Assignment 5

Assessment - Final touches Assignment 5

After receiving the feedback for Assignment 5 I first thought that I would not change any pictures from the ones I had sent in. But while working on my assessment, I did realize that my tutor's remarks concerning the number of images and the fact that I'm using a lot of portrait sized photos were really worth noticing and changing the images for. So that's what I've done. Here's the image I sent and the one I'll replace it with.

As my tutor had mentioned, there's more depth in the image and as a viewer, I am more engaged in the photo because there's more visible of the work that's being done. So that was a good suggestion! 

While adding images to my assessment, I did want to add one that was a bit different from the painters and work itself and showed somewhat the state of the bus. So I thought this would be a good addition. It shows the inside and also how old and run down the bus actually is. 

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In the Assessment, I've adjusted the text a little, made a a bit more concise without loosing what I wanted to say. Since I'm submitting the images in book form, I want to keep it all as minimalistic as possible. 

Working towards Assignment 5: Post process

In this blog I'll show how the images got out of the camera and the final result after post process. I'll mention what I've done and why. 

The main importance with narrative images is that you show what you want to tell. In this image I wanted to tell how the buses are a very common sight in the streets of Dakar, so I wanted to highlight the pattern of the buses, but also how the colors of the building behind were sort of reflected in the buses as well. So I cropped the distracting elements, cranked up the exposure, lightened up the buses, leveled out the undefined whites and blacks, added more contrast to the sky, which gave it a nice yellowish look. 

The theme of this image is the hand that's painting the word. That is what I wanted the viewer to look at and be led to. So I cropped out in such a way that the brush and hand are covering the thirds of the image. Besides that, I lightened up the hand and brush, because the eyes are drawn to the lighter areas first. 

I cropped out the left side and top of the image, because I wanted the focus to be on the entrance of the shop, the words and items that are on the floor. This way they take a more central part in the image and are placed on the lower thirds line. I lightened up the shadows, even more on the right side so that one can have a slight idea of the size of the room inside. Besides that, it makes the image more interesting as it leads the eye in and away of the main subject. I adjusted the white balance a bit to get rid of the blue cast and make it a bit warmer. Next to the original it maybe looks a bit yellowish, but I think that when you look at it separately it's ok.

This image clearly needed more clarity and more contrast to make it striking. I cropped a bit, straightened and corrected the lens to get the focus on the lower part, the Alhamdoulilah, eyes and face, of the image.  

I doubted whether I should leave the couch in the image, because it is quite typical to find furniture everywhere in Senegal. But it was too distracting from what I wanted to show, which is obviously the bus, but also the painted face on the wall looking at the painter. So I cropped it out, lightened up the wall, retouched the white line of the face and straightened the image to show that the bus is declining and therefor explaining the little blocks under thew wheels. I added clarity, lightened up the shadows and saturated the bus a bit. 

First of all, I cropped the image so that the face of the painter would become more visible. Then I brightened up the shadows, especially the shadowy part on the painter. I added more contrast to the cap and shirt and adjusted the whitebalance a bit to get rid of the blue cast. In images that are made in difficult light like this I find it hard to see when photos are over processed, because it tends to look like that when lightening up the shadows. It is a bit bright to the eyes, but the light is really bright at that time of day, so maybe not such an unnatural reflection of the moment after all. 

In this image I used the same techniques as in the image above. Especially because there's a white block of sky on the upper left side I had to make sure to get the shadowy parts bright and light enough. With the crop, the bus covers a bigger part of the image and the lines are more accentuated.

I wanted to show the painter's expression, eyes and posture, but also the colorful background. So I added contrast on the wall, downed the highlights of the shirt, so that the paint would become clearer. I upped the shadows of the face, lightened the eyes to get a better gaze and desaturated the yellow in the shirt a bit, because this was a bit distracting. Again, I adjusted the white balance a bit, to make the image somewhat warmer.

To make the writing clearer, I leveled out the blacks and whites, cranked up the contrast and upped the clarity. The fly is also a bit more visible, which I like. 

I cropped the image a bit, just to get the paint cans a bit more to the foreground. I added contrast, brightness and a little bit of saturation to let the colors speak even more.

 

It's been only a few months that I started to use photoshop and I'm really becoming aware of all its possibilities. It's exciting to make small, but impacting changes and process the image in such a way that it conveys what I want to show even more. 

Working towards Assignment 5: Selection

I visited the bus painters in the middle of the day, which made the lighting difficult, but on the other hand, gave nice contrasty images. Here's the first rough selection I made concerning the images. My goal was to show how the bus painters work and how their tradition and religion influence the way they work, their environment and the results.  

I wanted to make a combination of the painters, their environment and the buses themselves, to get a good idea of what one might see when visiting a paint shop. To make sure there was enough diversity in the images, I wanted to balance out the images with the painters at work, portraits, the shop itself and the bus. And besides that really keep in mind all the things I had learnt throughout the course. These were the final images I chose:

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This image shows the concentration on the face of the painter, the preciseness of work, and the colored stripes on his shirt. Besides that, it shows the cooperation between the painters and how they work side by side. compositionally, there's a nice diagonal line, some pattern and lots of contrasting colors. 

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Of all Fiara's portraits, I find that in this one he really shows how proud he is to be a painter. The other images were a bit too staged. I like how the shade of his cap acetates his eyes and softens his face. The background is dark, thus creating a space between the background and subject, but still colorful and visible enough to show how interesting it is. 

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I thought it was a nice to show some of the interior of the painters shop. This scenery attracted me because of the shapes and striking colors. There are lines, patterns and it gives a good feel of the messiness inside.

 

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The painters use their little finger to keep the lines straight. This is one of my most favorite images. It's a good juxtaposition, the line of the word leads the viewer to the main subject of the image. Besides that, the word of that is being painted, 'Alhamdoulilah', is what it's all about for the painters. 

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This is another favorite. The roof of the shop frames the image in a very interesting way, the face on the wall is looking at the painters work and it shows the almost completed bus. The bus was actually not completely straight, which you can see in the final post process result, which makes the viewer think for a second.

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The wall of the shop is used as an address book, something to wipe the brushes of and of course to advertise the shop. I was surprised by the American Flag on the box and how they even paint their sound system.  

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The front of the bus gives a good reflection of how faith and tradition is combined in the painting of the buses. I also like the combination of colors, the use of black and white and how clear it is that words attract most of all, even when they are surrounded by really bright colors and eyes. 

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Again, this picture shows the concentration of the painters when they're working. This painter is obviously a bit less messier than the other one and more introvert. He's wearing a typical Senegalese hat. I like how the lines and the painter form a triangle and how the benches in the bus make a rythm. 

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I saw this note on the wall of the shop. It shows how seriously people take their prayer time and how engrained religion is in society. Besides expressing their faith in their work, the painters take their own prayer life seriously and respect that of their coworkers. 

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These images were all taken within one photoshoot. After I had selected them, I realized I needed to add an image of the buses on the street, just so that the viewer realizes how much part of the city scene this buses are. So I went to the bus station and got this image.

The next blog I'll explain how I post-processed the images and why.

Working towards Assignment 5: Other options

Already from the beginning of this part of the course I have been thinking about what subject to use for the final assignment. I knew I would be in France and The Netherlands this summer so thought it would be interesting to do stories about something I'd come across. But just before we left, a friend of mine asked if I'd like to go to the bus painters and do a photo shoot. Those pictures ended up to be the ones I'll send in. So actually the first images I took for this part, but ok, that doesn't really matter.

So here are  a few of the other subjects I've explored. First of all, my mother's garden.

What attracted me about this subject is the fact that I could combine the images of the flowers and vegetables together with my mother at work. This way it would be possible to show a lot of techniques that I've learned throughout the course. The light at night was really beautiful, my mother is an avid gardener, which is pretty obvious in the images, so a good option.

Then there are the images of my dad and his telescope.

My father is a very enthusiastic, skilled amateur astronomer. He likes to build his own gear, sharpen his own lenses and is always thinking of how to solve certain obstacles he comes across in his work. Because it is difficult to locate the exact spot of the north, he built his own tripod on which he can install his telescope that helps him focus on the northern star. The green book has been his logbook for year, and the image where you see him pointing at the start was already 10 years old. Below he wrote down: So where is the north? I love how my dad is so precise and creative in finding and building his solutions. That is what I wanted to portray in this narrative.

An other option is 'Katendrecht', a suburb in Rotterdam with a very interesting history, that you can read about in this post: Through my photographs I wanted to show the layers of history one can find on such a small area of land and the people who live here and their stories. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to take all the images to make up a complete story, and I did think the images might not be dynamic enough. But I did get some nice shots:

After watching Cig Harvey's video, I started thinking about making self portraits with a narrative element. But I wanted to tell the story of my body, so not draw attention on how things look, but more on the function of the body parts, what they've done etc. Here's example that I ended up using for the juxtaposition exercise and a few other ones. These images give an idea a of the concept I had in mind.

I asked my tutor if the set fits well within the assignment, but he suggested I'd go for the bus painters images instead. I can see why. It does take a long time to make the images, process them and really think about how to bring the message across. The bus painters images tell a clear story, are colorful and contain a lot of the elements that were taught in the course. So now I'll continue with showing you the how and why of selecting the images.