Assignment 3: Tutor Comments

It's been a while since I posted. Not that I haven't been busy with photography, but I find that it always takes some time to get started again after submitting an assignment. I have been watching a lot of tutorials on creative live and B & H photography tutorials on Youtube. I realize that I'm lacking a lot of technical knowledge and skills and these tutorials really help with that. But then there also needs to be some time left to read, blog and of course shoot! 

Here's the report from my tutor on the Assignment Colour, as always, I really appreciate his comments, he let's me think about my work in different ways and shows ample ways of improving in a very encouraging way. I'll add my response in between the lines.

Overall Comments

Leonie, colour photography is pretty much taken for granted these days but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that colour photography was accepted by the influential galleries in the art world through the work of William Eggelston and Stephen Shore. In the UK this was carried on at the beginning of the 1980s through photographers such as Martin Parr and Paul Graham.

Of course the advertising world realized the potential of colour photography very early on and from the 1940s colour was gradually introduced and became commonplace at the beginning of the 1960s. Ernst Haas is also worth a mention for his colour work in the 1960s which I think influenced a whole generation of photographers with the possibilities of what colour could offer in photography.

You have chosen to photograph an interesting selection of subjects, and overall, the standard is quite high. You have a good understanding of how the colour wheel works and how to incorporate this into your own ideas.

It was nice to really think about the function of color in a photograph instead of taking it for a fact.

Feedback On Assignment

Complementary Colours

The first shot here taken in the forest works well, there’s a subtlety to the image that comes across and both the reds and greens have a kind of luminous quality. I realise you took the shot in the Netherlands but nonetheless it highlights your good understanding of how colour works within a harmonious context. The close up of the graffiti is a great example of how the movement of colour can work in an image, the blues and oranges catch the eye straightaway and the viewer gets a good sense of how the original piece was formed.

I took the photo in the forest when I was in the Netherlands a month ago, so I did have this assignment in mind while taking the photograph.

The third example is an excellent image and is crying out to be cropped into a portrait format so we are left with just the lady in the orange dress, the other people in the shot are a little distracting and although you mention the purple of their clothes I don’t think this is that important. Of course cropping the shot this way would leave an image with just the orange and green, which would seem to fit better into the contrasting colours category. Using images that you haven’t shot specifically for an assignment can be a little problematic and this is a good example of that.

I will keep that in mind the next time, sometimes I get really excited about an image and just want to use it, but I guess it's more important to keep the assignment a first priority!

The final shot in this section has a great sense of rhythm with the three men in the image taking the viewer across the whole frame in quite a fluid movement. Yes, you are right about how some colours can be at once contrasting and also complementary. For me the diagonal line of the green, blue and white leads the viewer into the image and from here we can study the whole image and take the details in.

Contrasting Colours

The first shot here shows a good balance between the blues and reds as they form the top and bottom of the image, with the waves breaking in the middle of the frame. I think the shot would have worked better in the landscape format, the portrait form in this kind of image rarely works as the viewer wants to see more of the actual scene that lays in front of the photographer.

Yes, I hadn't really thought about that. I might have a look at other wave images that I took that day and look for an other similar seascape in landscape format

The second example taken under the flyover is a great image, and working early in the morning is one of my favourite times to take photographs simple because it’s a new day! The contrasting colours are quite subtle and the whole perspective of the shot draws the viewer in, there are lots of interesting details and as you study the image the more it draws you in.

The shot of the flowers works well and I think the secret of any still life imagery is to make the shots appear as natural as possible and that’s what comes across in this shot. The colours are strong and I think a smaller aperture could have worked better in keeping the whole frame in focus, where we can study the colours better. A narrow depth of field in a shot like this tends to put the attention on the areas of focus rather than highlight the frame as a whole.

The reason I kept a shallow depth of fiels was that I thought the colours would blend a bit. Also here, I'll have a look at other images and compare the differences in focus of the subject

The shot of the guy decorating the wall is a great image, the exposure is good and as you say must have been a challenge to get it right. The colours are really striking and with the white wall and the guy’s t-shirt helping to balance the image so that the attention is on the effects of the contrasting colours.

Similar Colours

This is a very strong section of the assignment where your use of colour really depicts a good sense of the place, the plate of tomatoes being a fine example and although I would have been tempted to move the plate the image does work well. Possibly the image needs a little cropping as the other plates at the top and right of the frame could be said to be a little distracting.

I thought the plates on the sides worked alright in the frame, but I'll crop it and compare the difference, maybe ask somebody else for their perception of the image as well.

The image of the woodworker is excellent, here we have a beautiful shot that is of course full of similar colours and also highlights the resilience and skills of the craftsman. The image also highlights the need for the photographer to engage with the subject and you have done that by being quite close to the subject. For me, this highlights your own confidence in finding and taking the image and shows how much you have moved on since the beginning of the course.

Thank goodness I have! I do feel less nervous about photographing people now and have found that certain rules of conduct show respect towards the people I am photographing

Shooting at dusk can be a very rewarding experience; some of William Eggelston’s most popular images have been taken at this time of the day, as he understood how the light can affect the relationship of colour in an interesting way. Your shot here proves that point very well as the subtlety and clarity of the shot comes across in a thoughtful and measured manner.

I found the final shot in this section to be very interesting, the man’s foot and the goat seem to be connected as one, and as this is quite central within the composition we are drawn to it straightaway. It is one of those images that asks many questions without giving too much away, and highlights this aspect of photography very well. The colours are in direct contrast to the bright sunshine and give the image a nice cool feel.

Interesting might indeed be the best word, I still don't know what to think of it, but colour wise it does work and it does bring up a lot of questions.

Colour Accents

The first shot of the fish laid out is quite an obvious accent and the formal style of the image works well, the pieces of sacking create the background with the blue rope kind of forming an interesting border around the fish. The second example is an excellent shot, the accent here is still quite strong (red will always provide the strongest accents) but within the proportions of the frame remains quite small. The overall composition of the image shows a great photographer’s instinct and again you have got close to the subject, highlighting your confidence and ability to spot a photographic opportunity.

Thanks for mentioning about the photographer's instinct. That is something that I often doubt about, especially now that I'm still developing it. It's nice to hear that it is there and that I do have the eyes needed to develop myself in a better photographer.

The shot taken in the old station in Dakar shows how even quite a small accent is possible, the accent itself breaks up the overall rhythm of the image, so even though the colour of the accent is not so strong we can see how the actual form of the image changes. The final shot is quite similar in terms of having a strong rhythm although the colour accents are quite subtle the viewer gets a good sense of what the photographer is showing them. The eye darts between the fans and the paintings, with the peaceful scene complimented with the array of vertical and horizontal lines.

Learning Log/Blog

This has developed into a concise piece of work in its own right, your research into other photographers is good and we can see how this is starting to come across in your own work, so please do continue in this way. As regard to the exercises I would tend to just include those ones where you are learning something new, there’s no need to do every exercise and picking and choosing the ones you’ll get most out of will give you more time to concentrate on the actual assignments.

That's actually a very relieving comment. I will try to focus on the areas of which I think that I have to work on, the next part seems to be a lot of work and I don't want to get stuck in all the exercises.

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Pointers For The Next Assignment

The fourth assignment is concerned more with creativity and imaginative possibilities, have a look at one of my students fourth assignments and you’ll see how he has used a piece of waste gas pipe to great effect. You don’t have to have expensive studio lights and the assignment is also a test of the photographers’ resourcefulness and DIY skills.

Very interesting blog indeed! Thanks again for the feedback Pete!