Structures A Photographic study exploring the theme of structures by Bill Hodgson

To work through this study scroll down:

Initial exploration into possibilities of "Structures"

I began my structures research by looking at this card packaging, as I thought that these uniform structures created quite abstract shadows and shapes. I think that some of these pictures are quite interesting and I like how on some of the images you have to look twice to realise what your looking at.

Initial Response to the theme:

Shape? Colour? Form?

(my images)

I began by looking at a well established abstract photographer, I looked at Nagy because he is a celebrated abstract photographer, who's sole focus was on portraying huge (simple) structures in a new/different way. I am comparing these two images because I think they have a lot of similarities and are basically trying to show the same thing. Their aim is to make the familiar feel strange.

A comparison of my work along side a piece by laszlo Nagy

I liked how Nagy used repetition and the unexpected perspective and subtle use of tone, I thought the use of line that tracks your eye up to the man on the balcony was interesting and the fact that he is distorted and the way the shadow has hidden his identity is really engrossing. I didn't try and replicate his work, but i did feel like there were lots of similarities in my response, such as the use of line, tone, shadows and the mystery that all of these things lead to in an abstract manner. I liked the way in which he used tone so I experimented with different levels of tone and shadow in the grid below:

Experimenting with tone, darkest= top left, Lightest= bottom right. (moving from side to side)

The first image is the darkest of the selection. The shadows take over the image. and the highlights are really interesting because of how infrequent they are. To the right, the second darkest, and the shadows are less dramatic but the highlights are much more prominent. The third image was the best from the selection in my opinion, I felt that this image is the best in terms of tone and the contrast between the shadows and highlights, and is very interesting. Nothing is bleached out in the image, and instead the interesting edges and sides are highlighted. In the other two images the images have begun to become bleached out, so therefore looks distorted and un-focused (dull)

After initially brainstorming some ideas for the title 'Structures', I decided to experiment with the title 'Barriers', in every sense of the word. I want to look at physical barriers and what they are made up of and how they are effective at controlling where we as people go and move, but I also want to look into social barriers, and therefor current affairs. I believe this might lead me onto topics such as immigration and how our society (British) is becoming more and more closed and less welcoming to the outside world and there issues.

GCE photography 9PY0 (Edexcel level 3)

In these two brainstorms below, I have carried out some initial thinking into the title "Barriers":

The Formal Elements of Art: Line

"A line is an identifiable path created by a point moving in space"

Credits: (bottom right=Beverly Komatsu Street Photography Without People. (top left)= (Top right)= Eolake (Bottom left)= Colorado archive 09-12

(Top left)- I like the interesting use of perspective, and how the lines lead to a almost symmetrical image with the line of symmetry in the exact centre of the image. (top right)- I think the use of the shadows in this picture is really fascinating, I like the way they get longer as the stairs get higher. I believe that the use of diagonal line is really good in these image because it makes you follow the image from the bottom left to the top right, and made me wonder what the stairs are leading up to. (Bottom left)- The use of the curved line in this image is alluring and again makes you unconsciously think "where does this line/ image lead to?". (Bottom right)- These overhead wires (lines) create an abstract grid/net that has created squares and rectangles that make you focus on what they have inside them, For example in this image all of the lines help lead the eye to the plane that would normally just merge into the image.

Initial Investigation: Line

To start my Investigation off, I began by looking at abstraction and abstract shapes and patterns in the metal yard, I found this metal structure/gate. I liked the way in which it is clearly a solid structure but gives of the effect of water or a liquid. I found the shadows and highlights really interesting so therefor desaturated my images to create really interesting B+W images.

I thought that the way in which the curved line in this piece of metal fencing, was like an abstract sculpture, I also liked the way all the lines in these images lead from the bottom left to the top right, like some of the images I reviewed and studied earlier.

B+W pictures of abstract structures. (Tring canal yard) (My images)

These pictures were inspired by one of my featuring themes, barriers. I thought this location was firstly very interesting but I also thought that because lots of barriers/gates and fences are manufactured there but are not necessarily used. So therefor they technically have no power at all.

Initial investigation: Texture
Formal Elements of art: Texture

"Texture is most evident where dark meets light on the turning edge and at the outer edge. Experience has taught us to assume that the areas in between have similar features." (Rex Brandt)

Texture can be used in different ways, depending on the message you want to convey or the particular elements you want the viewer to focus on. The simplest way to convey texture is with a detail shot. Using a macro lens, get close to your subject and capture just the texture itself, without the context. For example, if you decide to shoot the peeling paint on that old boat for detail, your viewer is probably going to have no idea that the paint in the image was on the hull of an abandoned Fishing Boat.

Zooming out so that you capture both the context of the texture as well as the texture itself will add drama to your image. Now your viewer can see the boat in its entirety, and the texture of the peeling paint merely adds to its overall visual impact, rather than becoming the subject itself.

Below are four images that use texture in four different ways:

(top left)-U.S Army, (top right)- David Peterson, (bottom left)- PictureSocial member Colby Johnson, (bottom right)- Lucy shires photography.

In the top left image, the use of texture is a bit different because like lots of textures, it is linked to pattern and repetition. But most images of textures, are extreme close ups like the images to the right. this top left image is captivating because when you look on first glance it looks like any other image of texture and pattern, but then when you inspect it closely you begin to realise that it is different people with there own characteristics that are masked by the use of texture and pattern in this photo.

Selected images from various shoot I have done, I believe these are all the most interesting images linked to the theme (my images)
Formal Elements of art: Pattern

Patterns are simply repeated shapes, colours or objects, ordered in either regular or irregular formations. For photographers, using pattern is key to good composition and, when used effectively, can transform an otherwise bland image into something dramatic and eye catching. Patterns are formulated all around us - in both natural and man made settings. The key for photographers is firstly to find them, and then secondly to use the scene to their advantage.

-Patterns are an indefinite entity; there is no telling what a good or bad pattern is, so their benefits are totally subjective. For example, pattern can present strong structure, a well defined theme, eye catching repetition, or colour that brings an image to life.- Simon Bray (free lance photographer from uk)

All Above photos credited to Svenwerk photography.

All of the above Images are of various/ different patterns I found on the internet, I was looking for a wide range of images, to show the different uses of pattern and the repetition of the shape, colour and objects. Again line and other features of good photography do come into it and are invloved in the creation of these great images.

After looking at the basics of the use of pattern I looked into using it in my own photography.

These are my Images.

I looked into Structures: Including metal fencing, and stairs. I liked how, in the Top right image, of the ceiling, it isn't 100% obvious what it is your looking at, at first glance. The images of the old printing press, stamps, but instead of not being obvious at first, and having to look closer. The fact that the words are inverted and hard to make out, means the audience will be exploring my image for longer, and therefore stay with them longer. (It will make them think)

Research and Analysis

I found an interesting series of images in the Guardian Photography section on "Walls and Barriers" This made me think about how I could portray different types of barriers in different ways, for example, before seeing this collection i was struggling to think of anyway to represent someone that is trapped or uncomfortable because of a social barrier, But the way in which this photographer has taken this picture below, using the window to portray a transparent barrier is really interesting and I think this images itself is really captivating.

I also began to look at components that make up a physical barrier like the wood in a door, or a lock on a latch. I found that these images were really interesting, firstly because of the harshness of the wood and cracking paint on these doors. But also the way in which all barriers are made up of lots of different components. I also realised that Lots of barriers do not physically stop you from going somewhere but they do stop you mentally, for example a sign or plastic fencing.

Mixture of images(Tring Canal Yard) Barriers
Physical Barriers: Gates, locks, fences

The images below, are barriers and gates from around where I live. These physical barriers actually stop you going somewhere, the first half of these images are raw/un-edited,I chose to show these images like this because I believe the sunlight's colour is brilliant, the images have really interesting shadows but I think in colour the shadows and highlights that the natural light has created is lost.

Therefor I decided to experiment with Desaturating the images and adjusting there tone and contrast. After seeing the before and after images I believe strongly that when in B+W the shadows and highlights are much stronger and therefor the shapes and components of the barriers are much more pronounced, because of this the images are much more interesting.

Both coloured originals and B+W images of physical barriers, that stop people going places.

This small study is a B+W study on the differences and similarity of a natural barrier (hedge) and a man-made barrier (metal fence), I wanted to look at how in both cases the barriers are made up of patterns, abstract or uniform. I liked the way in which the barbed wire and the smaller vines are quite similar. However i think these images are originally quite boring (due to dull weather conditions and poor lighting) and therefor over edited.

B+W study on differences or natural and man-made barriers.

My next step in this project was to look at the social and physical barrier at the point where the land ends and the sea starts, (our barrier against the rest of the world) I looked at how the rock formations are shaped and changed by the sea's erosion and how the land is slowly losing the battle. I wanted

Images from Cornwall Trevone bay April-2017. I wanted to show the point where the sea meets the land as it is one of the most important Physical barriers in the world.
Mechanisms & Machinery, Hemel Hempstead paper mill:

These B+W images are of the Hemel Hempstead paper mill. Frogmore is the oldest water powered paper mill in Europe and has been making different kinds of paper and cards since 1895.

When I visited this paper mill, I thought that the massive machines that were used/ are used to make the paper were incredible, I found the scale and how everything was connected was fascinating, it was like one big human body/structure. with all the cogs and wheels contributing to different factors of the finished product.

I desaturated my images because; firstly the colours were not that interesting as well as the fact that the mill itself is completely lit by natural light, and therefore I found that the shadows and highlights outlined the machines and components to the mill in a much more interesting way.

The section of the mill that I mainly focused on is no longer in use and I found it very eerie that the water wheel was the only component still moving and working. In terms of my title "Barriers", the mill resembles the initial steps we took at a society to bridge/breach the 'barrier' of easy communication to the rest of the world.

Although this view/opinion could be made about this study, The truth is that the opportunity to visit this site came about and once there I believed that the images that the structures and complex machinery created very interesting and intricate shapes and therefore images. So consequently it is less todo with my current title "Barriers"

This opp came about, less to do with barriers , more todo with structures, big machiner etc... I initially shot 100. here is a contact sheet.... choose image and speak about strange feeling when at paper mill, also speak on topic of making me think about structure topic on typography and speak. (another really interesting line of enquiry)

Frogmore paper mill -April/2017


Bill Hodgson

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