Half term work: Intervention
The intervention task which was set over the half term, loosely aimed to capture a contrast or sudden variation in the photo, this could be within the texture, colour or physical shape of said captured image. From my initial research i found that the most successful pieces had one main focus and it being disrupted in some sort of linear, non disrupted manner. These images were the most effective due to this structured interruption.
Task 1: Movement
In this task, we were asked to use our knowledge of exposure and shutter speed to capture images that we often miss out on using generic photographic technique. I decided to explore both slow, and fast shutter speed, creating a contradistinction between the different images.
Fast shutter speed: PHILIPPE HALSMAN
Philippe Halsman was an American portrait photographer, best known for his photography with jumping people. Philippe had taken photos of many of the most influential people at the time of his prime. Philippe stated that he enjoyed taking photos of people while jumping because it was a way of taking down barriers people usually have in day to day life. 'When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears” ~ Philippe Halsman'
In my response to Philippe Halsman's images i chose to take inspiration from the base ideas he had, but i felt that i wanted more depth to the shots so i decided i wanted to take the photos outside to capture the environment on top of the jumping image. In conjunction to this i asked the models in the photos to exaggerate their movements, to further emphasise the lack of emotional barriers while jumping due to their concentration on the latter task in question.
Slow shutter speed: FRANCESCA WOODMAN
Francesca Woodman was a female photographer who was well known for her exploration in black and white images of females, either herself or models in the images often. A common theme throughout Woodman's images of show women, naked or clothed, blurred (due to movement and fast shutter speed) ,blurring into the background, or whose faces are obstructed.
Similarly to the previous response, i decided to capture my images in response to Francesca's shots outside rather than inside in her original images; for the same reason as before, i feel that people would behave more naturally in said scenario rather than in a pre-planned set up studio with lights
Task 2: Pushing the Limits of Photography
This task aims to capture the limit of what is possible within the boundaries of modern digital photography, this task rides this edge and aims to explore how these extremes can create drastic and impressive images in which a conventional photographer may not have thought would work to create effective images.
RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD
Ralph Meatyard spent 90 days looking through an out of focus camera in attempt to “learn to see No-Focus.” Meatyard, an optician who practiced photography, began his endeavour with out of focus images due to his keen interest in the to the out-of-focus pats in some of his pictures. Meatyard was in contact with a few other photographers, such as Van Deren Coke, whose method for taking a photograph was to find an appropriate background and put something in front of it. Eventually, feeling that the background was still too recognizable, he abandoned this ideal and began to explore his enviroment through an unfocused lens.
The sub-genre of focus, when looking at the limits of photography can be a powerful tool the artist can use to manipulate how the image is viewed, in practice a photo in which the item of focus is in focus and the background is also in focus with a small aperture would not have quite the same affect as the same photo with a decreased aperture due to the focal length being smaller or larger. This same concept is used to create a series of photos which highlight the key parts of the photos in which i choose to selectively display.
In these series of photographs i explore the affect exposure has on photographic technique. I explored both low and high light variants of exposure variation. This resulted in an educational level of information on how exposure can affect the result of a captured image. On top of this i attempted to capture over-exposed photos of normal items/structures. Learning how it would affect the image in the previous test strips impacted how i captured said images; i attempted to make these images seem as though they were intentionally created in this manner.
The contemporary photographer Uta Barth, born 1958, famous for her lack of object within shots; Uta blatany lacks an overt focus within the image, it is in-fact the lack of f=o=main object which is the object of focus in the said ssries of images. Within her images she also lacks a lot of variety in the sense of colours used, further enforcing the lack of identity between images Uta keeps.
In this series of photographs i aimed to demonstrate how the composition of a shot, e.g. framing, perspective and angle. Can drastically alter the base characteristics of an image, turning a possibly mundane photo into one with which seems calculated and precise. Composition is arguably one of the most important thought processes when choosing a shot, a small skew in perspective or change of position has the possibility to ruin an image.
Confined Spaces in the Studio
Irving Penn's series of corner photos seem to have an overall sense of limitation via the walls cascading over the item of focus. Penn initially wasn't even a photographer, he began his work as a graphic designer at the age of 17 in New York City where his artistic side clearly arose.
In response to Penn's corner photographs i chose to, instead of capturing the whole body, to capture selective parts of people. I chose to do this because i felt that the area of focus could have been more specific, playing on what Penn touches on, but in a more selective manner; in my opinion adding to the limiting factor that the walls already created.
Paper in Studio
Continuing from Penn's original work, i decided to explore different manners in which people have the ability to be limited by. From here i asked participants to try and cover themselves with a large and relatively heavy piece of paper. I aimed to capture the results in a way that showed all the different angles and regions of shade created by the folds of the paper, being illuminated by studio lights.
Confined Spaces Outside
Further working on this idea of confining the space we habituate, further exploring this idea; i aim to capture the limitations of people within the outside world, lacking the addition of studio conditions and lighting and the effects they carry with them.
Strand 1: Framing and Perspective
When the process of initially taking a photo, one of the first concepts we learn as photographers, is how to frame items. The framing during a photograph has the ability to drastically alter the essence of a photo. Using this concept in complement with the ideas behind perspective and focus allows me to develop photographs with the intention of using the object(s) and; using a method of data-based abstraction in a way of removing all un-needed information from the frame.
Strand 2: Open Roads
My second strand, open roads, attempts to touch on the subject matter of perspective in a different way to the previous strand, but in an entirely different context. Many of the open roads i aim to capture have very distinct features, eg lines going to one point, one main focal point. These features are the same within the photos, however the individual differences between roads was shown to be astounding due to the simple nature of roads, being used everywhere and for everything, therefore the chance of them all being identical being very very slim. On a more abstract note, the notion of open roads can be interpreted as a manifestation of the american dream.
Artist & Me: Mikko Lagerstadt
Mikko Lagerstadt's interpretation of open roads is quite unique, he uses multiple images to create his affects, fog, trees, lights; originally the photo was simply a road but with the assistance of post production he created pieces of art which have sold for substantial amounts online. Mikko's images of roads have a common theme of eerie darkness between them, however always containing some sort of light source; this combination of dark desolate roads and bright lights through the fog creates a very distinct transition between the two.
Strand 3: Limiting Portraits
Artist & Me: Ricardo Reis
The desire to expand his line of work led him to his current where he is now a photographer that holds album covers, concerts, fashion shows and participations in short feature films and music videos as a cinematographer on his cv. Ricardo Reis uses exposure time and shutter speed to dictate the limitations within his portrait photography, whereas some artists may choose to do this in post production or physically do it prior to the image being taken.
In this strand I aimed to capture the limitation of peoples faces in a way which isn't often seen by the public. I decided to physically limit the people instead of using some sort of post-production technique. However from here the material I decided to use to limit the physicality of the peoples faces was tinfoil. There were two reasons for this, firstly being, I could mould the foil to represent the rough outline of their face and features, limiting the faces while still keeping a foot in reality as some features can still be distinguished; and secondly he foil when moulded had really sharp defined lines, making it perfect to shine a light on and capture the differences in light around peoples features.
Development one: Selective focus
Developing from my strand in "open roads" I decided to explore the ideas of focus and perspective keeping with some of the ideas from my other strand "framing and perspective" within the field. Using a small focal length, allowing me to generate photos in which the target of the image becomes unfocused. This allows the images to have a quite unrealistic look to selective parts of it. Diverting the attention from the item of focus which is usually the target of the image to the unfocused object, the opposite of what people usually look for in photographs.
Development Two: Tilt Shift
Similarly to the previous development i shifted the aim of the focus to something very specific, however in this development i aimed to make the images that of tilt-shift, the photos taken from a high, and far vantage point. On top of this all items apart from the item of focus is extremely out of focus, on top of this there is a distinct line between items in front and behind of the focal point. In combination to this the saturation is increased to a very high level. This multitude of affects makes the item of focus seem like a toy.
Development Three: The endless road
Daniel Crookes used a sophisticated visio-spatial editing software to connect multiple video recordings of the middle of an alleyway, recorded by a gyroscopic camera frame on a rail so that there is no difference between frames. However i did not have access to any of these things and had to figure out a way to achieve the same outcome. To do this i decided i needed to simply take my time taking the photos and make sure i had a standardised procedure in between photos so that all photos itterated the same distance between frames, otherwise some parts of the video would have been faster or slower than others; ruining the sense of linear movement through a road.
Artist & Me: Daniel Crookes, An embroidery of roads
To make this piece of work without the software used i had to edit every single frame i took, 3 times each, each time inserting the "Endless road" inside another road, putting a road inside of a road inside of a road ect, this was a very tedious and time consuming project due to my lack of resources.
Development Four: Roads with no end
Andreas Gursky made the decision to remove the horizons of his images using post production techniques on the far side of the river from his pictures. This alteration changed the basis of the image, giving it a sense of endlessness and grandeur that previously was not present. Rather than the sense of a certain place. Gursky views his image in the light that it portrays that of an ideal contemporary piece, himself saying, ‘I wasn’t interested in an unusual, possibly picturesque view of the Rhine, but in the most contemporary possible view of it. Paradoxically, this view of the Rhine cannot be obtained in situ; a fictitious construction was required to provide an accurate image of a modern river’.
Continuing from my spin on David Crookes embroidery of roads, i began experimenting with different ways of removing the finite characteristics of roads that they normally found. From here i decided that to go from the realm of finite to that of the infinite the way i wanted to achieve this was to remove the end of the road physically through post production; creating a sense of endlessness that previously was not quite achieved.
Development Five: Stacked images, Max intensity version
In this development i continue on my work with open roads, however taking note from certain artists and previous works i have completed i aim to capture a specific busy area of road, continuously taking photos. From here im going to stack the images on top of each other and reduce opacity, this will make it seem like the cars aren't there and are at the same time.
When i initially decided to create an average of all these images i was simply going to take the mean of all pixels at (xn,yn) coordinates and simply use that as i had previously created an algorithm which would do this for me(original code will be shown below), however when i did this it did not work as anticipated due to the number of images i had, the average sort of looked like a image with no cars, not what i aimed to do. So i sought out to find a more developmental technique, so i experimented with instead of taking the mean, i would take the mean of all pixels that had a brightness value over a certain threshold, making it so that only the very brightest pixels would be included in the average. This resulted in a sort of painting of all the lights and bright reflections.
Development Six: Stacked images, Min intensity version
After successfully taking the average of the brightest pixels in the previous image stack in the last development, i had the idea that i could do the same with the darkest pixels below a set threshold(an ambiguous value of rgb) and averaging these selective pixels resulted in a similar result of the previous development, however quite the opposite basis, all the dark pixels are prevalent and show very clearly
Development Seven: Stacked images, Standard deviation between min and max.
In an attempt to take my newly created algorithm further i decided to experiment with statistical calculations and formulas in place of the mean i was previously using. I found that if i used a standard deviation calculation instead of simply the mean then what would result is a sort of neon-esque outline around everything, the moving items seemed more transparent and the solid items seemed more grounded in reality. This was achieved by calculating the mean for both the brightest and darkest pixles at all pixel coordinates and calculating a standard deviation using the following equation:
Final Piece pt.1: Horizon to Horizon
Martin Parr: Boring Postcards
Martin Parr explores the genre of idyllic and unrealistic beauty within nature and our environment through postcards which seem boring.
Within this development i began photographing the middle of a road at a set zoom, from here i walked to the horizon of said photo and repeated the process. This repeated capturing of horizons aims to capture the dynamic nature of the "open roads" i explored earlier in my developments and strands while combining what i learnt in my perspective and focus strand. At a distinct contrast to the previous photos, i began walking into the Hampstead Heath to juxtaposed against the harsh concrete environment the photos had been based in before. The transition is clear. My photographic post processing decision making was due to the lack of clouds in the second half of the images; when editing the photos i chose to exaggerate the colours and clarity of the sky in my images, this created a very idyllic scene within some of the photos, contrasting to the dull grey scenes of the sky beforehand, similarly in the sense that the concrete is contrasting with the green in the second half of the image. This transition is documented through the book im going to order, page to page the horizons are aligned to reserve continuity.
After taking the pictures i used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to make all the photos consistently vibrant and distinct, a theme throughout the images.