Sunday, 9 December 2012

Photo size and juxtaposition of the photos within the magazine article

1. The Sign Holder

   This would be the front page of the standard-sized article/magazine as it was in my opinion one of the strongest. Maybe a portrait format photograph would have better suited the first page of the article but this could maybe fill the middle of the front cover with space for the title of the article above and the description below. So this photograph's size would be 6 inches high x 9 inches wide.

2. Halloween in London

   I felt this was one of the most striking images I produced to meet the brief so somewhere near the front of the magazine and by itself would work best for the desired impact. Probably the third page for the article specifically would work best as it would be the second image observed by the reader of the magazine (after the first page of the article), with the introduction to the left on the second page. Photograph 2 would be about 9x6 inches.

3. Homeless but Being Watched Over?

   I felt this photograph was quite effective on its own anyway but I imagined a good juxtaposition for this photo in relation to one of my other images. This was Photograph 6: Sleep Out and the reason I felt they would work well together was the subject of the two photographs were directly related. The homeless man in Photograph 3 was being 'watched over' if you will by the volunteers of the 'Sleep Out' in Photograph 6. Therefore I decided it would be best to have both photographs on the same double-spread of the magazine, with the 'Sleep Out' photograph placed purposefully and directly above 'Homeless but Being Watched Over?'. It could then potentially be inferred from the reader that the two were related semantically with the 'Centrepoint' sign at the top of the building in Photograph 3 being the connection. 3 would be roughly the same size as 6 so around 7x5 inches for 3 and 5x7 inches for 6.

4. Anyone for the Big I?

   This was a photograph that in my opinion worked well in combination with another photograph as well. The photograph it worked well with was Photograph 5: Heading Home. This was because as a lot of the commuters headed home, it was also the time they might encounter a Big Issue vendor such as this man. Again both photographs would be the same size and would roughly match the previous two photos: 7x5 inches for Photograph 4 and 5x7 inches for Photograph 5.

Photograph 5. Heading Home

   See 4.

Photograph 6. Sleep Out

   See 3.

Photograph 7. Graffiti and Tricks of South Bank

   There would be no special juxtaposition for this photograph but it would be printed quite large for the magazine to fill a double spread so the photo size would be around 10x15 inches. The reason for this was to further consolidate the high impact of this photograph.

Photograph 8. 'Hovering' Street Statue

   I really liked the 'new' square crop of this photo and I decided it would be fitting to have this photograph placed at the back of the magazine article - as it provided, I felt, an impressionable ending to the magazine article. The photo size would be 6x6 inches.

How Each Photograph for the Assignment Relates to the Brief

Another criticism that my tutor suggested was that explanation of how the photos taken related back to the brief was lacking in the assignment. In retrospect this was quite obvious for me as well and it would be here that I would endeavour to clarify the concept behind each photo.

1. The sign holder:

   I thought the 1st photograph showed well how certain street users of London were largely ignored by the masses of people walking straight past them. This fitted in with the idea that you had to be aware of this alternative user in order to notice them. Also I felt he was an alternative user because he was trying to get across a message to the people walking by.

2. Halloween in London:

   This was obviously an alternative user of London but it showed off London at a once-in-a-year time, which wouldn't be so accessible to a casual visitor/user.

3. Homeless but Being Watched Over?:

   Unfortunately this user was common in London but still too often ignored. This user was habitual although the photo would maybe bring to the attention of the reader what this London user had to live like. I have gone into greater detail about this in the post named 'Homeless but Being Watched Over?'.

4. Anyone for the Big I?:

   Another resident of London, this showed a London Big Issue seller in his local environment. Again he was not usually noticed by tourists or casual users. This was  due to people cynically choosing not to see him as they didn't want to buy the Big Issue off him.

5. Heading Home:

     These Londoners weren't strictly unusual London characters but I thought the setting showed a different side to London itself; namely the rush hour, which wouldn't be observed by many people other than the commuters themselves.

6: Sleep Out:

   This connected well with 3: 'Homeless but Being Watched Over?' I thought in that it showed a completely different kind of user and event within London that definitely wouldn't have been seen by a casual visitor. The users were better-off citizens of London or England who were trying to 'help out' homeless people like the person in Photograph 3. This therefore showed an alternative side to London that was positive. I have gone into greater detail about this in the post named 'Sleep Out'.

7: Grafitti and Tricks of Southbank:

   This showed an unusual setting in London, which would only be immediately apparent to those who knew about it or stumbled upon it. Although the user photographed wasn't exactly different or uncommon it did show variety.

8: 'Hovering' Street Statue:

   The street statue was the person in this photograph that was out of the ordinary. He was noticed, at least by the boy, and it conluded the article nicely as the last image I felt. This was because the other users would not usually be noticed but this one was and it seemed to make an impression on the boy who could be seen as a casual user.

The three ammended photos

Photograph 3 for assignment 5: ammended to correct converging verticals and barrel distortion:

3. (ammended)
Photograph 5 for the assignment: I decided to change to a similar photograph but one that I felt better reflected London's commuters, was more dynamic and also featured improved context. I felt there were simply more commuters visible crossing the bridge, which added relevance to the reality of London Bridge in the rush hour. As for dynamism this was due to the number of commuters as mentioned already. My reasoning for why the photograph featured improved context was because the bus on the left side of the photograph showed 'London Bridge' as the destination, which happened to be the bridge it was crossing. The photograph was also edited differently in terms of colour; the edting was more subtle than the equivalent photo I had already posted (5.Heading Home). Here I added only some orange to the highlights on the left of the photo, while leaving the shadows as a more natural blue as I felt the peruser of the photo could make their own minds up as to what they chose to infer from the photograph:

5. (replaced and edited differently)

 Photograph 8: with a revised crop of the scene in order to better show off the expression on the boy's face and compound the relationship between the 'statue' and the boy:

8. (cropped)

Ammendment/improvement to my brief for Assignment 5

In light of receiving feedback from my tutor I had come to realise how general and somewhat vague my initial brief for the fifth assignment was. In this post I aimed to divulge much more information about the brief, client, what the photos would be used for and even small details such as print size and juxtaposition for each photo within the article that would show to what extent they would be salient within the article. Seemingly small improvements like this would make the brief and choice of client more relevant to the photos themselves.

   I felt also after reading my tutors comments closely that some of the criticisms were related to editing; changes that I could make quite easily but which I hoped would be impactful towards the credibility of the photos within the article. I would also be showing the edited photos in some subsequent posts so they could be compared back to the original photos and indicating the print size sand juxtaposition of these and the remaining photos.
   Here is the REVISED choice of client:

A magazine (narrative and illustrative), which specialises in subjective and current issues in a particular place.

   REVISED purpose of the assignment: 

Informational; documenting a topic that is potentially sensitive to the reader.

   REVISION of how the images will be used:

To complement and illustrate the text of an article showing how the city is used by people of varying backgrounds, relating this back to the reader as the article would be distributed in the same city.

   And here is my REVISED brief in its final form:

The photographs should portray an underlying alternative side to London and its habitual users, which isn't immediately obvious to a casual visitor but that is brought to light by the photos.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

'Hovering' Street Statue

It had been my intention for some time (since I started the assignment) to photograph a street 'statue' that was not really a statue at all. They were prevalent around London's South Bank and Covent Garden and in my opinion made for good subjects for this brief for a couple of reasons. Firstly they were quite good at provoking reactions from innocent passers-by, which I thought would make for an interesting moment to be captured. Secondly, I personally found them an integral part of London's character, providing an alternative style of entertainment for London's visitors.

   I had initially set out to capture one of the street 'statues' startling one of the tourists/public. However I came to realise most people now knew about the street 'statues' not really being statues and so it was difficult to find a street statue that actually stood still for long periods. Instead I shifted my attention to 'hovering' street statues. This was because I thought they were an interesting subject and they attracted lots of people trying to work out how they managed this.

8. 'Hovering' Street Statue
   I chose a low viewpoint for the 'hovering' street statue I decided to photograph. This was to emphasise the apparent hovering of this silver 'statue'. I waited for an opportune moment to capture the expressions of some people trying to work out how the 'statue' appeared to be sitting on thin air. I was lucky to catch a telling moment as a boy was clearly startled (there was a look of wonderment on his face) by the 'statue'.

Graffiti and Tricks of South Bank

This photo was quite visually impacting, I thought, especially with the graffiti splashed out all around the photograph. There was a lot of colour and life in the setting alone and I felt the BMX rider was a suitable addition to the scene. The element that made the photograph fit my brief was the way the skate park appeared almost 'dissenting' especially considering the contrast it provided to the rest of the South Bank, some of which was visible behind the BMX rider.

   Of course the BMX rider was the focal point of the photograph and I tried to place him in the frame deliberately in such a way that he attracted the most attention. If there was a criticism I would make of myself taking this photograph it would be I could have captured a more 'decisive' moment where the trick looked as impressive as in reality. This would probably have meant taking the photograph either a fraction of a second before or after I took it but I've found these fractions can make a big difference.

   'Girl Jumping Rope on the Burning Ghat, Benares, India 1995' by Mary Ellen Mark was a photograph that sprung to mind while thinking about these differences. It was an action shot, in that action was frozen in the frame, similar to the BMX rider. Furthermore the two photographs showed their respective subjects during the middle of the action they were performing. But as mentioned above, mine was captured a little late/early while Mary Ellen Mark's was spot-on.

   This was another photograph I had planned for in advance; I had been to this location already to try to assess the best position to take the photograph. What I couldn't neccessarily plan for however, was who would be using skate park. Fortunately there was this BMX rider who didn't mind me photographing him. I was pleased in the end I photographed him as he was clearly in his element, which meant I could concentrate on things like lighting and composition.

7. Graffiti and Tricks of South Bank
   One area I thought the photograph could have been improved on slightly was the lighting. I was pleased it was an overcast day so there was not too much contrast between the skate park and outside, which meant some detail of the rest of the South Bank was retained and not washed out as I exposed for the foreground and middle distance. The area I could have improved on concerning lighting however, was the fill flash. While it illuminated the BMX rider well, in my opinion a secondary fill flash (at lower power and placed in front of the BMX rider) would have eliminated any shadows on the stairs.

   Overall though I felt this photograph had a lot of impact, which was paramount for me in delivering the 'dissenting' look, which helped it to fit the brief.

Sleep Out

Simon Roberts made an impression on me with his high viewpoints, particularly in 'The Election Project', which helped show the scenes 'objectively' rather than making it 'subjective'. I felt this was useful in 'The Election Project' as the viewpoints chosen helped inform the viewer as the 'action' took place in the middle of the frame. It also gave the viewer a unique perspective, obviously visually, because they were looking over from distance rather than in among what was going on. This let the viewer decide what to infer from the photographs, which was different from many of the photographers I had been looking at, where it was more 'forced'. This wasn't to say the photographs were any less 'personal', often 'revealing' themselves after a closer look.

   In practise I discovered it was pretty difficult to reach or gain access to such high viewpoints but I persevered; hoping at least one of my shots for 'Alternative London' would be captured from a high vantage point. I improvised, and using my articulating LCD screen that my camera possessed I managed to achieve a relatively high viewpoint. This was standing on top of a small ledge and holding the camera above my head as described.

6. Sleep Out
   The high viewpoint I found overlooked an organised event aimed to help raise awareness of homelessness, which was called Centrepoint Sleep Out 2012. I was able to capture an image that documented the event, where voluntary fundraisers decided to sleep out the night. Using Simon Roberts' technique of using a high viewpoint and letting the middle ground tell the story I took a wide angle shot of one side of the scene. The signs did help show what kind of event was occurring and the middle ground (a few of the fundraisers getting into 'bed') informed the viewer what all the bags were for.

   Another point I wanted to get across in this photo was how it could be related to the homeless man next to the Centrepoint building (photograph number 3 of this assignment). It showed perhaps there are people who care and are aware of that 'alternative' side to London.