Monday, 19 July 2010

Exercise 21

What: The brief of this exercise was to first examine the two photographs in the study guide and find and note the implied lines. Then take three recent photographs of my own and perform the same analysis on the photographs. The final part of the exercise was to plant and take two photographs that use eye-line and extensions of lines or lines that point.
Where: Various Locations
When: All times of the day, sunny, rain and dull weather.
How: The first two parts of the exercise were quite straight forward, the photographs in the study guide show flowing lines which lead and flow and create a tension within the image itself.

The turning of the matador as he sweeps the cape out the way of the bull, while the bull itself moves deeper into the frame as it charges past the matador.

The farmer in the second image is quite static while the movement of the horses towards the viewer guides the eye back into the frame and back to the farmer. The slight tilt in the horizon magnified by the foreground which tilts and curves helps to create the tension within the image and to keep the eye moving.

The three images I chose also demonstrate implied lines and these I have marked with an arrow.

Implied Line – Drop and Curve

D80,Aperture f/14.0, Shutter Speed 1/160 sec, ISO 250, 105mm (35mm equivalent 157mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Tripod Mounted.

Implied Line - Curve and drop

I quite like the curved line that the fence creates as it crosses the frame and the drops off to the right hand corner. The foreshortening caused by the telephoto lens flattens the fence into background making at almost 2 dimensional.

Implied Line – Off to Left

D80,Aperture f/22.0, Shutter Speed 1/25 sec, ISO 100, 11mm (35mm equivalent 16mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Tripod Mounted.

Implied Line - Off to left

The line of the stones on the beach effectively act as an implied line, moving off into the frame. This is such a simple example of an implied line that I missed it the first time. It was only when examining the image that I saw this implied line on the beach made out of the stones.

Implied Line- Curved Rotation

D80,Aperture f/4.5, Shutter Speed 1/60 sec, ISO 500, 105mm (35mm equivalent 157mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Tripod Mounted.

Implied LIne - Curved rotation

The blurred text on the spinning wheel indicates movement and also implies the directionality of the wheel. This implies a curved line within the movement.

The final part of the exercise I found quite difficult, as I believe I was over analysing the exercise. This combined with being housebound meant that I struggled to find examples of eye lines and extension/leading lines. However I finally overcame this and planned four photographs;

1. Looking at book. The main plan of this photograph was to create an eye line with me looking down reading a book. After sketching the idea, I then setup a camera on the tripod and using a computer controlled timer (DIYPhotobits camera control) I was able to take a number of photographs and then choose the one which demonstrated the eye line the strongest, the rest of the photographs either were badly framed or I was not looking at the book.
I also like the idea that the cat has a different eye line within the same frame.
Yes, I really am that horrible colour just now!

D80,Aperture f/5.6, Shutter Speed 1/125 sec, ISO 125, 52mm (35mm equivalent 78mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Tripod Mounted.

Eye Line - Me and Cat

Eye Line - Me and Cat - Arrows

2. Ricks Bar. I noticed this sign out of the corner of my eye as I passed the top of the street that the bar is on. At a certain position, the eyes on the poster were no longer just gazing into space, but were in fact studying the windows of the empty office above it. I took a photograph from a number of positions, but I was happiest with one I took from halfway up a fight of steps across the street. I preferred the framing and the eye line of this photograph. I quite enjoyed capturing this image.

D80,Aperture f/10, Shutter Speed 1/320 sec, ISO 125, 155mm (35mm equivalent 232mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Hand Held.

Eye Line -Ricks Poster

Eye Line -Ricks Poster - Arrows

3. Ribbon on book. It was while I was making sketches and notes in my daybook that I realised that the ribbon could be used to create an extension of a line and an line that points. I setup the camera on a tripod and shot this image as the book was sitting open on a table top. I wanted a reasonable close image of the ribbon, so I decided not to capture the whole page of the book, but to get in as close as possible with my framing without losing the knowledge that it was a book.

D80,Aperture f/16, Shutter Speed 0.4 sec, ISO 500, 70mm (35mm equivalent 105mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Tripod Mounted.

Line - Ribbon on page

Line - Ribbon on page - arrows

Line - Ribbon on page -  multiple arrows

4. Shoes. I noticed a similar photograph in one of my photography books and I decided I would like to make my own homage to the photograph as I felt that it had a number of sweeping lines which created a tension within the image and that guided the eye around the scene. In this case the eye is guided up the shoes by the extension of the line from the curved front of the shoe and also by the red lines on the pattern of the shoe and eventually down to the coin.

D80,Aperture f/16, Shutter Speed 2.5 sec, ISO 500, 48mm (35mm equivalent 72mm), Pattern Metering Mode, Auto White Balance, Tripod Mounted.

Lines - Shoes

Lines - Shoes - Arrows

Lines - Shoes - Multiple Arrows

I have learned a lot in this exercise, first of all that I should not over analyse the exercise because if I do then I will never complete the exercise or the course. I have learned to break down the ideas into simple guideline and then to work up from there.
I have earned the use of eye-lines in composition, and that they can be used to either guide the viewers’ eye or to help the viewer see the smaller parts of the composition. I have also learned that there are implied lines in almost all of my images and that they must be considered during composition as they have an effect on how an image is viewer and how the viewer eye can be drawn away from the subject instead of towards the subject.
I have learned that lines can be used to emphasis a small part within the frame by using a line to directly point to it or by guiding the eye along the extension of a line.
I have learned about lines and how by creating tension within a frame by using a line then the dynamic tension of the line will move the viewers eye back onto the frame to see more.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Further Reading –Ian Jeffrey - How to Read a Photograph

I have started this large thick book with some trepidation as it appeared to start with to be a technical tome of a book. However it is a very accessible and practical book. I’m only a small part way through the book however and I have found it to take quite a European stance on photography almost ignoring the early photography being pioneered in American . The style of the book makes it easy to read and which so far has been educational and refreshing.

Some of the photographers so far that I have read about are

  • David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson

These two Scottish Edinburgh based photographers were quite a surprised to me; I had never heard of these photographers before and these two very early pioneers impressed me.

I found their portraits to carry a massive range of contrast and highlights in the colours of their dark monochrome images. The formal posed portraits of both the Edinburgh notables and the fisher folk of Newhaven all carry an intensity within the image, that I feel at times that I am looking at a portrait painted by Rembrandt.

  • Wilhelm Von Thoma

What impressed me the most about the work of this German photographer is the range of styles he covered. He moved from formal portraiture, recording for posterity people, to taking war photographs which are open to interpretive analysis.

At the start of the Great War he was recording the formal posed groupings of aristocratic German Pilots and he slowly moved through photographs capturing and recording people and their moments in time , through informal loosely posed portraits to recording the brutality of war both on the landscape and more importantly on people fighting in the war. Unlike the posed formal portraits from the American Civil war and Roger Fentons Crimean war photographs, which records the landscape after the battle (but which I feel ignores the brutality of the battle) ; Von Thoma shows what the war was doing to soldiers, pilots and the landscape, both at the front line and further behind. This style of war photography would really not be seen again until Robert Haeberle and Don McCullins’ photographs from the Vietnam war.

I feel that Von Thoma in his relaxed portraits and front line war images was moving away from a method of just recording that moment in time and opening the photograph up for interpretation for the viewer

  • August Sander

On first viewing of Sanders "Herdsman" you may think that this photograph was taken at the latter end of the 20th Century. In fact this modern, interpretive informal portrait was taken in 1913. The posing, colour, contrasts and definition of the image show that Sander had taken his time in creating this photograph. This photograph was just one of the many eye catching photographs that Sander took for his book “Face of our time” which established Sanders’ reputation. The book with its empathic one to one relationships with the viewer caught the attention of the National Socialist authorities seized the books and destroyed the printing plates; they may have interpreted Sanders photographs and book as a satire of their policies. His later work may have been influenced by Beckman and Raderschiedt as his portraiture is in the modernist style of the times and is both impassive and poignant in detail.

  • Alexander Rodchenko

Rodchenko was already an establish artist when he took up photography, he was quick to experiment with differing styles and his influence on photography itself is mainly due to his influence on the elements of design. As an illustrator he was already experimenting with photomontage and the skills he learned producing adverts and posters and he used these skills when composing his photographs. He quickly demonstrated his ideas and his Constructionist style of photography in images such as the “Workers Facility Student” where this portraits shows the head and neck of a smiling young man on a divided black and white background. The student portrayed has his had perched on the back of his head and its multiple sided shape frames his face. The students smile frames his mouth repeating the shape of the hat and it subdivides his face. His “Pioneer Girl” its point of view upwards towards the subject is in the European neoclassical style and shows a symmetrical figure almost like a statue. Rodchenko used these elements of design frequently; the repetition of shape, pattern or form and differing angles for point of view. I feel that he was trying to move away from the formal way of taking photographs and experiment with ideas and expressions within his photography.