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Monday, 21 June 2010

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance & the camera

Having a few hours to kill and not being too far away, I went to the Tate Modern on London’s Southbank the other week, I had seen that there was a photography exhibition on called Exposed that looked really interesting. I wasn’t disappointed; it was excellent; added to which this was my first ever visit to Tate and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I got there I was amazed what a great building and so much to see.


“Since its invention, the camera has been used to make images surreptitiously and satisfy the desire to see what is hidden. Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance & the camera examines photography’s role in voyeuristic looking from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day. It includes pictures taken by professional photographers and artists, but also images made without our knowledge on a daily basis through the proliferation of CCTV”

Exhibition Guide Tate Modern

The exhibition was divided up into themed sections and I’ve noted my thoughts on the sections as I went through the exhibition.

  • The unseen photographer
  • Celebrity & the public gaze
  • Voyeurism & Desire
  • Witnessing Violence
  • Surveillance

The Unseen Photographer

The first area was about revealing an unaware world where the photographer took images without people knowing or consenting to. Not only were there photographs on display but there were also examples of how 19th century technologies were used to hide the camera equipment, so that they could be used without the subjects knowledge, this included camera hidden in walking sticks, jacket breast pockets and even a shoe!

Walker Evans 1903-1975

‘Subway passengers’ - taken in the 1930’s on the New York subway system. It was the interest in the people’s expressions that grabbed me, the un-posed faces and what were they thinking about? Where were they going? Evans used hidden cameras to capture his subjects unawares.

Philip-Lorca Dicorcia 1951

‘Heads’ – There were some large format/printed images; In 2006 Dicorcia placed hidden automatic flashes in some scaffolding and with a long lens that was also automatically triggered, took photographs of people as they were going about their business.

Paul Martin - 1864-1942

‘Tit bits was her greatest sale’ – 1892 Ludgate Circus.This was a photograph of a woman selling magazines in the street. What grabbed me about this one is that it reminded me of an old lady who used to sell newspapers close to a railway station when I was growing up. I think her name was Audrey!? Strange that I remembered this when I saw the photograph, but it’s the power of photography triggering memories of times past. Martin used a camera hidden inside a box that he carried under his arm to capture his unsuspecting subjects.

Morris Engle 1918-2005

Cop standing over a shoeshine stand - 1947 – It was the expressions on the faces that grabbed me; what were they talking about? The image was ‘busy’ with lots of things going on with  people in the foreground, but the clever thing is that the part of the image that draws you in is actually a reflection. It took me a few minutes to realize! Its very clever.

Ben Shahn 1898-1969

Shahn to photographs of groups of unsuspecting people, documenting the diversity of New York during the great depression and the 1930’s - He also used a right-angled viewfinder so that it would look like he was taking pictures in another direction. In the photograph of display, taken in 1937 outside of a US post office in Tennessee, you can actually see his reflection in the window, whereas he looks like he is taking a picture up the street and not the post office!

Helen Levitt 1913-2009

There were some photographs that Levitt took in the early 1940’s of children playing in the streets of New York, depicting life in those times. I wandered if taking pictures of children playing to record history and life would be as acceptable in this society? Probably not – A whole ethical topic in its own right and out of the scope of this update!

Henri Cartier Bresson 1908-2004

Hyères, France 1932 – This really caught my eye in relation to the design elements that were apparent. With the elegant curves of an outside staircase that take you down towards a road creating an implied line towards a cyclist. The motion blur of the cyclist adds further animation and implied movement around the curve of a road that it is travelling. A great example of leading the eye to create movement and animation.

Celebrity & the Public Gaze

This section was about the relationship between photographer and celebrity and how the changes of attitude towards self publicity, from the celebrity point of view to the relentless intrusiveness of  paparazzi and catching celebrities during private moments

 WeeGee (Arthur H Fellig) 1899-1968

There was a very iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe taken during the filming of the ‘Seven year itch’ where her dress is blown up from an air vent. I thought I would mention as the scene is so well known! (Although I later researched that this was not used in the film and was recreated in a studio).

Marcello Geppetti 1933-1998

There was a 4 shot narrative of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on a boat, that builds up to them kissing (as i understand this was to prove an affair between the two) I’ve been a fan of Richard Burton’s films so that’s why it stuck in my mind. I later looked up Geppetti, to find he was famed for his “relentless pursuit of film stars and celebrities”, a true ‘paparazzi’ by all accounts.

Tazio Secchiaroli 1925-1998

Anita Ekberg & Anthony Steel  - This was a classic paparazzi set of a photographer chasing celebrities. It consisted of a 7 shot montage of Steel chasing photographers away!

Particularly for the last two photographers, I looked up the word ‘papparazzi’ which I found derives from ‘Paparazzo’ which was a fictional character in the film La Dolce Vita.

Leonard Mccombe 1923

There was this excellent photograph where the background consisted of a row of men inside a train diner car all looking towards the actress Kim Novak in the foreground. What was clever about this was that the focus was on the background and Kim was out of focus in the foreground, but still recognizable; then you have the eye lines of all the men looking toward her creating this dynamic movement in the frame. Attention is drawn to the focused men but their eye-lines draw you to Kim in the foreground. The expressions on the men are also priceless – I love this photograph. 

Voyeurism & Desire

This section was about the fine lines between art and eroticism. Raising questions as who should be looking at these images and why would they would be looking? Especially the images that were taken, where the subjects were unaware of the presence of the photographer

Merry Alpern 1955

Dirty Windows – 1994 - this was a really powerful set. It consisted of 12 large prints covering a whole wall. The set was taken from an apartment across the street into an upstairs window of sex club in New York. The set depicted the men that used the club and the women that ‘serviced’ them, including the exchange of money and drug taking. Each photograph was naturally framed through the window frame of the shop, and not all details could be seen; only glimpses of what was going on leaving the viewer to imagine the story behind them. All were in a black and white, grainy style that really suited the sordid feel. A really thought provoking set of images.

 WeeGee (Arthur H Fellig) 1899-1968

There was another image by WeeGee that I liked; it was of a couple kissing in the cinema. Although the cinema had lots of people in the photograph, the space around the couple and the line of seats caused me to be drawn along the rows and to the attention of the couple.

Kohei Yoshiyuki 1946

‘The Park’ - This was another strong set of images. In the 1970’s Yoshiyuki, using an infrared flash bulbs, took photographs of the sexual activities of young men and women in a park in Tokyo along with the Voyeurs and peeping toms who observed them and in some cases touched and joined in (Not Yoshiyuki to be clear!). A sort of voyeur or voyeurs is some respect! The images were displayed in a long line in a darkened section of the exhibition, adding to the feeling of being part of this night-time act. In the display information it went on to say that the first time these photos were exhibited they were blown up to life size and displayed in a dark gallery with the visitors being given torches to go through the gallery!

“To photograph the voyeurs, I needed to be considered one of them… I behaved like I had the same interest as the voyeurs, but I was equipped with a small camera. My intention was to capture what happened in the parks, so I was not a real ‘voyeur’ like them. But I think in a way, the act of taking photographs itself is voyeuristic somehow. So I may be a voyeur, because I am a photographer”

Kohei Yoshiyuki

Witnessing Violence

This section was on the opposing responses from seeing violent images. Does it provoke people to act violently? Does it show people the need for change? Or does it numb us to horror?

 WeeGee (Arthur H Fellig) 1899-1968

There appeared to be a lot of work in the exhibition from WeeGee so I’ve made a not to self that at some point to return and do a more specific study on his photography. He had taken pictures of bystanders showing the morbid fascination with death. Some of the faces depicted the emotion of fun!

Brassai Gyula Haiasz 1899 1984

Here was a photographic narrative of a man who dies in the street (1932). The narrative was very interesting, with the body seen lying in the street alone. Then the ‘story’ unfolds in each photograph as a crowd begins to grow around the body, with each photo the crowd gets larger and larger, until eventually a vehicle (assume ambulance) appears in one photo with the next being the empty street again, as if nothing had ever happened; just a normal street. Although the powerful subject was what held my attention I noticed the elements of lines of the road and points and shape of the crowd.

Enrique Metinidos 1934

Here was a set making up a narrative of the rescue of a person attempting to commit suicide by jumping from a high point. The high point was Toreo stadium 1971. I found this really interesting due to the diagonal lines of the structure and points of the people attempting to rescue the person.

Nick Ut 1951

The famous print of the Vietnam War image of a group of children running from a village after a napalm attack was part of the exhibition. A powerful image when taken in 1972 as it is today.


This section was about the power of surveillance. From military reconnaissance (including the cold war) to the idea of ‘Big Brother’ and that no matter where you go innocent people are recorded or viewed in some way during their daily life. Also the close link between the increase in surveillance and the development of photographic technologies.

Simon Norfolk 1963

He had taken a photograph of this huge Radar system built on the ascension islands with the purpose of capturing mobile telephone conversations. Its thin wire structure of horizontal and vertical lines reminded me of a giant mechanical spider’s web! Scary that these things have existed, the radar not mechanical spiders…that would be silly!

Sophie Calle 1953

There was a huge display from the work of Calle. Where she had spent time as a chambermaid in a hotel and she would be able to enter the rooms of people staying at the hotel and ‘spy’ on their lives, taking pictures of their personal belongings. She would also follow them and record their actions. I found this work unnerving in the lengths she would go to record private lives, fascinating though.


The photographers and images that I have mentioned are just a small part of the exhibition. To do it justice I could have gone of for much longer and more in depth, however the scope of it is just too big for this one entry. As noted I plan to re-visit some of the works/photographers and look at them in more depth as I think that  many would be very useful later on in the course, covering narrative and documentary aspects of photography.

What a day! I could have spent a lot longer at the exhibition and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in photography to visit. I highly recommend this  interesting and thought provoking work.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Fathers Day

Just a quick one!

I had a fantastic present on Fathers day today; Wildlife Photographer of the year book. It is a lovely book with some fantastic photographs and contains the camera settings and details of how many of the shots were taken, very interesting and highly recommend. I reviewed some of the photographs before when I visited the live exhibition back in March so I won’t cover them again.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Control the strength of a colour

This excise is about exploring the relationship with exposure and how this can affect colour. The idea being to find the average exposure of a strong definite colour then varying by half stops either side of this average, take a sequence of images then compare the differences in terms of colour.


I used natural light through patio doors for this exercise and had set the camera up on a tripod so that each exposure was of the same viewpoint and frame plus I used a manual white balance setting to further ensure the consistency. The subject is the back of my wife’s wedding dress (yes she got married in red!). I used an automatic mode on the camera to identify an average exposure this was f/5.6 at 1/15 sec (I had set the ISO at 200 and have used a fixed 50mm lens).

I Then set the camera to manual mode and started the sequence by 2 half stops of the average exposure  then took an image at each half stop decrease in the aperture size.


50mm f/4 1/15 sec ISO 200


50mm f/4.5 1/15 sec ISO 200


50mm f/5.6 1/15 sec ISO 200


50mm f/6.7 1/15 sec ISO 200


50mm f/4 1/15 sec ISO 200 

To make it easier for comparison I created a version with each individual shot beside each other in order of exposure.

The exercise showed that as the exposure changed so did the colour; but when I say colour, I actually mean the Saturation and the Brightness of the colour and not the Hue (the photographs are predominately red which doesn’t change). With the overexposed  images being more bright with a weaker saturation and the underexposed images being darker with more intense saturation.

To strengthen the point I loaded the files  into Photoshop where I changed the preferences to display colour information in the HSB(Hue Saturation Brightness) mode and then selecting the same area in each of the frames, I ran the pointer over the most overexposed image (image1) and compared the results with the most underexposed image (image5).

In the overexposed image (image1) as I ran the pointer over a small area, the Hue varied around 0-10 Degrees, the Saturation varied between 30-80% and the brightness was consistently around the 90-100%

In the underexposed image (image5) as I ran the pointer over the same small area, the hue again remained about the same displaying figures around 0-10 degrees, however the saturation was more consistently displaying much higher figures of 80-90% and the brightness was consistently a lower percentage of around 60-90%

Although I can’t exactly quantify the figures, it certainly backs up the theory and the findings from my visual assessment in that the underexposure produced the greater depth and darkness to the colour, whilst the Hue remained unchanged. 

Despite my reservations with the colour section I really enjoyed this investigation.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

What makes a colour

I had a read through the notes on colour theory on the OCA website and through some of The Photographer’s eye to check my understanding of this. Here is just a few notes that I made for the log as a reference.

Primary reflected colours

  • Red – Strong and dense, energetic, warm, hot, passion, aggression, danger
  • Yellow – Bright, vigorous, sharp, cheerful, the sun, radiates light
  • Blue – recedes visually, quiet, darker, coolness, wetness, air

Secondary reflected colours

  • Green – Nature, hope, progress, growth, sickness
  • Violet – Elusive to find & capture, confused with purple, mystery, immensity
  • Orange Warm, strong, brilliant, powerful, fire, celebration, sunrise, sunset

The 3 qualities that define colour


This is how the colour is defined, it’s what gives the colour its uniqueness - It’s how we name a colour. This can be affected by filters, white balance and software manipulation


This is the purity of the colour (hue). From strong intense colours at one end of the scale to less colourful and grey at the other end and can be affected by exposure. 


This is the lightness and darkness of the colour (hue) and can be controlled by exposure and it should be noted that it can differ between hues.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Part Three: Colour

For some reason I didn’t feel quite as motivated for this section. Not quite sure why, maybe I needed a break from what I have done so far. However I thought it best to keep the roll going and crack on with this section, especially as I completed most of ‘Elements of Design’ as black & white monochrome images it means a different approach to the images I take.

Something else that I feel different, is in the previous sections I’ve looked closely at pre-course images and identified photographs that suited the exercises. Although I’ve only had a quick scan through my ‘library’ there wasn’t a great deal that stood out in line with what the next few exercises are asking for. I guess this adds to the challenge!

A bit of colour theory

The use of colour is also a design element that affects the way we see the image, however it also has specific qualities that affects us physiologically and psychologically; this makes it suitable as a separate section in its own right.

Primary Colours and Secondary Colours

There are essentially 2 types that we need to consider

Technical - This is the process of colour in relation to the recording and transmission of (light) colour

  • Primary: Red - Blue – Green
  • Secondary: Cyan - Magenta - Yellow

Perceptual - This is the way we see and feel about (reflected) colour

  • Primary: Red - Yellow – Blue
  • Secondary: Green - Violet - Orange

Although it is important to be aware of the properties and differences, it is suggested not to become ‘bogged down’ by the specifics at this stage. I’m aware that computer screens, image manipulation and digital cameras are associated to technical (transmitted RGB) colours; but for the purpose of the exercises, my focus will be towards the perceptual primary & secondary colours. I will however make reference to the transmitted colours if and when appropriate.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Assignment2 – Feedback & Thoughts

As before my feedback came back from my tutor very quickly. I was very pleased with the feedback with plenty of constructive points and I think I’m still going in the right direction at least.

I felt that I was taking a bit of a risk with the set, by presenting them all as grey scale photographs, however I think overall it worked, despite some of the colourful subjects that I used. That said I’ve presented them with frames and as colour versions of the assignment below.

Where appropriate I’ve  also  include a few adjustments in response to some of the tutor feedback, and hopefully shown what I learnt from the feedback.


I like the Olive shot in both colour and mono version and I’m glad that I left the cocktail stick in with it’s implied line through the image


It was suggested that the eggs were switched position in the frame; In hindsight I can sort of see that the egg currently in the foreground is perhaps too dominant.

“The light is very nice on the foreground egg though.”

To present my assignment I had mounted the photographs on black paper, however my tutor reminded me to be careful when doing this for dark images, with a danger of it being lost into the background. It was suggested that a white border to make the image stand out more could have been better in this particular shot. While I have added borders on the blog version I did not on the printed versions; so it has certainly made me think more about the presentation, and I will consider this before submitting future assignments.


My tutor liked the idea of the scattered potatoes, but felt the paper bag in the submitted photograph was too ambiguous. As well as that there are some tiles in the upper right section of the image that were a little distracting (I actually left them there to give a context to where the shot was taken, but in the end it was too abstract and too much of a distraction to add value).

In response to these points, I cropped the photograph to a square format to remove the bag and then tested my editing skills to remove the tiles. I think this now works much better now and the crop also emphasises the curved shape more too.


“The rigid arrangement of the asparagus looks great.”

The black and white version gave them a metallic look, and although I live the colour version too, I think the mono assignment version worked better.


“It works well though as a diagonal composition. I think the lighting is a little bit too dramatic in this image though”

I restored the colour to the image but emphasised the warmer colours (reds) and I used Photoshop Elements to soften (blur) the hands slightly, to give it the appearance of softer light.

Ice Cream

“The ice cream and bowls is a beautiful image. I really like the contrast in the image and the simple shapes/composition. This is a really successful and original take on contemporary food photography”

Not a lot to say for this other than I was very happy with this image and the feedback in both colour and mono.


“..something between an Olympic torch and something more phallic!”

I had a good laugh at the feedback for this one! My tutor suggested that a squarer crop would emphasise the ‘S’ shape more, so I have adjusted and presented above in colour.

Green Apple

It was suggested that this would work better in colour as the reflections get lost in the submitted version – I agree and also think the green enhances the textures.

Red Apple

“As with your first set of apples, you have captured the texture very nicely... The white background is nice too, and the negative space to the right of the frame works well.”

Another image that I like in both colour and mono. The mono version gave the apples a really strong metallic look that I think worked well.

Pineapple 1&2


I tend to agree with the feedback on the pineapple photographs, in that the foliage image makes for a better rhythm than the pineapple skin, although the skin does make a nice pattern also. I also think they both work well in the colour format.


I think this image works better in colour than the submitted mono/grey scale version; with the mono version lacking in a certain ‘lushness’. A bit more playing around with the light direction and angle could have further improved also.

There has been some really useful feedback in relation to the assignment and on my log and  it would appear that I’m on track with things so far at least.

I’m glad I suck to submitting the assignment as grey scale versions even though I felt that some of them did actually work better in colour; added to that I think that If I had submitted them in colour I wouldn’t have learnt a much from the assignment as I did.

I actually felt that some of the exercise images were ‘stronger’ examples than some of the assignment, in  particular rhythm and patterns exercise,  however I wanted to maintain the theme of food and therefore they were not suitable for the submission.

My conclusions going forward were the same as last time. To make more effort to look at other photographers work. Although I’ve be fortunate to have been to some photography workshops and seen presentations from Keith Thompson and Robin Preston and I plan to see more, but as suggested I should look at more non-commercial photographers too and get out to some more exhibitions.

Sunday, 6 June 2010


The idea behind this assignment is to incorporate what has been learnt so far into a set of photographs directed towards one type of subject showing a number of design element effects; The subject I chose was food.

Single Point dominating the composition




1/125 sec

ISO 100

For this photograph I used the contrast between a (whole) green olive against a background of sliced black olives. The black olives create a dark even background and although there are a few highlighted areas from the light source, I don’t believe they distract from the ‘point’. I feel that they create more interest and a context (as well as textures and more dimensions) to the photograph as a whole.

The point is positioned more or less around a rule of thirds placement within the frame, away from the centre to avoid being overly static and not so close to the edge to be too extreme and creating a tension to the balance.

I deliberated for some time whether to have the cocktail stick or not, but in the end left it in. I felt that although in the green olive hold its own as a point, the diagonal catches the eye and strengthens the draw to the point. From a subjective point of view I felt it added a bit of mystery as the stick continues out of the frame.

I used an off-camera flash to light the scene fairly close to the same height of the layer of olives, with the direction coming from the top left of the frame. I had already decided to use a flash for all of the assignment, but not only that I struggled to replicate the same texture details with natural light for this particular photograph.

Two points


23mm f/16 1/125 sec ISO 100

I feel that the egg that is close to the bottom of the frame and towards the right side has the greater dominance. The eggcup and egg that is placed centre left has more interest (the toast, top of egg and the shine from the metal cup) than the more dominant point; however has less highlight mass and thereby less contrasted against the background than the lower right egg.

I find my eye is drawn direct to this lower right egg first almost immediately, but then the eye moves between the two along the implied diagonal that is created between them, adding more dynamics to the composition.

Just for information, the eggs in this photograph were from a friend who owns their own chickens.

Several points in a deliberate shape


18mm f/22 1/125 sec ISO 100

The photograph scene is on my kitchen worktop. The idea being, a paper bag with potatoes had tipped over and spilt them along the worktop, making the shape(s) up from the individual potatoes (points). I thought back to the exercise where I sketched in lines and shapes and I can see many similar elements within this photograph, I found myself applying combinations of implied triangles by linking any 3 of the potatoes as points.

However what strikes me the most is an implied curve, starting at the small potato in the top right and then sweeping left then down and eventually round and back up towards the right, creating a flow and movement within the frame.

To light the scene I used an off-camera flash; as the worktop is quite reflective I bounced the light onto some cupboards above the worktop to soften and diffuse the light in order to avoid highlight reflections on the worktop and cause distractions.

A Combination of vertical and horizontal lines


18mm f/16 1/125 sec ISO 100

A simple design structure made up from asparagus. The highlighted verticals and horizontals contrast against the dark background. I feel though that the photograph is mainly static in composition, but I think there is a little movement for the eye from the bottom of the frame moving up to the tips and fading into the blackness. This is also aided by the portrait orientation of the frame and the natural tendency to place the subject in the lower portion.

The photograph has been lit with off-camera flash, with the direction coming from the bottom of the frame.



23mm f/16 1/125 sec ISO 100

In the during the exercises in the course material (see learning log) section on diagonals, I noticed that in my examples all the lines were all strengthened / created by the use of linear perspective. However for the assignment example I wanted to try something a bit different and create the lines without the sense of depth (from the linear perspective), so I got my wife to help create this cross of diagonal lines, creating an ‘X’ shape in the centre of the frame by splitting a bread roll. I chose a square crop to enclose and add emphasis to the contrasted angle of the diagonals.

Along with the ‘X’ you get real triangles further strengthening the structure of the image.


Ice Cream

55mm f/22 1/125 sec ISO 100

I feel that the curved bowl enclosed and frames the circular shaped ice cream placed at the centre, drawing the eyes to the ice cream as well as being strengthened by its central placement within the frame. The pouring jug; also curved in shape and tipped with a tiny drop of chocolate sauce about to drip from the spout, implying movement, again towards the ice cream below.

Then finally, the curve of chocolate sauce running down the sides of the ice cream which I feel is adding to the sense of smoothness over the cool ice cream.

The scene was lit with off-camera flash directed from the left side of the frame to create more texture to the ice cream.

Distinct shape


27mm f/16 1/125 sec 100

I chose to use the distinctive shape of a banana for this subject. I used a flash behind and slightly below the banana, (held up by my daughter). The backlight created the separation and contrast of the silhouetted banana from the background. Although centred in composition a curved ‘S’ shape is identifiable giving the photograph some movement. The vertical orientation of the frame also suited the subject shape. I don’t think this would be as effective in a horizontal though.

Implied triangle - 1

Green Apple

23mm f/22 1/125 sec ISO 100

Implied triangle(s) created using this still life of 3 apples on a reflective surface with the point towards the bottom of the frame. This started off as a little experiment with perspective, but I noticed the reflections and decided to incorporate them into the triangle. The perspective added ‘weight’ to the bottom apple making this the more dominant point and having this towards the bottom of the vertical orientation of the frame further emphasised the point of the triangle that I wanted the eye to be directed to.

Implied Triangle – 2

Red Apple

35mm f/16 1/125 sec ISO 100

For the implied triangles I have opted to include an additional photograph where the emphasis was towards the top of the frame.

The 3 balanced apples create the 3 points of the triangle. I feel that the vertical orientation of the frame draws the eye upwards from the bottom 2 apples, making the centre framed apple the dominant point of the triangle; this is further strengthened by  the 3 stems of the apple, creating mini vertical lines. The highlights, created by the flash, also created 3 points of a triangle within the darker apple skin.

Rhythm - 1


55mm f/16 1/125 sec ISO 100

If you weren’t sure what you were looking at; it’s a pineapple. Each of the sections within the skin created a diagonal pattern across the frame which has a natural beat to each ‘section’ that keeps the eye moving across it diagonally. Which I feel is strongest from left to right.

I kept the light source (off camera flash again) in line with the surface of the skin as I felt this gave it the most texture in the photograph.

Rhythm – 2


55mm f/16 1/125 sec ISO 100

I wanted to take something less obvious as a pattern, but still have a strong rhythm to it; I took this photograph of the same pineapple, but this time of the leaves/head. The contrast between the highlighted tips of the leaves with the darker side of the leaves and black background create the ‘beat’ again diagonally through the frame. I also feel that this particular perspective and orientation of the frame adds the to left-to-right movement of the eyes.



51mm f/22 1/125 sec ISO 100

A bowl of Strawberries; I kept a close crop on them in the frame having them go beyond the confines of the frame, (using the 51mm focal length as close as I could to the subject) this was to add to the appearance of them filling the space beyond with this continuing albeit irregular pattern.

Course Thoughts

The idea behind this assignment is to incorporate what has been learnt so far into a set of photographs directed towards one type of subject. The subject I chose was food.

The course text also suggested considering converting the photographs into Mono/grey scale for this part of the course; the idea being that without a colour distraction, the photograph would focus attention on the ‘design element’ and with that in mind I decided that I would complete the whole section this way, both the exercises and the assignment. Along with making all the assignment photographs mono and keeping a theme of food, I took this a step further and decided to make all the photographs as still life and use a flash to light the scene in each case.

In the first assignment I was worried that my tendency towards staged/still life would somehow restrict my development but along with a few comments from my tutor in the previous assignment, along with my own thoughts, I realised that at the end of the day, one of the reasons I started this course is because I ‘enjoy’ taking photographs and creating something that can be shared. Now why would I restrict myself from an area of photography that I really enjoy? Well I wouldn’t. Even so, a lot of the exercise photographs were ‘found’ and besides there is a long way to go on the course and plenty of time to explore many other areas. Therefore I made a decision (right or wrong) and stuck with a still-life set through the assignment. I hope that it paid off. And if not, well then I’ve leant even more!

I did enjoy the ‘elements of design’ section, maybe not as much as the first stages, but I think that perhaps this was because looking at ‘design’ principles is a new one to me and my photography. I started to notice similarities between different elements too, for example, where there are diagonals there is often triangles and where there are circles there are curves and so on. However this also reminded me to keep a sense of proportion about this section; it’s about learning and improving technique and being aware of how these elements can enhance the composition and importantly, the subject of the photograph.

That said I feel I’ve learnt a lot of new concepts and hopefully with a better equipped knowledge of this area.

From the first assignment I set down a few themes to consider going forward and I hope to continue with them as I continue to practise what I have learnt so far and hope to learn further.

An area that I had hoped to have explored more was that of other photographers and different styles of photography and although I was lucky enough to attend some presentations by some modern professional photographers, I still feel I should give a bit more attention to this area going forward.


Feedback coming soon….