It was commented that one of my images, a version of the one above, was too dark in the central area. Yes, this was true but it was more down to the printing than the photograph - I’d printed it too dark and not picked it up before posting the assignment off (a problem that blighted Landscape). I’ve since gone back in to PS and lifted the shadows a touch (as well as cloning some further dust specks). Before sending in for assessment, I’ll be comparing prints between this and the original, and also experimenting with printing a little lighter. It just goes to show that the colour/printing calibration that goes on with the Color Munki isn’t the end of the line as far as quality control goes, just a good starting point (which I knew anyway).
A comment was made against my presentation, which has been consistent throughout the previous modules studied without any comment (that I can remember). The photographs are cut to the edge of the image (no border) and surface mounted centrally on thin white card. The comment stated a preference for a white border on the print and that when mounting, there should be a greater border to the bottom of the image to avoid the optical effect of the print looking bottom heavy. This was something that was also told to me 25 years ago when I studied graphic design, but I was now under the impression that things had moved on, and central framing was de rigeur. I was actually thinking about going full bleed for exhibition and the book (should they happen), although I know a border is preferred for the handling of the prints at assessment, and to give a frame for the background, etc.
There’s a few other notes and bits and pieces I need to consider, but on the whole it’s satisfactory feedback.
Anyway, I’m off to Clitheroe - there’s a sheep festival taking place...
I’ve been thinking (on and off) about Alan’s comment about my prints: “I would prefer to see them with a white border.” I didn’t particular comment on this earlier, I wanted to think about it some more. You see, I really don’t agree with that type of presentation, certainly not when the print is surface mounted on to white card. I can understand that some photographers leave a white border to the print when window mounting, but again it’s probably not something I would do.
I’ve been reading Shirley Read’s Exhibiting Photography and she agrees with my view, at least in the portfolio work. She said “As a general rule, images in a folio or box do not need to be mounted on card. However, if they are to be presented on card, the image should be trimmed to the edge and mounted without a white border on the print. If the image is unmounted, the border can remain.” (Read, p20)
This ties in with what discussions on the OCA forum has come back with too - whilst I might experiment with leaving the print unmounted, if I do mount it I’ll be trimming to the edge of the image.
Read, S (2008) Exhibiting photography. Oxford. Focal Press
The Gestalt proved more difficult than I thought it would, but maybe that’s because I’ve made it more difficult than it needed it be. I’ve not done too much photography recently, and this being a L3 course I really wanted it to be “right”. And no matter what I tried out and about, it never really worked for me. I think this has been partially because I’m now out of work, which has affected confidence, etc. and I’m also trying to work out where I want my photography to head off to. Not worked this latter one out yet, but I’ll get there.
Anyway, something that was said on one of the OCA forums has pointed me in the direction of using cameras as the subject of the Gestalt part of the assignment. So here we are. I’ll not go into too much detail here, saving that for the assignment write-up.
The theoretical study element is on the Japanese photography that was my previous post. I’ll be expanding on this in due course for the essay at assignment 3. I’ve also given a brief outline on here about what the major project will be too.
Time for a holiday I think.
The “are, bure, boke” (a-reh, bu-reh, bo-keh) of the post title refers to the characteristics of the major names of what I think of as 70’s era Japanese photography - grainy, motion-blurred and out of focus (the actual time period covers more than the 70s). Boke is often written “bokeh” nowadays, and generally refers to the out of focus lights balls that has become popular with really shallow depth of field photography (look here for examples on Flickr). This isn’t really what photographers like Daido Moriyama tried to achieve though, his work is so much darker, and often filled with a delirious energy. No, he’s very different, as are the others that I find interesting.
I’ve been aware of this style of photography for a while now, although I can’t remember for how long or how I got switched on to it. I do remember seeing a few photographs quite some time ago and I found them fascinating. These were Shomei Tomatsu’s photograph of a B52 bomber and Moriyama’s photograph of an actress. I guess the main thing that marked them out as being different was this “are, bure, boke” aesthetic that flies in the face of the pursuit of technical perfection that is so often there in other photography. Yes, fascinating and liberating.
There are many photographs other than these two that deserve a mention, although space is against me. There is a photograph of the sea by Takuma Nakihara though that deserves specific mention at the moment. The sea is dark almost black, with the tide line running diagonally across the page. The beach is pretty similar, very dark, perhaps a little lighter. The image is angry, very bleak - brooding. It could almost be a reflection on the recent tsunami and the aftermath. It is not a happy photograph. The appearance of grain is such that it looks like it actually has a texture, like sandpaper or something, I guess this is in part down to the developing/printing techniques in use. I find this image quite influential, I’m not sure “inspiring” is the right term. Whatever, it pushed me with the image above, reprocessing something I’ve posted on here before, although it is a long way from being as brooding as the photograph to which I refer.
Moriyama, Tomatsu and Nakahira aren’t the only names that come to mind, but perhaps they’re some of the better known ones. Add Araki to them and they might be the first few names that people in the west would think of. Araki’s a slightly different kettle of fish though... There’s also a number of other photographers whose books adorn my shelves - Takanashi, Tomatsu, Sugimoto and Hosoe have individual books, then there’s New Japanese Photography, Japanese photo books of the 1960s and 70s and The Photobook: a history volume 1. Both of these photobook collections have a number of interesting interesting looking books, not just for the images that are contained within them, but for the design of the books themselves. I’ll be looking at producing a book some time in the near future, and I might actually take some cues from this period (they moved to a more western approach with the influence of Szarkoski (i.e. with white borders as opposed to full bleed).
This style of photography is something I’ll come back to over time, it may even form my essay. Even if not, it is part of my first assignment and I’ll also come back and add further notes on here along the way.
The set-up is really straight forward, a single light with a soft box to the high left, and as can be seen, there needs to be a fill light from the right (or a reflector) - as I said this was the first image and I broke straight away to look at it on the screen. It’s also the first “studio” shot with the GF1 and the first time I’ve used the 1.4 Nokton lens on it, so I wanted to be sure everything was ok before going too far down the line.
As for the Gestalt theory side of things, the standing lenses are grouped by both proximity and similarity (they’re black, as opposed to cream), and the 70-200mm points towards the others using the law of continuance.
I’ll crack on now and see where I get to.
OK, so this isn’t working for me. This may have been because of my negative thoughts at the outset, but this isn’t exactly a first time occurrence...
I’ve done a few images now:
This one is just a retake on the first, but with a reflector added...
This image is playing with the laws of closure. Just as when a face is partially obscured by a hat, or out of frame, we fill in the blanks and still recognise the face, so here with the camera. The brain brings together the idea of the full camera.
This one is playing on the law of similarity, the three lenses are grouped through similar shape (and also by proximity) The camera is a different object and is not immediately grouped with the lenses, although it can be argued it becomes a group by proximity and by association (they’re all Canon). I don’t see this as being quite so strong though...
As I say though, I’m not thrilled by these images, so I’ll try something more “exciting” in the next few days. This gives me chance to finish writing my other notes too...