Photography

This page collects together my coursework and project for the photography module of the course.  Rather than present the work as a list I thought it’d be useful to put a little context around the work done.

Photography – art or science? – project 1

I decided to have a go at making a camera obscura to get back to basics and try something hands on.  I remembered trying to explain how light enters a camera at high school aged 12!

In trying to understand how photography is an art and science I read the recommended research point – The Pencil of Nature, the early paper by Fox Talbot on his photography discoveries. Whilst studying this project, the BBC Four Britain in Focus: A Photographic History was available to watch on the iplayer, presented by  Eamonn McCabe I managed to watch the 2 available episodes.

An initial reflection (exercise 1) was given to what makes photography unique as art form? and then consideration to the context of the photograph presented was explored by reading John A Walkers essay ‘context as a determinant of photographic meaning’ this related to some of the visual communication theory studied in previous module.  The next exercise was a bit of an eye opener, what has happened to the photographs I have snapped since obtaining a digital camera? I have very few photo albums to look at since 2004 but I did think about what an Artistic photograph in photo albums (exercise 2) would be. In considering  the research point, Gareth Dent’s article ‘dealing with the flood’, brings up thoughts on social media and how it is being used to populate cyberspace with everyday lives, sort of a record of life on earth, and how it impacts on the value of photography as an art form.  It is a leveller and is accessible to all with a mobile phone, it is not elite and exclusive like fine art. People are sharing their lives with friends and family by posting photographs. I conducted my own experiment about sharing my photographs on facebook – Share your images!

It’s about time – project 2

The consideration of how movement and time is captured in photographs in exercise 1 and 2.  In looking at how, with time, an image can gain significance and value, I looked at Daniel Meadows Photobus documents photographs especially of people in their homes in Moss side, Manchester.  In exercise 3, I thought about how image are valued and used as family documents.

In documenting journeys ideas of photographs started to relate to story telling (like in creative reading) and ideas of “photographs being ABOUT something rather than OF something” I looked at the following road trips and it brought back memories of visiting America:

Paul Grahams A1 project

Stephen Shores American Surfaces

Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi

Looking at land art gave an opportunity to think about how a fleeting moment of a sculpture or place is captured.  I found out I was wound up by “my walks are the art” as declared by Hamish Fulton and felt less uptight by the work of Richard Long where more is shared with audience. He walks in nature, and documents his ideas with photos, maps, text work described as “abstract art laid down in nature of Earth” he considers his work beyond traditional representation, with the landscape itself becoming the work of art. He does not associate himself with “land art”.  Other artists looked at in course notes included Aleksandra Mir First Woman on the Moon and Keith Arnatt’s Self-burial.  To conclude this project about time for exercise 4 I reflected on the role of photography, is it art or an authentic record

A sense of place – project 3

To really capture the essence of a landscape in a photograph is HARD! It is rare for photographers to satisfy and capture their intent.  By using Juxtaposition (a deliberate contrast of things next to each other) and Perspective (diminishing size of objects towards horizon and vanishing point) images can be more interesting.  By reviewing Ian Berry’s images of Whitby it is possible to see how he has created a “sense of depth” as described in a sense of place as well as other devices such as including human figures and buildings to help a viewer understand scale.

By experimenting with wideangle and telephotic lense in exercise 1a, a viewer of a photograph can be made to observe what the photographer is trying to capture.  I spent a mornings walk capturing wide angle (a more naturalistic broader view) and telephotic (cropped up close object view to ensure attention of viewer is in right place) see exercise 1b.

Choosing the subject I looked at why and what I had considered taking some holiday photographs from last summer, they were mainly trying to capture the beauty of the wildness of Scotland, with fun moments with friend from camping and boat dolphin trip. Why photographs are taken and motivation was explored in choosing your subject (exercise 2) and also in less beautiful scenic landscapes in new topographics (gritty landscape made by man) and Edgelands. The impacts of man on the landscape, and the unnoticed creep of urban, cities onto wildness’s, or nearly wild areas was looked at in Mitch Epsteins’s American Power and Fay Goodwin’s Our Forbidden Land project. Finally in what can you see (exercise 3) the position of the view point, looking down, looking across landscapes was explored and how presentation of grids of photographs can ensure the viewer notices a subject in Bernd and Hilla Becher’s work.

Assignment and Reflection

To conclude the module my assignment and reflection on photography can be found here. Assignment 4

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