Creating the Narrative

Now that I am coming to the end of this project I feel I have photographed and curated a decent amount of images to choose from, that now need editing down to make a book. I thought the best way to do this would be to print them all off in a contact sheet, cut them up and lay them out onto a table, to then play around with the ordering of the book.

Firstly, with the opinions of several people, we eliminated any images we thought were not strong enough then grouped together images that worked well together, whether this be for similar shapes, colours or any other factors that were similar.

Now I had got the numbers down they had to be put into an order that would form a narrative. After quite a while of swapping them around and grouping images that worked together I am happy with the sequence of images.

Although there were other photographs that I wanted to include in the final body of work, I had to compromise as they did not fit into the sequence. I believe the final narrative I have created in this PDF of my book Home successfully displays what it is about these places that are uniquely special to me. I have not supplied any extra information in this book, the sequence just takes the viewer through a journey of these locations and hopefully they will understand that these subjects I have chosen to highlight may appear ordinary but are things that I have a personal affiliation with.

Curating Old Photographs

Whilst I was photographing for my project I was also thinking back over several photographs I have taken in the past that I have never used before but are relevant for this. They are just some general photographs I have made day to day not for anything in particular, just acting as a document of my life, but feel they could enhance this particular project.

William Eggleston

“AT THIS WRITING I have not yet visited Memphis, or northern Mississippi, as thus have no basis for judging how closely the photographs in the book might seem to resemble that part of the world and the life that is lived there. I have, however, visited other places described by works of art, and have observed that the poem or picture is likely to seem a faithful document if we get to know it first and the unedited reality afterwards – whereas a new work of art that describes something we had known well is likely to seem as unfamiliar and arbitrary as our own passport photos.” – John Szarkowski

The introductory paragraph to a book by William Eggleston’s named ‘William Eggleston’s Guide’. For many years now I have found the work of Eggleston very inspirational and recently I was given this book, which has been a big help for me during my current project. I always find the way Eggleston manages to capture a place fascinating, by the very objective and structured framing he puts around these locations.

Like the opening paragraph says about the work of art acting as a faithful document, if you get to know the unedited reality afterwards, I believe I would not be able to view this place any differently after seeing Eggleston’s work. This has had a great influence on my current project as after viewing this work I have wanted to create that same affect, where my images would act as that faithful document to my environment and my life.

I think that from the first experience of Eggleston’s work I had in college I have ever since been attempting to photograph the world as he would. I do not know exactly why it is I feel a great empathy towards his work but whenever I go to photograph something I think of how would Eggleston do it and I think that through his work I have started to develop a style of my own. I love how simple the world looks in his work and even though a lot of thought goes into each one, they just seem effortless. Everything he captures turns from something ordinary or dull into something fascinating and important.

Thanks to this book I now have a clearer understanding of how I would like to tell the story of a place.

On Location

So far we have been doing workshops using the studio equipment in doors in the studio, but for this workshop we had to use the portable lighting kit to shoot outdoors on location. Although I did not expect it to be vastly different to working in the studio, I found it was as there were several new factors to consider in building the image.

The use of natural light being one of the biggest factors and having to compensate for that. If the natural light keeps on changing we learned that you could put the camera on the aperture priority so that it was the correct exposure for the flashes and the shutter would alter itself for the changing light conditions. Also when shooting on location then it is ideal to have a few people with you to protect the equipment and if photographing in a busy area you need to be aware of how you are affecting the public space.

For the workshop we were photographing at the entrance of a subway. We wanted to balance the light underground so that it was brighter than the natural light.

As you can see from the images above the light inside the subway was considerably darker than the natural light. So we had to take an light reading of the natural light and then adjust the studio light so that it was a few stops brighter, making under the subway brighter than outside.

We also decided on creating another image which would be more dramatic than the one above by photographing under the subway, but only lighting the subject so that the rest of the location would be dark.

We had to use a small light source so that the flash did not light up the whole location so as you can see from the first image we closed the umbrella to create a smaller source of light. We then made the flash several stops brighter than the ambient light reading under the subway, which created the effect where the light looks like it is fading out into black in the background.

Another Film Shot

Here are some new photographs I have taken to be part of my current project, of creating a narrative based around my homes. After looking back over my inspirations and work I have already photographed I had a clearer understanding of what I was looking for, so I decided to get on a train and visit home for the weekend to expand this body of work.

Like I always do I was looking out for how the natural light interacted within these indoor spaces, but what I wanted to do was pick out single objects that interested me and turn it into something meaningful by isolating it in the frame. I think what worked from the last group of photographs that I produced for this project was the carefully considered framing and that there was a precise focus on a certain object, which made it into something special.

I was happy with the majority of the photographs from this film and found that I did not have to edit it down to much as I was happy with quite a lot of them. I found that in the past I would usually have a select few from an entire film I would consider successful but after understanding more about pre-visualising and trying to stick by Ansel Adams definition of the term, which is “the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure”, I found that I wont press the shutter of the camera until I am happy in knowing exactly how it will turn out.

Inspiration: Joanna Ornowska

I have recently blogged about the work I am producing for my current project on homes but have realised I have not mentioned anything about the inspiration I have received in order to produce this work. Not long before photographing the most recent images for my project I had been looking at the work of Joanna Ornowska, a graduate from Coventry University. More specifically I had been drawn to the project on her website titled ‘Awake’, a body of work she had produced during her recovery from Hepatitis C. It is a personal series she produced detailing the world around her during her therapy.

Although part of the series looks at the people in Ornowska’s life that have been affected, she has also capture objects and locations that appear special to her. She wrote in the introductory text of this series that she managed to ‘wake up and see what really matters.’ and you do get a sense that there is something special and meaningful from the world she has captured. It is hard to write down why it is these objects appear special, they just do, they have been transformed by the unique vision Ornowska has of the world.

This work is similar to what I am striving to achieve with my project, by taking those ordinary moments and turning them into something meaningful. After viewing this work I have become powerless to see the world in any other way than the way Ornowska sees it. I realise now that it is similar to what I already saw, I have just become more aware of it and am now better informed of how to capture it.

Studio Lighting Workshop

In this workshop we were faced with 2 tasks, the first of which were to create an image that had a 2 subjects in it, one in the foreground and one in the background out of the room and into the corridor. The two subjects had to be evenly lit with the same exposure, as the corridor was considerably darker that than the studio we had to set up a portable studio light in the corridor. As the light in the corridor could not see the flash to go off in the studio we had to attach a radio trigger to the light outside so that it would sync up to the shutter. After adjusting the studio lights so that the light meter reading was the same in the studio and in the corridor we managed to produce an evenly lit image, displayed below.

What we did not take into consideration was the fact that the exposure settings had a low f-stop meaning we ended up with this shallow depth of field. We quickly overcome this issue by increasing the power of the lights so that both gave a light meter reading at F22, which we then ended up with the result below.

Although the background is slightly out of focus we did manage to create a deeper depth of field. After we accomplished this task we were given the 2nd task of creating a similar image, with two subjects one in the foreground one in the back, but to make it look as if it were taken at nighttime and only illuminating the subjects. To do this we had to take a light meter reading of the ambient light in the room and adjust the studio lights to be several stops brighter than this, but use a smaller light source so that the light does not disperse to much so that it illuminates the entire room. To create a smaller light source we removed the white sheet on the front of the soft box of the studio light. Then after making the lights the same exposure in the front and back of the image but several stops brighter than the ambient light we produced this photograph below.

Shai Kremer: Infected Landscapes Book Review

“The photographs attract the viewer, seduce him closer then challenge him to reflect on their meaning and implications.” – Shai Kremer

I admit that upon first viewing Shai Kremer’s ‘Infected Landscapes’ I skipped past the introductory text to view the body of work. Logically I was thinking I should read this first so that I can put these photographs into context and be better informed when viewing them but my instincts to view first and understand later took over.

As Shai Kremer put it in the quote above, I did become seduced and drawn into these landscapes he had captured. There are clear traces of human presence the photographs, from the military aircrafts flying through the skies to the soldiers footprints left behind in the sand. It is also clear to see that the human presence captured in this body of work is from the effects of war that have scarred the landscape.

 

 

 

Infected Landscapes is a photographic series looking at the military effects on the Israeli landscape and society. Kremer being influenced by the words of Susan Sonntag and the work of Richard Misrach has produced this body of work, which causes the viewer to be drawn in by the beauty of the images and then faced with the political issues raised.

I found the structuring of the series quite interesting, covering a wide range of effects. For the majority of the first half there is a great focus on the effects on the natural landscape with several photographs of vast green areas, that have been destroyed in one way or another. The focus is slowly drawn more towards the social effects, how it has altered the way of living in this country with the odd photograph featuring a human figure, which act as a reminder that it is affecting a culture as well as the natural landscape.

 

A Start to my Final Task

Following on from my pinhole work on where I define as a home to me I have continued to make more images with my 35mm film camera. I am trying to communicate why it is these places have a homely presence to me by photographing all aspects of the environment from the still life objects that exist in them, to the way the light interacts with these scenes and the people that live in them, which are all fundamental in defining them as a home.

By photographing the most mundane objects and locations I hope to give an all rounded overview of these places, drawing on my experiences with William Eggleston’s work I will try to produce a successful series of photographs that captures the location as vividly as he does.