‘The Languages Of Light’
Exercise 4.1 – Daylight
Just before Project 1 in Part 4, there is a light experiment to do with mid-tone, and the light meter and data. The exercise is simple, to use auto or semi auto and to photograph a variety of tones from light to dark. Then, after, study the histogram of each image. The course materials then ask you to re-visit this exercise, but this time using manual mode, to try and get the same kind of results, but manually. This should result in a spike appearing in the centre of the graph. Below I will attempt both. One on semi auto/auto and one on manual. This will determine if I can produce the same results as expected from the course materials.
Shoot – Auto
Black Card – Auto
White Card – Auto
Grey Case – Auto
Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed
Image – Black Card
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Image – White Card
Shutter Speed: 1/250
Image – Grey Case
Shutter Speed: 1/200
The histograms came out slightly different on Photoshop to the camera’s histogram information, but still, all of the images show the graph clearly showing all of it in the centre.
Histogram – Black Card
Histogram – White Card
Histogram – Grey Case
In the course materials it mentions ‘complicated exposures’ and this Japanese artist. Rinko Kawauchi. I looked at her work and the particular body ‘Illuminance’. I felt that this type of work covers the term ‘complicated exposure’ as you can see from the image above, this looks overexposed in the middle of the image because of the glare from the stairs, but it still works as a great effect and creates a shine like effect leading up in the image. It is almost as a glow, like there is a set of lights there in the middle, but it is caused by natural light and looks really interesting.
Shoot – Manual
Black Card – Manual
White Card – Manual
Grey Case – Manual
Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed
Image – Black Card
Shutter Speed: 1/800
Image – White Card
Shutter Speed: 1/500
Image – Grey Case
Shutter Speed: 1/800
Again, with the histograms, looking slightly different than the camera’s version. But all still central.
Histogram – Black Card
Histogram – White Card
Histogram – Grey Case
This little experiment was interesting and I feel it worked to the best as I could have asked for. Although the black and grey both look of a similar in the images, I did make sure it was in a well-lit, natural lit place. I used a white piece of card and a grey laptop case. The histograms are predominantly central and when shooting in manual mode I used the light meter to change the camera settings. I did however use similar aperture, and shutter speed, and managed to get similar results thanks to the ISO.
Sally Mann’s work is very interesting. I like the way she uses natural light within her photography. Some of her images, such as the one below, looks overexposed in the sky. The leaves look like they are being singed and it makes it look like the light is too bright. For any typical photograph, to a photographer, this may look overexposed, but this is working for her, in her images and more of a technique, rather than a mistake. I feel it is unique and strange at the same time, as it does make it look like the light is too powerful. It almost makes the image look distort which has a strange feel to it because of it. In her work ‘Battlefields’ as suggested by the title, this series of work uses darkness, rather than light within this series. The light is minimalised and short. With only enough to vaguely see the contents of the image. Through a lot of her work, lighting helps make the image, and lights certain parts of the image making it more noticeable then the darker bits of the image. Overall, she uses light well and makes sure she gets exactually what she wants from the light.
When I tried to research Michael Schmidt, I couldn’t really find many photographs that particularly stood out at me and screamed. Not to do with natural daylight. I read the articles that are in the materials and I couldn’t really see much to go on with his work, so therefore I will not be using him for inspiration of my shoot to do with daylight. I feel his work is rather bland and did not offer me much insight and inspiration leading forward to something unique that I could have used to inspire my own photography.
If you follow the link from above, this should take you to an image. This image along with a lot of his other work shows daylight, natural light and how it presents itself. Here, I feel that this photograph is very powerful. I like how the majority of the statues are in the shade and how the light luminates the floor and where the source of light is coming from in terms of direction. I have always been a fan of his work and I think that his images are carefully thought through and daylight helps the image and how it is presented.
Ansel Adams, is my own pick for this exercise. When I was thinking, who could use daylight well in their photographs, I didn’t hesitate to think of not only one of the best if not the best landscape photographer of all time, but a genius when it comes down to light. He uses light to make things seem bigger, more powerful, he uses light to shade, he uses light to glamorise. Ansel Adam’s makes his landscapes more significant when he uses light to his advantage, allowing him to priorities certain aspects of the image. Take the image below, for example, look how the mountain is so lit, compared with its surroundings and how the light acts as a guide for your eyes, straight to the mountain. The image looks very good quality from the era it is from and I feel that his work in all, shows daylight and the use of daylight throughout his imagery.
(Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet is the highest peak in North America. 1947)
Exercise 4.2 – Artificial Light
(The Staircase ::::: The once luxurious main vestibule has had much of its marble facing stripped off by scrappers and vandals, Byron Hot Springs Resort. Shot between October 2005 and June 2007.)
When studying artificial light, this kind of photography is very intriguing to me. I really like how the lighting creates the mood for the image and how it casts it in a certain way. If it was a different LED then the image would have a different feeling to it. For me, this image feels cold because of the blue, associated with cold and ice often in general terms, but the red, makes the image give a warm and to me a slightly evil way about it coming from behind the stairs. Again, the red being associated typically with those two. The way the shadow is casted is also very daunting and interesting and can create many effects when the light is situated in a different area within the image. The body of this work is really good, personally I think the colour of the LED’s create a different mood depending on the location and the lighting and can have some really great effects to the image compared to neutral artificial lighting. The fact you cannot see the lights directly make it better because then it seems more of a glow, rather than coming from a direct light source.
(Night Lights 1997-1999)
Sato uses a variety of colours throughout this body of work. The work is very manic and has a lot going on and to take in. It is very vibrant and shows clearly the uses of artificial light, at night for advertisement on the streets of a city. This body of work explores a scene created purely focusing on the light and the use of it. I feel the images are very packed though and do not specifically focus on a certain area or object, but very much congested and trying to push everything into the frame, as much as possible. Although I feel this kind of work is unique and unusual, but at the same time show the power of the lights. However, personally I would have stepped back and included more of the surroundings of this jungle of artificial signage, to show a whole front, instead of part of the signs as this gives me a feeling of cropped view.
Rut Blees Luxemburg
This link leads to a series of images by Rut Blees Luxemburg, which involve artificial light. The series presents a number of pictures which feel warm, due to the fact of the colour of the light. I also appreciate the use of long exposure in some too. This creates a cool effect which is often used these days to create weird and wonderful imagery. Some of the lighting seems nearly overexposed because the lights are so bright and are really noticeable in each of the images. The use of artificial lights throughout make some parts brighter than other, making you focus on those parts more, but genuinely the majority of the images are well lit, making you see the surroundings in the dark.
- (Pont des Arts, c.1932 (gelatin silver print))
Although this work is very old, it still has the use of artificial light. For me the use of light within this image has been used very well and smartly. The fact that he has managed to capture the reflection of the lights off of the water is very spectacular. If it was natural light, there would not be the same effect because there is only one sun, so there would be one beam. Whereas there are multiple lights used here, creates a pattern and this symmetry in the water. The lights are very bright, making it seem very hazy because of the black and white and because it is at night. Because they are shining brightly, they really stand out amongst the surroundings. Brassai’s night work seems very lonely, because of the way he has used artificial light and taken it from a distance with nothing going on around the emptiness of the streets. The black and white helps this feeling because it seems duller, rather than jumping to life with colour.
Exercise 4.3 – Egg or Stone
Pepper No. 30, 1930
No wonder why this image is so famous, this image is amazing. It looks nothing like a pepper and shows form in a really unique style. All the curves of the pepper and tones are really thick and stand out amongst the also dark background. The framing of the pepper is excellent as he is not too far away or too close, just enough to fill the frame. The pepper looks very expensive and powerful. I feel this is because of the lighting and the time of exposure. He has made form his subject. Not the pepper, which is really interesting and rather exciting. If this image had no caption, no one would really know what it was. The texture of the object seems smooth and cold. This I feel is because of the way it has been taken and the fact it is in black and white. The background is dark too, which is probably a good idea, as I think a natural background may take your attention away from the subject itself. Whereas this background makes you focus on it very much. I do not feel that other veg, such as a cucumber, would have the same desired effect and Weston has done very well to pick a subject that invites you to look at its form, not something that is dull.
If you follow the link, it takes you to a page of the website by Jean-Baptiste Huynh. You can view his still life images, which include plants. I feel the plant images are very well exposed and use a simple backdrop to avoid any confusion between the plants and the background. The plants are very close in, showing various textures and form within the images. The lighting within a few of the images really makes the subject and the photograph work, from the positioning of the light. One of the more notable ones, is the one on the black background, of a circular subject. The light is coming in from the right-hand side, with the subject background black, this makes it look like it is the moon! Much like Weston’s work, the subject always seems to look much different to what it actually is. It doesn’t look like a plant and without a title, it is not identifiable as one. He is fairly close up in the image and this gives the viewer the opportunity to look at the texture and the form of the subject in depth. The images, are rather simple, but show that using certain lighting and positioning, the subject can be made to seem something it is not.
Cigarette No.8, New York, 1972 Platinum-palladium print
If I didn’t know this image was a cigarette, I am not sure what I would make it out to be. Like the artists above, the image is close in and uses a small aperture in order to get the desired effect. The background, still plain, but a colour that matches the cigarette and doesn’t take anything away from the subject itself. The texture and form, very noticeable. Especially because we are given this opportunity so close up, it shows us what we cannot see very clearly with the natural eye, bits of ash and the crumpled cigarettes form itself is far more interesting than I ever imagined. The form is an unusual shape, it’s not round, or natural looking, but very satisfying the way it is and unique. The light within the image, gives a slightly dark shadow behind the cigarette, making it stand out from the similar coloured background, which helps. I feel without the shadow, this would blend too much. The lighting also brings out darker parts in the cigarette making it seem dirtier and more helped with the splatters. Also, because this is so close in, it makes the cigarette seem very big and wide, when we know as a matter of fact it is not.
Exercise 4.4 – Personal Voice
Fuji City 2008 – no. 911
John Davies, is one of those photographers who works both with modern day and natural beauty. He photographs a lot of places with real value, in the world and how they have changed with the evolution of mankind. Industrial industry is a big business, big buildings, machinery just plonked in all kinds of habitual areas of beauty. John captures this with a mixture of what was and what now is. How these beautiful landscapes are now overrun by these monstrosities, in which are basically eye sores. As you can see in the image above, one of my favourites for demonstrating this, world renowned Mount Fuji, in the background, rather magnificent, bold and beautiful, with metal structures and buildings in the foreground, as if they are ‘blocking’ the perfect picture. Like they are an interference. His creativity throughout his images is impressive. When presented with the idea of Mount Fuji, although you may never have visited, but seen spectacular image representations, you would have thought of, the big bold, beautiful piece of landscape. What John does, is he gives you the reality, what the people don’t want to know or see, he includes this aspect in his image, which creatively makes him inspirational.
‘I looked at an apple for such a long time until it became the first
apple I had ever seen. I was so excited that I called a friend to tell him
my experience. But how could I find the right words for what I had experienced? How could I describe my visual sensations with literary words such as red, yellow, green, shining and round after this movement of nuances and counteractions in form and colour, even in touch and smell? Anyhow I did not find the right words and my friend did not believe me, so I ate the apple as I have eaten many an apple before. It was a fairly good apple.’ – Ernst Haas
Photography 1: Expressing your Vision, Page 95, Paragraph 2.
This quote by Ernst Haas, is in EYV and part of the materials. I can see the reasoning behind this quote and can see why Haas has said it. Although, I have never experienced such a thing, I can see how you would and how changing the mind and the thought process and feelings towards something as such, can influence an experience like this. It is like being blind to such a matter and then waking up and realising how insane it actually is. So, when it comes to creativity, you could do the most basic, ordinary, straight forward option, or you could dig deep, into your brain and come up with something original and different to anything seen before. Inventors could just be like ‘ yeah well can’t really think of much else, already got this and that, let’s just bring out something similar, maybe just make the original slightly better’. Or they could dig deep and find something they have never tried and to execute this. Such as photography, a lot of photographers, will photograph the same thing, the same landmark, the same object and then there will be the minority that will be different and capture it in a unique way. Even if it is unique in a slightly different way. Say for instance, a sculpture that everyone photographs from the front, in a line, like the Las Vegas sign and then there is one photographer who captures it from the side, or a different angle, enabling them to capture different surroundings within. Like John Davies does with his industrial shoots. But going back to the original quote, everyone is like ‘meh it’s an apple’ but then like Haas himself, see’s much more into the subject then the majority.
Chris Steele Perkins
School Children Practice Baseball Between Gotemba and Fujinomiya
Series: Mount Fuji
HP Archival Inkjet
20 x 24 inches
Much like John Davies series of Mount Fuji, Chris Steele Perkins also explores different concepts to ‘the norm’ and produces a series as such which explores, not industrial, but other everyday surroundings around the landscape. From such, a very long time ago, this Mount Fuji, would have been surrounded by wilderness, but now humans have inhabited it, it is surrounded by activities, such as the one above, garages, roads, houses amongst many other objects. From different viewpoints, images such as this can be captured and I feel that this is creative. I would never have thought there would be a baseball pitch so close to such a place and it is eye opening to creativity, because who would have thought of capturing an everyday activity in connection with such a beautiful landscape like this? I mean a lot of photographers would have opted against including the activity within the frame and would have done their upmost best to avoid this. But it is the minority of photographers, who think creatively and opt for this shot, hoping it will pay out ultimately in the creativity aspect. This image and the series itself is very creative and influences me towards my shoot, for this exercise. I like the idea, of something different and an image that mixes it up like this, then your typical landscape shot of Mount Fuji.
‘Instead of photographing what I saw, I photographed what the camera
was seeing. I interfered very little, and the lens produced anatomical
images and shapes which my eyes had never observed.’ – Bill Brandt
Photography 1: Expressing your Vision, Page 96, Paragraph 5.
This quote inside EYV, exercise 4.4 really caught my attention amongst the other quotes. I thought this quote was very interesting and how he ‘photographed what the camera was seeing’ not what he was seeing. And that it produced as such aspects his eyes had never observed. In a way I can relate to this quote, much more than any other because I have felt the same. Sometimes when out just shooting, I have let the camera go wild, and just clicked the shutter at random moments, not taking in to account the composition of my image. Then, when I am home, I can see in detail, aspects I did not see with my eye, or through the viewfinder or on the LCD for that matter, and sometimes this is what makes an image. The smallest of detail. Even sometimes, when you look at an image, you go away, you come back, you see something you didn’t realise before, and the time before that, and so on. Sometimes, you have one intention and you create this whole other ball game, when you realise you have captured something of significance without intentionally capturing that specific object, idea or subject.