Pilot Project Prints and Reflection

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For the pilot project submission, I decided to print the image shown above on Pinnacle Lustre paper and an A2 size.  For the editing of the image, I found the colours quite hard to correct, and the skin tone of Steph looks redder than it did on the screen. I also cropped the image quite a lot as in my feedback from the presentation they said that the bunch of flowers that was shown on the right-hand side were too distracting.  I decided to put a border on the image as when I was getting ready to print I tested putting a border and actually preferred it, however, I had trouble getting the border on this image and the landscape the same size, so the border on the landscape is a lot thinner.

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Here shown is the landscape image I decided to print for the submission, but instead of printing it on the same paper I wanted to see what a C-Type digital print would look like so I did this with Print Space. I’m really pleased with how it came out, however, I didn’t like how glossy the paper was, and in the end preferred the lustre, even though the glossy, especially for the landscape made the colours very saturated. I will need to do another print using Print Space’s matte paper to compare and see what I will actually want to use for the degree show.

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Looking at the two images together it suddenly came to me that for the pilot project I should have done a more urban landscape in London rather than Long Sutton as I think it would have suited the image more. I didn’t do this because I wanted to make the most of the film I had as it’s expensive and take more images I am more likely to use than those I am not. It’s also difficult looking at the two different types of paper because one is a portrait and the other a landscape with completely different tones, it’s hard to know, other than the glossy A4 prints I did what the portrait would look like. I have decided though then I prefer a satin/lustre paper than glossy.

Lastly, when discussing my pilot project I submitted just the prints rather than framing or mounting them because although I have previously mentioned that I might frame them before, this is not for certain. It felt more important to try different papers first rather than having to look at frames as well as paper, although I know frames will be a big decision because there are so many different kinds and if I have glass that will affect how the paper will look. I a way I wish that I had submitted them in frames reflecting on it, as due to the size of the paper and there not being a box available at an A2 size I had to roll the prints up into a tube, which is something I didn’t want to do as it’s very annoying how curled up they get when trying to look at them, and the assessor will have to find a way to flatten them in order to see them properly.

Overall, individually I am really happy with the prints, but not yet have I found the correct way to make them coherent and editing is still something that is one of my downfalls. Although, I am confident that from the pilot project I will be able to improve as I have learnt a lot about the different aspects I will need to think of when creating my project in the coming months. I will be able to refine the details and make it something I will be proud of.

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Sixth Shoot (Landscapes)

Goalpostuust-2HockeyClub-2Housesdustremoved-2Redgaragedust-2

Shown above are all of the images I took whilst I was back home over Christmas with the large format camera. I decided that especially for the pilot project I wanted to be able to submit a large format landscape image rather than one of the digital ones so that I could test how easy it would be to get the camera around the town. A couple of the images are recreations of a couple which I really liked from my shoot with a digital camera and one is a new composition I wanted to do.

The first image was a new location I came across which I thought would make a great picture, and I’m really pleased how it came out. Out of all the images, I took this one was perhaps the most correctly exposed and I really like the composition, especially with the row of trees behind the goalpost. The second image was meant to be a recreation of one of my past images but because the sun was beginning to go down the sun was shining too brightly into the camera causing lens flare. I should have known this was going to happen but at the time I thought I would take the chance. It did make me realise, however, how important it is to wait for the right time rather than being in a hurry. I didn’t take the time to make sure the sun wasn’t too low and especially thinking about where the sun is best to be for a particular area.

The third image was another recreation, I found it handy that I already had locations in mind as I could figure out where to park and so forth. This one I think came out well, and will perhaps be the image I will use for the pilot project. Even though there are many shadows I think this adds dimension to the image rather than it being flat. Lastly, the bungalow with the red garage door was another image I took on digital which I really wanted to recreate. It’s very interesting how different lighting can make an image look so different as this has a completely different feel to my previous one. I think that how low the sun was, creating the shadows works really well, and adds something new to it.

Overall I’m pleased with how the images have come out, and by setting the camera up on the tripod before heading out in my car it made it a lot easier to be able to work and get also enabled me to have to carry less. It’s easiest to be able to carry the camera on the tripod than having to carry around the whole box and put it together on location.

Time Plan

Final Major Project

Time Plan: Feb-May 

February

Week 1: Begin contacting and arranging when people are free to have their portrait taken (start enquiring in January).

Week 2: Buy film, book any equipment as soon as I know when it’s needed.

Week 3: Make arrangements to be able to get equipment to Long Sutton (store it there between Feb-April?).

Week 4: Begin shooting portraits. Record questions asked about Long Sutton to be able to do transcripts.

March

Week 1: Portraiture.

Week 2: Portraiture.

Week 3: Landscape.

Week 4: Landscape.

April

Week 1: Begin thinking about and editing the title/description of the project. (Still shooting when people are available).

Week 2: Keep printing out work to be able to start editing what will be included and how. (Shooting).

Week 3: Begin deciding on final prints.

Week 4: Start printing.

May

Finalising title and description for the project as well as having all final images printed ready to be displayed in June.

 

 

 

Major Project Proposal

BA (Hons) Photographic Arts                                       

MAJOR PROJECT PROPOSAL                                           

Project Title: Long Sutton (working title)

Subject / Concept

The project will be based on the town Long Sutton, which is my hometown and will explore its residents. It’s a small town, in 2011 the recorded population was around 4,821. I will not only photograph the residents but also interview them, asking questions on why they chose to live there, and what their favourite thing about it is. It has a very tight community, with pretty much everyone seeming to have someone in common when you speak to people. The portraits will also be shown alongside landscape images to show the town, especially areas in which have been spoken about by residents. I wanted to explore my hometown because growing up there I never understood the appeal of living in such a small town where there isn’t much to do, and unless you were brought up in a city I think this is perhaps quite a universal thought amongst young people. Although the project is predominantly about the town and its residents it’s also about understanding why people stay or move from where they grew up, and as I will be finishing university and will be trying to find a place to call home this also stemmed from my own personal feelings about making this decision. It will also allow me to feel closer to the town I grew up in, and understand it more than I ever did when I was younger, to explore the community and see what thoughts others who also live have on the town.

Aims

Through this project, I want to achieve an understanding of why people decide to live where they do, the kind of factors that are considered. I’m also fascinated with putting a town in the spotlight which, in my opinion is in a bit of a bubble, with most of the population being English, and it being a historical town with buildings dating back to the 13th century it isn’t full of different cultures, and hasn’t really changed that much over the years other than the local shops changing to different things and buildings being renovated. The town has also in recent years had a lot of new housing built, so there is still a popularity to the area if more housing is needed.

I also want to achieve documenting the community in an original way, to which it has not done before, even though there is an amateur photography group located in Long Sutton, and the market place has been photographed a lot over the years, the people have not. Nothing like this has ever been done in the town before, as many all over the country haven’t, so it will be interesting to see how people respond to it. I want to be able to bring people together with the project, and show others who also live there a little insight into how they each see the town, which will perhaps bring to light different aspects and areas others have not noticed before.   

Context / Audience

The project will be seen in a gallery context for the degree show, and I would like it to be seen afterwards as well. I would also like to eventually make the work into a book once I have enough content and photographs to fill one, as the Long Sutton and District Civic Society already has a couple of books on the history of Long Sutton it would be possible that the Market House would also sell my project on the town, as the residents would be my main audience. The audience for the project, however, would also be people interested in documentary and photography which are specific to a town or community. It would also be interesting for people who know of Long Sutton and are interested to see how it has been portrayed, or perhaps even people who are thinking of visiting the town would be able to see what areas the people who live there like the most.

Another context would be in a newspaper or magazine, either one which is local too Long Sutton or ones that focus more on communities and documentary photography work whose readers would be interested to consider it. I also think websites such as Lensculture would be a great way to display and circulate the project because you can search for different areas of photography such as portraiture or landscape.

Proposed form, medium, presentation

To create my project, I will use a large format camera and ektar 100 film so the images are in colour. For the landscape images, I will use natural daylight but for the portraits, as they will be inside for most of them if not all I will use location lighting, specifically softboxes as this was the most effective way to get an even light in the room. I prefer to use natural light but as not all rooms I photograph will have a lot of light in them, I will need the lights to be able to get the best outcome. Especially as the film I am using is ISO 100, it requires more light, with location it will be possible for me to have a slower shutter speed to compensate for this if needed as the object won’t be moving, but for the portraits I would prefer a higher shutter speed so it is less likely I will get motion blur in the images.

I am planning to present prints of the images alongside a description of the project. I am planning on having the portraits larger than the landscapes, having them A2 and A3. They will be printed on a semi-gloss paper as glossy tends to reflect too much on lights, and matte will dull the colours too much. The prints will also be in frames and mounted on the wall, inside the frames, there won’t be a border so the images will be flush. The layout will be simple, showing one or two portraits I have selected with landscapes which relate to them.

 

 

Research Report

BA (Hons) Photographic Arts
Major Project 1

Major Project Title: Long Sutton (Working Title)

During the first stage of my project I have used research methods such as visiting exhibitions, looking at photographers work both online and looking at photobooks, as well as historical. When looking at exhibitions such as the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, Illuminating India at the Science Museum and Thomas Ruff at the Whitechapel Gallery have informed me of different ways of presenting work from portraiture to documentary. They have each shown me how different kinds of work can be displayed on the gallery wall, which is how I will present my own for the Final Major Project. Especially Thomas Ruff’s exhibition of his work from between 1979-2017 it’s interesting to see how different types of work can be shown in different ways, from very small prints, several all in a row to large-scale prints, but only two or three. Using space wisely is going to be very important for the work so it’s important to begin thinking about how the work will look if it’s printed small or large.

Researching photographers work has enabled me to develop the approach I will have with my project, especially social documentary photographers as everyone has a different approach to their work. I found Dylan Collard and his project Ages of Us particularly helpful due to all the different methods he used to display and inform people of the work, by creating a website dedicated to the whole project showing the film, letting people listen and read the transcripts from his conversations with people. It was also helpful to see the types of questions he had listed to ask each person when taking the photographs, as this is an aspect I am going to develop in my own project. I’ve also through researching photographers and their methods of working have read advice on how to approach a social documentary and taking portraits in a truthful way. This came from Laura Pannack who wrote that the main aspects which are important in her practice were time, trust and understanding.

Through researching photobooks, it helped develop my project because it made me realise that in the space of time I have and due to the type of film I’m using I probably won’t be able to gather over a hundred images for me to be able to fill a book which I am happy with. I would prefer instead to develop it over time and maybe make a book in the future instead.

Pilot Project

Through the development of my pilot project, I have been able to develop my skills with using a large format camera. I had not used one since my first year of university so it was very helpful practising by doing the pilot project with the camera. This also made me sure that this is the medium I want to use for the final major project as I realised that I will be able to do it. To begin with, I used a digital camera and I also used a medium format camera but the detailing and the images produced are not the same because neither requires a tripod, so it’s easy to just take a snapshot rather than spending a long time composing an image. It did, however, allow me to explore different areas whilst I was home for a short period to test what areas I may want to photograph when it came to landscape locations. Because of the heaviness and slight difficulty with getting the camera places this enabled me to have some areas found and decided on without having to carry the camera to unnecessary places. Through the pilot project, I was also able to practice with location lighting and making sure that it is something I will want to use instead of trying to use natural lighting. As I will most likely photograph subjects in their homes this was the simplest solution to not having any limitations to where I could photograph in people’s homes or any location suitable. With the large format camera, the tripod, the lights and their tripods there is a lot of equipment to be moved, but luckily with a trolley and being able to use either public transport with wheelchair access and a taxi service I could travel with it within London. However, as I will need to get it all to Long Sutton which is an hour and forty minutes on the train I didn’t think it would be possible to get it all onto the train without causing disruption to other passengers. Alternatively, I have been able to arrange it so I will be able to use a car. It has been very helpful being able to learn from different experiences and different ways of trying to get the equipment to various locations to see which is the easiest. Space was also something I learned about as everyone’s home is different and the sizes of the rooms will be different, this will be a challenge, but I have been able to set everything up effectively in small rooms already. Another thing I have learned which I will need to look out for is if there are plugs available as the lights need to be plugged in. The main concepts which will direct my project will be portraiture and landscape, I will be able to develop these aspects even further for the final major project due to the work I have already done that can be improved. 

Audience and Context

In relation to context and audience, I have thought about what differences I would find depending whether it was seen on a gallery wall or a photobook. What interested me about the photobook was being able to have the photographs printed out physically and having an order, but also being able to provide information and text along with them to further explain the project rather than it all being on a website only. Having a photobook, however as Mark Neville put it, photobooks sold on the art market end up on middle-class coffee tables. The kind of audience who would buy a photobook is different to that who would look at it on a website but is perhaps similar to who would go see it in an exhibition. When looking at the photobook and the gallery, instead of photography going straight to the wall, it began to be presented in a book first, beginning in 1843 with Anna Atkins self-published photograms of algae. Before photography was accepted by museums and galleries the photobook was its main form of expression, able to show it to the world. In 1858, the first photography exhibition was held in a museum by the Photographic Society of London and consisted of 1009 photographs. In terms of the photobook, I thought of my work in a more structured way, and more refined and intimate having something to hold rather than seeing it just on a gallery wall, or on a website. It also seems natural with the history of photography that this seems to most natural way to present it, however, in reflection I decided this was best to do later. Having them printed and on a gallery wall was the first way of presenting I thought of for the degree show, and with context, I think it will work well if the description is worded correctly and the images are presented in the correct way. With social documentary, I think it can be presented very simply as the context is the most important part of the work, and the audience will be able to connect to it personally, even if less time is spent with it. I have also thought about how context and audience would be changed if it was seen in a magazine, or newspaper as these two probably have different audiences, and I think it would be an effective way of seeing the work as it is a form of entertainment to see a brief part of people’s lives. 

Production and Presentation

I began my exploring by using a digital camera, this allowed me to be able to experiment with different styles easily without having the cost of film. However, the problem I have with using digital for projects is that the images I take are more like snapshots, and not as well thought through regarding composition because I basically have an unlimited number of pictures I can take. Another aspect which I thought was helpful by using digital was deciding whether I wanted to focus more on colour or black and white as I can make this conversion in post-production, I could also do this using colour film but digital seemed a quicker and easier way to test this. I also used medium format, a Mamiya C220, which is a twin lens reflex camera, this is another camera which is very lightweight and easy to carry around, but by using a film camera I notice that I slow down when taking pictures and they’re not so rushed. What I didn’t want for this project, however, was the square format, and I also wanted better quality. This then led me to large format which out of all the production methods I had tried seemed the best choice as not only does it connect me to my subject and audience more, it slows down the process and gives me the quality I want. Using this method has enabled me to refine how I want to approach the visuals of my work, which is very simple even though all the equipment including lights takes up a lot of room it’s all easy to use and I like how traditional the process is. I think this approach to the work also is effective in communicating documentary and traditional themes presented in my ideas, especially with the historical aspect of Long Sutton as a town. 

Visual References / Bibliography

The key visual references I have found in my research process have been Martin Parr and his project Signs of the Times: a portrait of the nation’s tastes, Mark Neville and Port Glasgow, The Airmen by Michal Solarski, My Last Day at Seventeen by Doug DuBois and Bhutan – In Pursuit of Happiness by AJ Heath. I found Martin Parr’s work useful during the research process because of how he composes and presents his work, I learned how a series of images can be coherent, even when both portraits and details and still life are also shown, and how text can be entwined with the work. It’s been one of my main inspirations on why I wanted to record and ask questions with my subjects so when I eventually make a photobook I will be able to use it to further show elements of the people and images involved.

Mark Neville influenced my idea of wanting to do a project based on a town, I learned how the way in which you present a project based on an area can be taken out of context when people outside of the community witness it. The Airmen influenced my idea mainly visually, and I learned how to use people’s spaces effectively, but also how historical images can be shown with it to give background to the work. I also thought that having text which includes stories would be an effective way to include some of the conversations I have with residents in the description for the degree show. My Last Day at Seventeen showed me how really getting involved with a community and spending a lot of time with residents can be a very effective way to be able to portray a subject in an original and creative way. Lastly, AJ Heath’s work also inspired me visually, especially when working in different locations it was interesting to see how he used the space to project the theme of globalization, showing both the traditional and modern aspects of it.

I have also done some research on Long Sutton’s history to further understand what the town is all about, looking at two books made by the Long Sutton & District Civic Society.

 

Technical/Logistical Information

For my final major project I will be using large format, but as it is colour I will not have to process it myself, but if I decide to print my finals images in the darkroom I will need to practice the technical side of getting the colours correct. I have been able to use the camera quite easily as I have gotten used to it, it has become a lot easier. I will need to debate how many sheets of film I will need as they come in packs of 10.

Getting all the equipment to each of the locations will be difficult but with a car, it will be a lot easier. There’s also the issue of being able to set it all up in peoples homes as it does take up a lot of space so this will have to be considered beforehand. I also need to make sure there are plugs available as I will need them for the lights. I will also have to provide model release forms in case I sell or have them published anywhere, especially if there are children in them.

These are all the things in which I will need to think about when producing and making my project in terms of technicalities and logistics.

AJ Heath

The project by AJ Heath I have shown images above is Bhutan – In Pursuit of Happiness. This is based between the economic powerhouses of India and China, the small Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. He chose this area as it shows aspects of globalization but also a self-conscious resistance to this same global change. The Kingdom was once a closed of Buddhist Kingdom but turned to a constitutional democracy which is now admired worldwide for its pursuit of Gross National Happiness.  Through this, however, Bhutan development accelerates, its government has tried to preserve its culture and keep its unique identity alive. The traditional ways of living and cultural practices are slowly disappearing making way for a new lifestyle and job opportunities made because of modern influences. In the title In Pursuit of Happiness is because Bhutan is preferred as this, but this is not reality as they actually live under strict rules such as dress codes, and the first country to totally ban smoking and the sale of alcohol is forbidden. Rules and regulations control everything from building style to the availability of meat.

AJ Heath in 2015 spent 11 months documenting Bhutan and it’s ever-changing culture which was most noticeable in the younger generation. In his images, you can see this struggle between modernity and the traditional Buddhist way of life. I found it interesting to see how the images were composed in the different locations. I also liked that he included a little bit about them to explain the images and a little about the people in them.

Carly Clarke

Shown above are photographs from Carly Clarke’s project Remember Me: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Much like my own project Clarke is investigating someone local to where she previously lived. The downtown eastside of Vancouver is known for its crime, addiction, poverty, prostitution and homeless people and it’s an area which most people in the area avoid which made Clarke even more determined to shine some light on the residents to show them in a different way. The project is not just a series of portraits but a social documentary on the people but decided to photograph them on the streets to gain some freedom, but wanted to give them a voice and see what an outsider would not.

Her approach to the project was to show compassion and positivity when finding individuals to photograph. The relationships built allowed the sitters to open up about their personal lives when they’re comfortable you can really create an honest portrayal of their everyday environment. The photographs were a way for her to create change for the residents and for each of them to be seen as they are, so rather than stating in the title of the images what their occupation is or age, but just their name. Clarke found that all the people no matter how threatening always listened to what she had to say as everyone wanted to be shown in a positive way. She has gathered many stories over the time she created her project, getting to know the community.

I think the way she created the project was very effective, and the portraits being outside in areas where they would actually hang out shows them in a very truthful way. I’ve really enjoyed looking at the photographs and reading about her time making it, which has been very inspirational for my own.

Historical Pictures of Long Sutton

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I thought I would re-visit the book by the Long Sutton & District Civic Society to see which areas of the town have been of the most interest and photographed the most over the years. The first two images are taken from volume one which focuses on a more general overview of the town but mainly focuses on the centre of the town, mainly the Market Place which is where all the main shops are. The earliest photograph of the Market Place was taken before 1885. This is probably the most noteworthy thing about Long Sutton is how old the town actually is.

The next two images were taken from volume two which focussed on the inns and pubs found in the town, some of which are no longer pubs but some have been refurbished many times over. The Turpins has changed a lot over the years and is one of the places which changed in my lifetime as I remember it being Turpins before it was recently changed to Palmers and now is decorated pink rather than white, so it stands out more than most of part of the Market Place. There is, however, another pub which has changed even more than this after having an extension it looks completely different to what it did before.

This is perhaps one of the main points of interest for the town and the people living in it, as well as people who no longer do, is to see how it has changed over time. It is a strange feeling to go back to a place you once grew up to have completely changed. Everywhere is always changing and it’s something we cannot stop. It’s very interesting to look back at the town I grew up in and see for myself how it was before I was even born, with how long it has been here it makes me feel somewhat of a stranger to it. By looking back at its past it makes me feel more connected to the town, and through this project, I probably will as well.