‘Photography is Simple’
The final assignment is an open brief. Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject exploring the theme ‘Photography is Simple’. Each photograph should be a unique view; in other words, it should contain some new information, rather than repeat the information of the previous image.
This brief is a very simple one to finish the course with, and for me a really good one to test the photographer and their abilities in terms of photography. Whilst the brief does not offer much support in terms of what to specifically do, it doesn’t mean do the easiest and basic thing you can think of, but rather to explore and do some really good photography to polish off the course. I am very excited for this. I have no idea what I am going to do, but I will try to make this my best shoot yet, showcasing my work, showing I have progressed with confidence and my photographic ability since coming onto the course.
Please click the link to view the mind map.
For this shoot I am looking to do a Martin Parr/ Michele Groskopf style shoot. Vibrant and showing it how it is. I want to capture my family in their habitat when having their dinner, just enjoying the British summer time, as it should be. Each shot will be unique and will show various viewpoints that show a moment in time. Which will work the theme ‘photography is Simple’.
To view the contact sheet to see how I have selected my finals, click the link.
Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed
Image 1 –
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Image 2 –
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Image 3 –
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Image 4 –
Shutter Speed: 1/320
Image 5 –
Shutter Speed: 1/320
Image 6 –
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Image 7 –
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Image 8 –
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Image 9 –
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Image 10 –
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Please click the link to view my annotations.
Overall this shoot, I feel has been a success. I have tried my hardest to fulfil the brief by taking 10 finals, unique views and working the theme ‘Photography is Simple’. By exploring various moments and viewpoints of a typical British summer time BBQ with the family.
Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills
I observed the artists given to me by the course and my own, Martin Parr. I have observed aspects of their work which would make mine better and stronger and techniques that I could try throughout the shoot, for a new style for this shoot, enabling me to expand on my creative horizons. I had visual awareness throughout the shoot in terms of what shots would work and what wouldn’t and also where to stand in terms of framing etc. This really helped in terms of composition throughout. By taking a range of images, this means that I could then have a wide range to select from meaning the outcome of the shoot would be greater as I had more content to select from. From food shots to eating to beer.
Quality of Outcome
I feel my content was good, easy to follow and showed my knowledge throughout. I presented my work in a way that is easy to understand from any perspective. I communicated my ideas through my planning and applying my thinking where necessary. I judged the shoot well and made decisions which regarded the outcome of the shoot, which I feel were appropriate which made my work what it is.
Demonstration of Creativity
I used my imagination to conduct a shoot which was slightly different then the ordinary and tried to experiment with various angles and framing and content. I then used various subjects and props throughout to enhance my photographs such as people, food, sauces etc.
My research was thorough. I explored various artists and possibilities for this shoot. I also used critical thinking to help me direct my shoot in the way in which I wanted it to go. Reflection is also key as this is a time where I can talk about my work and how I feel I have done and talking about any concerns throughout the shoot. For me, this time, I feel the shoot went smoothly.
This last feedback I received was very extensive and well detailed and outlined, clearly work to be done in which will help me improve myself in photography, not only in this assignment, but throughout the whole course. I have tried my upmost best throughout the year and have tackled every challenge as intended. I have grown as a person and a photographer throughout. I feel that my work has developed significantly since taking up the course and you can see from the very first assignment till the last, how I have tweaked certain work in order for it to be seen as more successful. I have tried to stick to the same kind of process throughout the year, but have changed some of it throughout because I feel I am making more work for myself or that some work can be incorporated into another piece of work, for example improving contact sheets. The majority of my work has been tweaked after receiving feedback, but I have not gone back and undertaken every piece of advice my tutor has offered me in my feedback as this would have taken ages, and I like to showcase the original work, and showing improvement in the next project/ assignment, instead of re editing everything in response to feedback. This clearly shows my learning throughout the course and how I have developed instead of editing it and everything looking top tip from the word go.
From this feedback, I will make minor changes in response to the feedback, and will undertake a few tasks to show I have taken on board feedback.
The first thing I would like to address in the feedback is title choices. Initially, I chose descriptive titles for each of the selected images above, I do not know why I did this as the viewer needs to make their own mind up on my images, and the titles do not anchor, nor benefit the images in anyway, but mostly disrupts them. My tutor, rightly pointed out that the do not add to the context of my work. I considered the titles, and therefore thought that my finish product would look more uniform with my other assignments and best off without the titles, as they did not anchor the image or give it anything positive.
Although strictly speaking, my images fulfil the brief, my written work that is supposed to help my visual work, is not to the same standard and is not explored in the depth required at this level to fulfil the assignment overall. One thing I have struggled with is being critical of my work along this course. I more describe my work, which is an annoying habit I have continued to use from GCSE and A level. As this is a different type of photography, I need to start being more analytical rather than descriptive throughout. I am very good at pointing out the obvious, the contents of the photo, but do not explain the theory, and what is behind the photo and the creation, the meaning. When talking in relation to Parr, I mention how he shows it how it is, which he does, but do not dig deeper to talking about his work and other reasonings behind it which might not be easy to discover at first glance. In that respect, the same with my work, as I do not seem to dig deeper and show theory behind my work, only briefly, and do not explore and experiment as much as I should have throughout, I do not understand what is holding me back in terms of creativity, because photography is a creative subject right? So, I need to experiment more, and as my tutor said, when I have tried more experimental photography throughout this course, it has shown its benefits, and I also need to incorporate this into my written work, and do a written analysis, not a written description.
Instead of saying, this image contains food, this is this colour (which surprisingly everyone can see) I need to say, the colour works well within this image as it is a vibrant orange which helps draw your eye to that point in the image first etc.
In my report, my tutor asks the question ‘what did you want to say with these images?’
What I wanted to say was that these images show a typical British BBQ which incorporates the ingredients within (no pun intended) and show what a British BBQ is to someone whom may never even heard of one. I wanted to contain different information in each image, showing a ‘process’ in which shows how the event takes place and the motion of the event, capturing it from different viewpoints of different moments of the event, to tell a story as such of the event. There is no point me putting the finish product as the first image in this series as that would disrupt the series and would not work the brief, and without the brief would not work in itself because the images need to flow so that it represents the event in the exact time frame.
Another question posed in the feedback is ‘ What are your observations about the subject other than the BBQ?’
Oblivious to the BBQ, the rest of the components to the images are intriguing, especially the ones that are subtitle. for example, the facial expressions both when eating and drinking and when focused on something within the frame. They show happiness and concentration and confusion, which you can read from how they seem within the images. This may be an aspect of the image that you do not really consider when looking it from a standard viewpoint. Also, the background of the images, even the ones with the short depth of field, you can still look around and making out some of what is behind, and I think that location is very important throughout as this really makes the images ultimately as the subject needs to be in a suitable location to make the image work with familiar surroundings to make it seem in place. I also observe posture and how everyone is having a good time and that everyone’s body language throughout the images are positive.
Question three says ‘What does this kind of event, common across Britain, say about the participants?’
I think this common event, tells us, that it is important to enjoy your food, and the time spent with the people around you at a very chilled and sociable event that incorporates cooking and eating with socialising, typically with friends and family. Like other meals. Although this one is normally cooked outside because that is where typically a household has its BBQ because of the smoke that it produces. A BBQ is a piece of cooking apparatus and cooks the meat differently to an oven etc. So, when it is nice weather, people gather, like when people sit round a camp fire, and they socialise whilst having this kind of food. In Britain, it is very common, and seen as a ‘British’ thing to do, it is stereotypical that they are associated with each other, and a lot of households see it as a type of ‘tradition’. It says about the participants, that they are proud to be from this country because of the style in which we prep and cook our food. In other countries, stereotypically, associated and traditionally, other foods are also in relation to their country and are seen as a cultural ritual. So, for the British public, BBQ’s are seen as an event that the British people love and that it is their event, another example is the pub, the British public are very much associated with their pubs and the pub culture. So, the answer to these questions is that it says that the participants are proud of their culture and proud to be British, and to look at us having our BBQ!
These questions and responses above, show how I should be analysing my images, and not just talking about colour, framing etc. I feel this is a weakness of mine and needs addressing urgently, because throughout the course, I felt that I have improved on this and now looking back I do not think I have as such. But this will be incorporated into my next course for sure, now fully understanding the way to do it. It is very hard to analyse when you are very descriptive, I need the viewer to look at my images and make their own judgment of how they see it and what they see and not tell them and describe to them the image, but rather tell them my theory of the image and my reasoning behind the image and how it has come about. I think this feedback and these example questions prove that is what I need to be talking about (specific to this shoot of course) but to be asking these kinds of questions throughout when talking in relation to the images. I need to dig deeper, it is like talking about the technical aspects of the image as saying ‘oh I used a zoom lens I shot on Manuel mode’ – that is what I am like when writing about my images, what I should be doing is ‘ for this I used a zoom lens, in which I shot the image at 120mm, on Manuel mode, using an aperture of 8 and ISO of 100. Basically, what I am saying is I need to dig deeper than just brushing the surface and also need to technically analyse my images rather than stating the obvious, but more theory. Scientist don’t go ‘ we made this cure because it is a white liquid’ they tell you in a very complex way how it came about, and that is what I need to do. I need to ask what the photograph is of and what is it about, not what is in the photograph, which my tutor has explained.
One of the improvements I need to make to my work is to explore more ways to engage in the brief instead of just taking the first or second route I think of, maybe a mind map of ideas that specifically looks more into ideas than reminders may be more beneficial as a structure for the next course. These changes need to come thick and fast to make sure I keep up with the level of work which is required to acquire a degree. I feel that I need to think more and put more effort into my work and not to be sloppy and to make sure that every area is covered like I know I can do and to ensure that I keep the momentum going, ensuring that all results are positive and are of the best of my ability. Furthermore, I need to experiment more, and be more critical and engage on another level with my work, taking it up a gear.
The homage exercise was an interesting one, I feel my tutor was slightly critical of my work here and I can see why, if that is an image I took recently, but this image (the dog one) was from my archive, and was taken a long time ago, so therefore I feel that I would have engaged with it more, but I only wanted to show that I was inspired by aspects from another photographer and did not critically seek to engage with this image.
My initial response needs work, as do all aspects of my work to ensure that I become a photographer that is successful. In order to accomplish this, I need my initial response to be more creative, rather than emotional. Here, in the future, I need to be thinking about creativity and not always my emotions.
Overall, in this assignment and over the course of the year, I feel my work has been consistent and improvements have been made, but ultimately my written work still needs a lot of work to do in order to make it as strong as my visual work!
Here is another attempt at annotating one of the images with a new thought process. Here you can clearly see I am more analysing different aspects of the image. Click the link to view.