It's been a while since I posted. Mostly because of holiday connected reasons. I received feedback for Assignment 4 and wanted to share this before continuing with Assignment 5. I'm happy with the results!
Leonie, this is a very strong assignment, you are obviously very attached to the chair and you have created an intriguing set of images where some of them would not look out of place in a designer company’s portfolio. The choice of object is quite important in this assignment, you have to engage with it to get the best possible results, but also you don’t need expensive studio lighting set ups to get these results. Of course photographic studios have their uses but I think this assignment prepares the photographer to use whatever light source is available to them, to test their resourcefulness and to test their creative and imaginative skills.
This assignment has certainly helped me to think out of the box about getting the lighting right with little resources. I still feel like there is so much more to learn and am excited to continue working on my lighting and compositing skills. And yes, I do like my chair :-)
Assessment Potential (after Assignments 1 and 4)
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are very likely to be successful in the assessment.
Feedback On Assignment
Shape: You have grasped the concept of shape really well and the artificial light example is an excellent image where the slightly graduated background helps to kind of neutralize any pre-conceptions of the shape of a chair. The silhouette technique is one worth mastering, as you have done here, because there so many more elements that help to form the image. Also having the chair slightly off centre in the frame gives the viewer a chance to imagine actually sitting on the chair, there is room to walk into the frame. A more central position would have made the image a little too clinical for me.
Even though I know about the rule of thirds, it is still surprising to me to see the difference the position of a subject makes. Makes me want to explore the ideas of good compositing and lighting more.
The second shape taken in natural light has a great atmosphere to it and is slightly edgy as the chair is placed at the top of the stairs. The overall colour balance works very well in keeping with the feel of the image and there is a sense of anticipation, I think this comes from the actual placement of the chair, which has a quite sinister feel to it!
Form: The first form example (artificial light) works really well, the combination of the black background and bright yellow chair makes for a well-executed studio shot. A white background would have given the image a high key feel, but for me the black background helps to keep the focus on the form and colour of the chair.
That is also the reason I chose a black background, besides that, I don't have a particularly even white backdrop.
The second example taken in natural light does have a white background, although it doesn’t have that high key studio feel due to the natural light and location. The positioning of the chair in the final image is good, we get a little confused by the angle of the shot and again it has a certain edginess to it due to the chair laying on its side. I think you have a very natural way of working and getting these atmospheres’s into your work is a high skill to have and is something that cannot be taught!
Thanks! Maybe it starts with deciding that when I think an image is boring, there should definitely be something done about it.
Texture: I would have been tempted to crop in a little bit to the actual seat part of the chair in this first shot, mainly because of the slightly distracting elements in the frame. The chair is in a similar position to the shape example and reveals a lot more about the actual location. Texture is generally concerned with small areas of a photograph and you have highlighted that really well in the second example. The combination of texture and colour works very well and the viewer gets to appreciate the fine craftsmanship and design of the chair. I would definitely clone the little paint chip out as the eye is immediately drawn to it in the same way that a colour accent works.
I will take the natural light image again and indeed crop on the words, even though I thought the words would be strong enough to attract the eye. But again, it might be pulling the eyes in and out, it does not stress the texture enough. I'll clone out the chip in the other image.
Colour: Using the shadow of the chair produces a really dramatic image and is probably my favourite of the submission, of course the colour of the light reflects the actual colour of the chair and for me that is a stroke of genius! Some may say that the image would be better suited to the form section but I will strongly disagree!
Thanks! It was a bit of a guess, but I was actually thinking like you describe it and happy that you think it's ok.
The second colour example is a more obvious choice but by keeping it fairly simple you have achieved a good balance between the two images.
Learning Log/Suggested Reading/Viewing/Pointers For The Next Assignment
Your blog has formed into a very comprehensive piece of work in its own right, there is a good range of books, movies and other photographers that you have read and looked at, all I can do is encourage you to continue to work this way!
I have found myself focusing a lot on learning photoshop and the commercial side of photography lately, because I want to start up my own business soon. I have neglected developing my artistic side a bit and want to pick up reading and looking at other art again, knowing how important it is to be influenced by other people's work and developing a conceptual way of thinking in my photography.
The final assignment in this module is a good chance to put together a fairly substantial piece of work, many students choose a process with a built in and structured narrative, such as a manufacturing process or an event of some description. Of course a narrative does not necessarily need a beginning, middle or end, take a look at Tracey Moffatt’s Up In The Sky series. These images are concerned with the Australian government’s process of taking away new born Aboriginal babies from the mothers and giving them to white adoptive parents. There is no need for these images to have a structured narrative as the images themselves tell the story (nightmare!).
Although in saying that, one of the best final assignments that I have seen was all about the process of making a cricket bat! Yes quite boring but then that’s the challenge for the photographer!
Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss any ideas and thoughts you have for the final assignment.
Thanks for the suggestions, I have been thinking a lot about what to do for the next assignment and really need to start working on the exercises!