352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Klett and Wolfe’s “Reconstructing the View” Experiment

As you may have already seen within the previous blog post entitled “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – “Recreating my Grandpa’s Photographs” Experiment (x2)”, I thought that it would be a good idea to experiment with the recreation of some of my Grandpa’s photographs that depict the Lake District locations I originally considered photographing throughout my FMP. Now, as suggested in this previous blog post, these particular “recreating” experiments have taken form in three different ways (including a simple comparison of mine and Grandpa’s photos, a “double exposure” including mine and Grandpa’s photos, and a similar technique to the “Reconstructing the View” project by Mark Klett and Bryon Wolfe – looked at within my FMP research, please see my “352MC Professional Photographic Practice – Technical Research” blog post), and so, this specific blog post is therefore dedicated to Mark Klett’s and Bryon Wolfe’s “Reconstructing the View” experiment.

After researching into Klett and Wolfe’s “Reconstructing the View” work, the main piece of inspiration that I gained from their work was the creative methodology that they employed (using found images and including them in a digital montage alongside some of their own photographs) in order to represent the concept of “the passage of time” throughout their project (through the merging of the past and the present), which I therefore thought I could be applied to my FMP as a way of referencing memories primary characteristic (bring the past into the present through the use of a memory trigger), as well as seeing if the inclusion of my Grandpa’s images would enhance the reconnecting aspect of the project (similar to the previous “Recreating my Grandpa’s Photographs” experiments).

Below you will therefore be able to find notes regarding the “Reconstructing the View” experiment (including the equipment and methodology that I used), followed by the photographs from the experiment and a reflection regarding the use of the technique within my FMP:

 


 

Equipment:

  • Canon 5D Mk II
  • Canon EF 24-105mm lens
  • Sekonic L-308S Flashmate (light meter)
  • A selection of scans of Grandpa’s found photographs – Grandpa’s Photos Contact Sheet

As suggested in some of the previous experiments I have undergone (including the “Blurring”, “Double Exposure”, “Impressions”, “Roaming”, and “Recreating” experiments), for this particular experiment, although I had already decided on the use of both the Canon 5D Mk II and the Mamiya 7 for the creation of my FMP images (the Canon 5D to gain an understanding surrounding the correct settings, and the Mamiya 7 for the “official” shots), I decided that I wanted to experiment with this technique solely on a digital camera (and the use of scans of my Grandpa’s photographs) so that I didn’t waste precious film throughout this self-funded project, or damage any of the physical photographs of Grandpa’s. (As well as the fact that this particular experiment I would obviously need digital copies of both of the photos so that I could edit them in Photoshop).

 


 

Methodology:

For the methodology of this specific “Reconstructing the View” experiment, I had to consider a number of different things including the creation of my images and the editing techniques I used within the post-production stages. This section therefore simply bullet-points some of the factors I considered and the general technique I underwent during the experiment:

  • As you will see from the images that have ben included below, for this particular experiment, I only created 3 different responses to my Grandpa’s old photographs that were included on the contact sheet shown above
    • This is because, this experiment was merely seen as a “side task” during my third trip up to the Lake District (please see the blog post entitled “352MC Third Trip to the Lake District (Friday 13th February – Sunday 15th February 2015)”) and, as it was relatively time consuming to create, I decided to focus primarily on the creation of the “official” FMP images I was capturing that weekend, and so therefore only captured 3 experimental responses
  • Also, similar to the “Recreating” experiments I had conducted, looking into the actual aesthetics of the images that I had captured in response to Grandpa’s found photographs, as you can see from those that have been included below, due to the fact that this was merely an experiment, I didn’t really focus on capturing outstandingly beautiful aesthetics as I simply wanted to see whether the technique of comparison would work for my FMP – however, similar to the previous experiments I have conducted, if at the end of this experiment I found that I greatly enjoyed the use of the technique, I will obviously take the time to capture more aesthetically pleasing images
    • For this specific technique, I also started off the experiment by trying to take one of the montage photographs in the exact same place that my Grandpa took them (in order to provide me with a point of reference in which I should create the other images from) but, as you can see, there were some points where I was unable to achieve this due to a change in the environment between when Grandpa and I took our images and where I simply incorrectly lined up my photograph (as this aspect of the experiment was very difficult to complete successfully)
      • However, although this could be seen as a technical “mistake”, I personally feel that this could be used to further enhance the differences between the past and the present that is captured within this particular experiment
    • As you will be able to see from the images included below, and as suggested in the “FMP Inspiration” section of the research I conducted into Klett and Wolfe’s work, I also wanted to photograph the locations in slightly different natural locations to those shown in my Grandpa’s images (as similar to what I suggested above, I thought that this would enhance the concept surrounding the difference between the past and the present), as well as experimenting with the positioning of my Grandpa’s photographs within the created montage in order to see if it enhanced or challenged the narrative associated with the original found photo
    • Creating my photographs in this particular way (creating panoramic montages based on the photographs created by my Grandpa), obviously meant that I also veered away from my chosen technique of photographing the landscape using a “middle-of-the-road” aesthetic, as I obviously wanted to experiment with the successful recreation of the images
  • For the creation of these particular montages, I had to undergo a completely different editing technique using the Photoshop software compared to the numerous other experiments I have conducted
    • Opening up Photoshop, I simply had to use one of it’s “Automate” tools in order to create a “Photomerge” out of the images that I had created in response to my Grandpa’s photograph (which also briefly edited the images in terms of adjusting the exposure and levels so that they all matched, creating a photomontage that wouldn’t distract me in terms of incorrect technical aesthetics)
    • Deliberately choosing not to include my Grandpa’s image within this section of the process (as the software would have simply merged his photos in with mine, making them more difficult to distinguish between), once the tool had completed it’s task, I then cropped the panoramic image so that included only small white sections that needed filling in with the automatic “fill” tool supplied by the software
    • Saving this photomontage as a separate file, I then copied and pasted my Grandpa’s found photograph on top of the montage and used the “Free Transform” tool to place it in the appropriate position, making the final output you can see below

 


 

Experiment Photos:

 

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After-Thoughts and Reflection:

When looking at the digital montages that I have created through conducting this particular experiment, I can clearly see why I wanted to experiment with this technique (as stated above, as a way of referencing memories primary characteristic as well as seeing if the inclusion of my Grandpa’s images would enhance the reconnecting aspect of the project). After creating these three particular experimental examples, although they have merely been created with the experiment in mind and therefore have not achieved their absolute ability, I personally feel that this experiment has been a success in terms of creating images that clearly show my inspiration from Klett and Wolfe’s “Reconstructing the View” project.

Nevertheless, very similar to the reflection I included with my “Recreating” experiments, although this technique could be used to enhance the concepts of time and reconnection within my project (through representing differences between the past and the present that could therefore be used to represent memories primary characteristic, as well as the inclusion of my Grandpa’s photographs), I personally feel that the main concept it can be used to represent (the passing of time) is simply a more specific theme I am briefly exploring throughout my project, rather than the main overarching topic. At this stage of the project, I therefore feel that I want my FMP output to focus on the methodology and reasoning’s behind the project’s creation (of revisiting locations to trigger certain memories of my Grandpa), which I feel could be achieved through another presentation method that I am yet to investigate.

However, with this being said, I greatly appreciated the use of some of my Grandpa’s photographs within the output of this particular experiment, and feel that I could possibly, somehow include these within my final piece in order to enhance the reconnecting aspect and reasoning’s behind the creation of the project.

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