Part 2 Assignments and reflections on the projects and exercises


I didn’t read the instructions properly for the assignment so ended up tackling both options.  Rather, I assiduously read the instructions I had copied from the online course handbook to my Onenote notebook but failed to copy the ‘choose one’ bit.

I wasn’t fired up by the thought of using photographs to explore an issue of concern.  If I have something to say I generally say it or write it and I haven’t yet found that photographs are a rewarding vector for my personal expression.  I say yet because I fully expect to be all turned-around on the matter as I progress through the course.

The wind photographs are an attempt to convey the persistence of wind, how it relentlessly nags away at everything within reach; it never gets tired, or cold or scared… it simply keeps going.  People say they are scared of the sea but left to its own devices the sea is perfectly benign.  It’s the wind that shakes things up.

During our little sailing trip we often picked up nuggets of information from other liveaboards, often about upcoming destinations.  Onesuch concerned Tarifa on the Spanish Atlantic coast, close to the Straits of Gibraltar, and the information relayed to us repeatedly was the incidence of suicide in the unfortunate town – abnormally high because of the constant wind, it’s said.

These photographs attempt to show the effects of wind.

Now the shirts.  I had already decided on the general look, no faces, close-up and face-on.  After the first ‘sitting’ I chose to stick with the direct lighting look I’d tried because it really makes the shirts stand out.  I like the formal arrangement and the restricted number of elements in each frame.

In fact I’m finding this more and more – I am concerned to eliminate elements from the frame rather than include them.  I don’t want background interfering with foreground and I don’t want the edges getting unruly and confusing the main content.  To this end I am pretty much exclusively using my lovely Olympus 50mm (100mm on my camera) lens from the film era.  It’s manual focus and non-auto so it’s a bit of a faff but it does what I want.  It also allows me to use an inexpensive but effective tilt adaptor to manipulate the plane of focus.

I had to gather some volunteer shirt-wearers so I posted a request on Facebook which resulted in several responses.  I offered to do a ‘family portrait’ as the quid pro quo so that helped things along and allowed me to practice indoor lighting for real.  I talk too much if I’m a bit anxious so goodness knows what they thought but they liked the pictures, which I obviously undertook not to post on this blog so nothing to see here.

So far I have only done a few but I think I’ll let the idea run and make a small book (home printed and bound though).  Having mentioned prints, I am minded to print a lot more than I have done in the past.  I’ve always done obscure black-and-white printing using DIY carbon pigments but until recently I’ve avoided colour printing.  Now I plan to print much more of both.