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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Exercise: Busy Traffic

This exercise explores space where people are busy. Typically shopping centres, public buildings, commuting or travelling terminals amongst many. For this exercise we are to try to capture the essence of movement and how the space is used. I chose to try an use some form of motion blur to indicate the motion and busyness. This was a challenging exercise in that not all places are open to photographs being taken.

The first set was taken in an underpass, although people where in constant shot they were not that crammed in as can be seen in the first example with most of the figures too far away.

The second shot taken only moments afterwards works a lot better. In it there are people in the far background, the middle ground and the foreground with some nice motion blur. This was by far the best shot of the small series I took, which I feel works well.

The second set of images for this exercise was taken in a small shopping centre. These didn't work as well as the underpass but do show the milling around of people. The best image is probably the third, this image shows more motion and has varying sized people making it more interesting. They also all seem to be flowing in the same direction which gives more of a flow and less randomness.




Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Exercise: Making Figures anonymous

In this exercise we are tasked with producing 2 to 4 images that include people in a particular place but having them unrecognisable. This could either be small and many, facing away, in silhouette, partly obscured or motion blurred.

I chose the options of small and many though I really liked the idea of a small silhouette I couldn't quite find one for this exercise but will make a note of this perhaps for the assignment at the end of this section.

The first image was taken in a public garden. I decided to process this one in sepia, not really sure why but the colours were bland so I tried monochrome, but that lacked warmth so I went with sepia and liked the results. I like the framing of this one with the tree to the right and the light in the middle. The man feeding the geese is unrecognisable and at first not really noticeable as he is almost camouflaged into the image, in fact this may have made a better image than the 'Single Small Figure exercise.'

The next image is of iconic London on a warm late summer's afternoon. Having the small unnoticeable many figures gives this image a great deal of scale with the London Eye in the background over Horse Guards Parade. Using unrecognisable figures in images is a new concept to me and one that I think is extremely useful. I have sometimes captured strangers in the distant that 'make' an image but rarely considered adding them to places I have photographed...... I will have to remember these exercises.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Sharing World of the Internet

The Internet is a wonderful place for sharing through social media sites, emails, blogs and personal web sites, making the proliferation and dissemination of information so easy. Although I receive quite a lot of photographic information from these sources most often they are images of cute furry animals or landscapes of New England during the fall or staggering images of Antarctica. As such it is rare to come across images that are thought provoking, but a set came through on email entitled 'Great Historical Photographs' from my mother and most of them are absolutely fascinating.

My favourite and one that still provokes thought comes from the website This is a website dedicated to images of the pre Iranian Islamic Revolution. It it it mentions that the if it were not for the dramatic changes of 1979 the Caspian Sea could have been a holiday hotspot akin to the French Riviera, and that Tehran as a financial capital aligned with London, something I had never considered as an adult.

Growing up around this time my neighbour was Iranian, they were wealthy affluent and free so I can at some point relate to these images. Now Iranians are told how to dress by their government with serious consequences if not adhered to, this is especially true of women who are treated as second rate citizens with little or no voice or identity. To a westerner it is as if the country has been thrown back 50 years, denied the progress that it deserved and deprived so many of freedom.

The following image from 1963 conjures up a variety of thoughts - the location of a beautiful beach on the Caspian Sea, probable not used for leisure much today. A western car and the focal point of a beautiful young woman draped over it in a relaxed and contented fashion. Her bathing suit, at the height of fashion in the early 60's, off the shoulder would certainly have caused a storm in Tehran today. But this image also describes the wealth, freedom, openness and beauty of this era all of which have been denied for the past 34 years. It makes me wonder if scenes like these will return? I certainly hope so in my life time

Although I may have painted a sad picture of Iran today, I do not believe it is all bad. The people are what makes a nation and the Iranians will not have changed in one or two generations. The following web site 'A View inside Iran" [] balances this article showing modern day images of Tehran, though screened by the government, they do depict a more open society than we are perhaps led to believe.... this still shows a beautiful country and fascinating people of diverse cultures from Islamic to Christians to Jews.....

Friday, 18 October 2013

Exercise: A single small figure

Starting this module of the course moves us more into people and how they fill space. It is obvious that when a person fills space within an image it gives us more relevance and able to relate to a place, even if we have not been there.

In this exercise we are asked to produce an image with a person in it at distance so that the scale of the image can be realised. Although the notes associated with this section suggest that the figure can be a surprise fore the viewer in having a delayed discovery time for the viewer, it should be fairly obvious. For my choice I took this image in autumn over the Ashdown Forest and although the figures are not a surprise I feel that this captures the essence of single small figure. I was lucky in capturing this one with the autumnal colours and the tree line acting as a doorway.

This is something I have never considered to give scale to an image, without this figure the image would certainly not appear to have as much space as it does as shown below and certainly lacks interest.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Photographing Together, On the Road, Down Under

Whilst searching through online blogs suggested by this modules tutor I came across a very pertinent blog on

Amy Stein and Stacy Mehrfar are two American photographers who have travelled across Australia taking pictures of people and places on their journey; there work is unusually entitled Tall Poppy Syndrome. I had to Google this to find out what if anything it meant and the definition from Wikipedia was....

To describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.

Being American's this naturally goes against the grain of their culture and when they discovered this term they investigated it with photographs a challenging and interesting concept, in their words......

This work is published by Decode Books (ISBN 978-0-9833942-2-8) and was exhibited in New York earlier this year at ClampArt.

The number of images shown is limited to twenty one, and these a a mixture of various sources. However a few more are available online to view via decode books []

This work is interesting from this courses perspective as it helps in some form of guidance as to others views of capturing people and place. The images do capture an air of place and the people that use them, also the variation of how people are photographed makes for a more interesting set of images. Some are in portrait, others distant and unrecognisable.

This is a great collection of images though if I am to be honest from the limited selection I have seen I cannot relate these images to the Tall Poppy Syndrome, I am also unsure of how this could indeed be captured. There are though a couple of images that could suggest this....

In the above image it would appear to be taken of two girls at school. Their clothes suggest they are equal but their poses are very different perhaps one being uncomfortable in the others presence. This image has echo's of the Diane Arbus twins image.

The other below looks like it was taken at a WI meeting. The lady in the middle is the only one with eyes on the camera, whilst the others busy around. To me this suggests that the person in the middle, perhaps the chair, is the one that has the talent for leading and running this group but may be an outsider resented inwardly.

The above image is very clever and could almost mean anything to anyone. I do think that the images capture a sense of people and place and is one I struggle to visualise in planning. Hopefully this work will help in being able to see images of note.