Languages of Light Research

For this research, I decided to look at the work of several photographers and I have made some general comments about their work or more specific comments about an image that captivated me.  A really important part of my learning is looking at other photographer’s work and thinking about the lighting that they have used, the composition, the focus etc and how captivating it i and why it is captivating.

Sally Mann’s Southern Landscapes

What I noticed with these landscapes was the use of diffused soft sunlight, the trees in silhouettes and the layered quality that the images had.   I felt her work had an emotive quality and that the light highlighted the subject.  The use of motion, layered and soft light creates a ghostly feel – moving into the past.  I particularly liked the use of light on the leaves of the tree trunk – it was a very soft light.  The light on the water created interesting patterns and I felt the use of black and white adds to the light and mood of the series.

Georgia by Sally Mann
http://sallymann.com/selected-works/southern-landscapes

Eugene Atget

Trianon, Pavillon Francais, 1923-1924 – Auget captured garden building in a very purposeful and beautiful way, the light highlights the building whilst the tree’s in shadowed silhouette adds to the highlight.  The reflection in the water adds a calm and peaceful feeling to the image.  I felt this image had lovely tones and is balanced both in light and form.  I may not personally think it is interesting or thought provoking, but I don’t think you always need to have that when looking a photograph, you can enjoy it for is beauty.

Saint-Cloud, 1926 by Eugene Atet
http://www.nga.gov/feature/atget/works_park.shtm

Saint-Cloud, 1926 – The image is of a tree in the foreground with circular basin and there is a tree in the background.  The simplicity of this shot is captivating due to the use of lighting and form.  To me it is a layered piece which has been created by clever use of lighting and a balance of form.  The lighting creates depth.  There is no need for a narrative or meaning, although there could well be one, it could be your own personal one.  It is a beautifully executed image.

Brassai

Brassai thinks that we do not photograph only with our eyes but also with our intelligence.  A concept I want to explore further at a later date.

Brassai puts objectivity into his photography and his images looked like they must convey a living thing with strong composition.

Bal-musette, 1932 & Gala Soiree at Maxim’s – I particularly like these images, the use of mirrors to create an abstract and interesting viewpoint.  Very captivating and creative.

Bal-Musette, 1932
http://www.americansuburbx.com/2011/08/interview-brassai-with-tony-ray-jones.html

Fille De Joie, Rue Quincampoix, 1931 – the lighting in this image adds to the mystery – who is the lady who is highlighted by light by silhouette by shadow.  The pattern on the steel grate door adds to this image – it gives it a locked out feel – no where to get etc.  This in my personal narrative, I am not sure of the history of this image.  This image has narrative and meaning.

Reference

Tony Ray Jones – Interviews  Brassai Part 1 (1970) http://www.americansuburbx.com/2011/08/interview-brassai-with-tony-ray-jones.html (20.4.17)

Sally Mann Southern Landscapes http://sallymann.com/selected-works/southern-landscapes (20.4.17)

The National Gallery of Art, Washington. Atet The Work of a Documentary Photographer http://www.nga.gov/feature/atget/works_park.shtm (20.4.17)

Szarkowski, J. (2013) The Photographer’s Eye. New York: The Museum of Modern Art

 

List of Images

Bal-Musette, 1932 http://www.americansuburbx.com/2011/08/interview-brassai-with-tony-ray-jones.html (20.4.17)

Sally Mann Southern Landscapes http://sallymann.com/selected-works/southern-landscapes (20.4.17)

Atet The Work of a Documentary Photographer http://www.nga.gov/feature/atget/works_park.shtm (20.4.17)

Assignment Four – Languages of Light

Light is what we can see.  It’s not an object, not a colour, not a perspective, not a shape. We can see only light rays, reflected from a surface, disturbed by the properties of the surface and our eyes.  Everything you see is reflected light.  Art is a reflection of reality seen through our eyes.

It is interesting that something you take for granted everyday can be so complex and unique.  You could delve deep into the science of light but science was never my strong point so I will delve into the creativity and beauty of light.  If you think about how light forms, it is amazing how it can change a scene and mood in seconds.  Imagine a lovely sunny day, a few clouds in the sky, then suddenly the clouds roll over the sun and it becomes dull and you feel colder and it can affect your mood.  Equally, different forms of light can be more controlled and enhance situations or subjects.

With this in mind, I thought I would go back to exercise 4.4 and use my home made studio to control and enhance my subject.  I was hugely influenced by Jean-Bapiste Huynh’s work, the way he captured his subjects is beautiful and highlighted the form in such a simplistic and captivating way.  His still life’s really inspired me, the detail that he captured in his subject from the lighting is stunning, the shape, detail and form.  I think the use of the dark backgrounds really worked well and highlighted the subjects even more.  This still life below really inspired me to work with flowers and studio lighting for this assignment.  I have a lot to learn as there is quite an art form to capturing still life in such purity and beauty as Jean-Bapiste Huynh does.

Jean-Bapiste Huynh Still Life, http://www.jeanbaptistehuynh.com/works_44_still-life_plants_.html#PhotoSwipe1494413887089 (Accessed on 10 May 2017)

In my last assignment I was thinking about the decisive moment and how I see it as capturing a moment in time, a moment with a meaning.  It has lead me to think about the narrative and meaning of photography, what is the truth in photography, is it intellectual curiosity or merely capturing that moment, that moment that echoes the reality we just saw.  Is it capturing beauty in the every day and making the most of that beauty?

For this assignment I was focusing on using the light to express the beauty that forms in the shadows of the petals.  Something that maybe without the lighting you would not necessarily notice.  Seeing the ordinary in a less ordinary way.

Unwrapped
ISO100 100mm f/20 0.5sec
Gathered
ISO250 100mm f/5.0 1/160sec
Look inside
ISO250 100mm f/2.8 1/160sec
Layered
ISO100 100mm f/10 0.4sec
Bent
ISO100 100mm f/2.8 1/200sec
Together
ISO320 100mm f/5.6 1/200sec
Nothing’s perfect
ISO100 100mm f/2.8 1/200sec

These images were shot using my Macro 100mm lens which admittedly I had not used much at all as I only recently got it as a gift. I set up a similar situation like I did for exercise 4.4 with my home made studio, a couple of white boards and a reflector with my day light lamp and natural window light. I did use a tripod for one shot but the tripod I have is not very small and it was very awkward to use. I feel a small tripod would have been very useful to capture more in-depth detail.

I had an internal debate with myself and a discussion with my friends about stripping the colour from all the images with the concept that without the colour the light is highlighted better. It was interesting as it was inconclusive, some thought the colour highlighted the light/shadows and others disagreed. In the end, I feel it is a personal perception dependent on the subject even though the subject I had chosen, flowers, is seen as colourful, I did not think all the images had to be in colour. The selection ‘seeing the less ordinary’ is my choice, it is how I see each flower was enhanced by the light, how that light created shadows that highlighted the form of that flower and made it interesting.

Is there a narrative and meaning behind it, there very much could be, again it is a personal perception, I have titled each one and that could start the narrative.  It is interesting reading about Brassai work, Paris After Dark, 1933, for example image No27 does not have a caption but the image itself gives a strong sense of place, he uses night lighting to highlight the area he is photographing and this in turn gives the viewer a strong narrative for the image.  Whether the narrative is exactly what Brassai thought, I am not totally sure, however, I sense they were.

Evaluation

I wanted to try something I wouldn’t normally do, although it may not be as creative, however I feel the concept was a good creative concept, making the ordinary less ordinary. I would like to say this is a work in progress and I can see the potential to develop this concept further. I feel my use of the macro lens was a learning curve and may have reflected in the images.  I personally think they work as a series although I did have a dilemma about the colour versus black and white, in the end the focus was on the light and how it highlight the form of the flower with the use of light and shadows.

Reference

Clarke, G. (1997) The Photograph Oxford: Oxford University Press

Wells, L. (Editor) (2003) The Photography Reader Oxon: Routledge

Bate, D. (2014) Photography – The Key Concepts. London: Bloomsbury Academic

Szarkowski, J. (2013) The Photographer’s Eye. New York: The Museum of Modern Art

Almereyda, M (2014) Chris Fillip: Skinningrove  http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/07/22/chris-killip-skinningrove/ (Accessed on 25 April 2017)

Contact Sheets

Reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

As I mentioned in the evaluation, I feel my skills and understanding of using a Macro lens need to be developed with further experimentation and exploration.  I cannot lie, I did find this assignment challenging, understanding light is much harder than it sounds, well it was for me, and there was plenty of experimentation going on to get the right shutter speeds.  Visually, I would like to think that the images I have selected are visually enhancing but at the same time I can see room to explore the concept further.

Quality of Outcome

I am generally happy with the quality of the outcome but at the same time I can see room for improvement with expanding the aperture and slowing the shutter speed and using a small tripod to capture more detail that the lighting enhances.  I feel the content is relevant and I am beginning to think about photography in a much wider capacity.

Demonstration of Creativity

I feel the compositions are nice and as odd as this sounds, I thought of the flowers as my models!  I wanted the light to capture the flowers in the most enhancing way, to show the form, patterns and lines of the petals that make up the flower.  I wanted the shadows to create depth and enhance the shapes that form the flower.  I think I have achieved this but at the same time, I see this as a work in progress and the creativity developing further with more time and experience.

Context

I am beginning to think about the narrative and meaning of photography, and questioning the images that I am looking at as part of my research.  Is the meaning obvious, does it need to be obvious.  This is an area I want to develop further and have touched on it in this assignment when thinking about light and in this instance studio light.  I think my idea/concept has been achieved in the images.  I would like to look at getting a bit more arty with the shots and think about the lighting more abstractly.

Exercise 4.5

Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’; or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’.  Add a screen grab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images. Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One.  You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’.  Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots. In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.

I decided to select ‘sunset’ and put that into the Google Image search and got a screen shot of what this search came up with.

Sunset, Google Image Search

What is interesting is that the common theme is the vibrant colours that the sunset produces and the focus being on the sun setting into the horizon.  Some of these images give me a feel that they are somewhere tropical and several have palm trees in the image but really they do not really give me a sense of place, more a sense of beautiful colours captured at sunset.

With the above screen grab of sunsets, the focus was on the source, the sun and the colours that surround it as it sets which is very beautiful.  However, I decided to focus the sunset shot on what light it produces in its environment and how that light can make wonderful reflections, shapes and patterns.  Below is my final image to represent my sunset in how I see it, beautiful light reflecting.

Light reflections

Below are my preparatory shots for my sunset images.

I really like this image too (above) and it was one I was considering as my final image.

Exercise 4.4

Use a combination of quality, contrast, direct and colour to light an object in order to reveal its form.  For this exercise we recommend that you choose a natural or organic object such as an egg, stone, vegetable or plant, or the human face or body, rather than a man-made object.  Add the sequence to your learning log.  Draw a simple lighting diagram for each of your shots showing the position of the camera, the subject and the direction of the key light and fill.  In your notes try to describe any similarities between the qualities of controlled lighting and the daylight and ambient artificial light shots from Exercise 4.2 and 4.3.

I decided to photograph a lemon, I love the simplicity of the form of a lemon and thought it would be a good subject to photograph and think how to highlight it’s form.  I set up a makeshift indoor studio using light source from a large window, I had a reflector on the right side and a white board on the left side and sometimes behind the lemon, and another white board which I placed the lemon on.  I used a daylight bulb lamp that I had.  I did try mixing it with an Anglepoise lamp but it had too much yellow tones to it that I didn’t think highlighted the form of the lemon well.

My home made studio set up
Camera above, light behind lemon
Camera above, light middle rear ISO100 100mm f/3.5 1/200sec
Camera front left and light middle right of lemon.
Camera front a bit to left, light right side middle
ISO100 100mm f/3.5 1/200sec
Camera in front and light to the left of the lemon.
camera front, light left front
ISO160 100mm f3.5 1/100sec
Camera in front and light left rear of lemon.
camera front, light left rear
ISO125 100mm f/3.5 1/200sec
Camera and light in front centre of lemon.
camera front tripod, light centre front tilted
ISO100 100mm f/3.5 1/250sec

This was a good exercise to think about how the light can highlight a simple form like a lemon and make it stand out with the shadow becoming the highlighting of the form to add depth.  The similarities between all the other types of lighting that I have worked on in this section is that you can control the lighting, you need to work with what you have to make the image stand out and be perceived how you want it to be.  All types of lighting can be controlled to take the shot that you want, it just takes a bit of time and thought to work out the right settings to get that shot.  A learning process as I see it.

Exercise 4.3

Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots (‘beauty’ is, of course, a subjective term). The correct white balance setting will be important.  You can shoot indoors or outside but the leith should be ambient rather than camera flash.  Add the sequence to your learning log.  In your notes try to describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in Exercise 4.2.

In all honesty, I did find this exercise more challenging both technically and also creatively. I decided to capture the artificial light that is outside my house as well as inside my house. I do live away from any street lights and it is incredibly dark around our house apart from the soffit lights and security light.  You can see how dark it is from the image below, this made it more challenging to get the right focus.  I did use a tripod but I don’t like the dark and was a bit eager to get the shot and move inside I think.


The next image was taken using the security lighting which is more of a white light rather than the softer yellow hue that comes from the soffit lights.  This white light creates more significant shadows.

Still using the security lighting to capture the outdoor broom and the defined shadows of the decking boards, wooden bench and broom handle.  I think zooming in on the bristles of the broom would have made for an interesting shot capturing the shadows in the bristles.

One last shot outside with the security lighting, the white light highlights the bricks on the wall and the shadows inside the brick define it’s shape and create an interesting pattern.

Moving inside and capturing the bolts not the oak frame, the lighting created by the kitchen lighting was warm yellow tones.  I think if I had got the bolts more in focus, the shadows would have been more defined.  That said I like how the lighting highlights the bolts and the other side of the oak frame is in the shadow.

This shot of a lego creation was lightened up by a bedside lamp.  For some reason this shot captivated me, it has a nice softness create by the bedside lamp.

My final shot was taken with the ceiling spotlights on, these are quite bright lights and you can tell by the deep shadow that has been created.

All in all this exercise was a learning curve for me, understanding artificial light is not as easy as one would think. My focus was sometimes not as sharp as I would have liked and trying to get the balance of the lighting was tricky at times. A tripod was definitely a requirement in these settings for this exercise.

Exercise 4.2

In manual mode take a sequence of shots of a subject of your choosing at different times on a single day.  It doesn’t matter if the day is overcast or clear but you need a good spread of times from early morning to dusk.  The important thing is observe the light, not just photograph it.  Add the sequence to your learning log together with a timestamp from the time/date info in the metadata.  In your own words, briefly describe the quality of light in each image.

My sequence shots were slightly accidental, I woke up to this view and just had to capture it just as the light was coming up and the mist on the water was rising, it was beautiful.  I decided this would be a good starting point for the sequence to observe the light on this landscape over a period of 13 hours. The lighting at dawn and dust are my most favourite.  There is a peacefulness with the lighting in the image below, it is calm, soft and awakening.  There is a tinge of light highlighting the top of the trees in the distance.

6.26am
ISO 640 28mm f/8.0 1/80 sec

With this shot, the sun has now risen and there is great light and shadows coming from it.  The shadows of the trees on the bank on the left cast interesting patterns along the landscape.  The crisp shadow from the boat adds depth and the light creates clear reflections in the still water.  The foreground is in shadows due to the positioning of the sun.

7.10am
ISO125 32mm f/8.0 1/60sec

What a difference a few hours makes, the who image is basked in sunlight, the reflections in the water are not as clear as they were earlier on.  The hand rail on the decking has cast a direct shadow underneath it and the silver birch’s trunk is highlighted brightly.

10.27am
ISO100 32mm f/8.0 1/250sec

Now it is just past midday and the light is bright, the reflection in the water even less evident at this time of day.  The handrail shadow has now moved to the right and the boat shadow is to the right side of the boat.  Very little shadows are evident in this shot.

1.18pm
ISO100 32mm f/8.0 1/250sec

Late afternoon and the light has flatten and is not so intense, the shadows not so obvious but the reflection in the water is becoming clearer.  The silver birch to the right is reflecting the light which is highlight the white bark.

4.43pm
ISO200 32mm f/8.0 1/250sec

Dusk is one of my favourite times, the light can be so colourful and create interesting patterns.  In this shot below, the sun is fading and the shadows by the boat and deck are deep, the reflection is more defined in the water and the trees a bit duller.

7.48pm
ISO2000 32mm f/8.0 1/320sec

Doing this exercise really has made me think about light and how it falls, it highlights, it creates shadows and interesting patterns. It has made me more aware of my lighting in the image I am going to shoot.

Exercise 4.1

Set your camera to any of the auto or semi-auto modes.  Photograph a dark tone, a mid tone and light tone, making sure that the tone fills the viewfinder frame.  Add the shots to your learning log with quick sketches of the histograms and your observations.

Setting my camera to automatic, I took three photos, one dark tone, one mid tone and one light tone.  As you can see the tones did not come out as well, the dark tone is washed out, the mid tones and lights tones are darker than they were in real life.

Dark Tone

Mid Tone

Light Tone

As you can see from the histograms they are quite similar, the mid tone has narrow spikes, the dark tone is particularly similar to white as this maybe because the black subject got over exposed when taking the photo so it got a bit whitened and the opposite for the white, it was underexposed so got darkened.

Mid Tone

Light Tone

Dark Tone

It was interesting to note that once the camera was switched to manual, I had more control over the light and getting the photo to represent what I was seeing.  It was a good exercise to make me think about light and also how to work with aperture, shutter and ISO separately to control your shot.

Assignment Three – Reflection

I have had some time to reflect on Assignment 3 and my tutor’s comments and our discussion on Skype. All in all it was positive and encouraging feedback, it opened up my mind to delve further into narrative and meaning and he gave me some very helpful suggestions.    He talked about Chris Killip’s work which I have looked further into and added to my research section.  I found it to be hugely inspirational and made me think about my own images for Assignment 3 and I decided to rework the series by taking a few images out and adding a couple of the images which was suggested my tutor to look at further.  I reprinted the images in a matt rather than a gloss as I wanted to see how that looked in comparison and I much prefer the matt to the gloss although the gloss worked okay with the shots, I feel the matt has made the images a bit softer.

The images that I added were image 35 and image 32 from my contact sheet.  I feel that these images along with the first four images I selected work well as a series and create a decisive moment in time, a moment of dusk, a moment of the sea just before the sun settles, the lighting is what captivated me and is the decisive reason why I took these shots.

IMG_9565IMG_9556img_9519-1harbour-movementcastlehighlightsboys-at-breakers

I really like this series and it reflects the moment I was capturing.

In my tutorial we spoke about the decisive moment and it’s role in photojournalism.  My tutor suggested reflection on photojournalism and questioning is telling stories what photography should do?

It is interesting as when we take photos of events that happen in our life, there are always stories attached to those photos, they evoke memories and emotions as well as they are generally personal to you.  However, in photojournalism, I can see the value of having one image that sums up the whole story in terms of news stories as it grabs the viewers attention and they can gather the story from that one image and the message has been delivered without too much thought process involved.  Which in todays world where we are bombarded with images through online news, emails, social media to get the message across quickly can be essential.  There is definitely a skill in getting the message across in one strong image, however, I feel that having an image that makes the viewer think can captivate and be questioning for the viewer.  I think we are becoming lazy and want everything to be obvious, there is never enough time, we need the information straight away.

Personally, I am of the opinion that photography should have a message/voice but they needn’t be obvious or straight forward, they can be personal to the viewer.  What I mean by this is that the photo may give a different sense of meaning to each viewer.  Although there will be a caption for the photo, that does not always dictate what the viewer sees.  I liken it to paintings, I will read the caption for the painting but upon viewing the painting I see a different story to the one in the caption.  I think it is a personal perception.  I think a good example of this would be Chris Killip’s photo, Youth Jarrow, which was interrupted by a journalist ‘that this man in his Doc Martin Boots and in his despair encapsulates the Thatcher Years’.  This comment stuck and his photo’s from In Fragrante became known as “The Thatcher Years”.  The real story behind this photo was much simpler, a school boy who was cold.  Interestedly, this highlights my thoughts on photojournalism, it is the personal perception when a photo becomes less obvious.

My tutor suggested reading David Bate’s Peripateia which I have done so several times and admittedly I find his writing style to be frustrating and not enjoyable to read if I am being totally honest.  His thoughts are constructed in depth and it is this depth that I find somewhat distracting, maybe it’s my naivety that is the issue.  He states that the decisive moment is thus the instant when the photographer must click the shutter to capture not ‘reality’, but the dramatic instant that will come to signify it. This does of course make sense and I do understand it and agree as it is the truth, but who is to say that the captured ‘reality’ is signified in the way that the photographer had hoped it would be such as the example of Chris Killip’s In Fragrante work where it was mis-interruptated as being known as “The Thatcher Years”.  I will of course, revisit his book as there is a wealth of theory that is worth pursuing, it is something that I will have to take time to soak up.

In the meantime, I will continue to delve further into the narrative and meaning of photography as I progress into each part of the course.

Reference:

Bate, D. (2014) Photography – The Key Concepts. London: Bloomsbury Academic

 

Research – Chris Killip

In my last tutorial for Assignment 3, my tutor suggested researching Chris Killip as a lot of his work was done in the North of England and my images for Assignment 3 were also based in the North of England.  There isn’t a huge amount of likeness between my images from North of England apart from the common theme of the sea.

I am hugely inspired by Chris Killip’s work, it captures photojournalism in a creative and thought provoking way.  His work is individually perceived and open to interpretation by the viewer, so that what I see in his work may not necessarily be what another person sees.  This makes for good discussion and invites people to delve further into the context of the image.

I watched Chris Killip’s Skinningrove short film and found his photograph’s to be powerful, enhancing and emotive.  I felt his relationships with the people he photographed was both natural and strong in the sense that nothing felt poised or forced, it was everyday life documented in images to give a sense of place and person.  I enjoyed the film and his narrative that went with it as it became more emotive and you really felt his connection with the people he photographed.  I find this truly inspirational and not an easy thing to do at all.  When I have tried to capture people working on my house build, they tend to stop and poise or hide from the camera.  To build a relationship is key and this can take time.

The relationship he built up with one of the fishermen was evident in the film as it was very emotional when he informed us, the viewer, that Leso (one of the fishermen) had drowned at sea.  You could hear the sadness and feel the connection that the two men had and it was emotional.  Chris Killip’s photographs of Leso became more emotive and a deeper meaning and understanding became evident, the sea was his life, his livelihood, his passion and sadly his end.  The photograph below captures his passion for the sea in its purity and honesty.

Chris-Killip-Skinningrove
Image by Chris Killip

I really love Chris Killip’s words; “Holding onto the every day”.  These words are what many people do when they take photographs but quite often those everyday moments can be orchestrated and controlled.  However capturing those everyday moments in the most natural form with subjects that are not family or friends is both a challenge and a skill.

Reference:

Michael Almereyda (2014) Chris Killip: Skinningrove.  At:http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/07/22/chris-killip-skinningrove/
(Accessed on 25 April 2017)

Image credit; Chris Killip, Skinningrove; a film by Michael Almereyda http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/07/22/chris-killip-skinningrove/
(Accessed on 25 April 2017)

Assignment 3 – The Decisive Moment

Introduction

Immoblizing thin slices of time has a source of continuing fascination for the photographer.  Experimentation lead to discovery of the beauty of the fragmenting in time that had little to do with what was happening.  More to do with patterning of lines and shapes that had been concealed within the flux of movement.  Cartier-Bresson defined his commitment to this new beauty with the phrase ‘The Decisive Moment’. (Szarkowski, cited in The Photography Reader, 2003:102)

The ‘decisive moment’ is a moment which is much more complex than those simple words.  A concept I have given much thought to over the past few months.  Initially I thought I would do street photography as that is synonymous with the ‘decisive moment’ but I changed my mind the more I thought about what a ‘decisive moment’ is for me.

For me, it is not about a decisive shot as such but more about capturing a moment in time, a moment that means something to me, it forms an expression of who I am, what I see and how I see it.  Like Henri Cartier-Bresson said in the documentary Henri Cartier-Bresson “L’amour tout court” (“Just Plain Love” 2001), it is ‘intuitive’, a ‘sense of geometry’, of ‘framing the scene’.  With this in mind, I decided to do landscapes and in particular, the seaside, a place of ever changing moments with tides and weather changing at a fairly frequent occurrence.

The location was the Northumberland coast, in particular, Seahouses.  A place of pure natural beauty with a feeling of space, peace and freedom, the perfect location to capture the ‘decisive moment’ that I wanted to see and feel.

The series of images are about capturing the ‘decisive moment’ of movement and light and the details within.  I wanted to capture how the light can change the landscape and mood of the image over the course of the day.  As well as that, the ever changing weather created beautiful lines and patterns, the details are what are the ‘decisive moments’ for my images.

img_9519-1
The Harbour   ISO160  24 mm  f/11  1/30 sec
castlehighlights
Harbour Highlights   ISO200   105mm   f/11  1/100 sec
Breaking at Sunset
Breaking at Sunset   ISO1250   70mm  f/4.0  1/1250 sec
Boys
Walk the line  ISO125  70mm  f/4.0  1/60 sec
kite-flying
Flying high  ISO1000  35mm  f/8.0  1/2000 sec
The Chase
The Chase  ISO125  270mm  f/8.0  1/1000 sec
Being chased
Being chased  ISO250  300mm  f/8.0  1/1000 sec
Run
Run  ISO100  300mm  f/5.6  1/800 sec

Description

The above images are my final selection for the ‘decisive moment’ and have been submitted in print form to my tutor.

Why these images?  Are they ‘decisive moments’?

For me, these images are my interpretation of the ‘decisive moment’, a moment that captures a fragment in time, that expresses what I see and how I see it.  What I can’t be sure of and what you never can be sure of, is how these images make the viewer feel, do they feel how I did when I took them, who knows, but I hope it evokes some emotion or feeling, whether good or bad, a feeling none the less.

The images of the harbour at sunset were taken by chance, not planned at all.  It had been wet most of the day and I decided to go for a stroll around the harbour as the rain had stopped and saw this amazing light and clouds surrounding the harbour.  I ran back to the holiday cottage and grabbed my camera.  I became lost in that light of the sunset and motion of the waves breaking, totally absorbed in that moment, it was beautiful.   Admittedly I did take a number of shots of the boys on the wall and watched them intently as I was slightly concerned for their safety as the sea was getting rougher.

The beach images were more planned as such and were focused on movement, movement of the sea, movement of the wind, movement of people and dogs.  This beach was full of movement as the wind whistled along the sandy shore and whipped at my legs as I stood capturing different moments in time and experimenting with the shutter speed.  I really love the patterns that the sand created in the wind and the subtleness of the movement in flying high has created some unique and interesting lines.

Who inspired me to take these shots, was it a particular artist or perhaps more a concept?

A bit of both really, I am hugely inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work, I feel there is something raw and intriguing with his work, as I mentioned in my research section, I particularly like Children Playing in Ruins, Seville, Spain, 1933 (from The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski).  To me this image has captured the moment effortlessly, frozen in that moment and framed it within the frame, the composition is both beautiful and captivating.

Although my stance on the ‘decisive moment’ may appear to be slightly indecisive at times, the concept behind it is inspiring.  Capturing that moment in time, that moment in time that you will never get back.

Evaluation

Although the concept of my ‘decisive moment’ was about light and movement and the details within.  I feel that in that moment of capturing these images, I got totally absorbed in what I was capturing that my technical side was not as strong as I would have liked it.  This shows in Breaking at sunset and Walk the line where my f stops are set at 4.0 and should be more like 8.0 or 11 to capture the wide angles I was capturing for these images.  Being absorbed in taking the shots is one thing but thinking about them more technically is one that I will need to improve on in the future.

Ironically I struggled with deciding what images I wanted in the final series as I felt these images below also fitted into the ‘decisive moment’ but were not as strong as the images above.

Walk the line
Boys  ISO125  70mm  f/4.0  1/60 sec
In motion
In motion  ISO100  300mm  f/5.6  1/320 sec
Running
Running  ISO100  300mm  f/5.6  1/400

 

I feel I have captured my concept of the ‘decisive moment’ how I felt it should be, the movement and light are apparent in the images, sometimes one is more subtle than the other.  This assignment has made me more aware of what I am seeing and what I want others to see, the details within are important aspects to these fragments of time.

Reference

Wells, L. (Editor) (2003) The Photography Reader Oxon: Routledge

Bate, D. (2014) Photography – The Key Concepts. London: Bloomsbury Academic

Szarkowski, J. (2013) The Photographer’s Eye. New York: The Museum of Modern Art

Dyer, G. (2012) The Ongoing Moment. Great Britain: Canongate Books Ltd

Cotton, C. (2014) The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd

ARTE France (2001) Henri Cartier-Bresson “L’amour tout court” (Just Plain Love). At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6l09YEeEpI&index=1&list=PLCE09A710519D641E (Accessed on 12 October 2016)

Contact Sheets

contact-sheets-1a-01contact-sheets-2a-01contact-sheets-3a-01contact-sheets-4a-01

contact-sheets-5a-01Reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I feel that my observation skills have improved whilst working through the exercises as well as the assignment.  I am seeing more detail and thinking more about that detail in the shots.  I personally feel I need to concentrate more on the technical side as I tend to get absorbed into the moment of capturing and not always thinking about the technical settings.  I feel my composition is improving and I am pleased with the set of images for this assignment although a part of me feels that the 8 images selected would be better as two series of 4.  My weakness of being incredibly indecisive plays a large part in my struggle with the selection of shots.  I am sure with more experience and confidence, this will improve.

Quality of Outcome

I feel my content is relevant and meets the concept in what I see the concept as.  I am somewhat disappointed in my prints that I have sent to my tutor, they have come out much darker than the screen version, actually quite a few shades darker.  This is an area I will need to work on and experiment with to get the right screen collaboration.  I also noticed some finger print marks so I need to be very careful when handling the prints.

I think I have got my ideas and thoughts across in a coherent manner and I feel my research has improved since the last assignment.

Demonstration of Creativity

I would like to think that I have demonstrated some creativity in the compositions of my images although I feel I do need to be more experimental in terms of techniques and technical aspects.  I will look to develop more in this area in the next assignment.

Context

I feel I have researched more and thought more critically than I have done in the previous assignment.  I really enjoyed researching Henri Cartier-Bresson, his work and his ideology I find very inspiring and it has open my eyes more to what is behind a photograph, looking into the details much more.  I will continue to improve and enhance in the area of research.

By reflecting on my work, my understanding, and my choices, has helped me learn how to improve and progress for future work.