Exploring Practice in Photography Intro to Large/Medium Format
Initial Location Research Netham Our given location is simply listed as ‘Netham’. It’s not large enough to be considered a ward in Bristol, and is just large enough to be considered a neighbourhood. From what I can gather, the area considered as Netham is that just circling the park, perhaps more so slightly east of it. The actual area of buildings in Netham does seem fairly small, almost the size of the (admittedly, very large) park. The park really feels like the centre of the neighbourhood, and it’s where I would like to focus a lot of my images on. Netham does have a certain amount of history to it, which is centred around the park. According to Barton Hill History Group, the park used to be home to a large set of chemical works factories producing sulphuric acid and washing soda. In the satellite image on the right, I’ve marked the area I believe the factories took up. Photos of the factories contain the river at the bottom, and the entrances were at the top, likely in the same location as the road entrance to Netham park pavilion. The factory is said to have produced a large amount of chemical waste, creating mounds in the landscape. I believe these are what shows up at the top of the satellite image, almost looking like a set of ribs. Barton Hill History Group states that these were referred to as ‘The Brillos’ and used as a playground by local children. Interestingly, there is now a children’s play park not 10 feet away from them. http://www.bhhg.co.uk/showfiles.php?files=Netham%20Chemical%20works%20factory
Initial Recce and Shoot My first visit to Netham wasnâ€™t quite what I expected, and the location feels drastically different to what I was picturing. The area felt distinctly working class, similar to around where I live at home. Despite this, the atmosphere was very different, and felt a lot more safe and friendly than the areas around my Weymouth home. The park in the centre of the area is enormous, and feels like a hub for the area. There was a football match happening in the area with a lot of people around. There is a huge mix of architecture in the area, with terraced housing surrounding the park, tower blocks behind them, and an industrial estate south of the lock. There is a good mix of green space and buildings, and it seems like a great area to get a mix of photograph types.
Initial Recce and Shoot As a pair, me and a partner shot a roll of medium format film while scouting the area. While our exposures were fine, the results were less than ideal. Almost every image was lighter at the sides and darker in the middle. This was hard to see on the negative, but became incredibly obvious when printing. It’s possible that this could have been fixed when printing through dodging the centre or burning the edges, but I really didn’t feel like it was worth it as they were essentially test images anyway. The source of the ruined negatives wasn’t clear, and was said to be between a damaged camera, light leaks, or lack of agitation when processing.
Initial Recce and Shoot This was the first image I printed, mostly due to the fact that the negative looked a lot less damaged than most of them. I’d been metering off the grass for all the images in the set, and it seems to have been perfect. When taking the shot I believe I was shooting into the sun, leading to a massively overexposed sky. There was still detail in the negative that could have been brought out through split processing, burning, or lowing the contrast, but ultimately I didn’t use any of these techniques because I wasn’t planning on pursuing the image as a final print. While I like the image and composition, it doesn’t have any real substance, and says nothing at all about the area besides what a very small part looks like.
Initial Recce and Shoot I made a couple of other prints from our initial roll, but they looked, to be frank, terrible. My prints werenâ€™t great, and I was struggling to judge how long I needed to expose the paper for as the test strips were running across areas of different density negative. All my prints ended up not getting enough time and being too bright. I did like the photos, but the buildings are quite distant and there isnâ€™t a lot of interest in the foreground to balance out the frame. The image on the right here is okay, and is held up by the sun catching the sitting personâ€™s balloon. If the camera was closer to the subject, I feel it could have work very well as an environmental portrait.
Research New Topographics As my favourite part of photography, New Topographics seems like a no-brainer for inspiration. I love the work of almost every artist involved, but there are various different artists I can take inspiration from, for various different approaches. My personal style kind of bridges a gap between artists like Baltz and Shore, but is constantly evolving. When I first started out in photography, I used a straight on parallel to subject view, even before learning of Baltz work. I used to focus massively on shape and form, but as Iâ€™ve moved forward as a photographer my approach has widened. I do like to tell a story about what Iâ€™m shooting, and this can admittedly be difficult solely using a constricted straight on view. Iâ€™d love to take a deadpan form based approach to the large format architectural print, but I just have to work out how to have this appear consistent with the other four images.
Research Lewis Baltz Lewis Baltz has always been one of my heros, and his work is extremely relevant in this instance. With my work I often try to strike up a compromise of the graphical form based style of Baltz with more contextual shots to help me tell a story. Baltz’s work below, from ‘The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California’ have potential to be relevant to my large and medium format work, despite not being such. Interestingly, this work was mostly, if not solely shot on 35mm Kodak Technical Pan. This super low speed film was capabale of competing with the quality of large format film, but without the perspective control. This is likely why his images often contain a small strip of road at the bottom, as the front of the lens cannot be lifted up, and he doesn’t want converging verticals in his images. It seems like an interesting choice on his part, as having full and precise perspective control would be important for images such as these. While Baltz may not have used large format, I can’t help but feel that such control over the image would be incredible for creating a Baltz-like architectural shot. I find it hard to ever work without incorporating a deadnpan like approach to my work in some form, and large format seems like a good candidate. It’s possible I could take this sort of approach entirely, using the square format of the Hasselblad camera to play around with shapes in the environment. The only issue with this to me is having a total of five images. Enough photos like this can certainly build up a picture of the area, but I’m not sure that five would be enough.
Research Stephen Shore Shore’s work is at the pinnacle of colour photography in a lot of people’s eyes, and for good reason. While we may only be using black and white, there’s still a lot that can be taken away from his work. As part of New Topographics alongside Baltz, there are similarities in their work, mostly being the urban and suburban landscapes around them, and partially their approaches to photographing them. A strength of Shore’s work is simply how much information they contain. The image on the right is a personal favourite of mine from his ‘Uncommon Places’ and is a perfect example. There are a lot of small scenes and areas of interest within the frame, all adding up to create a unique atmosphere. They are amazing to look at and read, not only due to the information in the image, but also due to the unique quality of the large format colour film. While this quality isn’t really reproducible in black and white, Shore’s composition and detail rich scenes are something I’m inspired by massively.
Second Shoot My second visit to Netham wasn’t particularly successful, but really helped me to decide some of the compositions that I wanted as final images. I went over the Easter break so I wasn’t able to use a Hasselblad, but I happened to own a 1957 model Yashica-Mat, the actual age of the camera I don’t know. I thought it was a good opportunity to put a roll through it. I didn’t know if it actually worked, so I brought my digital camera also. I was hoping I could take some shots with my Nikon to then recreate in a similar fashion in medium format. This turned out not to be a practical solution, as the only lens I had on my camera was an 85mm, which is far too long compared to the same focal length on a medium format. Despite this, it became obvious while I was there that I definitely wanted to use the blocks of flats in Barton Hill as the backdrop for my images. Such large structures not only look incredibly grand as a backdrop, but also strike an incredibly strong contrast between the terraces in the foreground.
Barton Hill and the Urban Park
After fixating on the blocks of flats, I thought it would be a good idea to find out what they were called and try to learn a bit about them. I’d love to shoot someone who actually lived in one of the buildings, but I don’t think I could bring myself to ask anyone. These two buildings, shown here on the left and in my other images, are Longlands House and Corbett House. There is at least one other identical block, all surrounding a small park, called “Barton Hill Urban Park”. While these building may have been something of a wonder for me looking at them from an architectural and visual point of view, it seems that they have an entirely different perception in the community. The flats in the area seem to have bit of a reputation, and it seems a woman was actually stabbed and killed inside Longlands House - the pink block of flats, in July 2015. I didn’t know this when shooting, but it doesn’t seem surprising, as crime will always be common in such dense spaces. Even so, I found the area to be quite friendly, yet eerily quiet, though admittedly I have only visited during the daytime. The crime rate in the area is mostly made up of anti-social behaviour as well sexual and violent offences. Barton Hill was apparently under a five year scheme for renovation, with new more modern and higher spec houses built, presumably to increase the attractiveness of the area, in turn lowering crime and raising house prices. Tower blocks clearly aren’t very well liked, and some seem to have been destroyed in the past. In the bottom article linked below, Terry Black, the ‘Sovereign Housing neighbourhood co-ordinator for the area’ mentioned the old high rise blocks, saying “They were particularly dreadful blocks, rife with crime and antisocial behaviour – a den of drug-dealing, prostitution, and criminal gangs.” It’s clear that there is a distaste for these buildings, and it creates and interesting scenario for a photographer. While these may be interesting structures, do they really represent the neighbourhood that they are in? And how much does that matter anyway? Interesting questions are raised, and they are things I’m going to have to consider depending on the representation of the area I’m trying to give - purely visual, or something more? http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Barton-Hill-murder-inquiry-Young-mum-covered/story-27499065-detail/story.html https://www.police.uk/avon-and-somerset/BE183/crime/stats/ http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/HOPES-RISE-TOWERS-FALL/story-11275835-detail/story.html
Second Shoot/Research Crime and Regeneration As a larger project, a look at the past and present of the area could make for an interesting story. - Netham, Barton Hill, Easton etc. The Bristol Post article from 2011 talks about the reputation of the area in general, and it’s improvement since the mid 90s. Looking at police crime statistics, the crime rate is fairly average compared to a lot of areas of Bristol. That being said, the crime seems to be about a third of that in some areas St. Pauls for example. Sadly, police crime statistics only date back to 2010, and the crime hasn’t changed since then. There’s a huge amount of potential for a project in the area in my opinion. It would be interesting to find residents in the area that have lived there their whole lives, and get some personal accounts about how the area has changed. It would be great to recreate old archived photographs, showing how the area has changed visually also, from high rise flats, to piles of rubble, eventually into modern homes. The people of the area are genuine and seem like they would make good subjects for a photographic story of the area.
Second Shoot Figuring Out Film Issues
The film I put through my own camera proved that it does in fact work, but the resulting images are far from usable. It’s clear that the optical quality is far from that of a Hasselblad, but that wasn’t the main issue. The processed film was plagued with the same sort of problem as the previous one patchy light with denser negatives at the sides. The most obvious culprit would be light leaks, but it’s difficult to tell if the leaks would be from the camera, or the film unravelling slightly. At this point, after inspecting the film closely, I’m fairly certain that the leaks are from a slight unravelling of the film spool. Medium format cameras always seem to shoot with the film spool led horizontally at the bottom, and wind upwards towards the top. Light from unravelling would leak in the top and bottom of the film, which would become the sides once the film is rotated.
Second Shoot The shot on the right is from my shoot in Netham from my Yashica. I love the shot, but I’m upset that the light leak has stopped it from being a usable image. I’ll be returning with a Hasselblad to try and recreate the shot with better optics and a film that isn’t ruined. The lighting adds a huge amount to the image, with the hard shadows casting from the high rise flats really dramatising them as a huge imposing structure. After putting a roll of colour Kodak Ektar through my camera, I can confirm that the light leak was from my mishandling of the film, and not my camera, as proved in the shot below.
Research Alec Soth Alec Soth’s large format portrait photography is something to be admired, and strike me as the kind of portraits I would like to create if I ever moved into shooting more of them. Visually, Soth’s images are lovely, with the same unique visual quality of large format colour film seen in the work of those like Stephen Shore and Jack Latham. Our environmental portraits are square instead of rectangular, so I’m not sure exactly what framing will be like. I’ve never shot people in medium format before so I’m not sure what to expect. I’m a lover of full length portraits, so I hope to get some successfully in medium format. Alec Soth’s style of portrait is something I’d love to achieve, with a person simply stood in the centre of the frame, in a natural pose with a contextual backdrop. An issue I’m going to face is getting my aperture open. With 400 speed film on a sunny day, I’m going to get nowhere near f/2.8, as the shutter speed only goes as fast as 1/500th of a second. This may make it difficult for me to isolate my subject from the background at full length.
Research Jack Latham
Jack’s work looks as if it takes a lot of influence from New Topographics artists like Shore, but brings it into the modern era. He works in a blend of portrait and landscape shots along his visual and literal narrative, and to great effect. I’m a big fan of his work, and I’d love to be able to get portraits and landscapes to work together as well as his. While once again he’s a large format colour photographer, this kind of work is much more similar to my own style, and I’ll most likely be trying to translate a style like this into the black and white format.
Third Shoot Third Visit, Finding a Model, Expanding My Area My third visit to the area was a very lucrative one, and I ended up shooting three rolls of film, all which turned out well. The weather stayed fairly dull and overcast, which while may not be all that interesting, is extremely easy to shoot in and flattering when shooting portraits. Even when the light changed slightly, the 400 ISO HP5 holds up extremely well. It’s an incredibly versatile film and is great at correcting any exposure mistakes, not that I really made any. I had large amounts of anxiety when thinking about shooting an environmental portrait, and couldn’t manage to approach anyone in the street. I found it easier to meet someone online and spend a part of the day with them shooting. I had initially searched for people living directly in Netham, and would have loved to have shot someone from Longlands or Corbett House. I ended up finding someone living in Easton, which was extremely close, and Netham is technically a part of the Easton ward of Bristol anyway. Heading slightly north into central Easton, the communal atmosphere remains the same as Netham, which I believe keeps the different images strung together well with similar visuals as well as the same demographics. I could have brought my subject down into Netham, but I felt it was important to shoot him exactly where he’s based. As a quick insight into my thought process on evaluating images, I’ve come up with a simple key to show you what photos I like and dislike. Good
Third Shoot - Editing Taking shots like these proves a lot more difficult that it seems. While images may look straight through the viewfinder, they can come out far from when processed. This is most likely due to me being at an angle from my subject, and lining up the walls in the image to be straight, rather than a standing object. They should still be usable images, thought I may need to crop them more than I’d like which could alter the composition.
Well composed Detail Context Framed
Context Tilted Awkward
Well composed Natural
As a photographer I’m much more inclined to shoot deadpan expressionless portraiture over something with emotion. Despite me trying to get Alex to appear this way, he didn’t exactly have a ‘resting bitch face’. He often looked happy even with a neutral expression, but as I’d had a chat with him and started to get to know his personality, I felt like it was a fair representation of his personality, not just a person smiling for a photo.
Third Shoot - Editing I actually really love this shot, but the negative is slightly damaged so it won’t make a good print. The negative has two semi-circular marks near the bottom that I believe were caused by bending due to clips while drying. The framing of the image contains a lot of grass, but I always opt for a chopped building rather than converging verticals. The shot could potentially work well as a cropped image at a different ratio like 2:3, as not only would the grass be lessened, but the marks could be cropped off also.
Bush too big
Well composed Dramatic
Damaged Well composed Detail
Well composed Light leak
Some of my shots of Alex do unfortunately appear fairly awkward. This wasn’t really his fault, as it seemed like he hadn’t really been photographed properly before and may have been nervous about it. I admittedly was also nervous about the whole situation, as wasn’t good at directing him. This is something I really do need to learn as I’m sure there will be a lot of future projects where I want to involve people.
Third Shoot - Editing
Well composed Light leak
Awkward Light leak
Awkward Light leak
Awkward Light leak
Detail Context Well composed
Though crude, I hope my comments and key can give some insight into how I’ve judged these photos. There’s a lot more I could say about many of them, but I just wanted to give a quick overview about how I made my selection. The photos aren’t all in order, and while this isn’t important it’s something to bear in mind. All the images were shot in the same day, starting with the landscapes before meeting Alex and shooting portraits. With only one Hasselblad back I went through 3 rolls of film, meaning I had to change them in the bright daylight. A small slip unwound a bit of my last film, which is why some of the later images have light leaks. Most of them aren’t noticeable, and thankfully the worst leaks aren’t on the photos I like most. I can now confirm that the cause of all my neg issues have in fact been light leaks, which is amazing to know and it going to help me massively in the future. I hadn’t done any medium format before this, so the skills I’ve gained are going to be essential for future work.
Detail Context Well composed
Third Shoot - Final Landscape Prints
This print is probably my favourite image, though it could admittedly still be improved. While the print looks a little light here, this is a result of the scan, and I believe the actual print is spot on. It’s also hard to tell if the print is perfectly straight or not, but I think it is, and the building in the background is starting to suffer from some converging verticals. Either way, it’s small enough that it’s not noticeable, especially in the physical print. There is a huge contrast in the image with the slightly more brutalist style high rise blocks in the background, juxtaposed with the affordable 60s-70s homes in the foreground. The top of the image is cleaner, consisting of the simple and clean flats as well as the sky. This is balanced out by the foreground, which is full of sharp detail across the backs of houses. The frame feels like it’s in distinct layers: Framing branches, fence, houses, flats. All of these layers are visually very different from one another, but fit together to make this intense and dramatic photograph filled with life and context. The one small issue I have with the photograph is the light. The day in which I returned to re-shoot this scene was nowhere near as sunny as it was previously. The overcast day meant I got an amazing negative, with huge amounts of detail in every area of the frame - from shadows to sky, with no need for dodging or burning. As a downside to this, the gorgeous shadows on the building of the previous shot were lost, resulting in what is a drastically different image compared to before.
Third Shoot - Final Landscape Prints
This is another of my submitted landscapes, and another that Iâ€™m very pleased with. While Iâ€™d prefer to have it free of the person and car, this could have had be waiting hours as it was very busy. When walking around shooting my eye was drawn to this scene by the sheer amount of natural contrast. The deep red brick building with lighter brick patterns mirrored that of the dark tarmac and bright lines in the foreground. Most of the frame was so clean, and I couldnâ€™t help but shoot it. Even shooting hand-held, I managed to get the image straight, though there are some converging verticals. I think this shot works well, like the last, as a showcase of the different types of architecture found in the area. The larger building in the background is more similar to the high rise flats previously, but the brick building in the foreground is a nice change of pace. Initially I wondered if this difference in architecture would take away from the set rather than add to it, but with only three images I think it can be important to have a good range. My print of this image was very successful, once again not needed to be dodged, burned, or split exposed due to the overcast day. I did have to make two prints as the negative had a lot of visible hair and particles in the original, but after cleaning the negative, the reprint was perfect.
Third Shoot - Final Landscape Prints
Geographically, this image is just about between the other two, giving the set of three a good mix of the area. This image has a lot more going on than the previous, but I think it works. Iâ€™ve tried to capture some of the more green space in the area as a contrast to the structure heavy scenes in the other photos. It still contains a lot of building work, but this time has a transition from high rise structures, through trees and onto the more traditional church on the right. A fair amount of thought actually went into the composition of the image: The cut path, the single set of windows on the left, and most importantly - the further away flats framed by the trees. I took another photo at the same location but pointed towards the building on the left. While I also liked this image, I felt that the tree was more of an obstruction, whereas in my chosen print I use the tree as a framing device.
Third Shoot - Final Portrait Print
On the right is my final environmental portrait, and I’m pretty happy with it. My subject is Alex, a young man I met online that was interested in my project. Some of his initial words to me were “As background to my place in the community, I’m part of one of the recent waves of semi-artsy 20-somethings who moved to the neighbourhood, into housing that at one point would’ve belonged to a long-term resident of the community. All part of the changing demographic that’s lead to more coffee shops and junk shops opening around the area. I’d call it gentrification, but none of us have got any money, either.” We agreed to meet up at a coffee shop near him and have a chat. He told me about the area and himself. He works in the theatre industry, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to guess from his renaissance looking brown shirt along with a mohawk. Talking to him about the area felt important, as I believe that researching what you’re shooting is important, even if it’s not directly relevant. He showed me around the area he lived and places of interest. We talked about how the area felt neighbourly and friendly, but gentrification was slowly creeping in. We discussed some of the issues this causes, but admitted that it was hard for either of us to criticise it too heavily as we’re the sort of people that are adding to a lot of it. He seemed very charismatic, but not sure exactly how to act in front of the camera. Even with a straight face he seemed smiling, but I really feel this is a good reflection of his chirpy personality. My final print here on the right was actually one of the earlier photos I took with him, but ended up coming out great. Here I feel he was at his most natural, which is really important to me. I wasn’t looking for anything too posed, even if he was able to pull it off without seeming awkward. I wanted a real photo of him, in the area where he lives, and that’s what I got. I believe the photo has a lot of technical merit also. I managed to stop down to f/4 to isolate him from the background, which is particularly important when you have white skin against a white sky and a mohawk in front of branches. The light is catching on the edge of his coat, which also helps to separate him from his surroundings. He’s well placed in the image, between the trees, almost framed by them. Over to the right there’s a lot of rich contrast from underneath the bridge, with the serendipity of a car driving through, and its brake lights bloomed into pentagons due to the stop down to f/4. I didn’t have much trouble printing the image, though I did have make two prints, as the first was just a little too light. The sky in the image is very bright due to the overcast clouds, but the trees make a great border around the edges of the print so I didn’t feel the need to burn in the sky.
Third Shoot - Unused Prints I have a couple of prints I didn’t submit, and for various reasons. It’s not that I think they are bad, but they aren’t up to a good enough standard to replace one of the others. The landscape on the left is nice, but is fairly weak photograph in my opinion. The houses in the foreground are at street level, which is slightly lower than the flat grass of the park. This makes them very awkward in the frame, and they all end up looking like half a house. It’s taken at a bit of an angle upwards too, giving the buildings converging verticals. If the camera was pointed straight the picture would have consisted of a lot of grass and sky, coupled with a strip of buildings in the middle. This print gets worse the more I look at it, and it’s not something I would submit. The portrait on the right was nearly a good image, but I just don’t like it much compared to the other one. He’s stood naturally and looks good, but Alex and the post are just too close to the edge of the frame in my opinion. He becomes less of the image, and the posts he’s stood next to are in the centre of the frame. I had a couple of other more cropped in shots that were okay, but I haven’t made prints of them. Ideally, I’d like the shot to be a little closer in while still full length, with Alex brought more into the frame and put onto a rule of thirds line.
Research Andreas Gursky I’m a big fan of Gursky’s work, and I’ve seen some in person also. What gives his images their power and is mostly their size, but that isn’t really what I love most about his work. Like Baltz, but even more so, Gursky is an incredible example of precision. He plays a lot with shapes and detail. The windows in Gursky’s photo-stitch of flats from France instantly resonate with me thinking about my location and the high rise flats. While mine would be black and white and in 5x4, I’d want to try and achieve a similar effect with my final image. Images like these suit large format, and slow photography in general, incredibly well. The precision of Gursky’s frames match up so well with large format, as taking the photo is already taking you many minutes at a time, so you might as well spend a few more minutes to line up every window perfectly. The biggest hurdle I’m going to face will be getting an image like this to work alongside the others, but I may just find that it does naturally.
Research Thomas Ruff Thomas Ruff is a photographer who’s architectural works I have only recently come across. His links to Düsseldorf School of Photography movement is incredibly obvious. Like many others: Baltz, Bechers, Gurksy, there is a massive emphasis on shape and structure. This is something, as always, that I’m drawn to. He has an amazing eye for the mundane and the monotonous, and seems obsessed with indexicality and repetitiveness enough that his portraits could probably work well alongside his architecture and landscapes. I love his work, and the Düsseldorf style, but I feel like I have to refrain from using this sort of style in some cases in favour of telling a wider story or making sure I don’t limit my potential works.
Forth Shoot - Architecture While I think my large format shoot went well, I would love the opportunity to re-do it. I didn’t realise what a massive undertaking shooting large format was, and I wish I could have been more prepared. Setting up in the field really does take a lot of time just for a single shot. I felt that the booking system makes large format a bit of a pain due to the three day bookings. Of the three days you only have one full day, and for me, that day was cold and cloudy. The biggest challenge for me was framing the images, as I forgot the cloth and had to use my coat. The f/5.6 lens isn’t particularly bright either making the camera a real pain to use in general. It’s a long and tedeious process for each shot, but one that I could probably enjoy if I had more time. My location actually had masses of potential for large format, though I certainly haven’t used it to the full. All the tower blocks I shot are actually private property, and I had to shoot over the fences. While being able to lift the front lens element helps massively, It’s not enough to get the fence out of frame.
Forth Shoot - Architecture I’m happy with my final architecture print, but it isn’t perfect. I would have much preferred to be on the other side of the fence when shooting this image. It was actually surprisingly difficult to get this print, as I had to find a precise balance between the dark and light areas. The building in my frame was extremely grey and dull, which meant I had to run through a lot of test strips to get the exposure correct. The building would often come out seeming as if it needed to be brighter, but it was in fact a very accurate depiction of a dull building. This low natural contrast meant that I had to go all the way up to a 4.5 grade exposure to bring the image to life. I debated going up to five, but I think I would have started to lose the detail in the fence at this stage, as the foreground was considerably darker than the building. My biggest issue with the image is the fact that I was at the slightest angle, not perfectly parallel. I spent a long time making sure I was completely parallel along the vertical place as to avoid converging verticals, but I’d apparently neglected being perfectly parallel horizontally. It doesn’t ruin the image as it is hard to see, but the pipe or wire coming in the left had side of the frame certainly bothers me. This is actually a much bigger issue than the fence and bush in my opinion, While I’d prefer the image to be pure building, I’m sure some viewers would like the addition of the fence, and I think the fence being at a slight diagonal while the building remains straight. I’m still happy with my print, and I think it works visually with the others, but I wish I had given myself more time. The print also had to be on glossy paper as the department had run out of pearl. I’m fine with this, but Ideally I’d like the paper to be consistent through all the prints.
Evaluation Working with film is something I enjoy and have done a lot of, though I’ve never actually used medium or large format before. This obviously means it’s been incredibly important for me, and I’ve gained masses of skills that I know I’ll be needing as I want to begin using film for all my personal projects. It’s been refreshing having to go back to basics and use technical knowledge once again. I’ve enjoyed having to meter, set everything manually, and take my time doing so. I initially had a lot of issues with light leaks on my rolls of film, but eventually deduced that it was most likely my own doing. I’m glad I’ve picked this up now, as it could have been a lot more costly in the future.
Slow analogue photography has given me an amazing opportunity to really explore the types of photography that I’m passionate about, that being from New Topographics - both from New American Colour as well as Düsseldorf. A challenge for me was the different types of images we had to include, which stopped me pigeonholing into a single style. If we could shoot in whatever style we wanted, i would potentially have shot completely architectural, even so far as trying to insert a person into an architectural photograph. The introduction of a person was also difficult for me, as I’m so used to shooting completely empty scenes. I don’t usually like taking photos of people, and I couldn’t bring myself to approach a stranger unfortunately. Meeting Alex online was effectively like meeting a stranger, but us being in the same boat took the edge off enough for me to go through with it. This process of finding someone just for a single print was undoubtedly a huge time sink, but I believe it’s paid off. I feel like I know the area better and have just a little bit more of a right to make statements about it through my photographs. My biggest mistake in this rotation was the inability to get out of the pit I was in and begin work. I had a lot of issues with mental health after returning after Easter, which meant my time management has been far from ideal, and while it doesn’t excuse a lower quality of work, it may explain it. This left me with far less time than I needed for my large format shoot. Large format was a huge undertaking, and while I’m pretty happy with my end result, I feel that my overall outcome for this project could have been better had I put more time into it. I am fairly happy with my final prints, but If I had put more time into my research file, I believe I could have had a more concise project with a stronger narrative behind it. I set out in this project to tell the most I could about my location through just five images. I feel that my images do their job well, and from what I’ve learned researching and talking to Alex, I feel that I’ve learned enough to make this representation fairly. I’ve enjoyed this rotation, but I would have enjoyed it more if I’d had better organisation, and I think my research file would have more accurately reflected this.