Assignment 2 Photos and Comments

In this post I want to show you the photos I have sent in for Assignment two, Elements of Design. The overall goal of this exercise is to show the insights I have learned through this part of the course through 10 to 15 photos that show specific elements of design, but are all directed towards one type of subject. I have explored different kinds of subjects for this assignment, but as my tutor suggested, the Island of Goree turned out to be a very suitable place to use for this assignment.

The island of Goree is a small island off the coast of Dakar and was one of the first places in Africa where Europeans have settled. First the Portuguese, then the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Brits and finally until Senegal's independence, the French. The island has been used as a trading post, of agricultural products as well as slaves and as an administrative post. Nowadays the island has a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list and serves as a main tourist attraction. A lot of the houses are in a serious state of decline, giving the island a very nostalgic atmosphere. The island has about a 1000 inhabitants, of which many are fishermen and artists who sell their work to tourists. 

With this set of photos I wish to show the different characteristics of the island, but in my photos focus on the elements of design that I have working on in the past exercises.

 Single point dominating the composition

Single point dominating the composition

This photo might as well be used for a combination of horizontal and vertical lines, but when I close my eyes a little bit, the window is the one thing that really stands out. I have sharpened the panes a bit and added some brightness to the photo. 
 Two points

Two points

I took this photo inside a bunker that the French built right before WWI. Since then, they've only fired one time at a British flag ship (If I understood the guide right), but never used it since. Nowadays artists live here. The two faces are from Toubabs, Muslim local saints whose images you will find everywhere. I have lightened the shadowy part of the photo, cloned a part of the stones near the incoming bright light to hide another incoming bright light, since this was disturbing and distracting from the points I wanted to focus on. I didn't crop the corridor on the side out, because the paintings are visible and that shows the atmosphere of the place. I also wanted to show the broom in the front, to stress the fact that people actually live here.

 Several points in a deliberate shape

Several points in a deliberate shape

This photo was taken on a cliff on Goree. According to the guide it was a great day for fishing Dorada. I darkened the boats in the front and back to strengthen the shape they form together. I like the way how the horizon is very vague. It brings a mysterious feel to the photo.

 A combination of horizontal and vertical lines

A combination of horizontal and vertical lines

This is a photo of the front of a shed right on the beach. I like the way the colors divide the frame and at the same time the openings of the door and window stress the horizontal and vertical lines. I cropped the image in such a way that the blue and white would meet exactly in the middle. I also added some definition to stress the worn state of the shed.

 Diagonals

Diagonals

I have never been in a more peculiar place than this! Because I took the photo around 12 o'clock, the light was very hard, giving a lot of contrast and strong shades. I like how the shades seem to continue in the beams. This photo is in black and white because I wanted to stress the lines and through this was able to show the strength of the light instead of the brightness of the colours.

 Curves

Curves

If you google 'Dakar' in images, this is what you'll see. It must be the most photographed set of stairs in Africa. I did want to add it to the set despite of its unoriginality. First of all the design of these steps is really striking and highlighted because the sun is shining directly on the top. I also like the contrasts in colors, (although that's not part of this chapter) and the view on the ocean. That opening in the back would be the last place where slaves would step on before getting on a boat to cross the ocean. I deleted some of the shades in the front, because it was a distraction from the main image. 

 Distinct, even if irregular, shapes

Distinct, even if irregular, shapes

This photo was taken of the slope of the hill where a lot of artists work. I was attracted to the contrast of the straight lines of paint and curves of the tree in the back and the round shapes of the can of paint on the left and pipe in the back. I have highlighted these shapes and sharpened the stone a little bit so that it would stand out more in the image.
 Implied triangle 1

Implied triangle 1

There are actually quite a lot of implied triangles in this image if you have a look at it. Some are made by shape of the stair itself, others by the shadow on the wall and the wall in the back. There was a very nostalgic atmosphere in this house and beautiful colors. For this reason I didn't want to turn it into a black and white image, even though then the lines might have been more obvious. 
 Implied triangle 2

Implied triangle 2

Here's the entrance of the bunker that serves as a sort of gallery for the artists who live there. The lines of the photo all lead to the head of the toubab in the middle of the image, forming a triangle by perspective. In this picture I have highlighted this head, even though it was already lightened by incoming sunlight.

 Rhythm

Rhythm

Knowing that Senegal is a mainly muslim country, fences like this become even more of a rarity. I have tried to take the photo from such an angle that the rhythm of the crosses would be just as visible in the front as in the back. The sunlight on the leaves has been made a bit darker, so that it wouldn't distract too much from the fence. I have also cropped the bottom, because otherwise the vertical lines would have been too dominant in the picture. I really wanted the crosses be the most obvious thing to see. There's actually a fly sitting on the middle cross, so that breaks the rhythm a bit :-)
 Pattern

Pattern

Ok, I'm not quite sure if you'd call this a typical pattern photo, but as already explained a former post, the ones that show a better pattern didn't work out very well and didn't particularly show something of the Island of Goree. The pattern here can be found in the shirts of the school children standing in line and the division of the horizontal lines in the front, middle and back.

On the whole, I'm pretty happy with the results of this assignment. I'm doubting a little bit about the pattern and the distinct shapes, because I'm not sure if these pictures are obvious enough in showing the elements of design. I have been post processing a bit more detailed, since I discovered the brush tool in Aperture (duh!). That has helped me to improve the images the way I want, instead of just trying things as I used to. I do have to be careful to not over process the photos. Now I always look at the photos the next day to get a fresh view on the image and see if I still like the adjustments I made.

Concerning the blog. I want to add more reflection to my work and the things I have been reading, listening to and done besides the assignments. Thank goodness we've had a steady internet going these past two weeks, so I haven't got anymore excuses to not blog on a more regular basis!