Portraiture: Feet by Ed Hands Final Major Project
Sketchbook I 2014 1
I: A Brief Introduction to Portraiture Before I embarked on this project, I thought it necessary to research the portrait and how it has evolved over 20000 years. Portraiture is a that has dominated Art for centuries. It is one of the most common and long lasting forms of documentation. It has been around since the Stone Ages, where, 20,000 years ago, animals were painted by prehistoric men for a reason we are unsure of.
“I look down towards his feet, But that’s a fable.” Othello - William Shakespeare - Act V Scene II - 1604
However the word Portraiture has not existed for a long period of time. It comes, unsurprisingly, from a time where the portrait was becoming more popular as artists became more common and skilful, and self indulgence did too. It comes directly from Middle French. “A figure drawn or painted , ” however it also comes from the old French word “portret” which was around in the 13th century. The word also states that it is “to paint, depict” especially of the head and face of a person.1
A more traditional portrait comes from around the time of the invention of the word: the 16th Century, where artists depicted, like in this portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, the face & head of the subject. They not only recorded who they where & what they looked like, but what they were like & what they did. This portrait of Castiglione is by Raphael, one of the finest artists of his time. He painted it in 1514-1515. Portraiture became more popular as artists had now grasped obstacles like perspective & were now able to create what they saw in front of them.
Cave Drawing from Grotte de Font de Gaume 2
Castiglione was a Humanist and a Diplomat. He was also a friend of Raphael’s. Both of these were reasons for painting his portrait because in the 16th century, portraits were reserved for the wealthy as portraits weren’t as accessible as they are today with such opportunities like the “Selfie”. Castiglione is famous for writing the book ‘The Book of the Courtier’ which offers a guide to being the perfect 16th century courtier and an insight into renaissance court-life. Portraiture, in the 16th century, was a sign of wealth, power and knowledge. The influence of the classical period is abundant in every renaissance portrait/artwork.
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Raphael’s portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, 1514-15. 3
Etymology of Portrait, Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=portrait Image taken from http://www.northofthedordogne.com/leseyziescaves.php Image taken from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Baldassare_Castiglione_(Raphael)
Portrait of Federico Da Montefeltro & Battista Sforza, Piero Della Francesca, 1465-64
Santiago, an honour that very very few spaniards have/ had ( The sign of which is on his chest in Las Meninas.
He was one of the Spanish ambassador to the Netherlands during the thirty years war, where he acquired a strong friendship with fellow ambassador and painter Peter Paul Rubens. Diplomatically, Velázquez managed to also acquire some Renaissance masterpieces for Phillip IV’s court, which to this day, remain in Spain in El Museo del Prado. Those paintings include paintings by some of the true renaissance masters: Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Rafael. The trip was not just diplomatic; he went on the advice of Rubens to improve his painting skills to view the master’s works. Afterwards, This influence of classical antiquity, can also be found there was a dramatic change in his work. In a way, he in this 15th century portrait of another man who resid- was instrumental in the increase of status of the artist. ed in Urbino: The Duke of Urbino, Federico Da Montefeltro & his wife Battista Sforza. Painted by Piero Del- And this painting sums it all up: it’s a self portrait and la Francesca in 1465-6, he was one of the earliest artists also, a royal portrait. It is also a genre painting however to master perspective. In this portrait he obeys the clas- how is it a royal portrait? La Infanta Margarita can be sical principles. For example, both subjects are shown seen directly in the centre however in the mirror in the in profile. Classically speaking, this shows importance background to the right of Velázquez is a mirror reflectand power because emperors were shown in profile ing an image of the King & Queen. But is it a reflection on coins, like we have toof the enormous canvas or real life. And are we, the day with our queen and viewer standing next to them or the actual reflection? in the roman coin below. The status of the artist is then questioned again when However, in the portrait we realise what the paintings are in the background. of Castiglione, but not in Della Francesca’s portrait, are hands. In terms of classical antiquity, showing 5 hands is a sign of impor- Denarius of Marcus Aurelius tance. As much as the skill of the artist was improving greatly, his role in the court remained the same. They struggled to excel in court-life, neither were they able to show their success. Self Portraits were still a popular subject; almost every artist did one & in very different ways. Perhaps the most unusual of which, is below. It is no Rembrandt because it is more than just a self portrait. It is also far too complex and intellectual to be just a self portrait. Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez was painted in the 17th century in the Spanish court. It was painted in 1656, when Phillip IV ruled Spain. Velázquez was not just a court painter: he assumed multiple roles in Phillip IV’s court. He had a similar role to someone like Castiligione, except he was better. In my eyes he was special because he could apply himself to multiple different situations. He was an ambassador, a diplomat and an outstanding painter. He was also a member of El Orden de 4 Image taken from http://www.wga.hu/index1.html 5 Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Marcus_Aurelius_Denarius2.jpg
On the back wall alongside the mirror are two paintings (possibly copies by Velázquez’s son in law, Juan Bautista Del Mazo) by Peter Paul Rubens that are scenes taken from Ovid’s Metamorphases. 2 of the scenes that Art Historians have identified are Minerva punishing Arachne and Apollo’s victory over Marsyas. Both myths are competitiions where humans challenge gods and the human wins, pointing towards the godly powers that Velázquez claims he has. His vanity is also noted by how he has his tools in the painting to show that from his palette and paintbrush, he can create a masterpiece. 7
Art, in general, had evolved extensively in 19th century. Rather than painting exactly what you saw in front of you, you painted your impression. And the painting on the left exemplifies that. It shows Monet’s wife in the blustery wind that rushes across the picture. We also have the sense that it is a beautiful day with bright green grass and a great blue sky. Her swirl to turn back towards the viewer is dramatic but is also romantic. Her gaze tells us that she is wondering what her husband is doing. The boy stands their with no problem with what is going on around him. The title hints toward a more generic portrait; a portrait of no royalty but just By the 19th Century, Painting & Portraiture was much a woman, with her son and a parasol. Moreover, it is a more accessible. So much so that people decided to take very informal portrait. a more lateral approach to it. They looked in other directions for portraits because they were so realistic by Monet formed part of a new style that this painting is this point. Rather than offer a true, realistic portrait, also part of. Impressionism was a new style of which they wanted to show an impression and offer an atmos- its basis was to offer an impression of the scene the phere. They also didn’t want to just paint the rich and painter was in, now that painters no painted on scene. wealthy, they wanted to paint different people from all Impressionism was anti-academic especially visually. classes. Both of the paintings below show that. They However the focus was on the impression and the atare both from two different 19th century styles and art- mosphere, not on the landscape. It expresses an indiists. Below is Claude Monet’s impressionistic portrait of viduality in each impressionists work because what we Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son see is their sensation, not ours. The term Impressionand on the right is Gustave Courbet’s The Stonebreak- ism was coined by a critic who was referring to how ers, a painting that belongs to realism. Courbet’s mas- unfinished these paintings appeared to be. 9 terpiece was painted in 1849-50 and Monet’s portrait was painted in 1875. 8 Realism, on the other hand, was very real, and very naturalistic. Whereas before it would be an unworthy representation in high art to portray the lower classes, in the second half of the 19th century it was not. Realism attempted to create objective representations of the world based on observation on their surroundings. 10 Courbet’s Stonebreakers was one of the first realist paintings. To show their depravity, they are facelesstheir pose is angular to show the monotony of the task. 11
Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, 16566 4
6 Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Las_Meninas_(1656),_by_Velazquez.jpg
7 Information in this paragraph and previous taken from books on Velázquez which can be found in bibliography. 8 Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File: Claude_Monet_-_Woman_with_a_Parasol_-_Madame_ Monet_and_Her_Son_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
9 Information on Impressionism taken from http://www. oxfordartonline.com/ 10 Information on Realism taken from http://www. oxfordartonline.com/ 11 Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_ Stone_Breakers
in hand. It shows the hardship and boredom of manual labour in the countryside which is shown in a completely different aspect to which we are use to. However it is reduced to a relative minimum due to its focus on the characters; who are expressionless. Their job shows no satisfaction whilst their is no engagement between us and them. The subjects, whilst one is looking to old and the other too young, the claustrophobic composition highlights the physical and economical isolation by the hills we see in the background. It shows an unidentifiable stark honesty. Courbet shows no concern for the rich, in fact, in one way he is criticising their lack of consideration for the poor whereas he shows every consideration for them. Courbet disagreed that the subjects are heroic, saying that they are ‘pitiable figures’. 12 This shows the improvement of status of the artist: he is able to express himself freely with no fear whatsoever.
studio. 13 It doesn’t fail to document the person and their characteristics. Yousuf Karsh is a photographer who does just that but with phenomenal visual qualities. Here, for example, in Karsh’s portrait of Violinist Jascha Heifetz. On a basic level, we the viewer can tell that he is a violinist- a skilful one too. However it is the aesthetics that stun me. The lighting is superb- which consequently makes almost everything visual in this photo excellent. The superb lighting leads to a high a mount of interesting intricate little details. Moreover, the lighting leads to a considerably wide tonal range with strong highlights, dark shadows and interesting midtones. Although in shadow, his left hand is also perfectly lit- it is not completely in shadow and it is not lighted in a manner that is distracting. The variety of tones increase the quantity of texture, which we can see in his forehead. Everything is also in focus. The composition of the image, too is extremely strong. He uses the violin to his advantage. The violin leads you to his face and his hand comes in not in a distracting way. The cropping is almost radical cropping. Karsh has taken this photo in such a way that we can realise Heifetz’s hard face comes from Europe but it contrasts against his delicate fingers. he doesn’t grip the violin strongly and his right hand index finger is lifted delicately in the air. It is evident, that Karsh has done lots of work on this photo in the darkroom- he has dodged the forehead and possibly burned the jacket and background.
It is a shame I have to keep skipping so many great works of portraiture. 3 and a bit pages so far does not do it justice in any way. By this point, I have failed to include The Mona Lisa, work by Michelangelo,Vermeer’s work, Ancient Egyptian artwork and sculpture, the Wilton Diptych, 12 Years a Slave, Venus de Milo & so many photographers and of course, many more. It is a shame there is no sculpture too. However, once more, I am going to have to skip forward another century to Photographic Portraiture in the 20th century. Typically today, a portrait is taken2using a camera and also in a
In his photo of Churchill, it is the expression of his face that people love. It exemplifies the Churchillian spirit. His frown shows he is ageing. Again, Karsh has looked back to antiquity to see that showing hands is a sign of importance and skill, and he has done this in both of them. Moreover, he has lit them individually ie separately from lighting the face and body.
strong contrast of light leads us toward her face. Although Avedon’s portraits are conventional photographic portraits, there is an air of unconventionality; he captures them in a pose they are comfortable in and one they are renowned for them. This allows the portraits to be natural with full of expression which brings a voice of freedom to them. This photo of Judy Garland is a perfect example of them. She is a crowd lover ( her outstretched hand engages with the imagined audience) , strong willed (strong base and posture), stylish (dress and shoes). If the photographer of Yousuf Karsh, rather than Richard Avedon, or a renaissance painter, the outcome would be more controlled and less full of expression.
Both photos show traditional and conventional studio portraits.
Another photographer who did conventional studio portraits, except some of his work is in colour is Richard Avedon. His photos are just as powerful and amazing as Karsh’s. Here is a full portrait of his, something that Karsh rarely does. It is of singer and actress Judy Garland. 15 Over the 20th century, Photorgaphy has developed considerably and this has lead to an increase of accessibility so for example, we today can use cameras and naturally therefore, take portraits. Consequently, we are now able to take portraits almost anywhere we want. Nan Goldin, is someone who applies to this principle. Goldin is someone who completely disappears behind the lens which in a way, allows her judgements to be absent. Her subjects do not notice her. Her photographs focus on her close friends, many of whom died prematurely due to contracting AIDS or drug overdoses. However, at the same time, she is able to communicate her presence as a compassionate eye. According to Guido Costa she is more of a ‘reporter who accepts things as they are.’ 16
Below is the photo Karsh is perhaps, famous for: his portrait of Winston Churchill, during World War II.314
Here is a self portrait of Goldin entitled ‘Nan one month The composition in this image is fantastic. This is be- after being battered, New York, 1984’ This shows she cause of her pose. It is a commanding one and one that can also accept how she is, enough so that she is hapshows what she does: sings. We can see her singing in py enough to take a photo of herself. 17 Though, as it. I think a crucial part of the composition is her left you can probably sympathise with me, it is there mainly arm in the hand on hip position because it supports as documentation and proof that a horrible action had her posture and draws a strong line into her face and taken place. outstretched arm. The outstretched arm hints at an audience that admires her. We too, admire her because we view her from a low vantage point. The way she is stood is also a commanding one with her feet wide apart. The background fades magnificently around her. It fades in a way that makes her appear to be glowing. It also fades upwards to bring you towards her face. However, in no way is the background distracting. The dress has been cleverly chosen too. It is the darkest object in the photo, thus it draws attention and it contrasts with her face: the brightest part of teh photo and the focal point, so the 12 Quote taken from https://www.msu.edu/course/ ha/446/eisenmancourbet.pdf 13 image taken from russianmind.com
14 image taken from http://www.britannica.com/ EBchecked/media/1029/Winston-Churchill-photographed-byYousuf-Karsh-1941
image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Avedon-judy.jpg judy garland
16 Page 13, Nan Goldin, Guido Costa, Phaidon, 2005 17 image taken from http://www.artandsmoke.com/ nan-goldin/
Goldin’s Self portrait displays the aftermath of a difficult relationship. To say the least, the photo is very unsparing. Goldin sees this photo as a warning to colouring nostalgia and to making the same mistake twice. This portrait is different from every other portrait that i have mentioned and shown so far because in every other portrait, the aim was to make the person and the picture look aesthetically interesting and beautiful. However in this, there is no sense of trying to make some look beautiful at all. Goldin shows her subjects in places that they are normally never shown. In this particular case, in the bedroom. In this image, ‘Couple in bed, Chicago, 1977’ we see just that. 18 The couple, are obviously, close friends of Goldin’s but the trust that is evident to the viewer shows us something that is usually kept private. Costa goes onto say that this photo expresses ‘what Goldin perceives as the peculiar estrangement and alienation that occurs after sex between men and women’. 19 Referring back to portraiture we can realise that portraiture has now become much more open with non-existent boundaries. The strict rules that were developed from the Roman times right to the end of the old masters has now been completely forgotten. This is, in my opinion, mainly down to the increasing accessibility of portraiture. It is more mobile so rather than keeping your high quality camera safe in a studio, you are now able to take it to a bedroom and get equally good results. Moreover, with its increasing accessibility comes an ability to take a photo of whatever you want or whatever you see whenever. Johnny Stiletto is a photographer who does just that. He is a street photographer and in his book Vintage 80s, he covers the everyday occurrences of London in the 1980s.
Martin Parr is an artist who has had a great influence on the work I have created here, and when I was at school. His style is timeless, witty and skilful. Like Stiletto, his main focus is not on portraiture but on the cultures that surround us. According to Val Williams Parr’s photos are ‘a visual extravaganza; a large and skilfully honed collection of aesthetic devices that are used not just to define a social point or to underline a cultural statement, but for their own sake, in celebration of Photography’s singularity as a still, two dimensional image acting as a mirror to the way we live’ . 22 Like Goldin, Parr’s aim is to show things as they are and not to flatter the subject with nice light. He often shoots with a ring flash. Here are two examples of his work. Both images are from his book Small World where he travels to the world’s main tourist destinations. Below are just two of them: on the left was taken in Bethlehem and on the right , it was taken in Las Vegas. 23 24
Both images are humorous because both facial expressions are comical and full of expression; the Christmas card seller looks hot and tired on the right we have a scowl which we infer as “why are you taking a photo of me?” The expression is matched in its boldness by the boldness in the font of the USA, expressing the avid patriotism that resides in any American.
From the start, in his text Stiletto outlines the broad range of happenings that goes on in London by saying ‘There are two zoos in London. One is Regent’s Park and the other is everywhere else’ . 20 Stiletto’s work is mainly documenting culture, and not portraiture, but it can be considered a form of portraiture, especially when photos in Vintage 80s include this image, entitled Back View on the right. 21 The photo is very much an alternative portrait. To start with, we don’t see the face but we can instantly recognise that it is a person. Moreover, we cannot see their whole body. The camera has been tilted at an angle too. On first viewing, one might think that this photo lacks expression because we cannot see their face. However, there is expression but it is limited. To me, it expresses a sense of openness and confidence, because from the small amount of the person we can see, we can tell that she has taken a big stride. Moreover, although it is a portrait, it is mainly documenting the style of the 80s where open backs were in fashion.
The photo on the left is humorous and well composed. However the image on the right is much stronger in my opinion. This is because it has the humour of the other photo but its composition is perfect. The arrow leads you to the subject and his companion. The road lines add an element of perspective and leading lines that lead you from the secondary focal point, the Arc de Triomphe. It stands, triumphantly, just to the left of the subjects, enough so they don’t clash with each other. Nor however, does the Arch clash with the buildings that are in the background. Although the subject is placed to one side, he still remains the focal point. It is a coherent photo revolving around boldness: it is a bold expression, bold text, a bold, blunt, rectangular arch and bold lines and arrows on the pavement.
Another photographer who documents the British culture in a similar but also different way is Martin Parr.
As a portrait however, the image on the right works well as I have just evaluated above because we can read into the character of the subject. In the left hand image, the focus isn’t so much on portraiture. Although we can see that he is hot and tired as he slouches in his chair, the focus is on the selling of Christmas cards, as it is clearly a tourist attraction because in the Jewish calendar, there is no Christmas. It is very well in focus; so much so that we can see his belt has Jerusalem moulded into the buckle.
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image taken from http://nomadik.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/nan-goldin-couple-in-bed/ Page 22, Nan Goldin, Guido Costa, Phaidon, 2005 Chapter 1: London Zoo, Page 1, Vintage 80s, Johnny Stiletto, 2011. image taken from http://byrnenotice.com/london-in-the-80s-is-a-humorous-and-revealing-social-commentary/
Introduction, Page 10, Martin Parr, Val Williams, 2002. Image taken from http://www.pinterest.com/tonroque/martin-parr/ Image taken from http://agaucheouadroite.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/la-france-dapres-selon-houellebecq.html
Interlude: Here are some many more works of portraiture that I would really love to include as their work is so magnificent.
11 There are still many more than just these portraits. All images sourced from wikepedia.com or google.
Although Parr’s main aim is not portraiture, he certainly provides a different kind to a ever-widening genre. His portrayal of a culture however, is astounding. Parr continues to be a major influence in my work and I cannot imagine not looking at his work again for any of my future work. In my most recent project, however, I failed to. My most recent project was on Sports photography, so, it made sense not to look at Parr. It started by looking at quintessential sports photographs and how I could achieve them. Sports photography is a relatively untouched area when it comes to artwork. Is it perhaps because they are simply working with another art form. Although relatively untouched, Sport has been visited as a subject area by artists. More specifically and perhaps most recently, Turner Prize winning artist Douglas Gordon and Phillippe Parreno made a film called Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait . 25 They have “painted” another painter. It follows Zidane with 19 cameras for a whole game. The idea originated from their desire to see what happens to their idol/the viewer’s idol when he disappears from the TV screen. And because of this, as Gordon pointed out ‘He is the protagonist of the story without the story being shown’ without a script. 26 He, we, and Zidane had no idea what was going to happen. According to Parreno & Gordon, they didn’t even know whether he was going to be playing. The portrait is more psychological than a visual portrait. It is a 3d portrait covered from 19 cameras. Whilst he assists in Real Madrid scoring a goal, he is portrayed as an archaic and ageing hero. He also manages to receive a red card towards the end of the game. The music aids a great deal in this. As Zidane fails to say anything more than ‘Allí’, the film relies a great deal on the sounds. Microphones record the fans, his footsteps and a Spanish commentary, which thankfully is so fast & so quiet we can’t understand it. It would ruin it if we could. Moreover the music is abstract with long periods without regular beats. The music is very enigmatic, and therefore matches very well with its protagonist. I think the fact he says nothing but allí helps to make the film so powerful because it shows how silent and calm he is. It shows you don’t need to shout when you play. Moreover, Gordon and Parreno didn’t want to make ‘ A heroic portrait’ 27. Instead, we see him as ageing but wise (to an extent!) because he runs the minimum amount, receives the ball and moves it on. And when compelled to dribble, he dribbles.
To add towards the psychological insight to Zidane, the film is accompanied by excellent text which is taken from interviews, presumably. All of the questions asked target at what he was thinking and feeling at the time. They also focus on ‘at that moment’ in half time. They successfully negotiate the problem of half time by showing a parody to ‘on this day’ by telling us what was going on outside the stadium at the same time. Although the film is an alternative portrait and it reveals how skilful and who Zidane really is on the inside, it struggles to entertain for a full 90 minutes. The sound and music does a great job to entertain and ‘keep you hooked’ however, the second half is almost a repeat of the first half. The text is repeated in the second half and as much as that is very clever, you get the feeling you’re watching the same thing twice over. However by doing this, it amplifies the importance of what he is saying. As much as it will be harder to understand, I would in truth, recommend you to watch just the second half because their is more action, showing Zidane’s amazing skills but also his personality because at the very end of the game, he gets sent off. What made most sense was watching the extras which included an interview with the directors, Zidane and how they made the movie. My notes on the film are on the next page. 25 Image taken from pogmogoal.com 26&27 Supplementary Interview with Directors from extras part of DVD, Universal International, 2007.
II: Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait Notes • game 2006 between vilareal and real madrid. vilareal dominate but lose 2-1 to a starstudded madrid team. • Music. Really cool drums guitar. Serious but hallucinatory • Stadium sound introduced before visuals which helps to grow atmosphere • Lowquality camera tehn zooms in really slowly to start the game. The camerawork already looks really good. • Really really clever text. I like the font too. Who could’ve imagined that in the future on an ordinary day like this might be forgotten or remembered as anything more or less significant than a walk in the park • Really clever camera work you think you follow the game ie the story but then you switch back to zidane • Lots of tight crops especially radical ones on face • Sudden cuts for example burst of stadium shot then back to zid • same goes to sound ie • lots of good non-sport-game-like tv work ie arty focus on net with loud fans • Really low vantage cameras • Zidane calm everybody running he’s just walking. the other players with the ball just run into the picture. • Music always in quieter shots ie when no crowd • Not a single word yet • Focus on his legs A lot • Is he miked? it’s really loud with perfect balance but it’s really close. we can hear him breathe, his footsteps. • none of the problems i’m experience with my psorts photogrpahy: ie no problems wiht focus and background. the background is very dark and they have much muhc better kit! • You get the sense he’s a legend. He makes a foul hands up and then charms the referee as if he’s a minor. no Aggro at all. He knows he’s done it but why hands up? • plenty of fan’s horns • Lots of slow zooming in on legs • Lots of echo in music • Background almost always completely black • No focus on managers or lines, • You can follow the game through him ball isn’t necessary • now been a while since quiet shot and here it is. Refreshing change. Keep you interested.
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the ball booms when it’s passed. is that miked!?!?! Zid Never angry never happy They pick up when graze his foot in grass Lots of abstract shots of sound speakers and floodlights and him looking up Then text. Meantime camera shots are of him full length more really interesting text about the voice he hears/d whilst shots of feet Music growing louder and more dramatic he talks about what you hear. ie when not palying well you start to hear bad comments compare this to geogre best movie... is that even an influence? Text is used to avoid spoken word and typical sports audible interview to keep focus on him, game and their contexts Zidane watches on in his majestic calmness while players shout and run frantically whilst he controls game. No drama because he is so calm. Opposition let Zidane run. They press theyi never commit nor do they give him much space Itd be boring without text. Txt gives food for thought Wide star filter shot of stadium from bottom left corner right in front of advertising billboards I have to say I can empathise as a sports player myself in what he says gd quote The game the event is not necessarily Experienced or remembered in real time my memories of games and events are fragmented another gd one sometimes you feel that everything Has already been decided The script has already been written chosen time for changing shot is not dictated by the beat of the music, which allows continuity You see what he says then you can read his face you can read him This is really clever (below): talks about decision during boring play. Once text over we return to noise and fans and a whistle blown and fans disgruntled as it’s very close offering reall opportunity to oppo. It then Goes silent again as we see the replays hear the Spanish commentators grumble over it with music pentaly to villareal We hear it hit woodwork and then it goes silent. We focus in Zidane but see oppo celebrate run past. Here comes text I imagine. Lots of mike coming in Then we see Zidane approach lineman he says. You should be ashamed. Interesting. enigmatic. really enigmatic.
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Corner is like hooves of a thousand horses Zidane walks off head down close radical crop Music abstract arises for half time It cuts no sign of cliche walk into tunnel.. New location and scene To April 2005 offereing what’s going on outside of stadium pupetteer brings bob Marley to life in ipanema beach horrendous flooding in Serbia Montenegro etc Then a car bomb in Iraq with images of it with guy wearing Zidane shirt then the same first words reiterated at half time To bring you back to game to drive this into your head I’ve lost it i can’t sit back into it. The half time show has taken me away. I haven’t got the power I needed from that now I can’t face watching another 45 of this unless something happens soonish Making you think again he has to be miked I just heard him spit clean This is letting you inside best player in world. More physiological than I thought it would be You pick up on player twitches More abstract noises than music comes out then guitar and we sense something coming Oppo are in control of game Epiphany like cut goes to grass and clear cut opportunity issed by oppo Music very subtle very slow tempo no regular beat Piano making music more emotional as it gets louder Shots of empty stadium stare wells and cafés And etc Then goes out to game and zooms in on it dramatically l He doesn’t give off much fitness I mean he’s not trying that hard There’s more to this film than I thought but I’m not gripped to it as I thought I would be Very little commentary. Comes in little dips but not often and constant Shots of big screen And replays flatter background due to fans i think this film would be more powerful if you chose where to watch it. ie they put you in a black room rather tahn me watching this at home sort of ruins it Zidane assists a goal. It comes out of nowhere bit he dribbles a lot down the lline and there is no sound apart from a few grunts the stadium and the ball. No shouting
• He seems separate from the rest. doesn’t really celebrate • lots of loudened feet when on the counter I likey • Another goal Zidane doesn’t celebrate a little pat and it’s do e • Pat on the back well after goal • He hasn’t had the ball loads • You can isolate his style too and technique. So good all the time first touch • He almost seems insecure like small personality never happy but calm and never angry just a little frustrated • Remember his headbutt on materazzi easily offended not happy man • Clever. Very slow transition. Music comes in abstract noises almost then it slows down the visuals do on footsteps to no sound • Then stadium back in very fast • a man of little emotion • Reference the idol saying you should be ashamed as part of the ref compilation • He’s starting to get angry as he’s tired IMO • cornering ref after foul and increasing faster beat of music drum. He doesn’t want to lose. Almost nervous • He smiles for first time • Then Zidane gets involved in fight He like his side he’ll protect them Noise deaf intending one note brings the pressure • He’s a brooding character • Red card given after long long pause • He walks off no complaint head down no real emotion His own players are saying something but at the moment just music and little fans • More like you played brilliantly they’re wrong. ing support for the insecure man who’s their best. But to be fair that team is amazing • He walks off the field applauded no music wide shot he is very bright the rest very dark and handshake with Capello • Then clever and planned cut to point up to sky in darkness fast • he sort of forgets the camer’s watching when he gets sent off • end
III: Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait Extras Notes • What’s the hero doing • Zidane had same idea himself what was his hero doing when cameras weren’t watching • NOT MANY SHOTS THAT SHOW NEITHER STORY NOR LLAYER HAS TO MAINLY BE EITHER OR • How did you do it • 19 cameras • They jumped hoops • They went through certain scenarios like just one camera • The other scenario was to have a thousand record him which would be really cool but impossible • they relied on trust and after editing • They were not happy with the making of it • 2 years of discussion • They allowed people who are much better at job that we are • Velazquez captures the perfect moment between waking and sleeping. In regard to the best images are the ones in your head • HE IS MAIN INFLUENCE STRANGELY • screen much wider all of a sudden • They didn’t want to make heroic portrait they got antique hero instead • He said when he sees his eyes he knows exactly what he was thinking about • Why Zidane • Zidane asked them why too • Difficult to answer still but he still remains enigmatic now • Basically enigmatic and example materazzi • He doesn’t exist before the first kick of the ball and he doesn’t exist after the final kick of the ball • He is the total footballer • Idea was around since 95 and they always said do zid • Enigmatic portrait • What goes on when the tv isn’t there • They looked at v because he a portrait artist • So they then asked how much would it take to document this painting as if it we’re re the match or Zidane • You’re gazing you have plenty of time to appreciate • Half time idea: there from start but Zidane gave idea by saying now when I play I know that there isn’t only footy in my life. It’d not at centre of universe. Things are happening elsewhere • It’s a technological portrait half time • It’s a larelel reality. Showing existence outside of
stadium • Basically half time was inspired by context. • Time. • We see it from in the round. Not from tv perspective they want to see it from behind the cameras so cameras all angles • It doesn’t conform to theatrical convention because you have people coming in form all different angles and you don’t know who it is or when • It’s a museum piece not for cinema • Velazquez and Goya are influences. Waking and sleeping yes but interviewer is not quite right there • Andravis film of garincha FIND IT WATCH IT • Bad artwork george best soccer as never before which i thought was main influence • Same idea bad artwork • Garincha more documentary beautifully shot cinematographic reference • In the round and NOT A FLAT PORTRAIT. A psychological portrait not physical • Silence and concentration of player is echoed back to audience • Don’t move camer too much let action move into frame • powerful portraits are ones where you can look for something of yourself in that image • They had camera on a rail • And clearly tv weren’t there for the day • Shoot from the perspective of the players • 159 men b<
I made some notes and plans on what I was hoping to do. Here are the majority of them.
IV: Original Ideas & Introduction
So many incidents with referees to reference. These are just a few:
Watching the Zidane movie was inspirational, but in no way related with the aims and results i was getting with my sports photography project.
What kit Well, same as the which game question. The more expensive the better. I want good shots however, so I won’t settle for iphones.
Though it did give me an idea.
I didn’t have the time to approach it in the sports pho- How would I present it tography project and it was a bit of a sideways step. Depends on the outcome but cinema like, i would However it was a bit of a brainwave. think. i think it needs it. I love playing sports. It was part of the reason I did the last project. It was to see whether I really wanted to go into a career of Sports Photography. I continue to play Hockey and Cricket, and for my university we had a game against a good opposition. However unfortunately, it was not a very good game. Unusually, the blame was firmly in the referee’s hands. We had 2 unqualified referees arbitrate because the tube strike had scuppered both the qualified hockey referees. One of them didn’t have a whistle and their lack of confidence lead to the slow and uncertain game. They showed no ability to control the game nor the players. They were too nice; and therefore showed none of the necessary Machiavellian qualities. After the game, rather than talk about the good and the funny moments of the game, we talked about how bad the referees were. Only the previous week I had watched the Zidane film. I put Zidane, my hockey game and Nigel Owen’s magnificent refereeing (who is perhaps the only referee i have ever heard complimented by anyone, including friends, players coaches and commentators together and this gave me an idea. Why not create a portrait of the referee? The political meanings were there and respect issues are so bad in football that, it would make sense to do this.
What concept do I want I admire how Steve McQueen keeps everything he does so simple especially for 12 Years a Slave. He leaves the clever concepts and insights to the critics whilst maintaining his sheer desire to make a film about slavery. I think, therefore, I’ll refrain from being vain and pretentious and say that I want to make a film about the referee to show what he goes through. He is the judge, he is the decision maker. He makes a mistake he can have 2 cities hate him for the rest of his life. He either walks off the pitch persecuted or totally unknown. Who would shoot it The more contacts the better but at the moment. My friends. It surely cant be that hard but i have to plan some shots otherwise it will be very boring to watch. You have to provide those contrasts and close-ups offered in Zidane movie. How many cameras and organised in what way as many as possible. A few on the fans many on the referee and a couple following the game. the miking has to be as good as the zidane movie. Moreover I would have to get as good but similar interview quotes as Gordon and Parreno did.
I was really keen to do this project. I spent a lot of time on it. Below is a summary of what I questioned and planned and my answers to them.
How similar do you want it to Zidane I want to be unique. The idea is unique, the concept is similar and therefore the danger is that the visuals will be very similar. I’ll have to find a way of showing it differently.
When would I shoot it Soon ideally for the FMP! If not, which may well happen, probably for my career or even for my third year project. Those two options will produce a better result because I’ll be better, I’ll have better resources and I’ll have more time.
Permissions:...... This is perhaps the question that will scupper me. I have so many and so many that could say no. I will have to ask the ground the club the players the league the possible tv crews that could be there.
Which game Football had to be the sport. Reffing is worst there. I want a big game. This will bring heat & tension to it ie a derby. I don’t want a village game, I want a professional game. The bigger & more professional the better.
This was all too much. 16
Mark Clattenburg - racism incident with Chelsea Player Michael Essien in 2012/13 Daryl Harper- umpiring test match between England & Pakistan, accusing Pakistanis of ball tampering and Pakistanis stage protest and the test match is cancelled. 2007? Nigel Owens is a reference because he is too good. especially football references. Living with the lions 1997: An opportunity to get inside the player’s mind. Frank Lampard goal disallowed in World Cup 2010 in South Africa last 16 v Germany. The dancing referee on youtube. These are the ones that come to my head however when i search for Worst Refereeing Mistakes on Google, it comes pup all with football- no rugby, no cricket, no other sport. Football may well be the biggest sport in the world, but it has the worst refereeing problems. Football could well take after other sports. Multiple diving incidents Multiple handballs Multiple goals that shouldn’t have been allowed Multiple goals that should have been allowed Multiple offsides Multiple bias referees
Frank Lampard’s disallowed strike that became one of the many catalysts for introducing goal line technology. 28 Thierry Henry’s handball that sends France to the 2010 world cup, knocking out Ireland. Maradona hand of god Referee ( Graham Poll) who sent off Croatian player in 2006 and forgot to actually send him to the stands, then booked him again for a third time and eventually he did make his way to the stands. What I want is similar to the Zidane movie. Again, like Parreno & Gordon, I want a protagonist without a story. We want to see what he’s doing when the cameras aren’t looking. We want to see inside his mind. This idea also sprung from something you rarely hear and it has to be said that the idea came from Nigel Owens: In France’s match against England, which Owens refereed, I heard something on the television I had never heard before: ‘It has to be said Nigel Owens has refereed the game magnificently’. Type into Google ‘Best Refereeing Decisions of All Time’. No surprises to what you see. No sign of a page showing it- it should. Instead, I get a full page of top 10 worst refereeing decisions. In football, referees just stand their in bad situations. They are ganged up on like in no other place. They try to find some space but are unable to get out of the way of players who all think that they are right. They should send anyone off who criticises or approaches the referee when it is not his matter. This would not only make a difference in football- it may well make a difference to the way people behave, because everyone now does this. Maybe, unfortunately, it’s too late. The players are a threat, but so is technology. Soon, we may have robots refereeing games. I don’t want that. I suppose the mistake is just part of the game.
Maradona’s famous hand of God 29
Either a referee walks off the pitch unknown and unappreciated, or walks off the pitch abused and fearful. 28 Image taken from http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/8771294.stm 29 Image taken from http://www.theguardian.com/football/2009/may/19/seven-deadly-sins-football-shilton-maradona-hand- of-god
These questions and watching the Zidane movie again took the wind out of my sail.
was doing wrong, and what he could be doing better, You could acquire the sense that Ray-Jones’ idea was developing as you went along from the notebook to the I realised, but already really knew, that this project was final results on the wall. I’m cursing myself saying this too ambitious. The idea was too good for the time con- but it was fascinating seeing his notes on his project straints. It is one to most definitely hold on to but one and his ideas and it showed how valuable research and to use quickly - before someone else gets there. sketchbooks are. As I mentioned in my checklist, the project needs more Below is one of Ray-Jones’ notes.2 time, and more contacts to make it work and it is perhaps best done when I have them, which obviously means more time. So I am hoping to do this for my third year project or after university. I had to move on and find a new idea. One of the artists I looked at in my early research had an exhibition on so I accordingly went and looked at the work. However it wasn’t really Martin Parr’s exhibition. Even though his work was exhibited, the focus of the exhibition was on Tony Ray Jones, many people know of Parr but not of Ray-Jones, who Parr admits as the person who came up Going to the exhibition was eye-opening. It was a fun with the idea that he so successfully exploited. exhibition with fantastic work but I went there to get ideas and inspiration and I think I certainly did manage Exploited sounds harsh, but I think it just makes him a that. Having done History of Art at A level they gave great artist because as Picasso once put it: me a different outlook to portraiture and also and more emphatically, a different outlook to photography and “Good Artists Copy, the endless genres. They showed me that for this Final Major Project, if I found a small area to cover within a Great Artists Steal ” 30 big subject, timeless results could be achieved. The exhibition was entitled ‘Only in England’. It covered the work of Martin Parr, and more importantly, On that day I did also manage to visit Turner & The the work of Tony Ray-Jones, a relatively unknown pho- Sea, an exhibition that was running at the National tographer whose work would perhaps be more well Maritime Museum and that was equally as enthralling. It known if it weren’t for a premature death in the 70s. also showed some of Turner’s sketchbooks, but only 2 The idea that Parr took on so well was to cover the pages were visible due to how delicate they were. I knew wonders and eccentricities of the British culture which that portraiture was an area I wished to focus on for this he thought were being lost to the greater growing influ- project so there was a limited amount I could relate to ence of America. Both photographers pick out eccen- with Turner’s work however Turner’s abstraction and tricities & idiosyncrasies we would never even notice. focus on atmosphere did remind me that clarity isn’t And from them, they would be able to create strong always necessary to get an expression across. The exhicompositions from chaos and madness. bition contained some of his most famous works like The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 & The Snow Storm. What What fascinated me about this exhibition is that you amazed me was how Turner created this. It is hard could see Ray-Jones’ contact sheets. You could see what enough to paint what is in front of you, but when it’s else he was photographing where when why and how? not in front of you how do you do it!? Moreover you could also work behind the images that are on show; something you rarely ever see in a high Inside this sleeve are two leaflets from the exhibitions. profile exhibition nor any exhibition at all. It was evident from Ray-Jones’ notebooks that he had a clear idea I felt that I did not do Parr enough justice (and Rayof what he was looking for. It was also evident that Jones no justice at all) by not including enough in my he was very diligent and never satisfied due to sheets Brief Introduction to Portraiture. So on the next page from his notebook. He points out to himself what he is a more thorough analysis of their work. 30 www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/pablo_picass o.html
Image taken from erickimphotography.com
V : Tony Ray-Jones Tony Ray-Jones studied where I study now. He was an ambitious and motivated young photographer whose work is relatively unknown due to an unfortunate & untimely death. After studying at the London College of Printing, he went to America (specifically Yale University) to study after winning a two year scholarship. After studying in America, he came back to the UK with an American idea that was developing and occurring in the states at the time. It was also America that was ruining the idea. Ray-Jones’ clear idea was to photograph what appeared to be a dying culture due to growing American influence and power. It was to photograph the quirks, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of British life that had fascinated Ray-Jones all his life.
In the photo above we also see some more quirks of British eccentricities that somehow almost as a coincidence ( and also down to the genius of Ray-Jones ) every object falls perfectly into place.34 It is its randomness. There are so many different things going on all in one frame. There’s a horse behind a telephone box that a woman is trying to enter. There is a solitary old man having something to eat. There is a dog looking up at this man, perfectly marking the left third line in the composition. The photo is funny to look at as all these different activities are going on with a collection of expressions.
According to Parr “he was the first to photograph the beach or the street as a form of theatre”1 something that Americans were exploiting to its full potential however only photographing the street, as that is where they found the idiosyncrasies.32 The fact that the Americans and Ray- Jones were photographing on the street and the beach again, shows that photography was developing as a medium considerably because we look at photography now, and we see that photographs are taken everywhere constantly. On the right is the quintessential idiosyncratic beach photo that I have mentioned earlier. 33 Ray-Jones has simply picked up an eccentricity and to the audience we can laugh and also, question why? why the tissue over your face, and why the tissue over your glasses, in a suit and tie? Although the focal point is the central subject, the photo also shows the true characters that can be seen on the beach, as it is where many people go to relax. We see a man, our focal point and a geriatric sleeping, as many do on the beach. We also see another man in a suit, but this time, he appears to be reading. We also see a woman in a hat. This is most certainly an eccentricity because you go to the beach for the warm weather. The other thing the photo draws light to is the extent we go to the beach. The photo may have a disorganised composition but this draws light to not only the disorganized happenings on the English beach, but also the characters in the photo.
The photo above is also humorous because what seems to be a perfectly normal situation is masked by the begging question of why there is a chair on the man’s head?35 We would expect to see his face but he is also gesturing, not holding onto it. The image has a strong composition as the main action and focal point can be found on the right third line. However, i feel that the photo would be useless if it weren’t for two things: most obviously the chair and I think more crucially the hand. This is because you get the sense, as the viewer, that the subject is acting perfectly normally, it’s as if he doesn’t know there is/feel the chair on top of his head because the gesture of an open hand is so normal. It wouldn’t be as funny if he was holding the chair with that hand as that would be perfectly normal!
32 https://www.youtube.com/user/sciencemuseum 33 Image taken from www.kolektomagazine.com
As a form of portraiture however, Ray - Jones provides a fun, light hearted portrayal of the British public although his work is more of a form of documentation & street photography than portraiture. 19
Image taken from www.lensculture.com Image taken from www.wallpaper.com
VI : Martin Parr
VII : Conventional Portraits: Shoot I
Martin Parr has been quoted as saying that ‘Ray-Jones was the single most influential artist in my work’. 36 Going to the exhibition really showed me that. The work of Ray-Jones, to my great surprise, was as good if not even better than most of Parr’s work. The beach is just as big a focus in Parr’s work as it is in Ray-Jones’ work. But why? By going to the beach, Parr felt he could capture the true characters of the British public; “it’s where we relax”.37 but shows the people & the cultural aspects, occasionally in a critical way. The photo below characterises the idea that the true This image also epitomises this very principle by the characters of the British public appear at the beach.38 family appearing to be untroubled by the overflowing bin.39 The image has lots of colour, like the previous Taken from The Last Resort, this image epitomises the image and it also has a simplistic composition with a quirks and unusual occurrences of British behaviour. strong vertical line, echoed by the post and tower of the You laugh; because there is a huge digger that domibuilding behind it in the background. Around the post nates the picture and looks ready to run the man and his seems to be where all the action is with other perpendaughter over. But you also find yourself asking, Why dicular lines, curves that are all disorganised. The pram is he lying there- next to a digger- on a ramp- and not cuts through the post in the middle-ground as another on the sand. The image is full of highly saturated colstrong but disorganised line. The family may appear to ours which provides another visual interest aside from be the focus, however in my opinion, I don’t think it is. the quirks. Moreover the composition is strong. There The post and the bin appears to be because the family is is a continuous line running from the rim of the ramp not doing anything that unusual or eccentric. through the caterpillar tracks of the digger. This is contrasted heavily and it also emphasises the focal pointanother straight line which is the man. He also acts as a good comparison of scale to show the size of the indomitable caterpillar tracks.
Going inland, Parr has also photographed in black and white, early on his career. In this particular project, Parr covered the nonconformists in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, capturing a close nit community for over a five-year period, particularly focusing on the more traditional aspects of their life that were beginning to decline. Almost now, today that traditional side of life in Hebden Bridge is almost gone. Above, we can see this close knit community, closely knit together with a mesmerising group portrait composition which is nei40 The image shows the complete ignorance and the tact- ther flat & boring nor nonsensical. It has a continuous fulness of the post-war British public where anything flow from left to right. It applies itself magnificently to will make do ie ‘you don’t have to be metres from the the rule of thirds especially horizontally where the table & the cornice make strong continuous lines. 2 people sea to enjoy the sun.’ sit on each vertical third line. The image shows some quintessential British food, some amazing 70s clothes 36 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Zt0ukfxNc & our etiquette: forming a queue, & showing the 2 men 37 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Zt0ukfxNc butting in politely. 38 Image taken from theonlinephotographer.typepad.com 39
Image taken from iconicphotos.wordpress.com
Image taken from http://vimeo.com/79679826
My initial idea, filming a Football Referee for an entire game was undoubtedly going to be portraiture, but in a modern and alternative style. I was keen to explore the area of portraiture, as throughout my foundation, I had yet to. So it made sense to entitle this project Portraiture because I knew that was the path I was going to follow. It also gave me the breadth to go in another direction if my next idea were to fail.
All 3 shots are all composed well. It is very simple because it is left to the subject as the chair and background provide no strong lines to the composition. All 3 subjects look natural and occupy the composition. There are no distractions so we are able to focus on who they are. The best of these 3 portraits is the one with perhaps the strongest composition. The top left image is the strongest not only because he, perhaps is the liveliest character of the 3, but because with his legs wide apart , they offer a stronger composition. He fills the frame, whereas the two other portraits are the typical cross legged portrait, resulting in a thin portrait. To point out the lack of diversity in my class, i kept as many things as similar as possible so that the lack of diversity became more obvious to the viewer. However if it weren’t for pointing out the lack of diversity in these three portraits, I would be cropping right hand portraits like i have done below. This allows the audience to engage with the subject more, as we feel closer to them.
Only now have I started to begin focusing on portraiture. I haven’t even yet, in truth. My last 4 projects haven’t even focused on people nor have they focused on documenting them. However, for my first project, I did have a brief visit to the studio. This is what I got. It was for a project on Racism where I was highlighting the lack of diversity amongst the people in my class. Below are some of the portraits I took. They are very conventional and very simple. Using the studio, I decided to shoot high key. I used the white roll to construct a blank background so that we are able to focus on the characters and have no distractions. As you can see, I had a stronger flash come from the left hand side to offer some different tonal qualities. I shot the images on a tripod to offer stability and i stuck at the same exposure of each one. Knowing that to the depth of field to have just the face and body in focus is about f8, I chose f8 as i didn’t want the background in focus. Using a light meter to check both sides of their face, I got 1/750 for the brighter and 1/250 for the darker. So I chose 1/500.sec so that both were equal and well exposed. I chose to have the subjects seated so they felt relaxed. I also decided to do full length portraits so that we could connect further with them. Moreover, I shot at eye height so that I and the viewer can connect with the subject.
However, they are not the most interesting portrait. We are able to understand their persona’s but the portraits offer nothing different. They are too traditional & conventional to intrigue the viewer to look further. There’s nothing in them that stands out to the viewer. However I find the portrait’s simplicity is an advantage.
Here are some of the other less successful portraits. These images struggle to show the personality of the subject because as the photo already documents them, it is paramount that you can get more than just documentation. You have to allow the audience to relate and understand the subject. These images are also not as good compositionally but this, in a sense, shows that the subjects aren’t as willing to fill the frame. Therefore, they are not people who want to be the centre of attention. In the portrait on the right, I chose to ask the subject to stand. This is because although i wanted to point out the lack of diversity, I wanted some variation in composition otherwise it would be very dull. The result, however, is unsuccessful because the composition has ended up to be one straight line. There are no real strong lines in this photo. It is a simple long and unstable line. I left it to the subject to choose how to stand. In allowing her to choose, the subject lacks confidence, as many do in front of a camera in a studio. The chair does no favours either as it’s shape is ugly and i feel that it is more of a distraction as essentially, it doesn’t need to be there. However in this photo, the composition is much stronger. However it does seem a bit unusual to be standing next to an empty chair! With the chair there, it does provide a strong composition with two strong lines. The colours of his clothes are a subtle contrast to the background whereas above, there are too many. I also like how bold the text is on his shirt. However it doesn’t exactly match the expression of his face because his expression is a little bit blank. With these portraits, their conventionality struggles to do more than document who they are. They offer no insight into who they are and how they behave (except for perhaps, the portrait in the top left on page 21). Looking back to the beginning of my research book, I noticed that I pointed out that the romans were keen on symbolism like for example, showing hands in a portrait was a sign of importance, or white was a sign of purity. I think that symbolism is one of the many things missing in these portraits. They are too conventional and in all honesty, I was ready too look elsewhere for a less conventional portrait that would lead to a more intriguing portrait. Whilst I was struggling with my conventional portraits, I decided I should also try a self- portrait. I had never done one before and I knew I’d be no Velázquez! And to be honest, I was lacking in a little confidence for it. I find myself with an expression similar to the classmate on the left. I find that it tells me nothing about me. However my pose is a more interesting one. It has more interesting lines forming diamond and cross shapes in my legs and arms. I am also leaning forward which gives off a sense of keenness. It was a strong first attempt. However it does not take long to realise that there are plenty of improvements to be made. In my opinion, I think shooting a less conventional portrait would help. It would allow for a stronger expression on my part. I could also relax more. In this sleeve you can also find the contact sheets for this shoot. 22
VIII : Alternative Portraiture & How It Can Be Achieved The conventional portrait is, as you can see, what I attempted. I found it boring because it didn’t result in anything and nor did I really enjoy it. I wanted to try something different. I wanted to find another alternative portrait- one that was not conventional. I felt that the studio was not the place for me to find it as it limits the amount you can do &, after going to Only in England, I felt that going on the streets of London I would be able to find an area, like Parr & Ray - Jones did, that really expressed the characters that roam the streets. In the studio, there was an awkwardness because they knew they were being photographed. They couldn’t be themselves. They couldn’t fully relax. This made me fully come to the conclusion that if I were to achieve the naturalistic qualities that I wanted, I was better off outside.
I think there’s something interesting about our backs. We, as people, will never be able to see them without using a mirror or a camera. Michael McIntyre, in one of his hysterical sketches points out that, especially with men, ‘the only time you see the back of your head is when you have a haircut’ and that we care very little about the back of our heads but we do very much care about our appearance from the front - because we can see it.41 We can look down, and it is not difficult in the mirror or with a camera to look at. We see it all the time- it is there in our peripheral vision constantly.
We never see the backs of our heads at the end of the haircut and say “I love it! I’m spending the rest of my life in reverse!”42 We normally say “yeah”. This would, Reviewing my brief history and research on portraiture, obviously, just be illogical, we would struggle to walk I realised that it was very rare for any work not to have backwards, and do every chore facing the wrong way. a face in, unsurprisingly. Part I proved that the face is We are made to neglect our appearance from the back. crucial to getting a message, an atmosphere and an expression across to the audience. Stiletto, Parr & Ray- You can see the full sketch here : https://www.youtube. Jones’ were the only artists that never fully pursued fac- com/watch?v=K5LTFjXrZrA es. In my opinion, this is partly down to the nature of their work- there are no real underlying meanings and complex concepts- they are rather ‘in your face’ with the emphasis firmly based on the visuals of their work. So I decided to set myself a challenge: to include no faces in my first set of portraits. I knew that it was a tough challenge but I thought the best way to succeed was to get out there and experiment and to question whether a face is necessary to show the person’s true character.
It would be too hard to focus just the backs of heads In the next sleeve is the contact sheets for my experi- in my project so I decided to keep it open and narrow ment with not showing faces. down later by photographing people from the back. Moreover, I also thought that keeping peoples heads out The first question I asked myself was where do I go? I of the picture would help, and possibly look quite good. thought the most variety would be found in the places I have seen Parr do it many times before, like below43 with the most tourism. So over the next few pages, you and also conceptually, it is very powerful. In a portrait, should be seeing photos from St Pauls, Trafalgar Square, not including the head makes the portrait impersonal. South Bank, Millenium Bridge & the Tate. Moving away Expression still can be maintained however the person from these places might soon be necessary but I’ve got remains unknown and unidentified. We can understand to try it first! lots however, about what they wear and their posture in the portrait can tell us lots. We may be able to recognise The next question i asked myself was how am I going her from her clothes but that does not make that person to photograph this? How am i not going to include a unique. By doing this, you are objectifying the person face? This challenge was tough, so I started with being unintentionally. logical. No face is most easily done by photographing 41 www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5LTFjXrZrA 42 www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5LTFjXrZrA the back of a person. 43 www.libertypostgallery.blogspot.co.uk 23
IX : Shoot II: The Logical Start - Backs The challenge vI set myself was tough. After about an hour, I was starting to regret it but to begin with I just tried to keep things simple. I began shooting on my Nikon D7000 with a 16-85 mm lens. I chose this lens to begin with because it offered me the versatility to shoot someone from distance, so their ability to notice me was reduced considerably, but also because I could quickly adapt to someone walking past me quickly. However, I was also equipped with a 55mm lens & a 80-200 mm lens. This was one of my first experiments. It’s a very bland, mundane and clichéd image. He is trying to attract tourists and there is nothing unique about the image. As a portrait, it is exceedingly dull, even though i am trying to pick up an eccentricity or a quirk. However it is not natural as it is his job to dress up like that- not his choice. We get no expressions and with a lack of bold colours with a overpoweringly dull background, there is nothing positive about this image I really felt the advantages of using an adaptable lens in taking this photo as I was taking a photo of a man far away and then as I paused, I noticed this woman walk past me. This is a much stronger image than the previous image, however as a portrait, it still fails to tell us much about the person apart that they are a worker that is well paid because they are wearing a suit with an evidently expensive bag and coat. The composition of the image has dramatically improved form its original crop, which we can see above. This is because we have two strong vertical lines that make the foundation of the composition. Secondly, we have a framing line that frames the focal point and also leads you to the bag. The line is the top right which is the edge of the millennium bridge. The focal point stands out well because all of the colours are very monotonous except the coat. However, as much as this image is an improvement on the previous image, it still is not successful. It tells us very little about the person and although the composition is satisfactory, aesthetically it is still weak especially in its colours. This image is as equally poor as the first image. This is because it tells us little about the person and it is as boring visually. Firstly, we cannot really read into anything interesting about the person’s character which almost rules it out as a portrait. However it is the visuals that does this image no favours. Compositionally it is boring, accompanied with a background that in its dullness, distracts us. It is also not quite in focus. The colours are uninteresting too, even with her bright red hair. There are no quirks or idiosyncrasies in this image either. 24
About 10 minutes later, I did find a person with a back I think my first photo was better than my second. This that I could photograph. Except, I spotted her from is because it is brighter, it has a stronger composition side on first, so I decided to take a photo of her anyway, and it tells us more about the character in this iamge. but without her face in the viewfinder. The background is very dull and it overpowers her bright trousers and coat and there is not enough attention drawn to the bag. Moreover, we cannot see the weight being put onto her crutch and also, more importantly, we can’t see all of her feet, which i think is crucial. Her bag made me realise that often the bag is the quirk I’m looking for. It was certainly the case in this photo. This was the cropping of the head that i was mentioning earlier. We cannot now identify her. However, it was her red coat that appealed and I like her crutch in the photo as it strengthens the composition by adding a strong vertical line. Moreover I like how she clutches her coat together to show that she is cold. I think the image is much stronger than the previous images so far because the visual aspects are much stronger. Although we still cannot read much into her character, we have a strong quirk to look at with plenty of colour, well exposed and in focus. Moreover, the background is not distracting and it aids the composition. The bridge rails echo each other creating two strong leading lines that cut across the composition and lead you towards the focal point. Moreover, i really like how we can see a reflection of some tourists in the reflection.
Although it matched her hoodie, it was bright and caught my eye. Even though it is in focus, unfortunately, I wasn’t going to go much further with this image because it has been overexposed by two stops, at least. Moreover, it isn’t a very interesting image both in what it tells us and aesthetically. Although the bag was quirky, it wasn’t quirky enough.
In terms of what it tells us, this portrait is nothing more than satisfactory. From her posture, we can tell she is looking out a distance at something. Moreover, she is cold, injured, and relatively old because of her hands. Moreover, from the quality in her coat and the rings she is wearing, she is also relatively wealthy. After the woman decided to move, I decided to photograph her back. her head was not as interesting as her bag, which appealed for some reason. It was different, Although this bag is often seen, it’s not often seen in i suppose. Trafalgar square. What caught my eye was its size, so I decided to photograph it from just below eye height enough so that we can notice its size and relate to how big it is, because it would come from the viewer’s viewpoint. Moreover, I photographed it from close, so that it was made to seem even bigger. I like its symmetry because it highlights the size and width and depth of the bag. However, it tells us little about the person. He may be an army enthusiast, or in the army. Aesthetically too, it is disappointing. His bag is too dark whereas the background is too light and distracting. There is little colour too and the composition is too simplistic. 25
In this image, I had a great opportunity, but unfortunately, having my exposure way off when I started, he flicked his tie back- which was a real shame. It was a great opportunity that arose straight in front of me as the wind picked up and because I had a very slow shutter, I wasn’t able to react quickly enough to get a well exposed image. Moreover, the composition is terrible, but looking at it now, the image had plenty of potential.
real quirks, however, if I were to succeed with his tie, I would have an idiosyncrasy that Parr would’ve been proud of because it was an unintentional one. Below I was just picking up on a quirk. It really stood out along with her hair because she was wearing all black. I like the composition but it’s not perfect. If i were to shoot it again, I would try and obtain perfect symmetry and see her pony tail and her bag, so shoot from further away.
If I were to take this again I would, • Line him up almost like I have done above, but symmetrically showing the top of head to just above the elbows. I would keep it landscape • I would (of course!) Expose it perfectly enabling a post shoot edit to adjust the levels and curves and boost the colours by using the saturation. This would also allow me to crop. • Perhaps photographing him from the front, showing no head but his tie just disappearing over his shoulder would be quite good, but it was a split second moment, so i wouldn’t have the time for it • I would try to highlight the idiosyncrasy because as a portrait, it would not tell us much.
This image was a slightly looser image and it isn’t really a portrait. But it does show backs and i really like it. Conceptually it may not work and it is a bit off topic, but it is really strong visually. The hard winter light can be seen everywhere. It shows what people do when they’re in Trafalgar square. The light is hard but has a light blue tinge which helps vary it especially in the puddles. The composition is strong too- with the 4 in the middle holding it all together and making a small rectangle shape. Without them, the image would be disorganised and have no shape. Having said that, the lines of the stones also help to lead us towards teh focal point along with the grid like puddles in the square. We can recognise the place by the two fountains and the pedestal of Nelson’s Column.
Below on the left is more of a quirk. I had seen nothing like this before so I had to photograph it. Unfortunately it was rather unsuccessful. I think the best angle would be from even lower than this, so that we notice the eyes. Moreover, I would hope to show more shape because it made a love heart shape and showing this would strengthen the composition.
Below, is actually, a really telling portrait in my opinion. We can tell that the person is shy and withdrawn from the way I have taken this. The photo is really strong, but I feel it isn’t quite there because there is too much concrete. Having said that, it is just the concrete as the However, as much as I have rued a missed opportunity, composition is still strong with the diagonal line revealit would still not tell much about the person. He is an ing the focal point. office worker, in a rush, walking. He’s middle aged and balding. What is interesting about that? There are no
This is a slightly tighter image and a more well rounded image. It works well as a backs portrait especially in the visual aspects. All the colours tie very nicely- its compositions is strong but powerful with the foundation being the horizontal lines in the bricks and the girl, trolley and platform falling nicely on top in portrait rectangles. Having said that, the composition is rather simple. It could do with more interesting lines, like leading lines for example. If i were to take it again, I would wait until there was a wider stride because it would produce stronger lines. It is a very smooth image. Nothing juts out it blends well. I like it a lot but it does not tell you much about the person. They may be a Harry Potter fan, but there is an unerring atmosphere that seems to say that she could just be walking into that wall. It has a mysterious airy atmosphere and, apart from that, we get nothing much as to what the person is like.
X : Eva Bensasson - Revenants
XI : The Radical Crop
What about not picking up idiosyncrasies, why not just completely ignore them? It would look really boring and there would be no surprises to life. Eva Bensasson has tried just that - in her project Revenants.
The Radical crop is a type of cropping that is very tight, and not loose. Rather than seeing the whole of the subject, a radical crop is a crop that focuses only on the necessary area of the subject, forgetting parts of tehs subject that are not needed for visual reasons. Radical crops are often found in Portraiture, especially in studio portraiture. It is often portraiture because we can guess what it is outside of the picture rather than radical cropping an object that we have no idea what it is. Part of the reason for using a radical crop can be to emphasises a particular element of the subject, like the eyes for example. Often also, there is no background in a radical crop because the subject fills the frame. So for example, below is a loose crop on the left and a radical crop on the right.48 49
Revenants is a body of work that involves ‘digitally manipulated photographs, and a large wall-mounted lightbox’. 44 Her photorgraphs are of small or big groups of people in varying locations, that in the post production stage, the figures are then removed and replaced by a flat black. The figures are therefore ‘deindividualised’. By removing them, she has highlighted them, but she has also highlighted the question of identity in the figures and in you. Revenants simply means a person who has returned, often from the dead and from this, we can infer that everybody dies and that we are all in the same state when we are dead, so if we are to return, we would almost all return the same apart from the way we look naturally therefore removing any quirks or idiosyncrasies. Looking at these two images of Trafalgar Sqaure below, especially the one on the right, it reminded me of images architects submit when they have a project. They are there to show what it will be like. 45
However, there is no doubt that these are well shot. For obvious reasons they both are exposed the same and have a wonderful blue tinge that it is not obvious nor too subtle. It adds some colour and warmth to the picture. The composition is strong but simple with Nelson’s Column fully in shot so that the audience can relate to where this is and also it is shot on a wide enough lens to offer plenty of space where people are and would be. Many of the audience can relate to this picture because they have most probably stood in that position, admiring Nelson’s column and Whitehall & Big Ben in the background. However slightly differently: no people. As a tourist however, you wouldn’t notice the people, you would be as I’d mentioned earlier, admiring the view, ignoring the people. Below are two other images from the project that show the shapes people make, like the semi circle on the left for instance removing both the culture and idiosyncrasies that exist. 46 47
It is a shame that these two photos are not the same so that i can show you the real difference between a more traditional, loose/tight crop, and a radical crop. However, I managed to find two images by the same person of the same person. David Bailey has photographed Jude Law in two different ways: on the left, showing the overall man, and on the left, accentuating his eyes (especially) and his face. On the right it is a radical crop, even though there is plenty of space to the left of him because we know that it is a human, so we can work out that he has a normal anatomy, however, we can be left to question that. Though that is not the question we are supposed to be asking. We are supposed to be so taken in by his eyes. We also do not need to question it because we know who he is because he is extremely well known: he is a celebrity. Both images show two different sides to Jude Law: he is contemplative on the right and on the left, looking cool and relaxed. Two more examples of the radical and traditional crop are on the left, David Bailey photographing Michael Caine of the image closest. 50 The other photo is also of Michael Caine but by Duffy.
http://www.undo.net/it/mostra/20233 Images taken from http://www.bensasson.co.uk/2005/revenants/index.html
48 & 49 Image taken from https://pleasurephoto.wordpress.com/tag/david-bailey/ 50 www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2169199/Michael-Caine-I-knew-2011-riots-happen-It-version-did-Sixties.html 51 Image taken from http://stylenotesandscribbles.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/duffy-at-the-idea-generation-gallery/
XII : Shoot III: Closer & More Radical “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” 52 I think, perhaps Robert Capa’s most famous quote was summing up how I was feeling about the photos I was taking at the moment and his solution, well, we’ll see.
Just another obvious quirk. Incredibly bright and we can see its location. But as an image it is dull and boring. No composition overpowering colour in the subject and dull everywhere else. No shape texture or tone.
The logical step from photographing the back was sensible, but wasn’t getting the results. They were too boring. To think of a solution, I went back to the work of Ray-Jones and Parr. This image does show part of a face but still it is not enough for us to recognise the person. I like this image. Like the previous image, I took it because her coat was a quirk. It was different. It reveals slightly more about the person than the previous portrait. Having said that, the previous image revealed very little about his character, but as a quirk it did work. However, this image shows that she likes animals, she is cold as she is wearing a thick jumper and she looks on in a mood that is not happy. It is more sad and sombre. However as a quirk it is not as strong because the image is limited in colour and shapeless in composition. Therefore visually it does not appeal and what it reveals is not exactly the most enthralling.
They don’t photograph a particular area. They photograph what sticks out. The photograph the quirks. So it made sense to do the same but as long as the face is not included, shoot anything. Shooting backs was too sensible, thus resulting in sensible , unrevealing and unimaginative results. The radical crop and shooting closer seem like the solution and I’m hoping I can get the results. Shooting closer meant a different lens so I’ve gone on a fixed 55mm 1.8 lens. The element of it being fixed will make me work to photograph in the right position, rather than relying on the zoom. So here’s what I got.
I like this image below. Although it does not tell us about the person, I like her bag as quirk & as an image it is interesting visually. The composition is symmetrical however I do like the change in colour of the material of the bridge on the right. It offers alternative tones, in the same way her bag and coat do. The change of tone in the bridge & the edge of it on the left help you to focus on the focal point: the person & act as leading lines. The focal point itself, is interesting full of tones and shapes. The brown handle is crucial- without it, the image would be two tones of grey & two of blue. The brown is also very orange so it stands out as two complimentary colours: Blue & Orange.
I started by getting closer, and if this photo were in focus, I think I’d have a better result. Moreover, it would need a bit more colour as his grey would blend into the background and his coat too easily. This is a radical crop, however, I would still like to be able to see the top of his head so that I could experiment more freely with the cropping. This image had potential, so I was pleased with the improvement but I now I was determined to get the hard evidence of good results rather than say, it had potential.
also another focal point, and it being brighter means that it takes all the attention, when in truth the focal point is the shorts. I want the shorts to be the focal point, as it is the quirk. However, together they both create strong colours that clash, thus making it more eccentric. However, I feel that I needed the colours to be brighter and stronger in contrast as they are being overpowered by the grey tones of the background. The bannister, rails, stairs and sky are exceedingly white. I doubt that anything can be done about that sky, and although I have cropped it, it is still too powerful. If I were to take it again, it would be on a brighter day in the exact same way, however, from closer and including both feet, and maybe a smaller bag to allow more light onto his legs. There is strong motion in this image. His legs curve nicely too adding to the shape of the image and compositionally, the image is quite strong with the stairs adding a foundation and the rails leading you towards the focal point.
I like this image- his clothes are ones that would be suitable on safari and, he finds himself in urban lands. I haven’t cropped this so that I could emphasise this more. He strolls off as if he is strolling in the wilderness. We can tell quite a lot about this person however, ironically, the colours he wears fit into their surroundings all too well. Compositionally, it isn’t the greatest. The image lacks movement however the bridge rail does help to highlight and lead you towards the focal point and look towards his surroundings.
I like the image above in the next idea. It’s a good idea because it has decent composition but visually it is let down by no colour. I didn’t choose a strong enough idiosyncrasy. However spotting people who are leaning on something is a strong opportunity because they use their elbows which will offer stronger lines and therefore composition. I like the radical crop too- however the blandness in both the quirk and in the colour and shapes leads to a boring portrait that tells us very little about the person. A stronger and louder quirk than the previous image. The bag is an asset but also a distraction because it is
This image from later on, captures the focal points in better light with less distractions (especially white skies) however the bag has become the focus in the photo. It also lacks the movement of the previous image but this image has less distractions & stronger composition. Both images tell us a fair amount too.
XIII : Shoot IV: Possibilities of Feet
XIV : Shoot IV: Feet - Shooting on the move & from the Hip
I looked back at the photos I had taken and saw what I had photographed.
I had photographed Backs I had photographed Fronts (with no faces, of course) I had photographed Hair I had photographed hats I had photographed bags I had photographed accessories I had photographed Shorts I had photographed Legs
Correctly, I had not photographed faces. I was pleased. Though my results were still poor. They were boring, uncreative, and in no way unique. It was almost copying Parr & Ray-Jones poorly. But I had not photographed feet. I had not photographed shoes. It was worth a try. I had not done it and my idea was yet to work. It would be unfair not to try it as i had photographed everything else (apart from the face, of course). Before I go shooting tomorrow I thought it would be wise to check Parr & Ray-Jones work to see if they photograph feet. There was nothing substantial. A couple of photos perhaps ( which you can see on this page).53 The lack showed an opportunity but also showed that things don’t look promising. I will have to re-look my idea if they don’t turn out and if they do -success. My portraits are becoming less like portraits. I am bothered by this, and I am not. They becoming less like portraits because I am simply picking out items that stand out. One could say that, in the same way with Parr’s work, I am making fun of people. That is no portrait and, how much can you tell about a person that wears camouflaged trousers? not much.
With my rebuttal over, I went out and headed for the city, in particular, places where I would find lots of people. Tourist destinations seemed to be the places to start. I knew they were going to be more fruitful and vibrant than the office workers of London. Plus, I didn’t want to get up for rush hour to watch them squash around Bank & Moorgate. So I headed for the place that all distances to London are measured from: Trafalgar Square. Surprisingly enough, they’re not measured from Nelson’s column but a smaller statue in front of it of Charles I. On my way there, I thought the best place to start would be to take a self portrait of my shoes. I like the image [left], it has strong movement, but it has no composition, and it lacks colour because my grey jeans and the pavement overpower my grey shoes. Moreover, although my jumper adds colour, it too overpowers the focus of which should be my shoes. Below is another self portrait, which i took later on in the day when I paused. Like the previous image, it struggles to tell the viewer anything about me, however, it is different from the fist image in the respect that it is much more interesting to look at. It has less grey, more colour & a stronger more interesting composition.
I do mind because it’s my theme, but at the same time, my idea is developing and I am sure that in the end I will have an alternative form of portraiture! (Fingers Crossed...) But choosing something you wear every day will really express who you are, because we all wear shoes every day. However, will this not to lead to more conservative subjects? Because we tend to wear the different, more quirky things when our mood is more positive, for example. However shoes really stand for who we are because they go everywhere with you. They go where you go. They see what you see. Clothes don’t. They see your cupboard and your drawers all the time. Shoes are man’s best accessory, but also man’s best friend. Enough of this constant rebuttal. Time to take some photos. 53
Top right: image taken from kamelmennour.com/media/602/martin-parr-g-b-england-eastbourne-1995-1999.html . Bottom left taken fromstephendaitergallery.com/dynamic/artwork_display.asp?ArtworkID=1508
I was looking around Trafalgar, and I realised that this was the place to be purely for the quantity of people.
The way the people stand in this image [left] took my attention. However, it doesn’t quite work. I have cropped the image and it has failed to improve. At the time it looked promising compositionally speaking , however in the photo we have here, it has no composition. There is no coherency in it nor any strong lines or curves. Moreover, the colours do not tie- they clash with the bright orange, yellow, red, green and purples all contributing towards a plain image. The harsh winter light has also done no favours, overexposing the grey jumper and her hair but also producing strong shadows that discard any information in them. However, the portrait is natural and unforced so group portraits could work but as a portrait, the image does fail to tell us anything.
But there was an awful lot of grey. I had no idea how I was going to photograph peoples feet, but i knew that at the moment, it would be subtle and I wouldn’t ask anyone. I would just photograph. For that reason I was using my 16-80mm lens so that i had the reach to photograph from distance and also the scope to photograph someone from close. So to start with, I was looking, and when i spotted something, I followed until i felt that i had experimented enough with angles and exposure etc and that also, I had a good image. After doing this multiple times, I started to get into a rhythm of it and gain confidence, partly because looking on the screen on my camera showed I was getting decent results. However, interestingly, I was still photographing from behind, as you can see from all the photos on this page.
This was a much better attempt. However, it’s still not there. It possesses the movement of the previous photo but it is better exposed, thus bringing out the colour of his shoes more. However, that has obviously been reduced by the sole of his shoe. The double yellow line does help and it thankfully does not distract- it acts as a leading line towards his shoes. The tarmac and the lack of information and colour in his jeans make this another ordinary image. As a portrait, it is also dull- we cannot tell anything about this person. In Photoshop, These were some of my first images. On the right, it I have cropped this considerably and equally increased disappoints in every way- although the shoes were col- the saturation. I have also adjusted the levels, curves ourful, we can’t see them, there’s no composition, not and colour balance. enough colour & it’s underexposed. On the left however, is a slightly better result. It still has too much grey The image below is also another image that has good in it. Her shoes & jeans blend too much into the back- movement in it. His trousers have more colour and inground & also the background distracts because of the formation in them too. If I were to take this again howshoes & their colours. However, as much as I am criti- ever, I would photograph him from straight in front, cal, it was a good start. The composition & colours are rather from distance and from an angle. This would the things to be worked on though. make for a stronger image as his legs would match better with the wheels, thus leading to a stronger composition because at the moment, the composition is ordinary. It is a shame that again the grey overpowers because the colours in his shoes and his trousers are very strong.
This image was an image that to begin with, i was really pleased with because it had all the features that I was lacking in the previous ones and it also didn’t have the unwanted attributes that the previous images also had. The image has strong composition with her thighs sitting on the top third line which is the ledge she is on and her legs floating in the space below. However more importantly, the colours are strong with the pink of her laces and her scarf making a harmonious tie with the blue of her jeans. The image is well exposed. The colours do stand out from the grey, but after enhancing them quite a lot in Photoshop, I wish they would a little bit more. The image is impersonal because we cannot see her face, leading the viewer to obtain very little about the character of the person. What I also like is that it does, in a way, pick up on the idiosyncrasies that Parr and Ray-Jones pick up on however, theirs are more bold, wittier and actual idiosyncrasies. This is just a quirk.
Below is one of the best images yet in my opinion. It has strong movement and more importantly strong colours. The red and green are complimentary colours so they clash, but also blend and the purple is another strong colour. They overpower the grey pavement. It is perfectly cropped too because it makes the image impersonal thus allowing us to focus on the legs and clothes. From this portrait, we can tell that the person is confident, expressive in what she wears and also she is keen to get somewhere from her strong and confident stride. What I also like about this image is the background. This is because it may be filled with grey, but it does have no clutter and distractions. Compositionally it is strong with her legs making a triangle. If i were to be picky on something, it would be aesthetically stronger if her arms were more separated from her body, like her legs which would make a stronger composition. Moreover, it would be nicer to play around with more of her jacket. I was really pleased with this image. It was definitely a stepping stone in the right direction as it was strong aesthetically and as an alternative portrait.
Above epitomises the problems I was having. It was grey so the light was poor. The grey was depressing and the colours were hard to bring out. However the image has great movement and if I were to get alongside him and shoot from the hip tight I’m sure I would have got a better result. The image is also over exposed by 2-3 stops or so. However, I wasn’t done with him yet. 34
As it got later on in the day, the weather was sunnier and more people started to appear in Trafalgar Square.
I’d finished shooting and on my way home I looked at the images I had taken. I could see some real development in how I had photographed feet. I began to realise this idea was going to work if I stuck at it. This was all truth, but there were other truths.
With more people appearing, more entertainers appeared.
It is nowhere near there yet. There’s a lot of development to be done and I’m still not getting the images I want.
The Smirf turned up first. I wanted to show the contrast to start with so I took this image [right].
Something I need to do is to rethink where my concept is, something I will do on the next page, as my images are becoming quirkier, and less like portraits. Moreover, I was relying on portraits of people who are there to entertain. It was not natural, so I needed to go looking for people who chose to wear the clothes they are wearing, not the entertainers who sometimes make a fool of themselves for money.
I like it a lot. The colours are strong especially the blues, reds and browns and they are not distracted by the grey background. Again, there is no clutter that could distract the audience in the background. Moreover, there is plenty of movement in it. We can see that the woman has stopped and turned to look at the entertainer. The entertainer has clearly also turned to her to get her attention, and has succeeded. However, the way the woman’s feet point suggests that she is not interested and that she’ll continue to walk. Because it is an entertainer, the image isn’t really a portrait, as he wears it for work therefore, it is more of a quirk than anything else. However it is still a humorous and interesting image.
ples attention. The bagpiper won when I was there. It was unexpected, even for me as a Londoner. However, the bagpiper produced a great opportunity for a photo for me. His bare legs really showed & you could see he was cold. Moreover, you can see he was wearing a red under-layer to help keep him warm. His polished boots, the red of his, underlayer, & the pattern of his kilt help to make strong colours, but the grey of the pavement is also too strong. Moreover, the pavement also offers leading lines to what is a rather simple & plain composition. The legs act as the only real line and the pattern in his kilt is not regular enough to strengthen the composition. In Photoshop, I have cropped the image considerably to reduce the grey pavement and I have also adjusted the levels and curves to enhance the colours especially in his kilt, the red underlayer and his boots. I have also used the saturation to increase the pale colour in his legs so that he does look cold. As a portrait too, it does not work because his remit is to wear those clothes.
I think this is a much better image. It is a lot funnier and it was a perfect opportunity as another entertainer stuck his head in a bucket and stayed there fore about 2 minutes. It is no portrait, but it is an idiosyncrasy. Unintentionally, the image is well timed with the smirf exchanging something with the woman behind. It is no distraction too. It shows you the breadth of entertainers, but also how normal that looks, in the background of course because it contrasts with the upside down man. Compositionally it is a strong image and after enhancing the colours and levels, saturation and curves in Photoshop, it is a much more vibrant image. The enhancement has also helped to make the grey of the wall a lighter colour so that it looks more like a white backdrop than a dull wall. There is not enough pavement too for it to be distracting.
Visually the images were still struggling. I was mostly shooting from the hip, like in the image above, so that I remained inconspicuous, but in doing this, I was letting a lot of grey get into my images. Again, I needed to get closer. The compositions were not good either. Above is another image that I shot from the hip. It has strong composition and great colours that tie well together ( the brown of his shoes and thee bag and the blues in his coat and the tiles) but it is slightly overexposed and not about feet, so it is a strong image, but not of the right subject matter. The compositions is strong too with the tiles and the lane acting as a leading line towards teh focal point of the man.
Right was another entertainer I found roaming Trafalgar square - they were all battling each other for peo36
After writing my concept, I went out to photograph in the same places. I felt the locations were right and if I just keep trying, I would get the results. I was going to the right places I just needed to keep trying. I also felt that I needed to come back to my concept- it was not there yet but it was a start and I was right to update it.
XV : CONCEPT After these couple of days shooting, my images were beginning to change and develop and consequently, so was the idea. After yesterday, I looked at my images and asked what is the message I am trying to convey and how? And what is the idea? So I paraphrased how it started and how it changed
I started off at Trafalgar Square again. I went a little later so that there were bigger crowds. As I had photographed the entertainers & decided that it wasn’t natural enough, it was only logic to photograph the entertained. They kept people still whilst I could float around.
Conventional portraiture i To Alternative portraiture (looking for an unexploited angle (that didn’t involve faces)) i To idiosyncrasies and quirks My idea was beginning to move away from portraiture and the influence of Parr & Ray-Jones was becoming evermore apparent. I was beginning to follow them in the respect that portraiture is not the main theme in their work. It is a subset genre. Although their results were far superior to mine, I was beginning to follow their work rather than stick to portraiture. So, as it was moving away from portraiture, do I curb it back towards portraiture or keep going and therefore, what really is my concept? The question was pretty easy to answer (the first one that is!) This is why: 1. I set myself a challenge- not to photograph the face and I would like to stick to that 2. Why stop the flow when the project is going well 3. As long as portraiture remains a subset of my work, I am still within my project brief and title. 4. I like what I am doing and I see potential in it. So what is my concept? • In truth, it is observational. Photogrpahing the quirks, the humorous, the idiosyncrasies that when not behind the lens, seem relatively mundane. • One of its smaller concepts is that it is an alternative form of portraiture. It is an impersonal portrait as the head is often cut off so we cannot recognise ourselves, and when passing a judgemental eye over what i see, it will be hard to cause offence, as the subject cannot be recognised. • But it is also another way of expressing who we are. • How we walk and what we wear all tell us something about you as a person. • It is also an eye on style and fashion and what we choose to wear- picking out the quirks of what we wear. This meant that the images were more fun to look at and are less like serious portraiture. • Your shoes go everywhere with you. They see what you see. Without them, you can go nowhere, without assistance from another object. They are your companions. • All shoes are different. The shape and size of a person can vary greatly but not as much as a shoe. • But the feet also speak of London. They are a quirky portrait of London. They speak of its diversity. We don’t appreciate the feet that knock around London & the different types & what they do to London. They leave their mark in many ways. They make our grey streets interesting and different. They make them unique. • The quirkiness can be a form of theatre, picking up on things in the street that past us that we never see • We often ignore feet. We do not pay much attention to them. We do not look at them unless there is something unusual about them. However, by picking up on them, it will encourage the viewer to look around at another aspect that we often ignore. Like Parr, I hope to make the ordinary, usual & mundane, extraordinary. • See page 44 for the next development. I wasn’t even done at this point. (underlined) 38
Above was an opportunity that could not go a miss. An entertainer was assembling a group of kids for a photo and it proved to be a great opportunity for a photo. As I was behind them, I photographed from there as I didn’t have time to get round the front, which is where I would rather have been. However, there was a great amount of colour. I enhanced both images considerably in Photoshop to bring them out and I also cropped it thin so that i didn’t have very much grey. The image above is the same as the image below it except cropped to just their legs. You lose the movement and the unusual postures in the bottom image because you can’t see the lifted hands in the right. Having said that, neither image has strong composition. They are just legs, not in any posture of interest. They stand evenly on both- I would want something uneven- something different. Neither image is strong enough to be good but the top image is stronger because its shape and its message of feet are more obvious. The image below is much stronger partly because it is a lot more simple. Its focus is simple too- and it is easy to understand; grandfather and grandson. The grandfather walks gently along taking assured small steps- almost shuffling with the grandson entertained in the pram. It has a simple composition with two AA shapes making it almost symmetrical. The background has no real clutter and it is not too grey however the colours in the subjects are unsatisfactory because the grandfather’s trousers blend too easily into the beige-y background. Conceptually, it shows you the different ages that pass through London. Moreover, a situation like this would appear mundane when you pass by, but visually this photo is interesting, in my opinion. As a portrait, we are able to ascertain that it is grandfather and grandson and that it also gives us a situation of a day out with the grandparents.
Portraiture: Feet by Ed Hands Final Major Project
Sketchbook II 2014 1
Ed Hands, Final Major Project Sketchbook I: Portraiture: Feet by Ed Hands, 2014.
From polished brogues to walking boots- a diverse range in London. Because he was stationary on the floor- he was very easy to photograph and because he was busy, I was allowed to get closer and try photographing from many different angles.
When I saw these shoes, they stood out immediately.
original layer so that information was still obtained.
They were incredibly bright with an attractive pattern. I was also placing myself on the right side of the people I was photographing because I had the sun behind me. I only managed to get a couple of photos of these shoesthe first was out of focus and the second was a stop or two too low. This image is on the right and I though I’d experiment with it because of its overexposure. I decided to push up the levels and curves excessively. This allowed only the brightest of objects visible and i like it. It is abstract and impersonal. We cannot quite work out what they are but the trouser leg on the left is relatively obvious, so it helps t be there. The colours are very strong from this exaggerated boost.
Conceptually, the image does not tell you it is London, however it would show you the diversity of the people that come to London if a subtitle was added to it. These shoes are quirky, I had never seen them before and I doubt I will again and that is part of the reason I photographed them. I shot this image [below] from the hip as i was walking by. What immediately took my eye was the way this person was standing. It is very much a quirky image as when we see feet, especially when photographed, they are both facing forwards but in this case it looks as though he is standing awkwardly.
Overall, I like it, but it tells you nothing about the owner Also what took my eye was the complimentary colours and conceptually it doesn’t work as we cannot tell that it in the blue in his jeans and the orange in his shoes. This is London and even if it is a shoe. provides strong enough colours to mute the grey paving, along with extensive cropping of the image. However in the image above, we have a less abstract image and a stronger one, in my opinion. It has great Again, we cannot tell this is London, but from the awkmovement with her foot slightly lifted. It makes a tri- ward posture, we can tell much more about the person angle adding to a simple but relatively strong compo- and how they might be slightly eccentric. sition. Moreover, its colours are strong after using the saturation, levels and curves in Photoshop to enhance the complimentary blues and oranges in her clothes and footwear. The pattern in her shoes also adds to the aesthetic appeal. The grey of the paving is relatively subdued, in part down to the tight crop on the image. In Photoshop, I have not only adjusted the levels, curves, contrast and saturation to enhance the image, but also i have used the rubber. I used it because in my top layer after so much enhancement of the highlights and midtones, i lost lots of information in the shadows, like for example the divets in the soles of her shoes. Therefore, using the eraser, I rubbed through onto the
Even before I start talking about the concept and aesthetics of this image I am already disappointed that I have managed to not include the bottom of his shoe. This would make a more complete and a less distracting composition. Having said that, the composition is strong with is legs combining to make an intriguing W shape, rather than being dead straight and extended. If it weren’t for his paint covered trousers, you might think he was asleep. The paint is useful as it provides more colour to his trousers which without the paint, would fade into the pavement which, because he was not moving, I was able to limit considerably at the time. Conceptually, he provides another pair of different shoes that are on London’s streets. He breaks the monotony, and so do the brogues. As a portrait too, we can tell that he paints and is quite probably painting whilst this was taken. Overall, it is an intriguing and diverse image and along with the previous image, provides an ever growing and ever more diverse portrait of London.
These shoes stood out immediately on the bus. I had to photograph them and I’m very pleased with it. They are well lit naturally by the windows and the light blue bus floor adds a pleasant and refreshing change to the endless monotony of grey paving. I also like his striped trousers. In truth, I would like to see more information and light in them so that the stripes could be bolder and more obvious. In Photoshop, I have cropped this image extensively as it was very loose and by tightening up, I have emphasised the focal point more. If I were to shoot this again, I would get closer. This is because we can tell we are shooting from a distance. Moreover, it would improve the composition considerably even though it is satisfactory at the moment. His coat and the navy blue floor act as frames for the focal point and as leading lines. This image shows you one of many a typical Londoner. He is wealthy and wearing extensively polished shoes. He is clearly a businessman and showing us that London is not just a city of many tourists but also of many, almost all people.
After taking and talking about the images on the previous page, I was beginning to realise that my concept was changing again. This project was turning into an alternative portrait of London rather than just a portrait of random passers by because we cannot really tell anything about them, but by a quantity of images of shoes, we quite probably will be able to tell a great deal about photography.
I like this image a lot. The shoes stand out on a flat and unobtrusive background that great wave shapes. The shoes and tights really stand out against the flat pale grey. The composition is relatively boring and simple however the waves add great patterns that echo across the whole composition, hence there is no need to crop it tightly. If it was cropped tightly, I would guess that the image would be no good. This image cannot be recognised as London unlike the image below and as a portrait of a person, we cannot really obtain anything substantial about their character. Having struggled with composition extensively so far, I am delighted with this image. The leading lines in what can recognizably seen as the millennium bridge add considerably to what would be a symmetrical and bland image. They also offer a subtle second tone to the grey floor. Moreover, her legs step forward curiously but confidently and cut down straight through the middle fo the composition, trying to attract attention. The leading lines also lead you off into where she is heading. This image has been cropped on Photoshop, but also it has been manipulated a lot using the saturation, levels and curves because the image lacked colour so I boosted them a lot to offer a pinker colour in her skin. Conceptually, the image is also strong as it can be recognised as London because of the two tones in this bridge structure. However, as a personal portrait, it fails to reveal much about this person.
Both these images pick up on quirks - both being as loud as each other and for these reasons, I obviously took photos of them.
Above is a rather boring image visually. Although the red is so bright in her trousers, it is subdued by a boring # shape composition that offers no curves or interesting patterns. Moreover it is subdued by the lack of colour everywhere else in the picture. Below is a far more interesting image in terms of pattern. It focuses more on the feet and trousers than the image above partly due to its tighter crop. It is a much more quirky image as the colours are not solid- there are many different ones. In terms of composition, it no more than sound- it has good movement, but the pavement does distract and there are no interesting leading lines or curves that add to a composition. From this image, we can tell that the man is loud and Irish, and seeing as Ireland are looking like winning the six nations, he is proud to be Irish. Moreover it shows that there is a little bit of Ireland in London. However, with so much concrete, it is hard to tell it is London, unlike the image above where it is clear but not obvious.
Another pair of equally loud trousers walked past me minutes later. He paused this time and it made for an intriguing shot. Where as the last man was striding confidently, this man was a little bit more quiet. Though his trousers weren’t. In this image the trousers dominate the picture. Unfortunately the shirt and the shoes fade into the background however the background is not cluttered and very flat and boring, allowing the focus to be enhanced on the trousers. I like how impersonal it is, even though the person is clearly very bold. His posture offers a fresh alternative because before this (and still now), I am struggling with composition. This is because often, i am photographing people walking in normal, monotonous postures and this posture here was a different one and it therefore offered a different, and stronger composition than two legs walking. His legs create two triangles (outlined by the dashed lines that I have added on) and his torso makes an extra triangle along with his arm. Although there is very little to say about the colour of his trousers apart from they are very bright, the pattern is also crucial. It adds an extra aesthetic element that has hardly featured in my project. In Photoshop, I have cropped the image a lot, and I have also boosted the saturation, levels and curves and I have also adjusted the colour balance slightly. This image [below] is a stronger image than the one above because in essence, it is funnier and it offers a juxtaposition between an overly-quirky dressed man and a man dressed rather more inconspicuously. Conceptually, this image shows the variety and diversity that makes London’s grey streets a little bit more interesting.
XVI : Shoot V: Feet - Getting even Closer: Change of Vantage point I was facing consistent problems. They were • I STILL wasn’t close enough. I couldn’t get enough power from any image • Consistent grey pavements that ruin photos • Dull compositions • A lack of colour, contrast and tone. • Message: I was still struggling for my concept. start with, this is what I tried at The Tower of Lon• Showing that it was actually London don. As you can see, although I failed to capture a subThe question was how I stopped/reduced them? ject, the background was already improved by a smaller depth of field. On my 55mm 1.8 lens, I set it to f8 and The concept will come with time. Getting closer was as you can see by the line, only about 30cm was in fosimple- I needed to find an alternative to shooting from cus. If there was a subject, it would be bolder and have the hip. Getting closer will also give me a stronger mesmore power because it was closer and it would appear sage. Gettting closer will also offer different compobigger. My problem was how to do this without being sitions. Getting closer will get rid of grey pavements. noticed. Hopefully I can solve this but I am thinking on And, the weather will help to reduce the lack of colour a remote. Or just being bold!! I also thought that being contrast tone. A finer depth of field will also help to stationary in a busy place might produce more results, reduce the distractions in the background. rather than wondering. It will encourage me to get closer. But I’ll have to be patient. So, getting closer. Again. At this moment, I am thinking about how I have shot and how i could experiment and then it hit me. It was obvious. Feet are always on the ground- stop shooting from the hip and get your camera on the ground! To
While I was at the Tower, I took this image. It is a quirkA workman not on the riverbank, not the worksite. I like his strong stride and the colours especially the yellow sand the red brick. Moreover it isn’t a grey background!!
This project really is starting to gather some pace. I’m not going back now as it is working however, it still isn’t fully working. This is because my images are still aesthetically weak and the concept is still developing. I know that i need to experiment now if I want to progress this project further so, before experimenting with the editing, post production and with the print, I want to experiment with the photos first. I needed to find a way that would offer even more of an alternative view that provided better visual results.
It was a shame I didn’t get longer at the Tower. But at least at that point I realised I needed to put my camera on the floor and stay stationary. I realised when I was at the tower that I had to find a subtle way to do this. And sitting was the best: it kept me stationary, it put me closer to the ground and I could appear inconspicuous. So I headed to St Paul’s again to see whether I could put this into practice. Waiting patiently, I found my first good opportunity.
background has an orange tone which lightens the overall image. There are great colours, patterns and tones in this image. At first, I thought I had overexposed this image and that there was no real hope with it. However I think it did it a favour to bring out the colours and brighten it, even though it is noticeably over by 1-2 stops. Moreover, adjustments in Photoshop to the levels curves, saturation, brightness & contrast have also helped.
After the tourists past, there was a bit of a lull. So I put my camera on the floor and added a bit of the strap and put it under the lens so the camera didn’t point straight to the ground. This also reduced the amount of concrete in my viewfinder. I then turned away as people walked past and held the shutter down to put it in burst mode. This is what I got. simple but witty. The A shape is repeated twice and it intersects down to the focal point to make an M shape. Moreover the only bit of step leads you to the focal point. The background is also a long way out of the narrow depth of field and also it is mostly overexposed, leaving the focus solely on the shoes. If i were to take this again, I would hope to keep the pink shoes a little bit in focus. It is a bit of a shame because now they are out of focus, they distract. Getting closer means that unfortunately, it is harder to tell it is London but we do get more detail in these shoes. However, as a portrait, they are more portraits of the shoes than the person that wears them because we can struggle to obtain anything about there character apart from they are quite clowny, long and thin.
Compositionally though, It is not very strong. There are shapes- but they are not organised very well. Moreover, what would help the composition is a hard angle- and that would be her knees but the bag is in the way. If the bag was on her shoulder, it would make for a much stronger composition. Conceptually, It shows the wealth and colour that comes to the dull street of London. Moreover, especially in the image in the top left image, they care how they look and The clothes and shoes of these women caught my eye pose very deliberately. whilst they paused to take photos on the steps. This, too gave me an opportunity to take photos. I started with But those are the quirks I am looking for. They stand these pink shoes. There is too much grey and black in out. The shoes are different. They are loud and louder this image but there is a good juxtaposition with the old than anything else she is wearing. They care about fashlooking worn plastic shoes in the background. ion too. However, after using the saturation tool on Photoshop, the pink shoes are the focal point and so powerful that they cannot be distracted. The composition in this image is decent too. However I am still not close enough. That applies to the other images on this page too.
Her friend below does too.
This image has a stronger composition because we can see her knees which show perpendicular angles, along with her hips. The colours in her clothing are not as bold and the way I shot this image means that the focus is on her clothes- and not her shoes, which slip away The image in the bottom left is even brighter. Her bag into the corner of the composition. If her shoes were ties and adds to an even brighter image. Moreover, the up on the next step the steps would help to lead our eyes towards her feet. Instead the leading lines of teh steps lead us to her bag. Conceptually, the image is very similar, if not identical to the other two images on this page.
This was a great start. There was no grey. The images were close and powerful. The composition is still decent but that will come with timing and getting my camera in the right place. The tones were more interesting too so i didn’t really need to worry about colour. I like the detail in this image. I like how we can see the dashes in his soles and the hole below the arch of his foot. Moreover, there is great clarity and a variety of tones in his blue trousers. I really like the text shapeups. It is a little quirk we would never notice when we are standing next to this person. Moreover, I like how it is shape ups, and he is heading up stairs.
In the images below, I prefer the right hand image. It has more movement than the image on the left however it retains the detail in that image. Both show great detail of the shoes however the trousers are in shadow therefore, we have a lot of empty space in the image. Because of this, the composition is weak but in the right it This was much better. But it was still not there. So I is stronger because of the movement and the increase kept trying, because I knew it would come and that this of information because of the other shoe overlapping was the way to get it. If I was lacking composition in the empty trouser leg. the image above, I certainly got it in the image in the next column. St Paul’s was great. I was getting really strong results and my idea was developing and so were the visual reThis image [top right] has even more colour in it too. sults. However, there weren’t enough people. It was not It has less grey and more detail on these shoes show- a popular enough destination. So I headed back to Traing things we would never notice. The composition is falgar Square where there were also steps.
There were a lot more people in Trafalgar Square than St Paul’s. Many more sat on the steps and admired the view down Whitehall. There was already a good collection of footwear around so I got moving. To begin with, I sat as near as I could, and then snapped.
I then moved away from the people sitting around me and onto what I was trying to do at St Paul’s. It was an immediate success.
Like the image on page 43, I got lucky with the light and the quantity of polish on these shoes. The reflection of the shoes produces a great quantity of rich and vibrant tones to subtle highlights. Moreover, unlike the two images on the previous page, I have information in the trousers and therefore we can see a pattern. Moreover, there are great highlights and mid-tones revealing a strong texture in her boot. The grey is not The composition is still not strong. Because this was overpowering, however it is distracting. taken on the ground, I have lost the bottom of her shoes which is a real shame and there is too much grey Overall, whenever there is grey in an image, I find that it in the image. Although the steps and the man in the is depressing because it is not pure white and inconspicbackground echo the focal point and lead us to wards uous black. Grey is a depressing colour anyway. I want it, the image has no order. these images to be fun and the best way to convey that is with a bright colour - ideally a white. Conceptually, it shows Scotland in London with the pattern on her trousers. Moreover, although the grey Both this image and the image below are great portraits space is horrible (and should be cropped) the steps, to of shoes, recognisable (just) as London and as portraits anybody who has been to Trafalgar square are instantly of people, don’t really convey a great deal. However berecognisable. low, we are so close, and so tightly cropped that these shoes appear enormous. However, the image fails to tell us about the person and it also fails to represent the shoes properly because we In the image below, I have even more detail in the shoes cannot see all of the shoe! however I have lost some in the shadows in her jeans. The colours are not as good as they could be but they The image in the bottom left has a strong composition. are subtle and the texture, tones, and clean focus make This is because the tilt to match the angle of the shoes up for because we can associate with each particular breaks the monotony of the consistently straight lines dot, as if we can feel it. of the paving. In effect, it provides a “compositional quirk”. The colours are strong too after having been Compositionally, for the first time, the shoes fill the picenhanced on Photoshop using the curves, levels, col- ture, so there is no worry of dull and annoyingly disour balance, saturation and the brightness and contrast. tracting backgrounds.
I like this image. It has plenty of movement in it and I like how the Nike logo echoes the movement. Moreover, the blurred foot in the background of his also helps to portray movement. The image is close and powerful because the shoe and leg dominate the frame. However, in terms of visual criteria, it isn’t the most powerful. It is well exposed and well lit but it slightly lacks colour and contrast. This is partly due to the increased amount of grey in the background. Moreover, the composition is ordinary. There are no special lines in it that make it stand out as an image. Conceptually, it is very recognisable as London and although we cannot read into he character of the person, we can see a great deal of detail about his shoes. They are well worn- we can see this for the soul, for example. When I first viewed this image on the computer, I thought that I had taken my best image so far. And, although it isn’t perfect, it still is a very strong image. The difference between it and the previous images is composition. This is because of the person in the background because without them, it would be like any of the previous compositions in my photos. What she is doing is a ‘quirk’ but she also frames the focal point and with her left foot, she emphasise where he is going and reflects his legs to make a symmetrical composition. The woman behind the subject does annoy me however, she does cover the grey balcony behind the woman climbing the stairs. This image as great colour and is clearly London too. It speaks of the many different quirks and activities of London.
XVII : Crit Feedback
XVIII : Experimentation
The change of vantage point was working. I was getting better images that were more powerful and better composed. Moreover, their conceptual depth increased because of the change of vantage too. I then had the Sunday to edit the photos that I could then show to the class in our Crit to see what they thought.
My classmates were right. I needed to find a new angle and experiment a bit further than taking the photos. I had experimented with the shoot and now I needed to experiment in other ways.
On the next page, you can see what some of my classmates said- a few of them commented but a lot was also said after I talked about my work. They said a number of different things on top of what is already mentioned on the next page. One said that, even though there was a lot of grey in the images, they could recognise that grey and where it was. Many others then agreed- which to be honest, is promising as my concept does include an element of a portrait of London and if they can recognise more images than I thought they would, that is a promising sign. So if you go back again go to the same places! However I still need to get rid of (/reduce) the grey!
I started looking up text about feet. It was a collection of songs, poems and sentence about feet. I found many online but also in the book of quotations, especially the more antique texts. They were New shoes by Paolo Nutini Oh when the saints go marching in, traditional song I got shoes, you got shoes, Johnny Cash “I look down towards his feet, But that’s a fable.” William Shakespeare, Otello Autolycus the winter’s tale Jerusalem by William Blake Membra Jesu Nostri by Buxtehude I went through each song and played it whilst looking at my images and wrote down below whether they matched my concept and my images to see whether they could work with my work. New shoes by Paolo Nutini - A good match Oh when the saints go marching in, traditional song Too traditional & serious (vs contemporary quirks) I got shoes, you got shoes, Johnny Cash - A good match but Nutini is better match “I look down towards his feet, But that’s a fable.” Shakespeare, Otello - only one line- I wanted coherency. Autolycus the winter’s tale - too old, my shoes weren’t Jerusalem by William Blake - too traditional but it could work. Slightly too patriotic Membra Jesu Nostri by Buxtehude - too antique against quirky shoes. Trampled under foot by Led Zeppelin - too sad and doesn’t go with quirky feet Many marching songs - my images aren’t of soliders and marchers The most familiar song to me turns out to be the best match. Nutini’s new shoes is a bright and fun song. And my images are full of quirks too. So the question was how I could combine the two. I thought video to start with- I could start filming people walking happily and bouncily in their shoes. I could work with the beat, by showing grey pavements and at the beginning to the chorus, for example, I could have these shoes appear. We could then follow them around. Moreover, I would envisage being on the move in this so we can follow the new shoes.
They also said that the change of vantage worked really well and improved my images significantly but that there is still work to be done, like what is said on the next page that the images are a bit cliché. I was pleased with the results of my Crit. They liked what I was doing but appreciated it wasn’t quite there yet. However they also gave me plenty of ideas of where i could go too. They suggested maybe a book which I think is a really good idea. This was an image I took on that Saturday of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. I like it because I’ve managed to expose it correctly to stop the buildings going into silhouette.
Before I stared taking this idea too far, I realised that it would be very cliché. His words would make it a good piece. But then, it would be cliché and cheesy. It wouldn’t really be an artwork.
Nutini Album Cover 54 So I thought about doing an audio slideshow using my images against his words. Again, my problem would be they are his words. They would be what would make the piece. Moreover, the music is full of movement, and my images may be quirky but they lack movement. I feel that they would make the song a little bit boring. And to be brutally honest, I think if I were to try anything to go with his words, it would be like his music video, which can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYiFInP7wjk
Image taken from http://appleseedsmusic.com/throwback-thursdays-paolo-nutini-new-shoes/
Rather than using someone’s modern song, I decided to use the book of quotations to see if I could combine multiple different texts/quotes to go with my images. Below are the list of quotes that I thought about using. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Be jubilant my feet, Julia Ward Howe I am broken by their passing feet w.b yeats The feet o’ the men what drill, Rudyard Kipling Tennyson, ode on the death of the duke of wellington Let the sound of those he rought for, and the feet of those he fought for, echo round his bones for ever more, Tennyson, Ode on the death of the duke of wellington How beautiful are they feet with shoes, book of solomon I look down towards his feet othello, but that’s a fable Feet have they and walk not, psalm 115 One last short burst upon failing feet- there life lay waiting so sweet so sweet, John Masefield She past the salley Gardens with little snow white feet, round the white feet of laughing girls, whose sires have marched to rome, Lord Macauley foot it featly here and there Shakespeare areal in the tempest Hercules is not only known by his feeet browning Love is swift of foot, George Herbert Footprints on the sands of time Longfellow Old friends are best kings James used to call for his old sheos, John Selden on his nose there was a cricket in his hat a railway ticket- but hsi shoes were far too tight the time has come the walrus said to talk of many things of shoes and ships and ceiling wax of cabbages and kings , alice through the looking glass lewis carroll For want of a nail the shoe was lost, benjamin franklin nursery rhyme there was an old woman who lived in a shoe cockle doodle do my dame has lost her shoe my litttle dog a heartbeat at my feet look up, Edith Wharton it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees, Emiliano Zapata
This was a great amount of quotes. I underlined the ones I particularly liked and ones that I thought I could use. However I don’t think that there is enough. Moreover, what would go with the text and in what way? With this amount of quotes, I thought that I could display them alongside my images either in a slideshow or in a book. However I would have to make a story out of the text I had chosen to make that work. The quotes are all very different from each other- they don’t go well together. Take for example ‘How beautiful are thy feet with shoes’ from the book of Solomon with for want of a nail the shoe was lost by Benjamin Franklin. Combining this variety of quotes muddles my concept and it will be hard to combine them all together to make sense. Moreover it would be hard to make a story of it. So I couldn’t use the text because it wasn’t really my text and it would be too cliché and I also couldn’t use the quotes because they were all different and there weren’t enough. Over the next few days and pages, I looked at alternative experiments not involving text, but experimenting in other media because text wasn’t going to work. I had been stupid not to include Cinderella on the previous page. However on reflection, the story would not be relevant to my photos as they are glass slippers and special. Moreover, they identify who Cinderella is, whereas mine struggle to show who the people are.
As I went into college the next day, I was wondering which medium I should experiment with next. Then suddenly on the bus, it clicked. Moments before, somebody droopped a piece of paper on a wet day on the bus. Then another passenger, without realising, stood on that piece of paper. It was blank so it did not matter. But it did create a footprint. What I came up with was the urban footprint. I could record peoples footprints using paper left no the floor. So the next day, I took a blank sheet from home and placed it in front of the stairs on the bus. People avoided it at first. So on the way back home, I stayed on the bus longer and sat away from the sheet in the hope that less attention would be drawn to it. I decided not to take a photo of it because it would draw attention to it, even though I would like to show you. It was a better result, but not much better. You can see it on the right. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong day to do this. It was too dry and it needed a bit of moisture to make the footprints more prominent. Moreover, I didn’t get enough. There was a lack of variety too. There is not enough colour in it. Moreover there is no composition or organisation to the picture even though there are shapes. However, most importantly, I think it looks ugly. There is no harmony in colour or in shape or in composition. Visually it does nothing. Hanging that up in any gallery would be terrible. People would think it was a piece of Junk. And to be honest, they’re right. It is dirty. Conceptually, it is slightly different. There is a strong concept to the work. But first, as a portrait, it fails to tells us anything about the person. Moreover, it does not tell us that it is London. It could be anywhere. It is conceptually strong because it is an alternative method of recording, and an alternative way to show feet. We often see footprints in the sand or in mud. However, this is more of an urban recording. It was done on a bus and on paper, a powerful urban accessory that nearly every urban person has/wants/needs. However, we don’t use paper to wreck it. It is dirty. Now knowing that it is London, we can see our Londoners on it. They remain nameless and totally unidentifiable however they make London slightly less blank. They make London what it is. At the same time, it has plenty of dirt on it and the footprint is not permanent. The footprint is made from the dirt not from the shoe. Metaphorically speaking, the shoe is the press and the dirt and dust is the ink. Perhaps using a different ink would help this idea along much better both conceptually and especially visually. It also ironically represented a carbon footprint because the footprint on the paper was dirty, and it could show that by having lots of dirt on the footprint, it could show a big carbon footprint. It also shows a segment of the carbon footprint of London. Moreover, it shows a side we never see- the sole (of the shoe). We all focus on the tops of shoes- we almost always buy shoes on the way the appear on the tops and sides, but not on the bottom (wisely-so). It is unimportant. We rarely ever see it. But what it shows us is the side we don’t see and it records it. I didn’t think this was the right way to go. It was a good experiment however it was extremely weak visually and nor did it match my concept. I had to think of other ways and other media I could experiment with. Pictured: A poster encouraging people to cycle. 55
image taken from thelittlechimpsociety.com/2011/05/caroline-tomlinson-transport-for-london/
In trying footprints, I had to try footsteps.
against using the different distances, but the closest was the most powerful so I thought I’d stick with that. With With your feet and shoes, you can make very different that as my recording of choice, I chose my visuals. And noises that all depend on the surface, acoustic and the on that front, I had no idea. material of your shoes. I decided to just ignore the question and focus on the Hearing your footsteps on the pavement is boring and, sound. Although moving in-between distances didn’t hearing them in an echoy large space has been done sound very good, I could always play with distorting before. So where would be different? the sound. I felt that this was a sensible option because my sound was already quite creepy, and by distorting By chance, I realised when I suffered. In a visit to the it, I could make it creepier. Every so often therefore, gym, my iPod ran out of battery and all I could listen I changed the balance of the 10 different tones that I was the trampling feet of fellow runners and myself on could play with. This is demonstrated below. I also addthe treadmill. ed the same track unedited in the background to add a sort of echo, and to keep the footstep sounds from disThe beep, the constant whirl of the mill and the regular sapearing. After doing lots of different experimentation feet appealed to me, more artistically than anything else. with the sound, I was done with my first version. So the next day, I went to the gym at its quietest time and recorded myself running on a treadmill. This is how I did it. I recorded myself running for 5 minutes 5 times from Because I was familiar with Final Cut Pro, I decided to different distances. This can be found on the memory do it using Final Cut. stick inside this sleeve. There were three distances: close (30cm from my feet) , 2 metres and 5 metres. At this time, I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was appealing me to do this. I thought I’d try it anyway!
I started by dragging my file into the storyboard, which can be seen above where I dragged a clip from the top left of the right image into the bottom left. A close up I felt that this had some of the top left is above on the left. real potential but it needed some visuals. The sound So I had my sound in and I couldn’t needed to be edited and just play it how it was. Therefore I played around with but the loaded the balance and tones so particular elements I liked was its regularity. You begin that I could play with the sound. to wonder what is going on - and nothing happens. I This box can be seen here. You also liked the beeps. They were crisp bold and almost simply dragged the dots up and down to increase/deintimidating. There was an element of uncomfort in the crease its pitch, tone and volume. In order to do this, I recording because the viewer struggles to know what is used the blade tool to cut my track in bits, so that I could going on nor does it come to a conclusion, which an- change particular bits without having to load the same noys and confuses the viewer. track in again and again. Therefore, I could then edit the particular parts so that the sound would change. This is So I took it to final cut to play around with it. I had demonstrated below 56. Moreover, on the screengrab on mixing the particular distances in mind. The edited ver- the next page, you can see I have added the same track sion can also be found on my memory stick entitled as unedited just out of time so that it produces an echo TREADMILL 1 EDITED. I edited it using Final Cut and it keeps the footsteps loud enough. I also cropped the sounds by using the Pro. It is called TREADMILL 1 ORIGINAL.
trim tool >
This is what I did. I started by mixing the different distances on Final cut but the definition was not obvious enough. Because my recordings were done on my iPhone, they lacked clarity. So, unfortunately, I decided 56
Image take from mediacommons.psu.edu
This is what it ended up looking like. The red lines pint towards the black corners which are fades i have added in so the piece starts quietly and tehn gets to full volume and goes from full to quiet at the end, rather than being abrupt. It crescendos at the beginning and it diminuendos at the end. Moreover, you can see the segments that i have added which have been edited with each one different. The most extreme ones are the ones with red lines on them. You can also see the original track in the background too, which is there to keep the feet loud enough as the distortions lose the footsteps.
I also like the echo. It confuses and makes us wonder what is going on. It appears more like a force rather than pathetic me running on the treadmill. It appears more epic therefore. I also like the distortions. They offer variation and confusion. They are all so different you wonder what is going on. Moreover, I like the strong contrast from loud and wild to quiet. It is very powerful. However I do feel that the transitions aren’t in the right places. They should be on the beat and they feel slightly off and unnatural. I think the changes would be crisper and stronger if the visuals also did change. I also feel I would like to hear my feet more. They are lost but I want them to be constant. I also like the fadeout at the end because it shows that I continue to run off into the distance.
The recording i used was the close up because I wanted the feet to be powerful I have called it deadmill because it is obvious once with the sounds that it is referring to a treadmill. Moreover, This is what I think of it. one that is dead and different. I think it is an excellent experiment that isn’t quite there yet. The visuals is obviously, the area that needs the most work because as the sound got creepier the visuals didn’t’ match. Although, I do like the black abstract screen. This allows you to focus on the sound and gives you less of a sense of what is going on. There is a definite sense of discomfort and pain. It is so repetitive I started feeling my heart beat once. Part of its pain is that it comes to no conclusion. It fades out as if the runner fades on into the distance. Moreover, the pain can also be found in the beeps and the ever increasing tone and the repetitive sounds. However, having said that the sound is a little monotonous, but it very much portrays feet in a different way. Although it is a self-portrait, I wouldn’t be able to pick myself out of any other recording of somebody else’s feet.
Conceptually this is different. The immediate problem is that this is not portraiture. It is impossible to call it portraiture. It is too abstract. However it is very alternative and it does focus on feet. Part of the concept is explained on page 62, where I discuss Steve McQueen (the artist). I feel that he in part is the inspiration. 12 years a Slave allowed me to cotton on to his artwork. I watched an interesting documentary on him. His work is uncomfortable and when I saw clips of Deadpan and Charlotte. In this documentary that was televised on the BBC, the interviewee said that his interest lies in the abuse of the body. I reflected this in my work without realising it because of the way feet are exercised and punished on the treadmill and I thought how I could put this into the right medium.
The more expectant you are listening to it, the more distorted the sound gets. The beeps rising with the tone and tempo of the treadmill and my feet suggest pain too because who ever wants to turn the speed up? Listening to this in the comfort of my own room wasn’t the greatest because I was comfortable. I think if this was in a blank gallery space it would help, but more importantly visuals will transform it.
The idea in my experiment is that there are not just other parts of the body but other people controlling the way your feet work. To begin with this is just an ordinary treadmill sequence. But bit by bit you learn that the person on the running machine is not really in control and you never find out who is. We hear what is happening to the person on the treadmill so for example, their body has been put under pressure by a authority we cannot see. After the halfway point that When recording it, I wanted as few beeps as possible, body no longer seems to be there. What has happened but now, when I listen to it, I want more. They add var- to it, we wonder? iation, but also a different form of pain. Moreover they identify that it is a treadmill. 57
For the next experiment, I focused on improving the think it is stronger as it is- normal tv static. In truth, I visuals. would like to be able to play with optical ilusiongs in the tv static, like creating rings and it getting bigger and It is called TREADMILL EDITED 2. It is not com- smaller. I want them to stare into it so they are taken in plete because I was dissatisfied with it and moved onto by the visuals with the sound bombarding the rest of the next edit. their senses to make a very sensually active and pweoful piece. Thinking about the visuals, I liked the simplicity of the black but I After doing this, I knew that in my next edit it needed want something I can play with. to be simpler. So before turning anywhere else, I looked at the effects browser to The third version is also on the memory stick entitled see if anything appealed. And one TREADMILL EDITED 3. did in particular. On the right is the effects browser and also, Bad In this third experiment, also starting like the previous TV. I tried them all before I found experiment, I used exactly the same sound I had made bad TV but there was something that appealed about for Treadmill edited 1 except I have added the visuals it. I suppose they just matched. My sound was weird, on top. confused and distorted, and so is TV static. I could also vary it. I started with TV static and by simply adding layers of it on, I could do the flashes and also have the variations. I think the sound and visuals now go very well together. However it is not perfect. I would like to hear more beeps as they are conceptually powerful and moreover, they are a variation from the monotonous trudge of my feet. My overall problem with the piece is that it is too long. I wait too long to change to a different distortion. it could be much shorter. Moreover, I think conceptually I had also rerecorded it this time. Strangely enough, in it would be much stronger with just the treadmill (no this recording without any distortions, it is already dis- footsteps) afterwards because you then wonder where torted, which is a bit of a shame. I tried to access the the person has gone. original file but I didn’t have it on me. Having said that, I like the echo and the flashes. They I used the beeps to change the visual and it works very are very strong and they add variation to the experiwell. The visuals match and begin to make you uncom- ment. fortable. One is not more powerful than the other too, which always makes the piece more coherent. I like the Again, as much as I love the sound, I feel that when the flashes- I did this by adding about 5 layers of bad tv. It distortions are changed, they could be done on the beat went white and it was striking. In all honesty however, I without a gap because in the experiment, there re plenty would have preferred the TV static to be less grey with of moments where we have a very brief pause that is more contrast because then it would be more appealing obvious. It stops the continuity and ruins the rhythm and bold. my feet make. I also really like the fade into the blank grey and then into the white. It provides a contrast to Although I had only completed the first minute, I had the short sharp transitions. trimmed lots of it. I had too much footsteps to get through to shorten it. Moreover, I also like the echo I Overall, I am very pleased with the experiment. There added like I did in the previous version. The fade is also is a lot to work on it and I am very tempted to almost a strong contrast to the abrupt beeps and I like how it conclude that this is my final piece! However, before fades back into the normal footsteps and static. I think i I did that I though it would be wise to hear from my was a bit too experimental however, I don’t like the teal classmates. and orange effect to change the colour of the static. I 58
XIX : Class feedback I posted the third version on our facebook wall as it was holidays and I got some good responses that indicated whether it would work as a final piece. They said: • I’m gonna be honest ( so please don’t hate me), it’s one of those movies u often see in art exhibitions and I just don’t get - probably because i didn’t know the concept behind it. Urs and the ones in the art galleries. The repetition of the sound also makes me super unvomfterable (i dunno if thats what u were going for), but I think thats a personal thing because i don’t like repeated sounds - they give me a headache I’m really happy about this comment- it’s clear and i agree with it. I am glad that she finds it painful because I think that is part of the idea- something I will talk about on the next page in reference to McQueen’s work. I think the ‘dont get’ factor is something i really need to improve on if I am to take this further. • I must admit, I’m a bit confuseddd! But I think it’s really cool, but like you said a bit long. I think however it would work if you had stuff with it not just as a stand alone piece I unfortunately feel that this is a stand alone piece, but what this clarifies is that it needs more clarification. It needs to make more sense. • Maybe if you wrote what the piece is about, it will be easier to understand? I agree, but when I get round to developing this, I hope I won’t have to. • It’s cool, but yeah a bit disorientating and confusing on its own! would work well accompanying something else This reiterates the second bullet point. • Why the tv static? I couldn’t even answer that myself but I think they work really well together. Maybe I could try something else or adding a short flash at the beginning ie: we see the treadmill, then it beeps and starts and once it beeps, we descend into tv static. • I really hope u don’t mind me being honest here, but because I don’t understand whats going on, I cant really like it. It makes no sense to me, like you have a treadmill and tv static, if u see what i mean I think the issue of clarity is really highlighted here. • it is really creepy but i think its cool though! Its a bit borin at times but it’s quite powerful. where are u thinking of displaying it? I’m glad he finds it creepy because it is meant to be and again, this highlights the need for reediting it. I’m overall, very pleased with their comments but I feel that they aren’t fully in support of it. I think they’re right not to be because their lack of support points out more work needs to be done to it. Overall the video needs to be more powerful and so does the sound. It needs to be shorter and it also needs to be clearer in what it is about. 59
XX : Steve McQueen- Not the Icon, nor the Director/artist, but the Artist/director
XXI : Book and the possibilities of using text
I’m not including Steve McQueen just because of 12 Years A Slave, I’m including him because not only am I interested, I think he is relevant to my experiments. In part, I think he is the influence for them. Why? Well, I was intrigued after watching 12 Years A Slave and I was embarrassed I had never heard of him till then. 57
Pausing work on Deadmill brought me back to what my class had mentioned in one of our crits. They saw my feet photos and liked them as a slideshow but said making a book would be a really good idea. I agreed with them. Before I could even start making the book, I had to think about the chosen images and whether it had text or not. I felt it needed text. Text that would either be humorous or revealing as to what it is about.
the way his shirt reacts etc. Deadpan is a relevant work for me to study as it brings in the idea of a body under pressure both physically and mentally because he is physically confined. The house falls on the viewer and we have to rewatch it to make sure.
In Charlotte, McQueen continues to cover the physical discomfort of the body. Quite simply, it is a video of McQueen prodding his finger in the eye of Charlotte Rampling. However the piece is about resistance to aggression. The camera is very close and is obviously handheld. His finger floats and then she reacts and at first it looks like I then watched a very interesting documentary about nothing happens but there is him on the bbc entitled : Steve McQueen: Are you sitthis charge. The electric atting uncomfortably? It focused on 12 Years a Slave, mosphere is very powerful. which wasn’t the most comfortable of viewing however For some reason from that, you get this charge that is it did show his other work, which is what caught my eye. magnetic. It appears as though it was two polar magnets both of the same pole. It is amazing how McQueen has built an emotion and such a strong emotion out of the most unusual source. After looking at his work more in depth, I started to think about mine.
To start with, Deadpan ( 1997) is a play on a comic joke where a side of a house falls down with a man standing underneath it but a window allows the man to not be crushed.58 it goes straight round him. I have never seen it but from the clips you can see online and in the documentary, it is addictive but a painful subject. You keep on wondering whether it will hit him this time but no, it keeps going. The variety of different camera angles are great especially the one of his shoes and it is very well shot. It is humorous too not only because of the witty title but also because the falling house technique is often used in farces.
I thought about the concept first. These thoughts developed it slightly and made it stronger but McQueens idea of discomfort and pain play a key part in this experiment. The images are ironic the TV interference is when someone is on the treadmill. When we do not know what is happening, the screen is blank. Ironically we get the least information at the point where we have the greatest curiosity. There were a lot of improvements to be done- my class had pointed that out. It definitely has the potential to go very far and become my final piece but its concept is a little bit too far off the beaten track. Moreover, the concept was the strength and the weakness- it was very hard to understand what was going on. I have made a monotonous subject relatively interesting, but it isn’t interesting enough at the moment.
You want to keep watching the imitation of a coup d’cinema moment. The use of the different camera angles and his reworking of it allows the viewer to ex- I’m glad I can see these improvements because I now trapoolate all the formal and cinematic qualities like for know where I need to go. However I am concerned exmaple, we can see the wind, the way the body reacts, with how little time i have. So, I think it’s best I leave this experiment for the moment and, if I have no final 57 image taken from imdb.com piece or a weak final piece, I can come back to it. 58 image taken from theguardian.com 60
To start with, I brainstormed, you can see this on the sheet on the next page. I then pulled it all together to make what is below. Here is the final text. Also inside that sleeve are the notes I made on the structure of Blake’s poem. The final text I ended up with is this: And did new feet, in modern times, Walk in the streets of London town; And did all fashions- some divinePause on these streets, or settle down; And every style, from old to new To London town did down descend; And endless options filled my view A host of footwear with no end.
I had nothing to lose. I may as well make the book and if it doesn’t work out it can still be experimentation. However, the first hurdle is text. I looked back to my research on possible text I could use back on page 54. Nothing stuck out like I’d missed it. I had tried the ones that I thought could work but I had yet to try the possibilities. Again, I may as well give it a go.
Bring me my shoes, my feet’s best friends Give me a style to match my mood, Bring me my trainers, oh, Bring my me boots; Bring polished brogues to match my suits. I’ll walk right on in London Town, Where fashion choices have no end, I’ll wander on on London’s shores While shoes remain my camera’s friend.
I put my images up on a slideshow with Jerusalem in the background. The music didn’t work and the text was too powerful and patriotic. My message was different to the text. I ruled it out but I did like the first line of ‘And did those feet’ . In playing around with it like I did below, I realised it could work if I adapted Blake’s text and kept the rhythm and rhyme structures the same. I thought I’d give it a try as my work has an element of patrioritism in the same way that Parr’s does.
The next spread shows you how I got there. It was very instinctive and natural so unfortunately I struggle to show you a lot but what it does show you is that I began by looking at my images picking out the most striking idiosyncrasies and themes.
I started with my own words. And did those feet in new times each of a different size of shoe
Creating the adapted text took a while but I was delighted with the result. It reduces the tone of patriotism in the text but it does not nullify this. Therefore it is more coherent with my images. The text is also witty, like there is some fun in my images.
I then looked harder at Blake’s text which is below. And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountains green: And was the holy Lamb of God, On England’s pleasant pastures seen! And did the Countenance Divine, Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here, Among these dark Satanic Mills? Bring me my Bow of burning gold; Bring me my Arrows of desire: Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold! Bring me my Chariot of fire! I will not cease from Mental Fight, Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand: Till we have built Jerusalem, In England’s green & pleasant Land
I felt that there was great potential in this too - like Nutini’s New Shoes, Jerusalem is extremely well known so people would know it when they hear it. But I highly doubt that they would realise my text is adapted from Jerusalem without being told. I think therefore, that having the music beside is crucial. It would only be the accompanying part because obviously, I couldn’t have Blake’s words clashing with mine. Moreover, i would have to record/find a recording that doesn’t have the fervent patriotism that is often heard ebcause again, this would clash with my concept. The concept is still to be developed even though it speaks fervently of London.
The next thing to do was obviously, put the words to the text but first I felt it was necessary to take more photos.
The Millennium bridge proved more than useful for shooting different vantages. I was able to photograph the mudlarkers as shown on the previous page. However, when I was walking underneath it, I noticed something - another vantage - I could see people photographing the view from the start of the bridge. This image [below] demonstrates where on the bridge I photographed from.
XXII : Shoot VI: Back to Feet Realising that a book was becoming more and more likely, I needed more photos and better ones too. I felt that I didn’t have the diversity, variety and quality that I needed to make a book. So off I went to find more diverse images. A change of vantage worked last shoot so I felt that if I could find a different and similarly powerful vantage point then I would have the results I am looking for.
the lack of Iron work. In the next image [below left], I am directly below him so I am able to get a stronger composition. In this case, I have managed to get a symmetrical composition. Although the iron frames it, it distracts it but I have kept it there so people are more like to understand I am photographing underneath the bridge. The image lacks tone and contrast, mainly because of the exposure problem. Therefore, it also lacks colour, considerably.
In the previous photo, I had sat on the ground waiting for the right people to walk past me at the Millennium Bridge. However, as I was sitting there, I noticed some school kids go down to the riverbanks to mudlark. I left where I was originally and headed up onto the bridge to photograph this image. This image has the potential to be really strong because i love the quirkiness of her pink On my way to do the very same route as I did the pre- Mickey Mouse boots. vious shoots ( St Paul’s, Millennium Bridge, Tate, South Bank, London Eye, Hungerford Bridge & Trafalgar It is a shame therefore, that they are just out of focusSquare) I spotted this bin-man and how together his the camera has focused on her jacket. The background feet were. I was just walking to St Paul’s so I was shoot- is different and interesting and un-distracting. It allows ing from the hip. It was a great opportunity but in no the pink boots to be the focal point. The compositions way was it well executed. We can tell that it is London, is satisfactory too. However unfortunately, this photo but also we can tell that the person feels small. However could be anywhere we don’t know that is London. It visually the image is no god at all. There is no compo- could be beside the seaside for all we know. sition, no movement, no colour, too much grey. Moreover, there are not tones nor contrast and it has been The next image is more obviously London, but it is not totally London. I like the composition and colour in underexposed by 1-2 stops. this image. However the background, although it is flat, The image below is much stronger because it has a clashes with the colour of her shoes. They are almost slightly better composition, much more colour, well ex- analogous colours. posed, no grey and an out of focus background. However, it would be a much stronger image if we could see Furthermore, unlike below left, we are not close enough. the whole of her shoes and that they were both in focus If I got closer, we would be able to see more detail and and closer together, as in between there is too much therefore portray the person better and her shoes. empty space.
I waited, and eventually, I got my result. I waited patiently for the right moment to photograph. It was best, like shown below when people turned to look back at the view because it produced unusual poses and therefore ‘quirks’. I was finding it very hard to expose because There was so much light from behind the subject that I could silhouette so I overexposed by 2 stops. It was an excellent vantage I just had to wait to find the right moment. I realised that I would need to show the structure to make it easier to understand so i shot quite wide.
I really like this image. It is different, and visually it is strong. Conceptually, it is strong too with more structure visible, the audience is more likely to realise that it is London. However it is at an angle, so in truth, I would prefer to have it straight as it would strengthen the composition. The composition is disorganized, but the two feet in solid shadow plant strongly on the composition. There is a little colour in this image, but the greyness of the sky and of the ironwork still prevail, unfortunately. Also, if I were to rephotograph it, I would also do it on a sunny day because it would add colour, tone, contrast, and it will be easier to expose. In Photoshop, I have enhanced the image to brighten it and to add contrast but I couldn’t risk doing too much as it would look over edited. Less is more. Moreover, I have also cropped the image quire a lot. The image is a quirk, it is different and I like it. If I do a book,this will feature. I feel that, although this view is very alternative and i like it, I would still like to be closer because it would have a stronger impact - like Parr’s work because rarely is he too far away. He is occasionally too close for comfort.
I like this image a lot [below left]. It is very much an alternative portrait. I like the pattern the grid makes. The composition is not its best but if possible, I would like t be directly beneath them. The image also lacks colour. It is also hard to understand where this is because of
XXIII : Veronica Spierenburg Veronica Spierenburg is an artist that, like many others including Steve Mcqueen’s 12 years a Slave, Nan Goldin & Tony Ray-Jones, who takes a popular subject and approaches it from a difficult angle/aspect. 59
manner. Furthermore, more lines and colour are added by the persons clothing and their hair. A subtle difference though is in the vantage point. Like in this image below, we are much closer than we are than in the image in the previous column. 60 361
In the case of Spierenburg, it is portraiture and she has literally, taken a different angle of it.
Asides from new vantages and getting new and different photos, it gave me a chance to rephotograph the entertainers. To my great disappointment, the good weather had gone - and we had returned to winter. The grey skies did me no favours. However I tried to avoid them, like i did in this photo. Still however, there is lots of grey. It is recognisably London though because it is the Millennium Bridge. I had photographed this artist back on page 43. He was wearing slightly less paint-covered trousers, which reduces the colour and quirks in this image. The composition in this image is strong and intriguing because we have a man lying down and a woman standing and as a two dimensional image, it does look peculiar. The image lacks colour and contrast partly due to the quantity of grey in the image.
Like Goldin & myself, she wanted to take photos of her classmates. However unlike me, she wanted to take them from a different angle that had never been photographed. Nadar, the early French photographer was apparently an influence after he went up in a balloon in Paris to photograph them from above.
On reflection, I don’t think that the image above is as god as the image on page 43. I may not be missing a bottom of a shoe here but, at least I have colour, tone contrast and visually it is more exciting. Rather than shooting from above, I encountered a similar problem when photographing from the floor. The sky was particularly white yesterday and you can see it in this image. I tried adding some blue to it in Photoshop but there is nothing I can add to it without it being blatant.
These images are very clever because they are so simple. The idea is the simplest of all because we appear to be flying above like a bird and as a portrait, I think we would be able to recognise ourselves and it is an angle of ourselves we never see even with a mirror.
The simplicity and similarity in these images is also there to bring out the character in each person ie, so they stand out more. They are very simply displayed as we can see in this image below. 61 I think it is witty how they are at head height because we are shown an area which we rarely ever see that can reveal a great deal about us. Moreover, we get the sense that this is from a bird’s perspective too because to them, this is how we look, not our faces.
Whilst I struggled photographing backs, it is noticeable how there is an expression of character in each person but it is very limited. And in terms of visual simplicity, the compositions are very simple with each figure facing the same way as the other. Moreover, we are on the same background and they all have the same crop. There is no great shape however the parting or tie in each person’s hear creates a strong line and shape that adds to the composition. The images are all well lit in a conventional high-key 59
The basis for Mcqueen’s 12 years a slave was that he wanted to make a film about slavery but from a different aspect so he used a relatively unheard account of it. Ray-Jones took an american idea and did it to England and Goldin was one of the Image taken from clickblog.it/post/3940/veroni first photographers to photograph her own 60 friends documenting their lives over an extended period ka-spierenburg 61 Images taken from thebesttimeoftheday.blogspot.com of time.
However, I really like this image of the bagpiper. I like its symmetrical composition. The pattern in his kilt is clear but his kilt lacks colour. Moreover, the whole image lacks colour. It is dominated by the grey coloured walls and paving. The image has great shape especially in his calves. This adds a contrast to the straight lines that we are accustomed to seeing so far. The curves help the composition strongly and add to a symmetrical composition which is satisfactory. I like how no-one is looking as the character remains impersonal. Overall, these were good attempts, but really, I needed to rephotograph them on the same day, as the weather has really let me down here. The same applies to the bagpiper image- the previous version on page 36 is better because it has more colour and less grey. None of these images are close enough- we cannot see enough feet, in my opinion. This is what woul dmake them better. Conceptually however, we are seeing the same concepts as with their previous versions. In these loosely cropped images, we can see that they are London. Moreover, it shows the diversity of its entertainers in London. In terms of their character, we cannot understand much about them, which is a shame.
is something we rarely see- we often buy or shoes for how they look but we don’t care to look at the bottom of them- for obvious reasons. We are able to see more clearly the sole of her shoes than we can with the images taken on page 56. This image is not recognisable as London. Moreover, we are not close enough to be intrigued by particular details on the shoes and , we cannot understand too much about the person’s character. Strangely, I really like the image below. It is most definitely a quirk because both people are halfway in-between moving and halfway between stationary. They are almost on their tiptoes to see. Although the image may lack colour & it may have too much grey, it is perfectly exposed, & therefore well lit. It has great tones in both people, with a relative flat toned background that is well out of the depth of field. Due to the well exposed photo, there are many tones & therefore, this brings out textures. The image is close too so we can get the sense we can feel that independent crease on her trousers on her leather boots or the heel of her shoes, for example. The composition is made strong by a variety of pleasant curves and strong lines. The simplified composition is 4 lines however it is the details that make the photo. This is because we can see the shapes & curves in their shoes & smaller lines made by the creases in the jeans. We are unable to identify this as London, which is a shame, however we can understand a great deal about the shoes and a little about the people that own them.
The Millennium bridge didn’t stop being useful there. Many people run across it. These shoes particularly caught my eye. The cropping of this image has helped us to be closer and to make the shoes fill the frame, however, I would still prefer to be right next to them. This would have created a bolder and more powerful image. However, the colour in this image is very strong and it completely nullifies the grey background. It is a shame, though, that the right shoe is out of focus as this would make the image stronger, as there would be more detail for us to look at. What is different about this image, something that I also like, is that we can see the sole of her shoe- this
These shoes on the left were an opportunity that I couldn’t miss as I was walking home. They were so good I asked. The man had a taste in expensive traditional smart clothes and he was only a little older than me and I just said you have amazing shoes can i take a photo? I had just come back from a day at LCC where the weather had been much nicer. I wished I was outside taking photos but I had to be indoors working. But I’m really glad I got this. He was with his girlfriend after finishing work and I first spotted him in the pose that he is in in this photo. He agreed to the photo and I asked his girlfriend to move to one side and for him to adopt the pose he was just in. This is a very quirky image. It is very different and it does not look like London mainly because it’s green space! The composition is great- his lower body fills the picture and creates to strong triangles with one that encompasses both of them. The colours and detail are great after being perfectly exposed. The red and green are complimentary so they stand out a great deal. The character remains impersonal, which because his clothes tell us a lot about him and I wish it was personal.
I had a brief break in February and went to Paris with my family. Over there, I took this photo, thinking it would come to no avail and that I wouldn’t use it for this project, as I had my mind set on Zidane. How wrong I was! It is very strong image that is centred round an extremely strong composition. The central figure is where the point of symmetry lies. It all hinges on him and the two bags that mark the vertical third lines that almost copy each other to the exact point. It was a warm day for February however, it was a quirk to see them in sandals and socks and bright green shorts in winter. I am up close too and although the focus isn’t totally on the feet, it is on their legs and how they have assembled around the teacher. I have struggled with organising groups and this shows how lucky you have to be. This is the only time where a group photo of feet have come out well for me. It is perfectly naturalistic too. It has been well exposed too- allowing for a variety of tones and textures. The image is very strong visually, but it does not speak of London and it does nto therefore speak of the quirks of England and its people, even though the image is of quirks. So, it would be correct to say that the image is superb visually, but let down by the lack of conceptual depth.
XXIV : Making the book It was only sensible to try and make the book and with image shows my desire not to plonk a simple line on the the facilities available to me and not knowing how it was page. I was also aware of punctuation when I did this. done it was stupid not to. I also centred all the images and text and I thought less was more in terms of size. Before I started making the book, I thought I would make it electronically. After adapting the text, I already When choosing the font, I knew I wanted something had images in mind that I might use and it was simply modern and sans-serif, as my book will be modern and putting them next to the text. You can see how the de- non traditional, but I do not want it to be bold. In going sign of my book developed by looking inside the flaps through the fonts availble to me I picked out 5 fonts to see the many different versions I went through. that I thought I could possibly use. I had many things to consider for the book before I 1. Rockwell - It wasn’t a sans serif, but I like it, started making it. it is slightly modern and quirky. It is different and I think it works well with my images The first was size of the book. I didn’t want it big. I didn’t want it small. And I didn’t want it a5, a4 or a3. I 2. Gill Sans - This font truely speaks of London but I think it therefore felt portrait would be too regular and my book is not a doesn’t become mine or of the shoes. book of landscapes and in actual fact, I felt square was right. So I went for a size of 8*8 inches. I came to this 3. Century Gothic- I really like this font, it decision looking at the photobooks that I have at home. is thin, modern and sans serif and it alThey gave me an idea at what I would be looking at. lows the images to express themselves. It is appealing, clear and distinctive too With the size decided, I then started to place the text in the book. Rather than simply put the text in on one line in the centre of page, I thought it would promote 4. Larke- I feel this is too modern and techy. the fun and good humour of the book to allow the text to fill the page more and not be in a line. This also al- 5. TW Cen- I think this is very similar to Century Gothic but it is bolder and less well roundlowed the text to be more expressive and to fill the page ed and I prefer Century Gothic for that reason. more. Moreover, I felt that making a shape with the text that corresponded with the image was important too. You can see this in the two spreads below. In the bottom spread I copied the strong / line and reflected I think it is between Rockwell and Century Gothic and it to make the overall composition stronger. The other at the moment I’m going for Century Gothic as I said i was looking for a sans serif font. Choosing the images was difficult because even though I was greatly helped by my most recent shoot, I still didn’t have enough good images. However, I did manage to find a fit, and you can see how this changed in the different drafts of the book inside the sleeve. Where the text was obviously referring to something in particular, it was easy to put the image with that but it was more difficult finding an image that would go next to the bottom left text for example. They had to match and make sense. I started by shortlisting my images and then simply put them next to ones that I thought they matched and then changed it around when I didn’t like it.
After writing so many footnotes in here, it was only correct to call the book Footnotes! It was witty too, just another form of foot that I had done after experimenting with footprints and footsteps! And when it came to designing the front cover, I thought square because that is the shape of my book. Here is my first design.
I think if Feet by Hand’s is there then I don’t need Ed there. Footnotes needs to be bigger and feet by hands smaller. I’d drag it down a bit too.
The disadvantage and advantage that I have is a flexible title. I called it Footnotes, but I also had an additional subtitle of Feet by Hands and I felt it was necessary to include this because it was funny too, and this would confirm the quirkiness of what is inside.
This design is very simple. It has both jokes and I really like this design as it echoes the size of the page my name. It is simple and but the space in the middle of the square is distracting. its design is sound. This I like the addition of a line but I do not like how is the front cover I will go squashed some of the lines and I don’t like how spaced for and there is no surprise out the others are. I need more consistency. how I plan the back to look. I like this design, but again, the spaces are distracting. I had narrowed the chosen font down to two. Inside this sleeve, you can see why I chose Century Gothic 12pt over Rockwell 12,14,16,18 pt & Cnetury Gothic at 14,16,18pt. Part of the reason why was because in both fonts, 14, 16 & 18 were too big anyway and if i was going to go small, a bold font would not match so Century gothic was a better choice. Moreover, I haven’t even made a box here, Rockwell was serifed and therefore, too traditional I don’t like how it’s centred. If and it spoke too much. Century Gothic allwos the text it’s centred I’ve got to remove to speak plainly and therefore, the images to express the line. visually. You can see the notes I made on the designs and the font choices inside this sleeve. 69
I was ready to print my book bar two decisions I had to make. What paper and what binding. Paper: I went and spoke to the printing department and unfortunately the size of my pages narrowed my choices down considerably. They had only cartridge paper at 100 or 200gsm. Unfortunately, i have no samples but I wanted thick paper on the inside so I chose the 200gsm and decided I would have to go hardback. Binding: now that I had to go hardback, I would now perfect bind. I will show you how I did this. However, I was hoping to print on the book-cloth that i had bought for my hard-cover. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stick it in an inkjet printer, so I had to go to either the letterpress or screen-printing. I went to the letterpress and to great disappointment, they didn’t have Century Gothic, Rockwell or a similar font. They did have Gill Sans Light, which was very similar but they only had it in 8,11, 12pt and for my title, I needed it to be in around 30pt. Screenprinting was availble but because the technicican was on “holiday” to foundation students, I couldn’t use it. I looked at going to a screenprinting studio in Bethnal Green but that would cost me £50 to enter and I didn’t have the money. I must admit, that this is not my fault. To have facilities closed the week before your deadline is illogical as the final piece is made last, as the name suggests. It is a small imperfection but I think even without having it in front of me, it will make my book stronger. I was really disappointed, so i started by ordering a book on blurb where I could print on the front cover. Also for blurb, the printers were calibrated so on a calibrated screen, I re-edited all my images so that when they returned from blurb, they would return the way I wanted them to be.
Here you can see that I had cut my book card to size. I did this by using the cutting machine. I also had the book cloth cut to size but with 4 cm extra space on length and width so I could stick it around the book. Measuring everything to size was easy because i knew the dimensions (8*8) and I only had to measure the thickness of the book to work out the size of the spine. The next thing I did was choose and stick my end-sheets to the book. Again, my choice was limited because of the size of my book, but I went for a simple creamy white. I thought simplicity was best and it would tie with the grey book cloth. The end-sheets cover over the inside of the book card. I folded them in half but with a spine down the centre of 2cm because I had to allow it for the spine of the whole book. I then glued the book end spine to the spine of the body. Here on the left you can see my end sheet attached to my body. You can also see the glue I used to glue them together. Now I had to glue the cloth to the card. I chose a grey cloth because i thought it was subtle and a nice grey. Moreover, although I was concerned it would tie my book together well, I was more concerned in choosing a pale colour so that I could add black text onto it. But as you know, I was unable to.
To do this, I needed to centralise my book on the cloth However when printing my home-made copy, the print- and then mark the corners so i put them back in the ers were not calibrated, and I tried my best to calibrate right place. I also had to allow 2mm either side of the them by eye, but I really struggled. central spine card so that the book could fold and open. I started by applying the glue onto the card, and once So after printing my body I had got an even layer I placed it inside the correct downstairs, I went upstairs to markings and held it down for 1 minute. I then repeated bookbinding where I had my the process for the other 2 cards. Now that was stuck pages cut. After doing that, I together, I needed to glue the extra 4 cm of width and stuck them in the right order length so that they weren’t hanging off. The same proand put them in this machine cess applied, except I glued the cloth, and then folded it which produced a piece of card onto the card tightly. I did it pretty well, but as you can that would act as the spine. It see, I didn’t allow enough room on one of the corners then stuck glue on it, I placed so now we can see the card. The end sheet will now my book in and left it the glue cover the rest. So all I now needed to do was glue my to dry on my pages. You can see body to the cover. This was the most difficult part bethis “spine” in the cover of this cause the paper moves a lot and it is hard to keep it still. sketchbook where on BOOK V4 there is a long tube The same process applied by holding the book together. As you can tell, it is unfortu- gluing the paper and once an nately not the strongest but it was going to work. even layer was applied, All I had to do was plonk it in the Once it was binded, I turned to making the hardcov- centre of the cover and for er where eventually at the end of the process, I would the other side, all I had to do stick the two together. was fold it over. 70
I was very pleased with my result and you can see it is cept. Perhaps the biggest concern I have with this book with my stuff- loose somewhere but quite probably in- is the images. They have been through an uncalibrated side one of the covers of the sketchbooks. printer, which I would’ve hoped to avoid. Therefore On the next page I will go on to analyse the book and some of the images look very overedited/weird- which is a real shame. I also think I would’ve changed both slideshow I will explain below. types of paper too- I would have a thicker end-sheet I felt that if I was going to have this with music, I may and I would have had a thinner matte for the body. It as well try and display it electronically, so that it saves is still hard to see that the original text is Jerusalem and the audience the need to turn the page and it would also that you could sing along to it, unfortunately. make more sense to them.
I set about this in Final Cut Pro again doing the exact same things as i had done in the experimentation back on page 60. Except this was much easier. All I had to do was place my recording in ( adding fades at both ends like I did back on page 59)(I will also talk about the recording in Part XXVI). I also had to place the images, and seeing as I had already made them JPEGS, this did not take very long. So I now had a book that in the right order but I still needed to sort out two things: when the pages turn and their transitions. I started by sorting out the timing first. I was able to change the duration of how long we saw each slide so it would match the music in order that we could sing along! I did this using the trim tool- by clicking on it in the selection menu all I would then have to do was drag the end to make it all in time.
I was also able to add a transition easily by going to the transitions box (right) and using page curl ( which we can’t see) I was able to make it look more like a book. I go on to discuss what I think of the electronic version below but you can see it on the memory stick under the title of ELECTRONIC BOOK PAGE CURL 1.
Improvements I could make: I would have thicker endsheets and thinner matte paper on the inside. I would have printed it on a calibrated printer and I would also have printed text on the front cover. i would perhaps, have used a different binding process because i fear that this bind may not be strong enough. Concept (same applies to blurb book:): the grey paving certainly speaks of London’s paving and its dull weather. The images are full of quirks and idiosyncrasies- and so does the text. It makes Blake’s text more quirky and matches the images very well. It is also a form of portraiture.
Blurb book: Pros: The images have been and will remain correctly calibrated so I have no need to worry about how the images will come out. I have also been able to choose the paper I want to a much greater extent. I chose a matte paper because I felt that I wanted more of a photo paper feel than using card. The other advantage is that I have been able to print on the front cover, which I think makes more of a statement. It tells you what it is about. And without print on the front cover, you hide the title and it increases a feeling of privacy and intimacy.
Cons: However, at the same time, I lack control because I am not making it. It is a real shame that I will be unable to compare the two in my sketchbook as the blurb book is due to arrive on April 14th. It is still hard to see that the original text is Jerusalem and that you could sing along to it, unfortunately. Improvements I could make: Ideally, I wouldn’t have to do it with blurb. I only went to blurb for two crucial reaHardcover book: sons: 1: my images would come out correctly after caliPros: It is very well made, I am very pleased however I brating them on screen and using a calibrated on screen still feel it needs text on the front cover and back. The and 2: I was able to print on the front cover. text comes out really well and the layout is strong too. With the text and my images, I think I have chosen the Concept: (see hardcover answer) right medium to show them. A book only seems right Electronic Version: because it is the best way to show a collection of images Pros: It is easier for the viewer to understand the text and accompanying them with text makes it stronger. I has been adapted form Jerusalem. It therefore allows am really pleased with it in retrospect- especially how them to sing along more easily. The images are also calwell it has been made. Although I would prefer to print ibrated and I have a front cover! it on matte, I think the paper is the right choice. I very much like the grey book-cloth however it would be per- Cons: I think it is very cheap. the transition is very distracting and it is very hard to keep up with the words. fect with text on it because it would add variation. The transition make it look like a holiday slideshow Cons: I doubt I could have made this book any better, made by a 12 year old. It curls, rather than folds, and so I cannot criticise that the book-cloth doesn’t rap over it curls in the wrong corner and on the wYou have no properly on one corner. However, as I have mentioned real time to appreciate the text or the images. I think the I would like text on the front because without the text book allows you the flexibility to flick through it and if the grey appears very flat and dull even though it is a you wish to sing along, you can! nice shade of grey. It is also needed text to explain the book. Because without it, the book seems very intimate, ImprovementsIcouldmake:Just a normal page turn would which the book is not. It therefore clashes with the con- help a lot but I still don’t think it will make the difference. 71
XXV : Analysis of all forms of book
XXVII : Final Piece
I was always going to include the music with my work. It had to be experimented with. Obviously not wanting a choir singing my words, It was either down to choosing an orchestra, or an accompaniment part. I chose the accompanying part because the music would accompany my book and the orchestra would be too loud and pompous, and therefore clashing with my book.
I am writing this the weekend before my project is due in. There is plenty of speculation as to whether the date has changed and plenty saying that it has not but for safety’s sake, I’m going for the soonest deadline. I would very much like to have an extra week however.
So what could I have- I looked online at the possible accompaniment parts. 1. Piano - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RZZ8Tz5n1E - It is not too fervent. I like it- but not this recording. 2. Organ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCAB9LmPB8Q - Too loud and pompous. Slow recording too. 3. Brass Band- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcvZy_sGBvg - too loud and pompous again. Even in this recording. This would clash with my concept. The piano seemed to be the best option, but looking around for recordings online, of which there were many, I didn’t like the way they were played, so I decided I’d first mark up a recording I’d like to hear. So, inside the sleeve, you can find the marked up score that I made as to the recording I want. I wanted the tempo around 66 and i wanted it on the piano because the brass band and the organ were too powerful and loud. they would overpower my book, rather than accompany it. It would also therefore, clash with the concept of the book. The book is fun, sweet and has an element of patriotism in it. But it is not full of fervour and patriotism. I can’t play the piano, so I asked a friend if he could record it for me. He very kindly accepted and he played two versions for me. He played my way first, and then his. On the memory stick you can find three recordings. The first, (my way) is called ACCOMPANIMENT SOFT, and his way, the second, is called ACCOMPANIMENT LOUD and the final recording is the edited version called ACCOMPANIMENT FINAL. I recorded his playing using a recording device that he borrowed from his school. Jonty, my next door neighbour is pictured during the recording. Accompaniment Loud analysis: This is truly an over the top recording of Jerusalem. It has lots of frills and shows out true patriotism. If my book was about the brilliance of England, then I’d choose this recording with perhaps less mistake and a few less frills. In fact I’d probably do it in the same way but on the organ. And because my book isn’t fervent patriotism, there is no way I can choose this. It would work well as a joke however, but I am concerned that people won’t get the joke because they may well not even know the tune. I also don’t like the clipping at the end but this was impossible to avoid as he started speaking and I couldn’t have that. Accompaniment Soft analysis: I think this version is much more of an accompaniment to my book. It echoes the hints of patriotism in my book (slightly too much) but the piece also speaks of England and with my text it will now speak of London. This is most definitely my preferred recording, but ti was very good to contrast it against the loud. One problem I have with it is that I had to end the recording early as he started speaking. Let’s hope I can avoid that in the edit. Accompaniment Final analysis: Knowing that I didn’t need to change much in the recording apart from the end, I felt I would get away working in a programme that I was more comfortable in rather than using a programme specifically built for editing sound. I edited it in Final Cut. I opened the sound up and I added a fade in at the beginning but I kept the opening loud, as it is meant to be. Moreover I added a fade in at the end and this almost nullified my problem with the clipping but I don’t feel it’s perfect. If I choose this to accompany my book I think it will work very well as an accompaniment. It will help people to realise that the text is adapted from Jerusalem, as people are more likely to recognise the tune than the text. Moreover, the way it has been played matches the concept of my book and does not overpower it. 72
And this is unfortunately a bit of a recurring theme for me. Even before this experiment, my eyes were set on making a movie about referees and feasibly, that was never going to happen. And then this experiment. I suppose the experiment not being my final piece is my fault. I want it to be my fianl piece instead But, with it being the weekend before it is due in, I have of the book so much more but if my time management to make a decision or make a final piece to complete was better, it would be. But here’s why it can’t. this project. My options were as follows 1. It’s not finished Handmade book with music 2. It’s too long Blurb book with music 3. I haven’t figured out when and how many beeps Electronic book with music 4. I haven’t full experimented with the visuals and I Deadmill experiment don’t have a clear idea of what i want from them. 5. I need the treadmill on its own in the second half I immediately crossed off the electronic book with of the recording music because it was not good enough. Unfortu- 6. It’s too boring nately I am unable to make a decision about the 7. It’s not clear and it doesn’t make sense. difference between my handmade book and the blurb book which narrowed my choice down to: I am saddened that it won’t be my final piece because I know that in every it wouldve been stronger and Book (either) with music better in every way and in truth, I’m not happy with Deadmill experiment my book being the final piece. However, I still had to make decisions over it and my next decision came down The Deadmill experiment was a very promising ex- to which book? periment that unfortunately, remains an experiment because it is not there. For me to be happy with it, I It is very hard to make a decision when I only have need to re-record it and re-edit it and with it being the 1 of the two options in front of me. So I drafted a weekend, that is a lot to do. The quantity of work is a table of pros and cons to have a look at which book problem but what makes it impossible to make it my was better: final piece is that I cannot edit it. I do not have final cut Blurb book Home made book on my computer and I would need to go into college, Pros Calibrated images It is made by me! Text on front cover Well made which is closed. I am not happy enough with how it is to make it my final piece. It has many problems with it, but what draws me to making it my final piece is that 1. It is very unique and it is powerful, both of which, the book is not. 2. Everybody has made a witty photobook, not everyone has recorded a treadmill. 3. It has the potential to be a very strong piece. 4. Conceptually, it is more powerful and if I could improve the visuals and audio, then it would be stronger than the book in every way.
Preferred paper Not made by me Restrictive choices Binding??? Preferred endsheet
My choices FE bookcloth Images not calibrated No text on front cover Binding not v strong... Don’t like end-sheets
As you can see, without it in front of me the decision is impossible to make however it will still be hard to make when it is in front of me though I can see the decision being made on two aspects: 1: how well the images have come out. They may well not come out the way I wanted them to. 2: If the front cover is shiny I think it will lose its professional touch, so, i might be inclined to withdraw my desier for text on the front cover!! Moreover, what also weighs heavily against it is the fact that I have made the book and made it well.
If I had more time, without question I would make a better one and I am very sure that if I had the time to do that, then it would be my final piece. Over on the next page I’ll discuss why it is final piece not only just because 2 bigger & better ideas fell through!! 73
I have chosen the book as my final piece. As to which one, I do not know, but a decision will be made over which one will be exhibited once I have received my book from blurb &, seeing as I only have one in front of me, for the moment it is the book that I have made, but until I receive the blurb book it will remain that way where I will make a decision as to which it should be. Here is why. I started looking at portraiture, I then moved to unconventional portraiture, where in trying not to include faces, I ended up at feet & shoes. And from there, because I needed explanation & to enhance the humour of the images, I have adapted text to accompany the images. It then ended up in a book. Because I started taking the images first, I will talk about them first. They are the focus of the final piece. The other parts are accompanying parts. The images are very strong. Each one stands out in their own way but they are often full of colour, well exposed, strongly composed and with little grey and distractions after tight cropping. However, one must point out that the images are not as good as they could. Some images are weaker than others. They are all full of idiosyncrasies and they are all so different that they in turn, could represent the whole of London. Except, as you can tell, I have only really covered the centre of the city. The images are fun, and I have taken after Parr in showing that, but in no way am i close in terms of the quality of his images and mine. It is a shame, therefore, that if this is my final piece my images are not calibrated. The text matches the images very well too, as the principle accompanier. I am very pleased with my adaptation and furthermore, I am very pleased how well each line of text matches the image. I suppose by starting out brainstorming and adding key words from photos such as ‘kilt’ they were always going to match well. What I also like is that I have changed very little about the first 3 lines, making it obvious that it is an adaptation of Jerusalem. The words also successfully tone down the patriotism in the original but keeps some to echo my images, which have hints of patriotism but focus on London, portraiture & most importantly, idiosyncrasies. The design of the book too is quirky, just like the images. I spent a lot of time on it and it has paid off in my opinion. It is strong, interesting & different, & in some cases enhances the rhythm & attributes of the text. I think the font is very well chosen as it allows the text to speak cleanly, but modernly because it is thin & sans serifed. Moreover, even without the text on the covers, I am delighted with the book-cloth. It does unfortunately tie all the images together (!) but it is a soft & subtle tone that isn’t too boisterous. Therefore in essence, it emulates what is inside. Although I was restricted on choices of paper, I am delighted the way it has come out because it is crisp clean & professional which is how I wanted it to be. Moreover, I am delighted I now know how to make a book & more importantly, I have made it very well & I am surprised too! However, I am slightly annoyed that the joke of my footnote will be hard to see because it is on the inside between blank pages. Shame, but I am delighted! I think the addition of the music is crucial & excellent. It has been recorded well, & just the way I want it, to match the images. It is crucial because it helps the audience to get that the text is an adaptation of the music they are listening to. I must admit, that after listening so many times, that it is a fantastic tune. By matching all the elements of my final piece, conceptually speaking, the piece becomes much stronger & coherent. Overall, it is full of idiosyncrasies; in the fun & adapted text, in the arrangement of the music, and most importantly in the images. Moreover, the text and the images speak of London and its diversity. The music speaks of England, but with its adapted text, it speaks of its capital. What I am most pleased with is that it has picked on an area of Martin Parr’s work that he has rarely exploited and I can happily say that I have exploited to a standard I am very proud of, which is well short of the standards of both Parr and Ray-Jones. The images remain as a form of portraiture, which I am very pleased with. Like They not only speak a small amount of the people of London but also speak a great deal about London. So now it comes down as to how I display it. I think the book should be placed on top of a table or a ledge with headphones held on a pole where the music will continuously be played. The plinth/lectern/table I have in mind lies in our classroom (w320) & it is at just above hip height at a slight slant, painted white. I think this is the right way to display it because to the viewer, the book is the focus & with the headphones next to it, it will become obvious that the tbook is accompanied by the music. This will also allow people who do not recognise the adapted text, a much bigger chance of realising it. It will also allow them to sing along!! 74
XXVIII : Conclusion I am delighted with this project in every way. It is thorough, and comprehensive in every way, though it is not comprehensive enough. The sketchbook is thorough analysing and recording my own but also influences and other artists of which, I still feel that there isn’t enough of. There is plenty of experimentation, but of course, if I were able to complete Deadmill, there would be more and that disappoints me. The journal is comprehensive too - documenting what I did each day, though it could be me thorough in the thoughts that I had. The images that I have photographed have developed immensely, and I am very proud of that. However, they are not amazing photographs. An increased amount of shoots would increase the quality, but I find myself at the end of this course saying I am not a photographer when I was nothing but when I arrived. They are good images, but they are not great. I have always thought Parr and Ray-Jones snapped while the subject wasn’t looking, but Only in England showed me that that is not the case and I think if I did that with my photographs, they would be vastly improved as I could get closer.
It is a strong final piece therefore, and it is not perfect. I see that as a good thing however. This is because I can see where I am going wrong and therefore, I know where to go which is something I am really glad I am able to do as it is something I have needed assistance with in the past. I have become much more independent too. As I mentioned, the concept for this project is strong too. It has developed immensely but I feel it is a shame I didn’t grasp it earlier and had it pinned down for the rest of the sketchbook. But now I can finally pin it down. The brief I set myself was Portraiture and after being advised by one of the tutors ‘to start with a big subject and find an angle that no-one has ever touched’ ( like McQueen’s 12 years a slave *see p68 Footnote59 I decided to go and do just that and my work remains a form of portraiture, but its genre is now more street photography in the style of Parr & Ray-Jones. It not only portrays the feet of people and tells us a little about them, but it is not only an alternative form of portraiture, it is also an alternative form of portraying a city and after hearing classmates recognising places by their paving stones, it says a great deal about London. The images tell us a lot about the diversity of London and its people. Moreover, when being greatly influenced by Parr and Ray-Jones it is hard not to find that they have done similar photographs to yours, but as discussed on page 32, Parr and Ray-Jones have barely touched photographing feet. And when photographing in their style, it is not hard to move from portraiture to photographing the quirks and the brilliance of London’s culture and diversity, which is exactly what i did: photograph the idiosyncrasies. Overall, the concept is full of depth and it has developed greatly and it would’ve been easier to develop my outcomes if I had tied it down quicker. Though a concept on existence is much easier to do due its endless history, questions and information so I am very pleased with my concept, especially its simplicity.
Over my foundation, I have improved vastly, and the overall work produced with it has improved vastly in every aspect. This project is no exception especially in the images but the final piece and the images lack the uniqueness and gravitas that previous projects have had, especially Spaces and Memory, which even now I think are better than this project for that originality and power, both of which are attributes that my overall work lack. This is not to discredit this project however. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and the results are excellent, but if I had the choice of exhibiting my final outcome for the exhibition, I would not choose my FMP. This may appear to be dissatisfaction but it is not, I think Spaces and Memory are better in different ways and the FMP is extremely strong in other ways and I am delighted with it. Overall, I have worked well over a considerable period of time with satisfactory time management and the reThe delight also spreads onto the final outcome. It’s a sults have come out well especially when you realise I good feeling to know you’ve produced something phys- am choosing my third choice final outcome. The great ical without mistakes and it looks good. I am happy to thing is about all these areas above is that they’re good, conclude on my book as my final outcome. Obviously I but I know what is not good in them and where I could would have preferred to end with Deadmill or The Man improve and that if I had an extra month, I know what in the Middle, but the good thing is that I can take on I’d do with that month. And in comparison to the way those ideas some other time and that in truth, is a great I worked at school, I am much more independent. I’m luxury i am able to do and I doubt I would have come glad I can see where I’m going wrong, it’s a real shame up with those ideas elsewhere. For a third choice final saying it though, because id like to correct the wrongs piece, it isn’t bad! It is well made, with strong images, rather than write this even though I am overjoyed by quirky text and good music and with a strong concept. what I have achieved! 75
XXIX : Evaluation Word count: 1091
“Your face, My thane, Is as a book where men May read strange matters.” Macbeth - William Shakespeare - Act I Scene V - 1611
In evaluating this project, it will highlight that this project is not complete. It has many areas that need improving and many areas I would like to finish. In my opinion, this is something I’m extremely pleased with. I am very pleased with what I have achieved in this project but I also know where it needs to go. I am pleased too, because I know what areas are less strong than others. I have worked diligently to make this project and I feel that this has lifted the quality of my work significantly and without it, it would not even be half as good. Having said that, my time management has not been the best. I could have been more consistent for instance, instead of working hard in the last month and struggling to motivate myself in the first month. Choosing your own theme has given me the freedom and flexibility to explore and experiment which I have really enjoyed doing. Moreover, the flexibility has also allowed me to come up with a multitude of different ideas that I really wish I could carry out. The multitude of ideas has allowed my project to develop tremendously from conventional portraits, to alternative portraits, to idiosyncrasies, to feet, to footsteps and footprints and back to feet. The reason for the extent of development is down to my diligence which has also provided the freedom to experiment. I am happy with the amount of experimentation that I have done, however I don’t feel that it is enough and I haven’t achieved the success that I have with my experimentation in previous projects. Nevertheless, my sketchbooks are far superior to previous projects. The research is abundant and the analysis is too. However it is not the quantity that bothers me but the quality of which in my FMP, is stronger than any other project I have done. Moreover, I am delighted and also disappointed that I have two other ideas I wish to explore further that in truth, if I had the time they would be my final pieces without question so it is undoubtedly a shame that they have not carried out. Those two ideas were very strong conceptually, something which this project lacks. I feel that if I pinned the idea and the concept down earlier, my project would be much more powerful conceptually and it would be clearer and easier to understand. However, it is not just the concept that lets my project down, I feel that my final piece isn’t as good as it could be. Although some of the problems of making it were out of my control, I would prefer to have better quality images, text on the front cover and images that would be printed on calibrated printers because for instance, some of the greens come out a deep cyan in the images. But most crucially, the final piece lacks uniqueness and gravitas. Although my idea is an alternative view, everybody has made a photo-book and the images lack power and therefore, struggle to gain your attention. However, it must not be forgotten that this was my third choice final piece, with my idea of filming a football referee for a whole game being too ambitious and not having enough time to complete Deadmill. The last negative that I have with this project is only a slight problem and that is the Journal. Although I have documented my Journal well, I think there is a need to do it better because it lacks substance.
Ed Hands, Final Major Project Sketchbook II: Portraiture: Feet by Ed Hands, 2014.
In being so pleased that I am more confident in knowing where to take my projects, the list of improvements has grown significantly in comparison to previous projects. The hinge of these improvements, is time management. Although I worked well, I did not meet my personal deadlines and I did not work consistently and if I did, every area of my work would improve substantially. This would allow me more time so that I could finish Deadmill, for instance. I would also be able to take better photos because I would be out there for longer. Moreover, after researching Parr & Ray -Jones further than just the exhibition, I began to realise that they chatted up their subjects, and I feel that if I did this too, my images would improve noticeably and thus, it would improve my final piece which if I had my way, I would change 3 things. I would have calibrated images so that the images turn out they way I envisage them to be. The second would be the right paper, I would prefer a matte finish and finally, I would add text to the covers so that my book comes less intimate and a bit bolder to match and strengthen my concept further. The last area time management would help improve would be my sketchbook. Portraiture is an infinite area and I feel that I have done it no justice covering it briefly in only 9 pages. 77
The massive positive that I can take from this project is that my ability to discern and to decide have improved vastly. And without having to stress about two A-Levels, my time management has improved significantly too and therefore, every other aspect of my work has improved vastly. But the biggest positive that I can take from this project, and from the whole of this course, is that I can sense where I have gone wrong, and more importantly, where I could & need to go, often through experimentation in a different medium. My problem solving ability has improved enormously over the course of this year. The facilities have helped greatly because I have been able to experiment with things I have never been able to, showing me that I am not just a photographer. I came into LCC as a Photographer and I leave feeling that I am not a photographer, but a person who is very happy exploring and experimenting further with other different mediums meaning that i leave as an â€œall rounderâ€? with a small sense of which area I want to go into. And the reason for this is because without even realising it myself, each project I have done here has involved a different medium that I had never tried before like for example Graphic Design, Video and Animation. Overall I am immensely proud and delighted of not only this project, but also the projects that I have done over the whole year. However I am most proud of being a much more intelligent thinker. I feel there has been a big improvement in realising what is wrong and how to go forwards via problem solving and experimentation whilst maintaining time management, motivation and crucially, diligence.
Published on Apr 18, 2014
Sketchbook for my Final Major Project on Portraiture and idiosyncratic photography in the style of Martin Parr & Tony Ray-Jones