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First coursework photography project

Rebecca Waterson. AS photography.

Brief ‘The Elle Decoration’ magazine will be publishing an article in its April 2013 issue about the nation’s current obsession with ‘vintage’ and ‘vintage’ objects and interiors in particular, entitled: ‘The British love affair with all things vintage’. The magazine has commissioned you to take a set of photographs to accompany this story and the editor will be particularly interested in the overall visual qualities of your 3 final outcomes as submissions for publication in the magazine. The constraints of this brief is that your photographs must contain at least one ‘vintage’ object and they must be presented with an old-fashion look and atmosphere.

Idea 1 In my first approach to the brief, I am going to take photos of vintage cameras, and develop them in an old and battered way. For example, in some of the photos I am going to use copydex to make the photos seem old and worn, and for the others, I am going to use acetate and place them on top of a lightbox with different vintage materials, as this will hopefully make them look aged.

Artist research (visual) Shaun Lowe. I find this picture taken by Shaun Lowe interesting because he has taken a bland, old object and made it look brand new and rather exciting, just by experimenting with the camera angles and colour filters. Shaun Lowe took this particular photo in 2004, and since has gone onto photographing landscapes as a pose to objects on their own. This photo is in black and white; making the photo look dramatic, as the shadows casted by the camera make the photo look very in depth. The rule of thirds is taken into place, as there is something to look at in every third which suggests that a lot of work may have been put into this photo, even though it can come across as being simple. This photo is taken in a very simple way. It seems as though the vintage camera has been placed down on some fabric and the picture has been taken, with no complicated lighting, perhaps one white light or possibly a flash attached to the camera. It is evident that a light/flash has been used because the white colours in this photo seem very bright, almost washed out. However, the darker grey and black tones seem to stay perfectly fine. The composition in this particular photo has inspired me to try something different when I take my own photos, for example, changing the camera angle whilst I’m taking the photos, editing the photos to make them black and white, or colours that they weren’t in the first place (sepia could be another option, as this can also make photos look old and aged). This photo relates to my particular idea in the sense that it’s similar to what I want to achieve. I’d also like to photograph cameras in the way that he has, with minimalistic lighting and abstract camera angles. However, I’d also like to keep the colour in a majority of my photos, because I feel as though warmer colours in photos can make them look old or vintage. What I’m hoping to achieve in my own photos is a vintage feel, and hopefully this will come through from the subjects being photographed and the developments applied to them.

Evaluation of initial photos To achieve my first set of photos, I used the white studio and a fabric backdrop to create the vintage feel in the photographs. I used old cameras to get the message across that my brief was that of a vintage one, and I think this was shown in all of the photos taken. In most of my photos I used a deep depth of field to show every detail in the picture. For example, in 5, 7 and 8 I used a shallow depth of field to create a sense of I was pleased with my first set of 8 initial photos, as I feel the composition of them worked very well. For example, in photos 1 and 3, I experimented with stacking cameras on top of each other, to get out of my comfort zone of just photographing two cameras side by side. I feel as if these worked well because they’re a little different from the other photos. I didn’t want to keep placing the cameras next to each other because then I would have wanted to add a shallow depth of field and that wouldn’t have shown much variation in my camera skills. However, in the photos where the cameras are side by side, I feel as though the composition still worked well, as they’re simple but effective. The cameras in the photos look battered and some of the paint is missing, showing the rust that has formed beneath the surface, although this gives an old look to the photos, which is what I was trying to achieve. I used a piece of patterned fabric as the backdrop to give the photos more of a vintage feel, and I think this worked very well, even though in some of the photos the creases of the fabric are quite apparent and therefore distracting from the main subject. In most of the photos I made the clarity a very high level on photoshop and this improved the quality of my photos overall. Afterward, every detail in the photo was clear to see. In some photos however, the high level of clarity (and a mixture of other effects) made the outcome grainy. For example, in picture 4, the graininess gives the photos an old look about them, which adds to the “vintage” look. In some of the photos (1 and 2) I edited the photos so that they had a warm, orange looking hue, which makes the photos look like they have been kept over a long period of time, making them age and therefore change colour slightly. In picture 8, I added a sepia tint, which gave the same effect as the orange hues. However, in pictures 4 and 7, I muted the orange tint in the photos to make the colours look closer to black and white, and this aged the photos, as before colour cameras and photos were developed, there were only black and white. Thinking about it, to improve I could edit one of my photos to make them black and white, as this would have shown aging in the photos. I think the photos with only one camera in them will have a bigger impact on my viewers, because they will have less to focus on and therefore the only subject is prominent and clear.

Evaluation of developmental photos I developed five of my initial photos using multiple layers of acetate and fabric. First of all, I photocopied some of the pictures of the cameras onto acetate and layered them on top of each other on a light box. I took some photos as they were, then I placed some vintage looking fabric underneath the sheets of acetate to add a sense of depth to the photos. I thought that the fabric alone looked too harsh, so I tired photocopying the fabric onto acetate and then layering it underneath the cameras to make the material look less harsh. I feel as though the outcomes are quite abstract and this gives a different feel to the idea that I was trying to achieve. In the first picture, I feel as though undertones of brown/orange have been achieved with the use of the acetate and light box combined, and this gives a vintage effect. This photo isn’t so abstract, as you can make out the four cameras in the picture quite clearly, although as they get closer to the back they become less in focus. In the second picture, the fabric was put behind the acetate and it can be seen in the photos that it looks too prominent and becomes the main focusing point in the picture, which is not what I wanted to achieve. Once I started using the fabric that had been photocopied onto acetate, it makes the photos look much less harsh and the different sheets of acetate all blend into one another nicely. This can be seen in photos 3, 4 and 5. I feel as though these photos achieved the vintage look I was going for, as the patterns in the background remind me of a pattern from the 1950’s. The photos where I used copydex came out looking very beaten up and old, which is the look I was trying to achieve. However, I feel that it was quite difficult to use the copydex technique as I found myself rubbing the image off of my fabric completely, rather than just rubbing the paper off, which resulted in just the fabric being left over. This didn’t give the desired effect and it made the photo look strange, however this only happened in a few spots in my photos so it didn’t affect the end outcomes too badly. I think the viewer will grasp the concept I was trying to achieve, through my copydex developed photos, as I feel it is more evident because those three photos in particular look more old and vintage even though this has been achieved artificially. This is not to say that the development photos using acetate weren’t successful, but I don’t feel as though they show the viewers my idea for the brief as well as the copydex photos did, for the reasons above.


First photography coursework project.

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