When I first looked at this assignment I was apprehensive. I tried to think of things that you could show two sides of. I made a list, which included festivals, like a food and a music festival. I narrowed it down and eventually settled on showing the two sides to Pembrokeshire. Pembrokeshire is known for being a beautiful place that attracts tourists year round. I wanted to show the good parts, including the picturesque parts, the places that the tourists are attracted to. But then I wanted to show the other side of Pembrokeshire, which is the ‘bad’ side of the area. I then made a list of places n Pembrokeshire that could represent the pretty places. Whilst out and about I kept a look out for things that could show the bad parts of Pembrokeshire.
As I would be looking at possibly abandoned buildings to represent the ‘bad’ side of Pembrokeshire. I looked into Nicholas Grospierre, who has photographed buildings in disrepair. Nicolas Grospierre is a Swiss photograph born in 1975. His images concentrate on angles, he uses architectural plans as his inspiration for his compositions. He describes his work as “On one hand documentary…and on the other conceptual”. I partically like his images of the sides of building, showing the windows, as the windows can show a lot about a building.
Another photographer I looked into was Becher. He composed his shots neatly within the frame, and all his images have the same composition, they are very consistent. I found his images interesting, but I would have liked to see different angles instead of all being the same.
I also looked at Paul Graham’s work Troubled Lands, which explores the troubles in Ireland. I really like these images, as they show Northern Ireland in a different light, similar to the way I wanted to show Pembrokeshire.
As far as being creative with this assignment, I used natural lighting in all my images, and tried to convey an atmosphere using the time of day, the weather and the lighting in particular for the ‘Bad’ Pembrokeshire images. I wanted to show emotion in the images. I tired to use shapes and geometry to aid in my composition of the shots. I aimed to show a contrast between the sunny ‘Good’ images and the dark atmospheric ‘Bad’ images.
Two Sides of the Story
Create Two Sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story. Choose a theme and aim for 5-7 images for each set, depending on your idea.
When I first read about this assignment, I wasn’t sure how to go about. I made a list of themes, and then narrowed the list down. In the end I was left with two theme, the first being festivals and the second being Pembrokeshire. The problem I found with the festivals was that there were plenty of local food festivals, I wanted to contrast this with a music festival, but I couldn’t find any suitable. So I settled for my theme of Pembrokeshire. I wanted to look at the two sides to Pembrokeshire. First the pretty Pembrokeshire which most people think of. Including the mountains, the beaches, the rivers, and the landscape in general. Pembrokeshire is seen as a gorgeous place, favoured by tourists. It also is home to the United Kingdoms only Coastal National Park. Pembrokeshire’s landscape is so diverse. I wanted to photograph areas that show the true Pembrokeshire, so not just the parts the tourists visit. I wanted to explore and find less known about places. But as with everywhere there is another side to Pembrokeshire, which I wanted to explore. I wanted to look at what brings the area down, for example the dumping of rubbish, or abandoned buildings, not things you would think of when thinking of Pembrokeshire. After going out and exploring, I was happy with the photographs I got. I found plenty of places to show the Idyllic side of Pembrokeshire, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find many showing the bad parts of Pembrokeshire. But I was surprised of how many photographs I had. I am happy with the photograph, but I am not so happy about the printing. Before the next assignment, I will be getting a new photo printer, so hopefully it will help with the problem.
The Camera I used during this assignment was my Nikon D610 with a Nikon 24-85mm lens. For one of the photographs I was forced to use my Leica Compact Camera. Whilst photographing the Idyllic Pembrokeshire photographs I tried to photograph on clear, sunny beautiful days, in contrast to the Unknown Pembrokeshire photograph which I photographed on dull and stormy days.
The pools are located at Ceibwr Bay, which is a remote bay located in North Pembrokeshire, only accessible down miles of narrow roads. This area is not usually a tourist location. The pools are only accessible on the coastal path, which is a long and difficult walk. I am happy with this photograph. I like the way the pools are centralized, with the sea to back, and the landscape all area, including the rocks and the grass. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 100, f/8.0 at 1/250 sec. I would have liked to have been able to get closer to the pools but the rocks were very unstable.
This scene in Tenby of the colourful buildings is a classic iconic images of Pembrokeshire. Tenby is a beautiful place, with the harbor, the golden sands and the clear waters. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 200, f/11, at 1/400 sec. I would have loved to get this picture when the tide was in, but unfortunately whenever the tide was in the weather took a turn for the worst. I find it quite difficult to get the angle the get all the buildings in.
Brynberian is a small area situated amongst the Preseli Mountains. Brynberian is only a short drive from where I live, but I find I have often overlooked it as a place for taking photographs. When I took this photograph it was a beautiful but very windy day. In the end I used a tripod to steady the camera in order to get the picture. From this viewpoint you can see for miles, it is truly beautiful. I wanted to show the small wood in the photograph as otherwise it would just show the great expanse of the countryside, with nothing to concentrate on specifically. I really do like the photograph, but I do not think it does the area justice. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 200, f/10 at 1/400 sec.
Nevern is a small village in the heart of Pembrokeshire. It is not seen as a place to visit if you’re a tourist, but I wanted to capture this picture showing how the church is nestled amongst the landscape. I find this picture shows how architecture and nature can blend together to create a pretty scene. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 200, f/8.0, at 1/250 sec.
Cenarth Falls is located in the village called Cenarth. The river runs directly through the village cutting it in two. These waterfalls may not be the biggest or the most impressive in the UK, but it is one of only a few waterfalls in Pembrokeshire. When photographing this, I used a Lee Big Stopper filter. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 200, f/13, at 4.5 sec. When printing this photograph, I found the water has a greenish ting; I tried to edit the colour slightly to help with this. I feel it look better but I am still not entirely happy with the colour.
This scene I stumbled upon by accident. I was travelling and took a wrong turn down a narrow road and came across a field with the hay bales. It was late in the evening and the sun was setting giving the picture a yellow-orange hue. My biggest concern with this picture was the sky. I took many pictures, and they all came up very similar. I tried to edit it in lightroom but to no avail. However I kind of like it with the white sky. My setting for this photograph were, ISO 400, f/9.0 at 1/160 sec.
This building is called Llawhaden House, located in the center of the village of Llawhaden. 15 years ago, a fire destroyed the house, with only some of the walls still standing. It was a historic building but now has been left fenced off. I would have liked to get different angle or closer to the building but as it has been fenced off I was unable to do so. My setting for this photograph were, ISO 400, f/8.0, at 1/100 sec.
This photograph shows an area were local farmers have been dumping rubbish and old machinery. This can be seen from the main road, and is getting bigger by the day. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 800, f/8.0 at 1/60 sec. I photographed this on a very dull day but the sky has gone very light, I would like to capture this photograph again but with different weather.
This scene can be found on a busy main road. I have lived in the area for 16 years, and these cars have been there all that time, they have been abandoned by the roadside. I wanted to show this scene and how it can bring an area down. My settings for this photograph were, ISO 400, f/4.5, at 1/160 sec. I am happy with this photograph.
Slebech Church is located on a dual carriageway opposite a BMW and a Mini Dealership. This Church has been abandoned for a long time. It is a grade II listed building. This Church is seen as being very unlucky by locals, as the builders built it so that the alter faces in the wrong direction. The church has also been the site of a suicide. The church was brought by a businessman and immediately after buying it his business went bankrupt and was forced to sell it, only receiving a £1 for it. The settings for this photograph were, ISO 640, f/8.0, at 1/60 sec. I wanted the trees to be a border to the picture with only a section of the church exposed. I feel the sky adds to the atmosphere of the Church.
I wanted to included a picture showing the rubbish being left at the sides of the roads. The settings I used for this photograph were, ISO 800, f/7.1, at 1/25 sec. I spent a while searching around for rubbish left, I was not a hundred percent happy with the picture but I would like to keep searching for a more suitable photograph.
Boncath village used to have a railway but when it closed the station building was left to stand empty. No one has kept it up or restored it; it has been left to fall down. I feel the picture conveys the derelictness of the building but printing it I found the picture dark. I tried to adjust the brightness but I couldn’t get it so I was totally happy with it. Whilst I was photographing in the area my Nikon D610 battery ran out completely, I thought I had a spare in my bag but it turned out it was in the car, but luckily I had my Leica compact camera, which I used to take this photograph. The settings I used for this photograph were, ISO 80, f/2.8, at 1/30 sec.
The feedback I received for this assignment was constructive, I was a bit wary as this was my first assignment. My tutor stated that the idea I had was good but the print quality really let it down. Which I completely agree with, I really had problems with my printer, and have since brought another better one. My tutor also mentioned that I could have showed the two sides to the same place, which I might do in the rework. She stated that how I presented my work was bad, but I didn’t know I had to present it, I initially thought it was just prints needed. My tutor went through each image.
Some of the images were over saturated, or not completely straight. Some the composition wasn’t right, and others have some things that were distracting from the image.
She also mentioned that I get my work proofread, as there were some spelling and grammatical errors. She also recommend I look at Niki Feisen.
When I looked at the criteria for this assignment I was a bit overwhelmed. I had to choose between photographing the unseen and using props. I wasn’t sure which to pick, it took me sometime to pick. Eventually I settled on photographing the unseen, as I thought it would be very interesting to try and convey something that cannot be seen using photography. I made a list of things that were unseen, after I narrowed it down I choose Disability, in particular Fibromygylma.
I choose disability as, not all disabilities are visible, millions of people are affected by hidden illnesses, they have to deal with them and many who don’t understand disabilities judge them on what they see and not what they know about the person. People with hidden disabilities are unfairly judged.
One photographer, that influenced me was Bryony Campbell. In 2009, Campbell created The Dad Project. This project was centered on her father who had been diagnosed with cancer and was dying. She stated, “This is my attempt to say goodbye to my dad. At first, the idea of introducing a camera into this un-resoluble equations seemed unwise, but eventually I think it become the solution. During the last eight months of his life, we recorded our relationship through photography and film. At the instant of Dad’s death my dual role felt absolutely concrete. There was no longer a separation. I wanted all the details recorded and revealed. This was the big unknown moment, one we will all have, one that nobody can envisage but everybody wonders about”.
Her series has a narrative and tells a story. The photographs and subject was personal to her. Her narrative was herself and her father.
For this assignment, I also did further research into ‘hidden’ disabilities and Fibromylgia.
I looked into the way black and white photographs enhance and convey emotion.
Oodee. Briony Campbell The Dad Project (A year on). [Online]. Available from: oodee.net/books/briony-campbell-dad-project [Accessed: 28th January 2016].
I changed my images to black and white as I wanted to show the emotion and monotone images I feel are best for this. I took on a challenge to tackle the stigma revolving around unseen disabilities, this challenge may not have paid off but I still believe it is an issue that needs tackling. I wanted to show how disabilities could also affect younger people.
Photographing the Unseen
When I first read about this assignment, I was apprehensive. I took me a while to come up with some ideas for what could be unseen. Eventually I made a list of ideas, which comprised of stress, memories, emotions, time, space, weather, disability, global warming and history. I narrowed the list down and decided to photograph disability/illness. I choose this theme as my mother is disabled, she also has fibromyalgia, which is an ‘unseen’ illness. I wanted to show the effect it has and what the problems she experiences are, for example walking. I did struggle about how to go about this, as I would be photographing something that cannot be seen. So I made a list of the symptoms that she experiences, and what adaptions had to be make and how I could photograph them. I want to show the effect it can have on day-to-day life.
For these photographs I used my Nikon D610 with a Nikon 24-85mm lens. I used aperture priority to achieve the effect I wanted. For the majority of the images I wanted the focus to be on one particular section and the rest out of focus. I found this worked well in the image of the tablets, as one is in focus whilst the small piles off to the right is out of focus, but the viewer can still see what it is. I also decided to use black and white images. I compared each image in colour and then in black and white, and I felt the black and white ones were more suitable for the theme. I found they reflected the emotion that I wanted to convey. It also drew the viewer’s attention without the distraction of colour.
Overall, despite my earlier apprehension I felt more comfortable with the theme I choose as it was personal and I wanted to convey the struggles people face with disabilities and illness that people cannot see. I feel the images work well as a series.
One of the main symptoms my mother experiences is pain, and she has to use an electronic recliner to help her get in and out of her chair. I experiment with different angles, showing the chair risen up, it down, and showing the control. But I found this one simple but on the remote it shows that the chair rises up.
Due to the pain and the stiffness caused by the fibromyalgia, she has to walk with a walking stick. Again I wanted to keep the images as simple as possible, just showing my mother holding the stick.
Other days to get around the house easy, she has to use a walking frame. For this picture I wanted the bit of the frame closest to the camera in focus whilst the rest was out of focus, and by using a wide aperture I was able to achieve this.
As I said previously one of the main symptoms is pain. I wanted to show the medication she has to take, but I didn’t want to show just a pile of tablets or the packets. So I choose to have the picture focus on one particular on with the rest in the background. This is one of the photos that I feel may have been better in colour, as most of the tablets were colourful, but I wanted to keep all the photographs in black and white.
This is a photo of the railings that had to be installed outside of our house; again due to the pain and stiffness caused she has difficulty just walking in and out of the house.
Due to her disability she has a disabled blue badge, which gives access to the disabled parking spaces so it is easier to get to the shops and in and out of the car. This is another image, which I feel may have worked better in colour as the badge is blue, but for consistency I choose to stick to black and white images.
This is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, but one I struggle to photograph. I experimented with different images, but this worked the best.
Forgetfulness, also known as Fibro-Fog is a symptom my mother struggles with. It has a huge effect on her day-to-day abilities. But again I found it hard to convey this through photography. I also found it difficult to get the camera to focus on one particular word.
For this image I asked my mother to write down all her symptoms and how she feels on one page in a notebook and I decided to photograph it as I feel this sums up the problems people face with a ‘hidden’ illness, No One Understands.
I was fairly disheartened after receiving the feedback for this assignment. Mainly because it said if I were to have t assessed I wouldn’t meet the standard required.
My tutor did state that the print quality has improved considerably. But the assignment as a whole was not as strong as the first assignment; it was straightforward and too simplistic. I understand her comments and am going to use the feedback when I rework the images.
She mentioned that some of the images were not as sharp as they could be; some had distracting features and others where quite similar to each other.
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.
I found this assignment quite straightforward, as it was a natural progression from the exercises in this section. I found it interesting as it gave a change to explore an image and analyse it critically.
I looked into the advertising articles written by Judith Williamson, that were mentioned earlier on in this section. But I also looked into Barthes, in particular the chapter he wrote called ‘Rhetoric of the image’, which also proved useful for this assignment. I looked into VW advertising and their park assist function.
There was not much scope to be creative in this assignment.
I was happy with the feedback I received for this assignment; it contained a few pointers in which to improve the essay. My tutor believed that I had chosen an interesting image to analyze, and that my writing style had developed over the course. As far as the essay is concerned she recommend changing a few technical details such as using double line spacing and the fact that I would need to come up with a title for the work.
I took my tutors advise and removed the initial part which stated that I had looked at this in a previous exercise. I decided to keep the additional annotated images, and added these as an Appendix to the end. I also added the file as an attachment instead of written directly onto my learning log, as suggested by my tutor.
Here is the Reworked essay for Assignment Four.
I was initially overwhelmed as this assignment had such a wide scope; there was so much choice as far as choosing a subject, a method and even an inspiration. I looked back at the themes throughout the course. I was interested in the depictions of the self. I decided to do my version of a self-portraits.
Francesca Woodman was born in Denver, Colorado in 1958. She started taking photographs when she was 13. She committed suicide when she was 22 years old in New York. Between the years of 1975 and 1977, Woodman attended the Rhode Island School of Design. A lot of her images taken in this time are believed to be work for her college work.
I also looked into Gillian Wearing’s work. Wearing took self-portraits using familial impersonation. By doing this Wearing is attempting to explore her own personality and identity. I liked her idea of using masks to take a self-portrait.
I used natural lighting from the bathroom window for this assignment. I wanted to convey emotion through the images. I used composite imaging to create the desired effect.
Making It Up
Construct a stand-alone image of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to make a series, elaborating on the same theme.
For this assignment, I was required to ‘make-up’ an image. I began by looking at the works of Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson and seeing how they construct an image. Their images have a deeper meaning, verging on psychological and going into the unknown. I wanted to produce an image that made the viewer think and maybe connect with the message of the image. I didn’t want an image that was too complicated, for example both Wall and Crewdson’s work contain a lot of detail, a lot of props and a lot of space. I find sometimes this works but I do prefer an image that is ‘uncluttered’.
I looked at their images and they all had something that you could relate to, something psychological, even if it was a feeling that the viewer could relate to. I wanted to explore an emotion or a feeling that people could relate to.
I began looking at Gilliam Wearing’s images and I liked that idea of the use of masks. This got me thinking that everyone put on a ‘mask’ to others. You cannot tell what the person is going through if they don’t show or tell you. A mask could be in the form of make-up or just smiling even when you’re hurting inside. Many people go through depression or anxiety but some hid it, they hid behind a mask, a mask visible to the world around them.
I looked at Francesca Woodman’s images, in particular the Space2 series. I liked the idea of using mirrors, and showing two sides of the person, one in the reflection and on in the person. I decided to use two images to do this, and make a composite image.
The setting I used was a bathroom, I chose this as many people use the bathroom to get ready in and it is somewhere that they could be on their own, and not somewhere where they have to pretend but somewhere where they make the transition. Bathrooms tend to be fairly clinical looking, from the colours to the lighting. The colours are bright white and sterile, from the tiles to the bath. The only lighting used was from the window behind the bath and the overhead light. I also noticed the shapes, from the lines on the tiles, to the lines on the wall in the reflections, to the shape of the mirrors.
For the first image, I wanted very little in it, so all you can see is the bath, the mirror and the person. It also gives the impression of being claustrophobic and alone, a feeling that many feel. The person is me; this was effectively a self-portrait. I choose to wear a dress, with my hair done and make-up on, showing that perhaps I was going to a party or a formal event, something that should make you happy and excited. In contrast, the reflection has no make-up on, my hair is not done, and I am wearing normal dark clothing. The positioning on the floorshows something is wrong; my head is cast downwards slightly, emphasized by the angle of the camera. But the reflection shows the feeling.
The next two images, I take the image face on with two different mirrors. One has a reflection of me with my back towards the camera; Woodman’s image was definitely a big influence here.
The last features a round mirror, with the reflection facing the camera.
I decided to do three images, as I was inspired by Triptych, where three images work together, usually a main image in the center and two either side.
To capture this image, I set my camera on a tripod and used a remote to take the image. I decided to change the image to black and white as it shows more emotion and I find that sometimes colour can be a distraction.
Here are my final images.
I was very proud of this assignment, and my tutors’ feedback made it worthwhile. She stated that this was my strongest work so far, and had great potential. This was a real confidence boost. She was very interested that I had looked into Francesca Woodman’s work and could see real influences ion hers in mine. For presenting this work I used the idea of triptych, I did do research into it and saw it usually has religious meanings but I liked the idea of using three images in one, but I can understand my tutors comments.
My tutor raised an interesting point about doing the image partially in black and white and the rest in colour; I will definetly look into this for the rework of it.