Photography/Image Manipulation By Tony Cunha
Proposal For my final major project I have decided to concentrate on photography. It is something I have recently developed a passion for and although we were advised not to re-invent ourselves for the fmp, I feel I have learnt enough to be able to produce an ineresting body of work. Photography is an extremely broad subject and I would like to continue with the style of work that I am doing which is image manipulation. I have mainly been focusing on using light to manipulate images which is great because every image is unique but at the same time I think it is becoming slightly repetative and would like to incoorporate some new techniques into my work. I plan to use my natural environment a lot more so that the images are manipulated naturally. This is just an initial idea which could change as the project progresses and I am still undecided on what the final outcome will be and to what scale.
Off the Mark To get started I decided to play it safe and continue experimenting with lights but instead of a simple torch I wanted to use a mixture of lights to get different effects. This was something I enjoyed doing but after having various meetings with the tutors we came to the conclusion that light writting was slightly played out and I should broaden my outlook on the photography I was doing. I decided to take a trip to hampton court to completely change from the dark environment I was used to photographing in. Although I knew this wasnt what I wanted to do for my fmp, it still helped me gain perspective and look at nature and objects from a different angle to able myself to adapt them to what I wanted to do.
For the majority of these photos I used a macro lense and had the intention of taking detailed close ups of my surroundings. These work well as the images were set to auto focus and most of the time this distorted the background and kept the foreground clear.
Here I just stayed in the same spot for a few minutes photographing the same swan moving around. I thought that by giving it enough time I would be able to capture a few worth while photos. I specifically like the photo below as there is another swan in the distance and they are facing in different directions. Doing this was benificial because I didnt have the intention of taking a specific photo but a few opportunities were presented for me to capture these moments.
I was taking photos of this tree from a distance and decided to change perspective and try and approach it as an object I had never come across before. Getting directly underneath it and looking up made the photo a lot more visually pleasing than a photo from a distance with the branches hidden under the leaves.
Here I saw this flower hanging in the gap between a bench and I altered it to try and get a better outcome. At the time i felt that the second photo, which had been physically moved, looked better although it looked somewhat staged. Looking back now, I feel with what im trying to achieve moving the flower did not work well. The photo of the flower as it originally was tells more of a story than the one which has been placed in position for the photo.
museum of london A strength i found I had which came up in meetings with the tutors, was the fact that if I got stuck or was uncertain about what to do to progress, I would just get out of the house and take photos to inspire myself. This happened on many occasions and I feel that some of these days were key in helping me produce work which only came about through my eagerness to get out. I found that Timeout magazine was very benificial on days where my mind was blank as I could see what was going on in London and visit galleries and exhibitions as an insentive. I found an exhibition on London street photography 1860-2010 at the Museum of London and thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to get ideas for my own photos and final outcome. The exhibition was great and it was good to see the contrast and broadness of the images taken over the decades. I planeed the day out well and left home early for the exhibition so I could make the most of the day. Once leaving, I spent the rest of the day photographing only in black and white to try and appreciate the colour images I do take a little bit more.
After my inspirational day of black and white photography I fell back into the trap of light photography. I felt this would always be more interesting to look at as there is more of a process to it that just taking regular photos.
Ideas and inspiration Having previously been inspired I was now motivated to get out of the house and travel London to find settings and locations parallel to what I was looking for. I found a few more exhibition that did not necessarily realate to what I was doing but were still ways and methods for me to learn more in general about photography. The V&A had an exhibition on cameraless photography and I thought even though my work was almost the opposite it was still benificial to visit and read about the methods used to create images without a camera.
I found presenting work to the class on a weekly basis very useful as there was always something I took away from those meetings. It was a good environment and everyone showed great enthusiasm about eachothers work. I was told to look at Elliott Erwitt and these are some of his photos. This opened my eyes to looking at things from a different perspective and I found I was able to use these techniques in my own work.
These photos are from a wild life exhibition in the Natural History Museum. I specifically enjoyed these two photos on the left as the movement of the water is captured in motion although it is a still image. These were similar processes to what I had been using and reading up on these helped me to understand how to get the same effects in the daylight which at the time I knew nothing about. This opened a whole new door for me and I was able to move away from photographing light in the dark and broaden my perspective on the project.
Learning to take long exposure images during the day was fairly easy. It was a process of trial and error and adjusting settings depending on the amount of light that was being exposed. In order to get a perfect image, the camera had to be still so that there are things in the image that never move. At the same time, there also needed to be enough movement to have the desired effect.
I think these images have worked well as the movement has been captured extremely well as well as the static things. I prefer the colour images as black and white did not give the same effect as the moving colours. The movement in the black and white photos seems to almost blend into the background giving a ghost like effect and what i want to do is make it so that the moving object is still identifyable even though they are not clear.
I still very much enjoy photographing light and would like to not let this escape from my final piece.
Image Layering Another process I have began to experiment with is layering images. It gives a ghost like effect and when staying in the same place for long periods of time you are able to fill an image depending on how busy it is. Iâ€™ve found that using this method to create interesting images works best when only layering two or three images as using more can sometimes make the figures undistiguishable.
Idea for final outcome
This book that I purchased at the museum of london helped me to decide what my final peice was going to be. Because I had a wide range, variety and number or images, the perfect way to present them would be a book or series of books.
For my final outcome I have decided to make a series of three books. The thing I have enjoyed doing most is the light drawing but I felt that if I stuck with this alone it wouldnt be broad enough and could potentially be quite weak and repetative. Having three books gives me a greater sense of variety and achievement.
Light Humour Layered London
This book is a selection of images which were taken using long exposure and various torches and lights. To find a good outcome it is essential to try the same thing over and over again until you have the desired effect you are looking for. The image above took three or four attempts as it is basically like drawing blind folded and all the surroundings need to remain as still as possible.
The images in this book have been layered on top of eachother. The images that have been layered have in majority been taken in the same location and then placed on eachother and the opacity has been modified.
The images in this book have all been taken at a shutter speed of two seconds to try and capture the busy activity and movement of London.
Published on May 7, 2005