When I first reviewed this assignment, I was confused. I decided to keep a diary for a period of two weeks and I wrote everything down in it. I wrote everything down including any mundane tasks I completed. I then decided to choose a sentence from each day and photograph it. I wanted to pick sentence that showed an activity, something I did that I got involved in and actively participated in.
I did feel very apprehensive doing this assignment after the feedback I got from the last one. But I didn’t let it get me down; I persevered and tried to learn from my mistakes. But the good thing about this OCA course is that you get a chance to rework the assignments, so this would give me a chance to improve the previous assignment.
I looked into several photographers but none seemed to tackle this type of series. I looked at Nigel Shafran’s series Washing Up, as even though it is still life it shows evidence of human interaction, and Shafran has photographed a mundane task.
I used various lighting in this assignment. I tried to photograph the colours showing up as well as utilizing reflections when I could.
Keep a Diary.
When I first read the brief for this assignment, I found it intriguing. It would be a new experience for me, as I have never kept a diary. I decided to keep it for two to three weeks. I found it difficult at first to record everything but eventually I got into the habit. I was not keen on doing self-portraits, as I do not like being in pictures, I prefer to be behind the camera.
After the three weeks, I looked at the diary and divided it up into days. So I had the Mondays together and so on. I choose one sentence from each day section to represent through images. I choose the sentences at random, as I wanted variety and not the same pictures for everyday. Looking back on the sentences it seems to be mainly things I do in my spare time.
I debated whether to take these photographs in a studio setting, with a plain background and using props to show what I was doing. But I decided to take the photographs of actually doing the things as I felt it fit the brief and it follows the concept of the diary entry better. For each photograph, I experimented with different angles and lighting and then choose the best for the final images. Too re-create the scenes I used props, and posed for the photographs. I set-up to camera with the settings and gave the camera to a friend to photograph for me. I told her what exactly I wanted and how to do it. I didn’t want to pose too much for the camera, for example looking at the camera; I wanted to keep it as natural as possible. I also debated whether to crop the picture so my face was absent or obscured. But after editing and trying both I think they work better with my face in them.
I named the pictures after the day from the diary. Monday’s image is of me collecting eggs from our chickens. The diary quote was “Spent a couple of hours in the garden…collected the eggs from the chickens”. I find in this picture the orange of the chicken house really stands out. It was in quite an awkward angle to photograph and I couldn’t move the whole chicken house as it is secured to the ground. I was going to crop the images to just show me picking the eggs out, but I saw that there was a chicken walking down their ladder in the bottom left corner, so I decided to keep the image as it was.
Tuesday was “Decided to go out and take some photographs as the weather was nice”. I used aperture priority to take this image, as I wanted myself in the foreground in focus but the background blurry.
For Wednesday, the quote was “Spent time playing with the pups. They’re getting bigger by the day”. The problem I found with this photograph is that you can see the slight movements of the puppies. They move very fast and in every image there is a slight blur, I noticed in this one of their tails is blurry from where they were wagging it. I used a flash for this image as it was taken inside; I had to tone the highlights down a bit in post-editing.
On Thursday, the text is “Made a lemon tea loaf this morning”. This image is one of the reason I consider using a studio setting as kitchens can be cluttered. I tried to minimize this by moving things around but I wanted to keep it looking natural, like a kitchen would. The lighting for this image was natural light from the windows on the left hand side of the image.
“Listened to my iPod for a while” is the text accompanying Friday’s image. The lightning was from a window on the left side of the image. The problem I found was because of the lighting the image has a lot of shadows.
On Saturday, “New video game came out yesterday…thought I’d try it today” was the quote. This is the only image not to feature my face in it. I tried different angles including a wider shot, which showed my face, but it distracted from the video controller. I used aperture priority so that the controller would be in focus and the background not.
The last image is for Sunday, which is “Spent a couple of hours reading and relaxing”. I used a lamp on the right side as lighting for this image; I found it adds a soft warm hue to the image. But it causes shadows on my face from the glasses.
I decided to present these images as Polaroid style. I used Lightroom editing software and there was no preset border for a Polaroid so I printed the images and did the borders my self. I wrote on the top of each image the day. At the bottom of the image I wrote the quote. I presented them in a diary.
Some problems I has with this assignment was the lighting, as the images were mainly inside. Another problem I found was clutter in the images, as I could only move certain things but I wanted to keep it as natural as possible. If I were to do this assignment again, I would try and pick a theme from my diary and represent it through the photographs.
I was apprehensive receiving this feedback due to the last feedback I received. My tutor stated that the images were very literal and left nothing to the imagination, and that I hadn’t experimented enough. She recommended using a better of presenting such as using an actual notebook, but also wondered why I used a Polaroid design.
She urged me to do more research into photographers who took self-portrait images such as Cindy Sherman. She mentioned that it was good that I had critics and looked at the lighting. For the images, she said that some had distracting features in them, whilst others I had to watch because of the cropping. She recommended trying different angles and using slower shutter speeds.
Similar to the previous assignment, I decided to redo many of my images. I used different lighting, shutter speeds and reflections. I edited the kitchen image to remove the switch in the background in post-production.I changed the puppy image for one that showed the slight movement of the puppies as a result of a slower shutter speed.