Assignment Five – Making It Up

Assignment Five

Making It Up

Construct a stand alone image of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to make a series, elaborating on the same theme. 

For this assignment, I was required to ‘make-up’ an image. I began by looking at the works of Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson and seeing how they construct an image. Their images have a deeper meaning, verging on psychological and going into the unknown. I wanted to produce an image that made the viewer think and maybe connect with the message of the image. I didn’t want an image that was too complicated, for example both Wall and Crewdson’s work contain a lot of detail, a lot of props and a lot of space. I find sometimes this works but I do prefer an image that is ‘uncluttered’.

I looked at their images and they all had something that you could relate to, something psychological, even if it was a feeling that the viewer could relate to. I wanted to explore an emotion or a feeling that people could relate to.

I began looking at Gilliam Wearing’s images and I liked that idea of the use of masks. This got me thinking that everyone put on a ‘mask’ to others. You cannot tell what the person is going through if they don’t show or tell you. A mask could be in the form of make-up or just smiling even when you’re hurting inside. Many people go through depression or anxiety but some hid it, they hid behind a mask, a mask visible to the world around them.

I looked at Francesca Woodman’s images, in particular the Space2 series. I liked the idea of using mirrors, and showing two sides of the person, one in the reflection and on in the person. I decided to use two images to do this, and make a composite image.

The setting I used was a bathroom, I chose this as many people use the bathroom to get ready in and it is somewhere that they could be on their own, and not somewhere where they have to pretend but somewhere where they make the transition. Bathrooms tend to be fairly clinical looking, from the colours to the lighting. The colours are bright white and sterile, from the tiles to the bath. The only lighting used was from the window behind the bath and the overhead light. I also noticed the shapes, from the lines on the tiles, to the lines on the wall in the reflections, to the shape of the mirrors.

For the first image, I wanted very little in it, so all you can see is the bath, the mirror and the person. It also gives the impression of being claustrophobic and alone, a feeling that many feel. The person is me; this was effectively a self-portrait. I choose to wear a dress, with my hair done and make-up on, showing that perhaps I was going to a party or a formal event, something that should make you happy and excited. In contrast, the reflection has no make-up on, my hair is not done, and I am wearing normal dark clothing. The positioning on the floor shows something is wrong; my head is cast downwards slightly, emphasized by the angle of the camera. But the reflection shows the feeling.

The next two images, I take the image face on with two different mirrors. One has a reflection of me with my back towards the camera; Woodman’s image was definetly a big influence here.

861fecb182afd7bc155c89fa067b0535

The last features a round mirror, with the reflection facing the camera.

I decided to do three images, as I was inspired by Triptych, where three images work together, usually a main image in the center and two either side.

To capture this image, I set my camera on a tripod and used a remote to take the image. I decided to change the image to black and white as it shows more emotion and I find that sometimes colour can be a distraction.

Here are my final images.


The Archive – Exercise

Exercise

Record a real conversation with a friend (It’s up to you whether you ask permission or not!). Before listening to the recording, write your account of both sides of the conversation. Then listen to the recording and make notes of the discrepancies, perhaps there are unfinished sentences, stammers, pauses, miscommunicates etc. Reflect upon the believability of re-enacted narratives and how this can be applied to constructed photography. What do you learn from the conversation recording process and how you can you transfer what you learned into making pictures? 

Record a real conversation with a friend (It’s up to you whether you ask permission or not!). Before listening to the recording, write your account of both sides of the conversation. Then listen to the recording and make notes of the discrepancies, perhaps there are unfinished sentences, stammers, pauses, miscommunicates etc. Reflect upon the believability of re-enacted narratives and how this can be applied to constructed photography. What do you learn from the conversation recording process and how can you transfer what you learned into making pictures?

I record a conversation with a friend. I wrote down what I believe the narrative was, to me it seemed pretty easy to recall. When I listened back to the recording, I found several things that I didn’t register before listening.

I found that my friends seemed to say ‘you know’ a lot, whereas I said ‘like’ a lot, I didn’t even realize I did that. Several times I would start a sentence and my friend would cut me off, one instance was I was beginning to say “But”, then she cut me off. During the conversation we talked over each other a few times. My friend seemed to talk the longest, whereas my sentences were fairly short in comparison, something I didn’t recognized from the earlier recall. I felt fairly confident in the recall I wrote of our conversation but on reflection I got the general jist of the conversation but missed all the discrepancies. Most of these I didn’t even realize where happening.

Going from this experience I believe it would be very difficult to accurately re-enact a narrative for the purpose of a constructed photograph. The main reason being even if you think that you’ve remembered everything, the chances are you have forgotten something. I was surprised what I missed from the conversation, it makes you think what else have I missed?

Roland Barthes believes that ‘there is no human experience that cannot be expressed in the form of a narrative’, “Narrative is present in myth, legend, fable, tale, novella, epic, history, tragedy, drama, comedy, mime, painting (think of Carpaccio’s Saint Ursula), stained-glass windows, cinema, comics, news items, conversation. Moreover, under this almost infinite diversity of forms, narrative is present in every age, in every place, in every society; it begins with the very history of mankind and there nowhere is nor has been a people without narrative. . . Caring nothing for the division between good and bad literature, narrative is international, trans historical, transcultural: it is simply there, like life itself.”

Narrative is everywhere, so narrative can be present in photography but care must be taken when ‘reenacting’ it, similar to the conversation exercise. It can be seen as a game of Chinese whispers, it starts as one thing but as it get transfer and passed along it can change to another thing, the meaning is totally different from the start to the finish.


Jovchelovitch, S & Martin W. Bauer. Narrative Interviewing. [Online]. <http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2633/1/Narrativeinterviewing.pdf> [Accessed: 25th September 2016].


 

The Archive

Project 2: The Archive

Exercise

Question for sellers re-situates images in a different context and in so doing allows for a new dialogue to take place. Reflect on the following in your learning log?

 Does the presence on a galley wall give the image an elevated status?

– Where does their meaning derive from?

– When they are sold (again on eBay, via auction direct from the gallery) is their value increase by the fact that they’re new ‘art’? 

Before looking at the value of photography in art galleries, I will first look at whether photography can be seen as art. The debate surrounding photography and art has been going on for over 180 years. In 1853, members of the Photographic Society of London stated that photography was “too literal to compete with works of art”. During the 1960s there was a shift in the way of looking at photography. The idea came around that photography could capture depth and not just what appears. Many people have compared photography to paintings, as both have to be ‘artificially constructed’, for example, they have to be lit, composed and created. Some saw that photography had an advantage over paintings and pother art as it could capture “the affidavits of nature to the facts on which art is based”. Recently there has been a debate among the art correspondence at The Guardian newspaper as to whether photography is art. Jonathan Jones believes that there is no way that photography could be considered to be art. He believes that it looks ‘stupid when a photograph is framed or backlit and displayed vertically in an exhibition, in the way paintings have traditionally been shown’. He described photography in a gallery as ‘flat, soulless, superficial substitute for paintings’. He believes that whereas paintings have a multi-layer to them, photographs have one layer of context. Sean O’Hagen, who is another Guardian art correspondent, disagrees with Jones. He states “Photography is art, and always will be”. He goes on to name several artists who use photography, such as Gillian Wearing, Jeff Wall, Cindy Sherman, Edward Steichen, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. O’Hagen believes the problem stems from people believing that photography is competing against tradition paintings. But this is not the case. He ends his debate by using an image by Awoiska Van der Moten. The image is a long exposure of Le Gomera and La Graciosa, which are volcanic islands. He states that these images show what photography, as art is all about as they are so vibrant that other works of art ‘seemed muted’. I personally believe that photography can be art, it is just different from ‘traditional’ art, but that doesn’t make it any less viable to be hung on a wall in a gallery.

I believe that the presence of a gallery wall does give an image an elevated status. Being in a gallery gives the impression that there is something special about the image; some has made it worthy to be hung as art in a gallery. It makes it look as if it is something different. Depending on how it is mounted it also catches the viewer’s attention, such as Jeff Wall’s image, which as mounted with, backlights.

Their meaning can derive from what the photographer is trying to achieve, but the actual meaning and the perceived meaning are two different things. It is all down to context and how the viewers read the image. Maybe the photographer was trying to achieve one thing but the viewers see it as another, it changes depending on circumstances and who is viewing it.

I believe labeling a photograph as art does increase its value, all you have to do is look at images that have been sold and the figure they have sold for. For example Andreas Gursky’s image of the Rhein sold for $4.4 million in November 2011. Photographs regularly sell for over a million. Photography as art can be an expensive business.


Jones, J. Flat, Soulless and Stupid: Why Photographs don’t work in art galleries. [Online]. <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/nov/13/why-photographs-don’t-work-in-art-galleries&gt; [Accessed: 7th of September 2016].

O’Hagen, S. Photography is art and always will be. [Online}. <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/11/photography-is-art-sean-ohagen-jonathan-jones&gt; [Accessed: 7th of September 2016].

Prodger, M, Photography is it art? [Online]. <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/oct/19/photography-is-it-art&gt; [Accessed: 7th September 2016].



 

Setting the Scene – Research Point

Research Point 

Look up the work of Gregory Crewdson online. Watch this YouTube video about Gregory Crewdson and his work and consider the questions below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7CvoTtus34&feature=youtu.be [Accessed: 24/02/14]. 

  • Do you think there is more to this work than aesthetic beauty?
  • What is your main goal when making pictures? So you think there’s anything wrong with making beauty your main goal? Why or Why Not? 

Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer born in 1962. He is well known for his images of suburban life. He went to the State University of New York, and earned a BFA, he then went onto the University of Yale where he earned a MFA. He plans his images down to the last detail, each one is staged and Crewdson uses actors in his images. Crewdson uses a large format camera and could have as many as fifty people working on one image, it takes time to plan and execute just one image. His work has featured in many galleries across the world but has also featured in the television series Six Feet Under.

The appearance of Psychology in photography is becoming more and more apparent. Photography is about communication, communication between the photographer and the viewers. The majority of images have a narrative, an ability to tell a story, which is visible depending on its context. Everything that makes an image up contributes to its psychology. For example, the depth, the colours or the complexity. A viewers response to the image depends on their own personal preferences, their life, their experiences, it all comes together to form an emotional response. Sometimes we don’t realise that we are effected by an image, but our consciousness registers it, and we start to look deeper at the images. You are more likely to have a response to an image if there is something familiar about it, something the registers in your brain and associations are formed. Some believe that this way of responding could originate from our ancestors. As we are ‘hard-wired’ to perceive danger and react, the same could be said for any feeling.

Crewdson’s work is done in a cinematic style, which adds to the psychology of the images. The response relies on the visual impact of his images. Everything is there for a reason in the images; it is controlled and is able to draw the viewers’ attention to certain aspects subtly.

When I first looked at Crewdson’s work I did not concentrate on the ‘beauty’ of the image. I immediately found my self wondering, trying to find the context and what the image was about and how it made me feel. I do not think that the aesthetic qualities of his images are the point; it goes a lot deeper than that. I’ll admit when I first looked at his image I felt uneasy. His work goes deeper than aesthetic beauty, according to the video, he plans everything. Everything is present for a reason, he ‘directs’ the image. The images are created, not just taken. It takes a lot of time, money, and personnel to make these images possible. He could have at least 60 people working with him. I believe there is a underlying psychological feel to his images.

I believe that Crewdson does succeed in making his images psychological. The make-up of the images alludes to this. His ‘models’ don’t move, they are posed often in slightly odd ways. The backdrops are suburban neighbourhoods, which the whole scene could be described as banal. Crewdson stated that he is trying to produce the sense that there are dark undercurrents just beneath the surface of his images, and that the picture we see is almost a façade, being overlaid on top of the seething emotions below. It is obviously that he is creating a psychological imaging. His background has psychological elements to it as his father was a psychoanalyst. His images are ‘the abundance of detail balanced with a striking lack of information’. Crewdson wants to create the perfect image, but even for him he fails, and this is what drives him on, he is ‘fuelled by his disappointment’.

My goal when creating images vary as to what type of photography I am doing. If it is landscapes, I tend to look for different angels to show that beauty, whereas with portraits I like to show emotion. I don’t think any image is purely concentrated on beauty, there is almost always an underlying context that may not even be apparent to the photographer.


ArtNet. Gregory Crewdson (American, Born 1962). [Online]. <http://www.artnet.com/artists/gregory-crewdson/biography&gt; [Accessed: 10th of September 2016].

The American Reader. In Conversation Interview with Photographer Gregory Crewdson. [Online]. <theamericanreader.com/interview-with-photographer-gregory-crewdson/> [Accessed: 25th of August 2016].

Thein, M. Photography and Psychological: It’s All a Mind Game. [Online]. <www.huffingtonpost.com/ming-thein/photography-and-psycholoy-part-1_b_4380400.html> [Accessed: 23th August 2016].

Thein, M. Photography and Psychology, Part Ti: How we View Images. [Online]. <https://blog.mingthein.com/2013/10/31/photography-and-psychology-2/&gt; [Accessed: 25th of August 2016].


 

Part Five – Setting the Scene – Exercise

Part Five – Constructed Realities and the Fabricated Image

Project 1: Setting the Scene

Exercise

Watch this famous scene from Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJEEVtqXdK8 [Accessed: 24/02/14]. Don’t read on until you’ve answered the following questions: 

  • What does this scene tell you about the main character?
  • How does it do this? List the ‘Clues’.

Make some notes in your learning log. 

Before discussing the scene form Goodfellas, I will look at why cinema and narrative. Film is perfect for showing narrative, as it can merge many different things to provide the final result, such as lighting, props, acting, music and dialogue. All of which contributes to the narrative. In films, the narrative is built upon during the film; it can show the development of a character or a story. This differs from still photography as to fit a whole narrative into one frame is very difficult. David Campany stated that ‘still photography struggles with narrative as storytelling’. The narrative may be easier to see in a series of images, as the narrative can be developed and explained more.

This short video is an extract form the Goodfellas movie.

It starts with the main character, Harry Hill getting out of his car with his ‘date’. He has someone look after his car for him, like a valet, he also hands him some money. This shows the man has money, power and influence. He is wearing a black suit with a red tie, a woman accompanies him, and it appears to be their first date. This can be seen from their mannerism and the dialogue. Instead of waiting in line for the restaurant, they go in a different way. A man opens the door for them and Hill hands him some money. The colour scheme for this area is a dark red, which could be a symbolism of romance for the restaurant and their date, but also the violence and danger of Hill. The corridor is dark and shady, which could be a metaphor for his character. They go through the kitchen area, as they walk several people talk to Hill, so he is well known. The actual restaurant has a romantic intimate feel to it, the lights are dull and the tables are small. Hill talks to the owner of the restaurant and they seem to be fairly familiar with each other. A table is specially brought to the front of the restaurant in front of the band for them; another guest has a bottle of wine sent for them. His date then asks him what he does for a living; he states that he is in construction.

This clip tells the viewer several things about the Hill. He is a powerful and respected man here. He has money and ‘tips’ well, for their service and loyalty. He is trying to impress his date. He has an authoritative air about him. Everyone seems to know him, and their greetings seem to hold respect for Hill. The colour scheme includes reds and generally dark colours. Whilst in the restaurant this could be interpreted as romantic, it could also reflect Hill’s character, and his work. He lies to his date about what he does for a living, as everyone who knows about the films knows it is about the mob.


David Campany. Photography and Narrative: What is involved in story telling?. [Online]. <https://www.david-campbell.org/2010/11/18/photography-and-narrative/> [Accessed: 2nd August 2016].


 

Expressing Your Vision – Assignment Five – Photography is Simple

Assignment Five

Photography is Simple

Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing, Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject; in order words, it must contain some new information rather than repeat the information of the previous series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There should be a clear sense of development through the sequence. In your assignment notes explore why you chose this particular subject by answering the question ‘What is it about?’ Write about 300 words. Your response to the question doesn’t have to be complicated; it might be quite simple (but if you can answer in one word then you will have to imaginatively interpret your photographs for the remaining 299!).

For this assignment, I decided to use St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire as my subject. The cathedral has been coined as the most sacred site in Wales; the build was completed in 1180. It has been the site for pilgrims for centuries. Up until the mid 16th century it was Roman Catholic, but now it is High Church churchmanship. The cathedral shows different examples of architecture from the time. The cathedral itself is made up of several small churches surrounding the nave and the high alter. Each church was completed at different times, but each provides a unique experience for prayers.

Before completing this assignment I research several architectural photographer for inspiration. I first looked at Nick Guttridge’s images. He produces architectural photographs that have a fine art look to them. I like the way his images are fairly warm and not sterile or uninviting. Fabrice Fouillet is another photographer, which I looked at. Fouillet has photographed many churches; one such work was named Corpus Christi. Fouillet states that he tries to reveal ‘a new conception of the sacred’.

I chose this particular building as I find it very interesting, as there is so much to explore there. I wanted to show the detail that I saw there, for example the ceilings. I found it difficult to narrow down the images from the whole lot I took. I used manual mode, I changed the white balance to shade as with auto it gave the images a very cold feeling. A problem I came across was the lighting, as it was dark inside but the light was very bright through the windows, I was forced to use a high ISO, I was worried about the noise in the images but it doesn’t seem to have caused too much problem.

DSC_0218DSC_0226DSC_4115DSC_4113DSC_0259DSC_4059DSC_0263DSC_0279DSC_4054DSC_4038

Assignment Five – Photography is Simple – Contact Sheet


Expressing Your Vision – Research Point

Project 2: Photography as information

Look again at Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph Behind the Gare Saint;Lazare in Part Three. (If you can get to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London you can see an original print on permanent display in the Photography Gallery). Is there a single element in the image that you could say is the pivotal ‘point’ to which the eye returns again and again? What information does this ‘point’ contain? Include a short response to Behind the Gare Saint Lazare in your learning log. You can be as imaginative as you like. In order to contextualise your discussion you might want to included one or two of your own shots, and you wish to refer to Rinko Kaawauchi’s photograph mentioned above or the Theatres series by Hiroshi Sugimoto discussed in Part Three. Write about 150-200 words. 

Behind the Gare is an image taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson. The image show someone in mid jump, leaping over some water. The area is surround by rumble, with buildings in the background. There is another figure in the image behind the fence. On the wall there is a poster of someone leaping which links to the actual person in the foreground. The person who is jumping is blurry whilst everything else is in focus. The water is very light and shows the reflections well. In an interview, Cartier-Bresson stated that he couldn’t see the shot. He took it through two planks of wood, with only the lens showing through. He did not know the person would be there. When the interviewer said it was lucky, Cartier-Bresson said, “It’s always luck. It’s a matter of chance. Just be receptive and it happens”.

The Behind the Gare image is an example of a Decisive Moment. Cartier-Bresson described the Decisive Moment as, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression”.

I find my eyes keep returning the half circle near the rumble on the ground, as well as the shadow of the person. The darkness of the shadows is in contrast to the brightness of the water. It draws attention.

I believe the pivotal ‘point’ of the image is the distance between the mans foot and his shadow. The image was captured at the right moment to show this gap. It not only shows a physical gap but could signify a psychological one too.

Untitled2

Hiroshi Sugimoto is a Japanese photographer born in 1948. His work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of New York and The Tate Gallery. He has experience in time-exposed photography. For example in his series Theatres Sugimoto took long exposures in cinemas. On his website, Sugimoto said that he wondered what would happen if you shot a whole movie in a single frame. Sugimoto decided to visit a local cinema, dressed as a tourist, he set-up his camera and left the shutter open for two hours. The result was a bright white scene. Sugimoto did not use any other lighting in the pictures.

Untitled3

Rinko Kawauchi is a Japanese photographer who was born in 1972. She has released several books and has received numerous awards for her images. One image is of a rose illuminated. I personally think the image is way over exposed that it makes it impossible to understand. You can see it is a rose but it is just too bright. The brightness of the rose is not the only thing that draws my attention; the other point is the blue dot on the top right hand corner. I do not feel it is a good representation.

Untitled4


Expert Photography. Top 10 Henri Cartier-Bresson Quotes. [Online]. < http://expertphotography.com/top-10-henri-cartier-bresson-quotes/&gt; [Accessed: 10th August 2016].

Fraenkel Gallery. Hiroshi Sugimoto. [Online]. <https://fraenkelgallery.com/artists/hiroshi-sugimoto&gt; [Accessed: 8th March 2016].

Spectacular Attractions. Picture of the Week #50: Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Theatres. [Online]. < https://drnorth.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/picture-of-the-week-50-hiroshi-sugimotos-theatres/&gt; [Accessed: 12th August 2016].

Sugimoto, H. Theatres. [Online]. <www.sugimotohiroshi.com/theater.html> [Accessed: 8th March 2016].

The Japanese Times. In The Light Of Rinko Kawauchi. [Online]. < http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2012/06/14/arts/in-the-light-of-rinko-kawauchi/#.V7Rf82WnWt8&gt; [Accessed: 12th August 2016].

YouTube. L’amour de court. [Online]. <www.youtube.com/Playlist?list=PL707C8F8986O5EOBF> [Accessed: 1st March 2015].


 

Expressing Your Vision – Exercise 5.2

Exercise 5.2

Select an image by any photographer of your choice and take a photograph in response to it. You can respond in any way you like to the whole image or to just a part of it, but you must make explicit in your notes what it is that you’re responding to. Is it a stylistic device, such as John Davies’ high viewpoint, or Chris-Steele Perkins’ juxtapositions? Is it the location, or the subject? Is it an idea, such as the decisive moment. Add the original photograph together with your response to your learning log. Which of the three types of information discussed by Barrett provides the context in this case? Take you time over writing your response because you’ll submit the relevant part of your learning log as part of Assignment Five. 

This exercise required me to find a photograph by a famous photographer and to take an image in response to it. Where I live is in the middle of the countryside, and thus there is a lot of wild life, including birds. I found a picture by the nature photographer Martin Belan. I have admired his work for quite sometime now. One image of his stood out, it was the one with the bird silhouetted against a sunset background.

For me to take an image in response to this took time and patience for the correct circumstances, from the sunset and getting an image of the flying birds overhead. I managed to capture a few images of bird silhouetted against a twilight sky instead of a sunset, but I also caught them in the daytime mid-flight. Even though the daytime ones don’t have the same effect as the twilight images, I still like them. I found it difficult to capture the image so the whole bird would be in focus, as they kept flapping their wings and it caused blur, which I didn’t want. I had to make the shutter speed faster but a night the light then became a problem.

Here is the response image.

DSC_0067

And here are the others I took in the daytime.

I am responding to his image following Belan’s style. I did not try to replicate the location, but I did try to replicate the subject and the technique. In short I was trying to respond to his idea.

Barrett believed that you could interpret images using three types of information; information in the picture, information surrounding the picture and information about the way the picture was made. In other words, the internal context, the external context and the original context. I believe in this case the information in the picture provides the context for my image. As it is a simple image and all the information about it is in the image itself.


 

Expressing Your Vision – Research Point

Project 1 – The Distance Between Us 

Research Point 

For a short introduction to how context operates in relation to photographs, read Terry Barrett’s essay ‘Photographs and Context’; http://www.terrybarrettosu.com/pdfs/B_PhotoAndCont_97.pdf [Accessed: 16/06/14]. Barrett suggests that we interpret pictures according to three different types of information: information in the picture; information surrounding the picture and information about the way the picture was made. He call these the internal context, the external context and the original context. 

I am currently studying the Context and Narrative module as well, so I understand how important context is to a photograph. Terry Barrett’s essay ‘Photographs and Context’ reinforces this notion. “The meaning of any photograph is highly dependent on the context in which it appears”.

In this essay, Barrett uses a photograph taken by Robert Doisneau to show how the context can be confused or changed. The picture is of a man and a woman having a drink in a café in Paris. He liked the chemistry between the two and asked if they wouldn’t mind being photographed. Le Point published this image as a photographic essay on Paris Cafes. A while later this image was published on a pamphlet stating the evils of alcohol. This was done without his consent. Then the same image appeared under the headline “Prostitution in the Champs-Elysees”. These examples show how one image can be used under three different guises. Barrett goes on to say how if you present different environments for the viewers it will change their perception of the image. He makes a very important observation which is that ‘Photographs made for one purpose are often used for other purposes”.

Terry Barrett believes in order to determine the context of an image; the viewer must look at three different aspects of said image. These being:

  • What is in the picture (internal context)
  • What is surrounding the image (external context)
  • How the image was made (original context).

Photographs are often taken out of context, several can be seen online. This can happen when a photograph is staged and then the viewer thinks it is real. One such image is the image that was taken of a couple making out in the middle of the Vancouver riots. The media reported that is was real, however a mobile phone image from a different angle showed it was set-up. Another image is one showing construction worker having lunch atop a skyscraper that was taken on the 20th of September 1932. A historian for Corbis Photo Agency says it was set-up. It was infact publicity image for the Rockefeller Center.


 

Expressing Your Vision – Exercise 5.1

Part Five – ViewPoint

Project 1: The distance between us

Exercise 5.1

Use your camera as a measuring device. This does;t refer to the distance scale on the focus ring(!). Rather, find a subject that you have an empathy with and take a sequence of shots to ‘explore the distance between you’. Add the sequence to your learning log, indicating which is your ‘select’ best shot. When you review the set to decide upon a ‘select’, don’t evaluate the shots just according to the idea you had when you took the photographs, instead evaluate it by what discover with in the frame (you’ve already done this in Exercise 1.4). In other words, be open to the unexpected. In conversation with the author, the photographer Alexia Clorinda expressed this idea in the following way: “Look critically at the work you did by including what you didn’t mean to do included the mistake, or your unconscious, or whatever you want to call it, and analyse it not from the point of view of your intention, but because it is there?”. 

Before completing this exercise, I looked at the definition of empathy. I found two definitions, the first being, “the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it”. The second definition, I believe is more suitable for approaching this exercise. “The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this”. I have used the second definition of empathy to create an image for this exercise.

Whilst I was walking around St. Dogsmaels, in Pembrokeshire, I found some fishing boats that were just floating in the water. The weather was very misty and dull so I decided to photograph these boats. I like the effect that it produced, with the colour of the boat against the blandness of the background.

L1020367.jpg

The image with the blue boat provides little information other than there is a boat. The line between the water and the land/sky is indistinguishable due to the fog. I feel the dullness of the scene adds a bit of mystery. As the viewer you could be wondering what you could see if the mist wasn’t there. What is behind the mist or to either side of the frame? The angle of the photograph shows the boat longitudinal, showing a hint of colour form inside the boat. A different angle may have been better. But overall the mist, the dull colours and the ‘blandness’ reminds me of Marten Elder’s images, as he manages to capture the banal very well.

I also decided to include an image I took at Narberth Castle. When exploring castle or similar buildings I find myself wondering what it would have been like when these buildings were occupied, what the lives of the people were, and what history happened behind these walls. If you look at most castle now, they are tourist attractions, Narberth Castle is not one of the most visited of places, and the council have put up metal fences and even just discarded them around the walls, I find myself feeling sorry for the place (if you can feel sorry for a building?). In the image, you can see one ruin wall of the castle, on top a small incline. The light is shining from behind the wall. In the background you can see the metal fencing, and one discarded in front of the wall. The image is quite dark in the foreground; sue to the shadows form the light behind. But with the light coming from behind it highlights the castle outline. I chose to photograph a subject instead of a person because I find it easier to express empathy for a ‘still life’ subject.

DSC_0235


Merriam-Webster. Empathy. [Online]. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy&gt; [Accessed: 14th August 2016].