Create a series of between six and ten photographs on one of the following subjects:
Send your photographs to your tutor accompanied by assignment notes (500–1000 words) introducing and contextualising your work. The photographers and reading above provide starting points for your research for this assignment.
Check your work against the assessment criteria for this course before you send it to your tutor. Make some notes in your learning log about how well you believe your work meets each criterion. Your tutor may take a while to get back to you so carry on with the course while you’re waiting.
Reworking your assignment
Following feedback from your tutor, you may wish to rework some of your assignment, especially if you plan to submit your work for formal assessment. If you do this, make sure you reflect on what you’ve done and why in your learning log.
My immediate response to this brief was either going to be animal headshots from the local wildlife park or views which would either encompass my love of landscape, below are some brief examples of the path I may choose to go down.
However whilst my approach was fine, I felt there needed to be context. There would need to be some sense of cohesion in the set in terms of the subject matter and framing. So I took to looking at some of the suggested material. I looked a the video on Jorg Colbergs you tube channel showing the work of Ishiuchi Miyako in producing a cohesive set of images showing items collected from the atomic bomb site at Hiroshima. There was an eeriness about them, only conveyed by the fact that these were items taken from a site of an awful atrocity. I became quite engaged at Andrew Langfords work on his series called “Species”, where the resulting images were beautifully shot and conveyed to me an idea of something almost alien in its presentation yet familiar at the same time. The work seemed almost clinical and well thought through and I loved the idea of a monotone background. It sort of reminded of some of the artworks by H.R. Giger. Edward Ruschas work on 26 gasoline stations, did not strike any chord with me, the work seemed opportunistic, with little framing and I didn’t feel it conveyed any sense of cohesion apart from the fact it was a collection of gas stations. That said, the subject matter did create a little more context when I happned upon another collection of photos inspire by Ruschas work, which in so doing made me appreciate a little more as a historical record.
Bettina von Zwehls work really connected with me on some level, her series meditations in an emergency are beautifully shot heads silhouetted against a white background. The images conveyed a sense of calm and were reminiscent of the shadows cast over the distant hills in a landscape. It also reminded me of some of the themes explored in science fiction such as Star Wars and Mission to Mars where faces from structures and fallen statues made up the landscapes. The silhouettes also reminded of some 19th century portraiture.
There were a number of ideas bouncing around my head as I explored some of the photographers
Landscapes – I immediately thought of some of my favourite themes of Waterfalls, Viaducts/Bridges Castles and Cliff edges.
Things – I had a couple of ideas of photographing the tools I use through the different stages of baking and decorating a cake presented on a monotone background. Another was to present and photograph the contents of people’s bags, backpacks or handbags used on a day-to-day basis.
Heads – I had a number of ideas ranging from photographing headshots of animals at the local wildlife park or just focusing on the big cats there. I also thought about photographing other photographers at work. Then I got to thinking about Bettinas work with silhouettes and doing something similar before settling on one of the last two ideas. The first was simply photographing family members against a lit background and the second was photographing people in a sleeping pose.
I settled on this idea of sleep or lack thereof, when our bodies are expected to be most at peace, relaxed and letting go of the day. I settled on a low ISO; which I did for two reasons, first despite the fact this would leave the shutter open for longer allowing for a small amount of blur in the image, which I hoped would add some softness to the finished image and secondly I wanted to try and stick to the recommended ISO limit in part 2. Again I settled for monochrome as opposed to colour as I felt this suited the subject matter better and I just did not like the colour from the lighting in the room.
It has taken a long time to get to this point, not least because of a recurring knee injury which has affected my mobility in recent months and has forced me to take some time out. However this assignment has made me think more about the “why do I take photographs” and perhaps there is a clearer distinction between what could be considered snapshots and a body of work that has been planned and clinically executed to satisfy a brief or a thought process. Compared with my first assignment I have taken the time to look at other photographers in more detail and found myself connecting with their own ideas and work.
I believe I need to act with more haste and at least act on ideas and mock ups to see what works and what does not and I did have a lot of ideas bouncing around on this one. There were other things to consider for future reference. The first consider having more control over the lighting of subjects in an artificial environment, second consider increasing the ISO to reduce blur and opt for a soft focus filter or making use of an inexpensive UV filter and some Vaseline. Obviously I could edit the photographs further in lightroom to achieve similar results but as I am trying to make use of the tools within the camera, I felt this would be a bit of a cheat.
Andrew Langford. Species. [online]. Available at: www.andrewlangford.co.uk/projects/species [Accessed 20 October 2019].
Tate, Edward Ruscha ‘Twentysix Gasoline Stations’ 1963. [online]. Available at:
Lens Culture, Eric Tabuchi, ‘Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations’. [online]. Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/eric-tabuchi-twentysix-abandoned-gasoline-stations#slideshow [Accessed 21 October 2019]
Bettina Von Zwehl. Meditations in an Emergency. [online]. Available at: http://www.bettinavonzwehl.com/meditations-in-an-emergency.html [Accessed 20 October 2019].
Marten Lange. Citizen. [online]. Available at: https://www.martenlange.com/works/citizen/#1 [Accessed 20 October 2019]
- Aperture: ƒ/6.3
- Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X4
- Focal length: 18mm
- ISO: 100
- Shutter speed: 1/125s