Assignment 2 – Collecting (Reworked)

The Brief

Create a series of between six and ten photographs on one of the following subjects:

• Things

• Views

• Heads

Assignment notes

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.

Reflection

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.

Response

The main feedback point I wanted to respond to in revisiting this assignment was to re-shoot the set of images I presented. Whilst the set worked and fit the brief which I was responding to, one or two of the images were not as sharp as I had wished them to be. The primary reason for this was owing to using such a low ISO indoors which introduced some soft focus into the some of the images. In my previous response I was looking at 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.

  

Research

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 art by H.R. Giger.

Andrew Langford – Species
H.R. Giger – Alien

I have in fact changed my mind on Edward Ruschas work ’26 gasoline stations’, I initially stated it did not strike a chord with me, where in fact there is an appreciation to be had for what they represent, which is a sense of history, one that has sadly disappeared. I say that because I also caught a piece of work which seemed to be inspired by Ruschas work by a photographer called Eric Tabuchi, who created a series of photos titled ‘twenty six abandoned gasoline stations, which serves to remind us all that nothing is permanent. 

Edward Ruscha – 26 Gasoline Stations
Eric Tabuchi – 26 Abandoned Gasoline Stations

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. 

Technical Approach

In revisiting the assignment I remained 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. In part 2 it recommended we stick to an ISO of 100, for this exercise with a subject that was likely to move I needed to adjust the ISO. In this instance  I decided to approach this from another angle. So I set up a soft box pointed at approximately 45 degrees to the left of the subject. The photos would end up looking like a person asleep on the floor when in fact the whole shoot would be down against a plain wall, so I could capture the shadows cast of the subject being photographed. I remained fixed on the idea of presenting the images in black and white to retain a sense of cohesion in the images and to this end I used black and white mode on my Canon 6D using the 24mm-70mm lens fixed to a tripod on a 2 second timer delay. I would later rotate the images in light room to give the effect of the subject lying on the floor. Post processing work on the shadows and sharpness in the images before exporting.

Contact Sheet

Final Set

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 August, 2020
  • Focal length: 41mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/1.3s

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 August, 2020
  • Focal length: 41mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/2s

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 August, 2020
  • Focal length: 41mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/3s

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 August, 2020
  • Focal length: 41mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/2s

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 August, 2020
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/1.3s

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 August, 2020
  • Focal length: 42mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/2s

Reflection

On the whole the image quality is an improvement over the first attempt at this brief, however I am really kicking myself here, because I was so focused on what I wanted to do with this brief, I do feel there was a missed opportunity here to experiment a little more with different angles and composition. This would have undoubtedly given me more options in the final selection and again this plays into the notion in being much focused on time management going forward.

References

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: https://www.tate.org.uk/about-us/projects/transforming-artist-books/summaries/edward-ruscha-twentysix-gasoline-stations-1963 [Accessed 20 October 2019].

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]      

Artisma.org, Edward Ruscha. [online]. Available at: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/32513/twentysix-gasoline-stations-edward-ruscha [Accessed 28 August 2020]

Artlistr.com, H.R. Giger – 6 Interesting Facts. [online]. Available at: https://artlistr.com/h-r-giger-6-interesting-facts/ [Accessed 28 August 2020]

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