Research Summary: Urban Landscape

Photographers that have influenced my work have been, Paul Graham, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. Throughout my project I looked at different body of works by Paul Graham, I firstly looked at his series A1 – The Great North Road; what interested me in this series was how he photographed on a dull day, I liked the misty, moody vibe it created in the photographs as this is something I wanted to create in my own. However, this changed and in my final images I have actually included an image of the landscape on a very sunny day, although the sky is still grey as it had been raining the sun shined through creating patches of direct sunlight on the landscape. Another body of work I looked at by Paul Graham was American Night as I was interested in how he used over exposed images to represent the poorest parts of the country in contrast to the vibrant images he took of the richest areas, photographing their cars and houses. This is a technique I thought about using, but felt that it wouldn’t work because of the difference in circumstances, there wouldn’t be enough of a contrast between the subject matter within the images for it to have the same impact.
What drew me to the work of William Eggleston and Stephen Shore was their use of colour and composition I looked at William Eggleston’s book William Eggleston’s Guide and Stephen shore’s Uncommon Places they influenced the way I looked at how I was going to composition my image, thinking about my horizons in my landscapes and the angle of which to take them.


For my project I approached my subject matter using the rule of thirds, and compositionally I was conscious of getting an even horizon in my landscapes and also having an even amount of sky and ground as I didn’t want one to over power the other. I also made sure that my aperture was on at least f8 or f11 in order for me to be able to get the whole landscape in focus by focusing on the mid-point in the frame. Focal length was also important to think about when I was photographing the landscape as the wider the lens the more distorted the subject matter became; bending the horizon and so I decided to shoot in-between 35mm and 70mm as I was using a 18mm-200mm zoom lens.  With my close ups of the trash I tried to have the cans in the center of the frame as they are the main focus of the images, these were shot at 135mm making the images very compact keeping the cans in proportion. For all of my photographs I used a tripod so that I had the ability to really think about my composition before taking the photograph. I was able to take a photograph and make slight changes to it without losing what was in the frame; this also allowed me to have a slow shutter speed without having to worry about camera shake; I also decided to use a remote shutter release for very slow shutter speeds so that I didn’t accidently move the camera when pressing down the shutter.


My intention for my project was to show the different perspectives of Harrow-on-the-Hill which was my chosen location, the area that I was focusing on was the church as when visiting it I notice that at first you are overwhelmed with beautiful landscapes but when walking through the graveyard there was so much garbage discarded on the floor. To begin with I wasn’t making it clear enough that this is what I was looking at; there wasn’t enough of a contrast between my images and so I decided to do close ups of the cans left on the ground among the leaves. This made my theme much more clear. I think this is now what is the strength of my images, I also think that because the greenness also links the images together it makes an interesting body of work. What I think is weak about my project is the cans I photographed, I think if it wasn’t so last minute I could have had different cans and bottles. If I had more time I would carry on with what I was previously photographing as I think it would have worked as a much larger project and so I would continue photographing the subject matter more discreetly making a body of work that could become a book that would make the reader think about what connects each image.




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