Assignment 2 – Photographing the unseen – reflection

I found this assignment challenging and indeed the whole narrative aspect of photography is not somehting that comes readily to me. When I initially read the brief the idea of electricity was one that came to mind but I think I discounted it as I felt that it did not have and emotional element to it. Looking at other students’ blogs a lot of work for this assignment seemed to be very personal and relate to challenges they faced in their life. I think I got bogged down in trying to create images that I judged were worthy or meaningful and felt that impersonal images would not be viewed as having merit. In addition, at the back of my mind was a feeling that I should be presenting images that are metaphorical rather than documentary.

In the end after an email exchange with my tutor I decided to press ahead with trying to create a set of images around electicity as I felt this was something that it would be possible to complete relatively quickly.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

  • Materials – I have not printed any of the images but will do when I am further into the course and thinking about what images I will put forward for assessment. For the photograph of the lightswitch I constructed a switch on a piece of MDF as I had a clear idea of what I wanted the image to look like but none of the switches at home confomed to this idea. By having a switch that I could move around I was able to use different lighting and play with exposure and aperture much more that I would have been able to do if I was just photographing awitches in situ.

Techniques

  • I did not use any new techniques when shooting this assignment, however, when shooting th image of the meter and consumer unit I was conscious of trying to avoid hot spots from the lighting I was using and experimented with the position and power of th lights as well as using a reflector. In the end I used one light almost as an uplighter and a second light bounced off a reflector to try and give a softer more diffuse light.

Observational skills, visual awareness, design & compositional skills –

  • For all the images I tried to think more about compostition that I have done in other assignments. I knew Iwanted to start the series with a very simple, impactful image of a switch but for the other images I had a less defined idea of what the final image should look like. For the shot of the electicity meter and the consumer unit I was concious of the need to avoid creating hotspots from the lighting I was using and I wanted to keen the tones quite dark to signify the unseen nature of these items; under the stairs, out of sight and out of mind. For the photograph of the pylon I was keen to include some blue sky to break up the image and I moved around the pylon shooting from different angles and waited until there was a break in the cloud to give some variety and texture to the background. I had hoped to shot the wind turbine against a blue sky or broken cloud, however, by the time I go to the turbine the skies were covered by a blanket of uniform grey cloud. With regard to the turbine itself, I took a lot of shots in order to ensure the position of the blades came out of the top left and bottom right hand corners. Although the turbine appears stationary it was infact rotating at about 15 rpm and I did momentarily consider trying to include some motion blur, however, I thought that it would have been a bit cliched.

Quality of outcome

  • Content, application of knowledge, presentation, discernment, conceptualisation, communication of ideas – Overall I am happy with the images, I do think they communicate the taken for granted nature of many parts of our lives and although the objects themselves are often hard to miss, due to their size, they are easy to overlook or at least ignore. What I am less sure about is whether the set meets the brief for the assignment and in my own mind I’m not clear whether the documentary style images are what is required or something more constructed. I took a lot of pictures and have picked the ones that I think both best communicate my topic and also were the best from a technical standpoint. Ideally I had wanted to send prints of these images to my tutor but unfornately I did not complete the set in time to do this.

Demonstration of creativity

  • Imagination, experimentation & invention – Overall I don’t think the images in this series are particularly imaginative and this is probably due to the fact that I ahve not tried to experiment or try new and inventive techniques. When thinking about this I realise that I am more of a picture taker than an image maker and do not have a natural inclanation to experiment.

Context

  • Reflection, research, critical thinking – I spent a lot of time reflecting on this assignment but in truth this was because I struggled to work out how to progress with it and I think one of the main areas which I struggled with was creating images as metaphors. Although I research a lot of other students’ blogs, I did not do any research that I though was relevant or contributed to the this assignement and I think once again I have struggled to genterate ideas when presented with an open brief.

Summary

I found this assignment much more difficult than the previous one, primarily becuase there was no set brief but rather it was up to me to interpret.I think I also struggled because I though I needed to produce work that was personal, about an aspect of my life, rather than something more abstract. Overall I am happy with the series but I still have a nagging doubt that when I get feedback from my tutor he will advise me that I have missed the point of the assignment!

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