Experimenting with Print Size

After listening to Mark Galer speak about uploading one’s images as screen savers to a 4K TV, I started thinking about scale and my A1 images. I decided to see if I could create a large version of the print of Terry that I did yesterday. As the largest paper my printer can take is A3+ (13 x 19 inches) I decided to divide the image into 4 sections and print each section at A3+. I was just not sure what would happen with the upscaling. I only have LightRoom and Photoshop Elements so I sent the image over to Elements and worked out the crops and printed each section off.

Once I printed them off I had to lay them out on the floor to see the result. Unfortunately I had forgotten to select borderless printing so the interior borders spoil the effect a bit. But I do have to say that I really do prefer this larger version (26 x 38 inches) than the A3+. I will lay them out again tomorrow on my dining room table which has better light and photograph the result, then I’m going to take an exacto knife and cut away those internal borders and tape the 4 sections together and will rephotograph them.

The following day I laid out the four sections of Terry’s photo on the dining room table and made a couple of photographs with the two versions together. The difference in size is obviously quite dramatic. The portrait is larger than life size. I hauled out the step ladder and had to photograph the second image from the side and rotate it in post-processing. The perspectives aren’t 100% but it does convey the idea well enough. I think, instead of trying to slice the internal white space off these images (those margins are so small), I’ll rather try this technique out with one of the other A1 images using the borderless option.

(Please note this post has been duplicated from my Weekly Check In – 9 May 2020 post purely for assessment purposes).

Tutor Feedback – Assignment 1

I had my first tutor feedback for the Documentary module on Monday. My comments and reflections are below in italics. My tutor mentioned that I had made a good start on this module, so hopefully I can keep the momentum going.

Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

The assignment has answered the brief.  The learning log records the various Google Hangouts with peers that you have taken part in – do continue to do this.

I’ve found that the Hangouts are extremely helpful in maintaining a degree of contact with my peers. Especially helpful is the module-specific hangout as there seems to be a more directed, concentrated discussion that evolves in these hangouts as we are all working on the same course, sometimes at more or less the same place. Hopefully more students will avail themselves of making use of this opportunity to collaborate and critique our work in an easy going atmosphere. 

My tutor also mentioned it would be a good idea to reflect back on Assignment 1 a little later in the course to see how my journey or perceptions of documentary has changed. It would be a good idea to do this around Assignment 3 or 4.

We discussed about the whether there is a need for an establishing shot.

I am pleased that my tutor confirmed the need to an establishing shot in order to provide an overall context for the market and rhythm and flow to the other portraits, close ups and action shots. I also understand that if I went the route of only making stall holders portraits there would be no need for the establishing shot.

For the next assignment, I have suggested evaluating your images as you go along – take a few of the almost-there shots, or the ones that you thought were ‘it’ when shooting.  The idea is to reflect on your own work visually to give some balance to the theoretical weight of course material.

No need to review every image, just a few as you work on the next assignment.

Thank you for this advice. I will definitely do this. As you mention it will give a balance to the theory. I think this will also help me to improve my photography skills and give me more focus.

We discussed ideas for assignment 2 – the collection(s) sound interesting.  The project doesn’t have to be black and white.  Try some shots before you make the decision on colour vs b&w.  If you photograph b&w, try thinking with that mindset as it does change how you approach the subject.  Also review how to process images in Lightroom.  I’ve always found Scott Kelby a reliable source for Adobe tutorials!

I love Scott Kelby’s tutorials too! I found a couple of good tutorials after the feedback and experimented a bit with some older images, particularly trying to find some which were uninspiring in colour and played around with what I’d learned on the tutorials. Obviously, I’ll find a few more tutorials to increase my knowledge, but I already feel more comfortable with the B&W conversion process. I will also keep in mind not to overuse plugins, which shouldn’t be a problem for me as I’m not a great fan in over-processing images. 

I shall also keep an open mind and try to find more ‘collection’ type of articles/objects that fit in with the Anthropocene.

Coursework
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

We discussed the weight of the reading material and the duplication in both this course and with others.  Do keep your mind open that you can change your views about various theoretical standpoints or photographers.

In some ways the duplication serves as a revision of the material which is quite good. I will definitely be sure to document any new ideas or changes of views that arise from new readings of the texts.

Research
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Good use of research evident on blog – I have made suggestions below on a few.  Do let me know if you come across a particular theory thread or photographer that interests and I can see if I have further suggestions.

I will do that. And thank you for the suggestions below.

Learning Log
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Review of Google Hangouts is an effective way of showing this participation in events.

I didn’t say this – but do also use the log to explore your ideas and thoughts on the projects and the wider focus of documentary.

Yes, I will do that.

Suggested reading/viewing
Context

The Photograph as a Paradox – Thierry de Duve (should be available to access online). See how this essay compares to the debates you have been reading in Part One of the course.

I managed to find the essay on the UCA library database and have downloaded it and will compare that to Martha Rosler’s essay as you suggested.

Jim Mortram – British photographer who has photographed the effects of austerity in his home town. This article introduces his project and you find a lot more on the web.

See how you think his work follows on from Riis/Hine/Killip https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/feb/19/people-photograph-dont-have-voice-jim-mortram-norfolk-portraits.

I had a very quick look at Mortram’s work shortly after the video chat and found it very interesting and look forward to an in-depth study.

For the idea of collections – I mentioned Gregory Crewdson’s Cathedral of Pines project – I’m not sure why this kept springing to mind!

🙂 It might be because one of his images has a mattress featured in the middle of the forest. My tutor also mentioned Keith Arnatt’s work regarding photographing rubbish dumps. I believe that would be his A.O.N.B. (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) series. 

For something different and black and white, Edward Weston’s images from Point Lobos of  trees/roots etc.

I’ll definitely look at Weston’s work as this will give me some ideas regarding texture and form and also B&W conversion.

For pushing the boundary of documentary – look at Stephen Gill.

His work looks incredibly interesting and I shall most definitely have a good look at it. You also mentioned looking for different ways of telling a story and this has definitely given me some food for thought. You also advised me to take a look at Part 5 of the course manual where new ways of documentary were presented to get a few ideas from there, which I shall do.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

Strengths Areas for development
Blog has sound foundation to build course from. Development of posts to evaluate/reflect on work in progress in more detail – i.e. refer to specific images.
Use of learning log to record interaction with other students online.  Think how else you can reflect/review your work/learning away from using the assessment criteria as headings.

 

Assignment 1 – Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market

Once almost a thing of the past due to the advent of supermarkets and hyperstores, the farmers’ market is fast gaining popularity again. People want to know where their food is coming from and what exactly they are eating.

Sustainably the planet benefits if we support the farmers’ market. In North America food travels on average 2,400 km in order to reach the table, while local BC (British Columbia) produce only travels a maximum of 300 km (even less in the area that I live). Eating fresh, ethically grown produce and meat is beneficial for one’s health. By supporting our local farmers we can make sure that they aren’t being gouged by the middleman, thereby ensuring that farmland will remain viable for future generations. A farmers’ market also provides a venue where one can meet friends, learn about the food grown in the area and connect with the community.

A farmers’ market is part of the social economy. A level of trust is developed between farmer and consumer in that the consumer is able to ask questions about pesticide usage, conditions of livestock and even visit the farm if they choose.

Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market (SVFM) was established in 2000 with the goals of increasing awareness of local produce that is ‘made, baked or grown’ in the area, provide a gathering place for people to get together, to foster a sense of community and to bring extra traffic into this small village. More background to SVFM can be read here.

Having never visited this market before, my approach was to engage with the vendors and strike up a rapport with them, telling them about my project and obtaining permission to make photographs. No one objected and all were quite interested in my project. I wanted to make sure that I had a good mix of close ups, detail shots, wide angles, candids and hopefully a decisive moment shot. I came to this market as a stranger, but have now become friends with many of the vendors, thereby joining this cheerful community.

For contextualisation, I have looked at the work of Sigma Talberg (farmers’ market in Southeast Urals) and Stephen Cysewski (farmers’ market in Thailand), James Ravilious (farming community in North Devon). My detailed write ups on their work can be found by following the links provided.

Fig 1. Apart from tempting your wallet, the market is also a place for friends to gather and socialize.

Fig. 2. Schumi’s Shack Custom Plaques makes original hand engraved wooded signs, plaques, walking sticks, hula hoops and stilts.

Fig. 3. “Sunshine Boy: Terry, 30, is a man for every taste. He enjoys everything from country music to classical and he also likes theatre. But the outdoorsman in him likes to get away fishing once in a while.” Terry once was a welder and won a stripping competition with 2 weeks paid holiday in Las Vegas. Now he sells firepokers at the market.

Fig. 4. Crannóg Ales is Canada’s first Certified Organic farmhouse microbrewery. All the ales are certified organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized and reflect the Irish tradition of brewing.

Fig. 5. Kristian Power of Barnation Creations makes musical instruments, home decor and furniture from reclaimed wood.

Fig. 6. Christine from White Lake Organics rises at 4:00 am to bake crackers, cookies, breads, and other baked goods for the market.

Fig. 7. These two Barista Brothers serve up locally roasted coffee, delicious tea, and lemonade.

Fig. 8. This is Reyn’s most expensive pen that he makes. It sells for CAD $70 and has a pump action mechanism, like a rifle. All his pens use Parker refills.

Fig 9. Jerry Joe Black and friends entertain the market every alternating weekend.

Fig. 10. Even our four legged friends are welcome at the market, so long as they are on a leash.


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

The brief requires one to use one camera and one lens. For this assignment I used my Nikon D7200 and a new Nikon AFS 35mm f1.8 prime lens. Initially I struggled with my compositions as the spacing in the aisle between the vendor tents was quite narrow and I couldn’t move back as far as I would have liked to in order to get full length body shots. I also discovered that the lens doesn’t have vibration reduction so had to concentrate on being extra steady. I am pleased that I chose to use this lens as it is fairly unobtrusive and I could get really close to people. I had to contend with some very contrasty conditions on my first and last days’ shooting, but I have managed to rectify that in post processing.

 

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

Apart from demonstrating my engagement with the market community I very much wanted to convey the ‘holiday’ atmosphere that is present and I believe that I have managed to capture the joie de vivre atmosphere which is quite prevalent among the vendors.

I am quite happy with the outcome of my images. I did find the editing process quite daunting, but using the criteria that is suggested by David Hurn simplified the process quite a lot as I found I was able to look at the work in a more detached manner, rather than emotionally. I presented my WIPs during two Google Hangouts (Live Forum – 2 June, 2019; Rest of the World Google Hangout, 3 June, 2019) specifically to get feedback on the flow of the photo essay and also to get feedback on the images I had presented.  A few ideas were discussed regarding the exclusion and inclusion of certain images which I have taken on board. I printed out my contacts, categorized them according to my shooting list and then started playing with the visual order and taking care to create some visual rhythm with the orientation of the prints as well.

UPDATE: For Assessment purposes I experimented with the print size by sectioning one of the prints into four quarters and printing each quarter to A3+ size. More details on this experiment can be read on this post.

 

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

The way I approached this project was to approach the vendors on a casual basis while looking at their goods and inquiring about the wares they make/bake or grow. I then mentioned I was doing a photography project on the market and this gained quite a bit of interest among the market vendors. I photographed at the market each week for a month and everyone was quite used to seeing me there and afterwards would just wave at me and carry on with what they were doing, while I went about with my camera. Establishing this connection was very beneficial.

I found I had to experiment quite a bit in order to understand my new 35mm lens. The walkway between the tents was not very big and I experienced some difficulty in being able to back up sufficiently in order to take full body shots. It has been quite a while since I have taken any serious photographs of people, having just come off the landscape module so I had to get used to working quickly again.

 

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

I have tried to place my work in context, as noted above. I did, however, have great difficulty finding other photographers who had photographed similar topics though.

Apart from the course work, I have also been to the following exhibitions (detailed write ups can be found by following the links):

I have made a start on documentary research and accomplished the following:

I also did an online MOOC through FutureLearn, presented by the University of Leeds on Critical Thinking, which I hope will be useful in honing my writing skills.

I have taken part in the following hangouts:

I also viewed Is There a Picture, a documentary film about the work of the original Vancouver photoconceptual artists, namely Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham, Christos Dikeakos, Marian Penner Bancroft and Ian Wallace.

 

Bibliography

BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (s.d.) Why BC Farmers’ Markets – BCAFM. At: https://bcfarmersmarket.org/why-bc-farmers-markets/ (Accessed on 31 May 2019)

Hergesheimer, C. and Kennedy, E.H. (2010) Farmers Markets, Local Food Systems and the Social Economy. Canadian Centre for Community Renewal (CCCR) on behalf of the BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance. pp.1-63

Hurn, D. and Jay, B. (2011) On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide. Anacortes, WA: LensWork Publishing.

Kurland, N.B. and Aleci, L.S. (2015) ‘From civic institution to community place: the meaning of the public market in modern America’ In: Agriculture and Human Values 32 (3) pp.505–521. [online] At: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-014-9579-2 (Accessed 30 May, 2019)

Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market (s.d.) ABOUT – Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market. At: https://sorrentofarmersmarket.ca/about/ (Accessed on 29 May 2019)

Wittman, H. et al. (2012) ‘Linking Local Food Systems and the Social Economy? Future Roles for Farmers’ Markets in Alberta and British Columbia’ In: Rural Sociology 77 (1) pp.36–61

Post Google Hangout Thoughts on Assignment 1

Now that I’ve had a chance to mull over the feedback I received from the LiveForum and further discussing it with the Rest of the World gang and taking their comments into consideration, I’ve been playing around with some options for my final ten images as well as the sequencing. Where I had originally thought to use the following headings for my narrative:

  • opening [O]
  • make [M]
  • bake [B]
  • grow [G]
  • gathering place [GA]
  • community [C]
  • relationship [R]
  • close up [CU]
  • detail [D]
  • closing [CR]

I realise that I’m not going to be able to accommodate all of this in ten images, so I’m amending my headings to the list below, allowing for a couple of duplications:

  • opening [O]
  • make [M]
  • bake [B]
  • community [C]
  • relationship [R]
  • close up [CU]
  • detail [D]
  • closing [CR]

I am still going to go with my gut instinct and include a wide angle establishment photo as I do think that this is needed, but have changed the photo from the one originally presented to the LiveForum. I think ideally this project will work better if it could stretch to twenty images, but I’m trying to work within the constraints of the brief here.

I’ve reached the stage where I  need to submit the assignment to my tutor and wait for her feedback and then do any amendments from there.

Request for Feedback – Live Forum – 2 June, 2019

I have taken approximately 499 photos at the market and have edited down to 109, now I have to bring it down to 10.

Applying keywords to all my images, I then sorted each category, namely each vendor,  and starred the images that were technically sharper and more engaging to come up with the 44 images below.  Then following the advice of David Hurn (2011: 56), I designated ten headings (one heading per image to be submitted).

  • opening [O]
  • make [M]
  • bake [B]
  • grow [G]
  • gathering place [GA]
  • community [C]
  • relationship [R]
  • close up [CU]
  • detail [D]
  • closing [CR]

I printed out these contacts and then noted which heading is applicable to each picture and also further designating “overall/establishment picture” [O], “medium distance/relationship picture” [MD] and “close up picture” [CU]. These notes are to act as a shooting script in order to help me pace the narrative of the photo essay.

Using the headings above, I have managed to whittle my edit down to 19 and now need some feedback from my peers in order to determine whether the flow is working and which images to loose or replace. Editing down to 10 images is no easy task when there are so many vendors that have such interesting stalls. I am still in the process of getting my captions together – all a work in progress at the moment.

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3. “Sunshine Boy: Terry, 30, is a man for every taste. He enjoys everything from country music to classical and he also likes theatre. But the outdoorsman in him likes to get away fishing once in a while.” Terry once was a welder and won a stripping competition with 2 weeks paid holiday in Las Vegas. Now he sells firepokers at the market.

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

Fig 8

Fig 9

Fig 10

Fig 11

Fig 12 This is Reyn’s most expensive pen that he makes. It sells for CAD $70 and has a pump action mechanism, like a rifle. All his pens use Parker refills.

Fig 13

Fig 14 Michele Broemeling and Ann Steenhuysen of Michele’s Dawg Waggin

Fig 15

Fig 16

Chris from White Lake Organics

Fig 18 (option 1)

Fig 18 (option 2)

 

Bibliography

Hurn, D. and Jay, B. (2011) On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide. Anacortes, WA: LensWork Publishing.

Research Notes on Farmers’ Markets

Below are some notes that I have made from three papers on farmers’ markets.

Linking Local Food Systems and the Social Economy? Future Roles for Farmers’ Markets in Alberta and British Columbia
  • grassroots, non-profit organizations
  • strategic venues that serve social, economic and environmental objectives
  • potential of farmers’ markets -> catalyst in linking local food systems to social economy in Western Canada
  • definitions of local food systems
  • supply and demand relationships
  • perceptions of “authenticity”
  • farmers’ markets operate as part of social economy
  • higher levels of trust and reciprocity
  • shortened food chains
  • “re-socialize and re-spatialize food” (Wittman, 2012)
  • conceptual and geographical boundaries as to what is authentically local are fluid
  • local food systems are dynamic, diverse and fragile
  • social economy is characterized by being non-profit
  • provide venue for rebuilding relationships between producers and consumers/urban and rural communities
  • market space allocation is regulated according to local and democratic rules
  • vendor space limited to “make, bake or grow” vendors
  • getting products to consumers on a face-to-face level builds trust
Farmers Markets, Local Food Systems and the Social Economy
  • farmers’ market means as taking back control from large corporate/multinational organizations
  • farmers’ markets are flagship of civic agriculture
  • four types of urban farmers’ markets – each occupy different type of space:
    • traditional – un-revitalized portions of the city
    • public – in new or refurbished buildings/revitalized parts of city
    • farmers’ –  at edge of city in open space
    • festival – aimed at tourists
  • According to the British Colombia Ministry of Agriculture, a farmers market is: “A common area where farmers and other producers gather on a regular, recurring basis to sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, baked and processed food and local handcrafts directly to consumers.
  • recurring event – emphasis is on local produce/products
  • producers and consumers -> two points in a food cycle
  • Spaces:
    • “alternative space” – a place where the constructed spaces of the big box supermarkets can be avoided
    • “reactionary space” – markets attempt to recall tradition – a search for identity and place
  • Benefits: Farmers:
    • economic and social benefits to producers overlap: greater profits and cash in hand at day’s end
    • psycho-social benefits: sense of fulfillment, confidence and accomplishment
  • Benefits Consumers:
    • authenticity and sense of local community
    • products have ethical and environmental dimension that appeals to consumers
    • superior quality of goods
    • value of social interaction is high – people like having fun
  • social economy = “a collection of organizations which are neither capitalist or run by the state” (Hergesheimer and Kennedy, 2010: 27)
  • number of farms in B.C. sits at around 19, 844, population currently sits at 85% urban and 15% rural (Statistics Canada 2006)
  • agri-tourism
From civic institution to community place: the meaning of the public market in modern America

This paper was mainly about public markets which are different from farmers’ markets. However it did cover some interesting semiotics which I will note briefly.

  • Market places represent the community, epitomize the community and are symbols in the community
  • Signs consist of signifier and signified. These produce meaning through different processes: metonymy, metaphor and opposition
    • Metonymy – an association between signifier and signified which occupies the same domain of meaning, enabling the signifier to stand for the signified, e.g. public market stands for the city (it functions as a microcosm)
    • The “marketplace” signifies across conceptual domains as a metaphor for good government
    • Oppositions: signs can map their meaning by opposition – a symbol of what it is not, e.g. “public markets are alternatives to the industrial food distribution system” (Kurland, N.B. and Aleci, L.S., 2015: 509). The market signifies a form of localization and artisanal production in opposition to the mechanized, standardized means of food distribution.

I found the following table very interesting in the comparison denotative and connotative associations between the public market and the farmers’ market.

Kurland, N.B. and Aleci, L.S. (2015: 511)

Bibliography

Hergesheimer, C. and Kennedy, E.H. (2010) Farmers Markets, Local Food Systems and the Social Economy. Canadian Centre for Community Renewal (CCCR) on behalf of the BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance. pp.1-63

Kurland, N.B. and Aleci, L.S. (2015) ‘From civic institution to community place: the meaning of the public market in modern America’ In: Agriculture and Human Values 32 (3) pp.505–521. [online] At: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10460-014-9579-2 (Accessed 30 May, 2019)

Wittman, H. et al. (2012) ‘Linking Local Food Systems and the Social Economy? Future Roles for Farmers’ Markets in Alberta and British Columbia’ In: Rural Sociology 77 (1) pp.36–61

Research – Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market

Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market had its origins in 2000 and its primary goals were to:

  1. To provide those who “make, bake, or grow” goods in the local area a local venue for sale of their quality goods.
  2. To provide a local gathering place for people to visit their neighbours on a regular basis.
  3. To assist in establishing a sense of community for the Sorrento area.
  4. To encourage traffic in the ‘downtown’ core of Sorrento.

About Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market

The market is a registered non-profit society and is a member of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. The market runs each Saturday morning from May through to mid-October each year and the vendors are classified as Farmers/Foodies or Artisans and further as either full-time, alternating or seasonal/occasional. The seasonal/occasional vendors only come to market when their fruit/crops are in season, or when there is room for their stall.

The farmers and foodies provide products such as pork, local wines, organic ales, chicken, eggs, European bakery items such as fruit pies and strudels, organic produce and fruit juice, seedlings, jams and preserves, spices, honey, and vegan baked goods. The artisans sell jewelry, baby clothing, kitchen accessories, various woodwork items such as planters, potato bins, trivets, bird houses. Also sold are horse halters and dog leashes, antler fire sticks, chainsaw carvings, pens, engraved wood signs, alpaca wool, clothing and accessories. The quality of all items sold is really exceptional.

All vendors pay an annual membership fee ($10) and an annual stall fee (amount depends on whether they are full-time/alternate or occasional). Sixty percent of the vendors sell foodstuffs which has to be locally grown or produced, while there is only a forty percent allowance for the artisans. Strict guidelines ensure that the crafts are locally produced and no items produced via kits are allowed. Antiques and second hand items are also banned.  Vendors selling food items have to have a current FoodSafe certification and have to abide by the provincial health regulations. Various other bylaws are in place to ensure the integrity of organic produce and health and safety of the market.

 

Bibliography

Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market (s.d.) ABOUT – Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market. At: https://sorrentofarmersmarket.ca/about/ (Accessed on 29 May 2019)

Sorrento Farmers’ Market – 25 May, 2019

The day started off rather gloomy and threatening to rain, but luckily the wet stuff held off for my third shoot at the Sorrento Farmers’ Market. The regular vendors are quite comfortable with me drifting up and down photographing them and have become quite interested in the project. I noticed this week that I tended to take a lot of portrait shots as I’m still finding the spacing in the aisle between the tents a tad constricting. I will try and do more landscape format images next week. I had decided prior to heading out that I needed to get some close ups – perhaps of people’s hands while exchanging money or examining the wares and I was lucky to get some of these images this week. I have taken 460 photos of the market over these three weeks and I think I will draw a line under this next week. I have more than enough to edit from. I’m finding that I am adjusting to the lens better each week and there were less blurry images from camera shake this week.

Sorrento Farmers’ Market 18 May, 2019

Saturday’s weather was overcast and drizzling so at least I didn’t have to contend with harsh shadows which I welcomed. Luckily for me the rain let up fairly quickly as I didn’t have any rain gear with me. I managed to get a few fairly interesting photographs of the produce stall this time and there was some friendly banter between the stall owners and customers that I managed to capture.

This was my second time here and the stall owners that I spoke to last week recognized me and waved, still happy to be photographed. Some of them showed me some of their new work and I can definitely feel a rapport building between us. There were also more shoppers around this week than the previous one, which provided a few interesting opportunities, such as a biker dressed in a Gene Simmons Kiss mask. One of the stall owners, who makes fire pokers which are decorated with deer antlers, was quite chuffed that I was taking his photograph every time I walked past his stall. He called me over and showed me an old newspaper cutting from the 1980’s that he had stashed away in a cooler. Apparently he won a stripping contest back in the day. I suggested to him to pose with his newspaper cutting and he gladly obliged. So I have an extremely interesting story for one of the stall owners. Hopefully I can unearth a few more gems like this. I was really happy with my close up of the gent playing his conduit flute/pennywhistle as I was standing about two feet from him. I think I shall have to take a notebook with me next time to see if I can capture a few stories. There are still a few people that I have to introduce myself to so I shall see how that goes next week.

I feel I’m beginning to get used to my new 35 mm lens, although I really do wish it has vibration reduction. Perhaps it might be a good idea to go into town and just walk some of the streets and practice with the lens.

Overall I’m happy with the way the project is shaping up. I feel that I am still missing some crucial types of images though – perhaps a decisive moment or two and I’d really like to make one or two portraits of someone’s hands while they are working. Hopefully this will pan out next week.

The Photographic Brief

In preparation for Assignment 1 we are asked to read pages 20 – 26 of Creative Photography: Context and Narrative by Maria Short. The relevant pages are about the photographic brief. I am just making a few bullet point notes in order to remind me of some of the salient points.

  • The brief will define the context of the final output. It may also contain information regarding conceptual approaches.
  • It is important to know what you are making photos of, as well as where and why. I know some of this might seem obvious, but it is important when it comes to putting together an artist’s statement as I have learned in my Landscape module.
  • Develop an affinity for what one is photographing, become part of the scenario, but at the same time remain sufficiently detached so as to be objective.
  • There are three kinds of briefs:
    • Student Brief
      • These briefs are usually fairly loose so that students can develop their areas of interest and develop a personal visual language
      • Workflow: initiate -> develop -> articulate ideas -> translate into photographs
      • Begin research as soon as possible. Present work at tutorials and group crits, participate in feedback/give and receive. Be constructive.
      • Responding to brief: read carefully, list key points, clarify learning outcomes within brief. Manage time, allow for research, experimentation, post-processing and printing. Share images in tutorials and crits. Practice verbalizing your idea, ask questions. Keep record of feedback in learning log.
      • Group Critique: Practice presentation, note how you want to present work/key points/questions
    • Self-directed Brief
      • Identify key areas of interest re conceptual approach and subject. Work on assignment alongside other work. This will allow for work to be less rushed and more time to percolate.
      • Work can develop in unexpected/unforeseen directions/ways.
      • Advice from Keith Arnatt: start with idea -> get result -> look at result (reiterative process) -> might give you a departure from original idea. This is not something you can preconceive.
      • Time: give enough time to develop idea through practice. Ideas can change/evolve in different ways. Taking pictures allows for ideas to assimilate and marinate with experience and interaction with subjects.
      • Personal connection with subject(s): two-way process. Remember social, psychological and physical nuances of people.
      • Developing ideas: Try 1 photo/day at same time -> identify which has more importance (time or place); collect inspiring photos in workbook; select topic and make a photographic collection; set a target 1/day/1/month photograph your subject, set aside time for research each week.
    • Professional Brief
      • ‘Pitched’ to client/funding body or response by photographer when approached by client.
      • Submit initial quote, offer ideas, samples of work.
      • Context of final outcome will inform conceptual, practical and financial considerations.
      • Gather as much information as possible at first point of contact.
      • Determine time to submit quote, as well as when & where to send it. Ensure there is enough time research/reflect on all priorities in order to respond to brief in professional manner.
      • Balancing brief & subject: Draw out personality of subject(s). Be aware of social and cultural climate/situations and incorporate into work wherever possible.

Of these three briefs, it is only the student and self-directed brief which are of main importance to me right now. I will probably only need to flesh out the professional brief once I get to level 3. I think I do follow most of the advice given above, but it is usually a good idea to recap and evaluate just to make sure I’m still in line with what I should be doing and not maybe skipping a step somewhere. I think that I could probably be a little more reflective in my work by following Keith Arnatt’s advice of getting an idea, then working it, looking at the result and repeating the process. I know I sometimes don’t reflect as much as I should, or at least get it written down and not keep it in my head as I’m prone to do.

Bibliography

Short, M. (2011) ‘The Photographic Brief’ In: Creative Photography: Context and Narrative. Lausanne: AVA Publishing.  pp.20–26.