Assignment 1: My first pictures – 150 MC

So instead of looking at artists straight away, I wanted to get straight into taking pictures of social pressures. At this point, it’s worth saying that there is no idea running behind the pictures; it is just me trying out a few tests.
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So for our final pieces, everything has to be done from analogue (e.g. from the darkroom) so it’s unlikely there is going to be any colour at all. And in some way that is quite beneficial for me, as I feel that from the above image, when it is colour it seems to… cheerful almost? the bright colours doesn’t help at all drawing our attention to the serious fact at state here.

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Whereas when we put it into black and white, it instantly turns more serious. Perhaps this is from the idea sticking our head that when someone wants to portray something serious, being in negative always places sadness into the viewer (examples of this could be TV adverts when they might show black and white parts to highlight a serious point -> A way to make an emotional point.)
But moving back onto the picture…it’s quite weak really in my opinion. Firstly the facial expression is just wrong, as it seems like the subject is trying not to laugh but be serious at the same time. And in that it makes it quite comedic to look at, so that takes away the serious aspect. But also I don’t like the positioning of the hand as well. It’s way to low down and towards the edge, its not in our face at all when it should be. The cigarette is the main focus as it should look like it’s being passed towards the camera. Yet even that doesn’t work well with how it is being held. It looks like the subject is holding it in his hands rather then wanting to pass it on.

Relating back to the theme, I don’t feel like this explains “Encountering Culture” really that well at all. Yes, smoking is part of culture, but the image doesn’t make sense as you can”t tell what on earth is going on really. It just looks like the cigarette is being held up.

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In contrast though, this picture works better. The face this time is turned away with a non-interested expression on the subject, as if he doesn’t care what is happening. It’s a more natural look towards the subject, but yet also we are focused on what is going on in a more serious manner. This is boosted by the fact that the hand is much closer towards the lens (although I think it could get even closer, almost in the middle of the body) so our eyes are drawn towards it.
Yet here is were the problems begin. As a non-smoker, I don’t know how one would share/give a lit cigarette to another person. I can only guess people have different ways of doing it. And this way (which is being shown) just doesn’t work for me at all. In my eyes, it looks more like the arm is raised for the person to take another drag of the cigarette. In some way though, I can see it, but it’s not too powerful at all for me.

In this picture, again relating back to the theme this picture works a bit better as it looks like the cigarette is being held up to the viewer, but it’s not really too powerful at all, not relatable at all.

Drug Test 2

I then decided to look at maybe the idea of taking drugs (Don’t worry, it’s icing sugar being used here!!!) With this first picture, I wanted it to look like someone was regretting taking this drug by having their head in the arms, a typical expression of regret…or tiredness to some people!
Certainly the black and white colour makes this picture work much better, as it has this quite serious tone with it. Someone could look at this photo and see what is going on straight away, and they would be asking what has happened.
My only problem with this picture is that it’s looks way to set up in my opinion; as if it has come straight out of a movie scene. It’s so stereotypical, you can’t take it seriously at the same time. And that’s the problem, as these pictures need to remain serious.

In this picture, the theme is seen somewhat clearly, as it looks like the person is taking part in the culture of taking drugs, but seems to be regretting it. But at the end it just shows a person with his head on the table, so it’s not really special at all.

Drug test

This picture though… I really like it. We can tell what’s going on in the picture from just the few pieces here and there: head bowed down, powder in the hand, a tube in the other hand. We can tell what the person is thinking…or do we? What I think is very powerful in this picture is the head being bowed, we can’t tell what is going on on the person’s face. With facial expressions, we can tell what a person is planning to do or is thinking to do with certain little movements.
With no sign of this face, we are somewhat anxious to know what the next move is going to be. What will the person choose? And this is intensified I think by how the lighting just falls around the body of the subject, as if to say everything else is the background is useless and we need to focus on what is happening now.
The only thing which just puts the picture down is how the head is suddenly cut off though. It would be so much better if we could see the whole head, as it would look aesthetically much better.

Out of the lot, this picture I feel shows the theme the best; again we see this person that looks like they are about to take drugs, showing that they are part of this culture. It works the strongest out of the lot, but there is still a lot of work to be done in order to improve it massively, as so far it is still simple.


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