Thursday, 19 April 2012

Final Portfolio

Twelve photographs, three for each season and use some from Assignment One which was the Spring. Sounds simple enough but this has taken far too long. Always fighting away from the cliche although having used a cliche or two so far it is difficult (in regards making a cohesive set/panel of prints) to be too diverse. If I were to start again I would do different but there has been too much time wasted on procrastination and while I can predict a few groans from the assessors I understand their disappointment. The digital images shown below are low quality and not representative of the final prints being offered for assesment.

Spring 1

Spring 2

Spring 3

Summer 1

Summer 2

Summer 3

Autumn 1

 Autumn 2

Autumn 3

Winter 1

Winter 2

Winter 3

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Project 36 : defining a style

Project 36 asks us to look at photographic "Styles" and comment on four photographers work whose style is distinctive. Style being defined here as an overt characteristic of the photographers work that defines them and makes their work obvious if unlabelled.

Fay Godwin:  a self taught  landscape photographer, who through her love of walking photographed the English landscape in a conventional style using mainly a roll film camera. In simple terms her photography is "normal". It captures what was there at that time and as a result the light is unpredictable, often flat and uninteresting. What Godwin wants us to see is simple and unpretentious with no special treatment to the image. What does make her work interesting and therefore part of the Godwin style is the use of a square format. Not normally used for landscape, where the preferred aspect ratio was 5x4 (from sheet film cameras) or 3x2 (from 35mm film cameras) the square image is different but not to the extent that the viewer is struck by it (not in the same way as say a 16x9 panoramic format). Godwin's book "Land" published in 1985 is probably her best known work on landscape photography. The plates in the main show a placid approach to landscape photography using soft tone with the rural idyll as a theme, punctuated only by her personal indifference to fences, gates and land being separated by fencing and walls.

David Ward:  Ward graduated with an Hons degree in Photography in 1983 and has worked as a freelance photographer ever since.His photographs are distinctive for their graphic simplicity and technical quality. He is particularly drawn to making abstract, intimate landscape images and his work is informed and inspired by many of the great American landscape photographers of the last century. His technical ability to match form with light is sublime and the attention to the detailed position of framing is paramount in his work. In addition to his image making Ward writes prolifically about the subject and questions the intent of photographers and their work within the landscape genre.

Ansel Adams: Adams is probably the most well known of all landscape photographers. His work from within the national parks of North America are well known and highly regarded. Adams style is traditional with the emphasis on excellence in the whole process of image making. Working with large format cameras he was able to process the individual sheets of film with precision that matched the exposure and extract the maximum tonal range. The resulting prints have a resonance and vibrancy that few others could match. The subject matter is (like Godwin) simple. The grand vistas of Yosemite, the orchards of California and the lakes of Alaska are seemingly simple subjects but Adams use of light is the key to the lifting of these into another dimension. Adams was attuned to light and how it moved across and around the landscape and he developed a sense of creating the decisive moment for the image when light and form moved to create the perfect harmony.

Robert Adams: Adams (no relation to Ansel) work is factual and of the moment. His photographs of the mid west of the USA are perhaps the least "spectacular" as they include so much of what is considered ordinary, the areas of landscape that we pass by. We pass them by because they are perhaps not pretty enough to fit in what the public perception of landscape photography would be. But what these images do is they show what we are doing with the space we live in and how we make these changes to the landscape. Worn out buildings, scrub land and trailer parks are part of our landscape and need recording to explain the socio economic changes, creation of and loss of wealth and the transient nature of many of the minor features of the landscape. Some describe these images as survey photographs and they were/are of that genre. Social landscape images have narrative and this style is significantly different to those mentioned above.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Notes - Towards Assessment - Future.

Despite my best intentions to have Landscape in for March assessment that didn't happen. A new customer for my engineering and construction "know how" came and wanted me to do some work, which spoilt my plans. So, having got them underway and happy I have managed a few projects that had got left behind (actually quite a few) and today started to put together a document to accompany the prints that will be assessed. This required finding tutor reports, adding my comments and the rationale for any changes that were made to final prints. It was during the re reading of early assignment feedback (quite nostalgic) that I realised just how much I have changed as a photographer during this process. My early work was quite predictable and suffered from the inevitable cliche or two and I seem to be addressing that in the later work.The print will always be my chosen media for output and although this makes for loads of extra work I think it is worthwhile. I have just read on the forum that a number of tutors like electronic images so I am hoping in the future I never have to work with them. I find an image on the screen such a transient thing, it doesn't exist, you cant do anything with it and it is essentially worthless, both financially and emotionally.
I suppose it is now that I should be thinking about what to do next and getting excited about the prospect that I am only three modules from completing the degree. Unfortunately this hasn't happened yet. Not that I have lost my interest in photography, far from it. A recent sale of equipment and the buying of new (a 600mm lens went and a new rangefinder body arrived) has given me new impetuous, together with some new found ideas from the extensive reading of the past year. There are issues I need to come to terms with about the OCA and the content of the modules. Due to it being a distance learning operation it does have a number of drawbacks when compared to a red brick institution and the opportunities that would be available elsewhere. I don't necessarily think the only way to personal fulfilment is by obtaining more HE points and then a degree in photography. That would be fine if I were a teenager looking for a career, but I have a successful career and photography will never be a second career. PWDP is my only alternative (Soc Doc would be a disaster) and the thought of endless hours at the PC bogged down in Photoshop is not that appealing. I can imagine myself working just as hard on personal projects but  reinventing the wheel was not on my agenda.
All this may of course change. I need to talk to the OCA about possible tutors if I go any further and have a look at some course material without having to commit to starting.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Project 40 : coloured filters with black and white film

This optional project is primarily directed at the impact that coloured filters have on the image when using silver based black and white film.

The same effects can be created in the digital environment using "filters" in CS5 or the Silver Efex Pro Plugin

Base colour image

Basic monochrome conversion

Yellow Filter

Orange Filter

Red Filter

Blue Filter

Red (sky) and Blue (land) split Filter

Yellow (sky) and Green (land) split Filter

The examples above demonstrate the basic rule of thumb in that the same colour filter as the object in front of lens then the object colour goes lighter. Opposite colour [green to red, red to blue, etc] darkens the colour in front of the lens. So a blue sky photographed with a red filter makes the sky go dark (not the clouds) and trees and grass photographed with a green filter makes the greens lighten. The use of the filters in post processing rather than when shooting allows the amount of filter to be added to be adjusted between 0% to 100%.

The split filter examples require the use of a layer mask to "paint" in the correct filter to the area of the image as required.