute this with another of my grave images.
Image 2 the drink and the straw – I think that this is a great image – you have go t a good composition and the lighting is good but the main colours I think you have got wrong. I find that the ring of the top of the liquid in the glass is yellow not orange and and such is not 1/3 across the colour wheel from the green straw.
To my eye it is still more orange than yellow, I would perhaps re-shoot this if I could to add more dye. I don't want to attempt to do this in post production because my skills aren't that good in Photoshop!
Image 3 – the two streams of dye falling into the bowl of water – this is spot on. The blue and yellow streams work really well together as contrasting colours. The composition and lighting are fine making a deceptively simple image that fits the brief really well.
Image 4 the baby – another good example of contrasting colours with the face burnt out to give a high key finish leaving just the blue eyes and red lips as the prominent colours. Great! I like the composition – a close crop to keep the main elements in the frame but canted over to form a good diagonal.
I like this image – yes the green is accented by the flesh tones and you have done well to use a half face crop. My main concern is the strength of the colour of the iris – the brown to me is much stronger than the green and naturtally grabs the attention as it is the eye. You have to my mind ended up with tow main colours accented against the flesh tones which isn’t quite what the brief was after – one colour against another.
Image 2 – the red coat of the walker. This to my mind works well you have the main strong colour red placed against the muted grey/white of the snow and other adjoining colours – Great. You have a good composition.
Image 3 - Credit card – again a good image with the dominant single red colour off set against the other pale ones. I like the composition with the card placed off to the left and while not physically dominating the picture in composition terms – the razor blade takes more precedence because the card has the red colour it is nicely balanced. Ewell done.
Image 4 – Not such a s god example of the accent colours as while you have the green foliage against the greys and white, it competes with the gold colour lettering of the gravestones on the right hand side and destroys the accent nature of the green.
I think a crop addresses Simon's concerns.
23 Jan 2011
Next assignment due
Reflections and Changes
I have included my reflections above in bold with changes where necessary.