352MC Professional Photographic Practice – “Recreating my Grandpa’s Photographs” Experiment (x2)

As you may have already seen within some of my developmental blog posts for the 352MC Professional Photographic Practice module, I thought that it would be a good idea (after receiving some suggestions from a number of different lecturers) to experiment with the recreation of some of my Grandpa’s photographs (that I found within different family albums), depicting Lake District locations that I originally considered photographing throughout my FMP. Now, 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 the “recreational” experiments I underwent that involved no prior inspiration received from any practicing photographers. (Please note, the write-up for the “Reconstructing the View” experiment has been included in a separate blog post).

As suggested above, the idea of conducting a “recreating” experiment in association to my Grandpa’s found photographs obviously stemmed from numerous conversations that I had with different lecturers, as they suggested that this could be used to enhance the reconnecting aspect of my project. However, during the standard “recreating” experiment (where I simply compared images that I took with my Grandpa’s – discussed in more detail below), I came up with an idea of merging the two photographs together (mine and my Grandpa’s) to created a layered, “double-exposure” image as I personally thought that this technique could be used to represent the merging of the past and the present, which could therefore reference memories primary characteristic (bring the past into the present through the use of a memory trigger).

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

 


 

Equipment (for both experiments):

  • 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 undergo (including the “Blurring”, “Double Exposure”, “Impressions” and “Roaming” 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 for the “double exposure recreating” experiment I would obviously need digital copies of both of the photos so that I could edit them in Photoshop).

 


 

“Standard Recreating” Experiment Methodology:

For the methodology of this specific “Standard Recreating” 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 been included below, for this particular experiment, I only created 8 different responses to my Grandpa’s old photographs that were included on the contact sheet shown above
    • This is because, a majority of the images that I took for this experiment were taken (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)”) as, like suggested in the blog post dedicated to the trip, during this weekend the majority of the places that we were planning on visiting were actually some of the main places that were included in my Grandpa’s photographs
    • However, as you may be able to notice from the contact sheet of my images (included below) some of my photographs were taken from previous trips as well because, when looking through my contact sheets, I noticed that there were a couple that I could possibly include within this experiment
  • Also, 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
    • I also tried to take my photographs in the exact same place that my Grandpa took them (and occasionally cropped them to match – please see more detail below) 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, where I simply incorrectly lined up my photograph (as this aspect of the experiment was very difficult to complete successfully), as well as the fact that some of the images I included within this experiment weren’t actually created with the experiment in mind (i.e. they’re from earlier photo shoots/trips to the Lake District)
      • 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, 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
    • Creating my photographs in this particular way (copying those 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 editing of these images that I had created during the experiment, similar to the previous experiments I have conducted (including the “blurring”, “double exposure”, “Impressions” and “Roaming” experiments), I simply decided to open both of the images up in Photoshop (mine and my Grandpa’s in order to briefly edit them in terms of cropping, straightening, slightly adjust the exposure and levels, and dodging and burning
    • This is because, I wanted to create an image that would allow me to successfully analyze the use of the “Standard Recreating” technique, without distracting me in terms of incorrect technical aesthetics, as well as the fact that, when editing the images, I contemplated editing the colouration of my photographs to match my Grandpa’s, but decided that providing a clear difference between the two different photographs (in terms of colour) would also allow the viewer to distinguish the difference between the past and the present, highlighting the overall concept of this particular technique
  • Finally, with regards to the presentation strategy that I used to display these two images, for this particular “Standard Recreation” experiment, I simply decided to show them side-by-side
    • This is because I thought that this particular layout was often associated with the act of comparison (for example, in “before and after” shots, or “spot the difference”), which would therefore provide the viewer with an understanding that, although these images are of the same place, they are different in terms of when they were taken (thus enhancing the past and the present concept of the technique)

 


 

“Double Exposure Recreating” Experiment Methodology:

As suggested above, when conducting the “Standard Recreating” experiment, I came up with an idea of merging the two photographs together (mine and my Grandpa’s) to created a layered, “double-exposure” image as I personally thought that this technique could be used to represent the merging of the past and the present, which could therefore reference memories primary characteristic (bring the past into the present through the use of a memory trigger). For the methodology of this specific “Double Exposure Recreating” experiment, similar to the “Standard Recreating” experiment included above, I considered a number of different things 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:

  • For this particular experiment, I obviously used the same photographs that I used for the “Standard Recreating” experiment (as it was only during the creation of this previous experiment that I came up with this specific idea – as suggested above), and so all of the information that I included within the “Standard Recreating” experiment “Methodology” section regarding the use of 8 different examples, the images that I created, and veering away from the “middle-of-the-road” aesthetic, obviously greatly applies to this experiment as well
  • However, differing from the previous “recreating” experiment that I looked at above (but similar to the “double exposure” experiment I conducted on the 11th March 2015 – please see the blog post “352MC Professional photographic Practice – Second “Double Exposure” Experiment”), for the editing of these images that I had created during the experiment I simply decided to open both of the images up in Photoshop (that I was going to use for the creation of the double-exposure) in order to crop, straighten and slightly adjust the levels of them before merging them together in order to create one image with two photographic layers (creating a double-exposure affect)
    • With regards to the manipulation of simple photographic aspects (including cropping, straightening, and the adjustments of levels), this is because, as suggested above, I wanted to create an image that would allow me to successfully analyze the use of the double exposure technique, without distracting me in terms of incorrect technical aesthetics
    • However, in relation to the merging of the two images to create this double exposure technique, I took time experimenting with the opacity of the “top” image in order to try and create a “double exposure” that balanced the visual information provided by both of the images (i.e. one did not overshadow the other)

 


 

Experiment Photos (for both experiments):

 

“Standard Recreating” Experiment Photos:

 

“Double Exposure Recreating” Experiment Photos:

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After-Thoughts and Reflection (for both experiments):

When looking at the images that I have created throughout the undertaking of both of these particular experiments, I can clearly see why it was suggested that I experiment with this specific technique, as well as why I personally wanted to experiment with it (as stated above, my lecturers thought that this could be used to enhance the reconnecting aspect of my project, whereas my idea regarding the “double exposure” technique could be used to represent the merging of the past and the present, which could therefore reference memories primary characteristic).

However, when comparing the two techniques that I experimented with (the “standard” and the “double exposure”), although in each of the experiments some images are more successful than others (in relation the aesthetic quality and the comparisons that they create), I personally think that the “double exposure recreating” experiment can be seen as slightly more successful as the “standard” experiment, due to the fact that the aesthetics of the images create a thought-provoking and intriguing outcome which can also be used by the viewer to represent the merging of the past and the present, and thus references memories primary characteristic (as previously suggested above).

Nevertheless, although both of these techniques 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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