I did a lot of research for my ideas, half of which turned out to be irrelevant as I changed my idea but it did still help.
My first idea was to compare streets and nature through my photography but I decided against this as I felt that I wouldn’t be able to take photos of (mainly oblivious) people in the streets. This is something I wish to work on so I can improve my confidence and do something that I have been wanting to do for a while.
I looked at several photographers. The photographers I looked at for Street Photography are; Paul Crespel; Eugene Atget and Brassai. Paul Crespel was the main photographer that I looked at. Atget had various types of photography- like nature and street. Brassai had very dark images that were mysterious and really intrigued me.
For the flower photography I looked at; Heather Angel; Karl Blossfeldt and Harold Davis. Harold Davis was my main photographer for the flower part of my first and second idea. Heather Angel had very good images and I looked at a lot of her work. Her work really helped me envision what I wanted to see in terms of colour and composition. Blossfeldt’s work, though interesting, didn’t really work for my idea but I still looked at his work for the composition of flowers.
My second idea was to take photos of translucent flowers. I decided to stay with the nature idea after I had seen some photos online of Harold Davis’ when I was researching my first idea. I really liked how different they looked. I looked on his website as to how he did them and it turned out he used a light box. As I didn’t have the money to buy a light box, I made my own. It only cost me about £8 so it wasn’t too bad.
I found out that there were things I had to do to the images in Photoshop. For instance, I had to take bracketed photos (so I could get different exposures) to HDR merge them on photoshop. I had to look on various websites to learn how to HDR and Bracket images. I also had to find out how to make a white background that looked natural and not painted on.
My first idea was to compare streets to nature so in order to do this I had to do a lot of research. Did I want to have all of my images in colour? If not, which would be in colour? Why would I want the images in colour? Would it be so it can emphasise the life and business of streets?
I had to look at various photographers for both nature and the street photography. I looked at about fifteen to twenty photographers but I mainly looked at about six and did more thorough research. The photographers I focused on were relevant to what I wanted to do.
After I looked at the photographers I had to figure out how I would want the images printed. It was decided pretty quickly that I wanted to print them like postcards (6×4 or 7×5). The streets were to be in black and white and the flowers were to be in colour. thought that it would make a nice contrast. I never found out how they looked as I never went through with that idea.
It was pretty early on when I decided to do something different. We were told to do more ideas, in case anything went wrong. After the first and second project that I had done I knew that I needed at least one more idea. As I started to develop my second idea I really started to like the idea of doing it.
My second idea was to just take photos of flowers on a light box. This would create a nice translucent effect on the petals of the flowers. Harold Davis (who I had looked at for my first idea) really inspired me for this. He HDR merged his images after taking several exposures. At first, I was literally just copying how he did his work but I knew that I would make changes and make the photographs my own as I never fully stick to a plan I make. I am always doubting my work which makes me change my ideas all the time. I made my images different as had different compositions and different levels of translucency. I personally feel that when I look at my work it isn’t just a rip-off of his. Others may say differently.
I could only look at Harold Davis for the specific research. I looked all over the internet for other photographers like him but I could only find images that didn’t say who the photographer was. I looked at the fruit on a light box as well as flowers. The flowers were easier to take photographs of. The fruits I used (lemon and limes) were messy and sometimes it didn’t show the light that I needed.
I got the flowers from a little stall in the bus station and I got them the day before I did the shoots. I only did a portion of the flowers in the bouquet per day so I could get different shots. The tulips died very easily, they would just fall apart. I had to do the shots on the days that I knew would be the emptiest in the house as the equipment took up a lot of room and made it so the one room I was doing the work in was very dark.
I looked on Harold Davis’ website to see what sort of composition he had for his flowers and I didn’t really have any inspiration. The flowers just seemed to fall in place for me. Yes, there were a few shots with horrible composition but eventually, the composition got better.
Below, there are some images (taken from my phone) just to show the rough size of my light box and the comparison of the flowers on it. The light box does not look that bright but when I used my camera and just focused on the white of the light box, it turned out brighter.
Reflection and Refinement
I like all of my final images especially the two images of the tulips that I have. I like them a lot because the colours are so vivid. I don’t think anyone in my class has images like mine.
I don’t particularly like the image that has four flowers in it as I photoshopped it. The image printed doesn’t really look like the image I had taken. The other images I have taken are not heavily edited- I just had to delete the backgrounds and change the exposure slightly. I had to change the background as it wasn’t fully white and had weird patches of shading, which I believe was from the paper.
The image is still good but I, personally, feel that it has been changed a little bit too much.
One of our tutors said it would be wise to write down questions so it would be easier to write down the feedback we got from the class.
These are some of the questions:
Are there any issues with the work? If so, what could I do better?
The only issue with my work was the size; they could have done with being bigger but the sizes are fine considering the space we have and the money I had for prints and foam board.
Do I have the right amount of images for this exhibition?
I had the right amount of photographs as it was an even amount of tulips and the other flowers.
Does the imagery match the way I have presented?
The images have quite a high colour and a white background (which I wanted) and the class noticed this. I did want the translucency of the images to be more prominent but I can work on that if I ever do it again.
- One issue that I had was my light box. It didn’t take long to build but it did take a few tries to get the lighting right. I didn’t have enough light at first so I had to get some brighter lights.
- The flowers are not as translucent as I would like them to be in the images.
- I didn’t HDR merge all of my images
- In order to get a really bright light box, I had to get a few strips of LEDs and glue them onto the inner side of the light box. I had to turn off all the lights and cover the windows in order to get the light bright enough. Another solution would have been if I had just bought a light box, however, this would have been out of my budget.
- I changed the exposure slightly to make the petals more translucent and in some images, I HDR merged several exposures- this made it so there were more details in the petals but it also showed the light coming through.
- I should have merged all the images but I did like the how the images turned out without the merge anyway
Printing and Mounting
For printing, I used Canon paper with the college’s Canon printer. The paper is quite thick and the images had more of a subtle glossiness to it. I printed my image at A3 size and I had to cut the edges off of the images so they would fit the foam board. For one image I had to use crop marks in order to get a perfectly straight edge. The foam board was pretty easy to use as all I had to do was spray it with the adhesive and then place the image on it. There was only one issue with this; I had to place the image perfectly in line with the edges of the foam board.
I used 5mm foam board as it was the only thickness that I could afford at the time. The foam board isn’t exactly flimsy but it isn’t the thickest of boards to use. Next time I would use 10mm (if I can afford it at that time) as it is thicker and I don’t have to worry about it breaking. The 5mm is good, especially for people who are new to using foam board. I bought a five pack (I needed four) from The Works for £5.
To get my prints onto the wall I had to put on self adhesive velcro onto the back of the foam board and onto the wall. This was cheap and very easy to do as all I had to do was cut the velcro into the sizes I needed and then take off the backing of one side of velcro to attach it to the foam board.
Ten final Images
We needed ten final images to show to the class. It turned out that we did not need to show the class all ten photographs but they came in handy as I could take my time and decide which images I wanted. It is obvious that I like the tulips a lot so I picked a lot of those images.
I liked editing the photographs drastically (inverting and such) but I decided against using them in my work as I wanted my final images to be more realistic.
These are the four final images:
As I only needed four out of the five pieces I used the spare one as a backup plan in case I messed one up.It did not really take long to chose the photos that I wanted for my exhibition as the four I picked (see above) stood out to me. The tulips have really bright colours and the light makes it so they look like they are not flush against the background. The photographs of the pink, yellow and white flowers were from my first official shoot which makes me proud as they are good. The tulips are from my last shoot so I had got a little bit of experience from the past shoots.
In order to be prepared for the exhibition (that starts on the 12th of June), the class had to put up their work at the Riverside House on the Friday before the 12th. It took longer than expected. We had to put our work on thin metal bars that layed flush against the wall as the velcro would have ruined the walls (which I realised when one of the tutors told me to not put in on the wall). The task of putting the work on thin bars was harder than I expected. Once the velcro was on the bar, it was hard to get off, which was irritating as I found it quite difficult to make my prints straight and kept having to move them up and down. I did want my prints in a different order (tulips on the left of the pink/yellow/white flowers, tulips below them and then pink/yellow/white flowers below the other print of the tulips) but as I didn’t have enough space I had to put them in a linear order.
I like where I have placed my work as it is in the corner almost opposite the door. Out of the five pieces of work that are shown above I have to say that mine is the brightest so it grabs my attention quite easy, this may be me bias as it is my work but in comparison to the others it has to be the brightest. An issue I have with my layout is that the top photograph is above eye level which means it will not be that easy for some people to see. The reason I put them so high was because I didn’t want my images to be ruined by being too close to the floor and from the looks of it other people wanted them to be high as well.
Below my images are my artist statement and my headshot. I am glad they are closer to the ground as I would personally prefer for viewers to see my work first before looking at my artist statement. This, however, could be a bad thing as people may not see my artist statement and then not know who I am or why I did that work. Hopefully, I will be able to see whether people see the statement or not. This will be good as I will be able to know what to change for any other exhibition I do.
I thoroughly enjoyed this project as I wasn’t as restricted in terms of objectives and I could be more creative. I am proud of my work and wouldn’t really change anything I did. I am happy that I did my second plan as it was something I had never done before and I learnt new things by doing so.
I am glad that I kept changing my plan slightly as it made it so my work was always progressing. The changes were quite small. I only changed how I was going to print the work (instead of postcards, I printed them A3 and on foam board) and that they were not all HDR merged. The project only needed a couple of shots and I used many of my test shots for my final images and I didn’t have to edit nearly half as much as I expected, which I liked.
My artist statement is short and pretty informative. It is about 100 words so the reader isn’t overloaded with information. It gives brief information about myself and my project.
I feel like I did hit the brief. The brief was split into four tasks- Creative Photography Project, Test and Developmental work, Project Proposal and the Final presentation, Refinement and Exhibition- and they all had their own criteria. Each task was fairly straight forward. I would like to think that I have done everything that is needed in order to get the grade I want. I have worked very hard on this project and put the most effort into this one project. Like all of my projects, my work changed but this shows that I am constantly trying to improve my work.
I would definitely do this project again as it was fun and and I wouldn’t want to waste the light box that I built.