Saturday, 8 February 2014

Final Assessment

Final assessment 

The time has come to package all the photographs and assignments and send them off for final assessment. I have had all the photographs for each assignment printed by Peak Imaging and I must say i'm impressed by the the quality of the prints as well as the turn around times, less than 36 hrs from emailing the photographs to them and the postman delivering them back. Peak Imaging also give 10% discount for NUS card holders. So whats not to like?

I have mounted all the photographs onto card and each assignment has been placed in separate file covers.

All looks good and each assignment will be bundled up separately with report and photographs. 

Fingers crossed for a good result, now the wait begins..........

Friday, 31 January 2014

Gallery Visit

Devon Guild of Craftsmen - Bovey Tracey 

On an impromptu visit to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen at Bovey Tracey, I came across an interesting exhibition of work by Alex Valentine.This was part of a larger exhibition of called 'Narrative Remains exploring the relationship between words and meaning'

Bold dogs look pink - Alex Valentine 

The main thread of the 'Narrative Remains' exhibition is to make us think about the huge influence of words and stories on our lives. 

The imaginative way that he has used the 4x4 tiles or a 'boggle' as he calls it to spell out 4 four letter words to inspire his photographic poems, shows a connection between the words and the photographs, which is sometimes funny and sometimes very thought provoking. 

In total there are eleven UK based artists displaying work in connection with this exhibition, including print, collage, enamel and ceramics. It is well worth a visit on a rainy day, and we've had a few of them lately!

Devon Guild of Craftmen - Narrative Remains

Assignment 5 - Tutor feedback

Overall Comments
Richard, I realise due to time constraints and the weather that this assignment has been compromised a little, but at the end of the day you have completed the module and got this piece of work in on time, so well done!

The work that you did in the fourth assignment has set you up well for this set of images, the lighting and overall quality of the shots is very good and we can see a great deal of progression in terms of skills learnt. The emphasis is on producing clear and concise images rather than any creative interpretations of the brief and with that in mind I think you will be fine in the assessment, as your work has moved on well through each assignment.

Feedback On Assignment
Any ‘step by step’ photo guide has to draw the viewer in and the cover image does that well, the domestic setting relates to the reader/viewer’s own scenario and we also see the finished pie, which does look tempting! Shooting a cover image is probably the most important aspect of working to a brief such as this, the shot needs to communicate the process straightaway and also highlight the photographer’s own style. The lighting is good and although some photographers choose a warmer light source to try and replicate a domestic setting, your more clinical approach is focused on the ingredients and as such keeps the reader/viewer interested through the images as much as the text.

The three shots of the ingredients combine well together and there is a good symmetry to the grouping that can be sometimes difficult to achieve with a multi image single page layout. I may have been tempted to use a white background to keep with the high key style of the cover shot, this may have proved technically difficult with shadow problems etc, so I can see why you have used the black background.

The following page again works very well, we can follow the images without really needing to read the text, the shots are well thought out and the narrative is strong. For me the format ratio of the images is interesting and whilst they possibly wouldn’t work as individual shots in this format, they work within the circular context of motion that I think is important when constructing a photographic narrative of any description.

The penultimate page comes across well, and although I know you still have to update your blog, were you working with these crops in mind, or did you do this during the processing of the images? The two shots of the limes are maybe a little too small, they both look interesting so it would be difficult to edit one of the shots out. Similarly with the images of the mixture, they both work well in the overall context and I can see you have worked hard on the composition of you work, this does show up well particularly when cross referenced with the exercises on your blog.

The final shot/page seems to work ok, although I’m not so sure about the ingredients behind the pie? I’m no expert on food/cookery photography but perhaps here we would be looking for a more creative image in terms of lighting and without any distractions? As it is the assignment works fine, you could possibly work with keeping the images in similar formats on the layouts but at the end of the day that would be the job of the editor rather than the photographer. 

Learning Log/Blog/Suggested Reading/Viewing/ Pointers For The Assessment
I think some of the work on your blog is excellent particularly the juxtaposition exercise, the idea is strong in terms of the image and concept, although being a vinyl junkie I would argue against the decline of records! Also the evidence of action shot is good, definitely in Eggelston and Stephen Shore territory! Other than updating your blog with final assignment you have a good range of books/subjects/images that backs up your assignment work very well.

A couple of things you may find interesting, I’m not sure if you have seen Sugimoto’s series of photographs Conceptual Forms before, if not then I think you will find them very interesting, both in terms of the actual ideas and quality of the images. I’ve seen the images in the flesh and they really are amazing!

Adam Maygar is another photographer I think you’ll find interesting, he’s a clever guy and adapts his own cameras that produce fantastic quality images, well worth having a look.

Finally a couple of general photo related blogs/sites that update very regularly and feature some very interesting work from around the world.

Assignment 5

Assignment 5 - Applying the techniques of illustration and narrative

For this assignment I had tried several different topics, all had been thwarted by the poor weather we have been having in the UK. So in the end I had to opt for a studio based assignment.  

The subject I choose was how to bake an American Key Lime Pie. The brief was to photograph a step by step guide for a fictional magazine called 'Tasty Desserts'

I used a Nikon D300 fitted with a 18-50mm f2.8 lens and two studio lights, one fitted with a soft box and the other a reflective umbrella. All the photographs were taken in and around the kitchen as I wanted to keep a homely feel to the images, keeping the theme of home baking. Shooting within the kitchen presented its own challenges with restricted areas caused by the kitchen units and work surfaces. 

The title page showing the finished Key Lime Pie in a home Kitchen setting, inline with the sub heading 'The magazine for the home baker'

Page 2

A close up of the finished pie and a small amount of text outlying the recipe and where it comes from.

Page 3 

Ingredients, the three photographs where taken in such a way as to create symmetry with the limes. I think this has worked quite well in this instance. 

Page 4 

These photographs show the beginings of the bake. They were shot and placed on the page in such a way to cause the reader to view them in a clockwise direction. 

Page 5 

Another clockwise arrangement. 

Page 6

The two smaller photographs of the limes were cropped to fit this arrangement on the page. The idea of the small images to me fitted the 'zest and juice the limes' caption. 

Page 7

The final page showing the completed Key Lime Pie. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Exercise: Juxtaposition (1 Photograph)

Juxtaposition - The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. 

For this exercise I had to choose either a still life photograph or a larger scale shot that involves choosing a viewpoint and lens focal length to demonstrate juxtaposition. I choose the former a still life. As the course notes suggest, using a still life set up, the lighting would ultimately be more controllable and I could take more time setting up and creating the exact shot I required. 

The brief for my photograph was to create a still life shot that would demonstrate the decline of vinyl LP records, cassette tapes and compact discs in favour of digital downloads. 

The title I choose for the book was to be 'Soundz'

The layout of the shot as can be seen above was to show the old LP's with 7" singles, cassette tapes and compact discs towards the rear of the photograph and the latest iPhone 5s in the foreground. New and old together. 

In preparation for the photograph I scoured my local charity shops to locate some old LP's and cassette tapes. In the past I have had a number of vinyl LP's in my record collection, but these have long since been lost. 

Having found a number of old LP's and cassettes and using some of my own compact discs I set the shot up in my studio. Using a black background, I set the items on the table and used a Nikon D300 fitted with a 18-50mm lens and on a tripod. 

Two studio lights were used either side, one fitted with a soft box and the other a reflective umbrella. 

The message in the photograph is the latest Apple iPhone 5s is the most up to date way of storing and listening to music. It is capable of storing all the albums and singles you would have had in your record collection in years gone by. For this reason the sales of LP's and cassettes have ceased and the sales of compact discs have declined over recent years in favour of digital media. 

Here is the original finished photograph, applied to the book. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Photographers Story

The Photographers Story - Michael Freeman 

Having purchased a number of Michael Freeman's books for this course, which have included the three books, the photographers eye, mind and vision, I have found them a great source of reference. Not a great surprise seeing that he was the author of this course.

The Photographers Story is a great addition to my library of Freeman books and like all his books has been essential reading to back up the course notes. 

Throughout the book he uses examples of his own photographic stories that he has completed over a number years to illustrate how to plan and shoot narratives.   

Photograph - W. Eugene Smith 1948

One of the narratives explained in the book was 'The Country Doctor' by W. Eugene Smith and was featured in Life magazine in 1948. This photo narrative has been credited as the first photo story of the modern photojournalism age. Smith is also considered by most to have perfected this art form. 

The photo essay followed the work of a Dr Ernest Ceriani in the small Colorado town of Kremmling. Smith spent 23 days shadowing Dr Ceriani, capturing the drama in everyday events in the small town.  His powerful images capture the detail the emotional and physical challenges faced by this hard working rural doctor.

Here is a link to the 'Life' magazine website where you can find more details on this ground breaking photo essay. 

The book then goes into different categories of photo stories such as people, location and commodity stories and explains how to organise such stories. 

In essence this is not a book on how to take a photograph, but on how to take a series of photographs to tell a story. An invaluable book if you are on this course, and even if you are not, but a keen photographer, its still a great book to add to your collection. 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A Narrative Picture Essay

Exercise: Narrative picture essay (5-15 photographs)

This project required me to set myself an assignment and then photograph it. As the title suggests this was to tell a story using between 5-15 photographs. 

I chose to photograph a crossing of the Torpoint car ferry from Plymouth Devon across the river Tamer to Torpoint Cornwall. 

With the well documented weather problems that have plagued my attempts to complete this course on time, this exercise was completed in a short weather window of a few hours and a few trips backwards and forwards across the Tamar. 

I tried where possible to take each shot from different angles, but the due to the fact most of the ferry was off limits to the general public I had to take most of the photographs from the public areas. Once the shoot was completed and I reviewed the photos, it took some considerable time to decide which ones to use, and then a further day arranging them to find a suitable final arrangement. 

The majority of images were taken in landscape, and with hindsight I would have done more in portrait. In the end quite a lot of the images were cropped to achieve the result shown.

I am quite happy at the way it has turned out and certainly learned a lot about the preplanning and execution of the shoot, I had made notes about what shots I wanted and where I wanted them, but didn't stick to it as closely as I should have. As Michael Freeman states in his book ' The Photographers Story' "Photo stories do not always go according to plan. In fact, if they did, they would hardly be worth doing, so this is not something to fret about" (pg 112).