Week 4 – Still Life Practice

During our Photography lecture this week, we were told that we would have to complete a task in relation to ‘Still Life’ – however, we would go through this in more detail when it came to our workshop. Our workshop this week was essentially split into two – for the first hour of the workshop, our tutor went through a range of examples of still life images by existing photographers to hopefully inspire us and enable us to think of ideas for either our still life assessment or our overall project – nonetheless, all of it was very interesting. After our tutor had finished talking about these different artists and their photographs, we were then told that we were able to practice taking photographs in relation to ‘Still Life’ in the classroom. All of the camera equipment was provided to us in the room and also there were a range of objects available to us to enable us to take a range of different photographs so we would be able to practice taking still life images, which we would be able to take into consideration for when we do our own still life images, but at the same time, for our final project. In this hour of taking photographs I did get a range of different images of various objects and again, due to the fact that I am still getting familiar with the camera, some of these photographs turned out well, while others did not. Below, you will be able to see both the good and bad photographs I took during this workshop session.

Here are the images that I believe are good to a certain extent:

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It is obvious to see that these photographs are not perfect – however, as I am still becoming familiar with the camera, I believe that they are reasonable enough. When I first started taking images for this task during our workshop, I tended not to change the ISO on the camera, which meant that some of the images seemed quite light and didn’t look very interesting. However, as I began to take more images, I then decided to lower the ISO to make the images a bit darker and to make them look more interesting and appealing. Again, the lighting in some of these images is not perfect, but as I begin to take more photographs in time, I believe that my photography skills will improve. Moreover, in some of these photographs, you are able to see that the position of the camera is not the best due to the fact that in some of the images you are able to see the table or the wall in the background, which is not intentionally meant to be seen, but also some of the images appear to be a little wonky –  so a tripod should have been used for some of these. Nonetheless, I am pleased with the images I have come out with for this workshop task as it has enabled me to see what I still need to improve on, but also it allowed me to become more familiar with the ISO settings, which I was not completely certain about previously.

Here are the images that did not turn out as well as the others:

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As I took a range of photographs during this workshop, there were both good and bad images that were taken and from the images above, you are able to see that they are the bad images. When taking photographs for this workshop, I wanted to try out a range of different things and this meant that some of the images were bound to turn out poor. From looking at these images, you are able to see that the main issue a lot of the time was either lighting on the subject or the focus on the subject. As I began to change the ISO after taking a few images, I knew that some times the ISO was too low, so this meant that the images appeared to be really dark – nonetheless, I was then able to increase the ISO again to make the images appear brighter. In one of these images, you are able to see clearly that an external light source has been used and this is good in a sense as it casts a shadow of the subject – however, as an image overall, it does not look as good and the light source should have perhaps been further away from the subject, or a different light source should have been used. Overall, I am glad that I did come out with some bad images as it enables me to see where my issues may lie and how I will be able to improve on them in the future.

Week 2/3 – Checklist Task

During our week 2 workshop, our group was given a talk on how the camera operates and how we should use them in more detail. After everything had been explained to us, we were then told to take images of an object that we had brought to our workshop, which we were told to bring the week before. This meant that for the rest of the workshop, we were split into smaller groups and had to individually take turns in using the camera and taking photographs of the object that one of the people in our group had brought in. Unfortunately, we did not save these photographs that were taken, so I am unable to put them on my blog. However, during this workshop we were actually supposed to go outside and stay on the University’s campus and conform to a checklist of various shots to enable us to practice with the camera more. As this did not occur in week 2, we were told in week 3 that we would have to do all of these shots in our own time – however, it was optional whether we did complete the checklist or not. We did not complete the checklist in our workshop in week 3 due to the fact that we were taken through the process for our seminar task as there had previously been a confusion about it. Nonetheless, I wanted to complete the majority of the shots on the checklist to enable me to practice with the camera and become familiar with all of the elements that are featured on it.

Before actually going out on campus and taking pictures that conform to the checklist, I decided to test the camera out in my bedroom to ensure that I know what all of the controls do and that I would basically be familiar with the whole of the camera before I actually went out and took any images. When doing this I believe that I did take both good and bad images – however, I was getting familiar with the camera, so there were bound to be issues when I took these images.

Here are some of the images I took that I believe to be good for my first attempt:

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Although these photos are not perfect, I believe that they good for a first attempt – especially due to the fact that I was in a badly lit bedroom and the only lighting I had was my main bedroom light, my lamp and the natural light coming from the window. I like how I have used a shallow depth of field in some images to make a particular object stand out more in the images, or even a particular feature on a specific object to stand out. I decided that I just wanted to practice with the camera, so I decided to get any object that I could find in my room and then photograph it to enable me to practice with the camera. Overall, I believe that these are the images that came out well when it came to using the camera before I actually went out and took shots that were on the checklist.

Here are some of the images I took that I believe did not turn out well:

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From looking at these images you are able to see that the main reason they turned out bad is due to the fact that the lighting is either really dark or the camera is out of focus which is one of the main issues that occurs when it comes to bad photography. I mainly shot these type of images when I first started taking photographs and this was mainly due to the fact that I did not have the camera set on the options that were needed for the location I was sitting in, but also I was still trying to get used to the camera and all of the features on it, so I was unsure on what options needed to be selected when I was taking certain photos. Overall, I am able to see where my main issues may lie when it comes to taking photographs and I will be able to keep these in mind when I come to taking more photographs in the future.

Once I had practiced with the camera in my bedroom to get more familiar with it, I then decided to actually leave my bedroom and take images of the majority of the shots that I had been asked to do that were on the checklist. When I went out to take these images I knew that all of the photos would not turn out perfect as this was still my first time using the camera – however, by taking all of these different shots I was able to become more familiar with the camera and just keep practicing to hopefully ensure that I will improve the more I practice. Below you will be able to see the photos I had taken for this task, where I have included the name of the shot that was on the checklist under each specific image, so you are able to see which image corresponds to which shot on the checklist.

Here are the images I took that conform to the checklist:

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Wide Angle

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Long Focal Length

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At the closest focus distance possible

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A huge depth of field

A shallow depth of field

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Freezing a moving object

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Using the on board flash

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A low angle

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A high angle

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Blur a moving subject, keeping the background sharp

From looking at these images, you are able to see that there are issues with some of them – these issues are are mainly the lighting, focusing and positioning of the camera. Again, this was my first attempt at using the camera, so I knew that I would be making mistakes when taking these images, but the whole reason I took these shots that were on the checklist was to enable me to become more familiar with the camera and to ensure that I knew what I was doing when using it. In some of these images I noticed that they were either quite dark or too light and this meant that I should have changed the ISO on the camera to ensure that I had the right amount of light sensitivity for my images. Overall, some of these images are actually reasonable and others not so – nonetheless, I believe that doing this task was beneficial to me as it enabled me to become more familiar with the camera and enabled me to see where my main issues may lie and how I will need to improve on these for my final project.

Week 1 – Images In The Wild

My very first Photography workshop was essentially split into two parts – discussing the course and taking photographs in relation to the term ‘Appropriation’. The first half of the workshop was all about our tutor explaining to us what we would be doing on the course throughout the weeks and what we should do if we ever had any issues. For the second half of the workshop, our tutor decided to take our group out and around Lincoln to take images of anything related to faces – which is the theme we were given for our ‘Appropriation task’. The concept of ‘Appropriation’ is all about setting something apart for a specific purpose or use and to essentially take something that is already existing and steal it without the permission of the original owner – hence our group taking photographs of existing images around the city as we did not know the original photographer and are therefore stealing the images. When taking these images I needed to take into consideration how these images would be angled when photographed, but also what meaning they may be trying to convey towards the viewer and what impact this may have on them.

There were a variety of images related to the ‘Face’ theme when I was looking around Lincoln and they were all diverse in their own way – some used unique angles, some promoted different elements, but they were all eye catching in their own way. I did take multiple images when I was out with my group – however, I have only presented five of these images below and I have added a description for all of them which explains what I like about the image and the reason I took the photo from the angle that I did.

Here are some of the images I had photographed:

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I found this image in the shop window of a watch shop and I personally found it really eye catching and appealing mainly due to the features that have been demonstrated in the original photograph. All the focus is mainly on the individuals eyes which I found really appealing – simultaneously, he is also directly addressing the viewer which entices them and keeps them more engaged in the overall image. Furthermore, I also like the use of primary colours (black, white and red) which again makes the viewer pay attention to the eyes the most. I decided to take a portrait image of the whole of the photograph because I believe that the whole image has more of a meaning than just a specific feature – for example, if I just took an image of the eye than it would not have as much meaning or even much of an impact because there is nothing surrounding it from what the viewers can see.

 

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This image was also being advertised in a shop window – however, rather than a watch shop, it was Debenhams. I personally found this image appealing because of all of the different elements included and how they are all used together to create this one image. I think the most engaging feature in this image is the use of flowers in the woman’s hair due to the fact that as her hair flows outwards and upwards, it grows just like flowers, but at the same time this conforms to the meaning of the overall image as it is an advertisement for a perfume called ‘Flowerbomb’. As well as that, I think the use of the ribbon has been thought about thoroughly as it covers the females body, but she is still presented to the viewer in a sensual manner. Again, I decided to take this image as a portrait and included the whole of the image –  this was mainly because I liked how all of the elements in the image complimented each other and worked well in appealing to the viewer and to entice them. The only issue with this image was the fact that I got a reflection at the top of it – however, this was unavoidable and I wanted to get a photograph of the whole image rather than just a specific feature.

 

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This image was taken inside of ‘New Look’ in the make up section and I liked it because of the close up of all of the features on the woman’s face – these close ups enable the viewer to admire all of the woman’s features, but due to the fact that this is an image to advertise make up, the viewers are able to see how particular make up is presented on someones face. As the woman’s eye is closed, the viewer is able to look closely at the eye shadow that has been used – which may lead the viewer onto purchasing the item. Moreover, the woman is also smiling in the image – this could possibly entice the viewer more due to the fact that the woman is happy – therefore inferring that if the viewer purchases the make up, then then will be as happy as the woman. This photograph was again taken as a portrait – however, I decided to not include the whole of the face and I believe that it looks better as half of a face because the viewer only needs to view one of the eyes and half of the mouth to see the make up that has been used, but at the same time, I like the shadows that have been used as the face has been illuminated with light, while the hair and cheek is surrounded with a shadow.

 

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This photo was taken from a music poster outside the University of Lincoln’s ‘Engine Shed’. I liked this image again mainly due to the individuals eyes as they are eye catching and appealing for the viewer to look at. In this image the main focus is not on the eyes – however, I feel like it is the most appealing feature because they are wide and make the viewer want to look at the image. Again, this is a portrait photograph and although the original image was a lot bigger and had more features on it – including more people, objects and text, I decided that I wanted to just take a photograph of this individual because of his eyes and how they appeal to the viewer. When taking this image I was not intentionally planning on there being a reflection going across the eyes of the individual – however, once I had taken the image I noticed that it actually benefits the image and displays the eyes in a stronger manner to ensure that the attention of the viewer is on them and that they are enticed into the image and what meaning it may be trying to convey to the viewer.

 

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The last image I found was also taken in the shop window of ‘Boots’ – when I saw this image I knew that I wanted to photograph it due to the fact that (similar to the make up image from ‘New Look), the viewer is able to see all of the features and elements on the woman’s face due to the close up that has been used. This image was essentially an advertisement for cosmetics in general as the viewer is able to see the use of particular products – such as: nail varnish, lipstick and mascara. As well as all of these cosmetics, the woman is in shock – which again may draw attention to the viewers more and make them want to look at the image and therefore debate whether to purchase a cosmetic. On top of that, I used a portrait angle again – however, in relation to the shot of the image, I decided to zoom in slightly as I wanted to just get the woman’s face in rather than any of her hair or body due to the fact that the face is the main part of the image and is the feature that is allowing the company’s cosmetics to be advertised towards the viewer.

 

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As well as looking at my own images in detail and discussing why I liked them and why I photographed them in the way I did – I was also told to take a photograph that someone else had taken for this project. I decided to take Melissa Minshull’s image from her Instagram account ‘mmelonish’. When looking at certain images to take and analyse, I decided that I liked this image the most mainly due to how specific features have been presented and conveyed towards the viewer. Firstly, I can already tell that this is an advertisement for a watch, which most likely would have been advertised in a shop window – this is obvious due to the image of the watch that has been presented in the bottom right hand corner. I like how the subject (David Bowie) is directly addressing the audience – which could potentially lure them in and make them want to purchase the watch. Simultaneously, I like how a streak of solid red has been used as it slightly cuts the image off, but the viewer is still able to see everything that is going on in the image and how a certain meaning is trying to be conveyed towards them. If I took this picture myself then I would have personally tilted the camera a bit and got closer to the subjects face as I feel it would have a greater and stronger impact on the viewer and how they may understand the image.

Overall, I believe that all of these images were appealing and interesting to look at for a variety of reasons. They were all diverse in their own way and had different ways of advertising something or trying to convey a particular message to the viewer. Nonetheless, by taking all of these photographs of images, I am able to understand why certain features and elements are used in some images and how particular elements can be used to attract and appeal to any viewer.

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