Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing. Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject; in other words, it must contain some ‘new information’ rather than repeat the information of the previous image. Pay attention to the order of the series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There should be a clear sense of development through the sequence.
I considered a number of options for this assignment (see separate post for detail planning), all of which were to be shot during a visit to Greece. I dismissed several of the options, after some test shots, out of concern the assignment could resemble a tourist brochure / information (not what I wanted) because of the ubiquity of images of Greece in that format.
I decided to develop a subject relating to a swimming pool. I had been impressed by the refraction of light through water in Susan Dergres work on the moon and wanted to capture some of that light quality in my series. For swimming pools specifically, I looked mainly at the work of David Hockney and Michael Childers, though others are noted in my planning. I was inspired by the simplicity and clarity of the compositions, which seem to echo the clarity of the light around a pool.
The equipment I used was a Panasonic LX100 with a fixed zoom lens f/1.7-2.8 (27mm-84mm efl zoom). I set the camera to shoot in a square format to allow simple composition of patterns. I also used an iPhone app to remotely view and trigger low-angle shots with the camera on a Gorilla-pod. Shooting RAW, plus JPEG, an iPad app was used to view the photos in camera as the shoot progressed (over 3 days) to help with decisions about further shots while in situ.
My family agreed to model in shots that required people – these were constructed images, with people acting under my direction, rather than ‘found’ images of them doing their own thing.
The final selects were processed as RAW files in Lightroom on my return from Greece. I used high contrast, vivid processing to reflect the subject matter, with minimal LR brushwork to lighten the shadow areas in some photos.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT [IN 300 WORDS]?
An Afternoon by the Pool.
It is the refraction of mediterranean light in water shaping its surroundings despite the shapeless form of the light and water. It works its magic on our emotions, calming us, lightening moods, and allowing us to float, weightless within in it. It is holiday. It is escape from the daily grind and the weather England offers us as summer.
There is the story of an afternoon’s activities: 1) We see the abstracted edge of the pool. Without knowing the subject, it may not be clear to the viewer what they are looking at. 2) A close-cropped shot of a ladder into the pool, again abstracted but perhaps clearer what the viewer is seeing, taking them closer to the subject. 3) Finally, it is clear that there is a pool and a ladder that is being used to enter the pool. 4) There is a more energetic way to enter the pool, with a leap. 5) But with the leap comes the shock of the rapid entry to the cooling water. 6) The eponymous use of the pool. 7) Or, hand-stand training. 8) After the exertion there can be a floating relaxation. 9) You might even take an underwater chair? 10) Finally, there is the night that eventually brings an end to the afternoon by the pool.
There is also the play of the light in and around the water. 1) is the tortoise- shell shimmering against the solid pool edge. 2) is the electrified light of reflection. 3) is entering the light from the deep blue shadows. 4) is dark, about to enter the light 5) is pink skin breaking the blue surface. 6) & 7) share the qualities of 5). 8) is vibrant yellow against the blue. 9) & 10) are darker tones with flickers of light signifying the end of the day.
The brief said that you should like the images. I like these images. More research, preparation and experimentation went into these than my previous assignments and I think this has benefited the outcome. Many of the images are staged but I don’t feel that they look contrived – this will encourage me to work more with created, rather than found subjects.
Reflecting on assessment criteria: a) visual – the use of the square format to emphasis pattern and form within the photos, b) quality of outcome – my use of the blog to document preparation continues to improve (despite the blog crash during the assignment!), c) Creativity – some of the shots were experimental and I also tried making pictures from within the pool (none selected) d) Context – during this part of the course, I’ve explored a number books and photographers and invested in books on photographic history and photography now, which I’m working through.