A2 Photography essay The Forest: Is it fantasy or reality?
Within this essay I shall be exploring forestry and how it has influence other photographers. I am hoping to discover what it is about forestry and nature which has such an impact on everyone and try to apply that knowledge to my own photography to make images which can have and lasting significance to those who see it. What really attracted me to forestry was its surreal nature and mystery which it contains. It has always been a fascination of mine to explore forests and observe how they change so dramatically over such a short period of time, the dramatic change in colour which alters the mood of the forests and everyone who enters them. Also I would like to explore the history of forest and investigate the reason why humans have a primal fear of it and why humans are destroying it. With childrenâ€™s fairy tales they all seem to be based within a dark and scary forest such as little red riding hood, Housel and Gretel and sleeping beauty where something terrible happens to them like being eaten by wolves or falling prey to witches, it seems that the essence of human fear has being portrayed though childrenâ€™s stories and may be the correct reason why people donâ€™t like the forest especially at night. Steven Friedman is a self taught photographer who is renowned for his inspiring panoramic tree photography. He came first in the international photography award in the Season pro section of the competition. Steven was an interesting photographer to get in touch with because of his response to the question I posed: What process did you use when creating these pictures?
He replied that he takes 10 days each time to she how an environment had change to see if the conditions were just right. What interests me about this picture is the way the trees divide each bit of the picture into separate sections of colour, almost like there is suppose to be a curtain path in which the viewers are to go down. I like the way in which the colour subtly blends in the colour spectrum with yellow to green to blue. What intrigues me is the way in which the photographer portrays their work through light and dark, how they choose to show the forest. The way I interpreted this picture was that it looks more bright and cheerful, a place which would be less scary to be seen in, But also a bit more menacing
because of the fact that there is no one to be seen within this picture or that there is something sinister lurking within the thick bushes. This reminds me of the tale of little red riding hood at the beginning as she was going to visit her Grandmother at here house in the middle of the woods, This photograph for me seems to capture what the forest for Red riding hood would look like as it progressively gets darker the further she goes inside. For my emulation I not so much tried to recreate the tree format but the connotations of the photograph. I took Stevens advice and went trekking to quite distant forestry areas to find photographic opportunities which others couldnâ€™t find. This was what I found. I also used Photoshop to create some of the unrealistic colours
I thought that this was my greatest picture out of all of my takes because of how the lighting created a glow from the other side of the two trees, making it look as though the tree were some sort of gate way in which someone must cross to get to the brighter side. I tried to be similar with the colour scheme as it went from dark blue to green. The problem with my image is that it is perhaps lacking some forest behind it so it is looking a bit empty but other than it has achieved what I wanted to connotate. This is also one of Stevensâ€™s main photographs which won the international award; He prefers to create similar shots of forests but with different colour schemes to create entirely different meanings, like the image below it looks like it is going down hill. Whatâ€™s different with this image is that it gets a lot thicker as it gets further away, getting denser, concealing anything inside anything inside. The colours are also more subtle than the image before making it seem more compact.
Like the fairy tales, you could tell when something bad is about to happen when they describe the atmosphere of the forest. They usually emphases on the lighting as something sinister is eminent, so this image is a perfect representation. this to me looks like the trees in the foreground look similar to a cage with iron bars preventing the viewer to explore the scenery around them, like all the other tree pictures he’s done the all include this vertical tree format leaving the colourful background behind with black and white tree’s blocking the view. This is my emulation to the image above, this location was a lot simpler for emulating because of the tree formation, the were all in a row stretching all along the river bank which made taking the photo a lot easier to do.
The next photographer I have explored is called Ellie Davies, She currently lives and works in London and has just finished an MA from the LCC, university of Arts London. I found a lot of the photographers I researched from the International photography awards because they have a huge variety of work there, however I didn’t choose only the photographers who came first but the ones which interested me and inspired me to find out more. This piece below was one of here many forestry photo’s which I felt had a relevance to what I was producing.
This image defiantly has it’s own identity which no other photographers can recreate, however I myself had my own attempt at emulating these images because afters lots of analysis I realised that all of her photographs follow the same kind of layout which involves
a horizon with a golden tree centralize within it. The contrast in this picture makes this image draw your eye right to the centre of the screen where the tree is; make it appear as though it is an individual character standing in the light. The Image next to it for me had an entirely different meaning to it mainly dew to the fact that it’s a more subtle tree and that it doesn’t actually glow. It does however have almost pitch black behind of it which allows it to show of more and enables the colours on its leaves to shine brighter and be more distinguished. What intrigues me about these photographs is the use of colour and how it manages to perceive ones view of it, the contrast between the central tree and the entire surrounding tree make it seem brighter than it actually is. The background however seems to be lighted from the centre out This is my attempt at emulating Ellie’s Golden tree photographs which I thought certainly took a lot more preparation to make. With this I had to actually do was to create the tree out of lots of branches and actually cello tape them to a sturdy stick, once I had assembled the tree I then sprayed it gold with spray paint. Finding the location though was a bit more difficult because of the fact that there weren’t any thick forestry in which I could position the tree. Having analysed how the picture is set out I feel that all these link in together with each other in the sense that they all have connotations that link to most fairy tale. This image reminds me of Alice’s Adventures in wonderland in which she ventures into the rabbit hole into a new world. The golden tree looks as though it is an ominous character taking the viewer to another place. The composition of this image was similar to the other pictures I based this on. I tried to make it look like there is a vertical line laying out all the trees, making sure that it was practically dark so that the golden tree could stand out better. What I like about my image was there was a natural light shining behind it to make it look more natural, the location was the best place to take the picture because of the opening in the shrubs which aloud light to seep through.
The final piece I made is like an emulation of the Steven Friedman photograph, but due to the season it was unrealistic for me to emulate his pictures. I therefore decide to do similar pictures to the Gustav Klimt picture of the birch trees, so I went and found a birch tree forest to emulate his pictures.
This is the initial photograph which I manipulated to create Gustav Klimt like photographs. I tried to make it so that the trees stood out rather than blending into the back ground like the photograph before so I upped the contrast and changed the colour instead of having it green. I choose individual points on the point of the picture and manipulated the individually to give the effect of it being painted, after that I adjusted the hue and saturation. I then toned it down so that it looked less luminous.
The final touch I did was to use the watercolour filter to make give it a more fluent painted quality to it. I fell that this was the best image to use because of how the trees form a line across the picture and that the leaves make a bright layer along the floor to create a shiny texture across it.
What I have found out from looking at all these images and by analysing what makes them more interesting to others pictures, however when it comes to me capturing my final piece I will make sure that I take all the points I explored into account so that I can make my work equally as good or even better than professional photographers work.