BTF: Re-thinking layout

Above shows a comparison of two different types of cropped image from my eyes series.

On the left is how I had originally decided to crop the eye, this is closer in so that the pupil is more of the main focus. Now that I have decided that I am having the eyes displayed separately to the abstract iris images I think that perhaps have more of the eye in the image would work better. I no longer need the iris to be as much of a main focus because the cropped images of the iris are going to be displayed on the wall.

With the full eye in the image it will become less obvious that the iris images have come these eyes. However the issue that I am having with doing this is that the gender and the race of the eyes become more prominent whereas I wanted the eyes to be gender neutral. This isn’t a massive issue but still something that I would have preferred not to have in the images.

I am also now thinking about the size I want to print the enlarged iris images. Ideally I think that I would like them printed fairly big, around A3 as any bigger than this and the iris photographs may look too pixellated. For the exhibition I am currently thinking of printing them A4 and pinning them to the wall. I may however, just to see what it will look like print one of the best iris images A3 and display it in the exhibition and have A4 prints to submit. So that the viewer will be able to see how the prints were meant to look, if I could have them as big as I want.

I have also been thinking about the quality of paper I want to print on, the photo paper which I have for the photo book is matte, and so in order to connect the photo book and the prints I think that I might do the prints on matte paper too. The photographic paper which is closest to what I am using for the photo book is Hahnemühle photo rag, but is slightly more expensive than the standard matte paper I have used before.
Compared to gloss paper, matte gives the images more of a painterly feel to them rather seeming very photographic. I think that for the abstract images matte paper would work better as I want the images to seem more like abstract paintings than iris patterns.


Salt print workshop

The salt print was the first process which allowed photographers to be able to print their images which would be fixed so that they didn’t disappear. This alternative process has become popular again, especially in the USA but some artists in the UK are also using it.

The materials needed for salt prints are:

  • An empty bottle
  • 12g Silver Nitrate
  • 6g Citric Acid
  • Hake brush. No metal ferrule. Preferably no metal by the bristles. No warm water.
  • Coating glass rod
  • Contact printing frame. Cheap clip frames will do.


  • 100ml of distilled water or just water
  • 20g of Sodium Chloride (kosher salt) or Ammonium Chloride
  • 25g of sodium thiosulfate
  • 2g of sodium Carbonate
  • Sun light or any UV light source
  • A saucer for mixing chemicals
  • Scale
  • Syringe
  • Plastic teaspoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Developing tray
  • Negatives
  • Paper to be coated. You are going to soak the paper in different baths about 5 times so the paper need to be strong enough. We used Arches Platine 310g.
  • Gloves
  • Hairdryer if you want them to dry faster (only cold air from a distance)

The process:

Step 1 – Salting

The paper that your using should be 100% acid free and it is also recommended to use paper with a smooth, which is what the Arches paper we used is.
Once you have your paper you next need to soak it in the salt bath which can be in normal light conditions and leave this for 5 minutes and then dry it. You can do as many sheets as you want in the solution as it will not deteriorate.

Step 2 – Coating

Pour the solution into a saucer and lightly dip your brush and apply the solution in quick light movements, you can also use a glass rod. The coating process needs to happen under safe light conditions.

You can double coat your paper but you need to wait for it to dry in between. The more layers you add the more sensitive the solution on the paper will be and so this will affect your exposure times.

Step 3 – Drying

In order to be able to remember which side you have coated make a mark on the corner of the paper. Let the paper sit for a few minutes before started to dry it, you can use a hair dryer to make the process faster but do it from far away and on the opposite side so it’s not directly onto the solution and make sure it’s on the cold setting. Once the paper is completely dry you should expose it as soon as possible.

Step 4 – Exposing

Place your negative on the coated paper and double check that the image will print on the right reading order.

Step 5 – Washing (first)

Leave the print in running water for 5 minutes.

Step 6 – Fixing

Leave the print in the fix for 5 minutes and constantly agitate the tray.

Step 7 – Washing (second)

Leave in running water for 5 minutes again.

Step 8 – Hypo Clearing

Leave your print in the bath for 5 minutes and agitate the tray. This bath shortens the final washing time.

Step 9 – Washing Final

Leave the print in running water for 10-15 minutes. If you do not use the hypo clearing agent this will instead need to be 20-30 minutes.

Step 10 – Drying

The image will get darker and it will lose some contrast once the print is completely dry.


Shown above are my prints from the salt print workshop, I quite liked this process but not for the images which I printed as I don’t think there’s enough detail. I also didn’t coat my paper properly so there are gaps in the image, I think that this can look interesting for some images but because it’s such a big gap I don’t think it works. It was however fascinating to do and learn how they used to do all their prints in the past when photography first began.

Workshop: Large Format

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Shown above are the three polaroids my group created during our workshop.

I have worked with large format cameras before during A levels, but I found that I learned a lot about the camera and different techniques you can use with it during the workshop that I did not know.

For the workshop we were working with a Monorail camera, another large format camera that was talked about is a Field camera which comes in a wooden box making it easier to travel with. Another different between the two is that despite the Field camera being more convenient for travelling you lose some quality using it.

Some of the camera movement that we were shown during the workshop were:

Shift (Rise and Fall)
Rise is where the lens is higher than the back, and fall is where the lens is lower than the back. This can be useful when wanting to photograph something in a mirror but do not want yourself or the camera to be in the image.

Swing: rotates around a vertical axis
Swinging the lens only affects the image sharpness and by swinging the back you affect the image shape and also the sharpness.

Tilt: rotates around a horizontal axis
Tilting the lens and back has the same affect as the swing. They both affect the image shape and angle that the plane of sharp focus intersects the subject.

These are movements that we had a go with during our workshop taking our polaroids of both still life and a portrait. We could definitely experiment more with the still life that with the portrait as staying very still for a long period of time is very difficult. I think when using large format you really have to think about the pose you’re putting your model in due to this. As I modelled for one of the images, and have in the past when someone has used large format I know how difficult it can be so I can sympathise with people having to pose for one.
Overall I found the workshop really useful, I learned a lot about large format cameras and also about the pros and cons of using one in your work as a photographer.

Urban Landscape: Fourth shoot

For my fourth shoot I went back to the town centre, but instead of dawn I went at dusk as during the morning the town was far too busy to be able to take pictures without getting a line of cars in the photographs.

At dusk I was able to go back to the same locations and take the similar images as previous but without the cars. I did prefer shooting during the morning as you don’t have to worry about running out of light as it gets brighter, at dusk I do not get as many images because I spend too long composing my photographs and it gets dark very quickly.

I am now going to look at images from all my shoots and see which ones so far fit together and which I need to improve on.


Urban Landscape: Paul Graham

As part of my research for my urban landscape project I have began looking at Paul Grahams work, the images above are from the book Paul Graham 1981 & 2011 Hasselblad Award 2012′ and are specifically from his series A1 – The Great North Road. What I found intriguing about his images was the use of the weather to create very dull, faded images, the colour is not very vibrant but has detailed quality to it which I like. I think that by photographing on a somewhat miserable day it has created images with depth and a moody vibe, one of which we tend to have whilst driving on a miserable day just trying to get to our destination.

The images from the series definitely have a wandering feel to them, and unsettled traveler capturing life on the go. It is important to not just capture the bright and sunny days, but also the ones that make us want to stay inside.

In relation to my own photography I would like to apply the use of a dull day to my photographs of the worst parts of Harrow, I think that by adding this bleakness to the images they will have more meaning to them, especially if the images of the view everyone see’s and the bits they don’t see on the exterior have different colour tones the meaning behind the images will become clearer.

René Maltête: Street photography

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René Maltête (1930-2000) was a French photographer who took to taking unusual images of everyday life. Some of his images were happy accidents that he came across when wandering the streets but some were staged situations that he created.
The images above are some of my favourite images by the photographer, they are very humorous and show the wonderful things that the photographer noticed. The top image shows a family all wearing strips at the beach, the second image shows a couple on a horse but the woman’s skirt is covering up the back making it look as though the horses legs are her own and finally the bottom one shows an advertisement on the wall in juxtaposition to the nuns walking by it. There are many amusing images in his series of images but these are definitely my favourite, the timing and the composition of the photographs are very visually interesting.

Research Summary: Street Photography

During my project I have mostly been influenced by Robert Frank and Berenice Abbott. Franks work as I thought that his photographs of crowds were very interesting, especially his image on ‘Canal Street, New Orleans, 1955’ which presents a very rushed atmosphere, but there is also an element of stillness as the image is not blurred, everyone is in focus so in a way the image is freezing the rushed atmosphere so that we as the viewer see these people who otherwise would have rushed by us. This is what I originally wanted to capture when I first started the project.
As I moved further into my ideas and started taking photographs I thought a lot about Berenice Abbott and her photographic work. Even though she is mostly known for her architecture photography I think in some of her works there is definitely an element of street photography. What I found more alluring about images that included tall buildings is connected to my own feelings of being in London compared to being in an area where the tallest building is a church. With Abbott’s work I saw how small all the people looked compared to the buildings and this made me think about how tiny and insignificant I feel being in a city.
When looking at my final five photographs they look more like Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work due to the brightness of the day which really highlighted the subjects making them look like a movie still.
When I had a solid idea on what I wanted to photograph for the project I began searching for an area that had tall buildings, and quite a modern, rushed feel to it. In my composition I wanted to have a tall building with people walking past it, I wanted it to be quite neat with the lines of the building being straight with the frame, although I found that I wasn’t spending enough time on this as some of my first images the buildings seem slanted even though at the time I thought they were straight.
To capture the height of the buildings and also the people underneath I tried to keep a distance from the subject otherwise the images did not capture the sense of alienation I wanted them to. The idea was to show how large the buildings are compared to the people.
As I carried my work forward I then thought about capturing both London and my Hometown, this then led me to photographing Canary Wharf which before I moved to London was a perfect reflection on what came to mind when I thought of it even though I had never been there before. The weather was perfect for photographing the tall buildings and the businessmen and women as it was a very sunny day and so it illuminated the subjects and casted long shadows which I thought added to this movie-like feeling they provoked. The composition of my final images were much tighter than my previous images because Canary Wharf was the busiest place I went to, I focussed mainly on the lines the walking men and women were making as they crossed right in front of me.

My intention with my project was to evoke the feeling of alienation, to reflect how I feel about being in a city. I think that my final series is very successful in provoking this feeling as it shows both the fast moving areas of Canary Wharf but also how still it can be. I originally wanted images of my hometown mixed in with these images but they were not strong enough to compete with these photographs and so I had to leave them out. I was quite disappointed by this, but in the end I am glad that I didn’t include them as I know they would not have worked with my series.
If I had more time with the project I would have found more areas in London to photograph, and I also think that I would do more work in my hometown and try and capture more of its essence, as I did not have a lot of time to do the photographs the quality of the images was not as high as I had hoped. I would also perhaps look into some similarities between the two places.
In conclusion I am extremely pleased with my final images, and I think that as a series the photographs I have picked work together very well in sense of composition and tonal range.