Assignment 01 Rework.

Following my tutor´s feedback, I have made some changes to my work for Assignment 1.

The overall impression was good, but some images were weaker than others, giving little option to the viewer to recall memories from their childhood. With the changes suggested, these would be the new ten images of the series:

 

 

My overall impression when I see the images now is the series look more cohesive, making the connection between the images more obvious while also showing a broader variety of views and places to relate to. However, my tutor´s feedback also pinpointed the idea of taking the photographs from a child´s eye level and encouraged me to do a second shoot using this approach. The image of the wheelie bins alined outside a house was taken this way and so were the ones of the grass, and I can see this change in perspective gives a closer feel of how kids would perceive their surroundings.

Here is the contact sheet with the new images:

contact sheet1contact sheet2Looking at them, I can see some images as 5781 or 5786 working within the rest of the series. I generally like this new point of view and I wish I could have thought of it earlier. Although I felt more comfortable shooting around my neighborhood this time, I was surprised to discover I did not take that many pictures. I wanted to go the way of the bicycle path again but something happened and I believed I had enough images to experiment with.

Before selecting the photographs for the definite series, I played with the cropping. It was suggested on the feedback that some of my images would work better as a 5:4 crop. The idea did not appeal to me at first but the example given by my tutor with image #2 of my first series made me try with others. Many of the new images worked a lot better with the new crop. On the horizontal pictures, the perception I got from looking at them is that it is more comfortable for my eyes to get a whole feel of what is on the image, rather than having to navigate through the picture right to left and back.

These are some of the new photographs cropped at 5:4 :

 

After this, I cropped the original selection of images too. One thing I found interesting when cropping this time is that I don´t feel it works well on the vertical images:

 

 

This can be just a matter of preference but I do prefer looking at the images before cropping (bottom line) that the cropped ones (top line). This might be related to the way the composition was thought when the photograph was taken, so the new approach does not sit well with what is shown in the image. Another thought is that, as we have two eyes and some degree of peripheral vision, the wider format of a 5:4 crop when shoot in horizontal offers a view that is closer to how we see the reality so it feels comfortable, which does not happen when observing a vertical object or scene as our eyes naturally move up and down in order to see what is presented in front of them.

As I mentioned earlier, the older horizontal images worked better when cropped:

 

 

Regardless of not being too sure about the vertical crop, I decided to stay in this line for the final selection, as I can see how much other images have improved with this simple change. Having replaced the three weakest images from the first selection as shown at the beginning of the post, I now complete the series by adding two more from the second shooting and keep the same 5:4 crop for all of them. Here it is the final edit, that is now up to 12 photographs:

 

The overall feeling with this project is very satisfactory. The brief seemed easy to meet and very straight forward but there was much more to it than I initially though. Working again on my images has given me the opportunity to rethink about the main purpose of this assignment. Like this, while the intention when I first took the fifty images was to look for places and details that would recall my own experiences, in the end, the most successful images are the ones that would relate to a broader audience. Hence, changing the three images suggested by the tutor and including the image of the telephone cabin and the view of the back garden, the final series look more cohesive and somehow universal. This is a project that definitely leaves room for extension in the future.

Assignment 1. Square Mile (III). Analysis and final images.

Inspired by the series of Jodie Taylor (“Memories of Childhood“) and Gawain Barnard (“Maybe we´ll be soldiers“), I aimed to create a collection of photographs that will picture my surroundings in a way that invites the viewer to revisit that place in their childhood. I wanted to keep the landscape as anonymous as possible, yet giving subjects a feel of how others would see my neighbourhood when looking back in time.

After careful consideration, I have selected ten images out of the fifty I took for the project:

 

Initially, I decided not to include people to keep the images as simple as possible. However, on the final edit I included the image of the two women walking, as I thought it was still keeping the overall project anonymous while covering the lack of human reference. This thought came to me when I selected the image of the cat, which I also felt was a nostalgic image I should include. These two images, the ladies and the cat are quite dynamic, while the rest aren´t. The stillness and simplicity on the other images is intended to act as a white canvas where anyone could place their own memories and make the photographs their own.

I didn’t follow any particular technique here, apart from careful composition, which is something I enjoy doing. At the beginning, I was focusing on doors, windows and straight lines, which I would normally do so I had to stop myself in order to look at things in a different way and step up from my comfort zone.

While I was still shooting, I was not sure about how well the photographs where working  together, so I focused on the high grass that the wind was moving and bending at the park. I took several pictures here as I loved the lines and aesthetic images I was getting and I could easily evoke memories from my childhood at the summer house in the countryside. I though of building my series exclusively on this set of images, but looking at the contact sheets I realized I wanted to show a bit more, perhaps thinking it would look poor and lazy. I also thought these images of the grass would feel disconnected from the rest if put together, which they don´t.

Although I am quite happy with the final images, I would like to take this project further in the future with a different approach. I do like photographing people and I would love to create a series about the families living around me. However, as I do not know my neighbours and I have encountered lots of rejection recently when asking colleagues and friends to be models for a day, it is a project I don´t feel ready to start at the moment.

 

Assignment 1. Square Mile (II)

Continuing with the first assignment, I would like to share here the contact sheets with the images I have captured earlier today. After doing my research yesterday and taking some notes this morning, I have decided to have a go and start shooting in the afternoon. It was a nice sunny day, which is rare, so although it is usually a very quiet neighbourhood, there was a fair amount of people today in the street. This concerned me a bit, as I don’t feel comfortable wondering between the houses and taking pictures of private properties. There are only a couple of small shops around, a park with a playground in the middle and everything else are private gardens and patios. I didn’t want to take photographs of the playground, as I found it too obvious and there were lots of kids there today anyway so I started walking between the houses. I would say that the first half of the photographs I took were rushed because of how embarrassed I was feeling about it.

I took 50 images in total. In the beginning, the idea was to keep the same focal length for all my shoots. I considered using my 50mm but I wanted to shoot wider as I felt the final images would be more cohesive in terms of representing the environment, so I took a zoom lens. Also thought of keeping a focal length of 22mm, to “emulate” Joice Taylor´s series, taken with a 35mm (I have a crop sensor camera, so 22mm x a crop factor of 1.6 would be the closest to that -35.2-). In the end, I decided to focus on how I wanted to represent the brief and trying to make the project look cohesive in other ways.

I can say I have struggled a lot as I do not feel particularly attracted to my surroundings and I don’t have a sense of belonging. It was also quite upsetting trying to translate the memories from my own childhood and reflect them in the environment, as the connections are very subtle.

These are the 50 images I have taken today.

squaremile_csheet1squaremile_csheet2squaremile_csheet3

Assignment 1. Square Mile (I)

This assignment consists in a series of 6-12 images inspired by the concept of “The Square Mile”, described by Professor Mike Pearson. In order to do this, a list of photographers who’s work is based in their surroundings is given as a starting point for research and inspiration.

In preparation for this Assignment, I have been looking at the work of Jodie Taylor and Gawain Barnard.

From the series “Memories of Childhood” by Jodie Taylor.

“Memories of Childhood” is a series of photographs created by Jodie Taylor who revisits places from her childhood and explores how these influence her as she grew up. I feel particularly drown to these images as the reminiscence of the 80´s reminds me of my old family albums. I also like the fact that she photographs empty spaces, which in my opinion helps the viewer relate to their own memories. As my actual neighborhood is very different from the city where I grew up, I want to reflect this idea in order to create that nostalgic feeling for my project. On the other hand, these empty spaces also give me the idea of disconnection with the people living around me, which I don´t actually know, and represents the lack of community ties to me.

From the series “Maybe we´ll be soldiers” by Gawain Barnard.

 

Maybe we´ll be soldiers“, by Gawain Barnard attracted my attention as I can see a connection between the purpose of this series and the young population in my area. There is a strong feeling of belonging between the portraits and the landscapes, yet it is not obvious where these youngsters are geographically living. Each portrait shows something very personal: close up, sincere images where you can see the subject clearly, paired up with a simple capture of their surroundings that it seems to keep them protected and giving them anonymity. Houses in my area are quite distinctive so I liked this approach.

My aim is to create an anonymous view of my neighbourhood with a warm, close feeling to give the viewer a place to relate to.