Reflection pre-tutor feedback
Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, technical, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)
Technically this assignment was complex for me. As far as the actual shooting was concerned I initially had difficulties getting sharp images. So I took time to learn more techniques to achieve crisp images and was pleased with the results. The post processing involved new Photoshop techniques of stacking and visually combining multiple images. I learnt that stacked .psd files can easily exceed 1gb and need to carefully considered… I also learnt that such minimalistic high resolution images need to be Very carefully cleaned. A time consuming activity in Lightroom.
Quality of outcome – Content, Application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. (20%)
I have commented that still life studio work isn’t my first love. So the outcome wasn’t initially that pleasing for me. However I do feel that some of the individual images (the lemon and lime in particular) are visually interesting. The detail contained within the images is remarkable and the clarity good. A typographical presentation does offer the opportunity to compare the detailed structure of a range of similar fruits.
Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)
See ‘reflections on creativity‘.
Context – reflection, research, critical thinking. (20%)
Previously my research has been weak. I upped my game during EYV Part 3 and have continued to so during EYV Part 4. In particular I have researched Eugene Atget, Michael Schmidt, Rut Blees Luxembourg, Brassai, Sally Mann, Ernst Hass, Bill Brandt and John Davies.
I have acquired and used Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards and read ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield and ‘On being a photographer’ by Hurn and Jay. I have acquired Walker Evans ‘American Photographs’, Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ and André Kertész’s ‘Polaroids’.
I have borrowed and began using a wonderful Kodak Retina 1a purchased in 1955 in Iraq.
Finally, I have completely renewed my website. I couldn’t find my way around the old one so what hope did my tutor have?!
Your ‘languages of light’ investigation has been fruitful*, you have produced a technically
coherent set of images that are sharp and clear. Overall, you have evidenced a good
engagement with this chapter; some of the artist research posts could be expanded with
some further critical annotations. With this series, it would be good to shoot three more
fruits and experiment with the ratio layout and also test some different printing papers.
As discussed during the Google Hangout session, your technical approach is very good;
the stacking technique has been successful, where the exposure and light qualities have
been developed very well. It is clearly evident that this assignment has strengthened your
technical knowledge base through the lighting set-up and the stacking technique. Brian
Eon’s Oblique Strategies cards were a curve ball, I have not seen these used in years; a
Your selection of images, do not require reworking; however, they would benefit from an
additional three pieces of fruit. Aim to construct a grid of nine, consider including a kiwi,
dragon fruit and a tomato. Once you have an extra three images, then start experimenting with the layout. Approach it two ways, firstly as you have done, where all the pieces of fruit are the same size, then resize the fruit within the frame according to their sizes.
We discussed about experimenting with some different printing papers for these images,
look into sending a couple of them off for a printing comparison. Pick an image and order
it from DSCL, get one done in gloss and another in Fuji Pearl (metallic); then get the same
image printed via AMC Photographics as backlit film. The reason for this is the deep blacks and high colour saturation would look quite engaging via these paper finishes.
Learning Logs or Blogs
It is good to see your blog posts on the various exercises and the visual research, it is
recommended to expand upon some of your entries, as some of them are limited in their
critical response. For example, the post on ‘John Davies’ is sparse and does not inform the reader of your interpretation or thoughts about the work. Aim to deconstruct his work and form a more critical comment of the material, is it informing your understanding of contemporary photographic practice? Overall, the structure of your blog is very good, it is formatted in a logical layout, which is supportive of this tutorial process.
*excuse the pun.
Although you have clearly stated that studio still life is not your first love, it would be good
to research into the Vanitas style of painting, which is concerned with the symbolic
representation of mortality. This genre of art has informed many still life photographers
over the years, see:
The link below contains a wealth of photographers who have examined this style in some
very creative and explosive ways, in particular Ori Gersht, see:
Based upon your interest in time and our discussion into long exposure photography,
have a look at Alexey Titarenko’s series; ‘City of Shadows’, see:
Here is a link for some information on the Lee ‘Big Stopper’ neutral density filter, see:
Pointers for the next assignment
As discussed, the final assignment is open to interpretation; the overall premise is about
photographing the same subject but from different view/perspective. As well as
photographing the house at different times and perhaps different durations, also consider
the following idea. Look again at Bill Brandt’s work, but take inspiration from his quote ‘I
photographed what the camera was seeing’. You mentioned that you have borrowed a
Kodak Retina 1a, perhaps your project could be about 10 different cameras and how they all see and record differently through their design. Consider a pinhole camera, a box brownie, a smartphone etc.
Strong technical approach
Interesting use of Oblique Strategies
Good reflective commentary
Produce three more images
Experiment with the proposed layouts
Revisit research blog posts
Assignment assessed by Russell Squires
Assignment assessed on 10/05/2018
Next assignment approximately due 10/07/2018
Reflection post tutor feedback
I’m pleased that my tutor feels that the technical approach is ‘very good’ and that he regards the images as clear and sharp. My hours of cleaning paid off! I have produced 3 more images and will create a 3×3 grid. I will attempt to produce a further series of images reflecting the relative fruit sizes if that is technically possible. Very glad I don’t have to re-shoot the original images – there’s only so much fruit a man can eat!
I take on board the criticism that the research exercises are too brief. I have re-worked the John Davis post and will bear this in mind for the future.
Finally, I have purchased two Lee Stoppers. My first attempts have been abject failures but I will persist!
Post script… Unfortunately I am unable to produce the relative size series because the cleaning (which took Ages) was done on the cropped files. Note to self – don’t crop until you’ve decided on all possible formats.