Assignment 2 – another shoot

A small selection of another shoot for reworking assignment.

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Re-working assignment 2

Re-working assignment 2 with special attention to:

  • My concept: wide, open and emptiness.
  • position horizon and the effect on the picture. I had the tutor’s question in mind: do I shoot clouds with landscape or landscape with clouds?
  • Including foreground interest or not, basically an adaption of earlier thoughts of ‘no specific point of focus’
  • All compositional elements should enhance the concept of the series.

I still want to do more shoots. For now I only include a comparison of some photos.

Assignment 2 – reflection on feedback

I have some doubts on the course content and also the received feedback so far. It seems not to be leading to something concrete. It’s too open, nothing is conclusive. I understand that’s the intend of the course. Develop students into self-sufficient, self-thinking, contemporary artists, but I have doubts if it’s the way for me. I feel I don’t need an expensive course or a teacher if the only aim is to let me develop myself and less to teach. I can do and am doing that myself. One thing I currently get from the course is a bit of structure. It forces me to progress by reflecting and consciously look, read and listen.

annotated version assignment notes

Comment [H6]. I choose aperture f/16 for the extended depth of field. For the concept I had in mind I needed depth throughout the picture. I always try to keep my ISO as low as possible to keep the quality as high as possible. Because I shot handheld I increased the ISO to 200 for a workable shutter time and prevent motion unsharpness.

Comment [H7]. I was shooting landscape with clouds. The clouds enforce the landscape. The idea was wide, open, emptiness which refers to the lands. From idea to concept to execution the clouds have become an unmissable element of the photos and the series. It’s part of the concept, partly motivated by the technique, the lens particulars.

I composed by looking how the clouds enforced the landscape, the other way around would have given different compositions.

Comment [H8]. Lines seen through the viewfinder don’t show the same on the picture except when these lines lead the eye into the picture. It’s all about rendering a 3D world on a 2D surface. The lead in lines are a compositional tool to give the idea of depth in a picture.

Comment [H9]. Create some additional photos because I think I can improve the series by composing with the horizon at more similar hight in the pictures. I’ve been back to the location, but didn’t have the right cloud formations. I shot some pictures for another project I started.

tutor report

After seeing my picture so far the tutor came up with the ideas typology and minimalism. Both are quit interesting ideas.

I recently read a book called “The Politics of Design” by Ruben Pater. According to the leaflet the book explores the cultural and political context of the typography, colours, photography, symbols, and information graphics that we use every day. I can recommend this very easy to read small book. With regards to my photography I think until recently the use of symbolism in my pictures was of an unconscious nature. But now when I shoot for example wildlife, what I aim for is not just a representation of the subject. I’m much more aware of idea, concept, colour theory, symbolic meanings, etc. In my newest project which I started for myself, but surely will use in this course, I am using elements as symbols, even metaphors.

With regards to minimalism I can say I’m very interested in it. I remember an evening in Brazil last year where I photographed an evening long a toothpick in a single light on a smooth surface.

the tutor recommended a couple of links:

http://www.americanphotomag.com/instant-expert-bernd-and-hilla-becher https://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/focus_ruscha/ http://blog.redbubble.com/2012/04/photographic-typologies-the-study-of-types/

I was not unknown to the pictures of Bernd and Hilla Becher. I already knew that I make certain type of pictures, the redbubble blog made me realise that placing those pictures in series typology in them can be seen. I think it is inherent to the fact that my photography started as a companion on my travels and that I had certain interests and a certain idea of what aesthetic pictures were. I ended up with similar subjects, but in different locations. The new project I referred to earlier in this post is partly a step away from that.

Reading list

Barrett, T., 2011. Criticising Photographs. 5th Edition ed. California: Mayfield Publishing. This book I studied already. When I write a post for the visual research section I actually try to use Barrett’s methodology: describe, interpret, judge. Were the emphasise is on the description as interpretation and judgement I add if I like it and if I can use elements in my own photography.

The other books I’ll put on my list for when I finished the unread ones out of my closet. I already read books like:

  • Wells, L. 2015. Photography, a critical introduction. 5th edition
  • Trachtenberg, A. 1980. Classic Essays on Photography. 5th edition
  • Barthes. 1980. Camera Lucida (translated by Richard Howard)
  • Szarkowski, J. 1966. The Photographer’s Eye.
  • Sontag, S. 2008. On Photography

The extract from Barthes, R., 1977. Image, Music, Text. London: Fontana. I will study.

 

Assignment 2 – wide, open and empty

Thoughts to brief

I interpreted the brief as an assignment to make a collection of photographs expressing a single aesthetic code using a fixed combination of a lens technique and exposure.

Like in assignment one I wanted to do a type of photography or use a technique that I’m unfamiliar with. Some attempts I made before settling on ‘wide, open and empty’:

– street photography in the centre of Antwerp.

– action photography. start of the Tour the Flanders, an elite men road cycling race, in Antwerp. The shoot was educational, but I didn’t have enough quality outcome to make a series. I also would not have the option to make adjustments, as there was no opportunity to re-shoot photos.

Wide, open and empty

I don’t like the distortion in most photos that I make with my 14mm lens. Therefor I hardly use it. I thought it would be a nice challenge to make a series with this lens. I decided to go for nature views. I started with two ideas:

  • no obvious point of focus. To try and lead the viewer through a picture by lines and colour without a specific subject where the attention would go to first.
  • wide-, open-, emptiness

In the contact sheets you can see how those ideas developed in the various shoots. Although the selected photos are more about wide-, open- and emptiness, still some remains of the first idea are in there. All shots were taken handheld, lower then eye-level, with aperture priority mode at f/16 and ISO 200.

Reflection

The combination of landscape with clouds works very well. The clouds are necessary as the pictures don’t have a strong foreground interest.

I learned an important lesson about the 14mm lens. Very clear lines seen through the viewfinder don’t show the same on the picture. That’s is if the lines don’t lead the eye into the picture.

The series could improve by composing the horizon at less different heights, maybe one height when focus more on sky and one when focus more on ground.

Specific to photos

EvY 201 23/82. Various colour patches, different types of vegetation, bring depth into the picture.

EvY 202 – 22/82. Sand path as lead-in-line, but trees too small to be an obvious point of focus. Because of composition with lead-in-lines and the clouds the picture gets depth.

EvY 203 – 24/82. Various colour patches, different types of vegetation, bring depth into the picture.

EvY 204 – 25/82. Sand path as lead-in-line.

EvY 205 – 36/82. Various colour patches, different types of vegetation, bring depth into the picture.

EvY 206 – 37/82. Sand path as lead-in-line.

EvY 207 – 80/82. With some imagination a radial symmetry can be seen in the clouds. It leads the eye into the picture.

The order of the pictures I have chosen by alternating path and heath, matching successive pictures by colour of heath.