Develop & Adapt Photographic Ideas Julia read nCFE L2: Unit 2

The aim of this unit is to use primary & secondary research to develop a photographic style. The style & working methods of should be evaluated and exploratory work produced which show a connection between the photographer s who have been researched & the photographic output I have produced. A final selection of 6 images should be produced.

The exploratory images do not need to be direct "copies" of work produced by the three photographers; however the connection (or related inspiration) needs to be defined.

The exploratory & final pieces should also demonstrate the use of appropriate visual & technical language: to support the taking, processing & selection of the images. Reflection should also be made regarding the success or otherwise of the images - including how the images made me feel.

The exploratory & final images should be shared with fellow students & tutor; I should b able to demonstrate how I have responded & adapted to the feedback received.

All of the following images have been captured with my Sony A6000 and a few of my lenses. All images have been edited in Lightroom (blacks/whites/shadows/highlights/curves/contrast/vibrance etc.), with only a few images taken into Photoshop for more sophisticated editing.

Saul Leiter

Famous for his early use of colour - at a time where this was not considered a serious art medium. At the time he took these images (1960's) these were taken for his own personal pleasure.

His images were taken in New York, in the neighbourhood he lived in for most of his life. He specialised in taking images which concentrated on small colourful details - often using red & yellow as accent colours. He using rain or snow to add semi-transparent "layers" to his images - making you feel that you are looking in through the images to the main detail.

The images were taken using out of date film (as it was cheaper!), this also gives the images their own unique colour palette.

The images were not published for several decades; when they were, they finally received the acknowledgment they deserved.

I absolutely love his images, the colours are beautiful & the framing & composition are excellent. The images make me feel joyful, & I always end up smiling whilst looking at them.

I have taken a number of images - most of them in Norwich city centre - influenced by his style. Most of the images were taken after dark, to maximise reflections. I have used window & door frames to provide "framing" to the main subject in each frame, whilst also using other compositional techniques such as rule of thirds, lead in lines etc.

Blickling Hall - Christmas Lights

The hall and gardens were beautifully illuminated with coloured lighting. Once inside the hall, many of the old single glazed window panes were covered in condensation - giving a beautiful semi-transparent view through the windows to the coloured lights outside. This effect immediately made me think of the beauty of Saul Leiters images.

The coloured lights through the window panes

The condensation framing the main colourful details

My absolute favourite. The amount of condensation on these windows obscured most of the outside details; leaving the window panes glowing with the various colours.

The colour palette of the window panes works so well with the colour of the window frames. When this image is placed near a light source the colours really sparkle & glow.

A trip to Norwich to look for colourful details & reflections

Used 16-70mm lens, some of these shot too wide - losing the "detail" focus

Another trip to Norwich, trying to refine my technique....

I placed people or objects on rules of thirds, used window & door frames to provide framing for the main focal point. The images on the top left - I waited for a pedestrian to walk through the frame & then took the shot with them captured in the main angled window pane. This image received the most positive feedback from my fellow students & tutor.

Another trip to Norwich.......

This time it was a bit earlier in the day - so too early for resections; so was drawn to other colourful details - much of which I found in a shop selling lots of french produce.

Snow & greengrocers

Another visit to.........

My favourite image is the one of the stacked chairs. I really like the colours - especially the red & yellow details. The repeated pattern of the curved chair backs are very effective. I particularly like how the people's reflected faces are between the chair backs, as this frames them nicely.

Robert Mapplethorpe

One of the genres Robert Mapplethorpe was renowned for was his amazing photographs of flowers. Photographing these was his own private passion (showing similarity with Saul Leiter and his colour photography). Many of his images were B/W, some with dark plain backgrounds others with sunlight & shadows, or slatted blinds as the backdrop. Some images depict whole vases of flowers, others single stems & some just single flower heads. All of the images have a very sensual form, as well as displaying the sculptural & textural attributes of the flowers. Some images appear to captured with natural lighting, others with even studio lighting.

I have captured most of my images using two soft boxes & a black backdrop (& a few with a white backdrop).

A selection of B/W images
Colour images - trying to find some more "unusual" compositions

Bottom left - I used multiple images - with different focus points to create a photomerge composite (macro) image in Lightroom. I was really pleased with how well this turned out - the image is now sharp all the way across the frame & shows the wonderful texture and beauty of the tulip.

I used the same technique for this one also
A less than successful attempt - but still beautiful in its own way

I really enjoyed taking these flower shots, it was interesting to see the effects of changing the lighting on the flowers; to soften and reveal their beauty with nice even lighting; or to use harsher lighting to produce completely different results.

Decaying tulips - I used a mix of window light & studio lighting on these tulips

I also enjoyed seeking different compositions, especially of the more intricate details. I found the decaying flowers interesting to shoot - I liked the pattern of shadows on the backdrop, the use of natural light to almost back-light sone of the flowers - which seems to give the images an extra zing!

George Hurrell

Famous for his portraits taken during the golden years of Hollywood. He began taking portraits of the stars in a way that was contemporary (for the time); which soon attracted the attention of the stars and film studios of the day.

He used Frensel lights to illuminate his shoots, the film he used also contained high levels of silver - which contributed to the particular style of his images (which is still difficult to reproduce today with digital media).

He made his women sitters look glamorous & beautiful; & had the ability to photograph them in s way that drew out aspects of their persona that were sometimes at odds with their perceived acting genre - with the result that sometimes the actresses were subsequently cast in roles that they would previously been consisted unsuitable for.

His male portraits were constructed to show the sitter as handsome bankable movies stars - to draw more viewers into the cinemas.

My intention was take some images which captured the essence of old style Hollywood glamour, using my lighting kit (2 soft boxes & a backdrop).

Using one directional light placed nearer to the sitter than the other light, to provide a stronger more directional sense of light for the make sitter
A softer more sensual look for the female sitter

Somehow these images ended up with a far more contemporary style than I had originally intended to achieve; especially the one which includes a mobile phone - I like the angle of the sitters gaze, &!how it leads the eye down through the frame to the phone.

I deliberately left a number of them with quite large amounts of empty space, so with the sitter placed to either side of the frame (rather than centrally placed).

A few of the same images but in colour which it emphasises

Final Choice: Decisions, decisions......

I really enjoyed taking pictures in the style of Saul Leiter, but found it hard to take further images in the dusk/dark in the city centre once the clocks changed - as I just not in the right place at the right time.

I found taking the portraits very technically challenging; & really hard directing the sitters too. I would still like to improve my skills in this area - but decided for the purposes of this unit not to take my final six photos in this genre.

Final Decision......

Robert Mapplethorpe

A found this to be a really absorbing genre - it was far more technically difficult than I had imagined. I struggled with the large bunches of flowers & being able to keep as much as possible sharply in focus. I found that placing the flowers in a wide, but shallow spread that this improved the sharpness.

It was challenging learning to use the lighting kit, learning how best to use the kit & trying to relate this to the mechanics of the inverse square law! It was interesting to change the lighting sources & direction to try and achieve the same sort of outcome that Robert Mapplethorpe produced.

I enjoyed adapting his style of image into ones that included large amounts of empty space in the frame - focussing on the textural & sculptural beauty of the flowers & trying to find a more contemporary way to capture the images.

I used compositional rules including rule of thirds, empty space & diagonal lines to enhance the visual appeal of the images.

I enjoyed the use of both colour & B/W , both of which bring different qualities out in the images.

For my final set I choose a set of B/W compositions; as I felt this have a sense of unity to the final six images.

Five of the images were taken using my lighting kit of two soft boxes & a backdrop. The 6th image was taken in my back garden, lit by the early morning sun. I really like the texture in this image - which was enhanced by the Silver FX Pro processing. I have to say the colour version of this image is lovely too, with a lovely colour palette and lovely soft bokeh.

Experimenting with texture & empty space
A bit less empty space

Thank you for taking the time to view my images.

Credits:

Created with images by Goosefriend - "earlycolorphotos0005"

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