The Art of Photography

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Relationship Between Points

 In this image the relationship is between the rock and the person in the centre of the image.  The rock is clearly the stronger point. I think this relationship works as the person is too small to be distracting yet gives a perspective of size to the rock surrounded by trees.

 This image the boat and the building are both strong points within the picture, although the boat is stronger as it is in the foreground of the picture and prevents the lake from being a blank space in the image. The picture would work without the building but not without the boat.

The relationship this time is between the two gulls. The gull in the air is the weaker point and in this image not welcomed.  It is distracting to the entire image, especially by being in the centre of the frame. The other gull forms part of a strong point by being on top of the sign post.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Positioning A Point

For the exercise we are required to take three pictures with a single point in a different part of the frame. I have drawn lines on each image to show the graphic relationship the point has to the frame. Each image has the point off centre toward the edge of the frame. I have also converted all images to either black and white or monochrome so colour does not distract or become a contribution to the picture.
This night time image of St Paul's is deliberately very dark so the light around the cathedral enhances the focus of the viewer. The darkness all around adds as it shows that the picture was taken from a high point. If it was cropped to just the cathedral I could have been standing anywhere. This is clearly a roof top picture where you focus on the dome of St Paul's.
Trying to take a picture with a single point along the Thames proved to be very challenging. The river is just too busy. I had dozens of points. So I asked these seagulls to help me out. Please stand apart and still for 10 minutes. I have used an aperture of 5.6 and focused on the gull. placed toward the bottom on the right with tall buildings and skyline in the other two thirds of the frame gives a sense of the gull having just flown in and landing on the wall. Or alternatively about to fly into this part of the frame.
The sign and safety buoy placed in the bottom third of the image gives the sense of somewhere to throw the ring should it be needed. The empty water gives the No Bathing sign some authority.


Preparing for the first exercise (positioning a point) we are required to look through previously taken photographs that have obvious points. My selection of 12 photos (below) all have obvious points. Two have more than one point.  The woman with the red umbrella and the runner are two obvious points. The photo of the steps of St Paul's has three points. The man with the briefcase being the main and obvious point, the two people sitting on the stairs the other two. The three figures forming a triangle. I have also chosen one photo with the point being in the centre of the frame.  Although we don't choose to place the point in the centre of the frame, in this case it works.  I took several pictures of this scene and the power pole in the centre of the frame worked best. It works because the converging lines of the rail tracks draw you into the centre of the frame making a triangle.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Exhibition - Francesca Woodman @ Victoria Miro Gallery

Managed to make it to see the photos of Francesca Woodman at the Victoria Miro Gallery on the last day of the exhibition.
This collection of previously unseen photos of Francesca Woodman were worth the visit.  Unaware of this photographer before seeing this work, her life is as intriguing as her work.
I found some of the photos of herself a little self absorbed. (will I be shot down for saying that) other images I thought were brilliant.  The majority of her images are of naked women (mostly herself) blending into the environment, but excluding the head (although not always).  The photos I especially loved were those where she appeared to be part of the crumbling plaster wall or those where she seems to be branches of the trees.

Over the next couple of days I couldn't get her images out of my mind and have looked for more of her work and to find out more about her life.  She committed suicide at just 22. I can't help but wonder how her work would have developed had she lived.
I found links to more of her work on wikipedia. Some very powerful images here.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Assignment One - Contrasts

Black and White

When I thought about black and white as a contrast in a single image, there is the obvious of making the image black and white. Taking a picture of something that is already black and white. I then thought of the statement..'it is there in black and white'.  The authority given to the written word as opposed to the spoken word.  I felt photographing a dictionary included all of these contrasts.

Moving / Still

I used my newly practised panning techniques from the early exercises to create the picture of the penny farthing. I was rather pleased with this shot.
By contrast I have also attempted to show that it is not the speed of the vehicle that determines movement and so chose a usually powerful vehicle stuck in snow. it's not moving anywhere.

Heavy / Light

Trying to show heavy visually took me awhile to achieve.  A picture of something heavy doesn't necessarily make you see heavy.  It took me a couple of weeks to come up with the idea for this photo. Sitting at the airport looking for my lost luggage and seeing people struggle with their bags especially over sized bags. Of course. We can all identify with a heavy suitcase. Hauling a bag up stairs will really emphasis how heavy it is.
By contrast I've used a photo I took at the Xmas markets of these very delicate glass baubles.  So light and delicate you are afraid of breaking them.

Liquid / Solid

Like a duck in water so the saying goes. The splashing of these ducks fighting had you ducking from the spray. When the water is frozen solid, these otherwise graceful swans were ungainly, sliding across the ice.

Many / Few

One day passing through Hyde Park I saw dozens of geese in the field. I'd never seen so many geese. For the contrast of few I decided to have one bird in focus and another faded out in the distance. Few is more than one but I wanted to give a sense of fading away from the many.

Hard / Soft

It was the fluffy tail of the squirrel that caught my eye this afternoon. It was bushier than usual and with the sunlight catching it, you just wanted to rub your face in it. Hard took some thinking. I wanted to portray this contrast with another animal.  Eventually I recalled pictures I had taken at the zoo of the tortoise enclosure. This one I think works.

Light / Dark

This contrast came almost by accident. I was photographing street scenes near Trafalgar Square when I saw how the sun had created a rainbow in the fountain water. The light was magic. I knew immediately this would be my light contrast photo. Thinking about dark in a way that would truly contrast this light initially seemed difficult as I had visions of dark as almost scary in my mind. That lead me to a picture I had taken on a ghost walk on Halloween. It was a wet evening. My intent was to take a picture that reflected something sinister about the street.

Straight / Curved

I've chosen two sculptures for this set of contrasts. For my choice of straight, I felt the environment of office blocks in the background emphasises the straightness. Choosing a body in water I feel accentuates the sense of curves.

Small / Big

Road work machinery gives a sense of big just by looking at it. I focused on the wheel to stress the size of the machine.  The contrast of a small trolley wheel in a bright red and upside down adds to the sense of smallness compared to the wheel below on the road work machine.