Course: Expressing Your Vision
Assignment one – ‘Square Mile’ – The Middle (following on from Assignment one – ‘Square Mile’ – The Beginning)
Technical Approach and Techniques:
Research tells us that dogs cannot see colours in the same way as us humans can, apparently they have 2 colour cones instead of 3 but this is NOT what I am covering in my assignment. What I wanted to achieve was purely a different view-point of my surroundings not through a different colour lens, so armed with my tripod and camera set to my dog’s eye-level height I took off on our normal walking route to the local park to capture his view on life.
I use a Canon 70D and currently have two lenses 17mm to 50mm and 70mm to 300mm. I wanted to use a wider angle for most of my photographs for this assignment which meant I took my photographs with the 17mm to 50mm lens, using an f-stop range of between f/2.8 and f/8 to mimic my dog’s perceived view of the world. I like getting up close and personal so this suited my style although I prefer portraits and getting down lower to the ground was not so appealing and reminded me how well prepared you needed to be as a photographer, even on a nice day.
“I want the viewer of my photographs to think that they are seeing the surroundings from the perspective of a dog. So I set my tripod and camera up to dog-eye level and used the ball head mechanism as the rotation point (neck/head) to look around my familiar surroundings and capture unfamiliar viewpoints. Not all the photographs have what you think initially should be the focus point, as I tried to capture what the dog would be interested in, e.g. the ground to sniff at, as opposed to the dog over the road. I mostly used shallow depth of field because when focusing on a particular point peripheral vision is blurred.”
Self Assessment / Strengths and Weaknesses (including contact sheets):
This assignment really got me thinking about my photography in general. I’m starting to appreciate that it’s not always a single image that can tell a story/narrative and that a series of images might be required to convey a bigger thought, idea or issue. We are exposed everyday to single shot imagery, advertising, posters, leaflets telling us outright or subliminally to buy this, do that and our lives will be great etc. Apart from magazines and newspapers where there might be more than a ‘one-picture-tells-a-story’ approach, single imagery I think is the majority of the images we encounter in everyday life. I certainly have worked to a one image approach to convey my thoughts up until now. As a result of this assignment and also the Performing for the Camera exhibition at the Tate, that I recently attended, I have started to view and take my photographs with a collection in mind rather than based on a single image idea. You can see this in my recent work which I have posted on my other general Blog At the Park and Time for some Guitar, which are meant to be more about the collection of images rather than of a single image.
I think my current style and probably my strength is viewing my subjects up close, it feels more intimate and hands on; a moment between you, the camera and your subject (animate or inanimate makes no difference). I like using shallow depth of field, maybe because I am less concerned about what is in the distance/background. This means that when I am framing a shot I do not look as carefully at the background and around the frame as I should do and will look to do this more often in the future. Also I know I should push myself in to using a larger depth of field more often and will start to look further and wider than I do currently.
“My most successful photographs I think are the ones with subjects both in the foreground and background and with leading lines to invite the viewer into the image. Also, the reflections, which initially were not intended but a real-time development, add a further dimension and point of interest. The weaker photographs I think were those taken too close to subjects and would have benefitted from being taken further back. I also think for this exercise the photographs recording singular subjects and which have no ‘story’ to them came across weaker, however, technically I could have used them as my holistic 6-12 photographs.”
Please follow this link for the next section – Assignment one – ‘Square Mile’ – The End (which includes my final image selection)