The Art of Photography

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Assignment 2 - Elements of Design

All of the exercises that formed part of this assignment were rather challenging. Some aspects much easier than others. Seeing shapes and getting them into the frame took time. Rhythm and pattern proved the most difficult with my chosen subject. Triangles were the easiest of the shapes to achieve.
I took loads of pictures of birds. Have been to nearly every park and the zoo. I've been bitten by geese, attacked by swans and had pigeons fly into me.
I've become slightly obsessed with seeing shapes in everything. I would take a lot of pictures and then reread my notes and see I hadn't quite got it right. I tried drawing little patterns to work out how I was going to take some of these shapes with birds. Not very successful either. However I am thinking a lot more about my pictures before I take them.
I found rhythm the most difficult. I'd take pictures of gulls and ducks but wasn't getting the numbers to both fill the frame and give a sense of continuousness.
While I was in Italy for a few days I blagged my way into a nature reserve that was not going to open until the day after I left. I traipsed across muddy wetlands with four men who are volunteers for the reserve. I saw the perfect shot through the powerful telescope of one of these gentlemen. The flamingos had just arrived. They looked stunning. However I don't have a 600mm lens. But, it did give me the idea to go to London Zoo. Not as wonderful as they are on a reserve but at least I could get close enough to take an image, even if there is a fence between us.
This exercise has taught me to look for patterns and shapes in everything. I've also taken on board my tutor's comments to take more time with each subject, to look at it from different angles.
A friend who is a painter had a book on design that inspired me to look at more than photography.
I am now flicking through books on graphic design in the bookshops. I'm noticing ads and posters.
Hopefully my learning will be reflected in my images going forward.

Now the images required for the assignment:

A single Point Dominating the Composition

Two Points

In addition to this image being two points there is also and implied diagonal line formed between the eyes of the geese.

Several Points in a Deliberate Shape
The gulls, geese and coots create a square. This took some time to achieve I might add. All the bird life was annoyed that I didn't have any thing to feed them.

Horizontal and Vertical Lines
The first image has strong vertical lines formed from the girl and the pigeons eating out of her hand and flying toward her. There is also a hint of a horizontal line formed by the heads of the pigeons in the bottom of the frame.
The second image is a strong horizontal line formed by the geese crossing the road. The people in the background appear as both horizontal and vertical lines. The trees also create vertical lines.

A nice diagonal line is created from man and the two geese. I feel it is stronger as the man has one foot in the air as he is walking by as does the goose in the foreground. Would have liked them to both be lifting the same foot but couldn't get that one.

A curve is created by the extension of the swan's neck and the woman's hand.

Distinct even if irregular shapes
Mating season has given me a few opportunities to get birds in all sorts of shapes. Here the two drakes are battling over a brown duck nearby. Their fighting creates a large circle and the wake around them smaller circles.

Implied Triangles
Here are two implied triangles. The first with the apex at the top created by the eye line of the girl and the two geese.
The second triangle has the apex at the bottom created by a group of several water birds sitting and standing in the water.

The continuous pattern of the feathers of a goose show a lovely pattern.

Rhythm should take your eye through the picture. I have taken two images to demonstrate this. The first is a group of gulls who from sitting on the water in the bottom left hand corner of the frame, fly into the air. They are flying towards bread being tossed to them, which is just out of the frame, your eye follows their flight across the image to the right.

The second image I have taken of a group of flamingos with their heads periodically popping up or reaching down to the ground. The continuous flow of the birds with heads up and down almost feels like a beat travelling through the frame.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Lecture - Brian Griffin

Last night I attended a talk given by Brian Griffin entitled "Survival and the Creative Photographer". We saw many slides of Brian's work while he talked about his career spanning several decades.
Initially I found his work intimidating. It is just so amazing. However I sensed I wasn't the only one in the room that felt that.
Much of what he said resonated with me. Be yourself. Create your own style. Don't copy other photographers.
He also said how he decided very early in his career that he would not look at other photographers work but looks at paintings and other art forms. He showed us images that were inspired by various artists. He also emphasised how much of his work is done by thinking about what he is going to do. Taking the photo is the easy part. Deciding what and how is the hard part.
I'm starting to really understand this message. It is coming through from the tutor's notes, from the books she has suggested reading, from other photographers.
When I left I felt really positive about what I can do and how I will go about it. Not from seeing Brian's amazing images but by having confidence in my own ideas and acting on them. The second part is what makes you a photographer. I think I am guilty of having loads of good ideas but not always acting on them.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Exhibition - Il Giardino del Lauri

Spent the weekend with friends in Italy. They've just discovered this amazing private gallery very near to them. Angela and Massimo Lauro have a private collection of around 300 pieces of contemporary art. It is possible to see these works by appointment. My friend and I spent an hour or two browsing these works. Not all pieces are on display, some are in their home and some in their other place in Naples. However it was a real treat to wander around what was on display. The space is magnificent as well. I was also permitted to take photographs of the work. Below is a sculpture in the grounds outside and a photo from the works inside that I particularly liked.
It is wonderful that people like this are promoting, buying and collecting new contemporary work from around the world.
Really exciting to see what people are doing elsewhere. I found it wonderful to see so many varied forms of art sitting side by side. So different to a commercial gallery.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Rhythm and Pattern

Showing rhythm your eye should move through the image flowing through the entire frame. I have photographed a rail bridge with a train travelling by, on a diagonal line. The glimpses of bits of yellow on the train and the angle of the bridge takes your eye from left to right of the image in an implied continuous line.

Pattern is static and should fill the frame. I have photographed some primroses. You can imagine an enormous bed filled with dozens of primroses all exactly the same forming a lovely pattern. Pattern pictures can often look boring as they are repetitious.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Triangles - Implied

The second part of the triangle exercise is to take three pictures of implied triangles. The first two are to be still life arrangements. One with the apex at the top, the other with the apex at the bottom.
I have arranged a stack of books for the first. The second I arrange while making myself a cup of coffee to ponder on this.

The third image was to organise a group of three people so that either their faces or bodies form a triangle.
As there isn't three people in my household I figured I could go to a public place and spend time watching people until they formed a suitable triangle. Railway station seemed like a good idea.
I spotted the artist sketching the statue and figured he could be the apex of my triangle. I took several pictures, then these two girls came into my frame, their actions fitted perfectly to create my triangle
In creating these last three images it is easier to understand how useful an implied triangle is in creating some order to a picture. Each of these images took time to prevent them looking messy and having something to say.
This whole section on design has been extremely useful in teaching me to think more about how I am composing an image.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Triangles - Real

The first part of the exercise on triangles is to produce three images of real triangles.
The firest a subject thst is a triangle itself.
For this image I have chosen a rack of coathangers. They are clearly triangles.

The second image is a triangle by perspective, converging upwards. I have used a wide angled lens taking the shot on the corner of the building looking upwards. A classic image for this triangle.

The third image is an inverted triangle converging downwards. A clump of snowdrops gave me my nice tidy triangle. In this image by placing the clump of flowers to the left of the frame, the leaves and ivy in the right of the frame also form a triangle, with the point of the triangle meeting the same point as the triangle formed by the flowers.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Exhibition - Anthony McCall - Vertical Works

It was by pure chance that I saw this work. I was on my way to Regent's Park to photograph ducks. I saw a sign outside the Ambika P3 Gallery (I didn't know about this gallery either). Thought I'd just pop in and take a look.
I am so glad I did.
How do I describe something I don't really understand? Light from the ceiling shining down to create dusty light cones that then make solid moving shapes on the floor. Bit hard to follow I know. I spent ages walking around in the dark trying to fathom how this worked. There are lots of parts to how this seems to work. Knowing how far the light beam will project, exactly how the shapes will appear and how the dusty cone appears. I found it magical.
I came home and spent a bit of time on the web looking at Anthony McCall's work on the web. I wish I'd done physics. Photons. I'll continue to appreciate how brilliant this work is while struggling to understand how he creates these master pieces.
They are beautiful.
I found an image on the web to help my poor explanation. (I hope I have given the correct accreditation to the photographer).

Anthony McCall
Between You and I 2006
Installation view at Peer/The Round Chapel,
London, 2006
Vertical solid light installation, 32-minute cycle in two parts
Computer, QuickTime movie file, two video projectors, two haze machines
Dimensions variable.
Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York
© 2007 Anthony McCall
Photograph: Hugo Glendinning

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Implied Lines-2

The third part of the implied line exercise is to take two photos, one with an implied eye line the other with lines that point.
The first image below shows the eye line between the smoker in the foreground and the one in the background. There is a second line between the cigarettes.

The secon image the lines that point are firstly the obvious of the anchor pointing out to sea then the less obvious of the discarded shoe pointing toward the anchor, the line that the wearer would walk toward the anchor. There is almost a thirsd of the rocks on the left pointing toward the anchor.