After presenting my photo essay in class I began the process of critically evaluating my work. I feel I have my research methodology was more extensive and effective this time around and I had a very specific and robust theme. I took inspiration from interesting images and from my own personal experience, this was a good idea because I had a deep understanding of what I was doing.
In relation to the planning and shooting of my photography, I feel this time I was more together; this is partly because we were given more time to undertake this brief. I took my photographs over a two day period at roughly the same time in the afternoon on both occasions.
The first day was spent choosing a good location, taking some general photographs and experimenting with other minor themes I had as back ups such as the idea of advertising in the city. It was also on the first day that I made the choice to take my photos in black and white as I felt it added to the theme rather than took away.
On the second day I spent an hour during rush hour making images. During this time I got many interesting photos. I enjoyed observing a ritual I myself am usually part of. Once I had the images I needed I went home and filtered out some of the unusable ones. Then I made a first edit and a final edit and done some minor cropping and light balancing.
Personally, I feel very happy with the images I shot. I think there is a strong message in the essay as a whole. My favorite image is my fifth image of the lady looking out the bus window, I feel this image encapsulates the mood and emotion I was trying to get across. The blurred bodies to the left and right work to add a claustrophobic feeling to the image. Finally we still get a sense of the city by the view out the window.
Although I had adequate images I feel there are much better images that wait to be taken at bus stops across the city. I may follow up this theme at a later date.
After researching some more I began to focus on the idea of buses being the subject of my photo essay. Due to the fact that I commute to college everyday by bus I have an understanding of the frustration and despondency that can be felt sometimes when using public transport. This can stem from the lack of control entailed in public transport or the lack of personal space at rush hour.
Photo by Jane Bown
This photograph by Jane Bown of a woman sitting on a London bus is very powerful. The way in which it is shot makes it as though we are witnessing an individual in some sort of transient state. The woman seems to be in some sort of dazed state. When using transport people are in a sense in limbo. It is a means of getting to a particular place, which most of us would be happy to be teleported to.
Photo by Markus Hartel
Although this picture is not as expressive as the previous image it still has a message. I feel this image does well at getting across the feeling of city life: the harsh human concrete constructs. It also indicates very clearly the theme of transport by including the “Bus” sign on the road. I may choose to do something like this in my photo essay.
After researching the concept “Living in the City” I came across several interesting themes and photographic works. Based on my own experience, when I thing of the theme “Living in the City” I gravitate towards issues regarding personal space and public transport. Coming from a rural town where people have lots of personal space, these matters seem almost alien.
By Peter Marlow
In this image of a worker by Peter Marlow, we get a sense of the lack of personal space surrounding the act of commuting using public transport. Bodies fill the image in an almost claustrophobic manner. The image makes the viewer uneasy. The fact that the image is in black and white means more attention is paid to the emotion. It also helps to get across the feeling of transience which comes hand in hand with commuting.
By Richard Kalvar
This is another powerful image that deals with personal space and public transport. Taken on the Tokyo subway, this image shows the dehumanizing nature of some public transport. It is almost a limbo which people must endure to arrive at their destination.
The second and final photo essay which we much complete before undertaking our final pieces, deals with the concept of “living in the City”. In this photo essay we are asked to reflect on the concept of photography as a means of “realistically” reproducing impressions of “actuality” and the “real”.
In this photo essay we must present a series of 5 images. These images must be showcased in a Powerpoint presentation on February 27th. During the coming days I plan to research images on the internet and begin to formulate an angle and approach to this new brief.
After I completed my presentation I began the process of critically evaluating the work I did for my first photo essay. I feel my research prior to shooting was substantial and beneficial. I took inspiration from both physical images and also topical debates. I feel over all my concept was very strong and meaningful.
My first photo shoot was quite productive and I got some good shots. Due to the fact that I knew my subject I found the process quite relaxed. This being said, I still found the process slightly daunting as I had to work within the guidelines of my brief and also to a deadline.
Looking back over the photos I took, I feel if I had more time I could have gotten some better shots. One problem I faced was poor lighting. This was due to the time at which I chose to shoot (evening time). Also, I found I was slightly rusty with my concept of ISO/ Aperture/ Shutter Speed. If I were to redo the shoot I would use a lower ISO so that the images wouldn’t have such a noisy look.
One image I was happy with was the close-up which showed the refection of the computer screen. I feel this was an idea that translated very well from my head to the camera.
For my next brief I will make sure to take more time preparing my scene in which I am shooting. I will also try to figure out the best ISO/ Aperture/ Shutter Speed combination before I begin shooting. Finally I will experiment with a lot more angles during my next shoot, something I didn’t do enough of during my first one.
Yesterday I finally got the chance to shoot my images. I chose to use my sitting room as the setting as it is held as the conventional place of conversing and also it gives a good sense of the mood I am trying to create. I got my subject to sit on the couch and chat to some friends using her laptop. While she chatted I snapped some photos. I started with some wide angle shots trying to get in as much of the room as possible, I then took some closer shots to get more detail and meaning into my story.
If I had more time and I planned it a bit more I feel I could have taken some better images. I also ran into trouble with lighting. Due to the fact that the room was lit incandescently my images came out slightly noisy.
I addressed this issue in post processing. I decreased the noise, sharpened up the image and lightened them up a bit as they seemed slightly dark. I also cropped some of the closer up images of the face of my subject.
All in all I am quite happy with what I have done, if I had another chance I would experiment with some different locations and angles.
Over the weekend I toyed with the two ideas I had. After some research I decided to go with the “social networking and social interaction via the internet” concept as I feel it will require more skill and it will be more fun to shoot. This concept is also contemporary and has more depth than my other idea.
I decided to do some research, looking for inspiration. I found some interesting images on sites such as http://www.gettyimages.ie. One problem with this concept is that it is quite hard to find images of a similar theme and composure that are taken by well known, professional photographers.
Besides this I found a few interesting images which I may draw inspiration from when taken my own photographers.
Image by Davide Monteleone
In this image we see a woman sitting in an empty room with what appears to be a laptop. The use of a wide angle shot is important here as it shows the emptiness.
Image by Tomas van Houtryve
This is another shot I found interesting. I like how there are two levels of depth to this image. We get to see a close-up of our subject and get a sense that they are involved in what they are doing, the reflection in the glasses adds that second level of depth, although the computer screen is not directly in the shot we no it is still present.
With these images in mind I feel I am quite prepared to start experimenting myself with my concept. I have a good basis from which to work from and am excited to being shooting.
Today I decided to research some photographic essays which relate in some way to the theme; “a social situation”. I searched message boards for online sites that provide good archives of photo essays, some of these include
http://www.magnumphotos.com, http://www.burnmagazine.org, http://life.time.com/ and http://www.viiphoto.com/.
Of the many image I came across only a few related in some respects to my brief. Images such as the following ones do not relate to what I want to say but are still interesting images worth mentioning.
The image above is an interesting take on a social situation, the image seems to address the idea of love which, although wildly complex, never seems quite as simple as it does when we’re young.
The following links also host images which hold some kind of social situation which I found interesting and inspiring. I feel both images do well to depict the mood and atmosphere at the time of shooting.
Although these images give me some help and ideas in relation to mood and atmosphere after two hours of research I still have not yet found images that deal with the two possible angles I am taking in relation to my assignment (social media and grandmother and grandson). This evening I hope to do some further research, but for now I have to catch a train!