Category: Working With Light

152: Task 1 Finished

So for our task 1, we had to create a manual that would be directed to those that would be entering this module for the first time. Firstly we looked at example of manuals so that we had an idea of what ours wanted to look like, and the opinion was that people preferred to have a lot of pictures with not as much text (as in long paragraphs after paragraphs.)

So for me, I decided that I would do the manual as I was going along in the module after each individual topic so that it would be fresh in the memory from the day so that I could get it done as soon as possible. What I made certain was that I had enough pictures to keep the reader entertained and stimulated and not seeing so much text.
One of the things I had a problem with was that for all the alternative processes, it was quite hard not to talk a lot about them due to the fact that these processes were very technical and required a substantial amount of text so that everything would be covered. With it have to be correct with names and measurements, this was something I could not skip out on at all.

However, for the rest of it I kept it very simple and to the point so that it would be easy to follow. Also the layout of the manual was fairly simple as well, as I didn’t want to over complicate with a bunch of stuff coming on the pages that had no relevance at all.

Overall I was happy with my manual as it covered everything fully to a good level in my opinion. Here it is:

Manual

152: A Critical Reflection on the development of my Practice – Task 4 Part 2

At the beginning of this module, I really had no idea about light at all really. I knew of the basics with regards to shutter speeds, apertures and the bit of flash, but that was as far as I would go really. SO at first it was quite a big step up to going into a massive studio and having to learn all about these new lights in such a short amount of time that I found it massively beneficial of going back in my spare time to actually use them more so that I was comfortable with what I was doing.
Plus the addtion of learning new printing types in the form of alternative processes was very exciting indeed; I think from printing in glossy or black and white takes its toll over a while. So it was nice to be able to vary up the prints to make them more interesting, as well as leading the way into new processes for taking pictures as well. I think the cyanotypes are a great process which can lead to some interesting pictures if you were to use the right materials.
I can safely say though that my confidence is much higher then it was at the beginning of the module, to the point where I could walk into a studio and know what I am doing. In fact, it is that much better that I am preparing to undertake a project over the summer with my friends that will heavily rely on lighting for the mood.

This project will be based on bringing characters from video games into life and placing the into various scenes. This project will probably be a long-term one as it will need a lot of planning with costumes and locations, as well as getting the right light for each different character. For this summer, I will be starting off with the Slenderman mythology as my starting point, as we plan to host our own Slender games in some woods. So I will be hoping to be going around in the late evening where the sun is setting to try to capture some of the pivotal moments when everything will be tense.
I am actually looking forward to this a lot, as I believe it will be great fun but also will be able for me to show my talents as well. But I know that without doing this module, I wouldn’t have a clue about how I would like the lighting at all in my pictures!

Compared to the other two modules, this one has been quite different really. Everything was much more fast paced due to the lack of time left in the university terms, so it was pushing us to the limits, where in the last two everything was more calm and was building up. I think the only niggle I had been that for the last 3 tasks, the amount of time we were given was incredibly short and put most people under too much stress; what I would have rather of had been that at the beginning of the module we were given all the tasks so that we could begin our planning so that we were prepared to take our pictures rather than rushing it.
Apart from that, the module has been very good and beneficial, even when I had to come back in the evening to tap up my knowledge on the studio!
I think the one thing I have gather from all these modules, especially this last one, is that if you want to go do something you have to push yourself to do it. If you need to change the lighting with a new modifier, go do it. Need to go take that shot; go do it. I think I have gathered a new confidence in myself in that I am looking for new, challenging things to do to push myself, such as my project. However it can only be me that will be able to deliver the results, and that’s if I push myself to the limit.

152: Review of Easter Task, Exhibitions, Lighting – Task 4 Part 1

The Easter Task I felt offered no real challenge to me at all, and was merely an improvement on the pre-module/class task we had originally done. I think what bored me the most was that all we had to do was look for interesting uses of light and why we thought they were interesting. For me, I would have much preferred to have found a couple of images instead in which the lighting was quite unique and interesting and for us to attempt them ourselves. This would have actually been more useful and fun, as it would have been interesting to see what the others had taken pictures of and their variations of everything.
SO for me, when it actually came down to doing the task, I was looking more at the slightly unusual, wacky methods being implemented by some photographers. By that point we had already seen so much of the usual light coming in at one side providing a hard/soft light on the subject, I wanted something to spice things up. Levi van Veluw’s work is exactly the sort of thing that I was going for. Something that you don’t see on a day-to-day basis and will grab your attention.

Going to London to have at look at the exhibitions was really an ok day. Having been to London so many times for photography trips, there was nothing new or exciting for me to going back there, yet I always looked forward to the trips as it was a day out! The exhibition we looked at, Deutsche Börse Prize, was pretty much a one way horse really when it came to the winner. When I looked at all four participants, it was clear to me that Richard Mosse was my favorite by miles; his work was just faultless to the point where you could say nothing wrong about it at all. Due to him using the one of a kind film, his work was different from what you would normally expect to see from landscape photography, and this is what set him apart from the crowd. With his massive prints, you couldn’t help but be lured into these pictures and just study them.
Alberto Garcia-Alix was the only other person that I thought that could give some challenge to the prize, but it came to no real surprise at all that Richard Mosse was the overall winner, and deserved it was.
For the rest of the day though, I felt that we could have had longer to explore London as it’s a great city with little ally ways and streets that hold so many surprises. 45 minutes to an hour wasn’t enough to get back from the gallery to our coach, so I felt that an extra hour would have been hugely beneficial.

152: Human Presence – Final Pieces

So after careful consideration, I had finally chosen my final 3 pictures i was going to use for my final prints:IMG_2596 IMG_2517 IMG_2542

These 3 I decided represented the idea of disrespect and desertion quite well: Age, nature and force. The first being through age where the memory of this person is fading away dramatically, to the point where you have to get up close to just about be able to make out the name of the person and their details.
The second being from nature, where the laziness of not bothering to check on the graves has allowed Mother nature to push forward onto these graves and call them her own. They are pretty much unreachable unless you want to get multiple cuts and a family of bugs living in you.
The third being where some type of force has happened (Accidental or intentional) on this grave in which it has split into two and just left there on the ground. What makes this quite unsavory as headstones are quite expensive to get nowadays, so to see something like this is almost someone flipping the bird at the grave. And for no one to have come and tried to fix it (that is, depending on how long it has been there) is just a sign of no respect being given at all.

i have decided to go with salt prints for my process, as I felt that the getting those brown tones on the paper where the picture is slightly fading away due to the process fits in just right with my theme. I said before that salt prints seem like old pictures taken from a tatty photobook in which they have faded away. And for my pictures I want to show that these graves are fading away and not being looked after at all.

So to carry on with this process, I had to go make acetate images on these pictures so that I could use them as negatives when it came to the printing process:

print for negatives #5 Print for negatives #4Print for negatives #1

With this done, now all that was needed was for me to go and make the prints themselves at last! Thankfully the weather was quite sunny outside so getting all the images done didn’t take too long at all thankfully saved me having to use UV light. The only long process was having to fix the prints, wash them and then letting them dry as the darkroom was closing. This meant I had a whole weekend of no access to the darkroom for when I needed to do a couple of more prints as well.

However, when I saw my final prints I was pleased with how they had come out. Yes they may be a bit faded due to the fact that there might not of been enough mixture on the paper or the exposure time was too short. But again, it actually links in with the pictures themselves and the over riding theme to. with time going on by quickly, these graves will soon fade away like the pictures into a state where no one cares about them anymore, which is highly disrespectful.
When it comes to presenting these images, I believe I would have the two landscapes on either side of the portrait just to give it some symmetry, but also I want the middle picture to be of the grave so that the audience inside a gallery would know what they would be looking at.

photo 2(4) photo 1(5)photo 3(4)

152 Task 3: Portraiture Continued

So in my last post I had mentioned what my plan was for this task, with it being a self-portrait of myself, with the objects being defined by me and a few of my best friends if the same objects were mentioned.

So I started things off my going off on the self-portrait, as this would be the hardest to do out of the lot. Before I took any pictures, I sat down and thought to myself “how do I describe myself?” It’s hard to think about when you put your mind to it! But essentially I narrowed it down to the face that I was a happy-go-lucky person; someone who always had a smile on their face and would try to help others no matter what.
So this meant that the lighting had to be somewhat important in this shot as well; a moody, cold, dim room doesn’t do well when it comes to showing a happy person. Rather, you want a bright, warm light that can radiate off the person and show their warmness.

But like I said in the last post, I didn’t want any of this to be staged at all. So I wanted to use as much natural light as possible give it that authenticity. So placing my camera on a self-timer, I headed outside where it was pleasantly sunny thankfully! To take this self-portrait, I placed my camera on the self timer mode so that it would give time to get into place.
I had decided that I wanted to just get my top-half in the picture, as that was the money shot really…well where the most important parts where. This meant taking a few tester shots just to get everything in place, and then it was taking the real shots.
And it was hard at first, trying to just be me. I tried smiling, my natural face…but it just wasn’t working. For me, it really didn’t show the ‘real’ me at all. And I realized that I hadn’t done the single thing which opens up a person…laughing.

Image 1

And boom, there I had it. This was the shot I was looking for that said “Hi, I’m Alex. I’m the person that you’ll get along fine with, who’ll try to make you laugh and whatnot, and most importantly be there to help you when you need it most.” So how did I get this shot then? Well, quite simply I just thought about all the good times I’ve had with all my friends and the laughs we’ve shared and boom, there you go.

So with that out of the way, it was onto the objects. And the first one I wanted to deal with was football. I have been passionate about football since I was a lad. I remember going to my first ever Chelsea match with my dad, and loved it then and there. Heck, I remember one time Chelsea were playing Liverpool away and I had gotten all dressed up ready to go, before pestering my dad that “we had to go or else we would be late!”
But my love for watching football didn’t match the love I had for playing the sport. From primary school onwards, my lunch would be dominated by playing football with everyone until the bell would go. I would try to take up after school sessions as well, and as I progressed on I managed to get onto school teams and started playing well and competitively.
But as I got to my last school, I started to play rugby more as football wasn’t seen in high regard. I still played it as much as I could, making sure the boots I had would be suitable for both sports. But when I got to the end of sixth form, I hadn’t played football in over 3 years.
So when it came to doing sport at uni, I decided that I was going to take up the sport that I have loved all the time ago and go for it. The boots I had were ok, and it was only until when my mum came down for a night to say hello that for the first time, I got my first pair of proper football boots, Nike Hypervenoms. My mum knew I loved playing rugby, and these boots signified that she would trust and help me with my choice no matter what.So for this image, I decided to show my boots just on their own, but with all the dirt and mud surrounding them. Why show them to be clean, as if they haven’t been used? I have used these boots, and they have done me well, so I wanted to show the battles they had gone through.

Image 2

So for my second object that defines ‘me’: the game Slender. Two summers ago, one of my best friends told me there was this new, supposedly top horror game to exist. So I decided to try it out on a whim to see what it was like. So me and two others in a skype call, I started off my journey that would lead into an addiction of a sort. On that first attempt, I was jumping and screaming, in which at one point I was on my carpet in the fetal position, mumbling to myself after being ‘caught.’ But I just laughed it off… and carried on playing. And my friends thought I was mad with this. But I wanted to beat the game, I wasn’t going to let it just shrug me off like that. And closer and closer I got, but never quite ‘there.’
After playing this for a couple of months, I was then introduced to the online series called Marble Hornets; a live action show based on the Slenderman mythology. And I think it was this was what set the traps. I was hooked on the show, watching every episode I could before I had caught up to the latest one (the videos would come out when really) so what did I do after that? Go searching online about Slenderman.
And I searched high and low for any piece of detail about this myth. At this point I was actually believing that he was real, and my sleeping pattern was a bit screwed after staring at my door and windows, waiting for the white face to appear. Thankfully, I realized that it wasn’t real and was made up, but I was hooked. In such a little time, so much had been released. I looked it up and watched,read, listened to it…you name it, I did it. I wanted all the details.
At the same time, my passion for playing the game had increased; new variations of the original had come out, and the skype calls continued whilst I played them to my heart’s content when all my work was finished. I was itching to beat the game. And then the best news ever came out: there was going to be a full Slender game.
Slender the Arrival came out Spring last year, and it was the game for me. MY friends at that point knew I was the one to go to when it came to Slender, whether it be info or playing the game, and this one was no different. MY best memory is sitting in my sixth form center with everyone around me, on a new level we had just gotten onto, where a monster (not seen before) jumped right at me. Bearing in mind I had good, over the ear headphones on with full volume, close to the screen, it was a shock. And apparently I swore so loudly that everyone sitting in the center looked over in my direction. Not one care was given at all as I continued on playing.
So I decided to have a picture of the screen for the game, as every time I would load it up, that familiar tingle would run down the back of my neck; the pleasure of being able to play this game once again.

Image 3

So, the last object that shows me. And this last one does actually say who I am: photography. Originally, I went about choosing photography by force really. It was the last choice for choosing for GCSE’s, and I had french down for my last choice (heck I was good at it at the time.) Yet after the last parents evening of the year, and speaking to various teachers and parents, I was told that I should take up something creative so that I could give myself a different type of work, one that could let me relax. And initially I said no and resisted, but gave in eventually. And it was one of the best choice I have ever made.
At first, it was hard going, getting used to the structure and everything, but as time quickly went on by, I found myself enjoying going out and taking pictures and the fun of thinking what to shoot. And this carried on throughout the two years where I finished my GCSE’s. And at that point, I had my Canon 450D, to which I still have as my only camera today and shoot with.
I decided to take the plunge and carry it on at A level’s, as by that time I knew that this was the career that I wanted to go into at one point (the career choice I now want to go into is forensics, which I will try my hardest to get into.) And it was only then that I started my second obsession of collecting and buying photographic equipment. It was my second year in that I acquired my first two lens with my money, and I wanted more. Yet I had to limit myself to what I could get at paces. So I saved up what I could, and waited for the right moment in which I would buy yet another piece that would go into my collection that I could use. Even though it has cost me a fair bit of money, I have no qualms about it at all. In fact, I’m happy about it because I’m pursuing something that I love. And by getting these bits I am able to expand my abilities and to delve into newer things that remind my why I love this subject so much.
So my picture is just a very simple one: just a picture showing all of my photographic possessions that I have and mean the world to me. I wouldn’t know what to do if they were all to leave. Devastated would not be a strong enough word at all for me one bit.

photo 2

SO when it comes to presenting these images, all I would simply want is to have the self-portrait on one side as the biggest picture, with the other 3 down one side in a line. And with the pictures I would like to have a booklet that next to each image there would be an piece of text that would explain what the significant of these objects were. What I could actually use is the text used in this post as it was words that poured out of me that expressed how I truly felt with everything.

152 Task 3: Portraiture

Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god.

For me, when I saw this task, I was stumped. and I mean really stumped. In the short amount of time that we had left, we had to go take 4 pictures that contained a portrait and objects based on the person. This might seem easy, but actually when you get down to it, it becomes quite difficult.
How are you going to photograph the person? Is there a way they want to show themselves? What objects should you use? Do they have favorites? Do they have ones which define them?

These are the question that I started asking myself when we were given the task, as we had to take all of this into consideration when it came down to taking our pictures. Thankfully, the audience we were given was as if we were entering the Taylor Wessing prize. This allowed me to get some research into what type of pictures we would be taking and what would be expected.

The Taylor Wessing prize is a famous portraiture competition for photography. There are really no limits to the type of pictures taken, as the photographers are asked to push themselves beyond their limits; the competition is about the photographers expressing who they are. Not just doing whatever to fit the brief, but to show us, the viewers, who they are. So it is often the subjects are people we rarely see, opening a small doorway into the photographers life about how they know these people or how they met them.

jockeys_katie1200Kofi Annan by Anoush Abrar

The first thing i notice about these pictures is that…how simple they are. There is no flashy techniques or use of lighting being use here. Everything is stripped to the bare bone and presented as it is. And I think that is key for this prize; it is about showing the true self of people and not a fake version. And I think this is the same idea I have to go along on as well.
The photographer can manipulate the camera so much that the truth can be distorted. So for my pictures I just want to show the viewers the subject as they are. Nothing hidden, just everything being shown then and there.

So who am I going to take picture of then? Well originally I would have taken pictures of someone from my family as they who are I am closest to…but after thinking about it, I have decided to take a self-portrait of myself. I am the one that knows myself the best then anyone else, so I can show the true me on the camera to the audience.
When it comes down to the objects, I am going to do it slightly differently: I have a list in my head already of the objects I have narrowed down, and I’ll go along asking a few of my best friends what objects defines me as a person. if the same objects come up, then I’ll go about taking pictures of those.

152: Human Presence – Graveyards – My digital pictures

So for this human presence task, I decided that I was gonna go on an adventure and travel to a graveyard to do some exploring. So I decided to do some research beforehand so that I knew where exactly I was going, what the history of the place was like and if there was anything of interest there at all for me to have a look at (for example any churches, specific ground etc.)
So the place i settled on was London Road Cemetery, which was just 5 minutes away from the university. And after doing a bit of research, I discovered that there was an old conformist church located in the middle of the grounds which was protected by the laws. So as well as looking at all the graves, I was hoping that I would be able to get inside the building as well.

On arrival, I was surprised at actually how big this graveyard was; I had looked on Google maps and it didn’t appear to be that big. But being there in person put it all into perspective. But what made it worse was the fact that it was so…empty. And it was completely empty, as I was the only one walking around there during the day, and I didn’t see anyone else at a grave on my walk.
IMG_2623
Thankfully, this church building I wanted to look at was located near the entrance, so I decided that I would pay this a visit first before I continued on my way. However when I got there, I was upset that every single entrance had been barricaded by steel. And b every entrance I mean there was no way to get inside at all. I looked all over, and did a full circle but i was left with nothing which was disappointing. But it wasn’t the end of the world as it would of just been an added benefit to my visit really.

So carrying on my walk, i got my camera out and began to look at all the graves that were surrounding me. But I wasn’t just going to take a picture here or there. Rather, I was looking out for more of the older graves that were beginning to fade away due to time, or even some of the graves that had been broken down and left broken on the ground. As for my pictures I wanted to show that these graves (some of whom belong to soldiers that died during the war) have been ignored and left to rot away. As the families that used to once care for them have now gone, and these graves are now forgotten about. As to me, it shows a lack of respect really to those that have died, as if we don’t care about their memories anymore. IMG_2542 IMG_2544 IMG_2552 IMG_2558 IMG_2594 IMG_2520 IMG_2615 IMG_2526

These were just some of the many pictures I took on the day, as each picture shows a different way of how the graves are being disrespected and forgotten about. It really is a shame and makes you emotional, as for me it made me think would this be the same for me in the future one day; my grave being left to rot and forgotten all alone?
As for the majority of these graves, they were located far and away from the paths, hidden in the growth, behind the trees. You would actually have to walk there to see them, as you would just pass by; where the majority of graves by the path were looked after well, with the odd exception here and there.

Now, its time for me to go through each image to perform a tight edit now to get the right images before i go ahead with the processes that I want to use for my final prints.