The Art of Photography

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Exhibition - The Art Books of Henri Matisse

The Art Books of Henri Matisse at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Gallery.

Just discovered the gallery.  Struggled to understand the poems fully.  (literary French).

Love the simplicity of his drawings and use of colour.

This statement resonated with me: (particularly while working on my assignment on contrasts)

The eye must not be fatigued by contrast. These..should be imperceptible, following a melodious line.  It is a question of visiting the plates in the same range of colours in order to avoid surprises.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Exhibition - Shadow Catchers

Went with the girls to the V&A to see Shadow Catchers.

Really impressive exhibition.  Each of the 5 artists has used a different way of creating an image onto paper without a camera.  The video is fantastic. Listening to how they saw the images and then set about creating them. Was particulary impressed with the way Susan Derges used water and moonlight.  I was attrated to the simple images like the leaves on paper and the christening dress.
The drop of water light by a torchlight. Simple but very dramatic.

I've tried using liquid light.  Bought some sunography paper to play around with. (just need sun!)

Will go back to this exhibition after Xmas and absorb a bit more.  Seeing and understanding light is key to any image creationWe all intend to look for workshops to learn a bit more.

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Take a fresh look at photos previously taken and read through notes to date. Can I see a different picture within these images.  Use three different subjects.

This scene taken at sunset in Italy. Looking out over vast countryside with a stunning sunset.  I intended  the trees to be silhouetted. I think the narrow crop i have now chosen (below) improves the image by first removing some of the black at the bottom of the image which doesn't add anything. Similarly by taking out the top part of the sky which is not red the scene now focuses on the bright red and pink sky.  I think it also gives greater emphasis to the vast plain. For future reference i think this image would have benefited from being a narrow stitched photo.
 A street photo with a few faults. Firstly it is crooked. There is no major focus to the image.
 Cropping into a vertical frame concentrating on the second elderly woman and the flowers tells more of a story and now focuses the viewer to the woman.  The story becomes quite different.  Is she buying flowers for someone? Why? This change of story can also make the picture not truthful.  What do you want the image to say is the lesson here.
 The young girl is delighting in the snow. However placed in the centre of the frame it is not a strong image.
 A tight crop of the girl says more about the snow than the vast amount of it in the original. Now it is clear she is catching snow in her mouth. that the snow is falling all around her.  Her rosy cheeks emphasis the coldness.
Each of these pictures has been improved by cropping. If only I had seen the tighter image when taking it in the first place! Take more time to see the picture you want.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Galleries and More

I keep three journals.  This blog, a written version of it which acts as a kind of draft copy of the blog and a small notebook that I carry around with me.  The last one is mainly used for jotting down ideas as they occur to me.  maybe I see something out of the bus window, or something in a restaurant.  Sometimes just an idea that pops into my head.  It may be a scribbled diagram of how I visualise a picture.

Should I add those comments here?  It would be great if students commented on each others blogs. it doesn't seem to happen from what I've seen.  Yes there are the chat forums but it's not the same.

Then there are the exhibitions I go to.  Should I comment on what inspired me at the time?

I think I might try it for a few weeks and see if it adds to this blog journal.  I'll try and get feedback from somewhere.  Maybe that doesn't really matter either. It might just be very useful as a note to myself on what I felt at the time.

I'll start with lat Sunday, 12 December.

Saw the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.

Incredible shots by very young photographers.  Loads of kids visiting obviously inspired by this.

I also noticed a recurring theme in the photographers comments about the amount of time spent on achieving their shot.  It sometimes was a place familiar to them that they studied for 2 or 3 years, sometimes a place they grew up in and knew so well. More often the picture was not spontaneous but the result of many hours , days weeks or years.

Photograph the familiar.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Vertical and Horizontal Frames

The brief for this exercise was to take 20 photographs as vertical, then to rephotograph the same place in a horizontal format.
To begin with I thought it would be easy if I just did one vertical one horizontal, but actually this didn't work.  My first couple of attempts made me realise I needed to think differently when shooting in this style.  I finally found that by taking an area an just walking around seeing the scene in the format I intended to shoot in gave much better result.  I didn't take the same picture in both formats as in my first attempts but viewed the area (a small park) looking for the pictures that would suit the format. 

For me this was very liberating and I started seeing more shapes and lines once I took this approach.

The first few vertical frames I looked for tall objects, the trees, the statues and buildings.  Then I saw lines and patterns, shapes that benefited from a vertical composition.

When I shot the horizontal images I was more aware of shapes, patterns and balance for this format as a result of concentrating solely on vertical images for the first part of this exercise.

This is a technique I will employ in the future when I'm looking to make my images more interesting.  It is a great way to see more than your initial view.  Different ways to balance an image and taking your time to see everything.