Category: Creative Digital Practice

Assignment 2: My Final Video

Here is the final piece for Assignment 2: My 10 minute video Presentation.

https://vimeo.com/88122915

I felt that this part of the module was the hardest, especially in terms of getting enough footage to tell a story that would flow, but also getting first hand research from an expert. Thankfully for me this was quite easy as I was able to go straight to Mr Sexton, but it was a challenge to get hold of him first.
I also learnt from looking back at the video is that I tend to stutter and mumble a bit; I purposely tried to speak slower and pronounce my words, but it seemed like there was a few mistakes here and there which is something I might have to work on.
Also I thin the video may have been a bit more solid in some parts, so I could have gone into a better explanation or offer more information instead.

Overall though, I am pleased with the result as I am not used to making videos, especially like this, so it was a challenge for me to do everything.

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Assignment 1: My Photobook

Here is the video of me going through the final piece: My Photobook.

https://vimeo.com/88122384

Just from flicking through the pages and holding the entire book in my hands, I am pleased with the final result, as everything has come together really nicely, and just wasn’t boring as well. There is a story to tell which has a possible strong message as well, which hopefully can be portrayed throughout my pictures as well.

Assignment 1: Final – Photobook

So it’s finally here. The big book. This was going to be quite hard as I had to start sequencing my pictures into a suitable order that would make sense (to me and the audience as well as they are equally as important.) Having a right sequence is the key to making everything flow well in a nice narrative, but I had to think about the pictures as well.

So to start things off then, I had to look through my final pictures to get a sense of what pictures were going to work where. To make things easier for me, I printed off all of my pictures small so that I could have physical copies of them to work with. I started off my laying them individually onto a table.
By doing this I was able to get a better sense of what the pictures were going to look like; when doing it on a screen it’s harder to judge what it would be like. On the table, I was able to move everything around until I was happy with everything.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 6

Picture 7

Picture 8

Picture 9

Picture 10

Picture 11

Picture 12

 Picture 13

I was happy with everything, as I wanted in the end; one thing I did make sure was that in multiple pictures there was white sheets, so to separate them I went with the order of colour-white for all the pictures.

Now that was sorted, it was actually making my book to hold my photos. I decided that for this I was going to create a Japanese Stab Bound Book; I thought that a professional book would look out-of-place as this book was supposed to be somewhat personal to those that had a vested interest in the market itself.  This took a while for me to complete, but eventually I had it all complete.

However, I felt that having this book by itself was lacking though. I wanted the book to be more involving, especially with it being based on the market.
So when I spoke to Mr Sexton, I asked if he had a spare ledger book available, and luckily he did have an old book he used to use. This I felt was the perfect way in which I could present my book in a relatable way, which the audience could relate, both to.
However, I had to think of a way to show my book this way. And it was only thinking of Alec Soth’s Broken Manual that I decided on what I was going to do. With my pictures being based on the stalls being covered, I thought it would be fitting to have the book placed inside the ledgers book. To do this, I would cut out the middle of some of the pages in the ledger book just to the point that my book would fit in snugly.
This was quite hard, as when cutting through the pages, when I eventually go to the right depth, I realised that the pages were quite rough and uneven. This meant that I had to spend my time carefully smoothing out all the edges so that it wouldn’t be rough when taking the book out. I was contemplating covering the book in a fabric that was like what was on the stalls, but I decided that it seemed too tacky in the end.

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Finally, to give the book a more authentic feel overall; in the first couple of pages I filled it out with sales of items. This was to show the sales stalls go through and how it’s recorded.
On a narrative level, it would show that the stalls are doing well, then the pictures would give the idea of the 50-50 choice of what could happen, and the end of the book with blank pages is there to let the audience decide what should happen for the future.

Overall I was really pleased with my photobook, as everything fitted well together. The narrative is easy to understand (if you read my blog, otherwise it may be slightly confusing possibly.) I also like my presentation method, as it makes everything fit in together really well.

Lecture + Assignment 1: Photobook in the Digital Age

So for one of our lectures, we were looking at the photobook in the digital era and how the sequencing works within the book. So to make it more engaging for the class, we were split into various groups who each had their own book to look at and examine.

So for my group, we were given the book Edmund Clark – Guantanamo If the light goes out. This was an interesting book in itself without looking at the pictures, because it documented Guantanamo Bay for the first time, with Clark being the first person given access to the area.
So when he went into the prison, he was told that he wasn’t allowed to use his usual film camera, but rather had to use a digital camera due to the fact that officials had to see which pictures he could and couldn’t use. With the prison being highly secure, officials couldn’t risk anything they wouldn’t want going out to go without their notice.

Moving more onto the pictures, it was definitely something not expected. Instead of the perceived image from the media of the place being cold and lonesome, the pictures were quite inviting and friendly. With Clark focusing on the homes of the prisoners, guards and others, this homely sense was driven throughout. Yet it was hard to think that this may have been slightly biased towards the fact that Clark was not allowed to focus on any other area at all; this was backed up by the lack of human presence in the pictures (not a single person was seen.)
The sequencing of the pictures though were split into 3 sections, yet the sections were broken up by letters inmates had received. This gave it a slightly more personal touch, but also gave us something to look at as well.

Some of the other books were quite interesting to look at as well. Nobuyshi Araki’s Sentimental Journey, Winter Journey was a personal book from the author, being based on the author meeting his wife and marrying her in the first part, before looking at life afterwards. The book itself is almost like a diary, in the way you have to pull the book out of a cover to get into the pictures; this sleeve makes it very personal and protected.
John Gossage’s The Pond is more narratively driven in comparison. It starts off from a natural point, with the first image being of a pond. But eventually the pictures began to gradually show more man-made objects in the pictures.  What is interesting to note is that when looking at all the pictures, which are in black and white, you notice that they are are quite flat, with a possible reason for this is to allow the narrative to flow by much easier.
Moving onto a complete different avenue is Taryn Simon’s An American Index of the hidden and the unfamiliar. The Layout makes it look like a file, as if it is a classified document. This creates an interesting relationship between text and image, as we when we look at the book, we get a sense of what the book is going to be about before we have even opened the book.
Another book is Paul Grayham’s The Present. What makes this book interesting is that the cover of the book is quite unappealing compared to other photo books we are used to see; it has this quite pale green color, which doesn’t look very nice at all.  However the pictures are much nicer looking; the pictures are of New York on the streets, picking out moments. He challenges the decisive moment compared to what we are used to with the decisive moment. Uses a flip method of showing one picture, but underneath is the same area but with something different happening.

However, the artist I found the most interesting was Alec Soth’s book Niagara. The cover of the book was very appealing; with an eye-catching image on the front that wasn’t gong into much detail about the book. At first there didn’t seem to be a clear sequence at all. However when you began to look into the book it became clear that the letters broke up the book, but give it some context as well to the back story as well.
I was interested in his work so that I looked at some of his other books as well; the one that took my interest the most was his Broken Manual book. This was quite an unusual book in itself as just looking from the front, it seems like it is a closed book. However when you open it, you are shocked to see that there is another book cut into the pages, which holds all the pictures. This I feel is a great way of presenting work as it adds a nice twist.
The pictures themselves were also quite interesting as they represent isolation within the area, which is somewhat similar to what I was aiming for. In the majority of his pictures he focuses on nature with abandoned buildings in the area. These are pointers about the men in the pictures, who have removed themselves from society.

The session overall was really useful, as I got some useful ideas about how to sequence my work, and how I might be able to present my book as well.

Links:

http://alecsoth.com/photography/?page_id=208

http://alecsoth.com/photography/?page_id=213

http://dailyserving.com/2011/07/alec-soths-broken-manual/

http://www.ifthelightgoesout.com/

http://www.ifthelightgoesout.com/about-edmund-clark/

http://www.interviewmagazine.com/art/alec-soth-broken-manual-sean-kelly#_

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2010/nov/03/guantanamo-photographs-edmund-clark-gallery

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/edmund-clark-if-the-light-goes-out-home-from-guantanamo

 

 

 

 

Assignment 2: Youtube documentaries on Coventry Market

So when I had my interview with Mr Sexton,he mentioned that there had been multiple videos produced on the market itself. He mentioned this because with the amount of information there was on the market, he wasn’t able to talk about everything in one go, so he said that these videos might be able to give some deeper meaning and explanation about what he was talking about to me.

The first video I found was actually one from a previous Coventry University student who produced a short documentary on the market itself. This however covered information that I had already looked at, spanning from the actual history of the market (when it was built and why) to some views on the market itself now. It was interesting to see my research confirmed, but also to get a style on how this video was made as well.
For my video, I would want it to be a bit more formal, as I felt the songs in the background were slightly distracting and a bit out-of-place for me preference. Also, I would want myself to be upfront to the camera, letting the viewer see me talking for most of the video.

The second Video I found was more of an introductory/teaser video for the market. It was simply there to show the variety of things that were on offer in the market, created by Coventry Classified, who were looking at the city. Even though it was quite short, I found it interesting to see the variety of things, confirming that the market was specialised, and it would be hard for you to not find something you were looking for.

The last video I found, again by another Coventry University student, was perhaps the most useful, more in the styles of how the video was presented. At the beginning, it started off in a light way with the Benny Hill theme tune playing, before it went off into some interviews with some of the stall owners. I think it was the interviews which grabbed my attention the most, as it was in the style I was looking for almost.

Assignment 2: First Hand research with Mr Brian Sexton

So I was able to speak to Mr Brian Sexton at last in a face-to-face interview. I wasn’t able to record this due to the fact that he had been away on holiday when I had sent my original email, and when I went into the market to ask if he was in, it was my luck he was in the office.
So I was able to speak to him about the questions I had asked, with him going into detail for all the questions.

#1: Is the market busy all the time? Yes If so, what days are the busiest? Saturday then Friday

This question was asked to first off all to get an idea if the market attracts many customers to the area. This was an important question as it would be the tale-tale sign if it is on the right tracks. I then asked which days were the busiest because when it comes to recording I want to go on a day that is doing well.

#2: Is there a good footfall? Second busiest shop in the area; Primark is the busiest.
The wording for this question is slightly weird, but if you were to look up footfall, one of its definitions is “the number of people entering a shop or shopping area in a given time.”
This was to see if actually any of the supermarkets was competitively busy with the market. However, I was surprised to find out that actually Primark was the busiest, with the Market coming in second. I suppose this is because that Primark itself advertises the shop quite well, and its presence is hard to miss. I was just surprised that there were no supermarkets that were fighting for this top spot, although I would presume they wouldn’t be too far behind.
#3: Has the market ever felt threatened by the amount of supermarkets in the area? No

This was a lead on question from #2, as if the answer had been that the supermarkets were getting more customers, this question would of looked into if the market were doing anything to stop this threat or just letting it carry on.
However, with the answer being that the market is second busiest, I suppose that why would they feel threatened at all when they are managing to out do their ‘competitors.’

#4: Have these supermarkets caused a decline in customers/ stall owners? No

This was an interesting question, because you would think that with there being supermarkets in the area, you would think that the number of stalls would have declined. Rather, Mr Sexton said that less the 5% of the stalls in the market were closed, which is quite extraordinary. And this fact was boosted with that there was a low turnover as well.
Rather, the stall owners are still working well due to the fact that with some of them being refugees/ coming from other countries, they were actually supplying people from their own nationality and area, which supermarkets themselves couldn’t do at all.  This has provided them with a good income and reputation with customers, meaning they have nothing to worry about at all.

#5: Is the market still performing as well as it did 20 years ago? Differently

This was the killer question that would answer my question. And I was expecting an answer that the market would be performing differently, but it was the positive/negative aspect I was looking for.
And Mr Sexton said that the market was performing better than it used to. Years ago the market used to be the place that you would be able to get your fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish . And eventually supermarkets were able to catch up to this trend, making it slightly harder for markets.
However, Mr Sexton said that Coventry Market was now what could be seen as a specialist market, as the market was able to offer various items that you wouldn’t see in your typical shops; he used an example of Hoover bags. In many supermarkets, you would struggle to find that particular item, yet in the market there was someone selling there.

This led on to him saying that eventually there will be a “rebellion against the restriction of services” from the public. By this, he meant that when the public wants a particular item, they think that supermarkets would have them, as we have grown up thinking that they carry everything (and in some of the bigger ones they do.) Yet the public becomes frustrated when they can’t access this service. So he believes that eventually the public might abandon supermarkets to use these services, which in Coventry Market’s case, provides.

I then asked a follow up question from this, asking if the public’s image of declining markets was right as a response question. And he said that actually the public had a wrong image, as everything wasn’t, as it seemed. In Coventry’s case, it was actually the smaller shops that were suffering slightly from the supermarkets, but Coventry was pushing on strongly.
Partly for this was that the market was able to adapt and evolve quickly to the customers; supermarkets might have research that would suggest in sixth month’s time a certain item/food will become popular and would have stocked up. But with the market, they are able to supply this within the week with no problem at all.

Overall the interview was very useful, bring up the background info that was so badly needed to give context to my research, and for the video as well. However, unfortunately I was not able to speak to Mary Portas, as with the amount of email’s and questions sent to her, she wasn’t able to respond at all.

Sequencing Lecture

Sequencing is like making brownies really. In order to get the final piece, you have to have all the ingredients ready before hand, but also you need to have a way in which everything is going to work; just like a recipe. if we don’t have a proper sequence, we can be left by an end piece which certainly just doesn’t work at all; to get it right, you need to make sure you follow every thing to the last detail in the right order.

When it comes to sequencing, there are multiple ways in which we can have our narrative in the book:

  • We can have a flat narrative, in which in the photobook all there is is a collection of photographs. In some cases this can work well, but it depends on the subject area you are photographing though
  • The arc structure is similar to what we see in films: We start off fine when there is a disruption to the line causing us to try and see what has happened and restore balance to everything once again. However, whilst this may seem to be almost giving the viewer what they want with no effort, you have to be careful not to do the same with the photobook, as you want to make sure it is interactive all the time.
  • Perhaps the most common narrative is the cluster; in a cluster photobook it may seem a bit organized, but quickly you gather that actually the book is split into multiple sections that each require a different reading, but yet all relate together in one go.
  • What might be the hardest narrative sequence of all is the scatter; all the others before make the reader to some extent work to understand what is going on. With the scatter books, the reader has to draw their own links between pictures most of the time. This requires the theme to be very subtle within the book, as otherwise it would be too obvious to the reader then.

What we also have to consider when it comes to sequencing is the direct effect a picture will have on another. Each picture relies on the balance on the one before and after, as otherwise a completely different reading may be taken from it (one that may not be what the author wanted.)

Another aspect as equally important is layout and rhythm of the book. Do you want there to be a picture on every single page, or will there be a gap between pictures, resulting in one per page? The amount of pictures we have on show determines how fast we read them; for me personally having too many pictures on one page causes me to skip over everything, because just having the singular reputation makes me read into it more.