Task 3 – Representation through Portraiture

We were given Task 3 on our second week back at university, after we had completed our various lighting tutorials, including studio lighting and outside lighting. Once again, I decided to start off by reading through the brief and highlighting any key points. Below I have written these main points, as I was unable to copy and paste the PDF file.

“… You are required to interrogate representation through portraiture.”

“Taking into consideration the appropriate lighting and location…”

“… Create a photographic portrait series to represent one person in 5 images, two portraits and three objects.”

“Your interpretation of this brief can be as broad as you like…”

“… Images need to cohesively fit together…”

“… Should collectively increase the audiences knowledge and/or understanding of the person represented.” 

“… 5 final photographic prints… 

“… Spend time building and improving on your initial starting point.”

Once I had read through this brief several times and had looked at the highlighted sections in depth, I then thought it would be a good idea to try and tackle each of these main points by pre-visualizing how I would show them.

The first time I read this brief and saw that we were asked to represent one person, the first person that came into my mind was my boyfriend, Oliver Dowling. As stated by Michael Collins in his recent practitioner lecture at Coventry University (see notes at

https://hollyconstantinephotography.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/michael-collins-photographer-talk/) :

Nearly 99% of the best portraits taken by a photographer is either of a close friend or family.” Collins then went on to say that this was because there is a stronger relationship between the photographer and the subject, which thus enable the photographer to represent the subject successfully. I feel that I know a lot about my boyfriend, and will therefore be able to create a greater and more natural representation of him than if I were to photograph a stranger.

The next stage for me was to decide on where I wanted to take these five portraiture shots. My initial idea is that I would like to shoot these photographs in the studio setting using the lighting techniques that I have learnt in previous workshops and tutorials. As I have only recently learnt these methods, this will allow me to gain knowledge in an unfamiliar territory through a variety of experimenting, which will thus allow my photographic practice to broaden through time.

For the two portrait shots that are needed for this task, I have not only pre-visualised the technicalities of the shoots, but the creative aspect as well. As for the lighting, I plan on using soft lighting with no harsh shadows in order to represent the pure, loving emotion that I feel towards my subject. Also, within the previous studio lighting workshops (see notes at

https://hollyconstantinephotography.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/inside-studio-lighting-workshop/

and

https://hollyconstantinephotography.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/studio-lighting-and-outside-lighting-second-tutorials/ )

I found that the most flattering lighting technique was the use of a beauty dish suspended above the camera with the subject enclosed by two black polyboards used as reflectors. I will experiment with lighting my subject in this manner as a way of symbolizing my emotional attachment to the subject. I have also pre-visualized that I will be using a white background, which is lit separately from the subject in order to surround him with a positively coloured negative space in which the viewers can associate a variety of emotional connotations. The first portraiture shot will be a full-body shot in order for the viewer to recognize the physical aspects of the subject and to understand the ‘technicalities’ behind this specific person. The second portraiture style shot is going to be either a mid-shot or a close up of the subjects face in order to elicit a more meaningful representation of the boy’s personality.

As for the three object shots, the lighting will have to be different depending on the objects that I am going to use. As some of them may have a reflective quality and others won’t, I will have to spend time experimenting with the lighting for each individual object. I will, however, keep the light intensity the same for the objects as it was for the subject as a form of cohesive between the images. I also plan on trying to use two lights (both with a light box head) placed the same distance and height away from the objects in order to eliminate any unwanted shadows. As for the creativity of the objects that I am going to use as the main representations of Oli’s personality, I have primarily chosen to photograph his Converse shoe collection, a number of his History books, and a variety of tickets to sports and music events. Admittedly, these weren’t the first objects that came into my head, but the original object ideas are subconsciously linked to negative ideologies which I feel will empower the viewers interpretation of this boy and overshadow the true personality that I see within him.

Lastly, in order for my five images to cohesively fit together in a single collection, there are two variables that I am going to try to keep the same. One of these was already mentioned above which was the lighting used within the images, but the other is the portrait orientation of the images. These two characteristics may “spoon-feed” the viewer with idea of the collectivity of the images, but this will then allow the majority of the viewers mind to concentrate on the images and collection itself rather than spending time on something that I deem unnecessary: whether it is supposed to be a collection or not.

Now, my next step is to go off and shoot these pre-visualized portraiture images in order to see if there is anything that I will need to change before my final prints are created.

First Shoot – Developments:

On Wednesday 8th May 2013 I booked out the photography studio for two hours between 11am and 1pm. During this time, I was originally going to attempt to photograph all five images (the two portrait images and the three object images) but decided that with the small time that I was given to use the studio it was unrealistic that I were to achieve five successful images. This is why I decided that I was only going to shoot the portrait shots in this session.

Throughout this session I went through a lot of developmental stages by experimenting with the different lighting techniques and positions in order to create the most effective portraits. As I previously stated, I was originally going to use the beauty dish layout, that I found was most flattering, accompanied by another light used to highlight the background separately (light diagram is shown below along with an example image). Unfortunately, after I had taken my first light reading and a number of photos, I decided that there was something not quite right with the lighting. My images weren’t eliciting the atmosphere I had wanted to portray through the lighting. This then led me to experimenting with my first change in lighting.

Photo 1

Photo 1 photo 

The first change that I underwent when altering the lights for this shoot was taking away the second light that was used to emphasize the background. This automatically decreased the brightness of the image, making the subject a lot darker which therefore allowed him to blend further into the background. It shortened the plane of depth and created a more 2D looking image. After taking another light reading before capturing a couple of shots I realized that this lighting technique was probably worse than the previous. Allowing my mind and my subject to have a little break, I then helped my course peer set up their still life shoot that was found next to my portraiture set up.

Photo 2

Photo 2 photo

My final developmental lighting change therefore came about almost unplanned. Through the setting up of my peers still life shoot, I was automatically presented with more light than I had used in the second experiment, which resembled a lighting technique much like my original plan (just a lot less intense). I then had to use another black polyboard in order to block most of the unwanted light that was affecting my lighting in a negative way. After taking a couple of light meter readings, and conducting several practice shots, I determined that this lighting was the most effective, dynamic, and flattering for this specific individual and so I continued shooting this portraiture shoot using this lighting style.

Photo 3

Photo 3 photo

If you go back to my planning stage of these portrait photographs, I said that I would like to photograph my subject in front of a white background using soft light in order to represent my emotional connection that I have with this boy. As you can see from the example above and the images below, I have indeed used soft light and a white background, but the way in which the shadows catch the background create a tonal grey effect. (This grey tonal effect actually matches one of the grey tones on the subjects t-shirt making the subject and the background more relatable). The lighting itself has therefore reduced the loving connotation that could have been understood through the viewer’s engagement with the photograph. (There are other factors affecting this loving symbolism, which I will discuss in the later annotations of these images.)

Previously, I also stated that I had pre-visualized the two portraiture shots to be a full-body shot and a close-up. After finding the best lighting technique for my subject, I then experimented with creating the usual full-body shot photograph but quickly found that, because of the height and angle of the lighting, my subject looked distorted and out of proportion no matter what angle I took the image from. This then led me to once again change my original full-body shot idea and convert it into a mid-shot that would then be used to accompany the close-up portrait.

Final Two Portrait Images:

When narrowing down my original images I started by managing to decrease the number to 21 favourite photos. I then had a look through these and decided that I wanted a formal, smiley photograph and a photograph that captured a bizarre facial expression. I then managed to narrow these 21 images down to 4.

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After scrutinizing each of these four images, I then found that the two best images that fit the description of one formal and one humorous were both shot as a close-up. When looking at these photographs, I realized that because the composition was almost identical, the images almost felt uninteresting. I wanted to show a variety. My choice was therefore that I could either go for two formal images or two comical images. When presented with this decision, I realized that the two formal portraits showed an almost indistinguishable facial expression, which could be perceived as tedious to the viewer. I consequently decided to trial the two witty images. These two images show a varied facial expression, which, in turn, can allow the viewer to use them as a representation towards the number of personalities this boy, may have. These images are also more likely to fit in with the three other object images as they will all be visibly different and so will connect to each other through a common ground: the pure dissimilarity. These two final portrait images can also be seen to show a similarity to the popular celebrity portraits and so will automatically boost the status of this collection.

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Although I have spent time choosing these two individual images, I have only decided upon them as if they were related to each other and have not taken into account the images that I will be taking of the objects. That is why, once I have decided upon my final five images, I will critically reflect upon the sequence as a whole and how they cohesively fit together. For now, however, I have conducted research that relates to these two portrait photographs, which has been shown below.

Celebrity Portrait Photographers – Research:

Jane Bown:

Biography (relevant to portraits):

  • Born in 1925
  • British photographer
  • Has worked for “The Observer” since 1949
  • Studied photography at Guildford College
  • Started out as a child portrait photographer
  • Was asked to photograph philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1949 by Mechthild Nawiasky, an “Observer” picture editor
  • Was awarded an MBE in 1983
  • In 1995 she was awarded a CBE
  • Works primarily in black and white film
  • Uses available light
  • She has photographed hundreds of famous subjects, including Cilla Black, John Lennon, Richard Dixon, Björk, Jayne Mansfield, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Margaret Thatcher
  • (Information courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Bown)

Portrait and Lighting Analysis:

Photo 1:

  • Black and white image
  • Hard, artificial light but uses little of it to create the darkness within the image
  • Used a high contrast in order to emphasize the landscape of the face
  • Used a black background
  • The lighting doesn’t progress through the “work” as she lights each individual portrait differently to show that they aren’t really related to other portraits
  • The light is not used as a compositional technique in itself, but it does draw attention to the left side of the face and highlights the details
  • Black connotations – power, mystery, fear, evil, anger and emptiness
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • It’s dark and mysterious
    • Relates to something coming out of the shadows – fearful
    • Threatened – through the direct mode of address and lighting
  • How does it link to my portraits?
    • High contrast and close-up
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Rankin – through the composition and close-up (very similar to the Jimmy Carr photo)
    • Michael Schoeller – through composition and close-up

Jane Bown

Photo 2:

  • Black and white image
  • Soft, natural lighting
  • Natural background – enhances the sincerity of the facial expression
  • As said before, the lighting doesn’t progress through the “work” as she lights each individual portrait differently to show that they aren’t really related to other portraits
  • The lighting is not used in an obvious compositional way but it does create several aspects that can be used as leading lines (for example, shadows)
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • The facial expression itself (including the indirect mode of address) provokes thought and curiosity from the viewer
  • How does it link to my portraits?
    • Indirect mode of address, close-up, and composition
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Rankin – natural facial expression

Sir Bob Geldof

Rankin:

http://rankin.co.uk

Biography (relevant to portraits):

  • Born 1966
  • English portrait and fashion photographer
  • Studied photography at Barnfield College Luton and London College of Printing
  • Met Jefferson Hack, who he formed a magazine called Dazed & Confused with once they had graduated
  • In 1999 Hack and Rankin founded Dazed Film & TV
  • In December 2000 Rankin launched his own quarterly fashion magazine, RANK
  • He also publishes Another Magazine, Another Man and more recently “HUNGER”
  • His many subjects have included Britney Spears, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls, Madonna, David Bowie, Björk, The Rolling Stones, and Vivienne Westwood
  • (Information courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rankin_(photographer))

Portrait and Lighting Analysis:

Photo 1:

  • Colour image
  • Soft, artificial light but uses a lot of it to create the brightness of the image
  • Grey background – originally white, but shadows created by numerous lights converted it to the tonal grey
  • Natural, awkward body language – enhanced by the use of a studio set up
  • The lighting doesn’t progress through the “work” as Rankin lights each individual portrait differently to show that they aren’t really related to other portraits
  • However, some subjects have more than one portrait, and in these circumstances the same, or very similar, lighting is used on the subject to easily notify the viewer that they are a part of a collection
  • The lighting within this photograph does not create a compositional aspect
  • Grey connotations – security, modesty, and conservativeness
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • The awkward body language humanizes this celebrity idol and enables the viewer to understand the reality behind this celebrity
  • How does it link to my portraits?
    • Grey background, composition

Rankin 2

Rankin 2.2

Rankin 2.1

Rankin 2.3

Photo 2:

  • Black and white image
  • Hard, artificial light that has been softened through the editing into a black and white photograph
  • Grey background
  • Exaggerated facial expression
  • Once again, the lighting doesn’t progress through the “work” as she lights each individual portrait differently to show that they aren’t really related to other portraits
  • The lighting within this image has not been used to create a dynamic compositional characteristic
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • The exaggerated facial expression, along with the direct mode of address can be seen to make a couple of viewers feel uneasy
    • Can also be seen as slightly creepy
  • How does it link to my portraits?
    • Grey background, close-up, composition, and exaggerated yet natural facial expression
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Michael Schoeller – close-up, grey background, lighting

Rankin 3

Photo 3:

  • Colour image
  • Hard, artificial lighting that is softened by the fact that the background is lit separately, creating a bright white effect
  • Natural body language
  • As this subject has had more than one portrait, Rankin uses the same, or very similar, lighting to easily notify the viewer that they are a part of a collection
  • The light has not been used as a compositional technique
  • White connotations – reverence, simplicity and humility
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • This photograph elicits a menacing and intimidating atmosphere due to the subjects natural looking facial expression
    • This photograph can also be seen as ironic due to the connotations of the colour white suggesting that the subject is honest which, depending on what media represent him, can be seen as a very sardonic thing
  • How does it link to my portraits?
    • Mid shot, composition and body language

 Rankin

Rankin1

Martin Schoeller:

http://martinschoeller.com

Biography (relevant to portraits):

  • Born in Munich, Germany, in 1968
  • Deeply influenced by August Sander’s countless portraits of the poor, the working class, and the bourgeoisie, as well as by Bernd and Hilla Becher
  • Worked as an assistant to Annie Leibovitz from 1993 to 1996
  • Since 1998, his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, and W
  • Joined Richard Avedon as a contributing portrait photographer at The New Yorker in 1999
  • (Information courtesy of National Geographic: http://photography.nationalgeographic.co.uk/photography/photographers/photographer-martin-schoeller/)

Portrait and Lighting Analysis:

Close-Up Collection:

  • Context
    • A native of Germany, Schoeller, who now lives and works in New York, makes portraits both of well-known actors, politicians, and musicians, as well as the distinctly “un-famous” who are presented at parity, enabling us to question our notions about celebrity, personality, and likeness.”
    • http://www.curatorial.com/exhibitions_current/exhib-CloseUp.html
  • Colour photographs
  • Soft, artificial lighting
  • Background is lit separately from the subject in order to enable them to easily stand out – possibly used a honeycomb head to create the spotlight effect?
  • Increased contrast of the image
  • Different coloured backgrounds
  • As this is a collection, although the backgrounds are different colours and some of the images can be seen in black and white, Schoeller has used consecutive lighting in all of his images (along with the same facial expression)
  • The lighting within this photograph does not create a compositional aspect
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • As the same facial expression is used throughout these portraits, it can remind the viewers of a mug shot and can by used to put the viewer on edge
    • However, the calmness that is elicited from the same facial expression is reflected upon the viewer and decreases the edginess
  • How does it link to my portraits?
    • Close-up, composition, colouration, and high contrast
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Jane Bown – Close-up

Michael Schoeller

Michael Schoeller 2

Michael Schoeller 3

After completing this research, I am now planning on photographing my object images. After I have captured some successful shots, I will edit my images and begin my research into photographers that show similar aspects to my technique.

Second Shoot – Developments:

On Monday 13th May 2013, my course peer Olly Wood booked out the studio from 12noon to 3pm.  I was talking to him about this particular task at the time that I found out he had the studio booked and bargained with him that if I could use some of the facilities at the same time as him I would help with any task he struggled with. As a result, I managed to spend nearly three hours photographing my three different objects. The Friday before this particular studio shoot, I also attended a seminar in which my lecturer Caroline Molloy looked over my final portrait images. She seemed impressed by the quality of lighting but urged me to experiment with more creative techniques in order to heighten my successfulness. Therefore, during this studio time, I experimented with a different, more dynamic lighting technique on my objects.

As I stated in my plan, to create what I felt was a cohesively built piece, I was going to light my objects using the same lighting intensity that I did for my portraits (6.5 using one light). I then realized that I also wanted to use two separate lights whilst shooting my still life to eliminate any unwanted shadows. I therefore had to average out the light intensities of the two lights to try and create what appeared to be the same strength lighting. This process led me to the setup that is shown below:

Original

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After shooting all of the objects using this particular lighting technique and feeling somewhat happy with the result, I then thought that I would experiment with a more dramatic lighting effect. For this lighting development, I decided to use one light on a mild lighting intensity, accompanied by a snoot head to give a spotlight effect. This experimental technique was incredibly effective and actually turned out to be the lighting that I used in the final three object images.

Experiment

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As you also saw in my plan, I also stated that I would probably have to adjust the lighting slightly for each of my objects to compliment the material qualities.  In both of the lighting methods used above, I actually found that this was not the case. There were no glaring aspects of the objects that triggered me to change the positioning or lighting intensity for any of the objects. I did, however, in the second lighting technique adjust the angle of the snoot slightly in the ticket image in order to create a slightly more dynamic shadow that could be found in the previous object images.

One key point that I also briefly reflected on in my planning stage was the cohesiveness of my five images. I imagined that in order to create a unified piece, I would have to light each of my photographs similarly. This was also another pre-visualization aspect that showed me otherwise. Below I have critically analyzed my five images as a whole project and will highlight why the different lighting techniques do not damage the connection between the images (please see “Final Critical Analysis”).

 

Final Three Object Images:

As you can see from the three images below, I have chosen the final object images that I wish to accompany my two final portrait images. To get to this stage, there was a lot of cutting down and trial and error including the decision of which lighting technique to use. I started by narrowing down all of my images into the 21 most successful photos from each lighting style. Following this, I then selected the seven best images from both lighting techniques before comparing these seven to my final portrait photographs. I did this in order to decide which lighting would connect with the previous final photos the best, which soon enabled me to narrow down my images to my final three (the snoot lighting).

With lighting aside, I fell like I have chosen the three paramount object images in terms of composition and other photographic practices. These three photographs, as individuals are all incredibly striking and have shown typical still life skills. I have also previously explained why I have chosen these particular objects to represent my subject, but with the compositional techniques used and the focal point emphasizing different aspects within these objects (paired with the sequencing of the five final images) the representation of the boy’s personality can dramatically change and create a collective narrative. That is why, as stated before, I will critically reflect upon the collection of images as a whole and how they fit together for maximum impact. For now, however, as I did previously, I have conducted research that relates to my still life photographs.

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Still Life Photographers – Research:

Jonathan Knowles:

http://www.jknowles.co.uk

Biography (relevant to photography):

  • London based photographer
  • Specializes in graphic still life, liquid and people photography
  • He has been nationally and internationally commissioned
  • Works with advertising agencies worldwide
  • Been in the ‘200 Best Advertising Photographers in the World’ books for the past six years
  • He is one of the top 10 all time award winners in the Graphics Annuals
  • (Information courtesy of Jonathan Knowles “About” section: http://www.jknowles.co.uk/about/)

Photo 1:

  • Colour image – just black and white colouration of objects
  • Soft, artificial lighting – has been diffused by the light box, which can be seen in the light reflection, but the lighting appears to be very hard due to the contrast between the object and the background
  • White infinity curve background
  • Natural position of the item – not showing its use, but how it sits when placed in this circumstance
  • The lighting is not consistent throughout the collection – still life photographers tend to light individual objects differently depending on the purpose of the image
  • The light creates a compositional aspect through the inclusion of the light box reflection and the shadow that is produced
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • Confused – due to the fact that the light bulb is an abnormal colour and is not the main light source within the image; this is enhanced through the shaping of the light box reflection that appears to symbolize a question mark
    • Edgy – the contrast of the black and the white, along with the fact that the light bulb is an unusual colour, creates an almost tense atmosphere
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White background, use of shadows, angle of object, angle of light
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Andy Barter – black and white colouration, reflection, and the use of a white infinity curve
    • Andrew Brookes – black and white colouration, use of shadows

BlackLightBulb 023

Photo 2:

  • Colour image
  • Soft, artificial light due to the fact that there is no obvious light reflection and that the lighting needed to be soft in order for the photographer to show the mirrored reflection
  • White table and background – background light slightly more intensely to give it a brighter look?
  • Natural position of the item – not showing its use, but how it is usually seen
  • Again, the lighting is not consistent throughout the collection – still life photographers tend to light individual objects differently depending on the purpose of the image
  • The light creates a compositional characteristic through the visible, soft reflection
  • White connotation – simplicity, good, and cold
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • The white connotations can be used by the viewer to suggest the quality of the aspects they look for in a bottle of milk, for example, the goodness and the coldness
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White table and background, more than one similar object, slight desaturation?
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Andy Barter – reflection

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Andy Barter:

http://www.andybarter.com

Biography (relevant to photography):

  • London based photographer
  • He was born in Bowerchalke, England in 1967
  • His work has featured in photographic awards including Communication Arts (magazine), Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Paris Art Directors Club, and Prix de la photographie Paris
  • Barter’s images appear in publications such as Vogue (British magazine), Wallpaper*, Arena (magazine) and Esquire (magazine)
  • Other publications featuring work by Andy Barter are limited edition photo books such as “Life’s Ups and Downs”
  • Barter was the subject of the 2012 Panasonic “changing photography” European advertising campaign
  • (Information courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Barter)

Photo 1:

  • Colour image – just black and white colouration of objects
  • Similar to Jonathan Knowles work, this image uses soft, artificial light due to the fact that there is no obvious light reflection and that the lighting needed to be soft in order for the photographer to show the mirrored reflection
  • White infinity curve background
  • Staged position of item – shows the best angles of the object as this mage is being used as a more creative fashion advertising purpose
  • This image is a part of an advertising collection and so the photographs that belong to this series are lit the same way
  • The light creates a compositional characteristic through the visible, soft reflection
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • Edgy – the contrast of the black and the white, along with the overall design of these shoes, creates an almost tense atmosphere and suggests to the viewer that the woman who wears these shoes is an edgy and mysterious individual
    • The distance between the pair of shoes and the general symbolism of shoes can also suggest that the wearer travels a lot, which can in turn enable the viewer to relate to the comfortableness of this type of shoe
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White background, shadows round edge of image, shoe subject
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Jonathan Knowles – reflection, black and white colouration, and the use of a white infinity curve background
    • Andrew Brookes – unique and artistic composition

Andy Barter

Photo 2 (this image is very similar to the previous photo according to lighting techniques and composition):

  • Colour image
  • Again, soft, artificial lighting is used due to the fact that there is no obvious light reflection and that the lighting needed to be soft in order for the photographer to show the mirrored reflection
  • White infinity curve background
  • Staged position of item – shows the best angles of the object as this mage is being used as a more creative fashion advertising purpose; the positions and shapes the objects have been arranged to make also enhance the scales and therefore the material of the fashion item
  • This image is a part of an advertising collection and so the photographs that belong to this series are lit the same way
  • The light creates a compositional characteristic through the visible, soft reflection
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • Some female viewers may feel on edge through the seemingly dismissive positioning of these designer handbags
    • The bright colouration of the bags could also give the viewer an indication as to what kind of person this bag has been marketed for – a colourful individual
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White background, shadows round edge of image, bright colours, composition of objects
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Jonathan Knowles – reflection and the use of a white infinity curve background
    • Andrew Brookes – unique and artistic composition

Andy Barter 2

Photo 3:

  • Colour image
  • Again, soft, artificial lighting has been used, but this time there appears to be the use of a red and green coloured gel or filter
  • White infinity curve background
  • Naturalistic positioning of the items – displayed so that the viewer can see all of the charms
  • The lighting is not consistent throughout the collection – still life photographers tend to light individual objects differently depending on the purpose of the image
  • The light creates a compositional aspect through the use of the coloured gels to create colourful shadows
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • The viewer can relate to this image through the natural positioning of the items
    • It can remind them of how they lay out their own jewelry
    • This can, however, have a bad effect on the marketing as they then begin to relate the designer jewelry with the ordinary
    • This is why I think the photographer has included the coloured gels as this adds an interesting importance to the object
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White background, shadows round edge of image (in this case, the shadows are actually coloured gels), spotlight effect
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Jonathan Knowles – natural positioning, use of white infinity curve background
    • Andrew Brookes – mimics the curved shape of the objects found in both of the analyzed photos of Andrew Brookes

Andy Barter 3

Andrew Brookes:

http://www.andrewbrookes.co.uk/commercial-photographer-uk.html

Biography (relevant to photography):

  • Working in the photographic industry for over 20 years
  • Used to photograph for the Ministry of Defense
  • Been running his own business for the last 16 years
  • Specializes in creating images for the science and technology industries and advertising campaigns
  • Associated with the British Institute of Professional Photographers
  • One of the few British photographers to be accepted as a Qualified European Photographer (QEP)
  • (Information courtesy of Andrew Brookes “About” section: http://www.andrewbrookes.co.uk/about.html)

Photo 1:

  • Black and white image
  • Hard, artificial light has been used to emphasize the shadows and shine found on and around the objects; it also increases the contrast in a non post-productive way
  • White textured table – I’d suggest that a light metre has been used to achieve the zone 5 tone of grey
  • Staged positioning of items – gives it an artistic, creative and abstract flare; creates something interesting out of a boring object
  • The lighting is not consistent throughout the collection – still life photographers tend to light individual objects differently depending on the purpose of the image
  • The light creates a compositional factor through the inclusion of the shadows
  • White connotations – clinical, and sterile
  • Black AND white connotations – mourning
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • Confused and thought provoking – the abstractness of this image makes the viewer have to stop and think, for a split second, about what this image is actually of
    • The coloured connotations suggest that although these equipment are used in medical centre’s and are seen as sterile equipment, they are also equipment used after the death of a person at a hospital
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White textured table, use of shadows, pile of objects, slight abstractness
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Andy Barter – unique and artistic composition

Andrew Brookes

Photo 2:

  • Colour image – perhaps it has been slightly desaturated?
  • Soft, artificial light has been used through what appears to be a honeycomb or snoot head to create the softened spotlighting effect
  • White infinity curve background – the spotlight shows the true colour of the background and the blueness that surrounds it is a form of shadow
  • Staged positioning of item – created a heart shape out of the stethoscope which can be used as a clue to represent the use of the object
  • Once again, the lighting is not consistent throughout the collection – still life photographers tend to light individual objects differently depending on the purpose of the image
  • The light doesn’t really create a definite compositional point apart from the spotlight
  • White and blue connotations – technology, clinical, and sterile
  • How does it make the viewer feel?
    • Can be used by the viewer to suggest that medical centre’s aren’t as stereotypically bad as some people might think
    • Suggests that the medical staff are actually there for calming assistance along with the serious medical side
  • How does it link to my still life photographs?
    • White background, use of shadows, spotlight effect, not fully within the frame
  • Does it link to any other photographers work?
    • Jonathan Knowles – the blueness used in the photo of the milk bottles
    • Andy Barter – unique and artistic composition

Andrew Brookes 2

After having completed this research, I will now critically reflect and analyze my final five images.

Final Critical Analysis:

PRINT 5

PRINT

PRINT 4

PRINT 2

PRINT 3

The photos that I have shown above are my five final images that I will be submitting for this module. They are shown in the correct sequence that I thought created the more aesthetically pleasing narrative piece. For my final submission, I have framed each of these images in A4 frames with a slim black border and would like them to be viewed in a horizontal line, much like that of exhibition pieces. Below I will explain my reasoning behind this specific sequencing, along with the narratives this arrangement can create, and the representation of the subject’s personality through these images.

To begin with, as you can see from the lighting diagrams above, the technical settings and lighting used for these five individual photos are varied. Although this is the case, other factors come into play to enable the viewer to recognize that these images are in fact in the same collection. These include the sequencing of the images and the overall creative effect it has on the viewer’s imagination.

After I had chosen these five final images, I then spent a long period of time sequencing them in order to create the most dynamic collection I could using these images. As you can see, I alternated between a still-life photo to a portrait photo as this seemed like the most logical sequencing technique when using two and three similar images. This alternation also gave the collection a sense of rhythm, which enhanced the likeableness of this accumulation.

During the sequencing process, I also found that I broke my collection up into the two types of photographs and sequenced them individually before approaching them as a whole group. I started by arranging the still-life images and noticed that two of these images had very similar colouration (the books and the tickets). I then realized that if I put these two images near to each other, that the third image (the Converse) would look out of place and would seem to be not included in the collection. I therefore decided that I should place the Converse photo in the centre and decide which of the two similar coloured photos should start and end the sequence, much like a capital letter and a full stop. I finally decided that as the image of the tickets was much darker, I should put this at the end as a form of symbolism to show the finishing of the story. After I had decided the still-life image sequence, I then found that the horizons in these photographs actually get higher as the viewer moves along the collection, which gives a sense of flow to these pieces of work.

My next step of the sequencing procedure was to decide what order my portrait photographs should go in and whether they fit into my still-life sample. I arranged these two images in such a way that enhances the narrative of this collection and enables the viewer to clearly see that these images not only represent the subject’s personality but can also be used to connote a tale behind this character. The two portrait images have also been placed in such a way that can be seen by the viewer as a representation of the subject’s reaction and thought process to the previous and next image in the sequence.

After the sequencing was complete, I actually found that there were two ways of reading this series from the viewer’s perspective. Going through the images individually, the first still-life image of the books can be used by the viewer to embody a state of revising. When the viewer then looks at the next image, they may feel that this subject has a solid opinion on the politics that he was just revising or that he is strongly against what he has just learnt. Either way, the viewer does not feel that this subject is being overtly aggressive as there is still some restraint within his body language that suggests that he is being overtly questioning. The viewer then moves onto the next still-life image of the Converse shoes and fills in the blanks by imagining that this character merely wants to take a break in his revision to process the data, or that he in fact has plans and has somewhere to be. Shoes have also come to be a representation of the start of a journey and can, in the case, be used to give the viewer a clue as to what the rest of the narrative is about. Once the viewer moves onto the fourth image, they then realize that the subject is indeed debating about what to do or where to go which gives the viewer a sense of mystery that moves them along to the final image to see if their ideas were correct. This last photo therefore either agrees or disagrees with the viewer’s perceptions and can be used to symbolize this boy’s escape from revision or hint at the viewer the relationship between the subject and a mystery character. This overall narrative can also somehow represent that fact that although the subject looks like a young adult, he is still very young but has matured in some aspects of his life: his relationships.

The second possible narrative that a viewer could understand from this collection goes as follows. Within the first image of the books, as so many of them are being shown, they can be used by the viewer to represent this students whole degree life. The questioning and opinionated body language found in the second photo can therefore be seen as the aspect that made this subject successful through his degree chapter and consequently managed to effectively complete university. The two final still-life images (the Converse shoes and the tickets) can in some instances be used to symbolize the travelling that this young man went on after his university career. The second portrait image can therefore be used to suggest that this young man still travels through life with the same questioning state of mind that made him a success in the first place. Although this narrative is an alternative to the previous, and some viewers may indeed witness this narrative when looking at these images, it is a lot less realistic but still probable. A number of aesthetics within this photographic collection supports the first hypothesis more so than the second. For example, the same clothing portrayed in both of the portrait shots suggests that the narrative takes place over a shorter period of time, supporting the first, majority narrative view.

After looking into the narrative of this collection, I then recalled that the main point of this task was the representation of personality through portraiture. The personality of this young man can be seen in a variety of ways through this complete group of photos. The dark lighting in the object images suggests a mysterious, powerful, sophisticated subject (according to the connotations of the colour black), which is enhanced by the use of the black frames that I have used for my final display. However, the two narratives created by the viewers narrow these broad terms down into more personal personality traits. For example, the way in which the viewer reads the narrative of these photos suggests that this man is an intelligent, opinionated, questioning and spontaneous individual that is still incredibly young but shows signs of maturity within his relationships. One major aspect about the personality of this man is proposed through use of the formal black frames. These frames symbolize importance and allow the viewer to understand that the relationship hint they received when viewing these images as a collection was not just a hunch. He is indeed in a relationship. He’s in a relationship with me.