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A5: Rework

Introduction

Tutor feedback on the original assignment is here, and the original assignment here. No rework was suggested, but a few months on I felt I could do a better job of post-processing the composite photos to provide a clearer image, allowing the detailed elements to be more easily read.

This post just provides the reworked image, with the context and other information remaining unchanged from the original assignment post.

Process

The difference in processing was using a different approach to capture sharpening of the Fuji x-trans sensor files (different to the typical bayer sensors), ensuring basic image adjustments were made before making the composite in Photoshop and finalising the processing of the composite image back in Lightroom, rather than in Photoshop. The final image has been left as colour, whereas the original submission was a monochrome image.

Image

A5 rework #1

Conclusion

As original submission.

A5 C&N: tutor feedback

I received positive feedback (pdf linked below) on assignment 5 (submission here) , and some overall feedback and advice for preparing for the upcoming assessment. This was highly appreciated.

My tutor recommended following up on a further piece of context:

‘I’d like you to take a look at the current work of a practitioner called Marc Henry. He has created a body of work that is entitled ‘Family Fictions’ where he has manipulated family photographs to include himself with the father he never actually met. I think the work was completed for an MA in Photography at UCLAN.’ [Update at 13.9.16 – made contact at the beginning of August but no response received by the time of assessment submission]

This has been followed up in a separate blog post.

While no rework was suggested for the image, when I looked back on it I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the post-processing. I wanted more clarity in the image and the 16:9 crop felt like a compromise to reduce the visual impact of the white cellar wall. Since completing the assignment my skill and and knowledge has developed and I therefore decided to reprocess the image. See rework here.

PDF of tutor feedback: http://context.fitzgibbonphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Andrew-Fitzgibbon-Assignment-05-Feedback-Report.pdf

A1 C&N – rework

Introduction

The original submission (November 2015) for assignment 1 is here and my tutor’s feedback on the work submitted here. This post deals with the rework of the assignment to improve technical aspects of the shoot and outcome. The concept behind the assignment is unchanged from the original submission.

Two specific aspects of the original shoot needed to be addressed: a) the quality of the night images was not the best because high winds made it unwise to use a tripod, so they were taken at high ISO and noise is evident and; b) there was inconsistency of view point between the pairs of day and night images.

Revised process

The camera used was a Fuji X100T with fixed 23mm lens (efl 35mm). The night images were shot as during the first session – all at ISO 400, and f/11 with long exposures (up to 15 seconds), using a solid tripod and a 2 second shutter-release delay set in camera. Unlike in the original submission, where Photoshop was used, Lightroom was used for processing, including black and white conversion and selective adjustments to the highlights and shadows in the images. The change in processing tool reflects my increase knowledge and competence in using Lightroom.

Once the final selects were made from the night images, reference copies were printed and taken on the street to assist in camera positioning for the day images.

The images

There are 3 pairs of day and night photos, reflecting the concept explained in the original version of this work; ‘my story is of night and day, of fear and normality.’

Click image to view as gallery slideshow

CONCLUSION

This is my updated conclusion, following the rework. Following the original work, I’d concluded that the concept was not as successfully executed as I’d hoped (see here for details).

Against the OCA assessment criteria I conclude:

Demonstration of technical skills – effective use of camera in low-light conditions, with high contrast street lights. Effective use of Lightroom in post-processing to emphasise darkness, shadows and street lamp highlights. In the rework, carrying reference pictures of the night shots to obtain more closely matching shots for the day images ensured greater consistency between the sets of images.

Quality of outcome – the concept is a good interpretation of the brief and the photographs in the context of the story are plausible.

Demonstration of creativity – I avoided the temptation to look for the unusual or extraordinary in the street scenes and took straight images in an attempt to express the spirit of the town and reflect the story context; an ordinary perspective to add credibility to the story.

Context – (at November 2015) I’ve been very active in my learning log for part one of C&N, with 24 pieces of research and reflection and 6 coursework activities ( see index here) and feel that I’ve gained a good grasp of the principles of context and narrative within photography.

A5 C&N: submission to tutor

‘Construct a stand-alone image of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to make a series, elaborating on the same theme … The only stipulation is that you produce work that has been controlled and directed by you for a specific purpose’ (OCA C&N, p122)

The image for assignment 5, Making it up, is an autobiographical memory work about life-choices, and how the possibility of changing direction becomes more difficult as we age. The reasons for choosing this concept are described in a separate post (see here). Inspiration for the double self-portrait was drawn from Kahlo’s, The Two Fridas and, for the monochrome post processing, from David Lamelas’ Rock Star (Character Appropriation).

The process followed for making the image, including an explanation of the location, props, lighting and modelling is detailed in a separate post (see here). In summary:

  • The image includes two self-portraits: the rock musician-me (my aspiration as a young man) and the businessman-me (my actual career). Both subjects are contemplating what has happened as a result of life’s choices. The musician taking the higher ground (art and pleasure) and the businessman the lower ground (commerce and sometimes a grind). The cellar with its blocked door signifies entrapment or a blocked route.
  • The props reference my younger aspirations and life-style, and my current situation. A trade-off has been made between financial comfort and stability one one hand, and youthful dreams on the other. For example, the small pile of coins vs the money notes, or the cheap Somerset cider vs the expensive imported Russian vodka. Some semiotics are more personal – the leather hat refers to a similar one I wore when young (see old photo in process post); and Somerset cider (the place of my youth) against Russian vodka (a frequent place of business travel).
  • Studio lighting was used (illustrated in the separate post), but I didn’t manage to control the lighting completely in the way I’d hoped; possibly because of the confined space and reflective walls. It is an area with which I intend to experiment and practice.
  • The shoot was run with the intention of creating 4 separate images for blending in Photoshop: good exposures for dark floor and white walls for a blended backdrop, plus an exposure for each self-portrait. Within Photoshop, perspective correction was needed for the wide-angle lens (used because of confined space) and the monochrome conversion was with the Nik Silver-Efex plug-in. Ideally, I wanted pure black and white to reflect the music photography of my youth, but the walls were too bright in white and sepia toning became a compromise.
Image

The final image is below – this results from some rework following feedback from a fellow student (explained in the process post).

16by9 cellar (blog)

 

Conclusion

Against the OCA assessment criteria, I conclude:

  • Demonstration of technical skills were demonstrated: a)  in the lighting of a dark confined space, but I found difficulty in controlling the light exactly as I’d envisioned (perhaps due to confined space and need of more experience); b) in the successful blending, correction and monochrome conversion of RAW files in Photoshop; and c) in meeting assignment brief of controlling and directing work – self-portraiture presents its own technical challenges and for a future project I’d like to work with others as model-subjects.
  • Quality of outcome – the overall image successfully conveys my intention. A point for improvement in constructed images is to visualise in detail how all elements will appear in the outcome. Specifically, I’d not sufficiently considered the visibility of the props in a dark space and with a monochrome conversion – on a screen-sized image these can be tricky to see. I intend to make a large print of the image to understand how the details are then conveyed.
  • Demonstration of creativity – a creative use of autobiographical self-portrait to express my concept and a disused cellar-space to create an oppressive atmosphere around the central concept.
  • Context – The context is noted in the three preparatory posts for this assignment (see – review of C&N studies, concept, process) but broadly, the context of the work is photography as memory work and the autobiographical self-portrait. There is a breadth and depth of context.

A5 C&N: process

This post follows my post on the concept for the assignment, Making it up (see here). It explores my detailed approach to the concept of life-choices and how, as one ages, it becomes more difficult to change direction.

The image will feature a double-self-portrait. One-me reflecting my younger aspirations and the other-me reflecting the way my life has turned out so far.

Props and symbols used in the image:

  • Rock musician-self: dressed casually with guitar and amp
  • Businessman-self: dressed smartly with laptop in lap
  • Location – cellar with blocked door to the outside. Cellar representing a sense of being closed off or trapped and the blocked door, the difficulty in finding a way out or forward.
  • Props related to musician-self: guitar manuscript book, glass of cider (the drink of my Somerset youth), a leather hat (similar to the one I wore as a teenager), a few coins on the floor (only a little money), electric guitar in hand (the same guitar bought for me by my mother when I was 16), plastic container of cider (tucked under my legs).
  • Props related to businessman-self: accountancy magazine, pile of money notes (enough money), passport expensive imported Russian vodka.

Moving the equipment in/out was tricky with the limited access, so I resolved to complete the shoot in one day.

Lighting:

The cellar is dark without electricity supply, with some daylight through a ventilation hole and a small door, if left open (it was once the butchery for the old farm-house where I live). To light, I ran an extension-lead around the outside of the house to power three studio lights recently bought on eBay. The lighting was more difficult than anticipated because of the small, enclosed space and remains of white lime-wash on the vaulted ceiling reflecting light in all directions. I eventually settled on this arrangement: large softbox directed at floor to avoid too much shadow on props; snoot directed at recessed, blocked doorway to illuminate a ‘way out’; and bare studio light directed at ceiling to illuminate the self-portrait subjects.

C&N-5---lighting-diag

The shoot:

  • Fuji X-T1 with Fujinon 10-24mm lens – remote-controlled with Fuji iPhone app for self-portraits. Over 100 photos in total, including test-shots for lighting arrangements. Wide-angle was necessary because of the limited space in the cellar.
  • Musician-self: several poses attempted and props adjusted before arriving at final choice. Similar approach for businessman-self.
  • Empty scene (without self) including just props – here I was looking for good exposures of the floor (including props) and wall/ceiling for the details during Photoshop blending.

Post-processing:

  • Photoshop used throughout with Nik Silver-efex as a smart layer for black and white conversion.
  • Made background composite of floor/ceiling, using blend-if for correct blend of white ceiling and dark stone floor.Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 22.27.05
  • Used masks to overlay musician-self and businessman-self over background composite, including levels adjustment to each self. Followed by levels adjustment to combined images.
  • Created flat layer from composite layers, converted to smart-layer and applied Silver Efex Pro. An ‘adaptive wide angle’ filter was applied to the composites to correct the perspective.Within Efex, applied general and local adjustments to arrive at final image.
  • So, in total 4 images were used in the composite (RAW unprocessed files are shown below).

 

 

Raw files used in composite

The initial version of the final image was shared to the OCA 1 Facebook group and feedback received from a fellow student (thanks to Sue Eyre!) that the brightness of the walls distracted from the foreground details and the props were difficult to see.

C&N5 Andrew513879_blog

The feedback was valid and I’d clear become snow-blind to the image after looking at it for too long. Initially, some corrections were made by dodging and burning in Photoshop using layers.

DSCF9831-PS edit-Recovered

While this offered some improvements to visibility, it also created some difficulties: applying the dodge/burn on top of the Silver Efex Pro layer, caused saturation of the yellow tint and the foreground detail didn’t draw attention in the in the frame. This was down to the original composition focusing on capturing everything from the floor to the top of the arch – a mistake in framing in retrospect.

For the final image shown in the submission, I completely reworked the image. A cinematic 16:9 crop was applied to cut the head-room and bring the foreground up. During reprocessing, care was taken to reduce the brightness of the walls and bring more attention on the props through careful brightness and detail adjustments.

Contact sheets

Below are contact sheets containing a selection of the unprocessed RAW files from the shoot.

 

A5 C&N: preparation – concept

The brief for this assignment, Making it Up, can be summarised as follows:

‘Construct a stand-alone image of your choice. Alternatively, you may choose to make a series, elaborating on the same theme … The only stipulation is that you produce work that has been controlled and directed by you for a specific purpose … The aim of this assignment is to use props, costume, models, location, lighting, etc. to contribute to the overall meaning of the image … For this final assignment, you should also include an illustrated evaluation of the process you went through to produce your final image(s) … write around 1,000 words in total (including your 300-word introduction).’ (OCA C&N, p122)

This post follows one on my initial research and reflection (see here). I’ve been thinking about this assignment for some time before arriving at the idea of an autobiographical memory work. There are a number of things that have influenced me in this direction:

  1. Recent reading on photography and memory that was recommended by my tutor (see recommendations and links here), including Joan Gibbons’ Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of Recollection and Remembrance.
  2. A surprising, to me, enjoyment of autobiographical work developed during the course of C&N, particularly assignment 3 (see here). I’ve found this cathartic.
  3. Now I’ve turned 50, I’ve become more reflective on life and times; there is most likely more time behind than ahead, which makes me more mindful of how I spend my time, and how I’ve spent my time.
  4. An old friend recently posted the image below to Facebook. This caused me to reflect on a time in my life when music was everything and I could not imagine doing anything other than that. In fact, the 17-year-old me (with the hat), would have most likely been scornful of the career path I’ve taken in big business.

13240573_1045984738849917_2791346788179301117_n

My intention in the assignment is to reflect upon life-choices and how, as one ages, it becomes more difficult to change direction. Windows of opportunity for change seem to be reduced as responsibilities shift to nurturing future generations.

Regarding, approach to content of my image, I have two main influences: Kahlo’s, The Two Fridas (see here), which gave me the idea of combining two self-portraits to show two sides of one self; and David Lamelas – rock star, which I recently saw at the Tate Modern’s exhibition, Performing for the Camera, which give me the idea of processing my image in high-contrast black and white to echo my one-time rock musician ambitions.

References

Met Museum [website]. Rock Star (Character Appropriation). Available from: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/287299 [accessed 4.6.16]

 

A4 C&N – rework

Introduction

This is a re-write of assignment 4, following my tutor’s recommendation that it should be phrased in an academic-style third person voice. There are also a few minor content adjustments. The feedback is here and the original assignment here. The self-reflection remains unchanged, as it doesn’t refer to the style of writing (see here).

Source of copy photo featured: spitalfieldslife.com

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. Write an essay of 1,000 words on an image of your choice. The image can be anything you like, from a famous art photograph to a family snapshot, but please make sure that your chosen image has scope for you to make a rigorous and critical analysis. (OCA C&N, p105)

A picture is worth a thousand words

The purpose of this essay is to illustrate how we might read or decode a photograph and the tools that can help us; ‘many people still doubt whether individual photographs can hold our attentions to the same extent as paintings or sculptures’ (Howarth, p7).

The photo selected for analysis was from the 60th Anniversary Edition of Steichen’s book The Family of Man, where it was referenced ‘France. Izis  Rapho Guillumette’ (p 138). The photographer was Israel Bidermanas (1911-1980), also known as Izis. There are many photos that could have been selected from the book, but I was drawn to this through a recent experience of looking at the tombstones in a Yorkshire Dales church yard, reflecting on the impact of war on a small community. During the research, it was discovered that rather than France, the photo was taken in St John’s Cemetery, Wapping, UK, prior to 1952 (Prévert J and Izis-Bidermanas, p 61).

The photo denotes (or shows literally) a church yard of fallen tombstones, overgrown with weeds, and a boy centre image, standing on a stone, and encircled by fallen stones in the foreground and a tree canopy to the rear.  The light on the stones creates a strong leading line from the front to the back of the image, where a building is partially obscured by the trees. A shallow depth of field is used to focus attention on the boy, who is dressed in jacket and trousers, has unkempt hair and looks very thin. It is difficult to see details, but he appears to be teenaged and his clothes shabby. He looks into the distance, not at the camera, still, with his hands at his sides and toes pointed towards the ground as he balances on a stone. The photo is black and white and includes the full range of tones in between; there is effective use of deep shadows to add contrast and volume, perhaps indicative of Brassai’s influence, who encouraged Izis. There is a strong feeling of Barthes’ ‘this-has-been’; that the photo is old and the boy is now an old man or has joined the dead he stands over. But this is reading into the image, which follows next.

What connotations (‘between the lines’) can be drawn from the image? Fallen monuments (tombstones) act as signifiers of a fallen society. They signify a time lost, or perhaps neglect during the war years. The photo was taken in the early 1950s, so in the aftermath of World War II. The boy is standing among the dead, looking into the distance, perhaps mourning someone he has lost, taking solace in his closeness to the dead, or waiting for someone who did not return from the war. He is alone, lonely, isolated from the outside world under the canopy of trees. The placement of the boy’s feet hit hard (what Barthes called ‘punctum’) – they point towards the ground as if he is being pulled towards the sky; an angel standing over the dead, or a sign of his own mortality. There is a strong sense of loss and loneliness in the photo.

Next, to consider the photo within the contexts of the books it is shown (context influences the way photographs are read). In the Family of Man, a post-war humanist photography project, the photo introduces the subject of funerals in different cultures. It also acts metaphorically, relaying with Homer’s aphorism, ‘As the generation of leaves, so is that of men.’ (Steichen E, p138). In the Charmes de Londres (Prévert J and Izis-Bidermanas), the photo appears alongside an extract from a poem in French by Jacque Prévert, Eau (ibid, p61). While the poem refers to the story of Hamlet and Ophelia, with the backdrop of war, it serves as intertextualisation for the photo, connoting the madness of war: using ‘broken bones’ as a motif, “Oh folie, os fêlés, Le Cimetierre est désert, les tombes dépareillees.” (ibid, p61); describing Hamlet’s madness; and giving us a sense of place, Shakespeare’s London. The poem describes grief and being closed off from others – as already read in the photograph.

What of Izis himself and his intention for the photo? His son is quoted as saying ‘Izis’s “poetic sadness” was rooted in personal tragedy.’  Notably, Izis was a Lithuanian-Jew and Lithuania is a country that was subject to rule by Imperial Russia, occupation by Nazi Germany, and rule by Soviet Russia. 195,000 of the 210,000 Lithuanian-Jews were murdered in the Holocaust (Brook). Izis fled Lithuania for Paris when he was 19, his parents were executed by the Nazis, and he endured a perilous existence in occupied France. How should one read the photo in this context? Was it a serendipitous photo of a boy in a church yard? It is more likely that it was arranged – the boy is not looking towards the intruding photographer but standing as if placed. The photograph can be read as a self-portrait with the boy representing Izis, connoting the loss of his people in the tangled undergrowth and fallen tombstones; a boy alone in the world, lost, looking into the distance for meaning.

It seems cruel that the legacy of Izis and his story is not as easy to uncover as those of his more famous contemporaries (Brassai et al), who supported him when he arrived destitute in France, over 85 years ago. His voice does not carry clearly through time: The Family of Man incorrectly placed his photograph; there is no dedicated biography; and Wikipedia, although not sourced here, is the only online space addressing him specifically.  His poetic sadness, the story of personal tragedy and the tragedy of his people may fade untimely, ‘like a generation of leaves’. Here, at least it can be seen that his masterful photograph is easily worth 1,000 words.

References

Barthes R (1979) Camera Lucida, Reflections on Photography Vintage 2000 ed.

Cooke T & Kinnedberg C (ed.) (1997). The Photography Book (2014 edition). New York. Phaidon Press Inc.

Datab [online database]. Izis. Available from: http://datab.us/i/Izis [accessed 28.3.16]

Fatras [website]. La Succession Jacque Prévert. Available from: http://www.jacquesprevert.fr/en/succession/presentation/ [accessed 2.4.16]

Howarth S (2005). Singular images – essays on remarkable photographs. London, Tate Publishing.

Lausanne University Library [website]. Jacques PREVERT et IZIS, Grand Bal du Printemps, 1951. Available from: http://wp.unil.ch/livre-photo/guilde-du-livre/les-albums-sur-paris/grand-bal-de-printemps/#pn4 [accessed 2.4.16]

Mabillard, A. The Hamlet and Ophelia Subplot. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. Available from: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/playanalysis/opheliaplot.html [accessed 3.4.16]

Masters of Photography (2011) [blog]. Izis — Israëlis Bidermanas. Available from: http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/izis-israelis-bidermanas.html [accessed 28.3.16]

Parr M and Badger G (2004). The Photobook: A History, vol. 1. London: Phaidon. p. 222.

Prévert J and Izis-Bidermanas (1952). Charmes de Londres (Edition de Monza, 1999). Paris, de Monza.

The Red List [website]. Izis (1911 – 1980). Available from: http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-16-601-803-view-humanism-profile-izis.html [accessed 2.4.16]

Rosenblum N (1984). A world history of photography (revised edition). New York, Abbeville Publishing Group.

Brook D (2015). Slate online [website]. Double Genocide (26 July). Available from: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2015/07/lithuania_and_nazis_the_country_wants_to_forget_its_collaborationist_past.html [accessed 23.5.16]

Spitalfields Life (2014) [website]. Izis Bidermanas’ London. Available from: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2014/02/11/izis-london/ [accessed 28.3.16]

Steichen E (1955, copyright renewed 1983). The Family of Man (2015 edition). New York, The Museum of Modern Art.

Trussel [website]. Directory of Notable Photographers – Izis. Available from: http://www.trussel.com/maig/izis.htm [accessed 2.4.16]

A5 C&N – preparation: review of C&N studies

In preparation for the final assignment of C&N, Making it up, I have made a survey of my course work, looking for ideas and inspiration for the assignment. While reading through, I’ve also taken the opportunity to perform any edits to earlier post; either for errors previously not spotted or to include images in any posts that appear too text-heavy in light of my current blogging practice.

Here I record notes of ideas and links to the original blog posts for easy reference:

  • Post processing – consider use of cinematic-style colour grading, particularly if darkened cellar is used as backdrop (see here for technique). See exercise on Scorsese, The Good Fellas (here) for example of cinematic lighting effects.
  • Experiment with combining sound-scape / music with images, eg In the Shadow of the Pyramids by Laura El-Tantawy; also revisit the work of Jason Evans (see here).
  • Reflect on personal memories – life-choices – as ideas for construction. Reference Bate, The Memory of Photography (see here). Is there something in old personal photos I can draw upon?
  • In Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of Recollection and Remembrance, by Joan Gibbons (see here) the topics of ego (within self-portrait) and the divide between private and public in auto-biographical works are discussed. What divides and self-representation of ego influence my own work?
  • ‘All photographs are momento mori (Sontag)’ – or literally, ‘remember you must die’ (discussed by Hirsch in Family Frames here). In a double self-portrait, could I superimpose an image of my younger self, or otherwise incorporate an image to reference ageing and experience?
  • For ideas on semiotics in the image refer to the book, This means this, this means that,  by Sean Hall (post here). Also, Barthes’ The Rhetoric of Image (see here)
  • Work of other photographers if this project is to include self-portraiture – revisit the book Auto Focus (see here).

Looking back over my blog makes me mindful that much ground has been covered in a seemingly short time.

A3 C&N – trial rework

In the feedback I received on assignment 3 (see here), there was a suggestion that I should try the coloured images in a high contrast black and white format. In this post, I discuss the output of that trial.

I’d retained the layered photoshop files in case of rework, so chose my preferred image and added additional layers for the black and white conversion – these were B&W tone, curves, dodge, burn layers. And, disabled the finishing layers for the coloured image. In addition, I added some blur to the impression of the passport covering my face – in retrospect it was perhaps a little too sharp for a tattoo-like mask. I also did this for the colour version of the image shown below.

While the black and white image offers improved contrast (ruddy complexion of my face is toned down) and dodging brings the eyes out more, the complexity and intrigue in the backdrop is lost somewhat – in particular the branded elements (eg Facebook) are not readily identified without the colour that makes up part of the brand identity.

In the end, I’ve decided to stick with the images as presented. I also checked the colour version of the image in the original submission against the adjusted image here and, in fact, prefer the original.

A4 C&N – tutor feedback

This post deals with my tutor’s feedback on assignment 4 (see here for assignment), with detailed feedback contained in pdfs referenced below.

Overall very positive feedback (noted in the text mark-up). There are a few points to address, which I intend to pickup in a revision to the original essay:

  • A few points to make clearer (eg I didn’t refer to the original MoMA catalogue of Family of Man, but the 70th anniversary edition!)
  • A few improvements to referencing, including staying clear of Wiki, even if to say it was the only place online I could find something mentioned.
  • Recommended writing in the 3rd person. (rewrite is here)
  • Tutor kindly provided a copy of a text created himself in response to self-portraits – for study and response through the blog.

So, a number of useful recommendations to further tighten my original essay and align it to a traditional academic style.

References

Tutor feedback (overall comments) – http://context.fitzgibbonphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Andrew-Fitzgibbon-Assignment-04-Feedback-Report.pdf

Tutor feedback (text markup on essay) – http://context.fitzgibbonphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Andrew-Fitzgibbon-Assignment-4.1.pdf

A3 C&N – tutor feedback

This post addresses my tutor’s feedback on assignment 3 (see here for assignment), with a pdf of the full feedback referenced below.

The feedback was positive and some points to consider were highlighted:

  • Access to the locked diary – I thought I’d given this but will check and revert.
  • Try out monochrome versions of the images (with additional contrast) (see here)
  • Research – look to embed some images into the text and comment on impact on own practice
  • Additional reading suggested (full references provided in pdf of feedback) around concepts on identity/memory for consideration in upcoming work:
    • Hirsch, M. 2012. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory. (see here)
    • Gibbons, J. 2007. Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of Recollection and Remembrance. (see here)
    • Bate, D. 2010. The Memory of Photography. (see here)
    • Livingston, D. & Dyer, P. 2010. A View From The Window: Photography, Recording Family Memories. (see here)
    • Douglas Huebler, specifically the Variable Piece #101 (see here)

Useful feedback, which I’ll deal with and provide further links in this post.

References

Tutor feedback pdf – http://context.fitzgibbonphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Andrew-Fitzgibbon-Assignment-03-Feedback-Report.pdf

A4 C&N – self-reflection

Here I reflect on assignment 4 of C&N, A picture is worth a 1000 words, prior to submission my tutor (assignment link here).

I thoroughly enjoyed the assignment and learned a lot from it – before analysing the photo I was drawn to it intuitively, but through analysis I was able to understand some of the reasons for its appeal and articulate them. There were moments when I felt I was tapping into things that would have otherwise remained subconscious, particularly when considering ‘punctum’. The application of theory gives it tangible value and affirms its significance.

I faced a practical difficulty when writing the essay as I unthinkingly worked on it directly in WordPress, which has a weak spelling/grammar check engine and doesn’t allow for effective tracking of changes / versioning. It wasn’t much helped by Apple Pages when I copy/pasted there for assistance – although it helpfully provided a word count on the body of the essay only, the spelling/grammar check seems fairly weak and errors needed to be identified by painstaking proof reading. The lesson was learned and I’ve now installed a copy of Word on my Mac (Microsoft Office helpfully discounted to £9.95 through my employer).

Against the OCA assessment criteria, I conclude:

  • Demonstration of technical skills – I effectively applied concepts and tools of reading photographs to the analysis and wrote a well-structured essay.
  • Quality of outcome – surprisingly, the limit of 1,000 words made the essay feel a little contrived – demonstrating technical skills within that limit felt a little forced. However, I think the essay makes an interesting read and my contemporaries also seemed to find it a good read.
  • Demonstration of creativity – There were various levels of research into the image that uncovered context that was not immediately apparent. I’ve used this information creatively to write an interesting story about the photo, but also about Izis the man.
  • Context – The context is noted in the two preparation posts for this assignment (see prep 1 and prep 2) and also referenced in the assignment itself. There is a breadth and depth of context. However, one area I deliberately omitted was a comparison between the work of Izis and his contemporaries – there simply wasn’t space within the 1,000 word limit and I felt it was more important to focus on the reading of the one photograph, the photographer and its immediate context, rather than brining in the dimension of the work of others.

Finally, I note the value of peer review of the draft of my essay – there is nothing like having a fresh pair of eyes (or several) and feedback through the Facebook page and directly to my blog helped significantly in guiding me to a stronger outcome.

A4 C&N – submission to tutor

Source of photo copy: spitalfieldslife.com

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. Write an essay of 1,000 words on an image of your choice. The image can be anything you like, from a famous art photograph to a family snapshot, but please make sure that your chosen image has scope for you to make a rigorous and critical analysis. (OCA C&N, p105)

A picture is worth a thousand words

The purpose of this essay is to illustrate how we might read or decode a photograph and the tools that can help us; ‘many people still doubt whether individual photographs can hold our attentions to the same extent as paintings or sculptures’ (Howarth, p7).

I selected my photo for analysis from the 1955 book Family of Man, where it was referenced ‘France. Izis  Rapho Guillumette’ (p 138). The photographer is Israel Bidermanas (1911-1980), also known as Izis. There are many photos I could have chosen from the book, but I was drawn to this one as I had recently been looking at the tombstones in a rural Yorkshire Dales church yard, reflecting on the impact of war on a small community. During my research, I discovered that rather than France, the photo was taken in St John’s Cemetery, Wapping, UK, prior to 1952 (Prévert J and Izis-Bidermanas, p 61).

The photo denotes (or shows literally) a church yard of fallen tombstones, overgrown with weeds, and a boy centre image, standing on a stone, and encircled by fallen stones in the foreground and a tree canopy to the rear.  The light on the stones creates a strong leading line from the front to the back of the image, where a building is partially obscured by the trees. A shallow depth of field is used to focus our attention of the boy, who is dressed in jacket and trousers, has unkempt hair and looks very thin. It’s difficult to see details, but he appears to be teenaged and his clothes shabby. He looks into the distance, not at the camera, still, with his hands at his sides and toes pointed toward the ground as he balances on a stone. The photo is black and white and includes the full range of tones in between; there is effective use of blocked-up shadows to add contrast and volume, perhaps indicative of Brassai’s influence, who encouraged Izis. I have a strong feeling of Barthes’ ‘this-has-been’; that the photo is old and the boy is now an old man or has joined the dead he stands over. But this is reading into the image, which is next.

What connotations (‘between the lines’) can be drawn from the image? Fallen monuments (tombstones) act as signifiers of a fallen society. They signify a time lost, or perhaps destruction through war. The photo was taken in the early 1950s, so in the aftermath of World War II. The boy is standing among the dead, looking into the distance, perhaps mourning someone he has lost, taking solace in his closeness to the dead, or waiting for someone who did not return from the war. He is alone, lonely, isolated from the outside world under the canopy of trees. The placement of the boy’s feet hit me hard (what Barthes called ‘punctum’) – they point towards the ground as if he is being pulled towards the sky; an angel standing over the dead, or a sign of his own mortality. I have a strong sense of loss and loneliness from the photo.

Next, I consider the photo within the contexts of the books it is shown (context influences the way we read photographs). In the Family of Man, a post-war humanist photography project, the photo introduces the subject of funerals in different cultures. It also acts metaphorically, relaying with Homer’s aphorism, ‘As the generation of leaves, so is that of men.’ (Steichen E, p138). In the Charmes de Londres (Prévert J and Izis-Bidermanas), the photo appears alongside an extract from a poem in French by Jacque Prévert, Eau (ibid, p61). While the poem refers to the story of Hamlet and Ophelia, with the backdrop of war, it serves as intertextualisation for the photo, connoting the madness of war: using ‘broken bones’ as a motif, “Oh folie,
os fêlés, Le Cimetierre est désert, les tombes dépareillees.” (ibid, p61); describing Hamlet’s madness; and giving us a sense of place, Shakespeare’s London. The poem describes grief and being closed off from others – as we already have read into the photograph.

What of Izis himself and his intention for the photo? His son is quoted as saying ‘Izis’s “poetic sadness” was rooted in personal tragedy.’  Notably, Izis was a Lithuanian-Jew and Lithuania is a country that was subject to rule by Imperial Russia, occupation by Nazi Germany, and rule by Soviet Russia. 195,000 of the 210,000 Lithuanian-Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Izis fled Lithuania for Paris when he was 19, his parents were executed by the Nazis, and he endured a perilous existence in occupied France. How can we read the photo in this context? Was it a serendipitous photo of a boy in a church yard? It is more likely that it was arranged – the boy is not looking towards the intruding photographer but standing as if placed. The photograph can be read as a self-portrait with the boy representing Izis, connoting the loss of his people in the tangled undergrowth and fallen tombstones; a boy alone in the world, lost, looking into the distance for meaning.

It seems to me cruel that the legacy of Izis and his story is not as easy to uncover as his more famous contemporaries (Brassai et al), who supported him when he arrived destitute in France, over 85 years ago. His voice does not carry clearly through time: the Family of Man incorrectly placed his photograph; there is no dedicated biography; and Wikipedia is the only online space addressing him specifically.  His poetic sadness, the story of personal tragedy and the tragedy of his people may fade untimely, ‘like a generation of leaves’. I have at least shown that his masterful photograph is easily worth 1,000 words.

References

Barthes R (1979)  Camera Lucida, Reflections on Photography Vintage 2000 ed. 

Cooke T & Kinnedberg C (ed.) (1997). The Photography Book (2014 edition). New York. Phaidon Press Inc.

Datab [online database]. Izis. Available from: http://datab.us/i/Izis [accessed 28.3.16]

Fatras [website]. La Succession Jacque Prévert. Available from: http://www.jacquesprevert.fr/en/succession/presentation/ [accessed 2.4.16]

Howarth S (2005). Singular images – essays on remarkable photographs. London, Tate Publishing.

Lausanne University Library [website]. Jacques PREVERT et IZIS, Grand Bal du Printemps, 1951. Available from: http://wp.unil.ch/livre-photo/guilde-du-livre/les-albums-sur-paris/grand-bal-de-printemps/#pn4 [accessed 2.4.16]

Mabillard, A. The Hamlet and Ophelia SubplotShakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. Available from: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/playanalysis/opheliaplot.html [accessed 3.4.16]

Masters of Photography (2011) [blog]. Izis — Israëlis Bidermanas. Available from: http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/izis-israelis-bidermanas.html [accessed 28.3.16]

Parr M and Badger G (2004). The Photobook: A History, vol. 1. London: Phaidon. p. 222.

Prévert J and Izis-Bidermanas (1952). Charmes de Londres (Edition de Monza, 1999). Paris, de Monza.

The Red List [website]. Izis (1911 – 1980). Available from: http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-16-601-803-view-humanism-profile-izis.html [accessed 2.4.16]

Rosenblum N (1984). A world history of photography (revised edition). New York, Abbeville Publishing Group.

Spitalfields Life (2014) [website]. Izis Bidermanas’ London. Available from: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2014/02/11/izis-london/ [accessed 28.3.16]

Steichen E (1955, copyright renewed 1983). The Family of Man (2015 edition). New York, The Museum of Modern Art.

Trussel [website]. Directory of Notable Photographers – Izis. Available from: http://www.trussel.com/maig/izis.htm [accessed 2.4.16]

Wikipedia [website]. History of Lithuania. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Lithuania [accessed 3.4.16]

Wikipedia [website]. The Holocaust in Lithuania. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_in_Lithuania [accessed 2.4.16]

Wikipedia [website]. Izis Bidermanas. Available from:https//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izis_Bidermanas [accessed 4.4.16]

A4 C&N – preparation 2

This post follows on from my initial preparation (see here). Some additional context for the upcoming essay:

  • The book Chames de Londres arrived. I found it strange – Izis’s black and white photographs are used as backgrounds to a monty-pythonesque montage of colour images, including cherubs, plants, horses, people, and even a light-house covering Nelson’s column (perhaps not to the French’s liking). It is really quite tasteless in today’s context. On further investigation, it seems that the collage could be the work of the poet and co-author of the book Jacque Prévert; Fatras, an organisation that looks after his legacy, indicates the Prévert created many collages. Perhaps when the book was first published in 1952, the inclusion of colour was a rare novelty. I’m glad it cost me only £2.80. The book confirms the location of the grave yard photo as St John’s cemetery in Wapping, England and not France as captioned in The Family of Man. The book is contains poems (mostly from Prévert) and photographs. The poem alongside the photograph is:

Oh folie
os fêlés
Le Cimetierre est désert
les tombes dépareillees.
Orphéons et fanfares jouez-nous encore un fois
cet air fou d’autrefois
cet air si dechirant enluminant le temps.
Oh folie
os fêlés.
Dans sa boîte cranienne
au couvercle doré
un prince s’est enfermé
Dans sa cage cérébrale
il ne cesse de tourner
Une folle fille d’Eros
voudrait le délivrer
Si la cage est fragile
les barreaux sont solides
elle a beau les secouer.
Oh Folie d’Ophélie
os fêlés d’Hamlet.

My French is poor, but with the some help from Google translate, I understand the gist of the poem. It is about madness, with a backdrop of a deserted cemetery and mismatched graves, with the broken bones of a mad Hamlet. I consulted with a friend, who is a French graduate and discussed further … initially, ‘So it is about Hamlet being shut away in his folie/madness and she can try to get in but the bars on the cage (His head) are solid.’ I suggested it was a metaphor for the madness of ward, and she replied, ‘No you are right it is about madness and war and grief and being closed off from others’. The poem in the book is an extract from a longer poem that refers to the river thames with blood running through it (http://www.wikipoemes.com/poemes/jacques-prevert/charmes-de-londres.php).

  • It is difficult to read the photographs in the book because of the absurdist collages covering them. The pictures show everyday street scenes in London, and would be a wonderful document without the corruption. They are reminiscent of the work of Brassai, who was a mentor to Izis. The library of Lausanne shows some of Izis’s images online from the book Grand Bal du Printemps. A screen dump of one is reproduced below.
Source: Université de Lausanne
Source: Université de Lausanne
  • In my previous post, I learnt about ‘‘Izis’s “poetic sadness” was rooted in personal tragedy.’  I wanted to understand more about the Lithuanian-jews, Izis’s people. A well-referenced article on Wikipedia gives enough information for this purpose. ‘Prior to the German invasion, the population of Jews was estimated to be about 210,000 … the number of Lithuanian Jews murdered in the Holocaust [was] 195,000 to 196,000′. Over 95% of Izis’ people exterminated. The Red List, tells us the Izis’s parents were assassinated by the Nazis.

There is important context to the photograph – it’s place in time is soon after World War 2, most likely taken between 1945 and 1952 when the first edition of the book was published. In the aftermath of a time of unspeakable tragedy, particularly for Izis with the genocide of his people and murder of his parents. Prévert’s poem connotes this with reference to madness, broken bones, and mismatched tombs.

References

Lausanne University Library [website]. Jacques PREVERT et IZIS, Grand Bal du Printemps, 1951. Available from: http://wp.unil.ch/livre-photo/guilde-du-livre/les-albums-sur-paris/grand-bal-de-printemps/#pn4 [accessed 2.4.16]

Fatras [website]. La Succession Jacque Prévert. Available from: http://www.jacquesprevert.fr/en/succession/presentation/ [accessed 2.4.16]

Prévert J Izis-Bidermanas (1952). Charmes de Londres (Edition de Monza, 1999). Paris, de Monza.

The Red List [website]. Izis (1911 – 1980). Available from: http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-16-601-803-view-humanism-profile-izis.html [accessed 2.4.16]

Trussel [website]. Directory of Notable Photographers – Izis. Available from: http://www.trussel.com/maig/izis.htm [accessed 2.4.16]

Wikipedia [website]. The Holocaust in Lithuania. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_in_Lithuania [accessed 2.4.16]

A4 C&N – preparation 1

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. Write an essay of 1,000 words on an image of your choice. The image can be anything you like, from a famous art photograph to a family snapshot, but please make sure that your chosen image has scope for you to make a rigorous and critical analysis. (OCA C&N, p105)

To choose my picture, I looked through The Family of Man for a suitable photo that also appealed to my interest. There were many photos that I could have happily chosen, but I was drawn to one simply captioned as ‘France. Izis  Rapho Guillumette’ (p138), showing a teenage boy standing among toppled gravestones in a church yard. Other than ‘France’, none of the other names were familiar to me, so research was essential. As well as being a poignant post-war photo, the picture struck a chord with me as over the previous weekend, I been looking at the tomb-stones in the ancient church of Linton, in the Yorkshire Dales and the loss of life to war in an already small rural community struck me as a great tragedy.

Izis was the preferred name of Israel Bidermanas (1911-1980). I found a few biographical facts on the blog Masters of Photography. As a young man of 19, he fled his native Lithuania (then under Tsarist Russia) and arrived in Paris destitute. Datab identifies Izis as Luthianian-Jewish, which is highly significant at that time. He belonged ‘French humanist movement that focused on scenes of everyday Parisian life, but he never achieved the fame of his contemporaries Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis and Brassai.’  Isiz’s son Manuel is quoted as saying ‘Izis’s “poetic sadness” was rooted in personal tragedy.’  Cooke and Kinnedberg describe Isiz as one of the ‘great poetic photographers of the post-war years (ibid, p246).

As Izis did not achieve the fame of his contemporaries, it was not easy to find online resources to discover more about the photograph itself. However, the Spitalfields Life blog features the image and places it in London, not France as captioned by Steichen. Specifically, the blog references the book Charmes de Londres (by Jacques Prévert and Izis Bidermanas), which delivers a ‘vivid and poetic vision of the shabby old capital in the threadbare post-war years.’  It places the photo in In the cemetery of St John, Wapping. I have located online a £2.80 used copy of the book and await with anticipation to see if it will provide more information.  I’ve also emailed the blog in the hope of some source information.

The photo is shown below (source: spitalfieldslife.com)

source: spitalfieldslife.com
source: spitalfieldslife.com
References

Cooke T & Kinnedberg C (ed.) (1997). The Photography Book (2014 edition). New York. Phaidon Press Inc.

Datab [online database]. Izis. Available from: http://datab.us/i/Izis [accessed 28.3.16]

Masters of Photography (2011) [blog]. Izis — Israëlis Bidermanas. Available from: http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/izis-israelis-bidermanas.html [accessed 28.3.16]

Rosenblum N (1984). A world history of photography (revised edition). New York, Abbeville Publishing Group.

Spitalfields Life (2014) [website]. Izis Bidermanas’ London. Available from: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2014/02/11/izis-london/ [accessed 28.3.16]

Steichen E (1955, copyright renewed 1983). The Family of Man (2015 edition). New York, The Museum of Modern Art.

A3 C&N – submission to tutor

Drawing upon the examples in Part Three and your own research, you can approach your self-portraits however you see fit. You may choose to explore your identity or masquerade as someone else, or use empty locations or objects to speak of your experiences. However you choose to approach it, use yourself – directly or indirectly – as subject matter.

(OCA C&N, p89)

Introduction

The genre of self-portraiture was not something I’d explored prior to part three of the course. As well as the research and exercises recommended in part three, Susan Bright’s book Auto Focus (see here) and her tour of sub-genres in self-portraiture brought the subject to life for me. Bright’s book included the work of Aneta Grzeszykowska, who it is explained, uses self-portraiture as a tool for realising wider ideas, a kind of sketch pad or story-board.

The idea for this assignment came directly from the diary I kept for this part of the course. The diary is included in a separate post (password protected) here, and an analysis of my thoughts on diary is included in the post that details the preparation for the assignment here.  Through this work I intend to show a feeling of struggle to maintain a sense of self-identity in the tangible world when spending significant amounts of time represented virtually and as a ‘travelling man’. The work is at once auto-biographical and a masquerade. In the images, I show a sequence of acceptance, denial, and despair.

All images were shot using a Fuji X-T1, with a Fujinon 35mm (efl 53mm) / f1.4 and a home-studio set-up. The backgrounds are composites based on scanned documents and screen-dumps from my computer. Photoshop was used for processing. Details are also in the separate post detailing my preparation.

Images
Conclusion

I enjoyed this exploration of my own emotions through self-portraiture and think that it is a genre I will return to in my personal work.

Against the OCA assessment criteria I conclude:

  • Demonstration of technical skills – I effectively used a home-studio set-up to capture the head-shots and demonstrated some new post-production techniques in Photoshop, which I’d been working on during this chapter.
  • Quality of outcome – I’m happy that the outcome achieves what I aimed for in the images. I worked through a number of different approaches to arrive at the final processing treatment for the images.
  • Demonstration of creativity – I believe I have used a creative approach to illustrating the personal frustrations sometimes experienced of working in a virtual world as a ‘travelling man’.
  • Context – I have been active in recording context in my learning log and it is linked from this assignment..
References

Bright S (2010). Auto Focus – the self-portrait in contemporary photography. London, Thames & Hudson.

A3 C&N – contact sheets

A write-up of my approach to preparation and making the final images is posted separately (see here). This post contains contact sheets of the final selects I used in making the Photoshop composites, and separate contact sheets for the picks from the over 350 pictures I made of myself for this assignment (I am a very poor actor indeed – but perhaps would finder it easier next time!).  All photographs are unadjusted RAW images.

Selects for composites (including scanned documents and screenshots)

 

Final selects

Picks from images of head

Picks-1

Picks-2

A3 C&N – preparation and diary review

Assignment 3 is an open brief, ‘Drawing upon the examples in Part Three and your own research, you can approach your self-portraits however you see fit.’ (OCA C&N, p89). Part Three, ‘putting yourself in the picture’, was not an area to which I was particularly looking forward, but I have very much enjoyed it and gained an insight into a genre which is new to me.

Diary

The journey began with my diary. The full diary is in a separate password protected post (see here) – OCA people should contact me separately for the password. Keeping the diary helped me to reflect on the things I do each day and on my identity – for the most part we are made by what we do and how we pass our time in the world.

A strong feeling I had while writing and on reflecting was how much the use of my time is dictated by my work and how restricted time and energy can be for other, often more enjoyable things. A large part of my work involves international travel and, when not travelling, planning for future journeys, or communicating with colleagues in distance countries by phone or email. While I have a rewarding job, I have a sense of my identity being taken over by travel and virtual communication – there is little time to put roots in a real community or develop local connections, hobbies or friendships.

In my world of international travel and communication, my identity is often projected virtually, through the computer – even ‘phone calls’ are over a computer network. As well as being anchored to a digital identity, I am tied to my passport, which validates my identity when travelling.

Concept development

I wanted my self-portrait to illustrate an identity crises – my real identity subsumed in the digital and travelling world – as Morris Gallagher (fellow student) was later to describe it, ‘the travelling-man’.

I had been experimenting with contextualising my own face as an exercise (see here) and for this assignment decide to attempt to combine a realistic photographic representation of myself with a virtual representation of my self, as a passport. For the backdrop to the image, I wanted to represent other digital aspects of my identity as a wall behind me – a replacement for the blank background of the photo booth used for ID photographs.

Influences

Susan Bright’s book Autofocus (for review see here) brought the self-portrait genre to life for me. I drew on influences as the self-portrait as auto-biography and the self-portrait as masquerade. I would act out the auto-biographical emotions (somehow!) and use a composite masquerade in my work. The book features the work of Aneta Grzeszykowska, who explains how she uses self-portrait as a tool for realising wider ideas, a kind of sketch pad or story-board.

The use of composites in fantasy-style self-portraits was a technical inspiration – I didn’t want to create an image in that genre, but something applying the techniques to create an image that could be perceived as real, even if a little unlikely. A degree of ambiguity that would raise curiosity in the viewer. I’d undertaken a couple of pieces of research in this area –  (links to separate posts) Natalie Dybisz’s book, self-portrait photography and web-based research on photographers working with self-portrait.

Process

I had two sets of images to capture, one for my own face and a second for the background composite and the superimposition of a passport on my face.

For my own face, I set up a white-screen backdrop, a soft-box (over flash light) for a key-light, and a bounced flash with reflector for a fill-light. I set my camera (Fuji X-T1) to automatically shoot a series of 10 shots, with a 2 second gap in between, sat on a stool and posed. I checked the outcome at the end of each series and experimented with my pose and expression. In all, I took over 350 shots and I realised that I will never have a career as an actor! My original intention was to find one image for the self-portrait, but while photographing myself I came up with the idea of a sequence of three showing a progression between, acceptance, denial and despair.

For the passport images (front cover, inside cover and a visa page), I used a 300 dpi colour photocopies and resized the images in Photoshop. For the images of digital ID (Facebook, Email, Twitter), I used high-resolution screen shots from my retina Macbook Pro, also resized in Photoshop.

The images used on the composite are included in a separate ‘contacts’ post – see here.

I made the composites in Photoshop. Key steps noted here:

  • Background – collage using layers of images and masks to reveal certain elements of the inside of my passport (background image). The ‘normal’ overlay mode was used for each layer but with reduced opacity.
  • Passport/tattoo-like effect. Crown Coat of Arms was isolated using a colour range selection and a fresh layer created with the coat of arms (CoA). CoA was transformed to fit the front of the face, spherised within a selection of the face outline, and then a dispersion filter applied (based on an image created from the front of the face). After some experimentation, I found the most effective over-lay type was ‘linear-burn’ – this created a tattoo-like effect and the possibility of being considered realistic.
  • Finishing – I used levels adjustments to align the tonality across the layers, a white opaque over-lay to unify the layers, and a separate empty layer to add shadow to the background where my head would have cast shadow.
Refinement

I asked for feedback from fellow students through the OCA Facebook page (see separate post here), which was generally positive. However, I made a few refinements to the images after letting the images rest for a few days – I noticed that the ‘tattoos’ were not consistently aligned on the faces; mattered once I’d decided to make three images instead of one. Also the original background did not show clearly enough all components of the collage.

References

Culture.PL [website]. Aneta Grzeszykowska. Available from: http://culture.pl/en/artist/aneta-grzeszykowska#dziela [accessed 13.3.16]

A3 C&N – student feedback

I posted some working drafts of my images to the OCA 1 Facebook page  to ask for comments on how the images were read. The discussion is replicated below. Of particular interest were the readings not in my original intention – comments on Britishness and Brexit; strangely, given the current political climate, I did not think of these readings. The next time I post a similar question, it would be interesting to attempt to anticipate readings that are not within my original intention!

Facebook discussion

Feedback please good people. Attached are the images I’m planning to use for my C&N self-portrait assignment. I won’t share my intention in advance, but would be interested to hear how you read them as well as any comments on the images themselves. Thank you!

Andrew Fitzgibbon's photo.

 

 

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20 CommentsSeen by 70

Comments
Peter Walker I really like these, I’m sensing trying show sence of frustration perhaps the difficulties of travel.
One point I would bring up is photocopy of passport – there used to copyright issues colour copying then even recording Id when opening banking accounts, double check you not doing anything untoward by mistake.

Peter Walker Or the frustration of being British, which is a daily struggle as an expat.

Andrew Fitzgibbon Thanks for raising the copyright question – I’ve looked into it and the sensitive area seems to be around using the Crown coat of arms, though more in a commercial context or passing-off as royalty. Though even for commercial purposes the Queen has apparently waived the need for permission in the run up to her 90th birthday celebrations!

Rob Townsend Good shots. I read it as either a straightforward ‘identity crisis’ smile emoticon or maybe more specifically a comment on government surveillance.

Steve Davis I thought frustration related to travel. Maybe you feel you’d like to travel more. Then I thought about the british passport and wondered if the frustration was more to do with nationality not travel.

Chas Bedford My first thought was Number Six’s rant, “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own!”

Catherine Banks “I’m British through and through – I think”. Or – “My face is my passport to …”

Holly Woodward A life ruled by travel, or alternatively identity crisis.

Simon Chirgwin A couple of possibles: frustration at being defined by the Lion and the Unicorn that are there on your face like a Maori tattoo; tiredness with too much international travel; and from my experience of time spent in the FSU and the Russian visa in the bSee more

Jayne Arksey I thought it was frustration due to something to do with bring British. Felt like you were trying to get the passport, therefore being British off your face.

Kat Kyriakides Wow!! These are fantastic. Great job ? I get a feeling of not being able to escape the lack of freedom these days. I see a visa in the background. Travelling used to be something that was freeing. But these days we are watched where ever we go.

Lynda Wearn I really like these. Trying to make a point about identity, nationality or frustration with red tape – I see there is a visa in the background all in all brilliant though

Kate Aston Trapped in an airport lounge or the security queue?

Lee Hard Very good idea I also get the travel/frustration/freedom thing…

Paul Storer Or maybe the feeling you don’t exist unless you have a passport – I haven’t got one and it’s becoming so hard to prove my identity without it

Dawn Langley It made me wonder about choice and whether you were being sent places because of work or some other commitment rather than choosing too. The anguish of being torn between travel and home maybe…

Kate Aston Trying to separate yourself from your digital identity?

Morris Gallagher I read it that your true identity has been overcome by ‘Travelling man’ which is very frustrating

Andrew Fitzgibbon You are spot on with my intention! And there are a few layers to the meaning that I don’t think it’s possible to see without context.

Lynda Kuit #2 almost seems like you are trying to take off your “mask of Britishness”. Great images!

Nuala Mahon “In bits due to being on the road”. BTW there is a great video in Digital Photography about breakign up bits of an image which might add even more punch – Poor you…..

Kate Aston Brexit? Should I stay or should I go…

Andrew Fitzgibbon Thanks everyone – there’s an element of most of your readings in my intention (apart from the Britishness angle). I’ll post the full write-up when done in case anyone would like to read.

A2 C&N – feedback

I received my feedback on assignment 2 in record time – I think just a few days. The speed took me by surprise, but it is much appreciated – allows quick adjustment of approach to ongoing work when needed.

The full feedback is linked below. In summary – my tutor enjoyed the work and offered some welcome praise, so just keep up what I’m doing – I think I’m getting the hang of the approach to this OCA degree! For now, at least.

There was also a recommendation to look at the work of Jason Evans, who works has worked in the music industry for many years, which I have done in a separate post.

Reference

Tutor feedback – follow link to pdf here.

A2 C&N – submission to tutor

Photographing the unseen. What kinds of subjects might be seen as un-photographable? How might you go about portraying them using photography? (OCA C&N)

Introduction

During my research, I saw several potential subjects for this assignment (see here) – I narrowed it down to two options; a representation of my deceased father through his carpentry tools, or the signification of the auditory perception of music.

I decided upon music, with guitar being a personal life-time interest. I explored this specific topic as part of further research (see here), including Pop-Art and photography and mass culture (Daido Moriyama for example). A fellow student suggested that I consider the type of font used in the textual overlays in the image (trail image posted to Facebook). Excellent suggestion, which I considered (see here).

All photos were shot with a Fuji X-T1 with a 60mm f/ 2.4 macro lens. They were taken indoors, with natural light from windows, with high ISO – given my intended post-processing and feel I was aiming for – images with refined detail were not necessary. I shot 100 photos for the project and the final images (pre-post production) are shown here. The time input to post-production was far greater than in taking the photos.

Artist’s process

Music as an auditory experience is unseen. There are many signifiers of music, including musicians playing music and people enjoying concerts but these are often indexical representation of the musicians themselves or the experience of attending a concert. I wanted to find a representation of music that suggested music without literally representing its performance. A way of drawing the viewer into the image as music draws listeners into a sound-scape.

I was inspired by the way Daido Moriyama’s work makes the viewer work to see what is happening in the image – high contrast and dark tonalities are along way from straight representations. His Farewell to Photography reminds me of the message in Barthes’ The Death of the Author – but, get out of the way of the photograph and let the viewer make up their own mind. Flusser suggested ‘… one can outwit the camera’s rigidity … smuggle intentions into its program that are not predicted by it … force the camera to create the unpredictable … show contempt for the camera’. Playing with manual settings is one way, another way is to take control away from the camera in post-production.

My work attempts to represent music through layers of subjects that are associated with music but become difficult to read visually because of their post-production treatment. Underlying each image is a musical score (the written language of music) and the textures of a vinyl LP (including dust speckles). Over-laying the musical performance subjects is text that is mostly indecipherable – we know there are words there but we can’t always hear what they are saying. The font used is AHDN (a hard day’s night) and is another signifier of music. The words are quotations from musicians, talking about their feelings for music.

Images
January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
1.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
2.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
3.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
4.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
5.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
6.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
7.

 

January 2016. Photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon (513879).
8.
Conclusion

The personal interest in this subject made this assignment very enjoyable – reminding me of David Hurn’s words of wisdom ‘… photography is only a tool, a vehicle, for expressing or transmitting a passion in something else. It is not the end result.’

Against the OCA assessment criteria I conclude:

Demonstration of technical skills – the technical aspects of this work were mostly in post-production; the use of multiple-layers with clipping mask to adjust levels, masking of elements of each layer and discovering the use of textual content and rasterisation in the tool.

Quality of outcome – I’m happy that the outcome achieves what I aimed for in the images. I worked through a number of different approaches to arrive at the final processing treatment for the images.

Demonstration of creativity – I believe my approach steers away from an obvious interpretation of the topic (eg behind the scenes) and brings an interesting approach to visually signifying the sound of music.

Context – I have been active in recording context in my learning log and it is linked from this assignment..

References

Flusser V (1983). Towards a Philosophy of Photography. Kindle Edition. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

Hurn D & Jay B (2008). On being a photographer. Anacortes, Lenswork Publishing.

 

A2 C&N – contact sheets

Contacts – final selects

The images below were used in Photoshop post-production. #5 and #10 were used as background layers in all the final images. Two main considerations in the selects – after I shot the images, I decided to settle on a consistent landscape aspect (all portrait shots were therefore ignored). From all the images, I wanted a variety of subjects – I could have worked on all guitar images, but this would have then just spoke about ‘guitars’, rather than a wider interest in music.

The images below are RAW converted to JPEG without post-processing, which was all done in Photoshop.

Contact - selects-1

Contact - selects-2

Examples of other photos shot

These are RAW files converted to JPEG with no post-processing adjustment.

A2 C&N – preparation (music)

In my previous post, I examined ideas for ‘photographing the unseen’ and finally decided on the subject of music (with sound being unseen) – see here. In this post, I dig into the possibilities for the project.

I will use my own collection of musical instruments and accessories as subjects, but how to photography them to signal the sound of music? The music that mainly interests me is that of mass-culture, rock and pop music. Classical music has a different aesthetic.

Visual effects as signals

Mass culture has many ways of portraying music, some which are so embedded in our visual culture that there is an automatic association with music. For example, the early pop videos with their unsubtle visual effects (colour and light distortions), and the MTV videos first launched in the late 1970s; Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles was one early example. It features high contrast video, posterised effects and montage.

Posters for concerts and album art work to a significant extent still use the same unsubtle, attention-grabbing approach to visuals. Often text is mixed with the images. Bill Board Magazine features what it considers to be the 50 best album covers of all time, which reflects the eye-catching style.

Source: billboard.com

Pop Art drew its inspiration from, amongst other things, pop music. The Tate website provides a fascinating introduction to the genre, including a discussion of the differences between the British and American versions, apparently with the British being ‘more academic’ in approach, with a ‘focus on questions of representation, with irony and parody’ (Tate, website). The site also features Peter Blake talking about his work, and his use of photo-montage.

Photography Today (Durden, p 12) discusses photography and mass culture, specifically the work of William Klein, Andy Warhol and Daido Moriyama (bye-bye photography). In all the work there is a poster-like quality – high contrast, low-detail, and abstraction. This avoids the straight / literal interpretation of a subject, inviting the viewer to find meaning; rather than read detailed information. While this style doesn’t specifically reference music as mass-culture, it could be part of an overall group of signals referencing music.

Technical tools

I’ve already explored the use of ‘extreme curves’ adjustments in anticipation of this project (see here), which can be used to disrupt the indexicality of the photographic image and also signal the extreme contrasts found in music art. These kind of adjustments echo the effects applied to distort sound waves (for example processed electric guitar signals).

I also wanted to explore techniques for using text and creating montage within Photoshop; I found YouTube videos that demonstrate various techniques (saved to my Photoshop playlist – here):

  • How to use vanishing point tool to add text with same perspective as elements of image.
  • How to create hand-written text that fits a curved element – using free-transform and warp tools and blur / mask layer to add imperfections to the text and make it appear natural.
  • How to use displacement tool to have text take the form of the plane of an image element.
  • Using layers to create photo-montage.

I will explore some of these techniques during post-production.

Overall direction of project

Here I set the overall direction for my project, which will most likely evolve as my work progresses:

  • Range of close-up / abstract shots of musical instruments and accessories.
  • Selections of text / quotations relating to music
  • Experimentation in post-processing to disturb indexicality of images and visual signals towards pop/mass culture connected with music
  • Use of text superimposed on images to act in relay and evoke sense of concert/album posters.
  • Overall images should not represent personalities or clearly defined images of instruments – they must suggest music, not representation of the objects used to make music.
References

Billboard Magazine [website]. Best Album Covers of all Time. Available from: http://www.billboard.com/photos/6715351/best-album-covers-of-all-time/1 [accessed 24.1.16]

Durden M (2014). Photography Today. London and New York, Phaidon Press Limited.

The Tate [website]. Pop Art. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/p/pop-art#Americanvsbritish [accessed 24.1.16]

Youtube.The Buggles.Video Killed the Radio Star. Available from: https://youtu.be/W8r-tXRLazs [accessed 24.1.16]

Youtube. Bye Bye Photography by Daido Moriyama. Available from: https://youtu.be/iwDm5JsCeHM [accessed 24.1.16]

Youtube. Photoshop videos [for my reference]. Available from:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtFVp4OpD5nY-3t3a0hUKH59-6cGNQ9eG [accessed 24.1.16]

A2 C&N – preparation (ideas)

Introduction

There are two options for this assignment and I have chosen ‘photographing the unseen’. The literal contradiction between photographing and the unseen grabbed my attention. How could this be interpreted and what ideas could I come up with?

I’ve spent a few weeks reflecting on this and doing some research into other photographers’ work. I’ve started using Evernote to jot down my thoughts in a photo-diary  while on the go (iPhone) and conveniently picking them up later while at my laptop.

Interpretations

I interpret ‘unseen’ in the context of what is normally seen by the naked human eye; a necessary perspective to give the interpretation boundaries. The possibilities are many:

  • Emotions or feelings – these do not exist in the physical world but they can be sensed and signified by the physical appearance of those experiencing the emotion. A smile connotes happiness for example. There are a long list of emotions that could be considered as ideas for a photography project; sadness, fear, love, joy, tiredness and so on. However, arguably there is a direct relation between emotions and their expression physical world – almost literal.
  • Other sense – smells are not seen but experienced through our olfactory system. They have a powerful connection with our memories, a smell can take us back to a distant time when we first experienced it. For example, any time I catch a smell of the ‘Old Spice’ scent, I’m instantly reminded of my grandfather, who’s long passed. There are also shared experiences of smell linked to place; for example coffee shops, the sea, the meat counter, newly cut grass. A potential project would be to photograph subjects that have a strong connection with smell.
  • Other sense – sounds – sound is all around us, with complete silence almost unattainable. It is often paired with vision but one can see but not hear, or hear but not see. Sound is transmitted in wave forms (as is light) but beyond vision. We can only see the effect of sound (vibration) or the subjects generating sound. Ryan Buller does this to great effect by photographing the effect of sound on wet paint (see – https://fstoppers.com/strobe-light/ryan-buller-visualizes-and-photographs-sound-5123 [accessed 24.1.16]). Photography of musicians and music events is pervasive, a popular spectacle. However, this is arguably more representative of a social event or personalities than the sound of music. I have a passion for music and own a number of electric and acoustic guitars, with various accessories. I like the idea of seeking an approach to representing music that falls somewhere between the observation of its physical effects and the straight representation of people making music or concert-going.
  • Beyond visual capability – we are incapable of seeing some physical things because of the limitations of our own eyesight, as explored by the BBC in what are the limits of human vision. For example, a) we have poor night vision, but a camera with a long exposure or high ISO can see things we cannot with the naked eye. b) we cannot see objects that move beyond a certain speed relative to our own position – a speeding bullet, which can be captured by a high-speed camera. Or, c) objects that are too small to see with the naked eye. I saw much of this type photography in the Revelations exhibition (National Media Museum, Bradford). Ed Thomson’s work, Unseen, makes use of infrared photography to show things beyond the spectral range of the naked eye.
  • Out of sight – this includes things that are either behind the scenes of our normal access (eg back-stage) or things that we do not notice because we are either too busy to look, or choose to avert our gazes. Peter Dazeley in his book Unseen London was allowed to access the inside of Big Ben. Mary Allen Mark’s work reveals the unseen street kids (Shapiro S (2002) Available from: http://www.maryellenmark.com/text/magazines/watch/931B-000-002.html).
  • The has-been – it is possible to recreate the past; either by photographing its reenactment or by subjects that connote the past. Erik Kessel’s work, Unfinished Father, refers to his deceased father’s unfinished work in renovating old cars. Sam Faulkner’s work, Unseen Waterloo, ‘explores how we remember the fallen from a time before photography was invented’, through staged photographs. This approach could be applied to my own deceased father and his collection of carpentry tools I still have – including a saw bench that shows the cuts he made, almost like finger prints.
Choice

I’ve chosen ‘music’ as my topic for photographing the unseen because I have a particular long-time interest in music and it is a subject that feels very personal to me. That having been said, there are numerous other potential subjects that are appealing and perhaps could be visited at another time; particularly the representation of my own deceased father through his carpentry tools.

I will work up some specific and detailed ideas for the chosen subject in a separate post.

References

BBC [website]. What are the limits of human vision. Available from: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150727-what-are-the-limits-of-human-vision [accessed 23.1.16]

Dazeley P (2015). BBC [website]. Unseen London. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-30041983 [accessed 4.1.16]

Faulkner S [website]. Unseen Waterloo. Available from: http://www.samfaulkner.co.uk/UNSEEN-WATERLOO/introduction/1 [accessed 24.1.16]

Phaidon [website]. Why is Eric Kessel’s Dad’s Car up for a photo prize.  Available from: http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2016/january/07/why-is-erik-kessels-dad-s-car-up-for-a-photo-prize/ [accessed 4.1.16]

Science Museum [website]. Revelations. Available from: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/exhibitions/revelations.aspx [accessed 4.1.16]

Thompson E (2015]. Photoworks [website]. Unseen. Available from: http://photoworks.org.uk/unseen/ [accessed 4.1.16]

A1 C&N – feedback

I received positive feedback on assignment 1 (for assignment see here), which I found valuable. Full feedback in pdf is attached below, and I note important points for me to work on here:

  1. Address any issues with assignments at any time up to assessment – a change in mindset to think of the module as a continuous piece of work, rather than sequential parts. In this case, I’d highlighted difficulties with the weather and consistency in composition between the two sets.
  2. The feedback includes some specific suggestions on the shots, which I should revisit when it comes to a reshoot.
  3. Advice that contextual content was a little technical-heavy at the expense of reflection on other practitioners. I think this is a hang-over from the initial assignments of EYV when this was stated as a requirement, but perhaps not intended to be continued forward.
  4. Reference / research material to follow-up upon:
    1. Flusser book (see here)
    2. Work of Mark Klett (see here)
    3. Work of Nicky Bird (see here)

See pdf of feedback: Andrew Fitzgibbon – Assignment 01 – Feedback Report

A1 C&N – submission to tutor

Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story. The aim of the assignment is to help you explore the convincing nature of documentary, even though what the viewer thinks they see may not in fact be true … ensure the images are candid and ‘taken from real life’

Introduction

My story is of day and night, of fear and normality. A small Yorkshire market town is gripped by a fear of the night, with a vicious criminal on the loose after a series of violent muggings on the town’s dark streets. The streets are abandoned at night, no one leaves the safety of their home. There is a self-imposed curfew. By day, everything appears as normal, the streets are full of local residents and visiting tourists. The only thing that dampens their spirits is the northern English winter.

I considered other ideas for this assignment (see here), but found that the requirement for ‘candid’ photos narrowed the range of possibilities for creating different versions of the same story.

In a Yorkshire winter, I cannot help but be influenced by Bill Brandt’s work around the Northern mill towns; his ‘snicket in Halifax’ captures the dark atmosphere of the place. No matter that it is shot in black and white, there is very little colour anyway on dark winter days and nights. During my research for C&N part 1, I was drawn to the work of French photographer Thierry Girard (see post here) and his approach to showing the spirit of a place, without regard for the need for spectacle or a beauty aesthetic. While creating my two sides of the story, I also aim to show something of the spirit of the place I was photographing with a banality that would add to the realism of the story – no spectacle, just everyday life.

Process

All photos were taken with a Fuji X-T1 and Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens (efl 53mm). I chose to process the images in black and white to reflect the desaturated winter colours in the town and the sinister story line.

My first shoot was of the night photographs. This was technically challenging as the weather was so windy that the safe use of my tripod was difficult. Because of this limitation, I used auto-ISO with a targeted minimum shutter speed of 1/125s – one can see that the lens was wide open for most of the images. The ISO stretched to 6400 on occasions, but was mostly settled around 1000. I paid careful attention to the histogram and adjusted the exposure to avoid blown highlights. I made my picks and selects from the night photographs before returning another time for the daytime photographs, which I wanted to be in the same locations.

For the day-time photographs, I did some research on candid photography and suggested camera settings. I wanted to embrace technology and move on from attempting to capture a single decisive moment. My research is in a separate post (see here). Again I set auto-ISO but also made use of continuous autofocus (to capture people moving across the scene) and low-speed drive mode to take short bursts of 3 or 4 shots of a scene as it unfolded. Again the weather conditions were poor (see umbrellas) and most of the shots were taken from beneath my own umbrella to protect my non-weather resistant lens.

In total I took 169 photographs for this assignment. There is a separate post of contact sheets for the picks only (i.e. including those making the final select, and those with potential eliminated) – see here.

Most post-processing was performed in Photoshop, including the black and white conversion, but any imagine manipulation was limited to minor tidying. Some images were processed in Lightroom alone – I am developing a habit of using Photoshop, even when not necessary, to improve my speed and familiarity. For the night time images, I used a black opaque layer to mask the whole image before uncloaking the lighter areas and highlights with a layer mask and soft brush; the purpose was to increase the contrast between light and dark areas, to add visual and emotional tension, alluding to what might be hidden in the shadows. I also used neutral grey layers for dodging and burning.

The images

Night and day. Fear and normality.

Click to open larger images

Conclusion

The concept was not as successfully executed as I’d hoped – the difficulty of using my tripod at night because of high winds impacted the image quality of the night photos, and the rain reducing the crowds in what is usually a very busy town slightly undermined the story in some images. On the other hand, it was a good experience in dealing with technical challenges in poor weather and light conditions.

Against the OCA assessment criteria I conclude:

Demonstration of technical skills – effective use of camera hand-held in poor light and weather conditions. Explored the use of Photoshop black layers to add contrast to night images. Shots are generally well composed but in retrospect I should have carried reference pictures of the night shots to obtain more closely matching shots for the day images (or taken more care to memorise them).

Quality of outcome – the concept is a good interpretation of the brief and the photographs in the context of the story are plausible . I think the presentation could have been improved by more consistent framing between the two sets of photographs

Demonstration of creativity – I avoided the temptation to look for the unusual or extraordinary in the street scenes and took straight images in an attempt to express the spirit of the town and reflect the story context; an ordinary perspective to add credibility to the story.

Context -I’ve been very active in my learning log for part one of C&N, with 24 pieces of research and reflection and 6 coursework activities ( see index here) and feel that I’ve gained a good grasp of the principles of context and narrative within photography.

References

Brandt B. Introduction by Ian Jeffery. Photographs 1928 – 1983. London, Thames and Hudson Limited, 1993

Howarth S and McLaren S (2010). Street photography now. Featuring Thierry Girard. Paperback ed. London: Thames & Hudson.

 

A1 C&N – preparation

Concept development

Mind map of assignment objectives and concept (at today’s date):

click for larger image

Two Sides of the Story

The concept proposed to my tutor was:

I was taken by a comment on Arbus’ work – ‘Our whole guise is like giving a sign to the whole world to think of us in a certain way, but there’s a point between what you want to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you’. This made my think of my working environment, which has always been large corporate, and is currently very large multinational corporate – in these environments there is a tendency to encourage conformity and blandness (even if on paper creativity is encouraged!), so the apple-cart is not upset, or individuals with sensitive dispositions are not offended. After a while, individuals are moulded to fit the corporate culture – or fired if they kick-back too much. Perhaps loosing or forgetting who they really are, or desperately finding other outlets to express themselves.

My self-portraits would be based on corporate poses (referenced from company internal imaging) I would then position these against self-portraits showing the creative/relaxed self. I need to test different approaches, but one idea is to use the same corporate poses but in a different context – for example, rather than studying a pile of documents, study the set-up of an electric guitar. In this case, I might create ambiguity by wearing business attire in all of the shots. Maybe I would find the project cathartic!

However, I then spotted ambiguity in the brief – a requirement for the photos to be ‘candid’ (I understand unposed) and reconciling that with self-portraiture (as in one of the example topics in the brief). Now I wait for my tutors advice. Read more