Monday, 28 January 2013

Assignment 1 - Feedback

Assignment 1 - Tutor feedback

Ive Just received my tutor report for my first assignment, the verdict? there are good points and not so good points!. Right the good points first, Peter, my tutor stated that most of images I submitted were of a good standard and some were very strong and well thought out. Some however some of the contrasts didn't quite hit the spot.

Having mulled over which images to submit in the first place, the very ones I thought were going to be weaker than the others, were weaker!, I should have got with my instincts and submitted the ones I had first thought and not over analysed.

Peter states that I had taken a fairly literal style in relation to contrasts on most of my images, where this was ok to a point it could stifle my own creativity. He suggested that I look up some photographers that use this style such as Bernd & Hila Becher, Ed Rushca, Stephen Gill and Sugimoto.  I'm going to research these photographers and investigate their style a little deeper.

In the meantime, i'm moving on with the next series of exercises and assignments in ernest.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Elements of Design - Points

Exercise: The relationship between points (3 photos)

In the last exercise I concentrated on a single point within a frame, with this exercise I was to find situations where there are two points. By adding another point, the simplicity of the image is lost. To demonstrate this I had to find two normally occurring situations where there are two points.

Image 1

With a single point, the main relationship is with the frame, In image 1 of the dog walkers on the beach,  the relationship between the two points dominates the frame. The eye being drawn to one and other in turn, and sets up an implied line between the two as indicated by the line. As demonstrated here one point attracts more attention to the other, the walkers in the foreground are closer and larger, so therefore attract more attention, the viewer is then drawn to the walkers in the background as being further away and smaller in the frame. 

Image 2

Applying the same principles to image 2, which of the two points is the strongest and attracts more attention? The two walkers are roughly the same distant from the camera as each other and the same distance from the edge of the image. However I would say that the person to the left of the image is the stronger of the two, only slightly, as she is facing towards the camera whereas the person to the right of the frame is side on. You could argue that the person to the right, is the stronger as he is looking toward the the female and implies movement towards her across the frame. 

Image 3 

In image 3, the walkers on the beach are the stronger, as in image 1 they are closer and bigger in the frame in relation to the ships on the horizon. Even though the ships are close to the edge of the frame, as they are so much in the distance, the walkers remain as the stronger point.

Image 4

In image 4 , this is a special case due to the unresolved tension between the two points. The viewer flits between one eye and the other, as no one point is stronger than the other. The eye does not resolve the composition, this kind of picture often damages the composition, but it could also have the effect of activating the image.   

Monday, 21 January 2013

Elements of Design - Points

Exercise - Positioning a point ( 3 Photographs)

For the first part of the this section of the course deals with points, point or points within a photograph are the most fundamental design element.

By definition the point has to be a small part of the total image, as stated in Michael Freeman 'The Photographers eye' The simplest form of a point in a photograph is an isolated object seen from a distance, against a relatively plain background.

In preparation for this exercise I noted down as many types of situation as I could think of which would make a clear photograph as a point.

  • A person walking on a quiet street
  • A horse or any other animal in a field
  • A boat on the sea
  • A different colour pebble in a mass of similar coloured ones
  • A single tree or bush in a field or garden
  • A road sign on a deserted road

There are numerous situations where a single point would be present. 

Within a photograph there are essentially thee classes of position, in the middle, off centre and close to an edge. Placing it in a certain position is chiefly for the aesthetics of the photograph. 

The following images demonstrate how the positioning of a single point can effect the graphic relationship with the frame.

 Image 1

In image 1, the navigation buoy is placed in the central position, this may be a logical but this gives the the photograph a static rather dull feel. 

Image 2

In image 2, the fisherman is placed the left of centre, this creates a more pleasing composition to the eye, complying with the rule of thirds. As the fisherman and rod is facing towards the right of the frame, it suggests movement towards the centre of the frame. 

Image 3

In image 3, the navigation buoy is placed towards the upper right of the frame, for this image having the point so close to the right hand edge does not work. This is due to the force of the tide running from left to right, suggesting movement in that direction. As this image suggests the closer the point is to the edge, the more eccentric it is, needing some justification if the image is to work.  

If the buoy was placed in a similar position to that of the fisherman in image 2, it would work much better, the tide running left to right would suggest movement into the frame and not off the edge as in image 3. 

Assignment 1

Well its finally gone, the assignment I mean, I've mulled over which images to incorporate into it for some time. Time waits for no man as they say, so i've bitten the bullet and submitted the assignment, after reading other students blogs I think everyone has felt the same before submitting their assignments.

I'm happy with my final selection, some images are stronger than others, but otherwise happy, lets hope my tutor feels the same way!

Onwards and upwards..................

Monday, 7 January 2013


Assignment 1 - Contrasts

This assignment, not a technical assignment but an exercise in finding and photographing contrasting qualities, as this is one of the most fundamental principles in design. 

This assignment is based on one set by Johannes Itten (1888-1967) who ran the basis course at the Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture in 1920's Germany. Itten's theory of composition was rooted in one simple concept, contrasts.

The assignment involves looking through photographs I had already taken or taking at least 8 pairs of photographs that best express extremes of different qualities and which bring out the essential differences. In addition I had to look for 1 photograph that demonstrates contrast in one picture.Choosing from the following list:

Large/small  Long/short    Thick/thin   Black/white    Many/few  
Pointed/blunt Smooth/rough Still/moving    Transparent/opaque

Liquid/solid  Strong/weak High/low Broad/narrow

Light/dark Much/little Straight/curved

Diagonal/rounded Hard/soft Light/heavy Sweet/sour

These are a selection of images I have used for this assignment.


This image was taken at an underground station in Budapest, Hungary with the train going right to left. My intention with the photograph was to capture the movement of the train with the static posters behind the train viewable through the moving windows of the train. Thus creating the contrast of still and moving in the one picture. I boosted the ISO to 1600 so that I could obtain the optimum shutter speed to give the sense of movement, whilst still keeping the posters behind the train sharp as this was a hand held shot. 


The claustrophobic nature of the escalator in the Budapest underground is a good example of narrow, the low ceiling the narrow confines of the sides of the escalator and the portrait orientation of the photograph all combine to give the viewer a sense of being in a reasonably tight enclosed space.


Having looked through my photograph collection, I found this one to stood out as a good example of broad. It was taken looking along Bangor pier in North Wales. The expanse of wooden flooring in the foreground and going back as far as the eye can see, coupled with the blue sky give a feeling of openness. This in turn gives the viewer the sense of the wide open expanse of the pier. Hence broad. 


This is the head of a clematis flower from my girlfriends garden, the soft petals and the flowers centre are a good representation of weak, it looks so fragile especially the white central shoots, as if one breath of wind could blown them away. I took the shot using the largest aperture available on the lens in order to maximise the centre of the flower and blur out the background, in order to draw the attention of the viewer to the centre of the petal.


These chains were on a memorial display outside the museum of terror in Budapest, Hungary, The building was the headquarters of the Gestapo during world war 2, and subsequently taken over the red army in 1945 and used by the KGB. Many hundreds of people were tortured and killed within its walls and the last Soviet occupiers left in 1987 just prior the Berlin wall coming down. The chains are to symbolise iron curtain between the East and West. I like the strength portrayed by the chain wall, I made the classic mistake on taking the photograph without reducing the ISO back to 200, I had boosted it to 1000 for an indoor shot I had just previously taken.