CAN Assignment 1: Notes


Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story. The aim of the assignment is to help you explore the convincing nature of documentary, even though what the viewer thinks they see may not in fact be true. Try to make both sets equally convincing so that it’s impossible to tell which version of the images is true.


I received my Context and Narrative course notes from OCA in June 2018.  I then decided to take a month off hoping, on my return, to pick up studying where I’d left off.  Things didn’t work out like that.

I did get started in August last year and, in fact the photographs for assignment one were taken that month.  I then got rather blown off course by one event after another.  I have only just restarted.

I did consider starting again but I had put a fair amount of work into it.  And given that it doesn’t actually get marked, I decided to carry on.  This delay is hardly ideal as some of the ideas aren’t as fresh as they were.         

Creative process

The title for assignment one is Two Sides of the Story.  We are required to create two sets of pictures telling different versions of the same story.  The ideas we were offered were:

  • to show the same scenario from two angles,
  • to create an alter ego, or
  • to present two alternative versions of a dating website profile.

I have enough problems with one ego without trying to create a second and the idea of profiling myself for a dating site didn’t appeal.  Therefore I decided to run with the first idea of showing a situation from two viewpoints.

I live just outside Portsmouth on a road bordering the countryside.  Given its proximity to the city the local countryside seems to suffer more than its fair share of crime.   Therefore, I decided to shoot set of photographs which highlight the interface between these two quite different societies.

Technical process

The photographs aren’t technical nor are they particularly creative.   They were all shot on 2 August 2018 using a Canon 5DSR with a 24-70 lens. 

So far so good.  But now for the problem.  I do consider myself to be a technically competant, if uncreative, photographer.  I certainly understand the exposure triangle and it’s effects.  However, on a bright sunny day I took all shots at f2.8 with an ISO of 400.  Really?!

The images are slightly noisier than necessary, the depth of field is limited and the sharpness of the images may not be perfect.  However on balance I don’t believe they suffer as a result of these potential shortcomings.

Post processing

I used Lightroom for the limited post processing.  Other than minor cropping on the first roadside memorial photo no images were cropped.  Colour temperature was standardised at 5500K.  Exposure, whites, blacks and shadows were adjusted to attempt a consistent visual set. On the roadside memorial images I removed two distracting pieces of litter, reduced the shadow on the white wreath and increased red saturation to enhance the rather washed out appearance of the flowers.

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