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Evaluation APME302 Specialist production. Matthew Davis http://mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk

I set myself the brief to create a series of photographs in a street photography, Bressonesque way, fusing old ideas with new technology and shoot using a Gopro. I intended to keep with Bresson’s rigorous traditions on shooting, and shot only candid images. Candid photography within Bresson’s style is paramount to the honesty of the image, and the expressions within. A candid approach as Bresson puts it shows more real emotion and passion. ‘When the subject is in any way uneasy, the personality goes away

where the camera can't reach it.’ (Bresson,H,C. (1952). The Decisive Moment. New York) I feel I met the brief I set for myself. The brief took some time to write as my idea and concept took a while to develop. My initial idea was to incorporate my love of the outdoors

with not only photography, but expedition photography. I was planning to photograph the people in and around Mont Blanc. This was a trip I had planned, and wanted to record in every way and so read up and investigated how one can prepare for and what to expect. On return of the trip I had thousands of photographs, but there were not many pictures of people, and I wanted to record people primarily. The project evolved from here. Cornwall was where the main body of the work was to be shot, and I couldn’t see how I could relate this to the mountaineering project. I was considering photographing the peaks of Europe, but financial constraints was one of the things that stopped me. I next considered cycling across the county as I love to cycle, and I came up with some ideas and routes from north to south, and photographing people, markets, and towncenters en-route. This idea I really liked, but I still couldn’t find a way to tie it all together, and as such I wasn’t comfortable with it. Then I had an epiphany, and thought of Bresson. The research and knowledge I have of Bresson from previous projects and my dissertation is relatively large, being very inspired by him already I thought what better way to further my knowledge of him, and street photography. I decided to photograph a set of street images in a very contemporary way. The brief was set, with a few more tweaks to come. I wanted to photograph people on the street in a totally candid fashion and in Bresson’s style .I wanted to use a contemporary piece of equipment. The equipment I chose was the latest Gopro Hero3 Black. An incredible little camera designed and build for extreme sport. This camera has a 12mega pixel sensor, and would be very interesting to use photographing people on the street. The consideration came upon me that Bresson used a Leica, and this revolutionized photography and made photography mobile, and moved photography to very different areas. The Leica took the photographer from the studio and put him on location anywhere. This links with the idea to use a Gopro. The Gopro is traditionally used as a ‘Look at me’ camera. People video themselves and others. If they are shooting the video or photos themselves , then the images are generally from a point of view angle-so the audience can imagine what it is like to be the person doing the stunt. 99% of the time the images and videos portray extreme feats and very extreme sports. The Gopro has revolutionized photography for this reason. I wanted to use this revolutionary device in a contemporary way and push the boundaries of this technology. This is why the Leica and the Gopro have a lot in common in response to my brief. I had the brief and I set out onto the street and started snapping. The Gopro has the option of a remote control, and also a full remote operation vis a smart phone application. These I tried, and I found to be incredibly slow, cumbersome and not good enough. The shutter had a lag time in excess of a second, and when you want to capture people on the street the shot comes once, and when its gone its gone.


Evaluation APME302 Specialist production. Matthew Davis http://mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk

After several failed attempts shooting like this I thought I would try simply using the shutter button on the camera. This I tried with the camera set to burst mode. This is where the camera will shoot 30 shots in one second. This seemed to work far better, and I also managed to develop a sweeping action, holding the camera with fingertips, and sweeping it across my body and at the crucial moment I would move it out of concealment to expose the lens for a split second to the subject, and them back to concealing it within my hand, all the time trusting that the camera would be capturing the 30 frames in the second that the shutter was triggered. This sweeping, and burst functionality worked, and now I was getting images of people on the street. Although this was a positive thing, I still felt that the project was missing something. I wanted to include something that would allow some social analysis, and would be able to tie the images together. Then I saw it. I was in the middle of Truro and I saw an elderly women stopped, in the middle of a busy pavement. She was very slowly pressing buttons on a mobile phone. Her head was down, her shopping bag at her feet. People were jostling and huffing as they squeezed past this static person. The lady was concentrating so hard on this device. She had no idea of the world around her at that point in time. She was in the little black box, or on a plane far far away to wherever the person was that she was conferring with. The idea was to photograph people using their phones on the street. As soon as I thought of this I looked around me and could count several people using them. They were everywhere. This was the idea I wanted to grab with both hands and shoot. I continued my journey snapping everybody with a phone. People on the streets were “fair game” they were in a public place and as such I could legally snap them. Working with children I was aware of the legalities surrounding photographing minors, and therefore I always ensured that there were no children within shot, and that I wouldn’t target kids on their phones, even though they appear to be on their devices more than any other age group. The images I returned with after the shoots were copious. I was coming home after a shoot with over a thousand images. Of these maybe 3 were useable, and effective. The photographs I compiled and sorted into portrait and landscape folders, then I batch edited them using photoshop to black and white. I did nothing more. I wanted the images to remain un-tinkered with, in Cartier-Bresson’s words he stated that if the image is not right in the view finder, than no amount of darkroom trickery could rectify it. Therefore a single batch edit, equated to a systematic darkroom process. I wanted to be true to this, and keep my interpretations through the printing out of it. The camera produced the images, I simply translated them to Black and white in a very simple straight forward way, and presented them. This ensured the subject to be the only variable thing from shot to shot, and therefore focus was on the subject and not the printing. The photographs were coming, and each scene I shot I had a choice of around 30 pictures to choose from thanks to the burst mode. The project deadlines seem to creep up on me rather quickly, and as such I wanted to make sure I had everything printed on time. I decided to print my images in the form of a


Evaluation APME302 Specialist production. Matthew Davis http://mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk

book. I was contemplating binding my own book by recycling an old leather bound book from the 30’s(The era and decade that Bresson bought his Leica ) and removing the text, and simply binding into it my photographs-printed on a heavy weight paper. Due to time constraints I decided to outsource the production of the book and after some market research I decided to use Blurb Books. They have a great reputation, and examples I have seen have been finished incredibly well. I decided to print the pictures rather large and decided upon a square book of dimensions 50 x 50 cm. I wanted the images to stand out and so I had the images printed edge to edge. I took a long time arranging the images into an order with more powerful images scattered throughout the book. I decided to keep the book relatively straightforward with not much text however I did choose to have an introduction explaining what my project was. I tried to keep the text as short and precise as possible. Blurb Books offer a PDF of the project which you check for errors. I downloaded this and scrutinized it ,and rectified the issues. I then re-checked and as I couldn’t see any ‘on-screen’ errors I gave the green light and ordered it to be printed. I payed extra postage along with the printing costs as I wanted to be sure I had the book on time for my deadline. I also paid for premium paper. This is a book I will be using as part of my CV, and I wanted it to be an investment, and to represent me. I chose the highest quality possible. The other thing on my mind was the exhibition I wanted to present my images as prints on the wall however on their own as prints I was worried they would be lost. My images are a series of images in no particular order that they must be shown with others ,otherwise the meaning is lost. I wanted to get across my idea in one straightforward glance and as art advisor Francis Hodgson theorises in his essay ‘Talking with Jorg’(25th Feb 2013) “... photography is almost unique in having immediacy built in.”This immediacy is what I wanted, and why I chose to have 9 images one frame. Researching Bresson I discovered that he only ever printed his images 10 x 8, I wanted to do something as close to that as possible, the go pro uses a different format to 35mm film and therefore 10x8 meant there was cropping. Bresson stated repeatedly in his publishings that cropping was unacceptable. I adjusted the images to 25x18.75 cm. This format was as close to 10 x 8 as possible without cropping. I designed the layout of the prints to incorporate 9 images, and I wanted two series that were different and so people would be refreshed by the slight difference in arrangement. I therefore decided that on one canvas there would be landscape images and the other portrait. I wanted the images mounted, and not traditionally framed and therefore I decided to have the images backed onto aluminium. I like the durability that this offered, and the way the audience can directly see the image, and not look at it through glass or perspex. After some discussion with other photographers, and doing a significant amount of research on line I came across a company called Busy Pictures. They offered the service I wanted, and after speaking with them on the phone they was the obvious choice. They were really helpful, and could turn the project around for me within a week. Once the printers were sourced I returned to Photoshop and started planning the images, and preparing the order in which they would go in. I wanted the images to be displayed with a black background. I made the background black, and then imported the images onto the page ensuring each image had its own layer. I decided to have a slightly larger border at the bottom to add some weight. I was at one point contemplating putting my website and QR codes on the bottom. This I decided against as it made the images look more like a commercial piece of work, than artwork. I have produced these images as


Evaluation APME302 Specialist production. Matthew Davis http://mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk

artwork. I don’t want text and graphic to draw the eye and mind away from the images and the subjects. The images were aligned within photoshop and converted to 300dpi and exported as a high quality JPEG. The Jpeg was of considerable size, and speaking with Busy Pictures it was a requirement to share this image using the Dropbox programme. Dropbox is an online file saving and sharing application. I was able to upload my image to dropbox, and then Busy Pictures were able to download them from there. The work was sent for printing, and was returned on the eighth day. The returned work was manufactured to a high quality, and looked and felt great. The aluminium prints are for display at the Fish Factory. An alternative art space within the town of Falmouth. The fish factory is as it sounds an old fish sorting plant, that is now redundant and has been made into a space for art. It is an interesting building with exposed beams, and an original freezer. A group of us travelled down to the space to have a look. The building is off the main road a few metres, and offers a lot of potential. There are steps up to the space, and we have secured the second space in the Fish Factory. To gain access to the second space you must walk through the first space. The first space is quite bright, with sofas and a table of business cards in one corner. You walk into the second space through an opening. We went on a very bright afternoon and the space seemed quite dark. There are skylights but only one over our space, so the light was an issue. On one side of the 2nd space there is an old industrial loading door that slides wide open and this can be opened, and once opened it lets in an amazing amount of light, and transforms the space. Off to the other side of the space is an old industrial freezer still with a door, this was suggested for use for artists who wanted their work totally separated from the others. To the other corner of the second space is a small secluded room with a couple of sofas within it. This room is going to run the moving picture work that the BA group have created. It is secluded from the static photographs exhibition, and has enough space and insulation to be able to play sound and not interrupt the viewers of the photographs. The space has been booked from the 4th untill the 11th of June 2013. We are having a private view that will hopefully have some live music that is linked with another member of the BA’s final project. The space we have decided upon, and the name we have collectively decided on is F1N. F1N was born from the initial idea of 1. One being the first year, the first time the BA has run, I then suggested FIN, like at the end of classic French films. I also like the way that the exhibition is at the fish factory and fish have fins, therefore F1N was given life as the name of our exhibition. The next task was to design a logo. This I managed relatively quickly with a scrawl using the ‘Paper’ app on an Ipad. The basic flowing scroll was created, and this has been emailed out to all contributors to the exhibit for them to use for any promotional material. Sue has taken charge of creating a catalogue for the show, along with a website for it. http://f1nalshow.wordpress.com. We collectively decided that we wanted the catalogue and website to be simple. We wanted images and screenshots from peoples works, and these would be simple blocks with their blurb underneath or beside. This would apply to


Evaluation APME302 Specialist production. Matthew Davis http://mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk

posters, catalogues and the website. We wanted to use a uniformed approach so that everything matched up, and whilst looking professional kept the imagery at the front for people to acknowledge the artistic and aesthetic appeal. The exhibition will be viewed the second week of June, and as such we will be unable to obtain feedback from the exhibition. It has therefore been up to us all as individuals to promote our work and get feedback from anywhere possible. I took this onboard and have offered my book as a PDF(which includes the final print exhibits at the end) and saturated social media seeking feedback. I posted it on my Facebook page, on the BA Applied Media Facebook page, and the HND Digital Imaging Facebook page asking for feedback. I offered it on my Twitter page, and hash-tagged it with relevant street photographers and companies to seek feedback. I have also been promoting it online through Issuu- an online PDF sharing site, and through my blog http:// mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk(This accompanies the whole of the Specialist Production unit). These are all active portals that offer in depth analysis of who has looked at the images, from where, on what and for how long. I published my work worldwide, and have collated comments and feedback. I have received a comment through Issuu from a Spanish lecturer in the USA who is embarking on a project to get her students to photograph their lives, and she remarked on my book “Awesome! Really interesting and inspiring”. This really pleased me as that is why I take photos. I want to inspire and make my messages global. I have had several comments from Facebook. Some positive, and some negative. All are critical, and as always there is room for improvement. A few commenters reflect on themselves when looking at the images, and feel they spend too long tied to their phones, and don’t spend enough time in the present-enjoying their reality. Others commented on the print quality. This again was always going to be a contention. I stated I wanted to print without trickery or magic-the way Bresson did. However on reflection Bresson never printed his own work, and what is classed as darkroom trickery? I batch edited the images and this left some images too dark, too bright, or too grey. The comment said that Bresson’s images were printed with an incredible amount of skill. The whites were white, the blacks black and everything in-between was discernable. The comment said “HCB would have agonized over the printing process he would have dodged and burnt as well as fucking about with contrast and split grading”. This is very true, and upon reflection I feel I should of made some effort to individually edit the images, and ensure they all were crisp with a full range of greys. However this said, I do feel that the series of images carries truth. There is nothing hidden. The images are simply photographs that have been converted to black and white. Thats it. A comment I received from a curator at a local gallery said “Making the subconscious conscious.... Do we really pay attention to our surroundings and physicality?”. This was a really positive comment. People seem to be able to find the notion of split conciseness and dual realties, and it is great to get a message across. One of the photographers I have been inspired by and have researched is the world renowned street photographer Eric Kim. I emailed him with a link to my book for him to give me feedback. I had a reply from his manager. The response was from Eric’s manager and not Eric. Eric is apparently too busy, but I am still glad I had a response from his office.


Evaluation APME302 Specialist production. Matthew Davis http://mtdfmp.blogspot.co.uk

The manager was very critical, and although I understand the criticism I feel he was looking at the photographs, and not seeing them. The idea is the powerful thing. Neil (Kim’s manager) said he didn’t feel that the images had been composed properly,and said using a 35mm camera and a 50mm lens would of a) given you a viewfinder to enable proper composition, b)The frames then wouldn’t be so unnaturally wide, and thus the frames would of been fuller. He next criticized the amount of images I had included within my book. He also stated the Gopro is too wide and unflattering. This criticism is fully accepted and appreciated. I feel the whole concept had been missed. I am using a Gopro in a very different way to how they are generally used. The Gopro does have an exceptionally wide angle lens, but this was one of the hurdles I tried to get over. It meant really getting close to subjects. I have as I stipulated in my brief entered a few images to the Urban Picnic street photography competition, however as yet I am still unaware if I won anything. I am daily uploading my images to the Gopro website with a hope that my image will become one of their images for the day. I am hopeful, but feel perhaps that the images are not striking enough. Street photography is not generally considered to of been shot from a Gopro, and the associated images are far from the Gopro brand identity.

Overall in reflection to my images I am generally pleased with the outcome, the images, book and the prints. However, I would next time plan my time better so I could take even more photographs. This would give me more options with the choosing of images. I would spend time individually editing the pictures, so that they displayed a full tonal range. The book I could of spent more time looking at and editing it. I have made a few minor mistakes where black lines appear at the top of some pages. This is where I have not positioned the image correctly, I also made 2 typing errors. There is a space where there should not be, and I also missed out an apostrophe. The final criticism I have is that the forward to the book was written in one afternoon-without any input from anyone else. I should of printed out proofs, and changed the text so that it was more flowing and more precise.

Evaluation FMP  

An evaluation of ths unit.

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