Friday, 8 August 2014

Wk 3 Framing and Composition Artist

In class this week we are looking at the art of framing and composition.  Below are artist who use these photography elements to draw attention to their subjects.

Bernd and Hilla Becher

 A German couple who started photographing together in 1959.  Their body of work is well known for their grids of precise black and which photographs of industrial site known as typology.  The positioning of their images isolated forms whereby the subject was easily identified. They documented these architectural forms for over 40 years.

The artistic couple were very particular in how they constructed their photos.  Every part of the process was considered down to the size and relationship between negative and positive space.  Their body of work is exact emanating precision and thoughtful painstaking attention to detail.  A feat in itself considering they used large format cameras, producing medium-contrast gelatin silver prints.  Each structure centered against an empty sky and filling the frame.  The arranged their photographs in grids or sequence them in monographs.

Title: Fördertürme (Winding Towers) Artists: Bernd and Hilla Becher
Title: Water tanks Artists: Bernd and Hilla Becher

In these photos you can see that all the structures have similar forms.  The most amazing thing about their work is the scale of photos that they took and how the photos were composed.  Without the instant digital images which we use today they like many artists of their time highlight how skillful they are.

Diane Arbus 

An American photographer.  She learned photography from actor husband Allan Arbus.  They successfully worked in fashion and advertising however Diane soon branched out on her own.  While living in New York she created an unique body of work capturing unusual images of people which formed the interesting character portrayal of New York at the time.

Diane Arbus' approach to photography reflected a surreal portrayal of subjects noted as being raw, unapologetic and sometimes hard to look at.  Her work pushes the boundaries of street photography opening doors into worlds which were either overlooked or hidden.  Her images were really interesting, not your typical pretty portraits.  I like how her subjects appear at ease, free to be or act how they want.  This is obviously due to the rapport that she would of built with her subjects.  Her images can feel quite confronting, uneasy, intrusive and in your face and then in the same way, spellbinding.  If you're interested in delving deeper check out this video or awesome blog by Eric Kim.

Title: Boy with Grenade Artist: Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus is noted to be a photographer who didn't follow the rules of photography.  Her photos are printed in square format, which give an air of formality.  However her photos often are anything but.  This photo of the young boy seems to be composed casually.  His pose is relaxed, clothing is not sitting on him properly.  Composition wise you could say theres a bit of rule of third happening but it is as though it is not executed well. 

Title: Circus Fat Lady and her dog troubles Artist: Diane Arbus 1964
In this photo Diane Arbus has composed her subject in the middle.  It echos symmetry which can be seen in many of her photos.  The close crop of this photo emphases the scale of the lady which is reinforced by the size of the dog sitting on her.  It is also shot straight on to capture every detail of her subject.


Wk 3 - leading lines

Line and Patterns

I've enjoyed looking at these elements.  I've been surprised at some of the photos that I've taken by using them.  It's really exciting and has giving me a lot of direction in the sense of how to compose my shots.  For some who loves clean lines and slick architecture i'm drawn to strong lines and patterns.

Leading Lines

A leading line helps direct the eye through different elements of a photo.  Usually they start at the bottom of the frame and guide the eye upwards and inwards.  Usually a leading line will take you toward the main subject.

What I'm finding to be difficult is defining what my subject is going to be.  When we do exercises, i understand the task, i just get so bogged down on how to do it right that i often end up doing the same task over and over again.  Time consuming i know, but in a way it gives me time to process what I'm doing.  The pressure i put on myself is to perform at the same rate as the more experienced photographers in my class - yes, yes.... I'm learning not to conform.  It's a work in progress.  Anyway I'm feeling a lot more confident each week as i learn different elements of photography because it's giving me a better understanding of my camera as well as challenges me to become intentional in my approach to compose photos.

f/3.5, 1/125, ISO 100

For this photo i used a narrow depth of field, my subject was the piece of wood.  This is my example of leading lines and pattern.  I like this photo because of the shadows that it captures, it gives the path a bit of a mysterious shady feel.  I took three similar shots of this scene changing the shutter speed, obviously each of them had different exposure to light.  They all looked as though they were taken at different times of the day which i thought was pretty cool.

Below are the other two photos of the fence.

It's a bit flat in terms of subject matter.  The subject doesn't have anything exciting to create interest for the viewer.  The textures on the wood are too little and cannot be easily seen.  The lines in the image beckon me to go away from my subject rather the towards it, i guess that would be because of the space that i created further along.  I think i would probably try different angles and orientation of the camera and see what results i get from that.

f/25, 1/15, ISO 100
This photo was taken using a wide depth of field, the lines are direct and move the eye straight through.  I reinforce the line by including the shadow of the bridge.

Wk 3 Lines and Patterns Artists

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

A Hungarian painter, photographer and professor who is known for his explorations of light, shadow and reflections.  His works featured technology and machines which he was fascinated by.  He sought to improve printed photography by using various mechanisms.

Below is a picture produced by a photogram.  These are images made with photographic materials, such as light-sensitive paper but without a camera.  It has examples of patterns and lines.  The light also produces lines forming a triangle on top of the object, keeping the focus on that area.

I'm drawn in by the light which forms a triangle over the objects.  There are three strong lines which cross paths and form a mini triangle at the top.  Movement around this picture is possible by the many lines and also patterns of the objects however the eye is led back to the middle by the three main lines.  It's quite an interesting piece and the longer you look at it your eye becomes introduce to another part of the photo which are hidden under the shadows or layer of objects.

Title: Photogram 1922, Artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Size: 17.8 x 23.7cm Medium: Photograph, gelatin silver print

I have never heard of photograms before so to see such a clear image appear without a camera is quite amazing. The detail is so crisp.  As i'm writing this up i am reminded about a conversation i had with a friend who had asked me if i saw similarities with a screenprinting course i'm doing and photography.  I said no, but now i can say yes - the photogram process is similar to exposing a screen for screen printing.  A photogram uses a light sensitive paper to expose its image on whereas screenprinting coasts a screen with a light sensitive liquid.

Olive Cotton

An Australian photographer during 1930s - 1940s.  Her career spanned more than six decades.  Her works commonly feature light and form.  She was childhood friends with photographer Max Dupain.  He was also her first husband.

The photo below uses pattern and lines to draw the viewers eye.  The pattern which is present comes from the group of trees packed in the fore, mid and back ground.  The low angle shot, draws attention to the group of trees in the foreground making it the dominating subject in this picture.  The lines which are seen from the trees draw the eye toward the clouds, then to the light which beams through the clouds at the top of the photo.  This then leads the eye towards the group of trees bringing you back to the main subject.

What i am starting to see is that curved lines are softer and if they are directing you to the something it is often subtle however straight lines have a more direct approach.

Title: Storm 1938, Artist: Olive Cotton, Medium: Photograph Size: 30.8 x 30.2cm

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Digital Tech - Wk 3 Day 2

Photoshop - In class exercises

Continuing on from our last class focusing on colour corrections, our exercises was to select some images and make changes in camera raw.

Our first exercise was to use the basic panel to colour correct an image - below shows the before and after shot.
f/22, 1/10, ISO 100
As you can see the colour changes hide some of the imperfections (btw i've just cleaned my sensors so the dust particles have been taken care of) as well as provide vibrant colours in the photo.  First of all i darken the exposure, this gave a darken the background give a deeper blue and green.  I then played around with the temperature and tint to give the photo a warmer look this also helped to match the background and subject. 

Ex 2 - Convert an image to B&W using Camera Raw
f3.5, 1/1250, ISO 100
 Converting to B&W was pretty simple, when the image was converted it looked a bit bland.  I wanted to highlight the strong lines of the pole which is contrasted well with the blue of the sky.  In the second photo i want to focus on the worn wires.  By lightening the exposure you can see the texture of the pole as well as the worn wires which adds more interest to the photo.

Ex 3 - Colour correct and sharpen an image in camera raw

f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 3200

Being a novice in photoshop doing this exercise was really cool.  Before i would have just discarded any photos that were underexposed.  The changes i made were to give the image more light which i did in exposure then i changed the white balance to tungsten because the photo was taken under normal bulb lighting.  I then sharpen the image by adjusting the noise reduction options which helped to soften the grain

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Wk 3 - Digital Tech

Wow i can't believe we're into week three.  We've learn't so much over these past weeks.  I'm starting to get my head around aperture and shutter speed.  I'm enjoying this journey and doing my best to keep practicing - thanks family for lending me your beautiful faces!

Today its been a bit of a recap and organizing of folders - its quite amazing just how many photos that one can capture over a space of three days, let alone three weeks.  I've trashed many a image - which at this time hasn't resulted in any anxiety yaaay. 

Moving right along....

Class work - today we were asked to correct the exposure to three images converting on of these images to B&W.  We also needed to re-size the images to 1200px and save them as a jpg.  Here are two of the images i worked on.  These pictures were taken at the MIT Rugby Game of the Week featuring Alfriston College v Rosehill College. 

f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 400

No 14 was quite a treat to capture, all through the game he was shouting instructions and encouragements to his boys.  He captured my attention because he had a lot to say, but wasn't really in the throws of the game.  This shot was taken as his boys are defending their goal line - he's actually offside.  I guess hes taking a breather, because his team was dominating.  At one point of the game I caught him saying "aaah what a boring game".  Cracked me up so much I secretly hoped that the other team would turn the game around and take the win.

The above shot is the original image.  I used a higher ISO for this shot because it was overcast and a low aperture setting to focus on my subject.  The changes i made for the second image was to give it a lighter brighter look.  I did this by raising the exposure, contrast and clarity.  This helped keep the details crisp when the image was converted to black and white.  I like the black and white image because the subject is really defined.  The original photo has al ot of elements which draw the eye away from the subject.  This could of been remedied by lowering the aperture to bring the depth of field close to the subject.

 This is a photo of the Winning Teams (Alfriston College) Player of the Day - Leevi Utai.  I really like this shot, Leevi had said this is his "fierce pose".  It's reinforced by the strong vertical line behind him, the dark clouds and low angle shot.  I honestly didn't want to make too many changes to this photo because i think the muted colours add depth and interest to the image.  So with this in mind i decided to select the auto correct option.  There is more light in the image, highlighting every detail in the photo which may not have been noticed before i.e. muddy arms, contour of his face. 

If i was to take this shot again, i would use a lower angle maybe raise his chin up slightly.  What i really like is this pose of his - it definitely has a menacing element to it.   If you look into his eyes, no matter what position you move its a though his eyes are following you.  Oooo fierce!
f/4.5, 1/1000, ISO 100

Wk 2 Vantage point Artist:

"For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson painter, photographer, artist, film maker
He began as a painter early on focusing on surrealism.  In 1932 he began take photos which began his life-long passion for photography.

He spent over three decades as a photojournalist working for Life and other journals.  He documented great upheavals of the 20th century such as - the Spanish civil war, the liberation of Paris in 1944, the 1968 studen rebellion in Paris, the fall of the Kuomintang in China to the communists, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the Berlin Wall and the deserts of Egypt.  His most renowned photographs are of ordinary daily life such as Behind the Gare St. Lazare as pictured below.
Behind the Gare St Lazare - Henri Cartier-Bresson :1932
This week we have been looking at the photographic elements of vantage points, fore, mid and background.  The photos i've selected from Henri Cartier-Bresson are those which focus on vantage points.
China Shanghai Dec 1948-Jan 1949 - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Photo description:
 As the value of the paper money sank, the Kuomintang decided to distribute 40 grams of gold per person. With the gold rush, in December, thousands came out and waited in line for hours. The policemen, equipped with the remnants of the armies of the International Concession, were not unkind, trying to get the people back. They only splashed them with the dirty water of the puddle.

High angle shot with a wide depth of field.  It captures the whole scene clearly.  From this angle the position of the people depict a highly volatile scene.  Although the description of the photo state that the policemen are trying to control the crowd.  My eye is drawn to the negative space and is moved through the photo by the use of curve lines which are made by the group of people.  This keeps me looking at the photo longer.

China Shanghai General Chey yi 1949 - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Photo description:
General Chen-yi, military commander of Shanghai speaks to party dignitaries at the victory celebrations of August 7. Behind him, a portrait of Chu Teh, commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army. Chen-yi was one of the first to join Mao Tse-tung's revolutionary party in 1921

 This low angle shot portrays a strong, dominating figure.  Although the subject is not that big the poster in the background gives the subject more volume drawing the eye upward.  This is also an example of foreground, middle and background.