This last term has been trying to say the least, probably because it’s been alot shorter than the others and it’s been difficult getting myself organised and getting all the tasks done on time and to good standard. I think the pinhole photography was the hardest part for me-the unreliability of it all, not knowing if i’d get any pictures, or if my pinhole camera was leaking too much light, but i understand now that this was all part of the learning curve-being uncertain about some aspects of photography and overcoming it, not necessarily producing perfect pictures, but using it in a way i was comfortable with, I eventually grew to quite like some of my pinhole photos, a little. The three tasks (street photography, portrait and control) allowed me to thoroughly explore using my matchbox pinhole, i found that towards the end of using it i actually preferred my images with more light leaks, it added character to them-making them more than other photos i’d taken with an ordinary camera, i really felt like i’d made them from scratch. The major assignment was also interesting to tackle, i was unsure in the beginning how i’d ‘documenta meeting’ within my work and it took me a while to come up with something, photographing materials was something i enjoyed doing although i could see that my pictures weren’t really knitting together and that they needed more, which is where the narrative came in. I’m glad for all the advice and criticism i was given about my work, it meant i could adjust it to suit the project and to enhance my images without necessarily changing what i was photographing. This term i’ve come to realise just how much we rely on lighting within photography, how it can transform a photo with the slightest change and why it’s so important to photographers. My main assignment involved me using ambient lighting-which meant having to make sure i photographed at certain times of day, in certain places and nearly always using a tripod for the slow shutter speeds required. I enjoyed undertaking this final project, using film yet again which i still feel is fairly new to me although i’d tried it before, i’vepushed myself in the sense that, rather than sticking with something that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, i used the advice i was given and altered my work accordingly, i found it hard to do sometimes but i knew that it would improve my work. I’m pleased with the images i’ve produced and how i want to present them-looking at the text i wanted to go with them was also useful to me, as i found that you can’t just stick anything next to your pictures and hope that it provides it with a meaning, and that text can in some ways bring your image to life if you choose the right words. If i could improve on anything i think it’d be my time management, i spent alot of my time on the pinhole photography and then found i didn’t have as much time afterwards to be getting on with the main assignment-if i’d had more i would’ve reached my final ideas sooner and perhaps would’ve chosen to send off for a photo book online for my final presentation of the photos, which might’ve looked more professional than the one i’ve produced, although it’s not too awful.

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Final presentation of my images

After selecting 15 of my images to use as part of my final product, i then put them into a small A5 landscape sketchbook with plain white pages, as i chose to use 15 images and we only need 5-10 pieces, i’ve split them into 5 chapters of 3 images-5 pieces altogether. I’ve split them into relevant chapter, images i feel fit together due to either their content or the composition, between each set of 3 images i’ve left a blank page, to make the segregation more obvious. What i like about my presentation is the simplicity, it’s relevant to my images, almost reflecting their mundane subject matter. I suppose it doesn’t look professional, particularly because i’ve hand written the quotes myself and that’s the one thing i might’ve changed had i had the time, maybe making a more professional looking photobook.

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After a group crit and some very helpful contrsuctive criticism i’ve made a few changes to my final idea, it was said that my work was difficult to understand without some kind of caption or information to accompany it and help a viewer to understand. Poetry was one of the options suggested to me that i was really keen on, i thought that it’d compliment my images-without being too obvious that it’s kind of explaining what the images are about. My intention was to look through various poetry books, which i did, although i didn’t want to spend forever reading and reading and reading, so it was much easier to make a specific search for poetry on the internet as i was able to look at certain themes that i felt bore most relevance to my work; memory, trace, common objects and the passing of time. As it turned out i couldn’t find many poems that each included this and i ended up choosing 2 short quotes and one slightly larger-which reads as a poem but is apparently just a quote. I found all these quotes from thinkexist.com and i think they all have a subtlety about them which enables them to tie in nicely with my work. As i’m presenting my pictures in a simple book of some sort, i’m using one quote at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end-inkeeping with me wanting to build on the narrative of my work. The first quote is one from t.s eliot; ‘It is only in the world of objects that we have time and space and selves.’ i chose this because it speaks of how we have an identity through our objects and possessions-they give us a history and an extension of our personality and i suppose my work seems to involve the personification of the ‘objects’. The second quote which i’ll use in the middle of my images somewhere is from William Gibson and reads; ‘It is impossible to move, to live, to operate at any level without leaving traces, bits, seemingly meaningless fragments of personal information.’ This quote really speaks for itself, and reiterates my thoughts on how we leave traces of ourselves upon what we touch-and when these items are shared, so is our trace, or presence with another. The final quote i’ve chosen to complete my book is from the famous poet William Wordsworth; ‘And, when the stream Which overflowed the soul was passed away, A conciousness remained that it had left, Deposited upon the silent shore Of memory, images and precious thoughts That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed.’ It’s a really nice little poem/quote which i think will work best at the end, giving some feeling of closure to the book. Seeing how i was aiming to convey ideas of traces or memories left behind on these ordinary objects or places i think it works well-these are what remain upon the object whether we choose for them too or not, once we have touched something we can’t ‘untouch’ it-this is where my ‘meeting’ comes from, a meeting of one persons trace or history, meeting with the next person to make contact with what they have left it on.

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Assignment 3; images

This is the first set of photos i’ve taken since adjusting my photographic narrative-objects of some sort that exchange hands, that we share, and almost ‘meet’ other people through as we come into contact with them. I’ve been looking around my house at the things we share with one another, things that aren’t necessarily talked about, but that we touch often without any thought of who else may have used them.

The images have all been slightly edited on photoshop, nothing major just a few tweaks of contrast, highlights, saturation and a couple of warm photo filters. One of the pictures is a double exposure, it’s quite strange because the camera i was using-a pentax p30-doesn’t actually allow for double exposures to be created, so it was unintentional but i quite like it. Looking at the images i feel that they do share the common theme i was aiming for, they tie in well and i see how they relate to one another. These are taken from 3 different rolls of film,i’ve just sort’ve short listed my favourites, but the contacts included show the full extent of the images, most are repeated photos but taken with either different view points or lighting.

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Assignment 3; narrative

Having researched the work of various photographers who have photographed still lives, i’ve come to the realisation that my own images, like theirs, will need some kind of narrative structure, in order to portray the ‘meeting’ i am supposed to be documenting. Another photographer whose work has reinforced these thoughts of mine is Seba Kurtis, an Argentinian photographer who i was lucky enough to hear from in person when he visited Coventry university. Kurtis’s work surrounds his own background, the dictatorship regime in Argentina he grew up with, and his illegal immingration to Europe to escape this and create a better life for himself and his family. His work’s all really brilliant, he puts his own mark on things, damaging his photos in some cases to reflect what he’s photographing more literally, allowing us to see not only a photo but how he felt about it. What i reallylike about his work though, is how it all follows a narrative, his ‘immigration files’ series based upon his experience as an illegal immigrant and the complications that come with it, or his ‘shoe box’ series focusing on photos he was sent by relatives that had been damaged in a flood. Looking at this work makes me realise all the more how i need something to tie in with my own work, something to bring together my images and make them fit as a small series/pieces. As i’ve already established that i wanted to document a meeting between materials, this isn’t me changing my idea completely, just altering why it is that i choose my subject matter-i want to carry on focusing on textures within the photograph, but this will become more part of my technique as opposed to my reasoning.

One of the earlier photos i took was of a coin that has been stuck down in my garden for years, and in a tutorial i was asked to consider this object and how it changes hands-this is what i’ll focus on more now with my image taking, i’ll be documenting a ‘meeting’ between either, people and the objects i photograph, or a subconcious ‘meeting’ of people through the object, after all, we often touch things without thinking about who else may have done, and what traces they may have left behind. Money is perhaps the most obvious, being passed on constantly, but i want to look a little closer to home and focus on that which my family shares without thinking much of it-this is what i’ll photograph, a kind of metaphorical meeting between people through the things they use, share and pass on.

The images below are some of my first set, when i was thinking about documenting a meeting between materials and contrasting textures-so they wont really fit in with my assignment now that i’m looking for objects that are shared and passed around but taking these was part of my learning process i suppose. I tried out a Macro lens with a Canon 450 D, but i can’t say i’m too keen on the pictures, i think i just took these because i was starting out and trying to put my ideas into photos, these wont be my final images.

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Pinhole camera work; ‘street photography’, ‘portrait’ and ‘control’

Making a pinhole camera was a key part of an earlier assignment, i’d looked into pinhole photography before during my A-levels and had already a go at making a pinhole camera, when i made one the first time round i used a coke can and photographic paper. The results weren’t brilliant, all were very dark, flat pictures that had been distorted because of the cans cylindrical shape so i didn’t pursue it for very long, however this time round i’ve found my attempts to be a bit more successful. A working pinhole camera can be made from almost any kind of container, as long as it’s light tight and can hold either photographic paper or film, my first go at making one involved a medium sized, empty plastic paint can, painted black. I knew that for this i’d have to use photographic paper, and having not had much luck with this in the past felt that i wanted to try a more accurate or atleast more efficient route of pinhole photography-hence why i made a matchbox pinhole camera. (The image above is of somebody elses matchbox camera) This allowed me to not take just one shot at a time, but to load up an entire film, judge how many ‘clicks’ between each frame and take as many as i could-plus i was able to do it in colour, which i found to be more interesting than some of the black and white results i’d had before. The first photos i took with the camera were to focus on the idea of street photography, a chosen location, devoid of human presence, but somewhere that would be ‘transformed when populated’. I chose a field near my home, the reason i chose this over an urban setting was because i could particularly visualise how this place would be transformed by the presence of people in the summer months, as it’s where alot of people head to in warm weather. I wasn’t expecting brilliant results-not even sure if my matchbox camera would be working, so it was a surprise when i saw my pictures had come out quite nicely, not perfect, but more than a couple of shapeless blobs, or worse, a completely black film.


The pictures aren’t technically perfect at all, this was about as clear as they got as it was very difficult to hold the camerastill without the use of a tripod-but i actually like them, they all seem quite dreamlike-particularly the top and bottom picture (i have no idea why it came out blue) where the light seems to be dancing around the frame. In the beginning i obviously encountered several errors, one being the distancing between each of my frames, as unlike a normal camera there were no numbers on the top to tell you how far to wind your film around before taking the next picture-this gave some interesting results, in some cases winding on too much and getting less pictures on the film, or winding on too little, creating either overlapping photos or else a setion of the next image on the same frame as the entire picture next to it. The next part of the assignment was to attempt portrait photography with our pinhole cameras, using the same chosen location i asked various people from my family if they’d be happy having their picture taken. I’d also formed ideas in my mind of portraits without people, perhaps evidence of what they leave behind at the location i was shooting, a trace of them on the landscape?

Once again i was fairly pleased with the images, there seemed to be less obvious light leaks on this second roll of film-although i quite liked the orange stripes on the first set as they seemed reminiscent of flames. I worked out during this assignment that pinhole camers aren’t suited to taking close up pictures, the first two images are of a plastic lid from a drinks cup that i found on the field, however not having a view finder and unsure where best to take a picture of it from, i found that in the pictures i got in more of the background than i would’ve liked, and the rubbish wasn’t clear as the focal point. I particularly liked some of these pictures because of the clarity, although obviously not as clear as images taken with a normal camera, the definition between the white clouds and bright blue sky is visible and makes me glad i chose to use a colour film. The final task for which i had to use a pinhole camera was ‘control’, this was about being able to pre-visualise and control how we went about taking our images and getting them how we wanted them to look.


Having worked out whilst using the pinhole camera, that i got the best framing if i counted the same number of clicks between each picture (usually 6) then each time the images would all be separatedfrom one another by the same amount-having said that, for the last task i chose to not pay attention to this so much, controlling my images by making them almost merge, having a picture and a half visible on one frame. I also chose to use a tripod this time round, seeing if i could get steadier pictures, and i altered my camera slightly-making it less light tight than the second time round. I wanted to see if i could imitate the light leaking patterns i had on my first set of images, although these show imperfections in the build of the camera, i felt that it’s what sets pinhole photography apart from other methods. I enjoyed having a go at making my own camera and feeling completely responsible for the making of my images by doing this, but i’m unsure as to whether i’d want to try it much more, purely because of the uncertainty that surrounds using the camera.

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Assignment 3 research; Walker Evans and Steve Pyke

It was suggested to me in a tutorial that i consider photographing my photo content in a small studio setting, much like the work of Walker Evans and Steve Pyke, although i apprecaite this kind of work, i really want to try and take my pictures in situ, as i prefer their natural ‘habitat’ as opposed to placing them somewhere foreign and taking them out of context. Evans ‘Beauties of the common tool’ showed how he was attempting to beautify the tools he photographed,  the images were for ‘Fortune’ magazine in 1955, each of the tools appears to be poised and almost elegant-definitely words that wouldn’t usually be used to describe tools-but i found this to be a good example of a photographer taking something we’d look at often, and turning it around to make something more of it, making us look at these tools and for once admire them and their structural forms. In a similar way to the work of Fraser, i found myself looking at these images and questioning them, wondering what the tools may have been used for, and who by? Why were these particular tools chosen? It’s this along with the simplicity of the photographs that allow us to see the tools in a new light and appreciate them as we may not have done before. I think in terms of my own work this has helped me to realise further that i’ll need more of a structure with my work-Evans tools were all used for various jobs, i need to look at what i can photograph that bears similarities-perhaps in their everyday use.

Similarly, photographer Steve Pyke also photographed garden tools, but i’ve mainly looked at his ‘Post partum, post mortem’ series,  an examination of the tools required during childbirth and a post-mortem; Pyke photographed both sets of tools as a way of comparing them-showing the differences and the similarities-the latter seeming stranger as being born and dying are so completely opposite that a link between them seems unlikely, yet the tools used during/after the process of each bear some resemblance. Although these images are still lives, there seems more to them, it shows us a representaion of our mortality, what we undergo when entering and leaving this world, and how although there have been so many advances with concerns to treatments, and medicines and procedures, we still have to rely upon these medieval looking tools. Looking at this series i’ve got to say that whilst seeing the beauty of each of the tools, there’s something a bit intimidating about them, that might be down to the captioning, including the name of the tool, one particularly nasty sounding instrument is named ‘rib shears.’ As is the case with some of the other photographers works, the images do the talking because the content comes across with such importance that we are able to look and appreciate not only the tools but their uses.

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